Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Also on ebay

Rufus Wendell was Jonas Wendell's nephew and a long-time associate of George Storrs.


On ebay

Some of you may be interested, though the price is very high


Monday, October 16, 2017

Bunches of Questions ...

            I don’t feel well, and I belong in bed, but I’m writing this anyway. We sometimes get research questions in the comment trail. A reoccurring one is, “Where can I find that online?” or “Send me a link to that please.” Some things are online. Many more are not. If they’re not on the Internet somewhere, we usually have no way of sharing material with you.
            You are responsible for your own research. My students tended to use me as a living encyclopedia. I learned years ago to respond to questions with: “Where have you looked? What did you find? Where will you look next?” I usually can’t do more for you here. But I have some suggestions.
           Someone asked where they can find books such as those in the video. Ignoring the cost, which is immense, I suggest:
            1. Ebay. Items such as you saw in the archive video show up on ebay. Many of them cost more than a sane person will spend. But let’s assume you’re filthy rich. So currently on ebay you can buy a single page of a Latin Bible published in 1500. The opening bid is 250.00 US dollars. Or you can buy the 1837 reprint of Tyndale’s Bible for a surprisingly low $750.00. Or the 1938 reprint for $600.00
            Rarer Watchtower items show up too, mixed in with the more common material. The full set of Studies in the Scriptures in red binding, pocket edition is on ebay for $850.00. We have that set, and ours includes the first printing of The Finished Mystery. I’d happily sell it to you for $400.00. Not that I expect any takers. The 1910 heart bookmark from the convention that year is on ebay for about $300.00. I have one. Want it? How about $200? Ridiculous, no? But if you want these things, that’s where you find them. Be patient, a lower-priced version may show up.
            We built our research collection when prices were lower, and occasionally we had kind help from interested parties. In the preface posted below, B mentions The Christian Observer and The Literalist. Both show up on ebay, usually for enough money to make one blink twice. But be inventive. Use search terms beyond “Watchtower.” And sometimes you will find a scarce item for cheap. Our red covered What Say the Scriptures about Hell came to us for $5.00 because it was improperly described.
            2. Online book search. There are several. These include
                        abe.com ; addall.com/used ; bookfinder.com and alibris.com

Again, expect to pay for what you find. One of Morton Edgar’s books on the Great Pyramid shows up on bookfinder for a relatively reasonable fifty dollars. But be aware that the online book market is awash with modern reprints. These are sometimes more expensive than an original.
            3. So you don’t want to spend your life’s savings for a book? You’d be happy with a good scan? Search the title put in quotations: “the truth will make you free.” Hathitrust, google books, and other archives have scanned copies of thousands and thousands of books. We expect you to do your own search. Usually, we cannot photocopy things for you. And we’re in the same boat you are. I found this book on ebay:


I’ve been looking for this book for maybe three years. I want this book. It is important to our research. I cannot afford it.
            4. So ... you can’t find what you want from one of the internet archives? Do it the old fashioned way. Major libraries have their catalogues online. The Library of Congress, the British Library and others allow online searches. If you live in the United States, much of the material in the Library of Congress is available through Interlibrary Loan. However, most of the items you may want to see will not be, and you’ll have to pay very high copy fees.
            Many libraries share their catalogues through the OCLC system. [The Ohio Catalogue of Library Catalogues.] You can access it at worldcat.org . You will need to be inventive, and it won’t take you to a scan of the book you want. It will tell you which libraries, if any, have it. A few libraries will scan for free if your request is small and they think you’re a serious researcher. I always tell them why I want something, what I intend to do with it, and I sign my email with my professional title. That’s a bit of overkill, but it paves the way. Usually, there’s a huge fee. We had to pay fifty-five dollars for a photocopy that I could have made myself for about four dollars. But, then, I don’t live in Georgia, USA. So If you want to see something – be prepared to pay.
            5. Ask. Much of our research library came from smiling sweetly and asking if anyone had something relevant. Big chunks of it were just given to us. Most of my personal copies of The Watch Tower back to 1919 were a gift.
            6. Final thought: If you live in Mexico, Central or South America, expect what you order to be stolen out of the mail. Pay for registered, insured mail. This is true if you live in some areas of Europe, especially Russia and Eastern Europe. The Middle East is hopeless, except for Israel. But mail to and from Israel transits through Italy. If it is not registered-insured, you won’t see it. I do not mean to insult any country, but this is a fact of life.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Temporary Post for Comments

This in very rough draft is an extract of Bruce's preface to volume 2 of Separate Identity. It is here for comment. We need your input. ... So be really nice and leave a comment up or down, critical or helpful. Just comment.



            Criticisms have been few. Some continue to believe that Russell was a Mason, part of a conspiracy seeking world domination. If he was, he was very ineffective. Though this conspiracy theory is dying a slow death on Internet boards, we readdress this in appendix one. Despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, some continue to assert that Russell was an Adventist. We think the evidence presented in volume one is plain. Those who reject it should do so on the basis of some evidence other than speculation about what ‘might have been.’
            Zoe Knox wrote a largely positive review but added this suggestion: “Schulz and de Vienne make little attempt to connect their work meaningfully to research on nineteenth-century American religious history, which they might have done by, for example, considering what was unique about the emergence of the Bible Students as compared with other ‘American originals.’” We think we made the most significant connections in volume one, but her comment has led us to reflect on the current approach to American religious history, particularly by British writers. Frankly, we thought the elements of American religious history so obvious that we did not need to address it. We were wrong.
            For the last three quarters of a century the approach to so called “American Originals” has been based on a flawed, often superficial understanding of America’s religious journey. Cultic growth is seen as a phenomenon primarily of the last half of the 19th Century. Christian Science, Watch Tower faith, Latter-day Saints, grew in this period. The growth of fringe sects continued into the early 20th Century giving us Pentecostalism. In the minds of sociologists and some historians, they all developed out of similar causes. Sociologists especially feel it is obligatory to make a cursory comparison between “Russellism” and other “new religions.” Some give us a ‘compare and contrast’ essay similar to that I might assign to middle school children. [Grades 6-8 in the USA]
            Andrew Holden believed that Christian Science and the Watch Tower movement arose from like causes, and he believed that Watch Tower movement was connected to other 19th Century religious movements: “The Witnesses were founded at a time marked not only by great social unrest but also by the birth of a number of other world-renouncing movements.”[1] Without clearly adopting any of the current interpretations of millenarianism, he uncritically adopted a generalized social-crisis view.[2] This omits key elements in the development of Watch Tower and similar theologies.  
            When applied to Watch Tower faith in the Russell era, the term “American Originals” is misleading. Watch Tower faith owed its existence to British prophetic expositors and to colonial and post colonial era writers. It is neither uniquely American nor solely the product of the 19th Century. Magazines such as The Literalist and The Christian Observer conveyed to American readers British millenarian thought. Many of Zion’s Watch Towers first adherents were first or second generation immigrants from the United Kingdom. This is true of Russell and his father too. You will find examples in this volume of Separate Identity. The first adherents not living in the United States were found in the UK [which then included all of Ireland.] and in Canada among the British descent population.
            There are two broad strands to American cultic development. [We’re not using ‘cult’ in the pejorative sense.] Christian Science, despite its name, is an outgrowth of American fascination with eastern religions. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s Theosophy derived from similar sources. Spiritism drew European and American interest. These and many smaller sects derive from the impulse to combine ‘science’ with eastern and other non-Christian philosophies. These belief systems were and are characterized by a belief in ‘secret, higher knowledge.’ In America, transcendental philosophers such as Emerson and Thoreau drew on Hindu religion to create a vague amalgamation of Unitarianism and eastern religion to develop a philosophy of life, thus becoming the step-grandparents of esoteric sects. Hermetic, esoteric, and Rosicrucian thought characterized some of the German sects in 1690s Pennsylvania.[3] The sole effect on the Watch Tower movement was Russell’s brief flirtation with eastern religions, all of which he rejected. Russell rejected Christian Science, Theosophy, New Thought, and “Mind Cure” as: “all outside the Church of Christ, because in no sense do they profess the essence of Christian doctrines.”[4]
            The Watch Tower movement grew out of different roots. Adherents did not seek hidden knowledge open to only a few elect. They sought understanding of Scripture content that should be open to all. In this sense they were part of a broader ‘Restoration’ movement seeking a return to New Testament belief and practice. Sociologists, especially Marxist writers, point to a purely secular foundation for millenarian belief. A sense of social deprivation is the reason millennialist beliefs are adopted. This is questionable. More than questionable, it is wrong, replacing a spiritual quest with purely secular causes. Secular crisis and disenfranchisement theories do not work. Name a historical period without a social crisis or lacking class disenfranchised. Millennialist belief derives from New Testament doctrine. Expressing it is an attempt to adhere closely to the New Testament.
            Some writers contrast Watch Tower theology with “orthodoxy,” accepted main-stream belief. This presumes that the writer’s orthodoxy is the standard by which others should be guided. A modern example is Walter Martin, the darling of many in the anti-cult movement, but whose own belief system was unorthodox when measured by evangelical and reformed faith. The faiths by which orthodoxy was measured in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were seen as harmful sects in the 17th Century and some of them as late as the 19th Century. Methodists consigned Lutherans to hell. Anglicans oppressed separatists. Our distant ancestor, James Chilton, a Separatist, was excommunicated by a church court for furthering a ‘private burial.’ He and those with him rejected Anglican funeral rites as ‘popish.’ Later in Leyden he and his daughter were attacked by a rock-throwing mob. Today the descendant Congregational churches in America are mainstream and a measure of orthodox belief.
            From 1607 through the end of the 19th Century, American religion was an expression of European belief systems, primarily British and German with a little bit of French Huguenot belief thrown in. The three primary Protestant strands in the colonial era were the established church [Church of England], Separatists, as represented by the Pilgrims and their descendants, Puritans of New England. Additionally there were a small number of Jewish and Catholic believers and later an influx of Scottish Presbyterians. The British roots of American religion are millennialist. Successive waves of British immigrants brought their millennialist beliefs with them. Other than the Anglican faith, the rest were seen as harmful, unorthodox sects, persecuted for their beliefs. Through a sometimes politically fraught and painful process, they became ‘orthodox.’
            Ruth Bloch’s analysis was that, judging only by “
            British   Millennialism did not originate in a vacuum. It was heavily influenced by Continental belief systems, many of which were, when first expressed, considered heretical. American millennialist belief owes its existence to a multifaceted trail of believers going back to Wycliffe and his associates, and from there to the Apostolic era. Wycliffe is remembered for his opposition to simony and clerical corruption. He sought reform not separation. Later he rejected key Catholic doctrines including transubstantiation. He saw the Papal system as the anti-Christ, and it is here that we touch on his millennial beliefs. If the anti-Christ was developing in the world, the final judgment was near. As H. Grattan Guinness wrote: “Wycliffe ... regarded the Redeemer's appearing as the object of hope and expectation to the Church.”[5] Wycliffe’s Bible translation came from his desire to make the pure word available to the many.
            Some attribute to Wycliffe a tract that seems to date from 1356. Entitled in its modern printing [1840] The Last Age of the Church, the tract condemns the simony prevalent in the Catholic priesthood.[6] The author, whomever he was, believed the church was in its third age, the fourth and final age impending.[7] Within the 14th Century the final judgment and destruction of the Papal antichrist would occur. Spence, in his monumental history suggested that:

The “Last Age of the Church” was, no doubt, inspired by the awful plague, the Black Death which had so desolated England a few years before, and the effects of which, in the emptied religious houses, in the thinned ranks of the clergy, in the distress and confusion which were the results of the fearful visitation, had stirred the minds of many devout men, who in the crushing calamity thought they discerned the woes which were to usher in the “last things.” The “Last Age of the Church” contained stern denunciations against the clergy, especially the holders of the more valuable preferments, as well as an interpretation of the recent miseries as heralding the approaching termination of the world.[8]

            Spence puts cause and effect in reverse order. The tract’s author saw in the events of the age proof that the last-days impended. He interpreted events in the light of scripture because he believed the Bible’s apocalyptic ‘signs’ were inerrant divine words giving men of faith certain guidance. We do not know the social status of the tract’s writer if it wasn’t Wycliffe, but we know that of others in this era, and they were not disenfranchised or swayed by social crisis, but were seekers. They wanted true insight into the scriptures and a return to pure Christian belief as revealed in the Bible. Wycliffe stated that his goal was a return to pure belief: “I anticipate that some of the friars whom God shall be pleased to enlighten will return with all devotion to the original religion of Christ, will lay aside their unfaithfulness, and with the consent of Antichrist, offered or solicited, will freely return to primitive truth, and then build up the Church, as Paul did before them.”[9] He and his followers wanted “the return of the clergy and the Church at large to the Christianity of the apostles.” This represents both the causation and the goal of prophetically based belief systems.
            The Lollards, Wycliffe’s followers, preached itinerantly, visiting villages and reading from Wycliffe’s Bible translation or from his tracts.[10] Some historians paint the Lollards as common, even peasants. But Lollard missionaries could read. It was part of their mission to read the Bible to those who had never heard it read. These were men educated beyond the normal, not disenfranchised peasants. Eventually, as often happens after a movement’s guiding light passes off the scene, the Lollards went to extremes and were persecuted out of existence. But Wycliffe’s influence did not die with him or the suppression of the Lollards. While Lollards hid themselves, Wycliffe’s influence permeated Europe.
            It is not our purpose to present a comprehensive history of European – particularly English – prophetic expositions. Others have done this with more or less thoroughness.[11] We shouldn’t have to write a separate book to prove our point. Reformist expositors were motivated by a strict adherence to the Bible, and while social issues colored their belief systems, it was this that crafted their millennarian belief. John Knox exemplifies this.
            Knox preached against Roman corruptions, calling the papal system the antichrist. This is part of millennialist belief. The antichrist must be revealed first, then the final judgment. When a Catholic apologist debated John Rough, Knox “fortified Rough with doctrinal arguments,” driving John Annan, the Catholic, “from Biblical grounds and compelled him to take shelter in the authority of the church.”[12] Deciding doctrine on Biblical grounds is the millenarian stance. This is the heritage behind Watch Tower faith in the Russell era. It is not a historian’s place to pass judgment on the success or failure of a faith quest – at least not in most circumstances. But the impelling force behind the broad movement of which the Watch Tower was a part was faith in the Bible’s word.
            Modern speculation about the roots of millennial belief tends to ignore the role of belief. Yet, belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God, inerrant, meant for the edification and guidance of believers is what impels millenarian faith. Social crisis may color interpretation, but taking the Bible at its prophetic word is the cause. Believers read, “ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts,” taking it literally. [2 Peter 1:19]
            Isaac Taylor Hinton, a Baptist clergyman and historian, writing at the height of the Millerite misadventure, said:

That the application of the facts of history to the predictions contained in the Sacred Word is a work of great interest and importance, few will be disposed to deny; it is one which has engaged the attention of minds of the highest order of piety and intelligence since the period of the Reformation; and every fresh writer has added something to the amount of knowledge which previously existed in this department of Biblical literature. The labors of Mede, Daubuz, Sir Isaac Newton, and others, laid a sound foundation, on which future writers enlarged and improved. Bishop Newton availed himself of their aid, and, by his patient research, produced a work which will ever redound to his honor. He effected all that could reasonably be expected of an author living previous to the great events of the French Revolution, the subsequent shaking of the papal nations, and decline of the Mahometan power. These events have confirmed the general principles, while they have corrected some misapprehensions which are found in his able work. - .

... Bicheno, Faber, Irving, Cunningham, Croly, Keith, and others have written, more or less extensively, on this interesting topic. Most of these authors, while differing on some points, agree in the application of the principal facts of history to the respective predictions.

            Russellism comes from this tradition. It arose from the same causes, not social unrest, but a desire to return to New Testament belief and practice. Each generation of millenarians interprets contemporaneous events in the light of their belief, but the events do not drive millenarian belief. Watch Tower belief in the Russell era is not a religion of despair. It was not an attempt to withdraw from a changing world. It wasn’t an attempt to formulate new ‘truths.’ It was an attempt to assert anew belief in the Bible as the inspired word of God. Millennial belief systems are diverse. From the so-called Dark Ages [They weren’t so dark.] until today, writers on prophetic themes disagree with each other, sometimes quite disagreeably. But the impulse remains the same: The Bible contains ‘end-times’ prophecy; we should understand it. The millenarian movement has always had its extremist fringe. But even there, the impulse is the same.
            Within historic millenarianism we find belief systems very similar to 19th Century Watch Tower faith. No-one should be surprised at this. There are many divergent faiths in America who owe their existence to the same taproot. Philip Jenkins, in his thought provoking Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History¸ wrote: “In terms of numbers, perhaps the largest component of the religious spectrum in contemporary America remains what it has been since colonial times: a fundamentalist evangelism with powerful millenarian strands.”[13] Speculation about the Bible’s prophetic numbers found in Russell era Watch Tower faith is based on millenarian practice, quite common among British expositors, colonial era Americans, and Americans into the 20th Century. If Russell, Barbour and others associated with the Watch Tower in some way speculated concerning prophetic numbers, they based what they believed on the works of earlier millenarians. Russell’s critics accused him of various heresies, among these Arianism. Though non-Trinitarian, he did not teach Arian doctrine. He did, however, owe much to Congregationalists who rejected the Trinity. Many – probably most – of these also taught the near return of Christ and the impending millennial reign.
            Many of Russell’s conclusions came to him through intervening writers. He seems to know little of his belief system’s history. But those he read, who influenced him did. Comparing the development of Watch Tower belief to other sects that developed in the mid to late 19th Century is misdirected and a waste of time. Historians should focus on the roots of the faith they consider. Suggesting that millennialist movements such as The Watch Tower derive from disenfranchisement or social crisis is simply wrong. Suggesting that the Watch Tower was a uniquely American phenomenon of the late 19th Century is equally wrong. We consider this more fully in chapter --.

[1]               A. Holden: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement¸ Routledge, New York, 2002, page 10.
[2]               For an excellent summary of current discussions of the causes of Millennial beliefs see: C. Garrett: Respectable Folly: Millenarians and the French Revolution in France and England, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1974. Note the first chapter. Though disenfranchisement and social crisis theories concerning the origin of Witnesses and other millennialist sects are usually presented as originating in the middle 20th Century, we owe them to Shirley Jackson Case. [See his The Millennial Hope: A Phase of War-Time Thinking. (1918)]
[3]               Philip Jenkins, Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religons in American History, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000, page 6.
[4]               C. T. Russell: What Think ye of Christ, a newspaper sermon from 1904 republished in the February 13, 1917, St. Paul Enterprise.
[5]               H. G. Guiness: Light for the Last Days, Second Edition, London, 1888, page 290.
[6]               Title on the manuscript is De Simoniâ Sacerdotum.
[7]               The first consisted in the Persecutions, the second in the development of Heresies, the third in Simony. The last tribulation was to follow: The Devil at broad noonday – i.e. the Antichrist followed by Christ’s appearing for final judgment.
[8]               H. D. M. Spence: The Church of England: A History for the People, Cassell and Company, London, 1898, Volume 2, page 323.
[9]               A modern English paraphrase found in G. V. Lechler’s John Wycliffe and his English Precursors, Religious Tract Society, London, 1904, pages 352-353. Source of the original is not stated.
[10]             The name was used pejoratively. It was derived from the Middle Dutch lollaert (“mumbler”), which had been applied continental groups “suspected of combining pious pretensions with heretical belief.”
[11]             See among others Froom’s Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers [4 vols.]; H. G. Guinness: Light for the Last Days and his History Unveiling Prophecy, D. Taylor: Voice of the Church on the Return of Christ. A major flaw behind the research of social crisis theories is that some, many, writers simply have not read the original writings. And among those who have, some failed to get the sense of what they read.
[12]             L. E. Froom: Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Review and Herald, Washington D. C., Volume 2, page 451.
[13]             Oxford University Press, 2000, page 5.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Reminder ...

Opposition voices are part of Watch Tower history. We need scans of tracts and articles written by those opposing the Watch Tower. We're interested in any, no matter how silly, up to 1940.

We also need scans of J. W. Brite's tracts. We've located some but cannot afford the copy fees. If you have one, please scan it for us.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nelson Barbour book ...

To buy our biography of Nelson Barbour, click on the image to the left of your screen. It will take you to the sales page.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Update of Sorts

            We’ve revised our outline, dividing a chapter finished in rough draft in two and enlarging the new chapter. This is difficult writing, so you won’t see much from me for a while. We’re raising issues that some will find ‘sensitive.’ And we’re incorporating material we intended for volume three, shortening the discussion to a few paragraphs.
            Our goal is to clarify the nature of the earliest congregations and fellowships. Most groups were small fellowships, a few individuals who met together, often without clear leadership. We will explore how Watch Tower adherents viewed Russell before 1894. Research has led us in a new direction; or I should say it has taken us into a wider field.
            If you want to help, scour the letters in the early issues of Zion’s Watch Tower of comments about Russell or praise for the Tower and Russell’s other writings – Millennial Dawn, Food for Thinking Christians, Old Theology Quarterly, etc.
            It is essential that we be absolutely accurate. If you can help, that would be stellar.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


by Jerome

(Republished and updated from Blog 2)

The Bible Students embraced the new medium of motion pictures to spread their message. This article is about six examples that were released between 1914-1922. Some of this information has already been presented in more detail on this blog in years gone by, but this will present a brief overview and give links to where a modern viewer can see in whole or part, five of the six examples.

Photodrama of Creation

This approximately eight hour production, normally shown in four parts on consecutive weeks or evenings, will require no introduction to readers here.

There are a number of places on YouTube where you can watch it, including some surviving films of CTR in action. Sound was on disc so CTR mimed to the recordings, not always with complete success. There are also a number of places where you can buy a DVD set of the production. However, it must be noted that all the work of restoration over the last 40 years has really been performed by one person, Brian K. This has been a labor of love and the work is still ongoing, and an even better version in Blue-Ray will appear in due course.

Unfortunately, because the source material is out of copyright, others have felt no qualms about copying earlier restorations (perhaps from inferior VHS videos) and marketing them commercially. Leaving aside the ethics of this, if you want the very best version possible from surviving material, you really need to obtain one that bears Brian’s name.

Here is a link to one of the films of CTR.

Restitution - Mena Film Company

This writer plans to do a whole article on just this film and its history one day. But in brief, the company was put together by Bible Students in 1917. It had no direct connection with the Watch Tower Society, although the original Photodrama was briefly sold to Mena by the Society before everyone thought better of the deal. Unlike the Photodrama this was commercially produced, and needed to be shown to paying audiences in a commercial setting to succeed. By all accounts, it didn’t. It was shown to a non-paying audience at an IBSA convention in Seattle in July 1918, but then with the difficulties of the day - the Society directors jailed, others leaving association with the IBSA - it sank. It was reissued commercially under a new title The Conquering Christ and by the end of the 1920s one of the former Mena directors, Leslie Jones, was selling off 16mm prints in seven minute segments as a serial, now rebranded as Redemption. Just one of those segments has recently been rediscovered.

The sequence is Herod’s plans to massacre the innocents. While still primitive by modern day standards, film technique had advanced considerably since the Photodrama of Creation. The director, who obligingly also cast himself as Jesus Christ, had worked with D W Griffith on his epic Intolerance.

But enough of such details for perhaps another time. Here is the clip that only recently has been put on YouTube.


Moving forward from 1918, we come to Kinemo. The Society produced a series of three films on the soon to be doomed 17.5mm gauge, and sold them to Watch Tower readers and the public in general via the Kinemo Company. Three were produced. The history and description of this venture, with its ups and downs, has been described in past articles on this blog and can be checked there. They were filmed over 1920-21 but not sold to the public until the fall of 1922.

Here are links to all three films. The Imperial Valley one is missing a bit of footage, the other two appear complete. All three films include footage of J F Rutherford. Perhaps the most entertaining is the end of the pyramid film. It must have been like a furnace inside the Great Pyramid, and JFR apparently ventured inside wearing a three-piece suit. Watch him as he leaves! (15:28 on the video)

Cedar Point

One final film completes this article, but alas, has not come to light. The Kinemo system of 17.5 mm film offered a film from the 1922 Cedar Point Ohio convention. The panoramic view of the audience out of doors hearing J F Rutherford speak includes a film crew. Here is a close-up from that photograph.

The subsequent films were offered for sale in the New Era Enterprise newspaper.

The same paper (October 31, 1922) also mentioned that the original Kinemo films had been shown on a large screen at the Cedar Point convention, along with footage of “the Bible House and other organization buildings and offices in Brooklyn, the Bethel Home, etc. the printing and binding of booklets and pamphlets etc.”

I know for certain that the modern Watchtower Society has no copies of any of this material, and I suspect had never heard of it until it was brought to their attention. While it would be silent footage, it would of great historical interest to see it. That is, of course, if it still exists.

Come on now. Anyone out there?

The Changing Faces of the French Watch Tower

by Franco

The first issue of the French Watch Tower was printed in October 1903 and was identical to the first issue in Italian. It was called:

Messager de la Présence de Christ "

The second number was printed in January 1904 and was thereafter published monthly.  (The Italian edition remained a quarterly).

From the January 1905 issue an "et" was added before "Messager" and "LE" was removed before "PHARE."   It now became:

Messager de la Présence de Christ "

This title remained until June 1909. Then in July 1909 it became:

Messager de la Présence de Christ "

This had 2/3 different covers. This title was used until December 1912.

In January 1913 the magazine changed its cover again and before the title was added a "LA." It was now called:

Messager de la prèsence de Christ"

This is the cover design that will be familiar to most readers.

(edited by Jerome)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

French Watch Tower


(previously on Blog 2)

A 1904 edition of Divine Plan of the Ages with the prospectus for all six volumes bound as the covers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Henry Grew

We need a readable scan of Grew's Bank Street tract from 1836. Anyone?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Up to adventure, the challenge of research ??!!

I'd accept a well researched article on Russell's Jewish mass meeting .... Even two or three if they're well researched and footnoted. Up to it?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Someone in the Pittsburgh area ...

This may be of doubtful worth but we'd like a copy

In the Peter E. Soderbergh Collection of Jehovah's Witnesses Materials, AIS.1972.08, 1914-1995, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Box 1

Item 1 Jehovah's first witness: Pastor Charles Taze Russell, by Peter A. Soderbergh, 1966

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Claude Brown

Do any blog readers have any information about Claude Brown, outside what can be found in the Society's Watchtower library? He was a Jamaican, a conscientious objector during WW1 who served time in a British prison (Wandsworth) and went to Africa to support W R Brown (Bible Brown) in missionary work in Nigeria, Gold Coast (Ghana), Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc.

We need this and can't afford it. Anyone have it?


Friday, August 11, 2017

S. O. Blunden

From: The Independent Press and Bloomfield [New Jersey] Citizen, November 1915.

The Independent Press [Bloomfield] May 23, 1913

On Blog 2

For those readers who have access to the restricted blog, there is an article up there now called Pictorial Memories. This is made up from photographs (with a bit of text) that have recently come my way relating to individuals in the UK. Since there might just be the potential for privacy issues with individuals and descendants, I have put it there rather than on this open blog.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

From Roberto

Roberto continues to research the events of 1881:

Barbour, Russell, and the year 1881, another point of contrast.

Barbour and Russell finally separated in June 1879 over the doctrine of the ransom. They had another point of contrast over the year 1881. With the article “THE PARALLELS” published in the June1880 Herald, Barbour denied the thought of an invisible Parousia. According to him the second presence didn’t begin autumn of 1874, nor would there be a later invisible presence. Jesus would personally come in the Autumn of 1881, not seen by the world, but seen by his true disciples, that is, the Herald of the Morning believers.

Russell immediately replied with the July issue of the Watch Tower, confirming his belief that Christ’s invisible presence began in October 1874. Here’s extracts from the two magazines.

Herald of the Morning, June 1880, pp. 85-86, “THE PARALLELS”

“The scapegoat work in cleansing the sanctuary, is an invisible work, seen only in its manifestations; but the appearing of our High Priest, “unto them that look for him,” is never spoken of directly or indirectly, in a way in which we have the least authority to suppose that he will come in an invisible manner. But always the contrary; “He will appear to (optomai, be seen of) us;” he comes in the manner they saw him go, etc. It is true. He will not show himself to the world, when he comes to his church, but he will “be seen” by them that look for him, is the teaching of the law and the testimony.
I warn our readers not to be deceived in this matter; Christ left the church as her High Priest; and he returns to her as such. And after ascending into the presence of God there is no intermediate personal coming in any way, to his church, until he shall appear to them that look for him, Heb. 9:28.
Again, there was a separation of chaff and wheat, and a gathering of the wheat out of the rejected Jewish church, after the crucifixion: and there was a remnant of time still due, for that purpose. And although the half week was left obscure, and there is an equal want of absolute Scripture here pointing us to the end of this last half of the harvest, still the parallel, and the clear indication that the work belonging to this part of the harvest is in process of fulfilment, in the cleaning of the sanctuary, not only by the separation of wise and foolish virgins , but between the letter and the spirit, in all our views; is, all together, evidence enough to make us “look for him, to appear to us in the autumn of 1881.”

Herald of the Morning, July 1880, p. 4, “HAS CHRIST COME?”

“The Parousia, or presence of Christ, when “he shall appear (optomai, be seen),” by “them that look for him,” demands his personal presence; and this is his return in, not the invisible antitypical scapegoat work, but as the High Priest in person. And this coming of Christ, or his parousia, we have reason to expect, will occur in the autumn of 1881. That he did not come, in the autumn of 1874, or at the beginning of the gospel harvest, as we once supposed, is as certain as is the word of Jesus himself.”

The Watch Tower July 1880, p. 2, “AS THE LIGHTNING”

“ … the Lord informs us that there will be in these "days of the Son of man," false teachers who will be very powerful and exercise much influence upon the church, . . . We believe we find them in those who claim that Jesus is to appear shortly in the wilderness of Judea (Palestine) and that all who love him and expect to be part of his kingdom should go there and be on hand to receive and welcome him. . . . But there is to be more than one of these deceiving teachers; While one says He is coming in the desert, another says: "Behold he is in the secret chambers." Do we find teaching of this kind now, in the days of the Son of man? Yes, it seems to us that this is being fulfilled; a brother whom we knew well and loved much, thinks that God has given him what he terms "New Oil" (perhaps he does not notice that the virgins of Matt. 25, do not get any new oil; it is the same oil they had at first). But this brother is we think fulfilling this scripture. He is teaching that after 1881, Christ will appear in the flesh secretly, to be seen only by himself and those who believe exactly as he believes. This teaching not only leads to unscriptural expectations, but seems to open the minds of those who receive it to a perilous snare of the devil, which snare is referred to in the "Three Worlds," a book written by this very brother, in 1876, now out of print but possessed by many of our readers, extracts from which will follow this article. The wide diversity of views as stated in that article, and his present view as stated above seems to make good his claim that he has new oil; but it does not commend itself to us as being as good as the old "The old is better."