Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Writing the History of the American Bible Society--Update #46

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I did not do any writing yesterday, but I did work on several important things related to the ABS project. First, I established a working title: The Bible Cause: A History of the American Bible Society.  This title is bound to change, but it is the one I used in my book proposal.  My only concern with this working title is that the word "Bible" appears in both the title and the subtitle.  I am going to need to work on that.

Second, I sifted through my notes on chapter three.  This chapter focuses on the so-called "General Supply," the attempt of the ABS between 1829 and 1831 to provide a Bible for every American family. This was an amazing and bold undertaking that does get enough attention from American religious historians and historians of the early American republic.   As I write about the General Supply I also want to include some material on the local work of ABS agents, the role of women, and the ABS's use of a burgeoning American infrastructure of roads, rivers, bridges, canals, etc...  This is a lot to cover in one chapter and I am not sure I will be able to squeeze it all in.  

Third, I received more responses from agents and publishers.  Two agents turned me down stating that my book was "just not right for our list."  Another agent was very excited to receive my full proposal. A few university press editors acknowledged receipt of the proposal and a few others responded to my initial e-mail query.  (I usually don't send a proposal without a short e-mail query).  One university press editor was concerned that the ABS might try to persuade me to write in a less-critical way about the organization and wondered what this might mean for the scholarly integrity of his/her press if it should publish the book (Nevertheless, she/he was eager to see the full proposal).

I am guessing that tomorrow's update will be pretty sparse.  I have meetings at Messiah College all morning and then I will be heading off to the archives for the rest of the week.  Stay tuned.