Early American Editions of the King James Version

Early American Editions of the King James Version

First English New Testament in America

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Title: The New | Testament | Of our Lord and Saviour | Jesus Christ: | Newly Translated out of the | Original Greek; | And with the former | Translations | Diligently compared and revised. | Appointed to be read in Churches. | Philadelphia: | Printed and Sold by | R. Aitken, | Printer and Bookseller, | Front Street. | 1777 | Spectamur agendo.
Date: 1777
Publisher: R. Aitken: Philadelphia
Contents: New Testament
References: Hills 1
Images: Title page (from the Bloomsbury Auction site).
Comments: This is the first English New Testament printed in America.
Comments: A copy sold for £105,000 ($164,818.50) on 29th November, 2011 (Bloomsbury Auctions Sale 35857).

First English Bible in America

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Title: 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. [Device - Arms of the State of Pennsylvania] | Philadelphia: | Printed and Sold by R. Aitken, at Pope's | Head, Three Doors above the Coffee | House, in Market Street. | M.DCC.LXXXII
Date: 1782
Publisher: R. Aitken: Philadelphia
Contents: Bible
Reference: Hills 11
Images: Title page
Comments: This is the first English Bible printed in America.
Location: Cited copy is located at the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Several major libraries and museums have copies of the 1782 Aitken Bible.
Comments: A copy lacking the title page and final leaf sold at the Swann Auction Galleries auction devoted to Printed & Manuscript Americana for $43,200 on September 17, 2009. Another copy with the title page but lacking several leaves of text sold on ebay for $12,500 on November 19, 2009 (Ebay No. 330378606779).

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Title: American Bible Society Edition The Holy Bible as Printed by Robert Aitken and Approved & Recommended by the Congress of the United States of America in 1782.
Date: 1782 (facsimile 1968)
Publisher: Arno Press: New York
Contents: Bible
Reference: see Hills 11
Images: Title page, Slipcase, Facsimile Title Page, Facsimile New Testament Title page
Comments: This is a facsimile of the first complete English Bible printed in America. It was produced by the Arno Press in 1968.

Early New York Editions

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Title: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, newly translated out of the Original Greek: and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Appointed to be Read in Churches. New York: Printed and sold by Hugh Gaine, at his Book-Store and Printing-Office, at the Bible, in Hanover-Square. M,DCC,XC.
Date: 1790
Publisher: New York: Hugh Gaine
Contents: New Testament
Reference: Hills 27
Description: Unpaged: 168 leaves, Text: 151x87 mm, Signatures: A-O12.
Images: Title page
Comments: This is the second New Testament printed in New York. The first was printed in 1789 by the same printer.

Early New Jersey Editions

Title: The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments: translated out of the original tongues: and with the Former Translations Diligently compared and revised.
Date: 1791
Publisher: Trenton: Printed and sold by Isaac Collins.
Contents: Bible and Apocrypha
References: Hills 31
Facsimile: An on-line facsimile is available at the Turpin Library at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Comments: This is the first Bible printed in New Jersey.

Mathew Carey Editions

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Title: The / Holy Bible / Containing / The Old and New / Testaments: / Translated out of the / Original Tongues; / And with the Former / Translations / Diligently Compared and Revised. / Second Philadelphia Edition. / Philadelphia: / Printed for Mathew Carey, / No. 118, High Street. / Joseph Charless, Printer. / 1801.
Date: 1801
Publisher: Mathew Carey, Philadelphia.
Contents: Complete Bible in the Authorized Bersion
References: None
Images: Title page
Comments: Mathew Carey was an Irish immigrant publisher whose first Bible was a Douay Version in 1790 (q.v.). He would later become one of the most prolific publishers of editions in the Authorized Version, beginning in 1801. He published editions in the quarto (Hills 77) and duodecimo (Hills 79) formats in that year. However, Hills has no record of this "Second Philadelphia Edition." The New Testament title is dated 1802, indicates a different printer: Robert Carr, and was also issued separately (see Hills 99).

First Stereotyped Bible in America - 1812

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Title: The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotype Edition. Stereotyped for the Bible Society at Philadelphia. By T. Rutt, Shacklewell, London. 1812
Date: 1812
Publisher: Bible Society at Philadelphia: Philadelphia.
Contents: Bible
Description: Copy 1: 12mo (OT) A-3G6 (NT) A-Q6 (p. 1-633, Table, NT Title, 1-192) Copy 2: 12mo (OT) A-Cc12Dd6 (NT)*B-*I12 (p. 1-633, Table, NT Title, 1-192). It appears, after examining two copies, that this was produced with is signatures of both 6 and 12 leaves.
References: Hills 213
Images: Title page
Comments: This is a copy of the first stereotyped Bible printed in the United States. The plates were prepared in London and they arrived in October of 1812. The US Government allowed them to enter duty free (the text of the Act of Congress may be found here). The initial print run was 1050 Bibles.
A copy sold on eBay (item 160192298084) for $660.00 in December of 2007 and another copy sold on eBay (item 310236104164) for $449.99 in August of 2010.
It appears that this Bible was produced with two different page sizes. In one copy, the page size is 10.5cm x 17.3cm while another is 10.8cm x 18.4cm. The text size is exactly the same in both volumes. The cover of the larger volume is stamped "Massachusets Bible Society" so it may have been a presentation piece to them.
Location: A copy of this Bible may be found and viewed in person at the Pennsylvania Bible Society.

Shortly after the Bible Society of Philadelphia (now the Pennsylvania Bible Society) was formed in December 1808, the managers wanted to implement a printing process used in England by the British and Foreign Bible Society to mass produce Bibles called stereotyping. This method of printing was used sparingly in the United States during the early 1800s but never for publishing Bibles. Considering the high costs of such an endeavor, the managers decided to start off distributing Bibles purchased from Bible publishers in Philadelphia over its initial two years in operation. However the managers knew that utilizing the stereotype printing method would greatly increase Scripture distribution in Philadelphia and around the country, the managers raised over $7,000* with help from all the existing bible societies in America and from the British and Foreign Bible Society between 1809 and 1811. Once all the financing was gained an order for a set of stereotype plates was placed in Britain. However, getting the plates across the ocean and into the United States wasn’t without its issues. Since the U.S. and Great Britain were at war in 1812 there were tariffs placed on all imports from Britain and the U.S. customs house in Philadelphia was going to charge the Bible Society thousands of dollars to allow the plates into the country. Not having the funds to pay this fee, the managers petitioned to the state government and then to both houses of Congress for relief of these duties. This relief passed both the house and the senate and the Bible Society was allowed to import these plates free of charge. Once in the hands of printers thousands of Bibles were instantly printed and distributed to all parts of the country. Eventually over 17,000 Bibles and New Testaments would be printed from these and future plates. The forward-thinking of the managers placed the Bible Society at a unique advantage being the first institution in the U.S. to use this printing process, which became the standard for printing Bibles in the decades to follow.

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Title: The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Translated Out of the Original Greek and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotype Edition. Stereotyped for the Bible Society at Philadelphia. By T. Rutt, Shacklewell, London. 1812
Date: 1812
Publisher: Bible Society at Philadelphia: Philadelphia.
Contents: New Testament
Description: 12mo Title,*B-*I12
References: Hills 222A, 213
Images: Title Page
Comments: This is a copy of the first stereotyped New Testament printed in the United States. Hills says that the initial print run was 750 New Testaments.
Recent sales: A copy sold on eBay (item 110879308671) for $158.50 in May 2012.

First Bible From Plates Stereotyped in America - 1815

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Title: The | Holy Bible, | Containing the | Old and New Testaments: | translated out of | the Original Tongues, | and with | the Former Translations Diligently Compared | and Revised. | New York: | Stereotyped and Printed by D. & G. Bruce | No. 27 William-street | 1815.
Date: 1815
Publisher: New York: D. & G. Bruce
Contents: Bible
Description: Nonpareil type, 684 with tables at the end of the Old Testament and on the verso of the New Testament title page.
References: Hills 279, O'Callaghan 1815 entry 8.
Images: Title Page
Comments: Verso of title page reads: "This first American stereotype Bible has been copied from the Edinburgh edition printed under the revision of the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, and carefully compared with the Cambridge, Oxford, Hartford and New York editions."

Other Early Editions

1816 New Testament by Thomas DeSilver

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Title: The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Translated Out of the Original Greek: and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Appointed to be read in churches. Stereotyped by D. & G. Bruce, New York. Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas DeSilver, No. 220 Market-street. 1816
Date: 1816
Publisher: Thomas DeSilver: Philadelphia
References: Hills 317
Images: Title page

1816 New Testament by Bible Society of Philadelphia

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Title: The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Translated Out of the Original Greek: and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotype Edition. Stereotyped for the Bible Society at Philadelphia, By T. Rutt, Shacklewell, London. 1816
Date: 1816
Publisher: Bible Society at Philadelphia: Philadelphia.
References: Hills 310
Images: Title page

1818 New Testament by Cramer and Spear, Pittsburg

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Title: Steroetype Edition. The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Translated Out of the Original Tongues; with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotyped by J. and J. Collins, New York. Pittsburg: Printed and Sold by Cramer and Spear. 1818.
Date: 1818
Publisher: Cramer and Spear, Pittsburg (sic)
References: Hills see 349
Images: Title page
Comments: This is the New Testament (only) from Hills 349 which was the first Bible printed west of the Allegheny River.

1828 edition published in Zanesville, Ohio.

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Title: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated out of the original Greek; and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotyped by J. Howe, Philadelphia. Aznesville: Published and Sold by William Davis, Wholesale and Retail. 1828
Date: 1828
Publisher: William Davis: Zanesville.
References: (not in Hills)
Images: Title page
Comments: This is probably the first New Testament printed in Ohio.

1831 The Bible Association of Friends in America.

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Title: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: translated out of the original Greek; and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Stereotype Edition
Date: 1831
Publisher: The Bible Association of Friends in America: Philadelphia.
References: Hills 756
Images: Title page

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