Friday, December 9, 2016

The Philadelphia Bible Society

The Philadelphia Bible Society was established in 1808. This society still exists today. Their purpose was/is scripture distribution. In their 1809 report they stated they purchased 300 English Bible, 300 English New Testaments and 300 German New Testaments and their stock was quickly exhausted. So the managers ordered 1000 English Bibles, 200 German New Testaments. 

This information tells me a couple things. One, the need was great in the city of Philadelphia. Two, that German immigrants made up a significant amount of the overall community. 

Later on they also directed cheaper New Testaments be made in German and ordered another 300 copies. Then they ordered 100 French, 100 Welch and 50 Gaelic Bibles and 50 English New Testaments in large type. At the time of this report they were expecting this shipment soon.

At this point they distributed to the area of Philadelphia but saw the need to help missionary work as well. So they sent some to Muskingum to be distributed among the Indians and poor white inhabitants.

Their second report notes that 1514 English Bibles, 387 English New Testament Bibles 54 German Bibles, 196 German New Testaments, 45 French New Testaments, 1 Welsh Bible and 1 Gaelic Bible had been distributed. And again they cited bibles given to missionaries or other clergymen in different states to distribute.

They also mentioned in their report their purpose was not to "preoccupy a field which could be better cultivated by other labourers." and reported a list of other societies who also distributed scriptures:

The Massachusetts Bible Society, The Young Men's Bible Society of Ncw-York. The New-Jersey Bible Society, The New-York Bible Society, The New-Hampshire Bible Society, The Connecticut Bible Society.

In 1812 they printed 1250 copies of the bible, they hired Philadelphia printer William Fry. This became the first stereotyped Bible printed in America. Tomorrow's post will be about stereotype printing.

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