Inscribing Ownership, Remembering a Gift, and Reflecting on Mortality in a Psalter

The Psalter: or, Psalms of David, with the Proverbs of Solomon, and Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Being an Introduction for Children to the Reading of the Holy Scriptures. Carefully Copied from the Holy Bible.
Worcester, Massachusetts: Printed by Isaiah Thomas, 1784. (BRB0797)

Fifty-year-old Ruth Brown recorded her name, noted that she received this book as a gift from her grandmother, and added reflections on her own mortality on the rear pastedown of this psalter: “Ruth Brown her book God give her grace therein to look, given by her grandmother Ruth Fowle. This day I am fifty years old September the 13th day [of] 1788. Remember me when this book you see, keep it to look upon when I am dead and gone.”

Printed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1784, this first Isaiah Thomas edition is an early appearance of the psalter with this title, issued for citizens of the newly independent United States. The text had earlier been issued in colonial British North America as the New England Psalter, but the title became less popular with the onset of the American Revolution. The classic companion to The New England Primer both before and after the Revolution, this psalter was the essential source for children’s religious education in eighteenth-century America.

Inscribed Copies
Inscription in a Psalter