The Book of Common Prayer
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    The 1892 U. S. Book of Common Prayer


The Standard Book

Each time the 1790 Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church was modified by General Convention, a "Standard Book" was issued, to which all other books printed were supposed to be compared for accuracy. It is clear from contemporary documents that many at the time considered the 1892 revision to be just another in this series — a more extensive revision, to be sure, but still fundamentally no different than the series of modifications which had been happening since the first U. S. Prayer was issued.

However, it is clear that the Standard Book issued for the 1892 revision was different in a number of ways: possibly because the revision was much more extensive than previously, possibly because the Episcopal Church considered itself to be more powerful and significant than it did previously, and possibly just because J. P. Morgan was on the revision committee. In any event, there were three separate (and hopefully textually identical) "Standard Books" issued for the 1892 BCP. They are:

  • A simple but well-printed copy distributed to attendees of the 1892 Convention. This book appears as 1892/5 in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer. This printing is presented below as textual PDF's; pictures of the cover and title page may be seen at right. Size is 27 x 18cm. This book is also available in graphics PDF and plain text formats from Google Books.
  • A larger, canonically-required copy which was sent to all dioceses, etc. Griffiths 1893/6. Size is 36cm high.
  • A large and elaborately decorated edition, in a limited printing of 500 copies to be sold to subscribers: Griffiths 1893/7; size is 37 x 27cm (page size 10" x 14"). Title page is at right. We have this book as graphics PDF; links are below.

All of these were printed by the DeVinne Press, and supervised by Daniel Berkeley Updike, one of the giants of American typography. I have not seen a copy of the second, canonically required edition, but the other two are identical in typography in every way, only differing in the elaborate decoration, paper, and binding of the third, commercially-available edition.


Cover of the Standard Book

Title page of the Standard Book
(Griffiths 1892/5)

 We also have an article, "Evolution of the Standard Prayer Book of 1892", which appeared in a Church-related journal, The Independent, probably in 1893. It focusses more on the process leading up to the physical production of the book, rather than its content. Additionally, Google Books has the Report of the Committee Appointed to Prepare a Standard Book of Common Prayer (i. e., this book) from 1893; and also a small book by William Stevens Perry, Bishop of Iowa, comparing this Standard with the previous of 1871.

The links in the Table of Contents below lead to Adobe Acrobat (PDF) versions of the services of the Convention delegates' edition. These reproduce exactly the "look and feel" of the original; you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free from Adobe) to view them. The font used here is Bitstream's DeVinne, which duplicates the original very closely. The PDF pages, though, are designed to be printed on standard 8.5 x 11" paper, as opposed to the original page size of about 6-7/8" by 10- 3/8", resulting in somewhat wider margins. The texts should be otherwise identical in every way.

Besides the individual services listed below, we also have all of them in a single PDF file (size = ~2.8MB)


title page
Title page, subscribers' edition
(Griffiths 1893/7)


1. The Ratification of the Book of Common Prayer
2. The Preface
3. Concerning the Service of the Church, with the Order how the Psalter and the rest of the Holy Scripture is appointed to be read
4. Tables of Proper Lessons of Holy Scripture
5. The Calendar, with Tables of Lessons of Holy Scripture
6. Tables and Rules for the Movable and Immovable Feasts, together with the Days of Fasting and Abstinence throughout the Year
7. Tables for finding the Holy-days
8. The Order for Daily Morning Prayer
9. The Order for Daily Evening Prayer
10. The Litany
11. Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several Occasions
12. A Penitential Office for Ash-Wednesday
13. The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, to be used throughout the Year
14. The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion
15. The Ministration of Public Baptism of Infants, to be used in the Church
16. The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children, in Houses
17. The Ministration of Baptism to such as are of Riper Years, and able to answer for themselves
18. A Catechism; that is to say, an Instruction, to be learned by every Person before he be brought to be confirmed by the Bishop
19. The Order of Confirmation, or Laying on of Hands upon those that are baptized, and come to years of Discretion
20. The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony
21. The Order for the Visitation of the Sick
22. The Communion of the Sick
23. The Order for the Burial of the Dead
24. The Thanksgiving of Women after Child-birth; commonly called, The Churching of Women
25. Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea
26. A Form of Prayer for the Visitation of Prisoners
27. A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for the Fruits of the earth, and all the other Blessings of his merciful Providence
28. Forms of Prayer to be used in Families
29. The Psalter, or Psalms of David

The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons
The Form of Consecration of a Church or Chapel
An Office of Institution of Ministers into Parishes or Churches

Articles of Religion

Download or read the large subscribers' edition
(size = 68MB)

Return to the 1892 Book of Common Prayer

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld