6 An American Archive: ABCs


The ABC ‘s and the shorter Catechism
It is very old by the look of it, consisting of brown paper, somewhat tattered around the edges, it looked like something one would find in a monistic scriptorium. And in fact, it was not far from the truth; it was a catechism and it used roman numerals for the date, so it took a little time to decipher, it was 1789, possibly purchased for one of the Bumstead/Truesdell children? Protected by an 8 inch by 13 inch quarter-folded sheet with four stamps consisting of the word “Fliegentob,” with three crosses directly below. Fliegen is German for “flying. There is a faint pencil inscription in a what appears to be a child’s hand that says, “ Fly paper p——”. Booklet is 4 inches by 6.75 inches. Printed on brown paper organized in 2 quarto signatures, held together by a straight pin. The last pages are not cut. Printed by Daniel Blow of Belfast in Bridge-Street.

Researching on the net provided several sources. “James Blow, printer, who during the course of a very long life…was the first in this kingdom who printed the Bible.” James Blow (1676-1759) was Daniel’s father and apparently started the print shop in Belfast. Daniel Blow (1718-1810) continued the printing business and published at least eighteen different tracts or booklets as listed on the last pages of the catechism under the title Catalogue, complete with prices. “Notes and Queries” edited by Dr. Doran, 1874, Google Books

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