Melissa Delbridge has published her writing in Atlanta Press, Crescent Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She was one of the winners of the 1999 Southern Women Writers Conference's Emerging Writers competition. She works as an archivist in Duke's Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. Family Bible, the trilogy of essays from which this introduction is excerpted, was written during the year she served as the first Library Fellow for Duke University's John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. The essays appear in their entirety in Southern Humanities Review.