Bible Heritage Collection

King James Bible


King James Bible



Document Type

Original text


Bible, Thompson, hot-press

Brief Description

[Printed in Philadelphia] This is the first hot-pressed edition of the Bible printed in America and distributed by subscription. The Library copy is a folio-size lectern Bible.


It was quite late in Colonial American history when the first English language Bible was printed in America. Robert Aitken did so in 1782 under an authorization by the United States Congress. Prior to this time, English language Bibles were available in the Colonies, but had to be imported from England. What followed Aitkin's work were printings by Matthew Carey [1790], William Young [1790], Isaac Collins [1791], Isaiah Thomas [1791], and Jacob Berriman [1796]. These were all printings of the King James Bible, some in personal size and others in family Bible size.

In November of 1798, John Thompson of Philadelphia produced the first King James Bible ever to be "hot-pressed" in America. This printing technique helped to sear the ink clearly into the paper with heat. This printing was a large pulpit folio Bible, the largest Bible printed in America up until that time. The Thompson Hot-Press Bible remains a very rare collector's item.

Country or Place of Origin

United States



Publisher of the Original

John Thompson and Abraham Small


Philadelphia, PA

Publication Date of the Original



This item is also part of the Early English Bible Collection.

King James Bible