Walled closet in Texas museum yields surprise haul

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A 1615 King James Bible and Civil War photos are among 200 items discovered in a walled-up closet during the renovation of a former Carnegie Library, according to the San Antonio Public Library System.

The bible appears to have been printed in London, has no cover and some chapters are missing, said a spokeswoman for the library system, Beth Graham.

"It otherwise is in astoundingly good shape for being nearly 400 years old," Graham said.

"It's kind of a time capsule," she said of the surprise haul.

She had no idea why the closet was closed up.

"We are baffled," she said. "We are excited and baffled."

Among the documents discovered is one dated 1861, and another that Graham described as "a proclamation by the Governor of New Mexico calling up the militia to repel Confederate raiders coming in to the territory from Texas."

Graham said the museum estimates that the closet was walled up in the early 1950s.

"We found magazines dated 1952 and that was the newest material that we found. We're estimating that that's probably when that took place," she said.

The Art Deco library building, which was built in 1930, housed the Hertzberg Circus Museum from the late 1960s to 2001.

Graham said the items will be catalogued then displayed at the public library.