[CHURCH OF ENGLAND, Liturgy]. The Book of Common-Prayer, And Administration of the Sacraments And Other Rites & Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England, Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, Pointed as they are to be Sung or Said in Churches. [New York:] Printed and Sold by William Bradford at the Sign of the Bible, in New York, 1706. Cum Privilegio.
4o (201 x 148 mm). 168 leaves. Collation: π2 (-1 woodcut or blank) (a)-(c)4 λ4 2(a)2; A-Q4 R4 (R2+1) S-2B4 2C-2E2; 2A-x2. Contents: π2 Title (verso blank), (a)1 ("Rules for the more devout Behaviour in the time of Divine Service in the Church of England. With some Explanations of the Common-Prayer"; (c)4r blank), λ(Church calendar, printed 2 months to the page; "A Table of and [sic] Movable Feasts Calculated for Forty Years," table "To Find Easter forever"), 2(a)1 (directions for readings from psalter and scripture, table of "Proper Lessons" etc.), A1 (text of the Book of Common Prayer); 2A1 ("A New Version of the Psalms of David, Fitted to the Tunes Used in Churches. By N. Tate and N. Brady," with a table and explanatory "Directions about the Tunes and Measures" on 2X1 (p.), last p. blank)
Condition: Lacks first leaf (perhaps with woodcut Royal arms, as in the unique perfect copy of the 1710 edition), some headlines and catchwords very slightly shaved by binder, small paper flaws in margins of several leaves, small stain to lower margins of gathering O, final two leaves (X1-2) torn at inner margin affecting a few letters of index, some gatherings evenly browned, BUT AN EXCELLENT COPY, ONE OF TWO EXTANT, THE ONLY COPY WITH COMPLETE TEXT, IN UNRESTORED CONDITION AND IN ITS ORIGINAL BINDING.
Binding: Original dark sheep, covers with triple-ruled borders at edges, a single central panel of triple-rules, faint evidence of speckling in inner panel (shaken, free endpapers lacking, leather cracked and worn, spine defective).
References: Not in Evans; see Beverly McAnear, "William Bradford and the Book of Common Prayer," in Papers of the Bibliographical Society, vol. 43 (1949), 101-110. For Bradford's 1710 reprint, see Evans 1454 and 1444 (Psalter); ESTC W029994; Sabin 64998; Horatio Gates Jones, Some Account of the Book of Common Prayer, Printed A.D. 1710, by William Bradford, Privately Printed, 1870; ; Grolier Club, New York, Catalogue of Books Printed by William Bradford, [New York], 1893, no.47; D.N. Griffiths, The Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer, 1710/9. On Bradford, see Alexander J. Wall, Jr., "William Bradford, Colonial Printer. A Tercentenary Review," in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 1963, pp.361-384; James N. Green, "The Middle Colonies 1680-1720," in The History of the Book in America, ed. Hugh Amory and David D. Hall, pp.210-215.
ONE OF ONLY TWO SURVIVING COPIES OF THE FIRST BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER PRINTED IN AMERICA AND THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF THE TATE AND BRADY METRICAL PSALMS
The discovery of a virtually complete copy of a substantial (300pp.) and textually important colonial imprint is remarkable news. This copy is one of only two extant copies of an edition of 1000, and is the most complete. (The other copy, in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, on deposit at the Library Company of Philadelphia, also lacks the first leaf, has a defective title, with loss of most of the imprint, some Calendar leaves partly defective, lacks signature Ee and all except the first two leaves of the Psalms).
William Bradford arrived in Philadelphia in 1685 with a press and an assortment of types. As the son-in-law of Andrew Sowle, a successful London printer associated with the Society of Friends, he found no shortage of work. He contracted with the Quakers to print tracts and other matter and soon invested in a local paper-mill. In 1688 he circulated a subscription proposal for a folio Bible with marginal notes and with the Book of Common Prayer appended, a project apparently never realized. Increasingly, Bradford found the conservative licensing rules of the Society of Friends restrictive, and also became a supporter and adherent of George Keith, a dissident Quaker. In 1692, Keith and Bradford were arrested and charged with writing and publishing seditious matter. Keith was convicted; Bradford was aquitted, and soon afterwards accepted an offer to become public printer to the colony of New York. He relocated in April 1692, setting up a shop on Pearl Street "At the Sign of the Bible" (as in the imprint of the present work). In the ensuing decades, he printed a wide range ordinances, laws and proceedings of the colonial council and assembly. Bradford had rejoined to the Church of England, and in 1703 become a vestryman of New York's Trinity Church.
The members of Trinity were apparently not slow to see the benefits of having an accomplished printer among their congregation. The vestry endorsed a resolution, 23 August 1704, "that the church Wardens lend Mr. Bradford 30L or 40L for six months, without interest, for purchasing paper to make Comon [sic] Prayer Books." In addition, Trinity agreed to support his printing of the Tate and Brady psalms "as soon as they may be had" (McAnear, p.109). Anglican missionaries in the colony assured Bradford that they would arrange for the London-based Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to purchase copies of Bradford's edition for distribution to missionaries in their gospel endeavors. Bradford set to work and by early Fall 1706 reported that he had finished the book with the exception of the Church calendar, which was finished in the last weeks of 1706. The volume constituted the first American editions of the Book of Common Prayer and the Tate and Brady version of the Psalms. But despite the archival evidence of its existence, McAnear, writing in 1949, observed that "No copy of this book is known to be extant" (McAnear, 1949, p.102).
At the direction of his patrons, Bradford adopted the Tate-Brady metrical psalter, rather than the version first printed in 1640 in the Bay Psalm Book version, which remained popular in America well into the 18th century. The new paraphrases of Nahum Tate (1652-1715) and Nicholas Brady (1659-1715), had received official authorization from the church in 1696, replacing the 150-year-old psalter of Sternhold and Hopkins (first published in 1562).
In 1870 a single copy of the 1710 edition of Bradford's Book of Common Prayer and Psalter was discovered in Philadelphia and presented by its discoverer, John Jordan Jr., to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania A second, imperfect 1710 copy came to light some years later (Brinley Collection, sale, lot 3450--Ogden Goelet Collection, 1935, lot 27--Herschel V. Jones collection--sold through Rosenbach to the Boston Public Library). The discovery of the present 1706 edition proves, as McAnear demonstrated from early records, that Bradford had indeed completed the ambitious project in 1706, and this edition constitutes the veritable editio princeps Americana of the Book of Common Prayer.
In transcripts of the records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, McAnear found a letter from Bradford, 12 September 1709, with much information regarding his 1706 edition. Bradford wrote the society to report that he had sent several copies of the book to them, in hopes they would purchase some of the edition--totalling 1,000 copies--for distribution to missionaries preaching to native Americans on the frontier. The sale of the edition, Bradford complains, has been extremely disappointing:
"[T]he Book "is printed (tho to my loss) and is printed in 4to. on a pica Letter and contains about 45 sheets and I printed 1000 of them. The paper cost 20s. per Ream & amounted to upwards of 100£. I took that Money up at 10 p[er] Cent interest, which I have not yet been able to repay, nor have I sold 50 of the said Books to this day, tho' I had expectation to find a much quicker vent when I undertook that work, having been much importun'd thereto by Your Missionarys and others who signified the great want there was of them and how much they wou'd encourage its sale when printed. But now I have been at the Charge and perfected the Work, the Sale is very slender and I like to be a great loser thereby (some of the gentlemen that encouraged it being dead & others removed[U]nless there be some way found out to supply this Country with good Books at an easy rate, People must be without them in these parts [the colonies]; for Books will not advance in Price as other Goods do" (McAnear, pp.104-107).
But Bradford's lamentations apparently fell on deaf ears, and he received no support from the Society, which, in fact, a year later dispatched quantities of English-printed prayer books to their missionaries. "It is possible that this blow to the hopes of aid from the society caused Bradford to publish his edition of 1710 simply as a means of disposing of the remaining sheets of the 1706 edition...And since Bradford had sold fifty, he certainly could have had little difficulty in assembling a very sizable edition from sheets long printed and lying in his shop. With the addition of an appropriate title-page, the 1706 printing would thus have become the 1710 edition" (ibid, p.108). It appears from a cursory comparison that McAnear's supposition was correct, though many other bibliographical questions about Bradford's 1706 and 1710 editions remain unanswered, pending further investigation. We are grateful to James N. Green, Librarian of the Library Company of Philadelphia for information regarding the other surviving copy.