As I picked up the antique Bible, my fingers lightly smoothed the well worn cover. The fragile pages turning ever so slowly, something within me stirred. "There is something special about this Bible," I thought.
My reverie continued as I thought, "All Bibles are special, but this one, given to the owner as a gift from her father in 1867, seemed significant, important and wonderful." Call that something "curiosity" or "intrigue." Nonetheless, as we researched the former owner, I found that this Bible proved to be, in my world, the closest thing to a miracle I have ever experienced.
Jamie and I began researching this Bible that was found in a box of books purchased at an auction or sale years before and were amazed at our findings. And the more we researched, the more astounded we were. The Bible belonged to a lady named Mary Louise Booth. She was born in Yaphank in 1831, and was the daughter of the village miller and school teacher. Mary was a writer, translator and magazine editor and, most importantly, a champion in the battle against slavery/human trafficking. She was an abolitionist and fighter for women's rights when women didn't even have the right to vote. She was editor of Harper's Bazaar and built it to be a great success. She translated 40 books, all which favored the Union and won the praise and recognition from none other than Abraham Lincoln. She published Louisa May Alcott (think "Little Women") and served alongside Susan B. Anthony.
As a young woman, Mary fell in love with the son of a sea captain, but alas he went down with his ship and lost his life. She then dedicated her life to fighting slavery, translating books, and publishing books and magazines. Her magazine, Harper's Bazaar, was such a success it continued for over a century after she died on March 5, 1889, at the age of 58. Inside the Bible is the seeming autograph of a James Blain. Upon research, we found he ran for president twice; but of course, did not get elected. He also was an abolitionist.
There is so much more to say about this remarkable woman. However, as I hold her Bible in my hand, I was not aware of the absolute divine conspiracy that planted it in an old box of books purchased at an estate auction somewhere.
I made a phone call to a museum, just some number that came up in New York City, and left a message that we had Mary L. Booth's Bible. Jamie and I felt this kind of history doesn't belong in a shelf or even display table in a home, but rather in a museum.
Earlier in the week, I became very distraught as I turned my thoughts once again to Kristin's journals and Bibles and the desire that has been planted in my heart to publish them. I do not want the world to remember my daughter nearly as much as I want to fulfill her calling to fight human trafficking. I cried out to God and declared, "I'm a nobody, I have no connections, and I do not see how I can ever do what I think you want me to do before I die: publish angel daughter's journals."
At my wit's end, I asked two of Kristin's childhood best friends to please be willing to publish and edit her journals at the event of my death. They are both writers; one has already published a book and is publishing magazines. I simply did not see it ever happening in my lifetime. However, God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways higher than our ways.
A few days had passed since making the phone call to New York when I received a call that could change the course of my life and prayfully the lives of scores of people in the future. At the time, I did not know all of the above biography, but knew Mary L. Booth was important in the fight against slavery and a few other tidbits. A sweet and softspoken lady begin talking. As I learned more about the former owner of the worn Bible, something inside of me was stirred. Before I knew it, I was telling her the story of my daughter, Kristin, her death on July Fourth, her fight against human trafficking and how she had planned on making it her life's work. I told her about Kristin's journals and the amazing work God did in the 25 years, seven months and 25 days of her life. The sweet lady proclaimed, "this was meant to be, Kim." She further explained that she had been the publisher/editor of two of the major Hearst magazines in New York City, and she would like to help me find publishers for Kristin's journals and connect me to the people to do just that.
She and some others in the historical society have restored the girlhood home of Mary L. Booth into a museum of her life. They have first edition copies of all 40 books translated and many other items. In the next couple of months, Jamie, Joe, Jim and I will travel to Yaphank, N.Y., to hand deliver Mary L. Booth's Bible to her museum where it will be in a case with a plaque that reads: "Bible dedicated in memory of Kristin L. Short 1985-2011." We have been invited to an event in which we will meet those in the historical society and bring Mary's Bible home where it belongs.
I wonder if Kristin has met Mary Booth in heaven? I like to think so. Mary Booth: A pioneer of women's rights and queen of abolition and Kristin Short: A modern day champion to the downtrodden and victims of human trafficking. It all reminds me of the book of Esther in the Bible. God's name is not mentioned one time, yet his providence is seen in every detail and event in the book. A famous phrase from the book of Esther is how I am feeling right now about the God-link connections his grace has arranged: For such a time as this.
(Kimberly D. Morgan, MA, is a wife and homeschool mom in Elkins. She also is a counselor with Cornerstone Christian Counselor and co-founder with her husband, Jamie, of Kristin's Hope, a not-for-profit organization founded in memory of Kristin Short to aid the victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and to help meet the needs of children in the Appalachian Mountains. To contact the Morgans, 304-637-1109 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)