Images courtesy of the Mike Castro collection
A few weeks ago I put out a special request for anyone out there who had ever heard of a Welsh edition of Tabernacle Shadows. I had a vague memory of seeing one several decades ago, but had never had it confirmed since. I reasoned that, if it existed at all, it probably originated in America, with all the Welsh immigrants, including people like William Hickey of Tredegar, South Wales, who was in CTR’s group back in the mid-1870s.
Well, I was right, and I was wrong. First, I was right, the book does exist. It is 144 pages, and was published in both hardback and paperback. The hardback cover is shown at the head of this article, and grateful thanks are due to the Mike Castro Collection for providing the images. But in another aspect, I was wrong, as shown by the title page below.
Image courtesy of the Mike Castro Collection
As noted above, I assumed that the book, if it existed, originated in America. But the title page clearly shows the publisher to be Watch Tower, with an address in Eversholt Street, London. This dates the book to between 1903 and 1914, when IBSA became the publisher’s imprint from Craven Terrace, London. The printers were Hazel, Watson and Viney, a well-known British company that also printed British editions of Studies. The copy pictured was originally purchased on eBay from the UK.
Armed with the correct Welsh name I found that the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth has a copy. Their index states that it is translated into Welsh from English, and they give an estimated date of 1913, which is when it first appeared on their shelves and in their catalog. Quaintly they ascribe the authorship to one Charles Theodore Russell. I have a reader’s ticket to this library, but my last visit was to examine ancient Welsh Bibles, while Mrs J was hunting up Welsh folk songs. I never thought to check Watch Tower history. The next time I visit I will examine the volume, and maybe even get them to adjust the author’s middle name!