On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #63

The Bible House at 72 Nassau Street, NYC

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I spent most of my 3.5 hour writing session yesterday organizing, editing, refining, and polishing Chapter Three of the ABS manuscript.  I wrote about 1000 new words, but also eliminated about 1000 words. The chapter currently has 6900 words. This is right where I want it to be.  Here are two of the decisions I made yesterday morning:

  • I rewrote the introduction to the chapter.  Rather than starting with the story of a Bible agent bringing a Bible to a poor family in West Virginia, I decided to begin the chapter with the establishment of the first ABS Bible House at 72 Nassau Street.  I also spent a few paragraphs discussing the process by which a Bible is made.  I spent most of the rest of the chapter following the distribution flow of Bibles from Nassau Street, through the early republic’s burgeoning transportation network, into the hinterland where roads, bridges, and canals had yet to be built, to the state and local auxiliaries, and eventually into the hands of the so-called “destitute.”
  • I decided that my proposed section on the way the ABS was connected with other early nineteenth-century benevolent societies will be moved to either Chapter Four (on the General Supply) or Chapter Five (on anti-Catholicism).  This section includes the ABS interaction with the Sunday School movement, Temperance movement, and the Second Great Awakening.  It also focuses on the essential role that women played in fulfilling the ABS mission.
Stay tuned…