Puritan psalms for sale

One of the few extant copies of the Bay Psalm Book, either the first book or one of the first books printed in what is now the United States (depending on your definition of “book”). The psalter is very small — 6 inches by 5 inches — and is one of only 1,700 printed by Massachusetts Puritans in 1640. The book goes on auction in November. It is expected to bring in more than $15 million. That money will go to Boston’s Old South Church, the current owner, a United Church of Christ congregation that has been struggling financially.

The head of the auction house’s book department said “It is a mythical rarity. Yet here it is today, this modest little book printed in the American wilderness but embodying the values that created our nation: political freedom and religious liberty.

Update: One of the bombs that went off yesterday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon (after I wrote this post) was outside the Old South Church. The church was not damaged. On their facebook page, they ask people to “Please continue to pray for those impacted by today’s events.”

— Daniel Silliman
[Cross-posted at www.danielsilliman.blogspot.com]

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