Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DAYE, Stephen, the first printer in the English American colonies, born in London in 1611; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 22 December 1668. In connection with the founding of Harvard College in 1638, the first printing press was established in this country. Through the instrumentality of the Rev. Joseph Glover, a wealthy nonconformist minister, a press and material were shipped from England, accompanied by Mr. Glover and Thomas Daye, whom he had engaged in London. Daye was supposed to be a descendant of John Day, one of the most eminent and wealthy of early English typographers. On the passage over Mr. Glover died, but Daye duly entered upon the work, set up the press, and, by direction of the magistrates and elders, in January 1639, printed the " Freeman's Oath," which was the first issue of the colonial press. It was claimed that Daye had served an apprenticeship in London; but his deficiencies as a compositor, indicared by errors of punctuation and spelling, by the division of monosyllables by a hyphen at the end of lines, and similar technical blunders, lead to the presumption that, though bred a printer, he had been chiefly accustomed to presswork, in which he was more successful. The second work printed was an almanac, made by William Pierce, mariner (1639); then the Psahns, "newly turned into metre, for the edification and comfort of the saints" (1640). He also printed a "Catechism," "Body of Liberties," containing one hundred laws of the colony (1641; 2d ed., 1648), which were ordered to be sold in quires at three shillings each. Daye was superseded in the management of the press, in 1649, by the appointment by the magistrates and elders, although no reason was ever given for their action, of Samuel Green as printer. The general court of Massachusetts, in October 1641, showed a due appreciation of Daye's thirteen years' work by granting him 300 acres of land for "being the first that settled upon printing."
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