Enoch Brooks Signed Hieroglyphick Bible
What do you think of this "curious" book?
These pages are from A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible, printed in
the U.S. in 1788. At that time, "curious" meant carefully made.
This particular copy of the children's book, one of only a few
known to exist in the world, probably belonged to a boy named
Enoch Brooks. Someone wrote "Enoch Brooks' Book, Princeton,
March 13th, 1789" in permanent ink.
The illustrations you
see are made from woodcuts. Perhaps you've made them in art
class, carving around an image on a block of wood, smearing ink
on the carved picture, and pressing it to paper. This book
contains nearly 500 woodcut prints, more than any other in
America at the time. Who printed this curious Bible?
Curious Hieroglyphick Bible is one of more than one hundred
children's books printed by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) (not the
same Isaiah Thomas who was a recent basketball star). Thomas
learned about printing as a young apprentice. During a long
career, Thomas published numerous popular titles for children
and adults. Thomas also made a stand for American independence
with his printing skills. How did he do this?
early part of the American Revolution, Thomas's newspaper, the
Massachusetts Spy, published eyewitness accounts of the battles
of Lexington and Concord. These stories strengthened the popular
resistance to British rule that would lead to the country's
independence. His newspaper made the British authorities angry.
To continue his work, Thomas fled to Worcester, Massachusetts.
There he created the Massachusetts Magazine. This lovely
engraving was featured in an issue in 1789.
A lover of
books, Thomas had a collection of 8,000 titles, which he donated
at the end of his life to the American Antiquarian Society.
Today, the society has two-thirds of all the books printed in
the United States up to 1821! How many books do you have in your
library? Do you or your family have any "curious" books?