My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I sometimes blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
The last few months I have felt like a kid in a candy store. It has been over two years since I have been able to get into an archives and do research - but over the past few months I have been able to go to the United Church Archives in Toronto, Knox College Library in Toronto, the Presbyterian Archives in Toronto, and the Baptist Archives at Regent's Park College, Oxford, UK. And there are few better places on the planet than archives! The following are some of my serendipitous discoveries.
My actual and professional research was focused on imperial discourse in religious periodicals in the early twentieth century, but as I turned the pages of old newspapers I found lots of material that took me off course. In fact, I kept having to fight to stay on subject! Here are just a few examples of some artifacts of a by-gone era (but not so by-gone as to be irrelevant). Enjoy.
Here is an advertisement for publishing that uses a nuclear explosion to get the reader's attention about the power of God and the press. The advertisement was in the years immediately following the discovery and use of atomic weapons.
Here are some articles lamenting the negative influence of comic books on Christian youth. I must confess I read a comic Bible for years as a kid - and still remember the artwork. I doubt I would have read the Bible otherwise.
Much has been made of the bias of Canadian media, especially that of our national broadcaster the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Here is a criticism from 1945 that the CBC was using "the technique of Hitler and Goebbels" in its approach to the church. The issue then was squeezing church service broadcasts out of the Sunday evening lineup of shows.
As a pastor's kid (and for a few years a pastor myself) I am sensitive to pastors getting paid a decent and fair salary. Here is an exhortation from 1947 that should be read by some church Boards today.
Finally, here are some election advertisements for the Ontario election of 1948. Ontario is in the midst of an election right now - look at the platforms of the parties and see how the have changed, if they have at all. There is also commentary on the importance of the press and the election - something we need to think carefully about today as well.