Folio (15 x 9 4/8 inches). Title-page printed in red and black with woodcut coat-of-arms, sectional title-page for the Apocrypha, and New Testament. Engraved additional title-pages to Old and New Testaments, 12 full-page engraved portraits, mostly by J.C. Clausen, but including one of Martin Luther by Muller dated 1717, 6 full-page plates, and more than 140 woodcut vignettes in the text, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials (some browning). Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over bevelled boards, brass corner-pieces, catches and one (of two) clasps, marbled paste-downs (rubbed, browned).
Provenance: with the ownership inscription of Michael Keyser of Germantown on the recto of the first blank, dated 1775, and records of the births and untimely deaths of his 9 children kept on the initial blanks; continued by his descendants until early 1800s until it came into the possession of Elkanah Keyser (born 1773) of the Rising Sun Inn, on the York Road, Germantown, who has written his name in pencil at the foot of the engraved title-page to the Old Testament, and in other places.
An impressive bible, with interesting manuscript notes at beginning and end recording the births, marriages and deaths of the Keyser family of Germantown, a town famously founded by Quaker and Mennonite families from Krefeld in Germany in 1681. In 1688, Germantown became an early instigator of the anti-slavery movement in America, and lead to the process of banning slavery in the Society of Friends in 1776 and in Pennsylvania in 1780. At the time that this was the bible of the Keyser family Philadelphia was occupied by the British during the American Revolutionary War, and several units were housed in Germantown. During the Battle of Germantown, in 1777, the Continental Army attacked the British garrison, and local citizens fired on the British troops, as they marched up the Avenue. The inspirational battle was considered an important victory by the Americans. During his presidency, George Washington and his family lodged at the Deshler-Morris House in Germantown to escape the city and the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. The first bank of the United States was also located here during his administration.