[Hymnal.] Das kleine Davidische Psalterspiel der Kinder Zions, von Alten und Neuen auserlesenen Geistes Gefa[e]ngen… Philadelphia: Steiner and Cist, 1781.

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Das kleine Davidische Psalterspiel der Kinder Zions, von Alten und Neuen auserlesenen Geistes Gefa[e]ngen, Allen wahren Heils-begierigen Sa[e]uglingen der Weisheit, Insonderheit aber Denen Gemeinden dess Herrn, zum Dienst und Gebrauch mit Fleiß zusammen getragen in gegenwa[e]rtig- beliebiger Form und Ordnung, Nebst einem dreyfachen, darzu nu[e]tzlichen und der Materien halben no[e]thigen Register


Published by Steiner and Cist, 1781
Philadelphia: Steiner and Cist, 1781. Octavo (6 1/16" x 3 9/16", 154mm x 90mm). [Full collation available.] 304 leaves, pp. [6] (title, blank, 4pp. preface) 1 2-575, [23] (23pp. index), 4 blanks. Bound in contemporary speckled clasped calf over beveled wooden boards. Double blind fillet border. On the spine, four raised bands. Acquisition date and initials (HS) calligraphic manuscript in ink to the upper edge of the text-block. Rubbing to the extremities, with some wear to the fore-corners. Superficial cracks running along the spine. A little splitting to the hinge of the clasps, which appear otherwise to be original and functioning. Moderate and even tanning and foxing throughout. Ink manuscript in an early hand to the front paste down and verso of the first (including a purchase record dating to May 1784) and second free end-papers (including some spiritual verses). Collated superior to Arndt-Eck, which does not include the two blanks Pp7-8. In 1729 a large Psalterspiel -- what one might call a hymnal, but notionally a marshalling of the psalms, which are often the basis of hymns -- was printed at Schaffhausen, and its first abridgment was published in 1744 by Christopher Sauer, the father of black-letter printing in America. Editions with variations, but all titled Das kleine Davidische Psalterspiel (King David being the putative author of many psalms), followed in the ensuing years. The present edition, notionally the fifth, was published and presumably edited by Melchior Steiner (also Styner) and Carl Cist. Steiner (a Calvinist, son of the Reformed Minister Conrad Steiner) and Cist (born in St. Petersburg as Carl Jacob Sigismund Thiel, the initials spelling C-I-S-T) worked together for only 6 years (1775-1781), but were among the most important Colonial and Revolutionary printers, including publication for and papers sales to the Continental Congress. This work is among their final collaborations. The present edition is among the rarest, having come to auction only four times (the present copy being the fourth; before that, its most recent public sale was 1923). Of particular interest is the rich set of manuscript annotation (dated shortly after publication, May of 1784) and the calligraphic date and initials -- too vague to attribute -- to the upper edge of the text-block, which is an unusual location. Perhaps the shelving of the book with the front-board down and the head of the book at the edge of the shelf is the reason that the clasps are so well preserved. The text, written in an XVIIIc Kurrent (i.e., running script as opposed to Fraktur, broken or printed letters), quotes, for instance, 1 Timothy 6:7-8: "Dann Wir haben Nichts in die Welt gebracht darum --/ offenbar ist Wir Werden auf/ Nichts hinaus bringen --/ Wann wir aber Nahrung/ und Kleiter haben so -/ Laßet uns begnügen" (Vulgate: nihil enim intulimus in mundum haut dubium quia nec auferre quid possumus habentes autem alimenta et quibus tegamur his contenti sumus; English (KJV): For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content). This points to ownership by a member of a mendicant community. Arndt-Eck 553 (without the mis-signing of C4 as "C3"); Evans 17100; Sabin 66467; Seidensticker, p. 107.
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