Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Never ever ...

Never underestimate the importance of what may seem merely interesting, even trivial. One of the recent letters posted here changed a paragraph in a key chapter for volume 2. The change is only by two sentences, but we may add more later.

Send us your stuff. We usually post it. Thanks to everyone who has sent material recently.

And thanks to the person who pointed us  to some letters from the 1930s. We can't use those now, but assuming we don't die before we get that far, they will be important later.

Can you translate this? [click image to view entire]

Can we date this post card?

Can you translate and date these? [Click to see full image]

Monday, January 30, 2017

Elie Jerville

Elie Jerville was a French Bible Student who was well-known in his day. Franco has kindly sent some correspondence Jerville received between 1909-1914.

He is reportedly mentioned in the French edition of Watch Tower in July 1910 (attending a meeting) and March 1911 (speaking at the funeral of J B Tillman). There is also a letter from him in the standard American issue of Watch Tower for June 15, 1916 (reprints page 5915). Under the heading LETTERS FROM FRENCH BRETHREN Jerville wrote:

In accordance with the invitation of dear Brother Russell in his wonderful and comforting article on "Divine Love," published in the last July French TOWER, I am intending to write to him.

May the God of all grace and peace be with each of you in your activity for the Lord's cause, till by and by above we shall sing an everlasting alleluia to the honor and glory of our great Creator!

ELIE JERVILLE, Corporal at Bailleul.--Northern France.

Jerville survived the war, but appears to have left fellowship with the parent Watch Tower/IBSA after the death of CTR.

In reverse order, there is a letter written by CTR to Jerville in 1914. Dated 22 July 1914, there is an error in the address, the city is not Rouboix but Roubaix, but the letter obviously reached its destination.

Prior to this letter, Jerville received a postcard dated March 23, 1913, which is signed by three names, Weber, Boillet and Freytag.

Prior to this postcard, Jerville received a postcard , dated February 6, 1909, signed by (Adolphe) Weber.

I am afraid that I failed all my exams in the French language very many years ago, but some enterprising reader might like to copy the cards, increase their size to make them readable and translate for us.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


from Franco

In French-speaking Switzerland, in 1914-1915, postcards were distributed or mailed to potentially interested parties. One side featured a landscape picture, while the other side was an invitation to attend a "religious conference", at a given time and location.

Some examples of these materials are below:

Monday, January 23, 2017

From Franco

Invitation to attend first Italian Convention.

Click on image to see entire.

Franco sent this photo too. Same convention:

The Rules

            It’s time I restate the rules. This is a history blog. It is not social media. It exists solely to provide a platform for research sharing and discussion. Do not sell your products or services through the comment trail.
            All parties are welcome here. I do not allow personal invective or disputes about doctrine. There are other forums for that. Use those. This is not a forum for social, cute, interesting stories. It is only a history blog. However, Rachael has a mostly neglected personal blog that often posts interesting stories. You have one to tell, contact her. There is no promise from her to publish it.
            We are open to questions, but it is unlikely we can accept research requests. The most you will get from us, if we don’t have a ready answer, is posting your question on the blog.
            This blog thrives on comments. If you find it interesting, say so. Never presume we know what you know.
            We are open to short articles by others. They must be well researched, footnoted and factual. We do not accept an article that is only a quotation from an old Watch Tower. Those are rejected out of hand. We expect an article that informs. We are willing to work with you if English is not your first language, and you need grammar or structural help.
            Rachael has complained before about Korean trolls. We still get Korea Telecom visits, but they cannot post. If you come here to troll or spam, you will not find a welcome home.
            A blog is not the best resource. If you find something here you wish to use, consult the original source. We often note those. Citing a blog in a footnote is usually not best practice. If you do cite this blog use the usually accepted format.
            You can throw what ever temper tantrum you wish in email. I will block your comments here if you attempt to use our blog to vent your spleen against a religion, individual or group.

            We expect that those who read this blog and our books are adults with adult capabilities. If you find something in an article here or in one of the books that piques your interest and we did not footnote a general comment, assume some responsibility and research it.
            We only footnote original sources or authors we quote. We do not footnote every general comment. We write to an American academic standard. That includes our footnotes. We do not write to give every misguided polemicist a voice. You want to read their work? You explore on your own. I’m not your mother, and neither is Rachael. We expect you to use sound judgment and to have a sense of self-responsibility.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Because someone asked

Recent from Spain. Do you know each other?

Wishful Thinking

We have one or two reactions of the 1881 failure of expectations. Do you have more? Probably do not exist, but we're asking anyway.

Andrew Pierson

The comment trail for the post on General Hall discussed how Andrew Pierson, who was briefly vice-president of the Watch Tower Society, ended his days in sympathy with a non-IBSA group, who reported on his funeral.

Pierson was a horticulturist by trade or profession, much like an earlier director of the Society, Henry Weber.

When Andrew Pierson died he made the news in the New York post. Two cuttings are below. One shows that George Fisher took his funeral. When the PBI magazine reviewed the funeral, they omitted to say who conducted the service. Maybe thereby hangs a tale. Probably of most interest is the second cutting, which suggests Pierson's beliefs in the early 1920s, somewhat akin to the Millions campaign.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Daniele Rivoire 1858-1911


Daniele Rivoire (Daniel Jean-Paul Rivoire) was born in Angrogna, Piedmont, Turin, Italy on 1 Feb 1858 to Jean Rivoire and Catherine Gaydou. He passed away on 3 Sept. 1911 in Altadena, Los Angeles, California, USA

ZWT February 1, 1905, p. 47, reads:

By this time I hope you will have received the 500 volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN in Italian. I hope you are satisfied with the print and binding of the volumes. We have tried to do our best, and have had experiences that will be useful in future. Although ill, but now, thank God, a little better, I have never ceased to be occupied with the work, and the Lord has blessed it. To the many letters and cards that I could send you, there is one most rejoicing and very important of the Pastor Giuseppe Bauchetti, doctor of letters and philosophy, a very learned man, who with child-like simplicity has received Present Truth and is ready to give testimony. After reading the two volumes in French, he has bought all the other books in English, and he has so learned that tongue as to be able to understand the third, fourth, fifth and sixth volumes. Others have started to study the French, it being much easier for them than the English volumes. Brother Bauchetti is wishing to write to you personally to express his admiration and gratitude for having freed him of many terrible doubts and made to shine in his heart such bright light and assurance and inexpressible joy. I am busy selecting in each of the principal towns a brother who will sell the books and endeavor to spread the Truth. I need not tell you how orthodoxy and traditionalism are making war on us, but in all humility and not trusting in ourselves, we are ready to go on, confidently trusting in him who said, "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."Last week I had occasion to visit two districts of the Waldensian valleys, and I never expected to find among people that pretend to be Christians such deadly sleep as I found there. Some watchful ones, however, are to be found here and there, and they quite readily accept the food so long desired. Expressing to you my gratitude and that of all the brothers and sisters for all that you are doing for us, I remain yours most humbly in the Lord,

Follows full article.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Very, Very Temporary Post - A chapter from volume three.

Usual rules: You may save for your own use. Do not share it. If you come late to the party, contact me, and I may send you a copy. This was written 2 years ago. It is due for updates. Do not rely on it; it will likely change in the final version.

I'm posting this for comments and reactions. If you know something or have a resource we do not, please share it in the comment trail.

Advertising the Message

When the first volume of Millennial Dawn neared publication, Russell placed an announcement in The Christian Herald. It piqued the interest of at least one Herald reader, leading to their eventually committing themselves to Watch Tower teachings. Publication was subsequently announced through The Herald and the book sent for. A. I. Ritchie recalled his father sending for the book: “In 1886 my father saw your advertisement in the Christian Herald that Volume I, Millennial Dawn, was in preparation. As soon as he saw the announcement that it was ready, he sent his $1 and got its teachings, accepting it as rapidly as he saw that it harmonized the Scriptures.”[1]
A brief review of the book found in the October 7, 1886, issue of The Christian Herald caused controversy later. The review was very positive:

remainder of this post has been removed.

Few paragraphs from Chapter for vol. 3

            Perhaps the most significant, mostly positive review came from J. B. Rotherham. Russell and Rotherham shared key points of doctrine, and where they connected in doctrine Rotherham found The Plan of the Ages to be “a notable book – bold, broad, and breezy; very refreshing after the stereotyped dogmas and platitudes which pass current in the theological world.” The review was the lead article in the December 1886 issue of The Rainbow, filling nine and a third pages.[1] Much of it presented Rotherham’s reservations. The book wasn’t safe for all, but it should be read:

For the ordinary, hesitating, uninstructed child in theology, who as yet knows not his right hand from his left, and who may crave for some one to do his thinking for him, and be rather too ready to be carried about by every wind of teaching, and too timidly willing to cast anchor in the confident conclusions of a stronger mind, – we cannot recommend this volume. Its faults are too serious – and its conclusions are too sharply cut – its scheme is too definitely mapped out, – to be a safe book; that is to say, for theological children. … In spite of its shortcomings, “The Plan of the Ages” is a valuable production, and is probably destined to furnish material assistance in shaking down old walls and building up new. We confess to a feeling about it which may be conventionally described as “naughty”; as if craving the immense gratification of putting doctors of divinity and infidel orators alike through a determined course of reading in this book Bible in hand.

            Of his several objections the two that seem to draw the strongest attention is Russell’s belief that Revelation 20:5 was spurious. More clearly than anyone in this period, Rotherham refuted this belief. He also took exception to Russell’s treatment of Jesus’ status before God: “Mr. Russell’s manner of speaking of our Lord has caused us pain. He mostly speaks of Him as simply “Jesus” – a thing the Apostles, if we mistake not, seldom did after the resurrection … . While our author very distinctly owns the pre-incarnate spiritual nature of the Savior, he seems, over and over again to purposely avoid attributing to Him absolute Deity prior to his human birth; and so frequently affirms that “since his resurrection he is a perfect spiritual being of the highest or divine order” (p. 175 and elsewhere) as to force one to think that he means to exclude our Lord’s pre-incarnate existence as not equal to this.”
            Despite Rotherham’s exceptions, he recommended the book, finally writing:

We have done our fault-finding. Only those who read dispassionately for themselves “The Plan of the Ages” will perhaps believe us when we assure them that enough in any case remains that is unimpeachable to render this volume such as is likely to repay abundantly any discreet man’s perusal. The Chapter on “The Permission of Evil” is alone more than worth the price of the while volume, and is the fullest discussion of this great mystery, and the nearest approximation to a probably correct solution of it, with which we are acquainted.

[1]               J. B. Rotherham: The Plan of the Ages – A Review, The Rainbow, December 1886, pages 507-517.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Herman strikes again

Last month (December) Rachael posted that there had been a flurry of interest in an old post on Herman Heinfetter. You can find the original (reprinted from a Bible Collectors' magazine) if you use the search facility on this site. Herman produced several Bible translations in the 1840s through to the 1860s in London, UK.

Those interested in this work can try google and download a pdf, although one comment suggested that these might not be complete. So - I went online to try and obtain a print copy.

The original is very rare, or more accurately - originals are... Herman produced a number of editions as part works and then complete works and two different translations - one called A Literal Version and one called An English version. They were privately produced in very small numbers. But shopping around I found that as well as ridiculous prices for print on demand, it was also possible to obtain both versions quite cheaply. I won't give the links because one already appears to have changed by this time of writing, but a search should yield something similar.

From "abebooks" came The Literal Version of around 450 pages from 1863. It only cost around 14 GBP including mailing from India. Yes - India. The downside was that it was reduced in size. I have seen an original in the Bible Society library, and while this size looks good in the bookcase, Herman's copious notes were pretty small in the original, so you need very good eyesight or a magnifying glass. For the general reader, this version reads like an interlinear.

From Amazon came The English Version of over 800 pages from 1864. This only cost me 8 GBP including mailing. It came from the UK, but was originally reprinted in the US. This was full size and is far more readable and user-friendly.

So what has this to do with this blog? Herman Heinfetter was the pseudonym of a British businessman who was a longtime member of the Anglo-Biblical Institute. His real name was Fred Parker, and he made his money as (quote) "an animal charcoal manufacturer". Although apparently a loner, with no direct connections to Unitarians, Adventists or Age to Come adherents of the day, he knew of the works of George Storrs. And his translation has some unusual features, like the use of "a God" in the last clause of John 1 v.1 and the regular use of "Jehovah" for the name of God over 150 times in his New Testament.

These non-traditional translation decisions may be rather familiar to many readers of this blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A. P. Stewart - St. Paul Globe, Aug 27, 1899.

General Alexander P. Stewart - Work in progress

Alexander Peter Stewart is the first on the left

"We had a warm welcome in St. Louis, too, and the attendance was excellent,  notwithstanding the fact that we did not get the announcement into the WATCH TOWER,  and hence but few came from nearby towns. The morning session was in the "Christian Church" edifice.  The topic was "Consecration," and following it nine symbolized full consecretion by water baptism. Among the number was Brother Alexander Stewart, well known throughout the South for the active and prominent part he took in the war of the Rebellion, as the leader of "Stewart's Cavalry." General Stewart is of advanced years, but clear of intellect. He has been a "soldier of the Cross" for some time, and deeply interested in "Present Truth" for several years. He expected to be symbolically baptized at the time of the Chattanooga Convention, but was prevented by ill health. After leaving the water Brother Stewart was heard to express great satisfaction at having thus outwardly confessed his blessed Lord and his full devotion to him and His cause. Brother Stewart already had joined the army of the Lord, but this act of public confession he, so to speak, donned his regimentals and joined the forces "on the firing line." ............. [1]

"Brother Russell, in closing this address, informed the audience that he was called to St. Louis, Mo., to preach the funeral sermon of our beloved brother Gen. A. P. Stewart, once of the Confederate army, and ranking Lieutenant-General in the same.  The funeral address on that occasion, we believe, was published by several of the prominent newspapers. Brother Russell returned at the convention after an absence of two days." [2]

"The service was simple, Rev. C. T. Russell, of Pittsburgh, president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and long intimate friend of General Stewart told of his character,  his service to Tennessee, his native State, and as an educator." [3]

[1] WT 1905 R3637 "The Editor's Western Tour"
[2] WT 1908 R 4244 "Brother A. P. Stewart's Funeral"
[3] The Gold Leaf. Volume, September 10, 1908, p. 2

Monday, January 9, 2017

New contact ...

Dear Mister Schulz,
Sorry for contacting you this way. My name is Dr. ----. I am a historian from Germany. Via Internet I have found your email address. Since I am doing research on religious freedom and constitutional rights, I came across your book “A Separate Identity” what seems very interesting to me. In connection with Jehovah’s Witnesses many historians claim Russell’s beginnings are found in Adventism in view of his close relationship with Stetson, Storrs and Barbour. They conclude that his activities had been influenced by Adventist teachings for many years. Now I read in your publication about him being influenced by Age-to-Come belief or the One Faith Movement. That sounds pretty thrilling. Could you help me with some sources in this regard? That would be very kind of you. Thank you very much!
Kind regards,
Dr. A**** D****n

Sunday, January 8, 2017