[HOUSTON, Sam (1793-1863), First President of the Republic of Texas, Senator, Governor.] The Holy Bible, : containing the Old and New Testaments: translated out of the original tongues.... Boston: Lincoln & Edmands. Sold at their Bible Warehouse, no. 53, Cornhill.... 1817.
12o, (7 5/8 x 4 1/16 in.). Printed in two columns with headlines, separate title-page for the New Testament (pp. [607-792]), preprinted book-label provided on verso of title. (Browned and foxed, fore-margins worn through use, occasionally affecting some text, two flyleaves at back detached). Contemporary polished calf, spine unlettered. (Worn, especially at corners, joints cracked, top of spine chipped).
A VERY EARLY RELIC OF THE TEXAS PATRIOT: THE YOUNG SAM HOUSTON'S BIBLE, signed and initialed by him in several places and with occasional notes on flyleaves: On front pastedown is a large signature "Sam Houston, March 9th 1819" (this partly written over in ink); beneath is Houston's gift inscription: "Presented to James Lovel[l] 11 Nov 1820 by Sam Houston." On the facing endpage the large initials "S.H." have been written in ink. On the verso of the title-page, within a printed book-label provided by the printer, Houston has added: "Sam Houston" with a paraph (on the same page are later birth and marriage records of subsequent owners named Williams). At the top of the page listing the books of the Bible is another large signature "Sam Houston" with an unusual paraph on the "s" in "Houston."
As of March 1819 Houston would have just turned 27 and had begun his rapid rise in state and then national politics. Residing in Nashville, he served as Attorney General for the Nashville District and was elected Major General of the Tennessee Militia. In 1823, not long after he presented this Bible to James Lovell, he was elected to the House of Representatives from the Ninth Tennessee District. Evidently, Houston had not at this early date, acquired the florid and very elaborate penwork flourish characteristic of his later signatures, but some of his letter forms here, especially the upper-case letters, already have a monumental quality. As to the 1820 recipient of Houston's Bible, additional research is indicated, but a preliminary search records a James Lovell as landowner in Davidson County, Tennessee, in this period, and an exact identification may be possible. Shaw & Shoemaker 40195; Hills, M.T. Engl. Bible in Amer., 334
Provenance: Sam Houston -- Various members of the Lovell family, including James Lovell (1820), J.W. Lovell, A.E. Lovell, and R.P. Lovell (1851), inscriptions in several places -- Henrietta England and Josh Williams, plus other family members (1865, 1866), inscriptions in several places -- By descent to the present owner.