Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From the Comment Trail

A brief mention of Viola Gilbert from a chapter on the book Plan of the Ages:



Bill Arp’s endorsement was used to promote the book to other editors.


Charles Henry Smith, Writing as Bill Arp, Reviewed
The Plan of the Ages for the Atlanta Constitution
[Photo]

A Viola Gilbert, the widow of a wealthy New Yorker,[1] used it to approach The Brooklyn Eagle. Her success was limited, however. The paper only printed a single sentence: “Viola Gilbert, New York, announces “Millennial Dawn, the Plan of the Ages,” which is vouched for by no less a journalistic authority than “Bill Arp.”[2] Following her February 1888 endorsement of Millennial Dawn, she organized a meeting at Cooper Union. The New York Daily Tribune reported:

Mrs. Viola Gilbert spoke in the large meeting-room at Cooper Union yesterday on “The Plan of the Ages,” and explained by means of charts her ideas of the restitution of man to his original normal spiritual condition. Mrs. Gilbert is a slender woman, with a head that an artist would long to paint. She has mobile, refined and delicate features, while she speaks with an emotion that tends to carry conviction. The fall of man she interpreted for mankind’s good, as because of it man is to be restored, not only to the plane from which Adam fell, but it is to be elevated to a spiritual and finally a divine plane. The evangelistic services conducted by Mrs. Gilbert are made interesting from the delicacy, grace and tact with which she conducts them The millennium exists around man now, she holds, and all that he needs to realize it is to place himself in harmony with the Divine mind. This will result in physical as well as spiritual health.[3]


[1]               Viola Gilbert’s name does not appear in Zion’s Watch Tower, and little is known about her. A letter from her to the editor of The New York Times appears in the April 13, 1899, issue. She signed herself as “Viola Gilbert, Evangelist.” The letter was a comment on wife-beating as endorsed by a judge in St. Louis. She published at least one tract against Christian Science after having “studied with” Mary Baker Eddy. The Christian Science Church denied the claim that she had studied with Eddy. (Letter to “Mul,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 26, 1901.) She did not continue her association with Zion’s Watch Tower, but remained independent until 1902 when she re-joined Plymouth Church, New York City. (The New York Sun, May 5, 1902)
                Gilbert rejected inherent immortality doctrine. In 1890 she preached at Zion’s Temple on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, often on topics familiar to Second Adventists and Age-to-Come believers. Gilbert was noted for standing on the street representing her pet causes by holding a tall cross festooned with purple streamers. A reporter for the New York Sun wrote: “Her refined appearance and her tall cross with its purple streamers and urgent message attracted the attention of even the least observant of the throngs of shippers hurrying by.” (See the October 6, 1901, issue.) By 1891 she was involved with the Progressive Party and a delegate to the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends. She is quoted in the report as saying: “I have worked in the missionary field a long time, have pointed out the way to Christ to many different persons, but they can't live on faith. The condition of affairs is constantly growing worse. I see before us a great revolution. The rich are growing richer and the poor poorer. Faith and works must go together.” – Report, page 72.
[2]               Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 5, 1888. Untitled paragraph.
[3]               Explaining the “Divine Plan of the Ages,” The New York Daily Tribune, March 16, 1888.

2 comments:

roberto said...

Super stellar

Anonymous said...

One has only got to ask and you get an answer. Thank you, my curiosity is fulfilled. Fascinating.