Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Writing a History of the American Bible Society--Update #47

Immigrants and ABS agents at Ellis Island
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I am back at the American Bible Society archives in New York City. Yesterday was a travel day, but I did manage to get some work done on the ABS book project.  First, I had a good meeting with my research assistant Katie Garland.  If you have been reading these updates you know that Katie is working on the history of the ABS between 1865 and 1918.  In the course of our meeting we developed several important themes that we want to cover in this period.  They are:

  • Race, Reconstruction, and the development of a "colored" Bible society in 1901
  • The ABS strategy for dealing with urbanization and immigration at the turn of the 20th century
  • The ABS and the West, with particular focus on outreach to Chinese immigrants
  • Changes in the governance and structure at the ABS that reflect larger American patterns of nationalism and active government.
  • Bible translation issues
We do not think that we will have a chapter for every one of these themes, but all of them will certainly be covered in one way or another.

Katie and I also talked about whether the book should cover every detail of the history of the ABS or focus instead on  a few major themes without trying to be comprehensive.  I think we are going to go for the second option. Stay tuned.

Second, there were more developments on the publishing front today.  Things are looking good at the moment.  I hope to have something to announce on this front very soon.