The Marks of the New Birth. A Sermon. . . . George Whitefield, New York
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
William Bradford, (1663-1752), was an early American printer in New York City. He is buried along with with John James Audubon, Alexander Hamilton and other notable New Yorkers in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan.
Excerpt from The Project Gutenberg eBook, Literary New York, by Charles Hemstreet
Before the Revolution
WHEN William Bradford came to New York, in 1693, the town had grown so large that it must needs have a night-watch—four men who each carried a lantern, and who, strolling through the quiet streets, proclaimed at the start of each hour that the weather was fair, or that the weather was foul, and told beside that all was as well as it should be in those nightly hours. More than this, the town went a step farther towards the making of a metropolis, and lit the streets by night (whether for the benefit of the night-watch or for some other the records say not), by placing on a pole projecting from each seventh house a lantern with a candle in it.-26-
Pilgrims who year after year seek out the shrines that are connected in one way or another with the literature of the city have worn a path plain to be seen along the stone pavement about Trinity Church, a path leading straight to a bit of greensward where, beside a gravel walk, is the tomb of William Bradford. Although Bradford made slight pretence of being a man of letters, he is remembered as one who loved to foster literature. And, there being little enough left to recall the writings of the seventeenth century, this tombstone has its many visitors. The pilgrims who find their way to it have but half completed their journey. If they leave the churchyard and stray on, not going by way of crowded Wall Street, which would be the direct course, but taking one of the more winding and narrow streets to the south, they will come after a time to a thoroughfare where-27- the structure of the Elevated Road forms a bridge to convey heavy trains that hurry past, stirring the air with constant vibration. In this street, dark even when the sun shines brightest, is another reminder of William Bradford,—a tablet in form, but quite as much a tombstone as the other for its brazen letters tell in true epitaph how he lived here two hundred years gone by, and how here on this spot he set up the first printing-press in the colony, and that here he did the public printing, as well as such books and psalms, tracts and almanacs, and such like things as he had time for. These were all queer, rough-lettered, black-lined pamphlets, and none was more quaint than John Clapp’s Almanac, the first which came from the press and the first written in the city.
William Bradford, British-American Printer, (1663-1752)
b. May 20, 1663, Leicestershire, England
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Art in Context - Art for the Day: May 20