Thompson Hot-Press Bible, 1798
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 Aitken's work were printings by Matthew Carey , William Young , Isaac Collins , Isaiah Thomas , and Jacob Berriman . 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.
Jefferson Bible, 1804
This work, whose official title is The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, was the attempt of Thomas Jefferson to accurately reflect the true teachings of Jesus as he saw them. Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Christ nor that He performed miracles; he saw Jesus as a great reformer and moral leader. Toward the end of his life, using multiple language extracts of the four Gospels, Jefferson cut and pasted together his own version. His goal was to eliminate what he felt were distortions in the Gospels by unlearned apostles who often misunderstood the teachings of Jesus. Thus, he removed all the supernatural aspects, including miracles, as well as misinterpretations he perceived had been added by the Gospel writers. The result, he felt, best expressed the moral code of the teachings of Jesus. This work was never published during the lifetime of Jefferson, and in fact a printed version was not published until 1895 by the National Museum.