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Sale 2533 Lot 20
VERY EARLY EDITION OF THE BAY PSALM BOOK (BIBLE IN ENGLISH--PSALMS.) The Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the Old and New Testament, Faithfully Translated into English Metre. For the Use, Edification and Comfort of the Saints in Publick and Private, Especially in New-England. 100 pages. 12mo, contemporary blind-tooled calf, moderate wear; moderate foxing and toning, corners just a bit rounded, moderate wear to final leaf, lacking free endpapers, hinges split; 18th-century owners' inscriptions on verso of title page and final page. Bound after a defective 1648 Cambridge Bible lacking six leaves including title page (see below). Cambridge [England?]: Printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, [circa 1648-65?]
Estimate $50,000 - 75,000
The 1640 Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in British North America, a new translation of the Psalms done by colonists Richard Mather, John Eliot, and Thomas Weld, with an introduction attributed to Mather or John Cotton. It went through several editions, all extremely scarce today. Second and third American editions were issued circa 1647 and 1651. Between about 1648 and 1669, three undated editions were printed in Cambridge for sale by Boston booksellers. Some sources such as Isaiah Thomas credit these printings to Cambridge, MA, but they appear to have been printed in Cambridge, England for American distribution. ESTC credits the present edition with either a 1648 or 1658 date. Sabin 66434 assigns a tentative 1665 date, but also describes another copy bound with a 1648 Roger Daniel Bible just as the present copy is. See also "Timeline of Early American Editions of the Bay Psalm Book," American Antiquarian Society Almanac, March 2014.
The first section of the volume is a Bible missing its first 3 leaves and possibly others, but according to its New Testament title page it was printed by Roger Daniel for the University of Cambridge, 1648. See Darlow & Moule, 615. The volume was inscribed several times by the Hapgood family from 1785 to 1804. Lucy Hapgood (1766-1851) of Shrewsbury, MA inscribed it as owner in 1777 and 1785, and then noted the deaths of her grandmother Damaris Hutchins Hapgood in 1793 and her parents Joab and Abigail Hapgood in 1803 and 1804.