Senate Bible Stolen

The United States Senate Bible

The United States Senate Bible


The United States Senate Bible Stolen

The Bible which has been used in swearing in United States senators was stolen from the drawer of the Vice President['s] desk. It has been in the possession of the Senate since 1829. Every senator admitted during the last fifty-three years was sworn upon that Bible. There is marks upon it showing the impress of their lips. I have always kept great care of it because it was bought by my father who had charge of the Senate in those days. After I missed it I made [a] diligent search for it. Soon after, the papers published it lost, and the rogue found it too hot for him.

[Newspaper Clippings]

Found a few days after under the secretary’s desk. The person who took it found that it would be no use to him and adopted this means to return it.

A few days after, I happened to look under the secretary’s desk and saw the book lay[ing] carelessly on the floor, where it must have been put.

I informed David Davis, the then president pro tem of the Senate, that I had found the Bible. He told me to take it and lock it up in my iron safe, where it is to this day. [10A3-10A5]

Editor's Note:

This Bible is still in the Senate’s historic collections. Today, the secretary of the Senate maintains a Bible that senators may use when sworn in, but most choose to use their own family scriptures.

People, Places, & Things:

  • Vice President - Under the Constitution, the vice president serves as president of the Senate. In the Senate Chamber, the vice president sits on the platform at the front of the Senate. He is allowed to vote only in the case of a tie. The president pro tempore, or others designated by that officer, presides in the absence of the vice president.
  • Senate’s desk - The secretary’s desk is located in front of the vice president of the United States' desk, on the platform in the front of the Senate Chamber. It provides desk space for various staff from the office of the secretary of the Senate, who support the operation of the Senate.
  • David Davis (Independent - IL) U.S. senator 1877-1883.
  • President Pro Tempore - A constitutionally established officer of the Senate who presides over the Senate Chamber in the absence of the vice president. The president pro tempore (or, "president for a time") is elected by the Senate and is, by modern custom, the senator of the majority party with the longest record of continuous service.