John Foxe, born in England in 1516, is most famous for his Foxe's Book of Martyrs, an exhaustive reference work on the persecution and martyrdom of Christians and Protestants from the time of the original Apostles through the mid-16th century Reformation. Foxe was in exile from England in Germany and Switzerland on several occasions because of the persecution of Protestants in England; during that time he completed the Latin edition of his extensive book and it was published in 1559. Shortly afterward it was safe for him to return to England. Foxe based his accounts of persecution partly on reliable documents and reports of the trials, as well as on statements from the friends of those who suffered. The first English edition of the Foxes' Book of Martyrs was printed in 1563. Outside of the Bible itself, Foxe's work is considered to be one of three most important and influential books ever published in the history of Christendom, the other two being John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress and John Calvin's Institute of the Christian Religion. The Book of Martyrs is probably most famous for its many woodcut illustrations showing the terrible methods used to torture and execute many who gave their lives for the truth of God's Word and for its availability to the masses in their languages.
This copy of the Book of Martyrs, a revised, updated, and expanded version published by Paul Wright in the late 18th century, was printed in New York in 1794. The work includes the addition of details about 18th-century Catholic persecution of Protestants. Wright claimed that "next to your Bible this book will be the most valuable legacy you can leave your children."
Biblical Heritage Gallery, Cedarville University, John Foxe