Early Books Printed in Pittsburgh

☛Books printed in Pittsburgh in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when the little frontier city had a lively literary culture. We have arranged them more or less chronologically.

Cramer’s Pittsburgh Almanack. Zadok Cramer set himself up as a bookseller and publisher and later printer in Pittsburgh, and he produced this Almanack for many years under the title Cramer’s Pittsburgh Almanack, Cramer’s Magazine Almanack, Cramer’s Pittsburgh Magazine Almanack, and so on. Much information can be gleaned from them about the development of southwestern Pennsylvania, the nearby parts of Virginia (now West Virginia) and Ohio, and the rest of the Ohio valley. With some gaps, Archive.org has the run from 1805 to 1839.

Another 1811.
Another 1814.
Another 1817.
Another 1818.
Another 1819.
(See also the German 1819 almanac below.)
Another 1830.
1832-1839 (bound in one volume).

The Navigator; containing directions for navigating the Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. —This was Zadok Cramer’s cash cow, which went through edition after edition. Some good descriptions of Pittsburgh and surroundings.

Sixth edition, 1808.
Seventh edition, 1811.
Eighth edition, 1814.
Ninth edition, 1817.
Tenth edition, 1818.
Eleventh edition, 1821.
Another copy of the eleventh edition.
Twelfth edition, 1824.

A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery, under the command of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke of the army of the United States, from the mouth of the river Missouri through the interior parts of North America to the Pacific Ocean, during the years 1804, 1805 & 1806. Containing an authentic relation of the most interesting transactions during the expedition,—a description of the country,—and an account of its inhabitants, soil, climate, curiosities and vegetable and animal productions. By Patrick Gass, one of the persons employed in the expedition. With geographical and explanatory notes by the publisher. Pittsburgh: Printed by Zadok Cramer for David M‘Keehan, Publisher and Proprietor, 1807. —According to Wikipedia, this edition was sold by subscription for a dollar. It was the first published account of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

A Dictionary of the Holy Bible, by John Brown, minister of the Gospel at Haddington. Pittsburgh: From the Ecclesiastical and Literary Press of Zadok Cramer, 1807. —This is a remarkable achievement in printing for a bookseller way out West—the first volume runs to 664 pages. Cramer inflates the name of his press accordingly. The work is illustrated with some fine cuts (where did Cramer get them?). “The Maps and Plates, which are executed in the first style of elegance by our best American artists, and at a very considerable expense, we hope will be found a valuable acquisition to the work: These were never before published in the United States.” According to the preface, the Rev John Anderson, “a friend and pupil of the author’s” but now “of Service and King’s Creek” (the latter a settlement in Washington County where a Presbyterian church was founded in 1785), has made some additions to the work. Other additions were taken from the Encylcopaedia Britannica.

Vol. I.
Another copy.
Vol. II does not appear to exist on line.

Second Pittsburgh edition of the above. Cramer, Spear, and Eichbaum 1811. —The investment in Brown’s Dictionary apparently was a good one.

Vol. I.
Vol. II.

The Lawyer, or Man as he ought not to be. A tale. Pittsburgh: Printed for and published by Zadok Cramer, and sold at his Bookstore (Franklin’s Head) Market street. 1808. —Attributed by the librarian to George Watterson, whose other books all seem to be printed in Washington. With a splendidly melodramatic engraved frontispiece captioned thus: “Avaunt! Approach not the Victim of thy Treachery, nor contaminate by thy unhallowed presence, the Sanctitude of this Assylum.”

Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country, through the states of Ohio and Kentucky, a voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and a trip through the Mississippi territory, and part of West Florida, commenced at Philadelphia in the winter of 1807, and concluded in 1809. By F. Cuming. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, Franklin Head, 1810.

Select Remains of the Rev. John Brown, late minister of the gospel at Haddington, who died June 19, 1787. Containing, I. Memoirs of his life; II. Letters to his friends; III. Religious tracts; IV. Advices to his children; V. An account of some of his dying sayings; and VI. Dying advices to his congregation. To which is added, Address to students of divinity. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear and Eichbaum, Franklin Head, 1810.

Der kleine Catechismus des seligen Dr. Martin Luthers. Nebst den gewöhnlichen Morgen- Tisch- und Abend-Gebeten. Welchem die Ordnung des Heils, in einem Liede, in kurzen Sätzen, in Frag und Antwort, und in einer Tabelle ; Wie auch eine Zergliederung des Catechismus, das Würtembergische kurze Kinder-Examen, die Conformation [sic] und Beichte beygefüget ; und etliche Lieder, Freylinghausens Ordnung des Heils, das güldene A, B, C, der Kinder, und die sieben Buss-Psalmen, angehänget sind. Zum Gebrauch der Jungen und Alten. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear und Eichbaum, Franklin Kopf Buchstohr, 1810. —Apparently “Dutch books” were already selling well at the Franklin Head, making it worth while to keep Fraktur type in the print shop. The year 1810 must have been a busy one.

Discourse, Introductory to a Course of Lectures on Chemistry; including a view of the subject and utility of that science. Delivered at Pittsburgh, the sixth of November, 1811. By F. Aigster, M.D. Pirrsburgh: Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, 1811.

The Life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, written by himself. To which is added his essays, chiefly in the manner of the Spectator. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear, and Eichbaum [Note the serial comma], 1813.

Sequel to the English Reader: or, elegant selections in prose and poetry, designed to improve the highest class of learners in reading, to establish a taste for just & accurate composition, and to promote the interests of piety and virtue. By Lindley Murray. First Pittsburgh edition, from the third English. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, Franklin Head, 1813.

Views of Louisiana; together with a journal of a voyage up the Missouri River, in 1811. By H. M. Brackenridge [Henry Marie, the son of Hugh Henry]. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear and Eichbaum, 1814.

A Defence of Catholic Principles, in a Letter to a Protestant Minister. By Demetrius A. Gallitzin. Pittsburgh: Printed by S. Engles, 1816. —Poorly printed with worn types, but full of Prince Gallitzin’s rigorous logic and scathing wit.

Introduction to the English Reader, or, A selection of pieces in prose and poetry calculated to improve the younger classes of learners in reading and to imbue their minds with the love of virtue; with rules and observations for assisting children to read with propriety. By Lindley Murray. Second Pittsburgh edition. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, 1816.
Fourth Pittsburgh edition, Cramer and Spear, 1823. —Evidently a very good seller at the Franklin Head.

The Republican Compiler, comprising a series of scientific, descriptive, narrative, popular, biographical, epistolary, and miscellaneous pieces, in prose and verse. Selected from the best American writers, and designed for the use of schools. By a citizen of Pittsburgh [identified by one librarian as B. R. Evans]. Pittsburgh: Cramer & Spear, Franklin Head, 1818.
Another copy.
The same at Google Books.

Cramer's Deutscher Pittsburger für die westliche Gegend eingerichteter Calender, auf das Jahr unsers Heilandes Jesu Christi, 1819. Pittsburg : Herausgegeben von Cramer und Spear, Fränklin Buchstohr, Wood-Strasse. —Apparently the Almanack was available in German at least this year.

The Beauties of Harmony, containing the rudiments of music on a new and improved plan; including, with the rules of singing, an explanation of the rules and principles of composition; together with an extensive collection of sacred music, consisting of plain tunes, fuges, antherms, &c., some of which are entirely new. By Freeman Lewis. Pittsburgh: Cramer and Spear, Franklin Head, 1820.

The United States' Spelling Book, with appropriate reading lessons: being an easy standard for spelling, reading and pronouncing the English language, according to the rules established by John Walker, in his critical and pronouncing dictionary. Pittsburgh: Cramer and Spear, Franklin Head, 1821.

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