Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Inside Bible House 1889-1908

Several in the comment trail and back-channel have enquired about the rooms inside the Bible House and asked if photographs exist.

With very grateful thanks to Bernhard (who has done all the work on this), below is a picture of the building along with seventeen extra photographs taken at the site prior to the move to Brooklyn in 1909. Ideally, you will need to transfer the graphic into a program like Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and then you can increase it to a readable size. You can also then select and separate the individual photographs if you wish.

Some additional comments about the second floor of the building will follow this.

The previous description of Bible House mentioned that the second floor was rented out for commercial purposes. This information came from Dr Leslie Jones (who produced the convention reports 1904-1916). His memories of visiting Bible House and the layout were written in 1929. However, it seems that only part of the floor was rented out because Watch Tower offices like the Colporteur Department were on this floor. Below is a picture of part of the second floor from both outside and inside the building to establish this.

However, a check of trade directories of the day show that various businesses, including insurance and music teaching, as well as some probably connected to CTR at some point, were also carried on from the Arch Street address. So it would seem the second floor was used by both the Watch Tower Society and other interests. With over 2500 square feet per floor it would be large enough to accommodate both.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

End of Bible House

Probably from the Pittsburgh Press in 1963 and probably written by George Swetnam, this is the story about the end of the Bible House building.

With grateful thanks to S P Olsen who sent it in.

Location of Bible House

In response to the question on the previous post on Bible House, I have been sent a map of modern Allegheny/Pittsburgh, where the red dot shows the former location of the building. The nearest street is West Commons Street.

You may need to enlarge the picture to see the streets more clearly.

For these kind of queries I can recommend the book 'Watch Tower of Allegheny Historical Tour' which is available from Amazon and other places. Google and ye shall find.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

From Andrew

Click on image to see the whole thing ...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bible House - 1889-1908

The building frontage at 610 Arch Street was 13 meters wide, and the depth of the building was 18 meters. In the 1920s the frontage was completely redesigned, and then the original building was swept away in redevelopment around the early 1960s.

The original building was a double store building, with a basement and then three floors above the stores. The basement was used for general shipping purposes, and then the first floor (what Brits would call the ground floor) was the two stores. The one on the left of the picture was used for folding and mailing Towers, books, Bibles, and mottoes etc. The store on the right was the show room. Here Bibles and other supplies were displayed in cases so that the public could come in off the street and purchase. Also in this store on the right, visitors to the Bible House were received. CTR's secretary usually occupied a desk near the window in the front of this store, while CTR had a private office back at about the middle of the store, where he would come each afternoon to sign letters, etc. However, his main office or study was up on the fourth floor, off the living room.

The second floor was generally not used for Bible Student purposes directly and was rented out for revenue.

The third floor was the Chapel, a large room that could hold between three and four hundred people. There was a large motto at the back of the pulpit reading “One is Your Master Even Christ.” All the other panels on the walls contained painted mottos in color. Most photographs of CTR preaching in “the chapel” are actually later ones taken at the Brooklyn Tabernacle where they moved in early 1909, but this was closely modelled on the Bible House.

The fourth and top floor had a number of rooms. Coming off the stairs you would enter the living room where the Bible House Family had their daily morning worship as well as other gatherings. Off the living room was the dining room with a long table to accommodate the family and visitors. Also on this top floor was CTR’s private study and the living quarters for those who were resident.

Some floors were connected through speaking tubes.

Note: the main source for most of the above is Dr Leslie Jones, who produced the convention reports from 1904-1916, writing in 1929.


Leslie Jones noted that the frontage had been completed redesigned when he visited in 1929. This is how the building looked in 1937.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The True Prince of the Peace

Italy, January 1916
This booklet was made up of 28 pages. There is the same picture of Jesus of the Greek handbill

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Meal Tickets

With grateful thanks to Mike Castro, below are the three convention programs that mention the special meal tickets, one of which features in the previous post. The programs from top to bottom are 1935, 1931 and 1928.

Then below the programs is a photo of an original printing block that was used for the logo.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blog readership is slowly increasing ...

but we would like more comments.

Temporary post ... Lawver, Foore

This is an update of part of a chapter entitled Seeking Cohesion, parts of which were posted before. This is a temporary post; most of it will go away in a few days. Comments welcome, wanted, needed or what ever prompts you to leave one

J. S. Lawver and John C. Foore.       

J. S. Lawver’s preaching tour was announced in Zion’s Watch Tower, and we can suppose sympathy to the Watch Tower message. Calling him “Brother Lawver,” Russell noted his evangelical tour planned for mid-1882: “Bro. Lawver of Missouri starts about July first, for a trip through Kansas and Texas. Letters, requests for preaching, may be addressed to this office.”[1] Russell included him with other Watch Tower evangelists such as Keith and Sunderlin. Interestingly, his trip is reported in The Restitution as well.[2] Some overlap, sometimes a considerable overlap, in teaching and evangelism between Watch Tower and Restitution evangelists continued into the 1890s.

The remainder of this post has been deleted.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We need a volunteer

            We need a volunteer willing to spend a little of his own money. Are you still reading?
            The Archives of Ontario has two documents related to Rex v. J. J. Ross, the criminal libel trial of a Baptist preacher brought by Russell. We’re committed to finishing volume 2 of Separate Identity. All our time and money is committed to that. We need someone willing to acquire and scan for us the two documents. They are:

    J.G. Farmer, Barrister, Hamilton: Rex vs. Ross- Query re his right to cross- examine chief Crown witness in libel case. (Includes a pamphlet on "Pastor" Charles T. Russell).
Dates of Creation: 1912
Physical Description: 1 file of textual records
Notes: See also RG 22-392-0-6742 (the indictment).
Creator Code:  1711
This file or item forms a part of the following group of records: RG 4-32 Attorney General Central Registry Criminal and Civil Files

Defendant: Ross, John Jacob; Charged with Defamatory Libel (against Pastor C.T. Russell): Wentworth County
Dates of Creation: 1913
Physical Description: 1 file of textual records
File/Item Ref. Code: RG 22-392-0-6742
This file or item forms a part of the following group of records: RG 22-392 Criminal Assize Clerk criminal indictment files
Restrictions on the Group of Records of which this File/Item forms a Part Originals are closed for conservation reasons. Researchers must use microfilm copies.
Location and Ordering Information
File is located on self- service microfilm reel MS 8529 Note this information for retrieval of this item. To help you find what you need, also note the File/Item Ref. Code and/or the Creator Ref. shown above.

Contact information for Ontario Archives is:

Mailing Address:

The Archives of Ontario
134 Ian Macdonald Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M7A 2C5

Email Address:

Fax Number: 416-327-1999

Sunday, November 13, 2016

In this morning's email

I don't have permission to publish this, so I'm omitting the names. Some of you would know them. The writer is a COG-GC historian. The 'sender' mentioned in the email is a Christadelphian editor and historian. Nice things in this:

Raechel, P----- H------ sent me a pdf of your 2014 book, A Separate Identity.  I have read everything with great interest (of course).  You and Bruce are excellent writers, and you have a way of digging out the whole truth and explaining it in simple terms.  I so appreciate your writings.  I have not found anyone who could differentiate between Adventism and ATC* (except me), but Bruce did!  I think that story needs to be repeated until Church historians finally realize not every churchman in the 19th c who believed in the second coming was an Adventist!!
So, Thank you for your monumental research and careful writing.  P---- only sent me 70 pages of the pdf, to the end of the first chapter!!  I would like to have a whole book, or whole file!!

*ATC = "Age to Come."

Friday, November 11, 2016

Benjamin Wilson and the Christadelphians

I think some of you forgot this paragraph from Separate Identity:

Christadelphian Connections

            A number of writers postulate a Christadelphian connection. Among more modern writers one finds repeated references to Benjamin Wilson as a Christadelphian. Russell, they say, got his ideas from Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, and Wilson was a Christadelphian. This is a fable. Wilson, son of an Oxford professor of Greek and an immigrant to North America, was associated first with the Campbellites. He was attracted to John Thomas’ teachings but he and Thomas quickly parted company. Thomas was bitter and vituperative. Newell Bond addressed the issue in a letter to Thomas dated October 29, 1866, pointing to Thomas’ “sarcasm and [the] sport made of others who have believed and obeyed the same Gospel.” Such “go not very far with candid, thinking men as arguments in defense of the truth,” Bond wrote. Thomas’ reply was that Wilson was “of that class I am commanded to avoid.” He called Wilson a “rabid politician” and one of “the world’s own.” “I repudiate in toto the idea of such having like precious faith with the Apostles.” Thomas did not see Wilson as a Christadelphian. Wilson repudiated the association. Not at all ashamed of his repeated ad hominem attacks, Thomas published the letters for all to read.[1]

[1]               N. Bond and J. Thomas: Important Correspondence Between a Member of the Self-Styled “Church of God,” Cleveland, Ohio, and John Thomas, M. D., Christadelphian Association, Detroit, Michigan, 1867. Wilson repudiated Christadelphian connections in an interview with J. Bohnet published in the April 4, 1916, issue of The Saint Paul, Minnesota, Enterprise.

A recent comment on a review of Separate Identity has queried the statement in that book that Benjamin Wilson of the Diaglott was NOT a Christadelphian. In the April 4, 1916 issue of the St Paul Enterprise newspaper, on the front page, Bible Student J Adam Bohnet described one of several visits he made on Wilson, where the question was asked outright - are you a Christadelphian? Wilson replied that he was not a member of any organized religion. His whole background as one of the strands in the Church of God/One Faith movement was against organization and long before this interview he had accused the Christadelphians and Thomas of being sectarian. (For details see Biographical Encyclopedia Chronicling the History of the Church of God Abrahamic Faith, page 293).

The article from the St Paul Enterprise is posted below. I have omitted the middle section which is mainly a theological debate on Wilson's and CTR's differing views on the ransom.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A little more ... also temporary

Signs in the Heavens
Pretend and real heavenly events panicked those who looked for signs in the sun, moon and stars. On September 6, 1881, the skies over New England, Vermont and New Hampshire – over two hundred thousand square miles – turned yellow. The cause was uncertain, though probably a forest fire in the wilds of Northern Canada. This was startling event. Yellow haze hung in the upper atmosphere undisturbed by a steady breeze. In some areas the haze reached the ground. Schools were dismissed and workers sent home or work proceeded under candle light. Chickens roosted, night insects chirped, birds slept. While some saw it as an interesting phenomenon needing a good, scientific explanation, many panicked. The Friends Intelligencer said: “Among those who apprehended that the weird prophecies of the seers of Israel concerning the earth’s destruction are to find literal fulfillment in our day there was general apprehension that the last day of the human race had come.”[1]

The rest of this post has been deleted.

Another Old Theology Quarterly

Now on ebay

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Temporary Post

Usual rules. You can save it for your own use. Do not rely on this; it is work in progress and some of this will change. B says to post this. I'm doing this against my better judgment. A comment would be nice.

Approach to Eighteen Eighty-One

The subject we consider in this chapter is much distorted without context. America with much of the Christian world was religious. Faith was serious business. If churches differed in doctrine, sometimes hated each other condemning others to a fiery Hell – Protestants listened to the Scripture’s prophetic voice. Historians who write about this period tend to focus on extremist and Adventist movements. But interest in prophecy was not limited to fringe movements. It was a main-stream phenomenon. Baptists of various stripe, Anglicans, Presbyterians and nearly everyone else had well defined interest in prophetic fulfillment. Some Catholic writers believed Christ’s return impended. In 1881, a French priest, Charles Arminjon, published a series of lectures predicting the near return of Jesus, translated into English and published at The End of the Present World, and the Mysteries of the Future Life.
Despite an emerging shift of focus from awaiting Christ’s return to curing social issues, most American and British Christians remained expectant.
Worldwide people expected key events, prophetic fulfillments for 1881. 
The rest of this post has been deleted.