Sunday, April 21, 2013

A statement

We haven’t had to restate "the rules" for some time. And I suppose that’s not exactly what I’m doing now. We post minor bits of our research on this blog. Serious research goes up on our private blog for review by a group of knowledgeable, interested readers.

We write history books. Our research supports our own writing. We’re not here to support your projects. That doesn’t mean we’re not happy to hear from blog readers. It means we cannot further your project beyond a general answer to your questions unless we’re receiving significant material from you in return.

I don’t care who you know or who you pretend to represent. I don’t care who your "important friend" may be. None of that will gain you special access to our research or draw us off into controversy with you. Our sole interest is in accurate research. If you have something to contribute, or a correction to make, or want to offer help, I’m more than happy to hear from you.

As an aside, no member of the Governing Body would send you to us back channel. Don’t take that tack with us. It will make me raise my eyebrows, but it won’t get you access to aspects of our research we haven’t published here. The Watch Tower Society knows Mr. Schulz’ address and its representatives are perfectly capable of asking their own questions.

There are older bits of research we’ve left up on this blog. Be aware that some of it may be dated. We are far beyond what remains on this blog, but we don’t post it here. We stopped posting updates here because some used our research as if it were their own discoveries and because of low-grade harassment by religious zealots.

Our work in progress is two thirds done, and we’re at 220,000 words including a mass of footnotes. There will be many never seen or seldom seen photos. It presents a new approach to the era between 1870 and 1887. There will be things you’ve never seen or heard of. We think it will change the approach to this era of Watch Tower history.

We tackle a series of mythologies built up around Russell. When it is finally published and you read it, don’t ignore the footnotes. Most are just references, but if you don’t read them you’ll miss interesting things. (Millennial Dawn evangelist arrested for threats is an example). We identify people left unnamed in official histories, telling their stories. We tell you about the criminal behavior of one of Russell’s associates. (a dirty rascal indeed!) But be aware that we’re writing well researched history, not a scandal rag, and we’re not parroting the anti-Russell or pro-Russell mythologies that abound.

We draw almost exclusively from contemporary sources, including letters and personal papers of the principals. So much for that.

Ultimately, how we respond to an email from you depends on how you present yourself. We size you up by what you write. Think about that before you send me an email.

Don't name drop.

My answer to a recent email:

I forwarded your email to Mr. Schulz. The information on our public blog about William Imre Mann is old research, and we have updated it since. We do not have a photo for him. If the Watchtower Society has questions about the first Watch Tower directors they may contact Mr. Schulz directly. They have his address.

Mr. Schulz has been a Witness since 1952 or earlier. I am a simple historian with a religion of my own. Personally, I'm reluctant to share our hard won research without an expectation of reciprocity. Mr. Schulz is more giving than I am.

We have some photos of Russell's early associates, but though we've searched for Mann's we haven't located one. We don't have Simon Osborne Blunden's photo or that for J. F. Smith, though we have a photo of his place of business and some letters he wrote. William C. McMillan's personal records have come our way in a limited way. We have H. B. Rice's photo; several for Paton; B. W. Keith's photo; original letters by and a photo of Sunderlin.

As I said above, if the Watch Tower needs this information, they should contact Mr. Schulz directly. We no longer post significant research to our public blog because of harassment from various sources and the unattributed use of our research. All our current research goes up on an invitation only blog.

We are no longer taking requests for access from people we do not know. Access is open to professional historians who we many know personally or individuals who come with a recomendation from someone we know and who can contribute in a meaningful way to our current research.

R. M. de Vienne

Sunday, April 14, 2013

help with this?

We need the first name of Mrs. Bell, the wife of Rev. William Bell, head master of Dover College, Dover, Kent, England, in the 1880s.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Can you help with this ...?

One of those who read our history blogs needs a really clear, color scan of the 1931 Convention Program. Anyone?

that was quick! thanks

Joseph Dunn

We need solid biographical information about Joseph Dunn, apparently a clergyman, living in Hague, New York, in 1901. Anyone?