tv American Artifacts The Bible in America 1700- 1960s CSPAN August 5, 2021 5:41pm-6:12pm EDT
>> the museum of the bible in washington, d.c. which opened november 17, 2017 has more than 3,000 books and artifacts on exhibit, and the building occupies almost an entire city block. up next on american artifacts in the second of a two-part tour of the museum's bible in america exhibit, we pick up in the 1700s during what's known as the great awakening. >> in the early 17 hundreds, many felt spirituality of america was declining. for some church was a routine
obligation. but traveling preachers of the first great awakening challenged that routine. the wandering preachers brought the bible back. and george whitfield was the rock star of his time. >> i can see him, here he comes. >> although your bodies are on earth, your souls and hearts are in heaven. by your faith and constant revelation, like the blessed angels, you hold the face of your father which is in heaven. >> the second section of our tour deals with the rebirth or awakening of the bible in america and has an amazing story unto itself. >> things that you're looking at in this case are original sermons of important pastors of the time period, what cary
talked about, the great awakening. the interesting story about jonathan edwards, he wasn't one of the dynamic, flamboyant type of pastors, he would stand and present the sermon, but according to history, people would fall under great conviction. basically from 1730 up until after the signing of declaration of independence, there was a great spiritual awakening, great awareness of presence of god or to have relationship with god. also sermons presented by george whitfield. george whitfield was very controversial in his style of preaching, so many times he wasn't allowed or invited to preach in churches. he had this field pulpit, he would set it up and start preaching. >> it is undeniably certain, we must receive the holy ghost, err we can't be styled true member
of christ's mystical body. >> so we enter to this particular era in the museum, you're going to see a lot of interesting technology that we're using and helps us tell the story, some drama that we created, but in a very different way, and many people would expect it to be done, and we brought in some symbolic items again like replica of the liberty bell. this came from the same foundry that did the one in philadelphia. and some would say well, i mean, why have this one, the one in philadelphia is there. but we have so many foreign visitors and people, americans who will never go to philadelphia and they want to see what that was all about. it also as the text says here, inscription from book of
leviticus, declaring liberty throughout the land, engraved on the bell itself. one of our basis for this floor, not just bible in america but bible globally is the bible is all around you and you don't even realize how much it affected our lives, things that we say, cliches that we use today. a leopard cannot change its spots. that's a biblical text. an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. biblical text. we share those on this particular floor. the liberty bell is a great one to look at because again it has, represents the bible in a very different way. and that's what we tried to show. >> the liberty bell was actually donated to the museum of the bible by dr. peter loback, president of westminster
theological and president of providence forum as well. it was produced in recognition of the 300th anniversary of william penn great liberty of conscience. it made a trip around the united states, the bell was running in all 50 states in recognition of the liberty of conscience. and then sat in a warehouse a few years, not sure how long. we got a phone call asking if we would like to have this bell for the museum. what's interesting and cool about it, it was produced at the white chapel foundry, the same foundry the first one was produced at. pass and stow of philadelphia, exact replica, except for the crack. that's a laser beam crack. other than that, it rings in the
same key or peels in e flat as the liberty bell in philadelphia. we have rung it here twice now. >> this section of our museum takes on the topic of liberty, declaration of independence, sort of the struggle there and some of the key documents that were in play at that time. so norm, why don't you share a couple of these with us. >> this is one of my favorite cases in the exhibition. often ask what's your favorite artifact. it is really not fair because we have so many cool things here to look at, but one of the things i would talk about is when the colonists first came to the new world, they were not allowed to print bibles in the english language. the crown held the right to english text. all bibles, geneva, king james bible, catholic bibles would come from europe or from the crown, if you will. when we declared our independence in 1776, the import of product from london ceased.
it was brought to congress' attention we have a lack of english bibles. one of the colonial printers, robert aitken, presented the idea to produce an english text here in america. so first in 1777 he would produce an english new testament, new testament from king james bible. so the crown is still holding rights to this text, would basically make him an outlaw or outlaw printer. but there are only two of the first english new testaments printed in america in existence. one at the new york library, or you can come to museum of the bible and see this one here. in 1782, robert aitken would present an entire bible. this bible was reviewed by chaplains of congress, then passed on from congress to
congress itself and reviewed, in which they gave robert aitken permission to print this bible. so this would be the first complete english bible ever printed in america. the only bible to receive congressional authorization to be printed by robert aitken. aitken knowing the crown literally held the rights to the english text included the congressional authorization in each and every one of the bibles. if you were a united states citizen at the time, knowing it was forbidden to own a bible not produced by the crown, you could see your government allowed you to be able to own this particular bible. so not only did he include that in the text, we included the original congressional authorization showing you that congress did indeed, word for word he included in his text. one of the things i find amusing about this bible, he tells you where to find him. three doors down from the coffee
shop. there was only one starbucks at the time in philadelphia. i find that amusing. you find the coffee shop, you can find the print shop. if you look at this authorization, you see the name charles thomson. to me, he is one of america's unsung heroes. he is the first secretary of the america's unsung heroes. but he is the very first secretary of the continental congress. and he signs the authorization for robert aiken to print the bible. when -- when charles thompson retires, he was a greek scholar, himself. and so, he, himself would produce the first english bible translated in america from the greek. and this would make charles thompson not only the first secretary of the continental congress. but he, also, was the signatory that showed the authorization of john's hancock's signature on the declaration of independence. he helped design the great seal of the united states.
and then, he would become the very first united states citizen to print or to translate a bible in america. so, he is a pretty interesting fellow, he was. >> so as we continue our journey, you're -- you're looking at several of our screens. these take on various debates of -- of history. ♪♪ >> there was, among the 12 apostles, one traitor who betrayed with a kiss. it should be no wonder, therefore, that if among so many thousand true patriots, there should be even 12 judas's ready to betray their country for a few poultry pieces of silver.
>> when you speak of the authority of civil government and that submission which we owe to it, they put christians in mind that civil government was the order and institution of god, himself. that by disobeying legal government, we disobey god. >> this one, the one we were just at, deals with the concept of -- of submission or betrayal. again, that was a big topic during that time when america was, sort of, you know, paving their own course. um, which way are we? are we submitting to the rule? or are we betrayers of it? and there was a lot of -- lot of argument that was going on. so we've taken those topics on here. not only in film but, also, in many of the documents you read here, also. >> speaking of jefferson, over here, this is known as the jefferson bible or the lives and morals of jesus christ. now, there is only one jefferson bible where he would use the french, the greek, and english.
and he would do a little cut and paste from the gospels. and the -- the gorge is at the smithsonian institute. but in 1904, the government-printing house started printing what we know as the jefferson bible. and from 1904, up until 1950, every freshman senator and congressman would receive a copy of this imprint here, which is one of the 1904 editions. as we travel along and move throughout the impact of the bible in america, you will see the transition in our tapestry. we are leaving from the 1700s. and then, we come up to another, very important event in american history, which is the -- the -- the history of -- of the abolitionism. and our story here, we talk -- we have, again, artifacts that will complement the -- the actual tapestry, itself. so, in the center, we have what is the -- the -- the emblem of
the newspaper that was produced by william lloyd garrison and it's known as "the liberator." and william lloyd garrison's newspaper, which we have a copy here, was so controversial that the south actually put a bounty on him for $5,000 if you would kill him. and then, of course, we also have harriet beacher stowe, who is the author of uncle tom's cabin. and here, we actually have a copy of a first edition of "uncle tom's cabin," as well as "the liberator" newspaper, which was a newspaper that was imprinted for 25 years for the sole purpose of trying to -- supporting the move of the abolitionist movement. and then, of course, you'll see the image of john brown. and then, of course, frederick douglass. and we have the -- the first edition works of the biography
of frederick douglass, as well. and behind you, one of my very favorite artifacts is down here, in the very bottom of the case. and it's known -- it's a sharp's rival but it's known as the beacher's bible. and now, we have talked about harriet beecher stowe. her husband -- i'm sorry, her father, henry beecher was a staunch abolitionist, as well. and what he did is he took these sharp rifles and he put them into a case or crates and he would ship them to kansas in support of the abolitionist movement and this isn't an exact quote but it's close to it. henry ward beecher said that if he can't convince the slave owners, through the word of god, that the enslavement of the african people was wrong, perhaps he can convince them by looking down the barrel of a rifle. and so, he would pack these up, put them on a train but he marked them as bibles so you wouldn't be suspicious as they were being transported to
kansas. >> also, talks about the formation of the american bible society. which it, today, is still the largest in the world, even though there are bible societies in virtually all countries. the american bible society is still the largest and really helps fund a lot of the other bible societies around the world. and many of the founding fathers were members of the american bible society. and were officers of the bible society. supreme court justices were. and it is a great story. >> the chief justice, john jay, was a member of the american bible society. charles thompson, who we talked about with the first american citizen to translate a bible into the english language. he was a member of the american bible society. and then, president of the continental congress was the president of the american bible
society, as well. so, yeah, it's interesting that you brought that up. over to the right is an actual -- what is known as an ordination certificate. and it's signed by -- um -- frances asbury, who was the first methodist missionary or bishop to come over to america. and why this is important in our exhibition is that asbury was approached george washington and spoke to him about the emancipation of freeing the slaves as far back as, you know, our very first president. so we have a sign, wax sealed, ordination certificate by frances asbury. and he is also up on our tapestry, as well. so, again, the artifact complements the story, as you walk through. and then, here, we have some bibles now within our collection in the museum of the bible, we have cherokee, chippewa, iroquois. now, not all of these were translated into complete bibles.
we have new testaments, maybe perhaps the psalms, and then sometimes perhaps the complete bible was translated to reach the indigenous people. these were all produced by the american bible society. it's three of many that came out from -- from their missionary work. >> and then, as we said earlier, the -- the anti-slavery/pro-slavery even continues, today. here's our examples, again, that were bibles that were created to be pro-slavery. so, norm, i know there's one in here that -- that you might want to talk about. >> the harriet tubman? >> uh-huh. >> okay. so this is -- this is the harriet tubman. the moses of her people. and, of course, most -- most of us, hopefully, know the story about harriet -- harriet tubman in the underground railroad. so, this is somewhere -- okay, if you look at the case, you'll notice that it's against slavery. and then, the works that are for slavery. and -- and -- and again, as kerry was mentioning, they used the bible to justify their
cause. and so, we have the works of -- or the story of harriet tubman. and then, over here where it's e.n. elliot, at the time, where he uses a big it's called cotton is king but it's in support of why we should continue -- have a continuation of slavery, as well. so we're telling, you know, both sides of the story. and again, as -- from the very beginning, i remember kerry telling me that he wanted to make sure that we told the good, the bad, and the ugly. but we wanted to give a fair story of how the bible was used in the founding of america. >> you see, hanging on our walls throughout this bible in america area, a tapestry that we had woven. we've been told it's the longest tapestry been woven in the u.s. it's 274 feet. it was designed by an artist who lives off of maine. island outside/off of maine. many believe when they see this, they think it's just a scrim
that was painted but this is actually a woven tapestry. and every single thing in here was reviewed by many scholars. even the kind of buttons that were used. the hat that was used. the roof on the buildings that we show. and so, the whole museum on this side takes this tapestry. we cut it into pieces showing from the mayflower. now, we're going to be moving all the way up into modern days. but it's all reflected in this tapestry. um, it's -- it's great because a lot of kids. you know, they don't really have a lot of interest in looking at bibles. and -- and we have a lot of foreign visitors who we translate into ten languages. but we got over 100 countries who have visited, already. and so, they can walk through here. and get some idea of the story, just through the -- the -- the
pictorial that we've done. so now, we are coming to a section which is really -- i find it fascinating. i'm asked, you know, what are your favorite items in the museum? and with 3,100 on exhibit and an inventory of almost 100,000 to pick from that we curate, it's real hard to say what that is but there is one. and it's this one right here. this is julia howell ward who wrote a poem at 2:00 in the morning at the willard hotel. and she says, in her own words, she took a stub of a pencil by the candlelight that was available to her. and she wrote down what she says god gave her to write down. she showed it to her daughter, the next morning, and it was all scripture that she had written down. but it formed a poem.
and her daughter said, mom, you should have this published. this is really good. so, they did. they took it to a publisher and he published it. she created what we call, today, the battle hymn of the republic. well, that one piece of paper that she wrote. that -- what's now considered one of the most sung hymns in the united states, ever. we own. and so, what you're looking at here is the original -- the original letter that she wrote. now, in this area, we have music that deals with "amazing grace." and "the battle hymn of the republic." and other pieces of music that represent the struggle that was going on. so, this is a -- this is one of my favorite because it's a very unique story. many don't realize that the words, themselves, are all taken
from a biblical text that she said she was given to write down. and if you, now, when you sing that song, you'll recognize it and listen to the words, as we say. and you will hear the bible being quoted in her song. >> while we're still focusing on the tapestry, you'll notice that there's a break here throughout the entire tapestry. and this is symbolic. and then, up here, we actually have one of the battles of the civil war. and, of course, we have elizabeth katie stanton who translated a bible, that is known as "the woman's bible." and then, of course, abraham lincoln. but one of the highlighted -- well, this is a really cool case because not only does it have the original manuscript of julia ward howe of the battle hymn of republic but it actually has a bible that was presented and given to abraham lincoln by a group of african-americans from
baltimore. and -- and an appreciation of his signing of the emancipation proclamation, they presented this bible to him. and this would have been a very, very expensive bible. the emancipation of proclamation, itself, is riddled with many biblical references, as well. so, really, really cool and dynamic case. kind of inserted here is what is known as the confederate states new testament. now, very similar to what happened when america declared their independence, the -- the english ceased to supply america with goods. the same thing happened from the north and the south. and so, what was established was the confederate states' bible society. and this is the first new testament printed from the confederate states' bible society, which is actually imprinted on the title page. this is a very, very, very rare new testament because these soldiers they read their bibles and their new testaments. it was equally important to the south, god's word, as it was to
the north. and most of these were destroyed because they took them into battle with them and basically was one of the only comforts they could actually have. >> so today, we found out maybe an hour or two hours ago that, you know, billy graham had passed away. and we know that he's a very strong and influential person in america, not only just for the spiritual principles that he brought to us. but the support of the civil-rights movement, as well. and he invited dr. martin luther king, jr., to -- to come and preach at one of his revival sermons at madison square garden. and he insisted that there would be no segregation, there would be no separation. and that all would sit amongst each other. so he was a great supporter, as well. and we've been fortunate enough that the billy graham library has graciously lent to us a new
testament that belonged to billy graham. that he highlighted, annotated, and he used to prepare sermons with. and then, again, not only was he a civil-rights advocate for the african-americans. but also, for the indigenous people. he reached out and fought for their equal rights, as well. and in recognition of that, there were three tribes that came together and they presented him with this indian head -- headdress. and so, you know, i want to make sure that it's known it's on loan to us by the billy graham library. but again, today just being the day that he passed, we want to just make sure we have a special recognition of who he was and what he con -- contributed to -- to not only to museum of the bible but to the world. but you'll notice that this last dedication area here is -- is the story of civil rights. and a good portion of this is dr. martin luther king.
and it's illustrating him of his speech of "i had a dream" in 1963 that he gave right here in washington, d.c. and so, and then we have a -- a -- an "ebony" magazine, which devoted the entire magazine to the story of martin luther king, jr. and it's signed by coretta scott king. >> we've been open approximately four to five months, when you -- when you see our -- the show today. and we found some very interesting statistics. number one, our average-drive distance to get here is a little over 300 miles. we asked, have you ever been to washington, d.c.? uh, amazing, not a majority, but amazing-large number, i've never been to washington. why did you -- what are you going to do when you come to washington? we're coming to the bible museum. are you doing other things? if we have time. and the point is that what we're
finding, especially with not only just americans but tourists coming into washington which about 15%, depending, to 20, are not americans. they are coming into the u.s. for -- for tour and they're in washington to see museums. and they pop in here. so, how does all that fit together? we're finding there is a great, great curiosity about the bible, no matter what faith you are. we have many -- pick a faith, they've been here. and -- and with a lot -- and -- and with their friends. so it's not, like, somebody just wanders in of a particular faith. they usually come as a group. and they all leave saying, wow, i didn't know that. and those who could be classified as catholic or protestant or jewish, they leave saying, wow. i learned things i never knew, before. or, wow, man, i had a wrong idea about that. and they can probe as deep as they want. we have 72 hours of content
here. so, if you want to spend nine 8-hour days, hopefully, you will find some answers you're looking for. we're not an apologetic not for profit. it's just about the bible and if you want someone to interpret the bible, we're -- we're not your best place to go. but if you want to hear about it, the impact of it, why is it so important, we are the place. weekends on c-span 2 bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books. saturday, on american history tv. at 2:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency. we'll feature two programs on gerald ford. the only white house occupant who was never elected vice president or president. he took office 47 years ago, this month, after president nixon's resignation. first, a visit to the ford presidential museum. looking back on the 38th
president through archival photographs and film. then, a profile of his wife, first lady betty ford who was honored for her life's work with a special focus on the white house grounds and gardens. featured speakers include landscape historian and author of a garden for the president, jonathan pliska. and former-first daughter, susan ford bales. at 6:40 p.m., hear about new york's mid-20th century all female hotel which afforded young women the opportunity to pursue independent lives. among the hotel's notable residents, poet and novelist sylvia platt. and actors grace kelly. the new york historical society's valerie paley about the hotel's unique role. >> leading authors discussing their latest nonfiction books. on sunday, at 4:00 p.m. eastern, atlantic magazine staff writer reflects on the past and future of what he calls trump's america
in his latest book "the cruelty is the point." and at 10:00 p.m. eastern on "afterwards," conservative podcaster and journalist, ben shapiro, discusses his new book "the authoritarian moment" in which he argues the progressive left is pushing an authoritarian agenda in america. he is interviewed by nationally-syndicated radio talk show host. watch every weekend on c-span2 # and find a full schedule on your program guide or visit c-span.org. >> next, on american history tv, remarks by baylor university history professor, thomas kidd, on benjamin franklin's religious faith. this discussion was part of a symposium hosted by the museum of the bible in washington, d.c. it's 45 minutes. good morning, everyone. and welcome to museum of the bible. i'm
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