The Prayer Book of 1789 was the first for the U. S. Episcopal Church and
served the Church for over 100 years, until the revision of 1892. This
book owed much to its predecessor, the English 1662 Book of Common Prayer,
and, at least for the major services, is very similar to it. We are presenting
this electronic version of the U. S. 1789 Book of Common Prayer in hopes
that it will prove useful and instructive to the Church. Parishes might
find it useful in recreating historical services, for example, to celebrate
the anniversary of the parish. Others might find it instructive to compare
the changes, additions, and deletions, which have taken place in the various
versions of the Book of Common Prayer.
The 1789 Book of Common Prayer was in use in the United
States from 1790 until 1892. During that time, unlike succeeding versions,
it was subject to minor changes by each General Convention. These changes
were then reflected in the next "Standard Edition" of the Book
of Common Prayer. Such Standard Editions were produced in 1793, 1822,
1832, 1838, 1845, and 1871; changes which each introduced (more significant
than corrections of typographical errors, etc.) are noted in the text.
Eight original sources were used, bearing certification dates of 1876,
1873, 1854, 1849, 1841, 1821, 1818, and 1810 respectively. The texts,
Book Parallels, by Paul V. Marshall, and Liturgiae Americanae
(1907), by William McGarvey, were also consulted.
The process leading up to the 1892 book occupied several
General Conventions, from 1883 through 1892; Prayer Books published during
this time therefore might (and sometimes do) include certain aspects of
the 1892 book.
Please note that, unlike later U. S. Prayer Books,
there was no uniform appearance among the different printings of the 1789
edition from various publishers. Thus, different printings will differ
in appearance through the use of different fonts, number of columns per
page, pagination, etc. Rubrics were printed in smaller Roman type, rather
than italics, from 1818-1845. In general, editions prior to the Civil
War tended to use two columns per page; those after, one.
All but one of the editions used here are also bound
with the Psalms in Metre, and a words-only Hymnal. These were often certified
by diocesan bishops, in much the same manner as the Prayer Book itself.
The font used is Century Schoolbook, which is widely
available and seems to be a fairly close match to the original. The HTML
allows the similar fonts Century and Georgia as alternatives.
The entire 1789 Book of Common Prayer is presented
below in HTML and PDF formats. (HTML only for the Psalter, Selections
of Psalms, and the 39 Articles of Religion). The PDF version is based
on a fairly common 24mo edition published by the New York Bible &
Common Prayer Book Society from 1857 through 1880; the specific printing
used here appears in David Griffiths' Bibligraphy of the Book of Common
Prayer as 1865/19.
are available online from Google Books as PDF graphics:
Publ. by Alex.
Ming, New York, 1806 (Griffiths 1806/12)
WP Young, Charleston, SC, 1808 (Griffiths 1808/17) (also from
the Internet Archive)
& J Swords, New York, 1810 (Griffiths 1810/18)
Williams, Boston, 1811 (Griffiths 1811/23)
Potter, Philadelphia, 1818 (Griffiths 1818/32)
& G Bruce, New York, 1818 (Griffiths 1818/25 - identical to 1818/32
Megarey, New York, 1819 (Griffiths 1819/15)
Coale, Baltimore, 1822 (Griffiths 1822/21)
Potter. Philadelphia, 1822 Standard Edition (Griffiths 1822/22)
Mesier, New York, 1825 (Griffiths 1806/11)
Gallaher & White, New York, 1828 (Griffiths 1828/26)
& Hannay, New York, 1830 (Griffiths 1830/22)
Episcopal Missionary Soc., Boston, 1831 (Griffiths 1831/19)
Prot. Episcopal Press, New York, 1829
(Griffiths 1829/22, 1831/22)
Bible & Common Prayer Book Soc., 1835 (Griffiths 1835/20)
Episcopal Press, New York, 1835 (Griffiths 1835/27)
& Agnew, Philadelphia, 1836 (Griffiths 1836/36)
& S Raynor, New York, 1842 (Griffiths 1842/27) (also from the
D Appleton, New York, 1845
Perry, Philadelphia, 1846 (Griffiths 1846/53)
& Sword's, New York, 1846; "The Family Prayer Book"
with commentary by Bp. Brownell (Griffiths 1846/44); also 1855
printing (Griffiths 1855/36)
Philadelphia, 1847 (Griffiths 1847/43)
& Swords, New York, 1850 (Griffiths 1950/43)
Philadelphia, 1853 (Griffiths 1853/40)
Appleton, New York, 1854 (Griffiths 1854/29), 1856
(Griffiths 1856/27); also 1856
(both Griffiths 1855/32)
& Co., New York, 1856 (Griffiths 1856/29)
Episcopal Book Soc., Phildelphia, 1863 (Griffiths 1863/31).
Philadelphia, 1865 (Griffiths 1864/21)
U Press, 1868 (Griffiths 1868/22)
U Press, 1868 (Griffiths 1868/23)
New York Bible & Common Prayer Book Soc., 1871
"Standard Edition" (Griffiths 1871/17), 1873
"Standard Edition" (Griffiths 1873/12), 1875
(Griffiths 1875/1), 1876
(Griffiths 1876/11) and
White PB Soc., Philadelphia, 1891 (Griffiths 1890/14; includes changes
adopted in 1886 & 1889 as an appendix; also 1887
Note that these may have lines cut off, pages out of
order and possibly missing, etc.
Internet Archive has:
Hall & Sellers, Philadelphia, 1790; "first edition"(Griffiths 1790/13)
Hugh Gaine, New York, 1793; first standard ed. (Griffiths 1793/10)
Durrell, New York, 1803 (Griffiths 1803/15)
Mesier, New York, 1805 (Griffiths 1805/9)
D Longworth, New York, 1808 (Griffiths 1808/18)
Williams, Boston, 1811 (Griffiths 1811/23)
M Thomas, Philadelphia, 1812 (Griffiths 1812/23)
Wm. E. Norman, Hudson NY, 1814 (Griffiths 1814/18)
Potter, Philadelphia, 1822 (Griffiths 1822/22)
Prot. Episcopal Press, NY, 1831 (Griffiths 1831/21)
Episcopal Press, NY, 1836 (Griffiths 1836/28).
Appleton, New York, 1854 (Griffiths 1854/28)
Burns & Sieg, Philadelphia, 1859 (Griffiths 1859/41)
have a PDF version of the 1871 Standard
(the last "official" version of this 1789 Prayer Book),
the 1790 "first edition" of the 1789 BCP, and the 1795 "first folio" (or altar book) on this site.
For those interested
in the history of this book, we also have online the
historical portions of Liturgiae Americanae, which describe
how this book came to be, and how it developed over the years. Further
history and a description of early printings of this book may be
found in Early Prayer Books in America, from Google Books.
We also have online
the 1789 Book of Common Prayer
in French (Livre des Prières Publiques).
Google Books also
has online a compilation, Prayers
adapted to Various Occasions of Social Worship, for which Provision is not made in the Book of Common Prayer,
by Alexander Griswold (first bishop of Massachusetts), 1860.