Holy Bible, dated 1885, antique gold lettering, leather and board, held together with dental floss

120 year old Bible binding held together with dental floss, rusted metal clasps (120 years as of 2005). This bible was originally used in a Protestant church in Oklahoma, from a private family there. The page style is gothic.


We donated this Bible back to the church in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A 92 year old Seattle woman gave it to a friend who gave it immediately to me in West Seattle. She has family but no one is Christian.


As soon as it came into my posession I felt, despite the fine illustrations, unusually fine binding with metal claps and so forth, that it was to be returned to a church on the West Coast. Armed with the Web I went shopping for the right church. Someone paid a lot of money for this bible, and it should have a proper home, restoration, and care. It was too fragile, too fine, and too valuable when restored to be in my collection: I couldn't keep it, shouldn't and didn't.


Searching in Google Image Search over fast internet connection on "Churches + West Coast" when I saw a photo of the Catholic Church in Puerto Vallarta with it's crown of angels - I knew that was the place. Flying from Seattle to Guadalajara Mexico, I took the large old heavy Bible wrapped up in a clean white sheet in my suitcase. I stayed for a week with friends for my first visit to Mexico - Guadalajara is an old city and very beautiful - people took their time making beautiful architecture from stone.


From there with one of my friends I took a cosy and posh regular night bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and rolled it in the suitcase down the long walkway from the oldest hotel in the city Rosita, to the church, several blocks away.


The friend with me was resistant to entering the Catholic Church as she is a different religion however I pursuaded her that I needed her help - which I did as it turned out because I do not speak Spanish. After holding Mass the prime priest's handler agreed that the lead priest would speak to us about the treasure we wished to donate.


However he just zipped right by us without a glance. So we asked again. The kindest sweetheart of a priest with just the kindest eyes accepted the treasure which he said could be repaired. As a priest, he has seen it all in Puerto Vallarta. He was delighted to have it, and treated it with great respect and reverance. He thanked us profusely as my friend translated.


This shot was photographed on a sheet at our hotel room, laid out on a plastic table, photographed on the deck of the room right next to the sea. With the wind blowing I had to swiftly shoot the images and not many turned out.


The right to freedom of religion is sacred. Freedom of religion means any religion. But you gotta believe in it.


Photo of the Catholic Priest -




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Taken on May 18, 2005