I … solicit thy patronage to a work which I am about to print … It is Brown’s of Haddington, historical, Geographical, Chronological, Etymological and Critical Dictionary of the Holy Bible
… its matter is merely intended to elucidate the Holy Scriptures, and not to favor the favourite dogma of Sect or party …
My intention is to have it neatly done, and printed on paper made within thirty miles of this place, and bound in skins of the growth of our hills & vallie’s …
Pittsburgh is becoming a place of business—much of a manufacturing town—I want to lend my assistance in my way, to forward its progress…
I am thy unknown friend.
Zadok Cramer to Thomas Jefferson, Febry 14, 1805
Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Cramer and subscribes with pleasure for a copy of Brown’s dictionary of the bible which he proposes to print at Pittsburg.
Thomas Jefferson to Zadok Cramer, March 8, 1805
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders enjoy having their right buttons pushed!
At age 31, the entrepreneurial Cramer (1773-1814) had already established himself as a bookbinder and publisher in western Pennsylvania. He wanted the President to be the first pledge to buy his reprint of a comprehensive Bible dictionary.
Thomas Jefferson was all in, for multiple reasons:
1. He loved books!
2. He was a student of the Bible and a supporter of religion in general.
3. This work was to educate only, not proselytize.
4. It would be produced entirely in America, with local paper for printing and local leather for binding.
5. It would showcase the product of a western businessman in a prospering western city.
This sketch highlights the enterprising Cramer. Although it makes no mention of this book, in early 1808 he shipped the first of two volumes of the Dictionary to the President.