On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #56

John Jay was a life member of the ABS

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I spent most of my “writing time” today (about two hours this morning) working on Chapter Three of the American Bible Society book.  It is tentatively titled “A Bible for Every American Family.”  After giving more thought to this title I am not completely satisfied with it.  The ABS “General Supply” of 1829-1831 attempted to provide a Bible for every FREE family in the United States.  Slave families were not part of the distribution.  Perhaps the title should be “A Bible for Every Free American Family.”  What do you think?

I have about one more day of outlining before I begin to create prose.  I need to make sure that all of the research I want to use in this chapter finds a place in the outline.

2 thoughts on “On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #56

  1. John,
    Two quick thoughts, both involving quotation marks. If “every Bible …” is an ABS period phrase, you could use the phrase as-is with quotes, and include your (important) qualification in the first couple paragraphs and develop it more fully in the body.

    Alternatively, you could use scare quotes around “every” to hint at the dissonance between inclusive intentions and exclusive reality.

    The project sounds better and better!
    Best, Keith


  2. The more often writers recognize the limits of the American community, the better. My only reservation would be if time has permitted you to focus on the limits–did the ABS give Bibles to AME churches or to Southern churches where slaves were part of the membership? How about native Americans–I assume they weren't considered “American” then. Would the “Except” open a can of worms? If so, maybe adding an asterisk or footnote to the title to permit recognition of the limits of the chapter?


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