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Doolittle Family Bible 1868

Identifier: SC MS 0196

Scope and Contents

The bible’s binding is in very poor condition and is not especially noteworthy, however, the Doolittle Family connection and notations make this book valuable. The book dimensions are 24 cm by 30 cm x 8.5 cm; embossed brown leather over board. Loosely found among the pages were: two pages titled: Family Record. Marriages (two columns on one page side), Births (two columns on two sides), Deaths (two columns on one side – many of the Doolittle family are buried in Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem, Pa.). On these pages are handwritten in black ink the Doolittle family records: the two marriages, eight births and three deaths; two half sheets of paper: on one side each are some typing possibly part of a letter mentioning the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Keen, Dr. Hays, George P. Baker, William Wister Comfort (1874-1955), Paul Shorey (1857-1934), Professor Bliss Perry (1860-1954), Charles H. Grandgent (1862-1939), Felix E. Schurlling(?) – on the reverse sides are handwritten lists of names and numbers which seem to refer to the Bible contents; a blue lined sheet with a penciled draft of a handwritten poem (possibly Hilda’s) about the Lanark Valley; a postcard printed with: Hôtel Syrène – Amalfi (Italy) L. Canestri Proprietaire and a small photograph of a five story building on a promontory jutting out into the sea – beneath in red type “Mes meilleurs souhaits pour la nouvelle annèe. – on the reverse in black ink handwriting “Highly reccomanded – Luigi Canestri. Hotel Loreley. Sorrento.” Good possibility that this postcard is from either Hilda or her mother, Helen Wolle Doolittle, who traveled with Hilda around Europe sightseeing and attending Bach music events. Helen was interested in music and a member of the Moravian musical family who established a Bach Choir in Bethlehem, Pa which performs in a May festival on Lehigh’s campus.


  • 1868


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This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Charles L. Doolittle (1843-1919) was an astronomy and mathematics professor at Lehigh from 1875 to 1895. He left Lehigh for a position at University of Pennsylvania. His topic of interest was latitude variation. This bible apparently was acquired by Charles Leander Doolittle and Martha C. Farrand Doolittle December 25, 1868 as a family bible. The couple married in 1866. They had three children before Martha died on May 18, 1876: two sons: Alfred (1867-1920), Eric (1870-1920) and a daughter Alice Farrand born May 17, 1876 died August 24, 1876. These two sons graduated from Lehigh University: Alfred a BA in 1887 and Eric in Civil Engineering in 1891, both followed their father into astronomy study. Charles married a second time in 1882 to Helen Wolle (1853-1927), of the musical Moravian Wolle family. Charles and Helen were married by Helen’s cousin Francis Wolle as noted in the bible. This second marriage produced five children: Edith (1883-1883), Gilbert (1884-1918), Hilda (1886-1961), Harold (1887-1949?), Charles Melvin (1894-1963). Of the five children, Hilda is most well known today as the poet “H.D” so designated by her friend Ezra Pound.


1 book, 24 cm x 30 cm x 8.5 cm

Language of Materials



This Bible was originally acquired by a Lehigh University professor, Charles Leander Doolittle and his first wife, as a family Christmas gift. Professor Doolittle recorded family events in this book: marriages, births and deaths. The first two Doolittle sons graduated from Lehigh and followed their father in the astronomy profession. Professor Doolittle’s second marriage, also recorded in this book, produced five children – the most well-known being Hilda Doolittle, more popularly known as the poet and novelist, H.D. Her birth is recorded in the bible as well as a draft of one of her early poems among the ephemera.


Flyleaf inside front cover is rose colored pager with handwritten inscription: C. L. and M. C. Doolittle December 25th 1868.

Title page “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, instituted in the year MDCCCXVI. 1868.

The remaining pages are two columns of biblical text on each page.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Randi Lowe of Pittsburgh, 2010


No additions anticipated.

Related Materials

Doolittle, Charles Leander. 1885. “A Treatise on practical astronomy, as applied to geodesy and navigation,” New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1885, 1890, 1896.

Doolittle, Charles Leander. 1885. “Recent progress in astronomy; an address delivered before the Alumni Association of Lehigh University,” June 17, 1885. LD691r.

Doolittle, Charles Leander. 1900. “Results of observations with the zenith telescope of Sayre Observatory from January 19, 1894 to August 19, 1895” read before the American Philosophical Society October 19, 1900. MS0121 LD691re.

Doolittle, Eric. 1891. “The N. point problem and its application to Lehigh University solar station,” Civil Engineering thesis, Manuscript No. 182, 1891 D691n.

King, Michael, ed. 1986. “H. D., woman and poet” Orono, Me: National Poetry Foundation.

Quinn, Vincent. 1968, c.1967. “Hilda Doolittle (H.D.)” New York: Twayne Publishers.

Robinson, Janice S. 1982. “H. D., the life and work of an American poet” Boston: HoughtonMifflin.

Physical Description

1 book, 24 cm x 30 cm x 8.5 cm

Finding Aid of the Doolittle Family Bible 1868
William Ying
April 24, 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)