Bay Psalm Book

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Bay Psalm Book,

common hymnal of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Written by Richard MatherMather, Richard,
1596–1669, British Puritan clergyman in North America, b. Lancashire, England. He studied at Oxford, began preaching, and was ordained in 1620. His Puritan beliefs led him into difficulties, and he fled to Massachusetts (1635), where he was pastor of
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, John EliotEliot, John,
1604–90, English missionary in colonial Massachusetts, called the Apostle to the Indians. Educated at Cambridge, he was influenced by Thomas Hooker, became a staunch Puritan, and emigrated from England.
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, and Thomas Weld, it was published in 1640 at Cambridge as The Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully Translated into English Metre. The announced effort of the authors to make a literal rendering at the expense of elegance is successful if the crudity of the verse be a criterion. This was the first book published in the Thirteen Colonies.


See Z. Haraszti, The Enigma of the Bay Psalm Book (1956).

References in periodicals archive ?
The battered Bay Psalm Book is just 6in by 5in, riddled with printing errors and poorly bound.
Called the Bay Psalm Book, it was printed on a press shipped from London and distributed among the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Only 11 copies of the Bay Psalm Book survive in varying degrees of completeness.
The Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British America, and the first book ever written in America.
27 ( ANI ): The Bay Psalm Book, which is supposedly the first published book of the 1640s in the US, has set an auction record by fetching 14.
The wide range of sources are indicated by just a few examples of entries: there is a facsimile of Psalm 100 from the Bay Psalm Book, with the tune "Old Hundredth", along with various translations of this psalm from later editions of the Psalm Book.
Individual essay topics include studies of the Bay Psalm book, Juan de Avila's Audi, filia, William Byrd's English Psalms, and Sahagun's Psalmodia christiana.
Chapter 2 examines a selection of these, ranging from the plain style of George Wither, whose bid to supplant "Sternhold and Hopkins" ran afoul of the Stationers' monopoly, and the even more prosaic Bay Psalm Book (1640), whose principal concern was word-for-word faithfulness to the Hebrew text, to the more literary work of George Sandys, who wrote for private devotion rather than congregational singing and for whom Henry Lawes provided tunes of appropriate sophistication.
The reader is also left to wonder about its relationship to the Dictionary of North American Hymnology project sponsored by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, which catalogs the texts printed in nearly every major hymnal published in North America from the 1640 Bay Psalm Book to the late twentieth century.
Music had been printed in the New World as early as the 1540s in Mexican service books, nearly a century before even the first Bay Psalm Book of 1640.
The Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book printed in what is now the United States, comes from the Old South Church in Boston, one of two copies of the book in its collection.
In this collection of major essays Amory explores the world of seventeenth and early eighteenth century books, including the classic "The trout and the Milk: An Ethnobibliographical Essay," commentaries on the Bay Psalm Book and Bibles in seventeenth-century Essex county, a study of a printer caught in the financial crossfire of Boston booksellers of the time, and surveys of printing, bookselling and librarianship in New England.