The “Bible House”

“McSorley’s” in New York City’s East Village has been preserved to represent an old-time saloon, but it contains a curious artifact obviously not original to the Saloon itself.

In a back room, among old news clippings and a pair of magician Harry Houdini’s handcuffs, is a fireplace, and under the wood mantel in gold letters is spelled “Bible House!” In the late nineteenth century, “Bible House” was the six-story headquarters of the American Bible Society, the printers and distributors of Bibles worldwide. A New York City tourist attraction in its day, the building was the printing house for millions of Bibles.

So how did a “Bible House” mantel end up at McSorley’s bar?

Apparently, when the building was torn down in 1956 someone salvaged one of its mantels, preserving the “Bible House” gold lettering now in McSorley’s back room!

Engaging with the Bible—in its influence over the centuries!

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