Thursday, July 2, 2020

A. H. Willis

This is from the Brunswick, Georgia, Times of July 12, 1899. I need A. H. Willis' full name and some biographical details. Can you help?


We have asked repeatedly that you not link to this blog through Facebook. I see it is time to repeat that. DO NOT link to this blog through your Facebook account.  

Revising "Nelson Barbour"

Our constant readers know that I’m revising Nelson Barbour: The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet. This is not an easy task. I’m researching anew all aspects of Barbour’s life. Currently I’m probing his childhood and young adult years. There are no directly relevant records. But there are some things that illuminate those years.

Who where the clergy in Throopsville and Cohocton? Which church did the Barbour’s attend? Most early New York records spell the name phonetically as Barber. The family used both spellings.

A member of the Barbour family offered fairly convincing evidence that Friend Barbour [Barber] was Nelson’s grandfather, not his father. She pointed to David Barbour as Nelson’s parent, and there is some evidence leaning that way. I need solid proof. Wikipedia suggests that evidence is in Nelson’s will. It is not.

As a young man Barbour attended Temple Hill Academy. Do records still exist? I can’t find them. But they may be in some archive. The modern Temple Hill Academy is disconnected from the school of Barbour’s day.

Barbour left for Australia in 1851 or 1852. The strongest evidence points to 1852. I cannot find a passenger list or transit record that proves this, though we have Barbour’s own words for it. Can you find the passenger list? National Archives might help.

Queensland required a passenger list for all ships, even those only sailing to one of the other Australian colonies. A Mr. Barber of the right age appears twice in the records available to me. You can access these through . A Mr. Barber’s legal problems show up in Australian newspapers in the two years prior to Nelson’s departure. You can access these through . Can we prove that this was Nelson Barbour.  Just as helpful would be proof that it is not Nelson Barbour.

In the 2-3 years before Nelson returned to the United States [1860], New York property records show transfers to a N. H. Barbour. Is this ‘our’ N. H. Barbour? I can’t answer that yet, and I may never be able to answer that. These records are at

I do not have access to British passenger lists. His name must be on one, assuming records were kept by port authorities. That list would be an ‘arrivals’ list. There is a slight suggestion in something Barbour wrote that his return to America may have been from a German or French port. There is also a hint [and only a hint] that Barbour may have spoken German. I do not see that as important. But it might be ...

Two of my blog readers offered to help with this project. Well, here’s your chance.

Monday, June 29, 2020

St. Paul Enterprise - April 23, 1915

I need more details. Ideally I need a copy of this letter. Anyone?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

Dig Away! Share.

I would like to encourage all readers who like research to be prepared to go wherever the moment takes them.  A book like Separate Identity requires discipline and that is fine. But if you just have a keen interest in all things historical, then you can go off on all sorts of tangents. That I freely confess is what I do. Many are dead ends, but occasionally some yield gold.

Two recent examples from my own research for a couple of blogs illustrate this.

I had the announcement of Charles Ball’s 1889 funeral from a newspaper. It was a filler, no more than that. But then I decided to follow it up. I found his gravestone, which led to other questions and ultimately led to finding out exactly when he joined the Russell household. That then led to establishing when his younger sister, Rose, joined the household. This has been a debated question over the years, but was now resolved. It shot down a theory I had been peddling for decades, but hey – that’s OK, if we are wrong we are wrong, and truth should out.

The other journey started with the funeral of Andrew Pierson, former vice president of the Society.  I had a newspaper cutting, again just a filler. The usual sources neglected to state who took his funeral. That led to finding that George Fisher had done this. That led to the disagreements that Fisher, one of the Brooklyn 8, had with J F Rutherford in the mid-1920s. That led to letters JFR wrote about the problem that were published in Golden Age. They were written from an address in Monrovia, California. That led to examining where Mary Rutherford lived at the time. That led to a far better understanding of the Rutherfords’ domestic arrangements in the 1920, and partly dispelled a lot of inaccurate speculation made over the years. One thing led to another, which led to another.

So, if time allows, dig away. Go where it takes you. And if you find out something positive worth sharing, then share away.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Lecture

Not directly on topic, but worth your attention.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

It Does Help if You Get the Basic Facts Right

In the Golden Age magazine for September 13, 1922, three films were advertised for purchase by the Kinemo Film Corporation. Back in 2016 there was a series of articles on this blog about them, the most detailed one being found at:                                                                               
The three films were made over 1920-1921. There was one on Palestine, one on the Great Pyramid and one on Imperial Valley, California. The latter was seen as an example of what could be done to cultivate land and make an area into a paradise.

There is quite an amazing review of the Imperial Valley one by Paul Johnson in his paper for September 1925.


"The picture shows Bro. R. and party in an automobile, ready for the tour. Then it shows them driving to some of his friends, to ask them if they would allow their son to go with him through Imperial Valley to take pictures. The boy's parents readily consented to let him go with the judge, though they were all prepared to start on a trip of their own through the mountains. The boy kisses his family good-bye, jumps into Bro. R.'s car, and away they go. Then the pictures go on to show Bro. R. passing through the valley on foot, examining fruit, vegetables and many other things grown there. According to the pictures, everything certainly was in good condition. Of course, the picture shows Bro. R. walking through these gardens, which takes up quite a time. On one occasion he is pictured as looking around and laughing as he turns over a very large pumpkin, saying: `It reminds me of the pumpkin pies mother used to make.'

Then the picture changes. It shows Bro. Rutherford's party with a newspaper giving the picture of a terrible automobile accident. Then the auto is shown falling down the side of a steep mountain, the occupants falling out and all being killed—they were the boy's family. Thereupon Bro. R. is seen trying to comfort the boy. It also shows Bro. R. writing a letter and handing it to the boy, telling him not to open it until when in 1925 he would hear of Abraham being resurrected. Later, the pictures show the boy in 1925 reading a morning paper with large head lines: 'ABRAHAM RESURRECTED IN PALESTINE.' Suddenly it dawns on the boy to read the letter the judge had given him. He looks at the calendar, which shows 1925; then he opens the letter, which tells him to telegraph Abraham and ask him that his famliy might be resurrected and restored to him. Finally, the boy is shown very happy as he telegraphs Abraham in Palestine in 1925."

This would be a fascinating film to see with JFR in such a prominent acting role. It’s a shame the Oscars didn’t start until 1929. There is only one slight problem with all of this – the description and review is FALSE FROM START TO FINISH.
We can see the actual film today because a copy has survived, although missing a little footage at the end of the reel.

The Imperial Valley film is just a travelog, taking you around the area, showing roads being built, ditches beng dug and produce being harvested, as an illustration of what could be possible for the earth in the future. That is about it. JFR appears briefly in long shot looking over a field, a bit like an Alfred Hitchcock cameo.

When you read the small print Johnson tries to excuse himself:

“The Editor never saw these moving pictures, but sometime ago one of the brethren sent him a brief description of them.”

So that’s all right then. It’s someone else’s responsibility. 

Taking his words at face value, one of the brethren must have been just  “messing around.”                                                        

And none of his readers apparently noticed.

With grateful thanks to Zion’s Herald for bringing this amusing item to our attention.

For a revised series of articles on the ill-fated Kinemo project you can also use the search term: Kinemo, at:

Friday, June 12, 2020

C. B. Downing Letter - China Mission

Below is an undated letter written by Calista Downing to a Mrs. Foster. This is probably not the place for me to complain about deteriorating health, but as my eyes fail along with the rest of my body, I cannot read this. Can you transcribe it? [click on images to see them in their entirety.]

The Rutherfords in Monrovia

In 1954 there was a little human interest story on the front page of the Daily News and Monrovia Daily News for June 8, 1954. An old lady named Mrs J F Rutherford was pictured with the mailman, “Buck” Bailey, who had been delivering for about thirty years. It was claimed he’d done the equivalent of walking around the world four times in that time.

Reproduced with permission from

This photograph and news story has an interesting link to Watch Tower history because the old lady was Mary, widow of Joseph F Rutherford, who was then living at 159 Stedman Place. The suggestion in the newspaper was that the postie had been delivering to her for thirty years. In fact, according to the Monrovia-News-Post for July 15, 1935, the Stedman Place property only had a planning permit that year.

However, a check of Google maps shows that immediately backing onto the 159 Stedman Place plot was 160 North Primrose Avenue. And this is where Mary had been for most of the 1920s, one assumes on Bailey’s postal round. And it could well be that the original plot for the North Primrose Avenue address had been extensive enough to allow the construction of a brand new property on it in 1935, fronting onto the parallel road.

Mary’s address was given as 160 North Primrose in a number of trade and street directories throughout the 1920s. One example below listed all the existing numbers in the street in 1928. Here you can see Mary at number 160.

It is noted that some numbers are missing. This is likely because the properties were either not constructed or occupied at this time, as the whole area was under development. Mary’s home, number 160, was constructed in 1922 so it is likely she moved into a new property that year or shortly thereafter.

Interestingly the same year as the above directory entry, 1928, the address was featured in advertisements as a contact address for IBSA publications.

Files of all the street directories are not all accessible, but this one below from 1925 is of particular interest. We note that there are two people living at 160 North Primrose.

So the occupant is Jos F Rutherford and his wife Mary. If any doubt that this could be our JFR, check out this cutting from March 9, 1925.

Rutherford is classed as a resident and his given address is 160 North Primrose. This information was repeated over several years. A brief look takes us up to at least 1928, where the August 6, 1928 newspaper gives his address as 180 North Primrose, which I would suggest is just a typo. Sometimes the paper calls him a Monrovian. From a 1927 newspaper:

So it was accepted locally that JFR was a resident, living 160 North Primrose Avenue. We might assume this was just winter months, but there were other times of year noted as well. Note here a visit made in August 1925.

This wasn’t a big secret. It was supported by the Golden Age magazine for March 25, 1925, pages 407-409. This reproduces two letters written by JFR in February 1925 over the George Fisher situation. One letter is a copy of what was sent directly to Fisher, and the other was written to Clayton J Woodworth, editor of Golden Age. The contents are not our subject here, although anyone with access to Golden Age can check it out, but here is the start and finish of Woodworth’s letter.
So JFR writes from Monrovia. The actual address is omitted, which was probably wise in view of the Golden Age’s wide circulation.

As was common with all Watch Tower officials (apart from perhaps CTR and Maria) their personal family affairs were kept private. But it can be reasonably established that, while Mary Rutherford lived in Monrovia and her son Malcom lived nearly, JFR also spent part of his year there throughout the 1920s. It may be that the increasing workload and the need for extra staff like stenographers contributed to the move to the larger Beth-Sarim in the 1930s. A May 27, 1942, Consolation magazine article referred to JFR and what it called his “office force” using the property at Beth-Sarim.

The family’s continued contact also shows up in May 1938 when Malcom and his wife Pauline shared part of an ocean voyage with JFR and some of his staff.

JFR died at Beth-Sarim, San Diego, in 1942. There were issues about his burial as discussed in the above mentioned Consolation magazine. One of the headlines reporting the situation still claimed JFR as an old Monrovian.

The story mentioned that Mary Rutherford “still resides here at 159 Stedman Place.”

After JFR’s death, his son Malcom with wife Pauline lived with Mary for a short time in the 1940s. They are listed as with her at the Stedman Place property in the Monrovia Street directory for 1944. When Mary died in 1962, Malcom inherited the property and he and his second wife Eleanor lived there until at least 1970.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Not at all relevant ...

I was there. I still have my program ... [click on embedded link for full view]

Thursday, June 4, 2020


In an earlier post I asked for original copies of the 1925 Golden Age. I now have about half that year. If you have extras you want to donate to my research collection, query first.

Rose and Charles Ball

A few years ago I wrote an article on How Old Was Rose Ball? Due to Maria Russell’s contradictory testimony in Russell vs Russell (1906) there were several possibilities on Rose’s age when she joined the Russell household in Pittsburgh. In fairness to Maria, she was trying to remember events from nearly twenty years before, and we can’t discount the stenographer having an off day. Equally, the information written by J F Rutherford in the Ecclesiastical Heavens booklet was written nearly thirty years after events, and was not based on first hand knowledge.

However, as a result of further research I am now happy to accept that my main premise in the above mentioned article has been proved wrong. I still think there are points of value in the article; hence it has not been deleted. But we can now establish that Rose Ball joined the Russell household in late 1888 or early 1889. She would have been 19 years old, but could have looked younger at the time.

The evidence comes from examining the life of her brother, Charles U Ball. Charles joined the Russell household and workforce before Rose did. Rose then wrote and asked if she could come and join him? We know when Charles died and now also know when he came to Pittsburgh. This is that story.

The basic story of Charles and Rose came out in Russell vs Russell (1906). Quoting from the Paper Book of Appellant, page 90, the exchange went like this.

CTR: “We had a young man in the office by the name of Charles Ball, who came to us from Buffalo, and was deeply interested.”

Counsel: “What has that got to do with the girl?”                               

CTR: “That was the brother. She wanted to come because her brother was here. After her brother died, she was lonely and Mrs Russell and I both thought a great deal of her. She was a very young looking girl…we treated her in every way as a daughter, and told her we considered her such, and she told us she considered us as parents.”

Some accounts describe Rose as an orphan, but this is not true. A check of genealogical records shows the family to be alive in Buffalo. In fact, if more people had only read the Russell vs. Russell (1906) transcript they would know this. Shortly after stating that CTR and Maria treated her as a daughter, CTR testified:

CTR: “(She) had no relatives there, and we told her she could call herself by our name. She said the only reason she didn’t do that she was afraid if her father heard of it, he would think she had lost her respect for him.”

It may be that there was some estrangement in the Ball family, and that could be suggested by the story of her brother Charles.

Charles came to work for CTR as a stenographer. This is before they moved into Bible House. He died on March 14, 1889. Notice of his death and the funeral from CTR’s home was given in the Pittsburgh Dispatch for Saturday, March 16, 1889.

The key records are not indexed online at this time of writing, but using the date and area, it was possible to find the burial register for Charles with some key information.

It runs across two pages in the register.

The first page gives his name: Charles Ball. His color: ditto, i.e. white. His sex: male. His age at death: 22 (This is actually an error; he was still 21 at the time). Married or single: single. Occupation: stenographer. Date of death: March 14. Cause of death: consumption.  Date of certificate: March 15.

The second page gives his birthplace: Buffalo, N(ew) Y(ork). His last residence and time of residence therein: on March 10 at Clifton Avenue (the Russells’ home) and nine months. His previous residence: Buffalo, N.Y.  Place and date of interment: Uniondale and March 17. And finally the name and residence of the physician signing the death certificate and the name and residence of the undertaker.

So we note that Charles had been living with the Russells at Clifton Avenue for the last nine months, and prior to that had been in Buffalo. So doing the math, Charles came to Pittsburgh around June-July of 1888. At some point after that, his sister wrote asking if she could come as well? So Rose came, Charles died, Rose stayed on.

The thought that there might have been some family estrangement is suggested by what happened with Charles. When he became ill he did not go back home to Buffalo. When he died, his body was not sent back to Buffalo. He did not leave a will, so his personal effects and affairs were sorted out by CTR who, rather than a family member, was granted letters of administration.

Charles Ball was buried in Pittsburgh, in the Union Dale cemetery. For an unknown young man his gravestone is really quite impressive. (Photograph reproduced with permission).

The motif at the top could well be a cross and crown before it was vandalised. And if so, why was it vandalised? And at the bottom of the marker is a familiar scriptural inscription, a partial quotation from Revelation 2 v.10: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Charles’ stay in Pittsburgh and his substantial grave stone pose questions we cannot answer. What is known is that sixty years later, he was still remembered. Here is the notice of Rose’s death from an Australian newspaper, the Melbourne Argus, for November 24, 1950.

Transcript: HENNINGES – On November 22, Rose Ball, widow of the late Ernest Charles Henninges, beloved sister of Lilian, Daisy, Charles (deceased) and Richard (deceased), aged 81 years. – Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

(Reprinted from Jerome History blog)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Jeff, whom you know here as ZionsHerald, made this possible. I cannot fully convey the depth of my appreciation for his help.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Donation to the Cause

... no, not money.

I need original issues - not photo copies or scans - of the 1925 Golden Age. I know of some for sale. But What money I have in the research fund must go for documents and photo copies. But ... If you have some early Golden Ages just sitting on a shelf collecting dust, and you're wondering what their fate should be ... I would gladly accept donation of any from 1925 or earlier. Vain hope, I know. But I thought I'd ask.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Gertrude Seibert cards

Gertrude Seibert cards are quite collectable and for several decades in Watch Tower history, postcards and motto cards were regularly exchanged between Bible Students. Here are a few examples from Gertrude taken from the collection of Andrew Foti. They are reproduced here with permission and with thanks.

First, a typical motto card.                                                                            

This example is of particular interest because Gertrude wrote on the reverse side.       

Next is an early example of Gertrude’s verse. The date given for the poem, 1894, is before her verse started appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower on a regular basis (in 1899). The card on which it appears will have been printed much later.

Around 1914 a number of her poems appeared on cards that gave an IBSA address on the reverse. Here is one example.

The reverse contains the local IBSA address as the divider between address and message.

When CTR died, Gertrude immediately wrote a poem, dated November 1, 1916.

Gertrude’s husband left her well provided for, and in the last decade of her life she was a much traveled lady. Her cards and poems often carried a location as well as a date. We will end with three examples.

From Los Angeles               

From Miami

And finally, from Kingston, Jamaica           

Friday, May 22, 2020

For my museum project

Some of you know of this, and some will not. Be that as it may, I need to identify this coin [or perhaps a jeton]. I appreciate any help you can render. Click image to view entire.

Update: Tentatively identified as a jeton from the Spanish Netherlands dated to 1596. I cannot confirm this. Can you?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

More Gertrude

Below is an interesting image sent me from the Mike Castro archive collection. It is reproduced here with permission and with thanks. It is a poem written by Gertrude W Seibert with a note in her own hand.

The note reads: Written Expressly for "The Finished Mystery," and then she signs at the bottom of the page.

The poem appears in The Finished Mystery at the end of the middle section on The Song of Solomon, and is dated June 25, 1917.

This is of interest because of Gertrude's involvement in The Finished Mystery project. The details are in an old post on this blog:

If you want to see more images from the Mike Castro collection about Gertrude and her work, see here:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Barbour in Australia

The problem with tracking Barbour's years in Australia is that records from the 1850s seldom present us with anything but a last name. So one must proceed with caution. We're left with a last name, perhaps spelled phonetically as Barber, and an age at the time of a record's creation.

Despite this, I believe I have found two records with a Mr. Barber with the correct age - that is within reason. Ages are often misstated in similar records. So I've look for records that present me with a male born either side of 1824. There are two records that meet that requirement.

A draw back is that both men are noted as English. However, looking through the records, that appears to be the default listing, and men who have Welsh, Scottish and Irish last names are all listed as English. There is never a notation "American" or "USA."

Here is an extract of one of the records. You will note that this Mr. Barbour is described as a "dealer" which I interpret as a salesman. I suggest, with minimal proof, that he was selling minding equipment to pay his way.

This is a ship's record, required by colonial law even if the ship was only destined to another of the Australian colonies. Click on the image to see it in its entirety. You're assessment is welcome:

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Some of our blog readers ...

will find this useful:

Barbour in Australia

Barbour departed the USA for Australia in 1852. We have three or four Australian blog readers. Are you up to checking passenger lists? The slightest record would be helpful.

Recent Blog Visits

Pleasing, but it would be better if visitors said hello or left a more meaningful comment.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Barbour again ...

I don't have access to British immigration records. Barbour arrived in the UK 1859/60 and was in Europe until 1862 or 1863. If you have access to passenger lists etc. will you please help pin down any records, no matter how insignificant they may be.

He used "Barber" and "Barbour," or I should say his name is found spelled that way. He always signed papers as Barbour.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


I have recently been sent a very nice photograph of Gertrude Seibert in her wedding dress. It illustrates the need to check information carefully, and ideally get more than one line of evidence for a conclusion.

On the rear of the photograph is the caption

There is a problem with this. Getrude’s marriage certificate survives, and shows that as Gertrude Woodcock she married Robert Seibert on September 18, 1890. Robert was a wealthy railroad man, who left her very well provided for when he died in 1913.

The photograph could of course have been taken a year after the wedding – the sort of thing a wife might just do if her husband was foolish enough to forget their anniversary, but it really doesn’t look like that sort of photograph.

The clue I believe is in the caption “Our dear Sr. GW. Seibert.” Gertrude didn’t become “our dear Sister Seibert” to anyone until a number of years after her marriage. Her first poem did not appear in Zion’s Watch Tower until 1899, and her high profile stems more from the early twentieth century, with involvement in Daily Heavenly Manna (1905), Poems of Dawn (1912) and her own Sweet Briar Rose (1909) and In the Garden of the Lord (1913).

The simplest answer is that whoever wrote the caption for the photograph got it wrong. It would be an easy mistake to make many years after the event, especially if the writer was not in direct contact with Gertrude to check. But it shows the importance of researchers today checking and double checking everything they find. If they can.

Gertrude’s special contribution to Watch Tower history is probably her involvement behind the scenes in the production of the controversial volume The Finished Mystery (1917). To read her story and the story behind The Finished Mystery, see this old article on this blog:

Alternatively there is a series of articles about her from the same writer to be found if you punch in the search term “Gertrude” on this blog:

Monday, May 11, 2020

N. H. Barbour

Most of those who read this blog know that I'm revising the Nelson Barbour book. I am very interested in knowing - in some detail - your thoughts on Barbour both as a man and as a religious leader. Anyone?

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Watch Tower Logos Down Through the Years

(guest post by Leo)

The most read, translated and distributed magazine in the world has lived a long life. It was born in 1879 before the water closet toilet was generally introduced. It witnessed the invention of the radio, the telephone as we know it, the lightbulb, the airplane, cars, cinema, TV, internet, etc. It survived two world wars, countless economic recessions, and it survived pandemics like the yellow fever, cholera, the Spanish flu, Ebola, among others.

Throughout its history it has experimented with many internal changes, one of the most visible being its cover design. Today we are going to review, one by one, every cover logo the Watchtower magazine has had. We are including only magazine cover logos. There are other “institutional” logos used in letters and other documents, as well as in other publications; we are not including those in this article, only the ones that appeared in the cover of the Watchtower magazine.

NOTE: All logos included in this article had trademark registry in the past; however, we have consulted with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( to confirm that none of them has a currently active trademark. We verified this because we don’t want to violate copyright laws nor the organization policies regarding the use of current logos. All the current logos that have active trademark registry can be found in the official website (

Years on the cover: 12

In July 1879 the first number of “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald or Christ’s Presence” magazine was published, and it used this logo. The design appears to be inspired by the left side of the main gate of the Allegheny Cemetery, a very familiar place for young CTR. In it you can see a tower and a wall almost identical to the ones in the drawing that decorates the cover of the first number of the magazine.

Here are two photographs of the cemetery entrance, one seen from the front, and the other from the left side for comparison purposes.

Main entrance of Allegheny cemetery showing towers and gate. The first Watch Tower logo closely resembles this. Photograph by Jenny Karlsson and used with permission. See wild life photography at the cemetery:

Main gate of the Allegheny cemetery as seen from the left side.

Years on the cover: 4

In January 1891 the previous logo was moved to the first interior page of the magazine, and they put this other logo on the cover. It includes for the first time the cross and crown symbol. This symbol was quite common among Christians since the XIX century, it was used by Baptists, Methodists, Adventists and other Christian groups and was later adopted by the masons. The meaning is simple: it makes reference to the fact that those who want to be kings with Christ (bear the crown), but must first live a life of sacrifice like his (carry the cross). In this logo they also changed the lettering for one much more adorned.

Years on the cover: 14
This is one of the most identifiable logos of the Watchtower; the main letters were put on top of a cloth banner. Two symbols were added at the top, on the left the cross and crown symbol, and to the right a coat of arms symbolizing the Christian armor. Even though this exact logo was active for 14 years, this general idea remained until 1931, a total of 36 years.

1909 (January)
Years on the cover: 0 (9 months)

The main banner was redrawn and also the upper part symbols. The title “Zion’s Watch Tower” was changed for “The Watch Tower”. The slogan letters were also redrawn.

1909 (October)
Years on the cover: 9

In October 1909 they changed the lettering of the word “The” and they came back to the 1895 design of the letters, symbols and slogan style.

Years on the cover: 0 (3 numbers)
Some copies of the number for August 15, 1911 featured a color cover. This same cover appeared again in the January 1st issue of 1912, which was a special edition. For this cover all the logo was redrawn, keeping the same idea, but in full color. The same year, the April 15 issue featured the same color cover.

Years on the cover: 13
In March 1918 the logo was retouched again. The most notable change was the lettering style of the slogan, this time a little more “square” like than the previous.

Years on the cover: 8

The Oct 15 issue featured a substantial change in the cover logo. The cross and crown and coat of arms symbols were removed and the design of the main banner was simplified, now looking more like parchment as opposed to cloth. The words “Watch” and “Tower” were merged, changing the title to “The Watchtower” and the slogan was placed in the left side of the composition.

1939 (January)
Years on the cover: 0 (2 months)

The lettering style of the word “Watchtower” was changed and the parchment banner was redrawn. The slogan changed to “And Herald of Christ’s Kingdom” instead of “And Herald of Christ’s Presence”.

1939 (March)
Years on the cover: 11
The slogan was changed to “Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom”. By this time the magazine cover was printed in two inks.

Years on the cover: 24

Another drastic change occurred in the August 15 issue of this year. The parchment was abandoned and they used letters in perspective. The slogan combined two different styles and it was moved to the right of the composition.

Years on the cover: 4
In January, 1974 appeared a new logo, the only changes being the word “The”, changed to a cursive style, and the slogan typography. The slogan was also moved to the bottom of the cover.

Years on the cover: 4
In this year the logo was simplified, they used capital square shaped letters for the title and they added for the first time the Watchtower shape over the letter W.

Years on the cover: 2
This year the typography was changed for one in upper and lower case. The word “The” was increased in size. The left line of the Watchtower shape was shortened, and the slogan typography was changed for one with a bigger and slimmer style.

Years on the cover: 2
The logo is the same as previously used but from this year onward the main title “The Watchtower” appeared in color, and the rest of the composition in black.

Years on the cover: 1
This year they used the same logo but it was used all in one color rather than black.

Years on the cover: 4
This year the word “The” was made smaller, the tower shape was redesigned, making the battlements shorter and it was relocated to be on top of the letters a, t and c. The slogan style was changed for a bold font.

Years on the cover: 28 so far

The typography was changed for one in upper caps with serif and the base of the tower was made thinner. This is the cover logo up to this time of writing.

Because this logo has active trademark protection we cannot show it here, but you can find it on the official website

Which one is your favorite?

Note from Jerome: This material was first published in Spanish on a long-running history blog and is reprinted here in English with permission. Even if you have to use the joys of Google Translate, it is well worth checking out at:


It appears that the original 1879 Tower logo was used on foreign language versions of Zion's Watch Tower for some time. Below is a graphic of a Swedish language Watch Tower from 1904 which has been sent to Bruce.