Saturday, June 21, 2014

On Writing a History of the American Bible Society--Update #7

John Jay was the first Vice President of the ABS
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After a disappointing Thursday, Friday turned out to be a rather productive day of work on my history of the American Bible Society (ABS) project.  I spent most of the day reading and organizing things in preparation for a week in the ABS archives.  This required skimming hundreds of pages of essays written in the 1960s by ABS historians and librarians.  These essays, which are kept in about forty blue three-ring binders in the ABS library, are full of primary source material that will be useful to my work. (They have been digitized and made available to me). I now have a pretty clear sense of what sources I need to examine during my visits to the ABS and what sources I can read from home.

I also continued my work on the founders of the ABS.  I have decided to limit the "founders" of the organization to the delegates from local Bible societies who were present at the May 1816 meeting in which the ABS was founded, the first group of officers, and the first Board of Managers.  Last night I tried to identify the political affiliations of these founders and found an overwhelming number of Federalists, men with Federalist ties, and former Federalists (National Republicans).  I was glad that this effort proved successful.  I now think I can make a very strong argument that the founders of the American Bible Society were Christian nationalists.

Stay tuned.