Framed Bible Pages

28 pages of original leaves from rare and historic Bibles printed in the Colonies and the United States during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The series was collected by Michael Zinman; the design and production of the framed series was under the supervision of Andrew Hoyem at the Arion Press in San Francisco. Houston Baptist University purchased the series from the Haydn Foundation of the Cultural Arts (Ardsley, New York).

THE selection of leaves presented in these framed displays came from a collection assembled by the noted collector of early American imprints, Michael Zinman, over a decade.   The leaves were taken from imperfect copies of the Bible.  No complete, undamaged Bible was used to mount the presentation.  Many of the Bibles are quite rare and the assembly of this array of original leaves provides an unusually comprehensive overview of the Bible’s early printing history. Mr. Zinman wrote of the collection:

The earliest Bibles in the Americas were produced in areas that became the United States. Although Britain reserved the exclusive right to print Bibles in English for its colonies, the first Bible published in the Western Hemisphere was printed in Massachusetts in 1663, a translation into an Indian tongue. After the Revolution, printers in the new nation competed successfully with foreign publishers for the Bible trade. It was not until 1831 that a Bible was printed in Mexico, not until 1846 in Canada, and not until 1855 in South America, when a New Testament appeared in Columbia.

Much of the descriptive commentary for the leaves relies on two bibliographies on the American Bible that were published in the nineteenth century, Holy Scriptures by E. B. O'Callaghan and Early Bibles of America by the Reverend John Wright. Both remain seminal works in the field.

I hope that as a result of this publication others will share the enjoyment and edification that I have found in these pages from the Bible.

Original Leaves from the Bible in Indigenous Languages.

P1 The Eliot Indian Bible, the first Bible printed in America.

MAMUSSE WUNNEETUPANATAMWE UP-BIBLUM GOD.  John Eliot.  Cambridge: Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663. 

This was the first edition of the Bible published in America.  When Cotton Mather first saw this Bible, he exclaimed, “Behold, ye Americans, the greatest honour that ever you were partakers of!  This…is the only Bible that ever was printed in all America, from the foundation of the World.”

This epochal edition was a remarkable achievement for a press in Colonial America.  Known famously as the Eliot Indian Bible, it is the first Bible printed in the New World, and it is also the first printed in a language with the intent of catechizing a native people.  The translator was John Eliot, a Puritan minister in Roxbury, Massachusetts, who at age forty-two commenced a fifteen-year study of the Narrangansett, or Massachusetts, dialect of the Indian tribes in the vicinity.  The work of translation took another eight years.  Cotton Mather remarked: “The long words must have been stretching themselves out from the time of the confusion of tongues at Babel.”  Printing began in 1660 with type, press, and printed shipped from England by the Corporation for the Promoting and Propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England.  The New Testament was issued in 1661, the entire Bible in 1663.

P2 The second edition of the Eliot Indian Bible, translated into Massachusett.

MAMUSSE WUNNEETUPANATAMWE UP-BIBLUM GOD.  John Eliot. Cambridge: Samuel Green, 1685.

By 1675 copies of Eliot’s first edition of the Bible were becoming increasingly scarce.  The Reverend Eliot petitioned the Corporation in England for the Propagation of the Gospel for funds to print a second edition.  He was successful in his request, and printing commenced in 1678, with the New Testament completed in 1680 and the entire Bible in 1685.  Costs for the production of the Bible amounted to ₤500, a vast sum for the time.  The quantity of paper used in the production of the two editions of the Bible was greater than all of the paper used in all other printing in the American Colonies in the seventeenth century.  The second edition has no facing English title page.

P3 The New Testament, translated into Chippewa.

KEKITCHEMANITOMENAHN GAHBEMAHJEINNUNK JESUS CHRIST.   Albany: Packard and Van Bentuysen, 1833.

The Ojibwa, or Chippewa, made up one of the largest tribes of North American Indians.  In the mid-eighteenth century they occupied a large are from what is now North Dakota to the east shore of Lake Huron.  Ojibwa is an Algonquian language. This is a translation of the New Testament into the Cheppewa language, by Edwin James, assisted by John Tanner, missionaries who had worked with the Ojibwa for thirty years.  The Gospels of Mark and John were printed in 1831, and the entire New Testament appeared in 1833.  At the end are the Ten Commandments and a Hymn in the same language.

P4 The Gospels of Matthew and John, translated into Mohawk.

NE RAORIHWADOGENHTI NE SHONGWAYANER JESUS KERISTUS.  New York: Young Men’s Bible Society of New York, 1836.

The Mohawk Indians originally populated central New York State, but after siding with the British in the Revolutionary War, most moved to Canada.  Individual gospels were printed in the Mohawk language as early as 1787 when the Society for the propagation of the Gospel printed The Gospel According to Saint Mark in London.  The complete Bible, however, has never been translated into Mohawk.  The most comprehensive printing of the New Testament was undertaken by the Young Men’s Bible Society of New York.  During the period of 1834-36 Matthew, John, and Acts through revelation (excepting II Corinthians) were published.  A transcription of the title page for Matthew is given, followed by a transcription of the titling opening the Gospel of John, since books of the New Testament were issued in parts, some with separate title pages.  The translators were H.A. Hill and W. Hess, Mohawk Indians, and John A. Wilkes.

P5 The Bible, translated into Hawaiian.

KA PALAPALA HEMOLELE A IEHOUA KO KAKOU AKUA.  Oahu: American Bible Society, 1838.

According to tradition, the Hawaiian Islands were settled during the tenth century by Polynesian voyagers from Samoa.  Captain James Cook discovered the islands in 1778 during his third and last voyage around the world.  In the early years of the nineteenth century Christianity was brought to Hawaii by missionaries from America.  As with other Polynesian tongues, the alphabet is made up of only twelve letters, AEIOUWHKLMNP.  Translations of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John were printed in Rochester, New York, in 1828-29.  A complete New Testament in Hawaiian was printed on the island of Oahu in 1832, and the entire Bible was produced in Honolulu in 1837-39 for the American Bible Society. The translators were missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, including Hiram Bingham, Asa Thurston, and William Richards.

P6 The Old Testament, translated into Cherokee.

Genesis or the First Book of Moses.  Park Hill: Mission Press, 1856.

The Cherokees are the second largest group of Indians in the United States, after the Navajos.  They occupied an area from North Carolina to Georgia, but after 1827 were forcibly removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.  Cherokee is the only American Indian language with a syllabary devised by one of its own people.  Its inventor was Sequoya, a Tennessee Cherokee, in whose honor the species of redwood tree is named.  He devised eight-six symbols for sounds in the Cherokee language.  This new written language was completed in 1825, after twelve years’ labor.  A special type font was cast for the syllabic characters.  Parts of the new Testament were printed as early as 1829, although the complete New Testament was not published until 1860.  Two books of the Old Testament were printed, Exodus in 1853 and Genesis in 1856.  The translators were S.A. Worcester and S. Foreman.

P7 The New Testament, translated into Dakota.

DAKOTA WOWAPI WAKAN KIN. New York: American Bible Society, 1866.

The Dakota or Sioux Indians came from the northeast and moved westward, occupying large areas of the Great Plains by the nineteenth century.  The name Sioux was a French mispronunciation of an Algonquian word, whereas Dakota was the Indians’ own term.  Their territory was reduced to southwestern Dakota by 1878, and the ensuing decade of conflict is remembered in the names of chiefs Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Red Cloud.  In 1886 an Indian commissioner attempted to suppress the language and religious worship in it.  The Dakotas now live on reservations from Montana to Minnesota.  Parts of the Bible began to be printed in Dakota in 1839.  The New Testament was published in 1865, the complete Bible in 1879.  The translators were Thomas SA. Williamson and Stephen R. Riggs.

P8 The Old Testament, translated into Choctaw.

The Book of genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  New York: American Bible Society, 1867.

The geographical origin of the Choctaw Indians is in the area that is now southern Mississippi and nearby Alabama.  They were removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, though some remain on a reservation in Mississippi.  The Gospels of Luke and John were printed in Choctaw as early as 1831; the complete New Testament appeared in 1848.  The Old Testament was rarely translated into Native Alaskan languages.  This Pentateuch was published in Choctaw in 1867.  The language is Muskeogean.  The translators included Alfred Wright, Cyrus Byington, and John Edwards, assisted by Choctaws Joseph Dukes and W.H. McKinney.

Original Leaves from the Bible in English from the Eighteenth Century.

P9 The first Bible in English printed in America.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: NEWLY TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES; AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, 1782

Cotton Mather first proposed printing an edition of the Bible in the colonies in 1695. However, because the license to print the Bible was vigorously protected by the British Crown, no printer could be found in the Colonies to undertake the risks associated with such a venture. In fact, no English Bible was printed during the period of British rule. Importation of the Bible from England was cut off during the Revolutionary War, creating an urgent demand for copies.

Following the Declaration of Independence, the congressional printer, Robert Aitken of Philadelphia, embarked on the printing of a New Testament that appeared in 1777, and in 1782, with the approval and authority of the Congress of the United States, he published the first Bible in the English language in this country. The congressional mandate, never again granted, reads:

"Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion, as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper."

Unfortunately, even his mandate was not enough to ensure the success of the undertaking, and the publisher suffered financial loss as a result of not being able to compete with the flood of inexpensive Bibles imported from England after the war.

P10 The first Bible for children printed in America.

A CURIOUS HIEROGLYPHICK BIBLE; OR SELECT PASSAGES IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, REPRESENTED WITH EMBLEMA TICAL FIGURES FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF YOUTH: DESIGNED CHIEFLY TO FAMILIARIZE TENDER AGE, IN A PLEASING AND DIVERTING MANNER, WITH EARLY IDEAS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, TO WICH ARE SUBJOINED, A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE LIVES OF THE EVANGELISTS, AND OTHER PIECES.  ILLUSTRATED WITH NEARLY FIVE HUNDRED CUTS.  

Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, 1788

This charming little book presents biblical passages as rebuses. A rebus substitutes visual representation in the place of words in sentence or verse, thus making a puzzle. Eighteenth-century printers composed woodcuts within lines of handset type to produce this form of popular entertainment and edification. Pictographic Bibles first appeared in London and were quickly copied in America for young readers as an inducement to religious instruction. There were two other editions of hieroglyphic Bibles printed in the United States later in the instruction. There were two other editions of hieroglyphic

Bibles printed in the United States later in the eighteenth century. The format endured, and many more editions were published in the early nineteenth century.

P11 The first Catholic Bible printed in America, the Vulgate in English.

THE HOLY BIBLE, TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN VULGATE: DILIGENTLY COMPARED WITH THE HEBREW, GREEK, AND OTHER EDITIONS, IN DIVERSE LANGUAGES; AND FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE ENGLISH COLLEGE AT DOWAY, ANNO 1609. NEWLY REVISED, AND CORRECTED, ACCORDING TO THE CLEMENTINE EDITION OF THE SCRIPTURES. WITH ANNOTATIONS FOR ELUCIDATING THE PRINCIPAL DIFFICULTIES OF HOLY WRIT. Philadelphia: Carey, Stewart, and Co., 1790.

This is the first American edition of the Latin Vulgate in English, using the Rheims- Doway version, and it is the first quarto edition of the Bible in English printed in America. The publisher Mathew Carey was born in Ireland and became a controversial journalist. His opposition to the English government and exposure of persecution of the Irish Catholics led to imprisonment there. As a young man seeking refuge in France, he was befriended by the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin. In 1784 he escaped to the United States, setting up as a printer and publisher in Philadelphia. The market of a Catholic Bible in the country was small. Less that five hundred subscriptions were obtained, despite a prospectus that carried an appeal to liberal-minded Protestants as well as Catholics:

"It is worthy the attention of every candid Protestant to consider whether a comparison of the present translation with his own would not remove from his mind those doubts and difficulties which are fatal to true religion. . . . We fondly hope that our subscription list, by uniting together the names of members of various and hitherto hostile denominations of Christians, will afford one proof of the rapid advances that America have made in the divine principle of toleration."

 The type was made especially for this edition and cast by Baine & Co. of Philadelphia. Carey's firm grew to become one of the largest bookselling and printing companies in the country and was the most important Bible printing house, issuing over sixty editions of the King James Version in addition to several of the Catholic Bible. Copies of this first Vulgate are very rare.

P12 The first illustrated Bible in America.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: WITH THE APOCRYPHA. TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND

REVISED, BY THE SPECIAL COMMAND OF KING JAMES I, OF ENGLAND. WITH AN INDEX.

Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, 1791.

The first folio Bible printed in America was also the first to be illustrated and is considered the most distinguished Bible produced in the country during the eighteenth century. The printer, Isaiah Thomas, was called "The Baskerville of America" by Benjamin Franklin, himself an astute judge of typography. The text was carefully considered, Thomas having consulted thirty different editions of the King James Version to prepare the most correct copy. Proofs were examined by two clergymen of Worcester, the reverends Aaron Bancroft and Samuel Austin, and by other qualified individuals, who compared the setting with eight editions of the Bible.

Fifty copperplate engravings are interspersed throughout the two volumes. Several of the most noted American engravers were engaged for the project: Samuel Hill, John Norman, Joseph Seymour, and Amos Doolittle. Each book begins with an ornamental initial, and there are woodcuts at the beginnings of the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, and the New Testament.

P13 The second illustrated Bible in America.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: TOGETHER WITH THE APOCRYPHA: TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILLIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED, BY THE SPECIAL COMMAND OF KING JAMES I, OF ENGLAND. WITH MARGINAL NOTES AND REFERENCES. TO WmCH ARE ADDED, AN INDEX, AND AN ALPHABETICAL TABLE OF ALL THE NAMES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, WITH THEIR SIGNIFICATIONS. Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, 1791.

Isaiah Thomas produced the folio and quarto editions of his Bible concurrently, intending the quarto to be more affordable and offering four versions to suit the budget and taste of his clientele: the first with forty-eight copperplate engravings (reduced in scale from the folio edition) and a concordance; the second with two plates as frontispieces for the Old and New Testaments with a concordance; the third with no plates and with a concordance; and the fourth with no plates or concordance. The woodcuts in the folio edition are not included in the quarto, and the ornamental initials are used in the quarto only at the beginnings of the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha, not at the beginning of each book as in the folio.  The marginal notes and references (not in thefolio) were examined and compared with the text by the Reverend Joseph Avery, a minister in Holden, Massachusetts.

P15 The first Bible printed in New Jersey.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES: AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1791.

Isaac Collins, a member of the Society of Friends and New Jersey's finest printer of the eighteenth century, announced his intention to print a quarto edition of the Bible in October 1788. In 1789 he issued proposals for printing by subscription a Bible containing the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, and notes by Jean Frederic Ostervald. The proposal included endorsements by the Quakers, Presbyterian, Episcopalians, and Baptists, as well as a recommendation by New Jersey governor William Livingston. In an effort to conform to the particular requirements of the various denominations, Collins offered the Bible alternatively with or without Apocrypha or Ostervald's notes, and copies survive in each of these permutations. John Downam's concordance, first printed by Collins in 1790 is present in all copies. Collins and his editor, John Witherspoon, rejected the traditional dedication to King James as "wholly unnecessary for the purposed of edification, and perhaps on some accounts improper to be continued in an American edition", and substituted a brief introduction written by Witherspoon. The edition was announced as three thousand copies, but upwards of five thousand may have been printed.

P16 The first Bible printed in New York.

THE SELF-INTERPRETING BIBLE; CONTAINING, THE SACRED TEXT OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. TRANSLATED FORM THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. TO WmCH ARE ANNEXED, MARGINAL REFERENCES AND ILLUSTRATIONS, AND EXACT SUMMARY OF THE SEVERAL BOOKS, A PARAPHRASE ON THE MOST OBSCURE OR IMPORTANT PARTS, AND ANALYSIS OF THE CONTENTS OF EACH CHAPTER, EXPLANATORY NOTES, AND EVANGELICAL REFLECTIONS. BY THE LATE REVEREND JOHN BROWN, MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT HADDINGTON. New York: Hodge and Campbell, 1792.

The Scriptures were not printed in New York until 1790 when a New Testament was published by Hugh Gaine.  That year a complete Bible, in both folio and quarto editions, was announced in 1790 by Robert Hodge, Thomas Allen, and Samuel Campbell.  They proposed an edition “Illustrated with notes and annotations comprehending a most valuable treasure of Divine Knowledge, with practical reference at the end of each chapter calculated to improve the understanding, purify the heart, promote the causes of virtue, and guide the reader to the Mansion of Eternal Bliss". Published by subscription, with George Washington being the first subscriber, the Bible was printed in forty parts over a period of two years. John Brown was a Scottish weaver, self-educated, who became a Presbyterian minister. He prepared an annotated Bible, Bible dictionary, concordance, and a metrical versions of the Psalms. His Self-Interpreting Bible first appeared in Edinburgh in 1778 and was reprinted many times in representing America holding the Constitution and receiving a Bible. The frontispiece to the New Testament is a map of the Holy Land. A total of nineteen engravings by various artists are included. The folio text pages are impressive for the intricate composition in three sizes of type and the makeup of scriptures notes, and marginal references.

 This, the first Bible printed in the state of New York, appeared in 1792, and with it ended the list of states where a Bible was printed in the eighteenth century. It was not until 1809 when Hudson & Goodwin published a Bible in Hartford that the census of four states, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, was expanded to five with the addition of Connecticut.

P16 The Berriman folio Bible modeled on that of Isaiah Thomas.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES: AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. AND THE APOCRYPHA: WITH MARGINAL REFERENCES. Philadelphia: Berriman & Co., 1796.

The Berriman Bible was published as a less expensive alternative in competition with other folio Bibles already on the market, in particular that of Isaiah Thomas. In fact, five of the eighteen engravings are copied directly form the Thomas folio Bible, varying only the ornamentation. The engravers were Francis Shallus, Alexander Anderson, Cornelius Tiebout, William Rollinson, and Amos Doolittle. Another edition of the same setting was offered without illustrations, its title page having plain capitals for the words "Holy Bible", instead of the ornamented capitals that grace the edition with plates, and bearing no date. Nevertheless the illustrated edition has been prized by collections for its excellent examples of the work of American engravers of the time. The typographic pages are stately, clear, and carefully composed.

P17 The United States of Columbia Bible, the "Standing Edition ".

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED

The enterprising Isaiah Thomas took the risk of ordering sufficient type to set an entire Bible at once and to leave the pages standing so that the book could be reprinted at will. The common practice for printers of the time was to reset for each new printing so that the type could be released for other work. Thomas ordered a casting of nonpareil type from the Fry Foundry in London for his "Standing Duodecimo Edition". His investment was sound. This was the first significant commercial success for a Bible publisher in the United States, with this setting of the type returning to press for many years.

Thomas was a supporter of a faction that wished the name of the nation changed to the United States of Columbia and so put this designation on the title page above the place of publication, Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1802 he retired to devote himself to literary pursuits and book collecting. Isaiah Thomas was the author The History of Printing In America, 1810, and in 1812 was one of the founders of the American Antiquarian Society.

P18  The first hot-press Bible printed in America.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS: TOGETHER WITH THE APOCRYPHA; TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES: AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS, DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED.

Philadelphia: John Thompson and Abraham Small, 1798.

To render handmade paper thinner and its surface more smooth and uniform, sheets were pressed between heated metal plates or cylinders. An American patent for a hot-press device was registered in 1809 to Francis Bailey, in Salisbury, Pennsylvania; however the process was in use long before then. This first hot-press edition of the Bible printed in America was issued in forty numbers, beginning in 1796 and completed two years later to be bound as two folio volumes. The text is from the Cambridge edition published by John Baskerville and is without notes, except for brief chapter headings. The Apocrypha is printed in italics. The frontispiece was engraved by Alexander Lawson. With its uncluttered typography, this considered one of the handsomest Bibles of the period.

Original Leaves from the Bible in English from the Nineteenth Century.

P19 The first translation of the Septuagint Bible in to English, By Charles Thomson.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW COVENANT, COMMONLY CALLED THE OLD AND NEW TEST AMENT: TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK BY CHARLES THOMSON, LATE SECRETARY OT THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.

Philadelphia: Jane Aitken, 1808.

The first English translation of the Septuagint and the first English translation of the New Testament in the Western Hemisphere were made by Charles Thomson. He was born in Ireland in 1729, came to American in 1739 and was soon orphaned. As a runaway from harsh circumstances in New Castle, Delaware, the boy was offered a seat in a carriage by a wealthy woman. She asked him what he would like to be, and when he replied that he would like to become a scholar, undertook to pay for his education. Thomson's intellect and character were widely recognized. At the continental Congress in 1774 he was elected secretary by unanimous vote and continued in that position until 1789, when he retired to devote himself to biblical study. Thomson once purchased a part of the Septuagint Bible in the Greek language at an auction house. According to Watson's Annals of Philadelphia, "He had bought it for a mere trifle, and without knowing what it was, save that the crier said it was outlandish letter." Two years later, engrossed in the Greek text and yearning for the balance, he was lucky to find the remainder of the book in the same shop. After twenty years work, he had the translation published by Jane Aitken, daughter of the printer Robert Aitken. She was the first woman to print any portion of the Bible in America. The octavo is printed in single-column paragraph form, with verse number in the left margin, and few footnotes.

P20 The first pronouncing Bible printed in America, edited by Israel Alger.

THE PRONOUNCING BIBLE. THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS; TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, AND WITH THE FORMER TRASLA TIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. THE PROPER NAMES OF WHICH, AND NUMEROUS OTHER WORDS, BEING ACCURA TEL Y ACCENTED IN THE TEXT, AND DIVIDED INTO SYLLABLES, AS THEY OUGHT OT BE PRONOUNCED, ACCORDING TO THE ORTHOEPY OF JOHN WALKER, AS CONTAINED IN HIS CRITICAL PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY AND KEY TO THE CLASSICAL PRONUNCIATION OF GREEK, LATIN, AND SCRIPTURE PROPER NAMES. BY ISRAEL ALGER, JUN.A.M. Boston: Lincoln & Edmands, 1825.

The reverend Israel Alger (1787-1825) graduated from Brown University in 1811, later receiving the A.M. degree and establishing a private school in Boston of which he was a master. He published a pronouncing New Testament in 1822 and a complete Bible in 1825, the later an octavo volume of 932 pages with thirty small engravings, two to a page, with frontispieces for each of the Testaments. The intention of Alger, stated in the advertisement for the New Testament was "to divide and accent the proper names, as they occur in the text, and in such a manner as will best show their true pronunciation [and thus] facilitate the just and proper reading go the Sacred Scriptures". As an aid to pronunciation it met with such warm reception that it was kept in print for thirty-five years, the last edition appearing in 1861. The invention of stereotyping enabled the publisher to retain printing plates made from the pages of handset type for future editions, so that the solution of Isaiah Thomas, to leave all the pages of type standing, was no longer necessary (see P17).

P21 The first American edition of the English text from Bagster's polyglot Bible of 1822.

THE ENGLISH VERSION OF THE POLYGLOTT BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT; WITH THE MARGINAL READINGS: TOGETHER WITH A COPIOUS AND ORIGINAL SELECTION OF REFERENCES TO PARALLEL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PASSAGES, EXHIBITED IN A MANNER HITHERTO UNATTEMPTED.

Philadelphia: Key & Meilke, 1831.

This is the first authentic American edition of the English text from Samuel Bagster's genuine polyglot Bible, which had been printed originally in London in 1822 with the text in eight languages, four to a page. After a fire destroyed all but a few copies of the New Testament it was reprinted in 1831, with the alternative of six or eight languages. The English text was first printed separately in 1816 with copious references. In 1825 Thomas Wardel published an English Version of the Polyglot Bible but it is probable that he imported the sheets from England, supplying his own title page.  Since the only language is English the term polyglot is a misnomer here, intended as a sales scheme.  According to Richardson Lought in Hawkers and Walkers in Early America, "The early peddler, if contemporary documents are to be believed, was a lanky and hawk-beaked youth, an adventurous, brave, mercenary fellow, who had a rare understanding of human nature and a ready tongue. His most effective salesmanship was the 'soft sawder' flattery. He was accused of purveying wooden nutmegs and cucumber seeds, oak-leaf cigars, shoe-peg oats, polyglot Bibles (all in English) and realistically painted bass-wood hams. He always left his customer convinced and satisfied with their share of the bargain, but he usually managed to clear out after finishing the deal."

P22 Noah Webster's modernization of the Bible in English.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, IN THE COMMON VERSION. WITH AMENDMENTS OF THE LANGUAGE, BY NOAH WEBSTER, LL.D.

New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1833.

Noah Webster (1758-1843) had a profound effect upon the English language in the United States through his dictionary and his insistence on uniform grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Yet his attempt to recast the Bible in his own linguistic image was a failure. He considered his rewording of the Bible the most important work he had undertaken in his life and he hoped that his would replace the King James Version. In his preface Webster pointed out that the English language had changed in the past two centuries so that readers would not understand obscure and obsolete words and phrases. His revisions were minor, and the public was indifferent to modifications that seemed inconsequential or hostile to those that interfered with the poetic qualities of the familiar version.

P23 The first American edition of Tyndale' s English translation of the New Testament

THE NEW TESTAMENT OR OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. BY WILLIAM TYNDALE, THE MARTYR. THE ORIGINAL EDITION, 1526, BEING THE FIRST VERNACULAR TRANSLATION FROM THE GREEK. WITH A MEMOIR OF HIS LIFE AND WRITING. TO WHICH ARE ANNEXED, THE ESSENTIAL VARIATIONS OF COVERDALE'S, THOMAS MA 1THEW' S, CRANMER'S, THE GENEVAN, AND THE BISHOPS' BIBLES, AS MARGINAL READINGS. BY J.P. DABNEY.

Andover: Gould & Newman, 1837.

The first printed New Testament in English translated by William Tyndale (1494-1536) appeared in 1525, not 1526, as asserted on this title page.  J.P. Dabney had previously compiled a volume of annotations on the New  Testament that was published in 1826.  His ignorance of the history of the publication of the Bible in English was shown in his notes as well as on the title page, for which he was criticized by scholars of the time. The Tyndale's text is set in archaic spelling, in paragraphs with verses indicated by a small slash mark. This is the first printing of the Tyndale translation in the United States.

P24 The first Bible printed in America for the blind, under the direction of Samuel G. Howe, M.D.

THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD & NEW TESTAMENT: TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, & WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED & REVISED. EXECUTED FOR THE AMERICAN BffiLE SOCIETY, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF S.G. HOWE, AT THE INSTITUTION OF THE BLIND.BOSTON.S.P. RUGGLES, ARTIST. New York: American Bible Society, 1842.

In 1833, schools for the blind in Philadelphia and Boston began printing with alphabets that enabled the sightless to read through touch. Samuel Gridley Howe, M.D., director of the Perkins Institution for the Education of the Blind in Boston, purchased type and a press in 1835 to attempt a printing of the Scriptures. The type was imprinted inkless from the rare of the sheet, die-stamped into dampened paper into a receptive mould, creating right reading, raised letters on the surface of the paper when dried that could be felt by the finger of blind persons, yet could be easily read form their shadows by people with sight. He first issued an edition of one hundred copies of Acts. The Gospel of St. Mark had been printed in 18323 at the Pennsylvania School for the instruction of the Blind in Philadelphia under the direction of Julius Friedlander. Under the supervision of Dr. Howe the entire New Testament was published by the American Bible Society in 1836 and the first complete Bible was published in 1842 in eleven volumes. The "Line Letter" system, as this was called, was not superceded by the Braille system until the end of the nineteenth century. The first American Braille Bible was published in 1911.

P25 The most lavishly illustrated American Bible, with drawings by J. G. Chapman.

THE ILLUMINATED BIBLE, CONTAINING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES, AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. WITH MARGINAL READING, REFERENCES, AND CHRONOLOGICAL DATES. ALSO, THE APOCRYPHA. TO WHICH ARE ADDED, A CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX, AND INDEX OF THE SUBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENS, TABLES OF WEIGHTS, COINS, MEASURE, A LIST OF PROPER NAMES, A CONCORDANCE & S. EMBELLISHED WITH SIXTEEN HUNDRED HISTORICAL ENGRAVINGS BY J.S. ADAMS, MORE THAN FOURTEEN HUNDRED OF WHICH ARE FROM ORIGINAL DESIGN BY J.G. CHAPMAN.

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1846.

Although completed in 1846, the date recorded on the title page, publication was begun in 1843 when the first of fifty-four fascicles was issued. The price for each number was twenty-five cents. The expense for manufacture and for artists engaged on this ambitious project over a period of six years came to $20,000.00, making this one of the most costly Bibles produced in the nineteenth century. J.A. Adams, the engraver, introduced electrotyping from woodcut in 1841, and this process was used to make durable printing plates for The Illuminated Bible. The fine line drawings of J .G. Chapman are reproduced with utmost fidelity. The references are in a central column. The double columns of text are interspersed with small vignettes and initial letter. The typography and arrangement of the pages owe much to French styles. This was a remarkable production for its time, executed with great care throughout, and holds an important place in American printing history.

P26 The 'fonetik' New Testament, set in Comstock's 'purfect alfabet'.

The transcription and transliteration of the title page above is only an approximation of the characters in the special font of type that were cast for this phonetic alphabet of Andrew Comstock. Letters were created, Dr. Comstock claimed, not only for every elementary sound, but for the accents, inflections, and melody of the voice. He admitted that earlier attempts had been made to create a perfect alphabet for the English language, citing five previous in Philadelphia, the earliest that of Dr. William Thornton in 1793. His hope was that his system would cause a literary revolution and spread "the Gospel, as well as the arts and science, not only among hose to whom English is vernacular, but among foreign nations, particularly the heath"; however, his Phonetic Testament never reached a second edition. Comstock's was the first phonetic New Testament to be printed in America.

P27 The first New Testament printed in Georgia.

THE NEW TESTAMENT OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL GREEK; AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATION DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED. Augusta: Confederate States Bible Society, 1862.

Because of the blockade by the North and the need to distribute Bibles to troops, several editions of the New Testament were printed in the Confederacy during the Civil War. This was the first and is considered on e of the rarest of nineteenth-century New Testaments printed in America. The confederate States Bible Society was founded in 1862, the year of this publication.  The printers were Wood, Hanleiter, Rice & Co. of Atlanta.  It was the first printing of any part of the Bible in Georgia, although the presswork appears to have been done from the same plates at the Tennessee Bible Society New Testament of 1861, with a new title page. The format of the book was designed to be small so that a soldier could easily carry it into battle.

P28 The first Bible translated by a woman, Julia Smith

THE HOLY BIBLE: CONTINING THE OLD AND NEW TEST AMENT; TRANSLATED LITERALLY FROM THE ORIGINAL TONGUES. Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1876.

The first woman to translate alone the entire Bible was Julia Evelina Smith (1793-1886). She was a member of a colorful family. Her parents belonged to the Sandemanian sect that had been founded in Scotland around 1730 with the anticipation of the restoration of the apostolic church. She was an exponent of women's suffrage, refusing to pay taxes, in particular those levied on her herd of Jersey cattle. The translation is a curious one. Her scheme was to replace Hebrew, Greek, or Latin words with their English equivalents, which resulted in strange syntax and distortions of meaning. In her preface she wrote: "Over twenty years ago, when I had four sister, a friend met with us weekly to study the Scriptures, we were desirous to learn the exact meaning of every Greek and Hebrew word, from this King James's forty-seven translators had taken their version of the Bible. We saw by the margin that the text had not been given literally, and it was the literal meaning were seeking. . . . I continued my labors and wrote out the bible five times, twice from the Greek, twice from the Hebrew, and once from the Latin. . . . It may be thought by the public in general that I have great confidence in myself, in not conferring with the learned in so great a work; but. . . as I have defined it word for word, I do not see how anybody can know more about it than I do." The edition was published at the expense of Miss Smith and was apparently no reprinted. It appeared in 1876, the year of the United States Centennial, purposely to remind the world that women were not yet beneficiaries of freedoms accorded men.

P29 1610 page of Apollonius Tyanenius II.14, with facsimile title page.

From Biblical Library of Stanley S. Slotkin, Chairman of Board, Abbey Rents.Co. 
 Purchased with some religious books in Nazareth, Israel in 1950.

P30  Original Page of 1574 Martin Luther Bible, Psalms 5-7, with facsimile title page.

Purchased in Nazareth by Stanly. S. Slotkin, Chairman of Board, Abbey Rents.

P31 Bishop’s Bible 1568.

Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Mathew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, thought an “authorized revision” was needed of the growing number of English Bible translations.  A committee of Bishops revised the translations, largely basing their work on the Great Bible.

P32 The Great Bible, 1541

In 1539, King Henry VIII of England approved the “Great” Bible for public use in the churches.  The Bible was called “Great” because of its folio size.  The Bible was first printed in 1539; subsequent years saw further editions. Edited by Miles Coverdale, the work is largely based on Matthews Bible.

P33 Spanish Bible, 1st edition

Translated by C. De Reine and published in 1569 at Basel, Switzerland.  2600 were published, but few remain today.

P34 Matthews Bible, 1549

Matthews Bible welded together the translation work of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale and is the primary version of our English Bible.  Thomas Matthew was probably a pseudonym of John Rogers, a follower of Tyndale who himself was martyred in 1555.  Rogers probably wrote the marginal notes of the Bible. 

P35 Microfilm of 50 pages of KJV taken to moon:

“This is part of the first Bible to have been taken from Planet Earth to another Celestial Body. The First Bible on the Moon Landed on the Surface of the Moon aboard the Lunar Module of the Apollo XIV Mission on February the Fifth of the Year Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-One..”

P36 Eliot Indian Bible, 1663 (In display case).