Friday, July 29, 2016

Really Good Review of Separate Identity vol 1

Ich lese während meines Urlaubs gerade A Separate Identity: Organizational Identity Among Readers of Zion's Watch Tower: 1870-1887 von B.W. Schulz und Rachael de Vienne.

Das Buch beschreibt detailliert die Frühgeschichte der Bibelforscher-Bewegung, in welchem gesellschaftlichen und religiösen Umfeld die Familie Russells aufwuchs, und warum die Bibelforscher sich so entwickelten wie sie es taten. Ich finde die Zeit und Geschichte (natürlich auch aus persönlichen Gründen) faszinierend und habe schon eine ganze Reihe an Büchern zum Thema gelesen. Noch keins hatte diesen sachlichen und detaillierten Ansatz. Eine echte Empfehlung. Auf jeder Seite finde ich Informationen, die ich noch nicht kannte, ich behaupte, dass das etwas heißt. Das Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts um die Familie Russell erwacht regelrecht zum Leben. Alles wird mit Quellen belegt und auch einige bisherige Annahmen kritisch hinterfragt.

Das Buch erscheint nur im Selbstverlag bei

Dies ist der erste Band mit 357 Seiten, ein zweiter soll folgen.

Ich vermute, dass das Interesse nicht jeder nachvollziehen kann, aber für jemanden mit Interesse eine echte Leseempfehlung. Leider nur auf Englisch.

Die Autoren haben bereits ein etwas weniger detailliertes, aber auch interessantes Buch über Nelson Barbour, mit dem C.T.Russell zunächst zusammen arbeitete, veröffentlicht:

The Review is found here:

Temporary post

Usual rules. You may copy for personal use. Do not share with others. Understand that this is rough draft and will change. The research is incomplete. Do not rely on it. This is not the final product. I'm posting this for observations and comments. It will come down soon. The footnote links never work in blogger. Scroll down for the footnotes.

In all the Earth: China and Other Foreign Fields.

            We observed in a previous chapter that the message reached Norway though the letters of immigrants with family remaining in ‘the old country.’ The message reached India by 1883, interesting “two deeply interested Indians, one of them a preacher.”[1] These were not unique events. Russell commented on the message’s international spread:

The truth reached some of the saints in China, who rejoice in its light. The Lord wanted to gather some saints in Sweden, and he raised up some earnest Swedes in this country, who by private letters and translations communicate the good tidings to other Swedish saints. And so with the Germans. We notice also that where the seed-sowing has been most bountiful, and the largest harvest should naturally be expected, there the greatest efforts are being put forth. The most favored portion of the field seems to be this country, and next to it, Great Britain. Thus through the press, by private correspondence, by traveling brethren, and by the special efforts of those whose sphere is more limited, the Lord is carrying on his great harvest work. He is sending forth these reapers with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather his elect together.[2]

The remainder of this post was deleted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We need ...

A really good photo of William Robert Fuller, once a Methodist minister and missionary to China. Anyone?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Help with this?

Russell sent a Miss F. L. MacKenzie to China as a missionary. We need biographical details. Anyone?

We need ...

School starts soon and I'm swamped with 'planning' meetings. We need more information about this person:

Lara Lantaret Cerulli and Fanny Balmas Lugli

Just because Andrew Martin has mentioned these two women in the article "Italy 1910, Watch Tower Believers"

Property of the Private Library Emanuele Pace

Lara Lantaret Cerulli

Fanny Balmas Lugli

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Asian Griefers

The Korean, Japanese and Russian griefers and trolls are back. Nothing from them should get through onto the blog. Their comments are blocked at the gate. But if you notice something in the comment trail that doesn't belong, call it to my attention, and I'll remove it quickly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Meeting was Disappointing

         Russell visited Italy three times: in 1891, 1910, and 1912. [1] The only lecture he documents was that in 1910, and it was quite a failure.

            The lecture was planned before leaving New York. Russell had an appointment in Rome on May 1st. [2] At the end of April, while approaching Naples, Russell and his companions were advised that the lecture was arranged at the chapel of the Y.M.C.A, in Rome:

As we write we are on the Mediterranean approaching Naples, and have received advice informing us that we are advertised to speak in the city of Rome May 1st in the chapel of the Y.M.C.A. If such be the Divine will we shall be glad; if not, we shall be content and go on our journey seeking others who have a hearing ear, and for such opportunities as the Divine Providence may indicate. Of these we hope to write you later. [3]
            Someone, maybe a local Watch Tower believer, arranged the public lecture and did his best to publicize the event. A notice appeared in the Rome edition of one of the most important Italian newspapers, Il Giornale d’Italia. It reads:

EVANGELICAL LECTURES. Tomorrow May 1st 1910, at 15:00 (3:00 p.m.) Mr. Charles T. Russell from Brooklyn New York, in the hall of the Young Men’s Christian Association, via della Consulta n.67, will give a public lecture on the subject: “New Heaven and new Earth, that is, the restoration of all things – Isaiah 65:17, Acts 3:2. [4]

Il Giornale d'Italia May 30 1910

            Only eleven strangers attended. We don’t know if the lecture was given in Italian or English, but surely the weather didn’t help that day because it was inclement. Here are two reports of the day:

SUNDAY, May 1st, was spent in Rome. We had a public service which indicated the deep interest of the comparatively few present. Possibly as many grains of wheat were found as though the meeting had been larger. "The Lord knoweth them that are his." On the whole, however, the meeting was quite a disappointment and came far from fulfilling the prophesy made respecting the large attendance--based upon what were supposed to be very liberal arrangements for a large central auditorium and very liberal advertising. The dear Brother who had the matter in charge no doubt used his best judgment, but his experience in such matters was limited. We spelled our disappointment with an "H," and trusted that the Lord could and would overrule the matter according to his own wisdom. We hope to hear of further interest on the part of some present on that occasion. Our text was from Romans 1:16. [5]
Sunday, May 1 – This afternoon we heard our pastor’s discourse on Romans 1:16. It rained in torrents, but there were eleven strangers present. There is only one brother in the Truth in this place. One lady in the congregation was deeply impressed and seemed refreshed by what she had heard. Brother Russell had a talk with her and presented her with a volume. There were several also who remained to ask questions. Our train leaves at 9 p. m. for Venice. [6]
            Today Italy has the largest number of Watch Tower believers in Europe.  

My thanks to the Private Library Emanuele Pace


[1] ZWT March 1 1892, p. 71 (1376 reprint); ZWT, March 1 1910, p. 98 (4586 reprint); Souvenir Notes Bible Students Convention 1912 p. 107

[2] ZWT, April 1 1910, p. 126 (4597 reprint) - AMENDED DATES ABROAD

[3] ZWT June 1910, p. 183 (4623 reprint) - OUR VISIT TO THE LAND OF GOSHEN AND THE RED SEA

[4] Il Giornale d’Italia, April 30 1910

[5] ZWT, June 15 1910, p. 195 (4629 reprint) - BROTHER RUSSELL'S EUROPEAN TOUR

[6] Souvenir Notes Bible Students Conventions 1910, p. 48

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


1910, Watch Tower believers. Congregation of S. Germano Chisone, Piedmont, Italy.
Thanks to the Private Library Emanuele Pace

Sunday, July 17, 2016

From the comment trail ...

I found A Separate Identity to be extremely helpful in the study of the origins of the Bible Students and Russell's doctrinal development. I especially like the way this circle of Bible truth seekers is related to other similar circles of seekers during this same time period. Connections are discussed with such groups as Christadelphians, Church of God (Abrahamic Faith), Church of God Seventh Day, Advent Christian Church, as well as their leading figures who may over time moved from one circle to another. The references to the publications of these people during this time period is illuminating. It reminds one of the current use of the internet where various views of represented and participants of various groups read and comment on various "lists".

I will continue to recommend this excellent work to those who are researching these circles of Bible truth seekers.

J. Phillip Arnold, Ph.D.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

We need a volunteer

We need a volunteer to transcribe the article by Keith (A Townsman's ...) found here:

Such a nice thing to say ...

From the comment trail. I can be flattered ...

I am writing a history of my own Witness congregation, and your example of clear and accurate research has made my project much better. For example, you often talk about the importance of using original sources, and writing history that anyone else can verify. It seems so simple, but in several cases, I have found that finding the original sources has led me to modify several key sections of my work, because I was using secondary sources, which were in many cases only partly truthful, and in a few cases were clearly incorrect.

Your example has improved my project immensely. I have had several older members of the congregation react negatively to parts of the project, because what I wrote did not coincide with stories they had been passed on for years. The good news is that in almost every case, when confronted by the undeniable evidence that what I had written was true, they thanked me for clearing the matter up. In one case, another older person who did not believe what I had written is embarking on his own research to try and confirm what he believes to be true. I surprised him by encouraging him to investigate the matter fully. (He expected me to try to dissuade him.)

I want to thank you and your team, not only for your brilliant research, but also for providing me, and anyone else interested in history, an example of how to create accurate and verifiable research. You often say, "Go where the facts lead you," which sounds simple enough. But you practice what you preach, and I am grateful for your good example. And I know of many others who read the blog, but never comment, who would say the same thing.

Andrew Grzadzielewski

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rough draft, temporary post

We owe much to our blog readers and others who pointed us to documents and facts. Thanks to everyone. This is rough draft. It will change. Temporary post. You may copy for your own use, but do not share off the blog. Comments encouraged.

New Workers Enter the Field

            Mostly ignored by historians are adherent’s the efforts to spread the message through the religious press. Finding examples from the period before The Plan of the Ages was published is difficult. Most believers addressed doctrine and did not reference Russell or his associates or any of their publications. This is not surprising since affiliation was fluid and loose. Many – most in this period – who read and circulated Zion’s Watch Tower saw sectarian organization as a “mark of Babylon.”
            An article by G. W. Cone entitled “Is Christ on the Throne of David” appeared in the November 30,... Remainder of this post was deleted.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

James Augustus Weimar - By Bernard B with English language help from R.



            In the Watch Tower magazine from December 1888, we find a letter written by J. A. Weimar to C. T. Russell. Weimar lived in Connecticut, and as a minister in the German Baptist congregation he was interested in Russell’s book The Plan of Ages, which he received in July 1888 in English and German. After he had studied it, he was convienced it was the truth, and he converted.
            Dr. James Augustus Weimar was an Osteopathic physician. He told Russell that he was a German immigrant and that he studied theology in Meriden. The Watch Tower of April 25, 1894, says that his wife’s name was Elizabeth K. Using these small clues we discover that J. A. Weimar is Jacob (Jakob) August Weimar, born in October 7, 1855, in Unterheinriet (Neckarkreis), Würtemberg, Germany. He was the son of Jacob Andreas Weimar (b. 1815) and Friedriecke Eckstein. They had 4 children, two sons and two daughters. His grandparents were Andreas Weimar (Nov. 30, 1780 - Nov. 9, 1828) and Amona Sommer, and his great grandparents were Gottlieb Weimar and Anna Maria Lang.
            Jacob August emigrated to the United States in 1870, anglisizing his name to James Augustus. He met Elizabeth (Born May 1868, in Pennsylvania) whom he married in 1883, when she was fifteen. In October 1885, Lilly, their first child, was born, and their second daughter, Marie (Mamie), was born in June 1887. They lived in Maryland until 1888.
            He became a zealous evangelist. In 1889, S. D. Rogers sent Russell a report about Weimar‘s work in Detroit (Letter to Russell, WT June 1889). A letter from Weimar appeared in the same issue:
Your lines came duly to hand. I rejoice to know that you are praying the dear Lord's blessing upon me and all. Through the favor of God I am getting along pretty well in the blessed harvest work. Though my feet through the day get sore from walking so much, yet in the morning they are generally restored. I think by and by it will be better as I work myself in. I am determined to endure. My heart's desire is to esteem all things a loss, on account of the excellency of the knowledge of the Anointed Jesus, my Lord. And with my whole being I do desire to press along the line towards the prize of the high calling. My sales for the first ten days run as follows: --22, 24, 19, 18, 29, 24, 18, 18, 31, 30, total 233.

            Commenting on his letter, Russell explained:

Our readers will remember Bro. Weimar as the one who left a Baptist pulpit in Meriden, Conn., recently; going forth to preach the ‘good tidings’ without human hindrance and to a larger congregation, delivering sixteen sermons at a time, by the selling of DAWN VOL. I. His first experience, here related, is remarkably good. We know that his every sacrifice and self-denial for the truth's sake will be amply rewarded by our great Master, both with present joys and future glories.

            In October 1889, John B. Adamson wrote of Weimar: “His family are among the things to be left behind, but when we see how he loves them, his sacrifice, as seen in his long absence from them, is sweet to God.”
            Additional letters from him appear In the Watch Tower, giving us insight into his thinking: For example, he wrote: “As this is a day of rest, I have a little leisure to write. I must let you know that the words of the Holy Scriptures (1 Pet. 4:1-7) which you proclaimed on the first Lord's day of this month [Sept.] are still stimulating me for the service of the Anointed…”
            In autumn 1891, Weimar came to Pittsburgh and visited Russell in the Bible House. Weimar conducted the meeting (Watch Tower November 1891). During the troubled year 1894 when Bryan, Rogers, von Zech, Adamson and others rebelled against Russell, Weimar stayed loyal to him, as many letters in April show. Weimar is last mentioned in the 1894 Annual Report (Watch Tower, Dec 15, 1894):

Brother M. L. McPhail only has been giving all of his time to this work, and he alone has all of his expenses paid out of the Tract Society's fund, the other laborers in this branch of the service, Brothers Antoszewski, Austin, Bell, Blundin, Bohnet, Draper, Merrill, Murphy, Owen, Page, Ransom, Richards, Thorn, Webb, Weber, Weimar, West, Williams, Wise and Witter, being traveling salesmen, colporteurs or business men whose expenses are met by their business or otherwise and who delight to give an evening or a Sunday, as they can arrange it, in serving the Lord's flock--pointing to the green pastures and the still waters and feeding and rejoicing with the sheep.

            Russell saw that Weimar was loyal, zealous, and well-educated man. When (in January 5, 1895) John B. Adamson was removed as a Watch Tower Society director, Russell replaced him with James A. Weimar. He served only one year, resigning January 4, 1896, and Ernest C. Henninges succeeded him. What was the reason? Normally no one was replaced, except at death, like William MacMillan and H. Weber, or he split from Russell, like Mann, Smith.
            One reason might be that he dabbled in Spiritism. In 1897 Weimar wrote a book, which he released in August 1898, entitled The Mysteries and Revelations of Spiritism and Mediumship and Its Kindred Subjects Viewed in the Light of the Bible and Personal Investigation (Press of the Journal Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana). Weimar planned to translate it into German too. Interestingly, he used the name “Jehovah,” and he used Benjamin Wilson’s Diaglott. It shows that he had significant biblical knowledge, and he was familiar with Greek and Hebrew words. But why did he write it? He said in the foreword:

I undertook this laborious work not for my own information merely, but especially for the sake of others, who are exposed to the dangers herein mentioned, and who therefore need a helping hand. In view of this, as much as my study and ability allow, I devoted my time more fully for this purpose; attending séances, private gatherings, public meetings, in different cities and places where the various theories of Spiritism, Mediumship, and kindred subjects were seen put in practice.

            He no longer focused on evangelism, but he wanted help the demon-possessed. To this end, he exposed himself to demonic influences.

             He contacted another religious community “The Koreshan Unity,” a utopian commun formed by Cyrus Teed, who took the name "Koresh", the original Persian of his name Cyrus. The Koreshans followed Teed's beliefs, called Koreshanity. The Koreshan Unity started in the 1870s in New York, where after experiencing a late-night religious vision in his laboratory, Teed first preached his beliefs. During what he called his “illumination,” he saw a beautiful woman who revealed to him a series of “universal truths” which formed the principles of Koreshan belief.
          Weimar joined them; the exact date is unknown. His wife Elizabeth decided to divorce him. The Fort Wayne Gazette, (April 20, 1898, Page 3) said: “In the circuit court a divorce was granted yesterday to the defendant in the case of Elizabeth Weimar and James A. Weimar. The suit was brought by the wife on the ground that he had joined a religious organization believed that matrimony is a sin.” Interesting is that Weimar’s daughter Mamie stayed with him and also lived in the community.

 Mamie (Maria) Weimar

            James Augustus Weimar died October 22, 1919, in Florida and was buried on October 23. He was buried at the Koreshan Unity Cemetery (Estero, Lee, Florida), Horseshoe Bend on the River, lot 6 – Corkscrew Rd.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Please do NOT link to this blog through Facebook. Ever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Setting things straight

            A seminar on Jehovah’s Witnesses was held April last in Antwerp, sponsored by CESNUR. It drew colleagues and friends. I have five children and other responsibilities which explains why, though I was invited, I did not attend.
            Separate Identity, our book, drew some comment, some positive and some negative. Not everyone will like what they read regardless of who wrote it. Some won’t like the writing style. Some will reject conclusions that differ from their own. The criticism to which I object is the claim we do not cite opposition writers. This is false on its face. And it reflects a lack of understanding of the nature of original research. Original historical research is not based on secondary sources. It is based on original sources. These are memoirs by event participants, contemporary documents and articles in contemporary periodicals. Few opposition writers represent original sources. Reliance on them is an affectation derived from the writing style of sociologists. It is not, nor should it be, part of a historian’s kit, except when their statements are challenged or a shared conclusion is referenced.
            Contrary to the claim made by a conference attender, we reference opposition writers at least twenty-two times. Some of these are former adherents; some are not. Some claimed academic credentials but are truly polemicists. One in the final edition of his book met a high academic standard but is still an opposition writer.
            Why anyone would trash our book, no matter how politely, with this false claim puzzles me. Herewith is the list of opposition writers we cite in footnotes and text:
1. R Bowman and A. Gomes – page 81; 2. G. Burns – page 256. 3. W. T Conner – page 178; 4. C. C. Cook – page 178; 5. J. V. Coombs – page 51; 6. R. W. Coon – page 51; 7. M. D. Curry, Jr. – page 175; 8. C. G. Falkner – page 306; 9. W. Gavin – page 232; 10. D. Graham – page 60; 11. E. Gruss – pages 210, 329, 332; 12. J. Haughlen – page 234; 13. C. O. Johnson and J. Penton – page 168; 14. Morris and Kross – page 232; 15. A. T. Rogerson – page 179; 16. J. J. Ross – page 51; 17. T. T. Shields – Page 314; 18. F. Springmeir – page 193; 19. E. Young – page 51.
            With the exception of Wikipedia nonsense, we felt no need to footnote controversialist web pages of little to no worth. We stand by that decision. None of them are original source material. In those few cases where original source material is reproduced online, we cite it in the usual way.
            There may be more examples but my memory suggests only three: On page 185, footnote 12 we cite Lottie F. Warner’s diary which is found online; on page 203 we cited Early Lives of Andrew and Lydia Ann Beeman, reproduced online; on page 257 we cite a Davies family memoir also found online. These are original sources.

Saturday, July 9, 2016



(see WT March 15, 1918 page 94)

See Alfred Garcia (as Satan) tempt F.A. Turner (as King Herod)

An article on this film, premiered at an IBSA convention in 1918 is to follow in due course.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Card from Russell to Edith Weber, Daughter of WT Vice President

Selling this on ebay to help pay for medical expediences.

French language Songbooks

Miquel has kindly sent me some photographs of historical French language Songbooks that have come to hand.

This songbook, a second edition printing from 1919 corresponds to one of the Zion's Glad Songs series.

This 1928 songbook corresponds with the 1928 Songs of Praise to Jehovah, which basically replaced Hymns of Millennial Dawn for IBSA meetings.

This 1948 songbook corresponds with the 1944 Kingdom Service Songbook, which was the book released for when singing was reintroduced at general congregation meetings.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

While I'm busy with other things ...

You can get excited over this one ...

We're selling this to pay Aunt S's medical expenses. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Don't get TOO excited...

As seen on Ebay

The blurb reads:

Don't get TOO excited, this is a nicely bound copy of a photocopy (of a photocopy) of the original 1880 volume. Check the photographs carefully. Someone had a photocopy of the book (two pages to a sheet) and it was heavily underlined. The photocopies were all then folded in two and "perfect bound" together. It means that you have two pages of text, and then two blank pages throughout the book, so the width of the volume is twice the normal size. What you are buying here is basically a nicely bound volume to go in the bookcase; something that LOOKS good, but ultimately is just a so-so copy of J H Paton's work.