Additions to The American Baptist Society Pamphlets

The American Baptist Publication Society pamphlets differ somewhat on their additions. “Why a Baptist” and “Prayer and its Relation to LIfe” are quite similar, but “The Christian Idea of Education” is set up differently. This allowed me to both compare and contrast the different works in a way that further enriched my knowledge of each of the individual texts.

My first pamphlet, “Why a Baptist,” is a sermon by Wilder W. Perry.It has been rebound in a way that makes it impossible to tell whether it once had a cover that has been removed, or of it was originally presented without one. Despite the tape from the rebinding, the title page can still be clearly seen. It has a minimal decoration, with the main focus being on the words. The title is the biggest font on the page and seems to draw the most attention from the eye, followed by a smaller subtitle, “A Historical Address”. The author of the sermon is listed, followed by his degrees and hometown. Since this pamphlet was meant to be handed out to spread the American Baptist message to people who potentially had no prior knowledge, prefacing the work as historical and providing the credentials of the speaker could be a way to give the reading a more academic tone and build the reputation of the work.

Title Page – “Why A Baptist:

This page is followed by a brief preface. The reader is not given an author of the preface, and it only takes up a third of the following page with two short paragraphs. Its contents talk about the historical reliability of the Baptist’s interpretation of faith, and the intent of the author to inspire others. Once again, for a reader unfamiliar to the Baptist’s ideologies, this is setting up a tone of respect. The opening page of the work has the title written again in a large, bold font, followed by a verse from the Book of Matthew. The verse is one referred to in many Protestant Christian communities as The Great Commission and is considered a command to go out into the world and share their message. This is a clear message of intent, that this work is meant to share the message with the world. The rest of the text follows simply, with no guidance on how to read, and few organizational additions. On the back page of the work, there is an advertisement to buy more copies in bulk to hand out to the people you meet. This seems to suggest that the expectation of the publishers was that this book would be well received, and people would want to pass it on.

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The Second Pamphlet, “Prayer and its Relation to Life” is another sermon, this one by Henry M. King. Its structure is similar to “Why a Baptist,” but its cover is still intact. It is plain with lining around the title at the top, and the author and publisher names are listed smaller and further down the page.

Outside of Front Cover

The title page includes the same information as the previous pamphlet, with the main focus on the title and the author’s degrees following their name. This pamphlet includes no preface, and the opening page of the text lists the title in bold at the top. This work precedes with little organizational guidance from here, and has no additions at the end.

The third Pamphlet, “The Christian Idea of Education” by Henry E. Robins is in a format more similar to a book than a pamphlet. The title page mirrors the last two in format and content, but from here it becomes different. The next page is a table of contents dividing the book into chapters.

Table of Contents

Many of these chapters are only a few pages long at most, but it reveals that this book was not written as a straight read, but as something someone could leave and come back to. It is also important to consider that this pamphlet is an argument for the importance of a Christian education, so these divisions were likely if someone was using this as a reference to support this argument beyond the book. This is the only organizational factor in the book, but in the back, there is an envelope containing snippets of paper from a ditto machine. The envelope is bound into the book, so it is a permanent part of the book’s structure. The papers inside have quotes from the Presidents of colleges, other authors, and politicians. The inclusion of these quotes as part of the book seems to have several implications. First the volume of the quotes, eleven, is more than you would find on the back of a modern book today and shows that the publishers wanted to show that the content was respected by people from several walks of life. It also shows, by whose quotes are included, that they were trying to enact a tone of academia by invoking the voices of people who were already in that world. These are held at that the back of the book, almost as a follow up to the argument.

The three pamphlets overall are very simple and functional, which speaks to their meaning. The focus seems to be directed at content over authorship, but the authors are established as respectable. The organizational guides for all is simple and goes with the type of reading the pamphlet is intended for.