Lucinda Coleman Bible
Scope and Contents
The collection comprises a late-18th century bible owned by Lucinda Coleman, with accompanying letter and locket wrapping. Alexander Kincaid (1770-1777), a Scottish printer and publisher, published the bible in 1774. David Carseul’s name is written in ink throughout the bible. The bible was passed down through Lucinda’s descendants: first to Julia Prentice Mulford (her name is also inscribed in ink in the interior) and then to Prentice Mulford, who authenticates the provenance of the bible through his inscription pasted to the front of the book and the accompanying letter included in this collection. The locket wrapping in the collection corresponds to a locket accessioned into the American Folk Art Museum’s art collection. The wrapping has Lucinda Coleman’s name on it, however it is unclear if it is in her handwriting.
- Publication: 1774
- c. 1850
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection is owned by the American Folk Art Museum. It is subject to all copyright laws, and is dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship.
Biographical / Historical
Lucinda Coleman was born in Sag Harbor, New York between 1763-1771 to Benjamin and Ruth Culver Coleman (the exact year is unknown). Lucinda’s father moved from Nantucket, Massachusetts to Sag Harbor in the second half of the 18th century. The 1776 census for Southampton documents the family in Sag Harbor during the American Revolutionary War, while many other families fled British occupation. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Sag Harbor was an active fishing and whaling community. Benjamin Coleman taught ship whaling and owned a large tract of the land which now makes up Sag Harbor’s Main Street. The Coleman’s were Quakers and lived in the former Union School. The Municipal Building, formerly the Mansion House built in 1845 by Lucinda’s son-in-law Ezekiel Mulford, now stands on this site.
Lucinda Coleman, also known as Lucy, was 12 years old during the American Revolutionary War. British soldiers occupied Long Island following their victory in the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776, with many stationed in the port town of Sag Harbor. Local histories and newspapers recount the story of a band of British soldiers invading the Coleman kitchen, raiding the oven, and stealing loaves of bread. According to these accounts, one of the soldiers, David Carseul, gave the young Lucinda Coleman a bible in gratitude for a loaf of bread.
Lucinda Coleman married Amos Prentice, a local doctor, in 1790. Together they had one daughter, Julia Prentice, born in 1807. Julia married Ezekiel Mulford, who, like Benjamin Coleman, was a ship whaler. Julia and Ezekiel had three children, Prentice, Eliza, and Anna Mulford. Anna, a historian with the Sag Harbor Historical Society, later authors the recollection of her grandmother’s encounter with British soldiers in local historical society journals and newspapers. Her retelling of the story of Lucinda Coleman and the bible provides the basis for the provenance of this collection and challenges other information sources about Lucinda Coleman’s life, specifically her gravestone. Lucinda Coleman’s gravestone reads that her birth was in 1776, but Anna Mulford’s local histories say that she was around 12 years old during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), suggesting that her birthdate is somewhere between 1763 and 1771.
Lucinda Coleman remained in Sag Harbor until she died in 1849. She is buried in the Oakland Cemetery under her married name of Lucinda Prentice.
0.20 cubic feet
Language of Materials
The collection comprises a late-18th century bible owned by Lucinda Coleman, with accompanying provenance documentation and locket wrapping. Lucinda Coleman was born in Sag Harbor, New York between 1763-1771 and died in 1849. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), a band of British soldiers invaded the Coleman kitchen, raiding the oven, and stealing loaves of bread. One of the soldiers, David Carseul, gave the young Lucinda Coleman, then 12 years old, a bible in gratitude for a loaf of bread. The collection includes letters and inscriptions chronicling the bible’s provenance as it transferred from Lucinda to her grandson Prentice Mulford. The collection reveals a story relating to local history, genealogy, and colonial life in Sag Harbor during and closely following the American Revolution War.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was gifted to the American Folk Art Museum by Joanne and Fred Siegmund in 2019.
A photocopied newspaper article that recounts the story of Lucinda Coleman and the bible was accessioned with this collection. It has been filed with collection records. Please ask the archivist if you would like to view. Note: a nearly identical account of Lucinda Coleman and the bible was written in the Journal of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonality of East Hampton Town.
- A Guide to the Lucinda Coleman Bible
- Aimee Lusty
- October 2020
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the American Folk Art Museum Archives Repository
47-29 32nd Place
Long Island City New York 11101 United States