The Book of Common Prayer
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    The 1928 Book of Common Prayer
The Standard Book

 

Cover of 1928 Standard BookIn 1928 Daniel Berkeley Updike and his Merrymount Press won a competition to produce the Standard Book of the 1928 U. S. Book of Common Prayer. The Standard Book was intended to be the one to which all other printings were to be compared for accuracy. Updike was an obvious choice for this task: he was a life-long Episcopalian (his ancestors in Rhode Island included Episcopal clergy) and so knew the church and its liturgy, he was a prominent printer of books and other items of the highest quality, and he had already, early in his career, printed the Standard Edition of the 1892 BCP. The book which resulted is regarded as one of the classics of American book design.

Joseph Blumenthal, in The Printed Book in America, has this to say about the book:

The high point of Updike’s career as a designer and printer was the completion in 1930 of The Book of Common Prayer. . . According to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. His specimen pages were chosen, from among those invited from four printers, by the Church’s Commission on Revision. The whole undertaking was financed by J. Pierpont Morgan. “It was an enormous task,” wrote Updike, “and one which taxed our resources in many different directions, but in which what knowledge I had of the history of a Church to which my family have been for nearly three hundred years adherents, and of the liturgical requirements and practical use of the Prayer Book stood me in good stead. . . . The book was begun in 1928 and was finished in the autumn of 1930.” Without decoration, except a typographic leaf, initial letters, and rubrication, this is an austere and handsome quarto. Five copies were printed on vellum. The edition is a superb example of American craftsmanship and an abiding tribute to all concerned in its production.
 

What we present here are Adobe Acrobat (PDF) text files intended to be as true to the original as our limited abilities allow. The font used is Kis BT, which is Bitstream's version of Janson, the font used in the original. The only significant difference from what we have here online and the original is the paper size: The files below are intended to be printed on standard 8.5 x 11" paper, while the original paper is 9.25 x 13.5" (23.5 x 34.5cm). Since the text block is the same size as in the original, the margins are therefore somewhat smaller in the files presented here. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files. We have a page which describes in more detail the differences between PDF and other file formats.

This book appears in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as 1930/3; additionally a facsimile of this book was issued by the Episcopal Church in 1952 in a smaller format; this book is Griffiths 1952/4.

Updike also wrote a short article on liturgical printing, which is online thanks to oremus.org, and may be of interest in relationship to his work on the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

We additionally have Updike's 6-page Prospectus for this volume, as a scanned PDF. It includes an invitation to potential subscribers, plus the specimen page shown at right.

 

 

Title page of the 1928 Satndard Book

Specimen page

Table of Contents

THE RATIFICATION OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
THE PREFACE
CONCERNING THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH, INCLUDING THE USE OF
THE PSALTER AND THE LECTIONARY
   PSALMS AND LESSONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
   THE CALENDAR
   TABLES AND RULES FOR THE MOVABLE AND IMMOVABLE FEASTS, TOGETHER WITH THE DAYS OF FASTING AND ABSTINENCE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, AND THE DAYS OF SOLEMN SUPPLICATION
   TABLES OF PRECEDENCE
   TABLES FOR FINDING HOLY DAYS
THE ORDER FOR DAILY MORNING PRAYER
   THE ORDER FOR DAILY EVENING PRAYER
   PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS
   THE LITANY
   A PENITENTIAL OFFICE FOR ASH WEDNESDAY
THE ORDER FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER, OR
HOLY COMMUNION
   THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS
THE MINISTRATION OF HOLY BAPTISM
   OFFICES OF INSTRUCTION
   THE ORDER OF CONFIRMATION
   THE SOLEMNIZATION OF MATRIMONY
   THE THANKSGIVING OF WOMEN AFTER CHILD-BIRTH
   THE ORDER FOR THE VISITATION OF THE SICK
   THE COMMUNION OF THE SICK
   THE ORDER FOR THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
   AT THE BURIAL OF A CHILD
THE PSALTER, OR PSALMS OF DAVID

. . . . .

THE FORM AND MANNER OF MAKING, ORDAINING, AND CONSECRATING BISHOPS, PRIESTS, AND DEACONS
    THE LITANY AND SUFFRAGES FOR ORDINATIONS
    THE FORM OF CONSECRATION OF A CHURCH OR CHAPEL
    AN OFFICE OF INSTITUTION OF MINISTERS INTO PARISHES OR CHURCHES
. . . . .

A CATECHISM
FORMS OF PRAYER TO BE USED IN FAMILIES
. . . . .

ARTICLES OF RELIGION

All the above files are also available as a single PDF file
(size = 1.85MB)

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Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld