To dig or not to dig?

May 18, 2004

To dig or not to dig, that is the question.

Not in the garden - I dug in the garden after dinner and planted my new Amber Queen rose.

To dig in the library and then revise the end of chapter three, that is the question. Let me explain.

The end of chapter three involves some number crunching. I am arguing that changes in benevolent organizations and the 1837-38 schism in the Presbyterian Church discredited the notion of a common Christianity. I suggest that many people pulled away from interdenominational benevolent organizations and turned to denominational publishing and missionary societies. This is not news, heck people in the 1860s were writing about the change.

But, I do have some nice time series for the major interdenominational benevolent organizations, and I did some simple number crunching - deflating with a couple of different deflaters, checking the per-capita figures, dividing by GDP to get a footprint index - and then tied that number crunching to my argument about changes in the 1830s.

The number crunching would be a lot more persuasive if I had data for all those various denominational societies. That data was published in various annual reports. But, collecting it means a lot of library time. I think I can get most of what I need in Princeton Theological Seminary, St. Charles Boromeo Theological Seminary, the Presbyterian Historical Society, the Baptist Historical Society, and Princeton University Library, all of which are within a couple of hours of me. For some of it I might have to go to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, or to the Southern Baptist Historical Society down at Baylor, or to the Methodist Historical Society at Wake Forest (I think - I have their location in my notes.) It will be a LOT of work even without doing long-distance travel.

I need to look at those numbers for the final book, but I hope to duck out of the research for the dissertation.

I will re-read that section of chapter three tomorrow and then decide.

Posted by Red Ted at May 18, 2004 11:59 AM | TrackBack