• The Bay Psalm Book, as this work is commonly known, is the first book printed in British North America. The Reverend Jesse Glover imported the first printing press to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638, some 18 years after the first English settlers landed at Plymouth Rock. A London printer, Stephen Daye, came with the press and established a printing office in Cambridge. The following year, the residents of the colony asked John Eliot, Thomas Welde, and Richard Mather to undertake a new translation from the Hebrew of the Book of Psalms, for use in the colony’s churches. Mather was the principal author and translator, but was assisted by about 30 other New England ministers. The book was printed in 1640. Reissued in successive editions, it remained in use for more than 100 years. This copy, from the John Carter Brown Library, is one of 11 copies of the first edition known to exist and one of only four perfect copies. The book is in its original binding, with the title page signed by Mather.

Date Created

Publication Information

  • Stephen Daye, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Title in Original Language

  • The whole booke of Psalmes faithfully translated into English metre


Time Period


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

  • 296 pages; 18 centimeters (19 centimeters in case)