On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #70

Alexander Proudfit

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Holes in my research continue to plague Chapter Four of the ABS project.   I wanted to start writing today, but as I began to craft an opening vignette for the chapter I realized that I needed to know more about the historical actor at the center of the vignette.  

Rev. Alexander Proudfit was the minister of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Salem, New York.  He is important to my story because he was the first person to suggest that the ABS should attempt to provide a Bible to every American family over the course of two years (1829-1831).  In order to learn more about him, I turned to John Forsyth’s Memoir of the Late Rev. Alexander Proudfit (1846), published shortly after his death.  Forsyth, a former student of Proudfit, provided some quotes from Proudfit’s diary and some local context for his mentor’s decision to encourage the ABS to pursue the General Supply.

Historical writing takes time.  I spent my entire writing session this morning reading through Forsyth’s book so that I could add two or three more sentences to the opening paragraph of Chapter Four.

Let’s hope the actual writing of Chapter Four will commence tomorrow.  Stay tuned.