America's First Book
The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully
Translated into English Metre.
Cambridge, MA: 1640
Rare Book & Special Collections
This humble and well-worn hymnal was printed in
1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Stephen Daye, first printer
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the very first book printed
in what is now the United States.
Known as The Bay Psalm Book, but really titled
The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English
Metre, it represents what was most sacred to the Puritans--a faithful
translation of God's Word, to be sung in worship by the entire
congregation. Other Protestant denominations relied on selected
paraphrases of the Scripture, but the Puritans believed this could
compromise their salvation. The same faith that compelled them
to leave England and strike out for the New World prompted them
to commit this text to print before all others.