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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Aitken Bible and Congress


I recently went on a road trip with Debi to search for information on Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken, and the story behind his Bible. It is truly a fascinating story, and one that I will be pleased and honored to cover in an upcoming blog entry, web page, and podcast.

Pennsylvania has an extraordinary history with the Holy Bible, and one that is unequalled by any other state. I have a page from Robert Aitken's 1782 Bible in my collection.

His daughter, Jane Aitken, printed the first English translation of the Old Testament from Greek by Secretary of Congress Charles Thompson. I have a nearly-destroyed copy of her volume II from 1808. She is the first woman printer to print Bibles in America, and was very well known for the quality of her bookbinding skills, as well.

All of these -- and more -- are included in my Wonders of the Bible exhibits.

As a side note, I would pass these printing locations of the Aitkens each day, when I would ride my bicycle from Barrington, New Jersey -- passing over the Ben Franklin Bridge -- to the Philadelphia School of Printing and Advertising on Market Street. This colonial area of Philly was the stomping ground of my youth -- and --  the very same area provides so much history in the development of the Bible in America.

I will return to this page and post a link to more information, along with the podcast, once production is completed in a month or so.

-- Frank DeFreitas