Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In all the Earth: United Kingdom

Partial rough draft. Comments welcome:
Updated to full except for the last three paragraphs. A temporary post. Usual rules.

In All the Earth: The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was the target of the first concentrated international missionary activity. It is impossible to gage interest in Britain before the publication of Food for Thinking Christians. Previous to its publication the only letters appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower were doctrinal in nature, and few names and few or no locations were noted.
At least by 1850 there were readers of The Bible Examiner in Scotland; a letter from William Glen Montcrieff a noted Scot Conditionalist appeared in the May 1850 issue. Letters from other British Conditionalists appear in The Bible Examiner too. There had been some notice of the work in The Rainbow. A British clergyman and Barbourite, Elias H. Tuckett, wrote three articles for Rainbow. There may have been some small residual interest from that.[1] Barbour mailed his Coming of the Lord tract to the British journal The Christadelphian, which reviewed it negatively.[2] Later The Rainbow reviewed The Three Words, though somewhat negatively. The book saw a very limited circulation in England.[3] There is also some indication that Paton mailed material to his relatives in Scotland, but this seems to have born no fruitage. Yet, a prominent adherent in Newark, New Jersey, claimed dedicated interest in England and elsewhere. “We have,” he said, “members all over America, England, Australia, I think, and probably in Germany.”[4]
Russell asked John Corbin Sunderlin and later J. J. Bender to travel to the United Kingdom to publish Food for Thinking Christians and to direct a massive circulation campaign. Sunderlin had prior experience as an itinerate photographer and may have been chosen on that basis. Less is known of J. J. Bender. Historians including Watch Tower writers have never profiled him. Joseph J. Bender was a traveling sales agent for and later owner of a chemical company.[5] In most city directory listings he is noted by the initials “J. J.” but his full name is given in J.F. Diffenbacher’s Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities for 1881-1882. Bender had published The Standard Class-Book for Sunday-School Teacher’s Minutes in 1871, which was favorably reviewed by The Sunday School Journal that year.[6] In May 1886, He and a partner purchased The Bookmart, a magazine published in Pittsburgh devoted to book and autography collecting.[7]
Sunderlin was in Britain by July 11, 1881, when he registered with Gillig’s American Exchange in London, “a familiar and popular resort with Americans in the English metropolis.”[8] He would receive his mail and make currency exchanges a Gillig’s. It appears that the British edition of Food for Thinking Christians saw publication before the American edition of September 1881, but this is uncertain. Sunderlin arranged with William Cate, a London printer, to publish the booklet.[9]
Sunderlin returned to America aboard the S.S. Abyssinia, suffering from what was called “over-exertion incident to the arrangements for the distribution of ‘Food’ in Great Britain and Ireland.”[10] Russell more closely defined this as Rheumatic Fever.[11] There was a gap between Sunderlin’s return on September 8th and Bender’s arrival. Bender arrived in mid-September, registering at Gillig’s on September 17 1881. He would remain in Brittan until early November.[12] Sunderlin seems to have had the preliminary arrangements well in hand before Bender’s arrival. By October 1, 1881, Bender could report from Edinburgh:

The remainder of this post was deleted. I give readers a limited time to read full chapter posts.


jerome said...

If you check back on this blog to an article published in August 2013 on Herman Heinfetter (pseudonym of British businessman Frederick Parker who produced two NT translations, and is one of the “J” references in the older study version of the NWT) you will see that he too was a fairly early British readers of Storrs.

In his booklet The Revealed History of Man (published in 1854) Heinfetter wrote: “I am indebted to the Reverend George Storrs of Philadelphia for perceiving that Almighty God has revealed to man that there is an Eternal Death, and for many of the arguments I have employed in the foregoing statement of the subject, his little work, An Enquiry – Are the Wicked Immortal? is well worthy of being read.”

jerome said...

Footnote 5 keys into J J Bender with the 1880 census. It states he was 42, hence born c. 1838, and was married to Elizabeth D. This keys in with his Find a Grave entry. Bender, full name Joseph Jacob Bender was born on 21 June 1838 in Pennsylvania, and died in Washington DC on 10 February 1905. His wife's name was Elizabeth Dravo. Bender was buried in the Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh. Someone with a newspaper subscription might like to try and find an obituary for him. It should be noted that his grave marker incorrectly gives the year of death as 1906. One must remember that the gravestone was only put in place after Elizabeth died in 1920, and is quite a common error - people get the day and month correct, but assume the year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rachael

Another intriguing post, particularly concerning the Rainbow articles. Just sorry I missed out on the full post prior to it being trimmed as would have been interested in what followed, especially the references. Just goes to show that you shouldn't direct your attention off the blog for too long!

Thanks again for your fine work
Son of Ton

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Email "jerome." Ask him to forward it to you in email.