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Peel 209

Evans, James (1801-1846) [info]. Cree syllabic hymn book. Norway House, NWT: [Rossville Mission Press, 1841].
Physical description: 23 p.; 22 cm.
Language: Cree
This is said to have been the first book printed in Western Canada; 100 copies were made. Evans invented a system of writing for the Cree nation. He made letter moulds from oak, type metal from the lead of bullets and tea-chest linings, and ink from chimney soot. Also published, Norway House, Man., Wesleyan Missionary Society, Rossville Mission Press, 1841 (20p.; bound in elkskin wrapper with a syllabary on front and back covers, with each sign repeated.). Text in Cree syllabics. Also published in facsimile, with English translation by Raymond B. Horsefield, edited by Margaret V. Ray, as Cree syllabic hymn book , Toronto: [Bibliographical Society of Canada], 1954 (23p.). For a listing of the imprints of the Rossville Mission Press see Bruce Peel, "Rossville Mission Press: Press, prints, and translators" in Papers of the Bibliographic Society of Canada , vol.1, 1962, pages 28-43. See also Bruce Peel, "Frustrations of the missionary-printer of Rossville: Reverend William Mason" in Bulletin of the Committee on Archives of the United Church of Canada , no.18, 1965, pages 20-25 and Roger Burford-Mason, Travels in the shining island: The story of James Evans and the invention of the Cree syllabary alphabet , Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 1996.
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