January 16, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
The Four Gospels, published by the Golden Cockerel Press, was printed in an extremely small quantity. Mount Saint Mary College’s Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center acquired number 38 out of 500, donated by James Finn Cotter, Mount professor of English.
Author, poet, and educator James Finn Cotter, the longest-serving professor at Mount Saint Mary College, recently donated the rare book The Four Gospels to the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center on campus.
The Four Gospels, printed in 1931, was limited to a mere 500 copies, of which the Kaplan Library acquired number 38. It was published by the Golden Cockerel Press, located in England. Artist Eric Gill created the type and the illustrations – which are wood engravings – for the book.
Cotter, a professor of English with the Division of Arts & Letters, donated the tome from his extensive personal library to complement the college’s recent purchase of the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, a fine art reproduction of the original Saint John’s Bible: the only handwritten and illuminated Bible produced in more than 500 years.
“With the acquisition of the Saint John’s Bible, I felt that The Four Gospels…would be a worthy companion volume,” explained Cotter. “The Four Gospels is considered the prime example of 20th century private press publications of limited editions with its many original illustrations, beautiful text design, and integration of letters, words, and decoration in the tradition of The Book of Kells.”
The Four Gospels’ “spare black and white style makes for a perfect complement to the elaborate colorfulness of the Saint John’s Bible,” noted Derek Sanderson, assistant librarian for Instruction Services and coordinator of Saint John’s Bible activities. “It is stark, but still beautiful, whereas the SJB is quite elaborate, but also beautiful. Gill also highlights different aspects of the Gospel stories than the SJB does. In that sense, you could say he interprets it differently.”
Barbara Petruzzelli, director of the library, thanked Cotter for his contribution.
“The Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center is grateful to Dr. Cotter for his generous donation of such a rare, important, and beautiful text,” said Petruzzelli. “Adding yet another dimension to Dr. Cotter’s distinguished legacy here at the Mount, The Four Gospels will be a source of inspiration to the college community for generations to come. Gill’s work is a fitting companion to the art of the Saint John’s Bible, for both study and reflection.”
The Four Gospels can be found across from the Circulation Desk, on the second floor of the Dominican Center.
Educators, houses of worship, and other organizations interested in hosting Saint John’s Bible related programs should contact Sanderson, who will help facilitate such events. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
James Finn Cotter, a longtime professor of English at Mount Saint Mary College, recently donated The Four Gospels to the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center from his extensive personal collection. Cotter plans on donating more of his books to the college at a later date.