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October 05, 2007


Jesus Saenz

My first Cambridge Bible was the NASB Pitt Minion in goatskin. I have been a fan of Cambridge and fine leather covers ever since. I also managed to find an old Cambridge Cameo Bible in goatskin from the late 70's early 80's that was unused except for a few hi-liter marks. The spine is still stiff. Mark, do you know if Cambridge will reprint the Cameo edition again? It is a very handy size.

Will Cambridge be using the new updated ESV translation or the original from 2001? While I am the topic of Bibles from the UK... do you know if or when RL Allan will be using the updated ESV?


This is great news about the ESV! I have the Pitt Minion goatskin NASB;can't wait to get the ESV edition - it's just the right size to fit with my small Book of Common Prayer, for carrying to worship with me. Since, our church still reads from the RSV, I like to read along from the ESV.

J. Mark Bertrand

Jesus, I don't know whether the Cameo will be resurrected. I've got a really curious reddish-black one that's rather unique. My guess is that we won't be seeing it again, but who knows? I didn't ask about which edition of the ESV Cambridge is going to print, but since it's been recently licensed and is only now being typeset, presumably it's the current one. You'd have to ask R. L. Allan about their plans -- it could be that it depends for them on what Collins does.

Frank, just how close are the measurements on your Pitt Minion and BCP? And which edition of the BCP is it. You can't say "small Book of Common Prayer" around here without me asking, "Really? How small? Where can I get one?" :)


Mark, the Prayer Book is about the same thickness as the Pitt Minion, but is a little shorter in length and width. It measures about 6.312" X 4.75". It's published by Oxford University Press and can be purchased for between $40 - $60. The ISBN-10 is 0195287274 for the Burgundy Genuine Leather edition. Amazon has it for $40.79. If you like the NRSV, Oxford has a much thicker version of this Prayer Book bound-up with the text of the NRSV w/Apocrypha - we have that one, too. Oh, and both are 1979 Prayer Books, which is what our church uses.

Jesus Saenz

Mark, thanks for the info. That would be a bit of a shame if Cambridge no longer prints the Cameo edition, the one I have is blue Morocco leather with silver gilding. I will keep an eye out for one in black. I am also looking forward to the ESV Pitt Minion as I really enjoy that edition but the wide margin may not make it into my shopping cart as I now favor a single column format for a wide margin Bible. Hopefully Crossway will take the Personal Size Reference ESV and enlarge the font, add wide margins and bind it in goatskin.

David Dewey

Mark, is the promised Cambridge ESV a new setting or will it be a rebinding
of the Collins (UK) edition? Collins have scheduled a reprinting of their anglicised ESV (but with the 2007 text) for May 2008. See:


I am not sure what is meant by Pitt Minion, but I suspect we may not see a new setting. Like Allan's ESVs, the Cambridge might be their own binding of the Collins printing, which apart from the anglicisation and a few other features (deletion of book intros, black letter) is identical to Crossway's classic reference setting. Can you clarify?

J. Mark Bertrand

David, Cambridge is creating their own typesetting, not rebinding a text block from Collins. They have a license to create two editions, the Pitt Minion and a wide margin. The Pitt Minion is a hand-sized reference edition, an homage to a classic 30s edition they used to have, which was revived a few years back. The KJV Pitt Minion uses TImes Semi-bold type and looks archaic to my eye, but the NASB Pitt Minion is set in Lexicon that's clean and readable. I don't know if the ESV setting will also use Lexicon, but that would be nice. The wide margin edition will use the same Pitt Minion setting, with ... wider margins!


WOW!!! The ESV will be a pitt minion with wider margins!!! awesome. Sounds like the size will perfect.


Just found your blog, Mark! Right up my alley! I'm realizing how much I don't know about Bible publishing--for instance, in all my looking I've yet to find out what "Pitt Minion" meant originally. Any idea? I know it represents a combination of layout, font, and reference features that Cambridge originally used on the KJV, but what does the name itself refer to? Was it the name of the designer(s) of the layout? The location where it was first typeset? Some reference to the typeset machinery or typeface foundries?

J. Mark Bertrand

John -- I'm not sure about the exact provenance of the term. The designer's name was Stanley Morison and the typeface used was Times Semibold, so my theory that it was designed by someone named Pitt and set in the typeface Minion seems to be right out. I'm not sure that any of the line names -- Cameo, Crystal, Ruby, etc. -- signify anything in and of themselves, but if I come across better information I'll share it.

Jesus Saenz

This is from the back of the box of my NASB Pitt Minion.

Why Pitt Minion? The Pitt Building, built to house the Press and named after William Pitt, Prime Minister of Britain and Member Parliament for Cambridge University, lent the name to series of Pitt Press publications from the nineteenth century onwards. Minion is a traditional term for a type size approximately 7 point, giving text of about 10-11 lines to the inch.

Julie Best

Does anybody know if Cambridge has a small personal NRSV version in pitt-minion or other print? I want top-grade leather, and so far I haven't been able to find it?

I would also like TNIV also--if that is available.




Any update on the Cambridge Paragraph Bible? You mentioned the possibility that it would emerge during the second half of 08. Is this still true?

David from Ireland

Minion refers to the size of the text Also where Allans bibles Get the Brevier and Longprimer names from. Old Measures for Making Metal or Wood Keys for typing or print are as follows:-

Some of the old type names (English system)
Minikin - 3 points
Brilliant - 3.5 points
Gem - 4 points
Diamond - 4.5 points
Pearl - 5 points
Nonpareil - 6 points
Emerald - 6.5 points
Minion - 7 points
Brevier - 8 points
Bourgeois - 9 points
Longprimer - 10 points
Small Pica - 11 points
Pica - 12 points
English - 14 point
Great Primer - 18 point

Another list includes Ruby
// Type sizes

excelsior := 3 point
brilliant := 3.5 point
diamond := 4 point
pearl := 5 point
agate := 5.5 point
ruby := agate // British
nonpareil := 6 point
mignonette := 6.5 point
emerald := mignonette// British
minion := 7 point
brevier := 8 point
bourgeois := 9 point
longprimer := 10 point
smallpica := 11 point
pica := 12 point
english := 14 point
columbian := 16 point
greatprimer := 18 point
paragon := 20 point
meridian := 44 point
canon := 48 point

brent whittle

Does anyone know why the cameo cambridge text has small letters and numbers at the bottom of the page below the text and to the right of the page numbers?

Jim Woodiwiss

These letters or numbers are called the signature of the large sheet of paper on which the pages were printed; usually 16 or 32.When the sheet was folded ready for binding they were placed slightly offset so that they could be seen to be in order.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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