Item #009996 1850s – Five different religious pamphlets published by the American Tract Society

1850s – Five different religious pamphlets published by the American Tract Society

[New York]: American Tract Society, 1850s. Pamphlet.

This lot consists of five different religious tracts published by the American Tract Society probably during the 1850s. They range in size from 4¼” x 7” to 4½” x 7¾”. Three have four pages; one eight pages; and one 12 pages. One of the tracts, “The Brazen Serpent,” features an illustration from the Book of Numbers (Bemidbar or In the Wilderness in the Torah). All of the tracts are complete, and all have some soiling or foxing.

The titles include:

No. 165 – “Importance of Distinguishing Between True and False Conversions”

No. 382 – “Have Me Excused”

No. 404 – “I Have Not Time”

No. 511 – “The Brazen Serpent” by Rev. Edward D. Griffin, D.D.

No. 531 – “Saving a Soul from Death”. Very good. Item #009996

The American Tract Society was (and remains) the most prolific publisher of religious texts in the United States. Before it was founded in 1825 with the merger of the New England and New York tract societies, the Bible was the only widely distributed religious book in the country. Formed with the expressed purpose of making short religious lessons readily and cheaply available, it started off slowly but soon its tracts became incredibly popular, and their distribution reached incredible levels. By 1850, it had 529 different titles in its inventory, and it was printing 27,000 pamphlets daily. Between May 1847 and May 1848, over 8 million were distributed, primarily by Society colporteurs, i.e., traveling salesmen who also provided religious counseling and led church services.

The Society is still printing religious tracts, and business is still booming. Its headquarters relocated from New York City to Garland, Texas in the 1970s and today has well over 100 printing houses in 70 countries that print its tracts in more than 100 different languages.

Despite the immense number of tracts that have been printed, early printings, while certainly not rare, are also not commonly found; most likely the vast majority were simply thrown away with time. Today, the early tracts most often surface on ebay.

(For more information, see Thompson’s “The Printing and Publishing Activities of the American Tract Society from 1825 to 1850 in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America Vol 35 No 2, Brief History of the American Tract Society published by The Press of T. R. Marvina, and the American Tract Society’s website.)


Price: $150.00