Description[Bible in English]. [Pony Express Bible]. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated out of the Original Tongues; and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. New York: American Bible Society, 1857. Twenty-eighth edition (page ), for employees of Russell, Majors & Waddell, the freighting company responsible for The Pony Express. Sixteenmo (5.5 x 3.5 inches; 140 x 88 mm.), described as "Minion, 18mo" on the title-page. , 974, [975-976], 977-1276 pages; lacking the final leaf; text in two columns. Original black calf, boards paneled and elaborately stamped in blind, front board lettered in gilt ("Presented by Russell, Majors & Waddell. 1858"), spine decoratively stamped in blind and lettered in gilt. Binding worn, but sound; corners bumped with boards exposed. Front pastedown with large bruise to lower-left corner, adhesive residue to upper-left corner; rear pastedown lacking large portion along fore-edge with small bruise near fine; no free endpapers. Few instances of over-opening, some gatherings slightly sprung; first leaf of eightieth signature (pages 1263-1264) detached but laid in; final leaf (pages 1277-1278) missing. Only occasional soiling or minor marginal creasing throughout. Aside from lacking the final leaf, a very good copy.
William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell -- the three founders of the Pony Express -- began their partnership in 1854 with the formation of Russell, Majors & Waddell, a large freighting and stage business which crisscrossed the Western frontier, providing freight, mail, and passenger service. In 1860, the company was contracted by the U.S. government to begin a fast mail delivery service between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento. Thus, The Pony Express was born. The legendary Wild West mail service, with individual mounted horsemen riding in relays to cover vast distances in a short time, operated under the slogan "The mail must go through." The Pony Express service lasted a mere nineteen months, but it has become a mainstay in the lore and legend of the American West.
Partner Alexander Majors was a staunchly religious man who not only decreed that the Sabbath be observed as a day of rest for his employees, but who also insisted that his workers take an oath promising to abstain from using profane language, from drinking to excess, and from gambling. Upon taking the oath, each employee received a custom Bible. Notwithstanding a recent influx of auction records, the book is still considered quite scarce on the market.
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