NH BIBLE SOCIETY 200TH ANNIVERSARY!
Since 1812, The New Hampshire Bible Society has actively distributed the Bible in New Hampshire. For almost 200 years we have been offering God’s word into the hands, heads and hearts of the people of New Hampshire.
In honor of our anniversary NH Bible Society has donated our archives of to the UNH Dimond Library’s Milne collection. Jessica McClain and Bill Ross have catalogued and placed online 200 years of NHBS records. We hope you enjoy this article from the past.
The New Hampshire Bible Society and World War I
In April 1917, efforts to maintain US neutrality in the ongoing war in Europe came to an end and war was formally declared against Germany and her allies. There is very little in the records of the New Hampshire Bible Society (NHBS) indicating the stances members took regarding neutrality or participation in the war effort, but this is perhaps to be expected as the organization has historically focused on the distribution of scripture rather than on policy issues.
At its Annual Meeting, held on June 11, 1917, “It was voted that the New Hampshire Bible Society present to the soldiers and sailors going from New Hampshire copies of the New Testament including the insert containing the governor’s salutation—and that the action of the treasurer in providing these testaments be ratified.” The minutes from the Directors Meeting held on December 19, 1917 offer a report from NHBS superintendent Edwin J. Aiken addressing the progress made by the Society in distributing copies of the scripture among New Hampshire soldiers and sailors training in area camps:
5100 copies of the Khaki New Testament, 100 copies of the Catholic New Testament and 2500 copies of Khaki Gospels and Proverbs have been bought with about 700 copies of the Khaki Testament and 1000 copies of the Gospels and Proverbs now in hand, and in view of an advanced price January 1st asked advice as to the immediate purchase of books needed for work during the spring and summer months. On motion of R.H. Huse. It was voted: To purchase 500 copies of the Khaki New Testament.
Aiken further reports on the work of the Bible Society “among the men who have so nobly rallied for the defense of their country and to better the conditions of the whole world,” in his report for the year ending May 31, 1918 and presented at the 1918 Annual Meeting. He presents a brief history of the work of the NHBS during times of war and describes the efforts involved in distributing over 9000 copies of the Scriptures to New Hampshire soldiers and sailors, much of which was done in conjunction with branches of the Young Men’s Christian Association.
The NHBS archives do not contain any copies of the Bibles distributed during the Great War, but their words and prayers for NH troops, included as an insert presented which each distributed Bible, remain as published in their Annual Reports from the war years: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
–Jessica Zaricki McClain, MLIS
You can find more information at http://www.library.unh.edu/special/index.php/new-hampshire-bible-society.