Pony Express Bible Donated
Joe Nardone, the Master Historian of the Pony Express, generously donated to the Foundation an original “1858 RUSSELL, MAJORS & WADDELL” Bible. These Bibles originally ordered by the company in 1858 have come to be known as Pony Express Bibles and stand as one of the most noteworthy “association copies” in Western overland history. Russel, Majors and Waddell, originally ordered from the American Bible Society of New York City 2,000 Bibles, two years before these men would own and operate the private and famous 1860–1861 Pony Express that provided mail delivery from the eastern U.S. westward to San Francisco.
Out of the 2,000 Bibles ordered only nineteen are in existence. There were three different leather Bible covers among the 2,000 Bibles. Nardone’s Bible known as type “A” is the most sought after of the three different types. It is brown in color and calf-bound and in fine to excellent condition for its age. Gold gilt lettering was used to inscribe the Bible along with detail scroll work on the leather covers. The spine has the words “HOLY BIBLE” and the front cover has the following:
RUSSELL, MAJORS, & WADDELL
Each Pony Express rider received a copy of the Bible from the company. Because of weight, however, riders did not carry them while in route. This precious Pony Express Bible will become part of a permanent display in the California State Library’s California History Room and is part of a special Pony Express collection donated by Mr. Nardone. He has already donated two bronze statues of Pony Express riders as well as other small artifacts.