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    The 1811 Edition of the First Unitarian Liturgy in the United States

    [Unitarian Church]. A Liturgy Collected for the Use of the Church at King's Chapel, Boston. Boston: Joshua Belcher, 1811.

    Second (revised) edition of the first prayer book of America's Unitarian church. Octavo. [vi], [1]-360 pages.

    Contemporary calf with the name "S. Freeman" stamped in gilt on the front board. Boards moderately worn; front board detached but present. Lower half of the front free endpaper -- containing the handwritten name and date "Sarah Freeman, March 10th 1811" -- is detached, with lower half of the leaf missing. Moderate scattered foxing. A couple of ink annotations; a few plant leaves laid in. A generally very good copy.

    James Freeman (1759-1835), minister of King's Chapel in Boston for forty-three years (1783-1826), was the first preacher in America to call himself a Unitarian. Although King's Chapel (frequently referred to as Stone Chapel during the period of anti-British sentiment) was Episcopalian, Freeman altered the liturgy in 1785, eliminating all references to the Holy Trinity, the first church in America to do so. In 1811 Freeman revised his 1785 liturgy, incorporating changes he had wanted to make in 1785 but had felt his congregation was not yet ready for. One may well speculate that the Sarah Freeman who owned this liturgy in 1811 might have been a relative of James Freeman, the man who devised the first Unitarian liturgy and who led the congregation of the first Unitarian Church in America.

    Sabin 41555.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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