The Library of Virginia
Relic of the Mayflower
Relic of the Mayflower
Click here for larger image

Henry Ainsworth (1571-ca.1623). Annotations Upon the Book of Psalmes. Amsterdam ?, 1617.

This copy of Henry Ainsworth's Annotations Upon the Book of Psalmes, probably printed in Amsterdam in 1617, made two trips across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower. Inscriptions in the volume record that one of the Mayflower passengers, tailor Isaac Allerton, presented it to another, surgeon Giles Heale, in February 1621, soon after the arrival of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts Bay. The inscription misleadingly names the site as "Verginia." The signature of "Mary Hele" (a relative of Giles Heale who had remained in England) on the book's flyleaf indicates that she was in possession of the volume twelve months after Heale inscribed it. The recipient must have sent it back to England when the Mayflower returned in the spring of 1621.

Sometime during the 1890s this volume was advertised for sale in London. A generous benefactor, whose name is not now known, saw the advertisement and reference to the inscription and purchased the volume for presentation to the Virginia State Library under the mistaken impression that it had been in Virginia before.