fol. P4v-P5r, Gospel of John
Hé Kainé Diathéké. Novum Testamentum. Juxta exemplar Joannis Millii accuratissime impressum. Editio prima Americana. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, Jr., 1800.
Duodecimo. 478,  pages, 6¾ x 3¼ inches. Double column. Woodcut device and printers device on title page and p.  at end; manuscript notations. Bound in brown calfskin; red morocco spine label. § DM 4775; Evans 36952. § CD-ROM: 12.5, title page; 12.5, fol. Pp2v (detail).
The printer of this New Testament, Isaiah Thomas, Jr., was the son of Isaiah Thomas of Boston, the first major figure in American printing. The publisher of the patriot newspaper The Massachusetts Spy, the elder Thomas was also a binder, papermaker, historian, and a public benefactor in the field of education. His publishing partnerships helped to establish many printing firms in New England, and his History of Printing in America, printed by his son, is a primary source for the study of early American books and newspapers. In the years around 180002, he passed his business to his son, whose Greek New Testament of 1800, shown here, is not only the earliest printed in America, but in the Western Hemisphere.
The edition was based on that of the English scholar John Mill (16451707), published at Oxford in the year of his death. The layout of the title page and much of the main text was adapted from the latest Mill edition by William Bowyer (London, 1794). This illustrates a general practice of early printing which is largely prohibited by modern copyright lawsnamely, that a printer could greatly simplify the task of planning the composition of his layout if he reproduced the layout of an extant edition.
Thomass editor seems to have been a Presbyterian minister who specialized in Greek grammar, Caleb Alexander (17551828). His name makes its only appearance just beneath the Chronological Table of the Books of the New Testament. The final pages bear an advertisement for the press, dated Christmas, 1802, and a list of publications by the Thomas press, including titles to be made available in 1803. These features are not found in all copies, but their presence probably does not indicate a second printing of the whole text, because the misprinted sopha in Jude 25 in this copy was reset as sophó in copies which have the advertisement as well as in some which do not.
The opening of the Gospel of St. John reveals the variety of imported Greek fonts at Thomass disposal, as well as the poor quality of his paper. The double-column format with numbered verse paragraphs was borrowed from Bowyers edition. Elsewhere in this copy are many handwritten notes and translations into English. This copy, which has its original binding, is inscribed "Enoch J. Parsons book ... Middletown Connecticut 1811."
Literature: Hall 1883, 812; OCallaghan  1966, 5657.