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Robert Aitken Prints America's First English Language Bible - July 15

  • 2016 15 Jul
 Robert Aitken Prints America's First English Language Bible - July 15


The Continental Congress was evacuating Philadelphia as the British had just won the Battle of Brandywine, forcing Washington's troops to retreat to Valley Forge. In addition, Congress was informed that the war had interrupted trade with the King's authorized printers in England, thereby causing a shortage of Bibles, commonly used in education. The Continental Congress voted September 11, 1777, to import Bibles from Scotland or Holland into different parts of the Union, stating: "The use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so was resolved accordingly to direct said Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 copies of the Bible." Five years later, September 10, 1782, the Continental Congress again responded to the shortage of Bibles by authorizing the publisher of The Pennsylvania Magazine, Robert Aitken, who died JULY 15, 1802, to print America's first English language Bible- "A neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools." Congress stated: "Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the..undertaking of Mr. Aitken...and...recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation."