Stephen Colbert and the Bay Psalm Book

So what, you may ask is the connection between Stephen Colbert, comedian and political satirist, and our copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the United States. (Ok, if you want to be picky, as Colbert no doubt would, its real title is “The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully TRANSLATED into ENGLISH Metre. Whereunto is prefixed a discourse declaring not only the lawfullnes, but also the necessity of the heavenly Ordinance of singing Scripture Psalmes in the Churches of God”–now you know why we call it the Bay Psalm Book)

It turns out the connection comes through the forger and murderer Mark Hoffman, whom I wrote about in a previous post. Eagle-eyed Patrick Rogers pointed out to me that Stephen Colbert appeared as an actor in the episode of Law & Order based on the Hoffman case. Our Bay Psalm Book is also connected to the Hoffman case–its ink and paper were subjected to micron milliprobe testing to determine their composition, so that a basis could be established against which to compare Hoffman’s most famous forgery, the Oath of a Freeman, supposedly printed on the same press. The long and tangled tale of Hoffman, the Oath, and our book is explained in the Friend or Faux exhibit, so perhaps Mr. Colbert would care to stop by sometime?