Thursday, October 30, 2008

Selected Vintage Books About the Nativity

This post takes part in the Vintage Thingies Thursday sponsored by Lisa at An Apron a Day.

Here are a few vintage books from the Carola Nativity Gallery’s collection of Christmas books.

The first book is titled, No Room in the Inn by William Allen Knight. Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1910.

It seems that this book was given as a Christmas gift the year it was published. It is inscribed, "For Miss Donohue/ December 1910/ With much love/ The Birchis"

Published by the Pilgrim Press in Boston on September 1, 1910, it was printed at the Plimpton Press in Norwood, Massachusetts. The front cover is embellished in gold and silver. The endpapers are embellished in a silver design.

The frontispiece is a lovely engraving of the holy Family, which is separated from the title page with a sheet of tissue.

Every page has a silver design border.

The oldest of these books is The Nativity In Art And Song: Its Varied Treatment With Pen And Pencil, Ancient And Modern, With Illustrative Notes, Historical And Legendary by W. Henry Jewitt. London: Elliot Stock, 1898.

The binding is in a dark green cloth contrasted with a lighter green and embellished in gilt lettering. The numerous illustrations are drawn after the artwork of various European artists

Here is the frontispiece and the title page with its elaborate design.

Next is Personalities in the Nativity Stories by Andrew Borland. London: Pickering And Inglis, 1965.

Each chapter deals with one of the characters in the story of Jeses’ nativity:
The Virgin Mary,
Joseph - The Carpenter
Elizabeth - Wife of Zacharias
Zacharias, - The Incredulous Priest
Anna - the Godly Widow
Simeon - The Just and Devout
The Magi - Men From the East
The Shepherds – The Men Who Saw
Herod – The Tyrant
The final two chapters deal with the topics of The Virgin Birth and The Nativity Songs

The First Christmas by Denis O’Shea, Canon of the Holy Sepulcher. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1952.

It is illustrated with black and white photographs taken in the Holy Land.

Our last title is a little gift book published by the Peter Pauper Press.
The Story of the Nativity in Wood Engravings, The Text Taken From The King James Version of the Holy Bible; Wood Engravings by Boyd Hanna. Mount Vernon: The Peter Pauper Press, [1949]

One of the wood engravings shows Elizabeth and Mary greeting each other.

Each of these books focusses on the story which brings to us each year the most joyous of holiday seasons. Do take time to read all about it!
Christmas countdown banner
To see more vintage treasures, please visit Lisa at An Apron A Day for a list of participating posts.


  1. These books are beautiful, and in such great shape!
    Are all of the nativity pictures in the sidebar your own? Where do you store or display so many? Is it an actual gallery?

  2. Yes, Elizabeth, all the photos are of my nativity scenes collection. I turned one room in my house into display space for the many nativity sets. Items not on display in the gallery or in the living room are stored in boxes in closets, etc.

  3. You have an amazing collection of beautiful nativity books (and more!) I've never seen books like this, so you must've cornered the market :)

  4. I love your vintage nativity books...what delightful treasures :)

  5. What a interesting set of nativity books. I have never seen so many in one place. They appear to be in excellent shape.

  6. What beautiful books! I love the endpapers on that first one!

  7. Those are cool! I'd love to read the personalities book.