The Sinner’s Help

Unknown, The Sinner’s Help (London: Religious Tract Society, 1842), 2nd edn. Book, Gall type. Dimensions: 118 x 372 x 14mm (open)

RNIB Collection Acc No: L1/10.

Unknown, The Sinner’s Help (London: Religious Tract Society, 1842), 2nd edn. Book, Gall type. Dimensions: 118 x 372 x 14mm

Credit RNIB

The Sinner’s Help includes a code to the embossed alphabet it uses, a standard textual apparatus of early embossed books, whilst its content, in emphasising man’s propensity to sin, exemplifies the promotion of embossed books by evangelical institutions. James Gall recalled how in 1831 he was approached by the Secretary of the Indigent Blind in London to share information about his system, which he readily supplied. Although embossed systems were commonly identified with particular institutions and places, this book, published in Gall type by the London Religious Tract Society, demonstrates the geographical cross-fertilisation of embossed alphabetic systems.

Object description:

This book is open on the first page of text. The left hand page has been torn at the top left hand corner and a portion, approximately 2cm by 2cm is missing. The page displays three versions of the alphabet (with all 26 letters plus an additional ampersand) in raised type, as well as a line of numbers 1 to 0 in raised type. The embossed letters are formed of fretted, rather than continuous, lines. The alphabet displayed across the top three lines of the page is approximately 1.5 times the size of the second and third versions: the letters are an adaptation of the Roman alphabet in lower case. This alphabet is repeated on the fourth and fifth lines at a reduced scale. A similar but not identical alphabet is displayed across the sixth and seven lines, containing letters from the Roman alphabet in upper case. At the bottom of the page the embossed numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 are displayed. The right hand page contains embossed text produced in the same size as the second version of the alphabet on the left hand page (an adaptation of the Roman alphabet in lower case). It is set out over 10 lines: an underlined title, an indented first line and 8 lines justified to the left. The text is also justified to the right. The text reads: ‘The Sinner’s Help. [new line] O Man, Thou Art Undone. [new line] Thou art guilty. Thou state is [new line] wretched: thy situation is [new line] dangerous. Standing on the [new line] verge of eternity, thou liest [new line] open to the stroke of death [new line] & destruction. The thread of [new line] life is slender: the threat of death is cer- [new line] tain. The time none can tell [end line] [end description].

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