The Knowledge of our End

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This 20-page soft-bound pamphlet contains a sermon by Thomas Wells Bray on “The Knowledge of our End, with the Advantage and Importance of it” delivered during the funeral for 20-year-old Yale student Abel Chittenden in 1770. The Puritan faith stressed that living a good life was important because one faced judgment after death, and this sermon is a memento mori, a reminder that all must die.
The Copp Collection contains about 150 books of early American imprint and shows a wide range of reading matter typical of a New England Puritan family living in a port town. Literacy was expected of many New Englanders, as Puritan doctrine required everyone to read the Bible. The abundance of multiple Bibles, psalms, hymnodies, sermons, and morality tales reflects the Copp’s religious beliefs. Other highlights of the library include the works of Shakespeare, almanacs, historical and political texts, and travel narratives.
The Copp Collection contains a variety of household objects that the Copp family of Connecticut used from around 1700 until the mid-1800s. Part of the Puritan Great Migration from England to Boston, the family eventually made their home in New London County, Connecticut, where their textiles, clothes, utensils, ceramics, books, bibles, and letters provide a vivid picture of daily life. More of the collection from the Division of Home and Community Life can be viewed by searching accession number 28810.
Currently not on view
overall 3 pamphlets stuck together: 13 1/2 in x 7 1/8 in; 34.29 cm x 18.0975 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of John Brenton Copp
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Cultures & Communities
Copp Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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