The Bay Psalm Book
The same Faith that compelled Puritans to leave England for the New World, prompted them to commit this text to print before all others. Printed at the press in Cambridge, Mass., supervised by Stephen Day, The Bay Psalm book is the first book printed in British North America. Day's son Matthew may have been responsible for the actual printing.
The book 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.
A London printer, Stephen Daye, came with the press and established a printing office in Cambridge. 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 translator and was assisted by about 30 other New England ministers. The book was first printed in 1640 and remained in use for more than 100 years.