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I am in New York City this week doing research at the international headquarters of the American Bible Society at 1865 Broadway. After I got myself settled, chatted with ABS historian Mary Cordato and librarian/archivist Kristin Hellman, and located the bottomless coffee pot in the lobby atrium, I was ready to dig into the early editions of the ABS Quarterly Extracts. (These later became the Bible Record. I am reading these periodicals to get a sense of Bible dissemination in the early republic at the grass roots level. The Extracts are filled with reports from ABS auxiliary Bible societies located throughout the country. Some of it is a bit dry, but every now and then I run across a nice anecdote or story that I might be able to use in the book. Mary Cordato (who has graciously let me share her office) promises they will get more interesting as I read deeper into the 19th century.
Mary also took me into the board room where I got to see the painting of Elias Boudinot that has sat in every ABS Bible house since the organization was founded. Boudinot is flanked by portraits of John Jay and Richard Varick (both ABS presidents). One apparently needs security clearance to get in this room, but I will leave that story for the book. I am thinking about starting the first chapter with a discussion of this wall-size portrait.
Overall it was a productive day. I had hoped to read through at least three years of the Extracts today, but I only got through two. I think I should be able to cover more ground tomorrow. Stay tuned.