Hardin Center to Exhibit First Book Printed on American Soil as Part of Independence Day Celebration
Posted: Jun. 11, 2009
The Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Downtown Gadsden, Alabama is abuzz with activity as visitors from throughout the region travel to see the blockbuster exhibition Ink & Blood: Dead Sea Scrolls to Gutenberg.
Through a special arrangement, the Hardin Center will also offer an extraordinary addition to the exhibit, a second edition 1648 Bay Psalm Book, from June 27 through July 5. The Bay Psalm Book (a book of Psalms written to meter and rhyme) was first printed in 1640. It was the first book ever printed on American soil, twenty years after the Pilgrims landed on the Mayflower.
This extremely rare second edition is one of only seven known copies and one of only three totally complete copies. Unlike the first edition, this second edition was bound together with a King James Bible that was shipped in from London because printing an English Bible in the early colonies was a violation of the king’s copyright laws.
The Bay Psalm Book will only be on display June 27 through July 5. Exhibition visitors who take advantage of this rare opportunity will also be entered in a drawing to win an authentic archival-framed page from the 1776 Sauer German Bible. As part of the Independence Day celebration in historic downtown Gadsden, one fortunate individual will be selected to receive this exceptional piece of history. Everyone purchasing exhibit admission from June 27 through July 5 will have the opportunity to enter to win.
The framed Sauer Bible page comes from the third edition, which is also known as the Gun-Wad Bible, as the vast majority of the Bibles were destroyed by occupying British soldiers who used the Bibles’ pages as cartridge paper or “gun-wad” for their rifles.
The Hardin Center is pleased to offer the addition of The Bay Psalm Book, as well as the drawing which will allow an individual to win a framed page of the 1776 Sauer German Bible as part of the downtown Gadsden celebration of our nation’s independence. These two artifacts are indelibly linked to the continued development of western civilization, as well as the emergence of America as an independent nation.