BIBLE SOCIETY, AMERICAN. The first portion of Scripture printed in America was the New Testament, translated into the Indian language by John Eliot, and printed at Cambridge, Mass., in 1661; a translation of the whole Bible followed in 1663. A German Bible was printed at Germantown, Penn., in 1743. In 1777, the English New Testament, and in 1782 the entire Bible, was printed at Philadelphia. This was the first English Bible with On American imprint, and it was recommended by Congress. after an examination by the chaplains. The first'Bible society in the United States was insti tuted at Philadelphia in 1808; the second, at Hartford; the third, at Boston; the fourth, at Princeton. N. J.; all in 1809. A few years later, about 60 local societies existed. Delegates from 33 of these met in New York, May. 1816, and organized the American Bible society, to which the local organizations became auxiliary. The number of auxiliaries increased rapidly, and at present amounts to 7000, including branches. In 1841, an act of incorporation for the American 13. S. was obtained, with privileges which have since been enlarged. The first place of business was a room 7 ft. by 9; the next was 20 ft. sq.; the third was in a building erected in Nassau street, on a lot 50 ft. by 100; and afterwards enlarged. In 1832, the present Bible house was built, occupying the whole of the ground bounded by Third and Fourth avenues, Astor place and Ninth street, having a periphery of more than 700 ft.. an open square in the center, and being 6 stories high. The structure is of brick with stone copings, and commands atten tion by its magnitude. admirable proportions, and appropriate finish. The working force consists of the executive and manufacturing departments; the former containing the corresponding secretaries, treasurer, and general agent; the latter includes printing, electrotyping. proof-reading, and other branches of the work. The number of persons employed is about 330. The printing is now executed on 23 large steam-power presses, and 3 of smaller size. In the bindery, also. the best modern improvements have been introduced. The•societv owns 120 sets of stereotype and electrotype plates, from which
me printed 22 sizes of English Bibles, and 16 sizes of the New Testament ; each size is bound in from 4 to 6 styles, as there is a demand for Bibles of all sizes in flue bindings: but by far the greater proportion of all issued are in plain styles, and are circulated among the poor. The wbo1,1 Bible has been stereotyped, at great expense, in the Boston raised letter for the use of th,: blind. It is issued in 8 or in 16 volumes. any of which may be obtained separately. About 12,000 volumes have been circulated, in great part gratuitously, The aim of the American 13. S., and its auxiliaries, is to distribute Bibles as widely- as possible among the destitute of all classes and religious denominations, either them at+ ? Vor_fyr A pinion of it or giving them away- to the very poor.
In 1829, an exploration of the states and territories was made, with a view to a general supply of the destitute. Every accessible family in the more settled portions of the country was visited. In 1836, a second general effort resulted in the supply of about 500,000 destitute families. In 1860, a third supply of the whole country was coat meueed. and has been vigorously carried forward.
The foreign work of the American Bible Society was done 'at first chiefly through missionary societies, by the contributism of funds to aid them in printing, the Bible. In this way the countries mire reached 411 which the American churches ha,i established missions. The Scriptures are now published at the Bible house in French. Spanish, Portuguese, Welsh, German, Danish, Swo,isa, Arabic, Armen; .2111, and Hawaiian. The New 'rest:uncut, also, in Italian, Slavonic, Bulgarian, Syriac, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota. and Ojibwa. Smaller portions are printed in many additional languages. Editions have been prepared for the society at Paris, Bremen, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Con stantinople, Beirut, Lucknow, Lodiana, Bangkok, Foochow, Peking, Shanghai, Yoko hama, and Honolulu.