Saturday, February 11, 2017

Treasures from the Worcester Room--Worcester's MVP: Most Valuable Printer!

As Boston Celtics fans are well aware, Isaiah Thomas is having an MVP-caliber season.  What Celtics fans may not know however, is that the City of Worcester was home to another famous Isaiah Thomas who resided here in the 1700 and 1800s.  This Isaiah Thomas was a different kind of MVP: a Most Valuable Printer!

Isaiah Thomas first came to Worcester just before the start of the Revolutionary War, as the British authorities were suspicious of his newspaper, the Massachusetts Spy.  Shortly after, his paper was the first paper in New England to publish a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  After the war, his fortunes expanded.  As the book Forty Immortals of Worcester County states, "He printed the first folio Bible in America, and became the largest publisher in the country."  He would later pass his business off to his son and become a writer himself, writing the book A History of Printing in America.  He would also go on to become one of the founders of Worcester's American Antiquarian Society.

An example of the work that Isaiah Thomas's shop produced can be found in the book History of the Heathen Gods, which he printed in the early 1800s.  In fact, our library has a number of books published by Isaiah Thomas and his son Isaiah Thomas, Jr.  It is easy to see the quality of the printing and the detail of the illustration.  Just one more example of the kind of treasure that can be found in the library's Worcester Room Collection.

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