The First Illustrated American Bible
The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments.
Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1791. (Prothro B-113)
Isaiah Thomas (1749–1831) was the first major figure in American printing. A publisher of books and newspapers as well as a bookseller, papermaker, and binder, he helped many American partners establish printing presses. His History of Printing in America (Worcester, 1810) is a primary source for the study of early American typography. Containing 55 engraved plates, the folio edition of the King James Bible that he printed in 1791 was the first illustrated Bible printed in America. Thomas allowed some purchasers to buy this expensive book with wheat, rye, Indian corn, butter, or pork.