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Presentation copy of a Thai hymnal produced by the mission press in Phetchaburi
8 years after the death of King Mongkut (of The King and I)

MCFARLAND, Samuel Gamble, ed.
Siamese hymnal.
Phetchaburi (in Thailand), Samuel Gamble McFarland, 1876. 8vo. With Western round-head letterpress music notation. Set in Thai type with incidental roman. This copy with the letterpress presentation slip on blue paper tipped in (from McFarland and his wife), for people who contributed to the project. Contemporary half tanned sheepskin, probably bound for presentation.
€ 7,000
Very rare first edition (first issue) of McFarland's Thai (Siamese) hymnal, one of the first books printed by the mission press at Phetchaburi (Petchabury) in Thailand, with the 86 hymns selected by donors who contributed at least five dollars for the production of the hymnal. Each hymn appears on a single double-page spread (with the music at the head of the left page) except the last, whose text continues on nine additional pages. The texts of the hymns themselves appear only in Thai, but the title, introductory note and hymn titles also appear in English and each hymn gives the name of the person or organisation that selected it in English only. Some of the donors who selected the hymns lived in Thailand (both Europeans and natives) but most lived in the United States. Each hymn also indicates the metre, either with abbreviations for the common, long, short, hallelujah or particular metre, or with an indication of the number of syllables per line. The music was apparently set and electrotyped by J.M. Armstrong in Philadelphia and the electrotype blocks shipped to Phetchaburi for printing, for the Newberry Library copy of the second issue has a manuscript note "Music typography by J.M. Armstrong, Philadelphia, Pa.".
With the title-page somewhat browned, water stains in the head margin and occasional minor foxing or small smudges, but generally in good condition. The binding with some scuff marks and stains, the head and foot of the spine damaged and the endleaf with the presentation slip detached, but otherwise good and structurally sound.
Cf. KVK & WorldCat (4 copies of the 2nd issue); not in Cordier, Indosinica; for the history of the presses: J.F. Coakley, “Printing offices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions ...”, in: Harvard Library Bulletin IX (1998), pp. 5-34, at pp. 26-27.
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  Southeast Asia
Religion & devotion  >  Books of hours, Missals & Prayerbooks | Church History & Missions