Back to Sunday School Board      
Skip to Letters      

      Advertisements and editorials in the religious press promoting the Sunday School Board would have been valuable tools for building support for the new Board and wresting business away from the American Baptist Publication Society (ABPS) of Philadelphia. These letters from Baptist state newspaper editors illustrate the ways in which the Sunday School Board's publication activities were influenced by business practices such as the growth of advertising that characterized the secular world of late nineteenth-century America. They also underscore the fact that Southern Baptist leaders such as Frost viewed the competition with the ABPS as a regional conflict over whether the Southern Baptist Convention would come to control its own territory. Apparently, the religious press benefitted significantly from the competition between the ABPS and the Sunday School Board; several of these letters inform Frost of the amount of advertising purchased by the ABPS and encourage the Sunday School Board to do the same. The letters vary in their sympathy to the Sunday School Board; several of the editors confide to Frost that they secretly support the Sunday School Board but cannot afford to lose the ABPS's advertising business. The extent to which these expressions of support were sincere certainly must have varied across authors.

W.A. Clark (Arkansas Baptist and Book House) to Frost, October 28, 1891
view letter | text only
Clark assures Frost that he is "for the success of Kind Words" in this business letter that defines the relationship between the Arkansas Baptist and the Sunday School Board. The postscript to this letter, however, makes it clear that Clark offers the same terms to the Sunday School Board's competitor: the American Baptist Publication Society.

W.A. Clark (Arkansas Baptist and Book House) to Frost, November 11, 1892
view letter | text only
Clark urges Frost to advertise in his newspaper in order to compete with the upcoming full-page advertisement of the American Baptist Publication Society: "By force of circumstance unavoidable, I am forced to give the fifth page of next Arkansas Baptist to a full page ad of The American Baptist Publication Society. . . . Now what am I to do? I am for the 'Southern Series' first and last, but in my straitened [sic] circumstances, I cannot afford to refuse $50.00 'shook in my face.'"

W.H. Williams (The Central Baptist, St. Louis and Kansas City) to Frost, November 28, 189?
view letter | text only
Williams tells Frost that he cannot give the Sunday School Board a special discount for notices published in his newspaper. "In order to keep out of complications I have been forced to adapt the same method of treatment toward all of our different publication societies. The other publication societies pay for all of these notices and if I were to make an exception in your case, you can see just exactly where it would put me." Williams claims to have spent sleepless nights worrying over this issue because of his love for the Sunday School Board, but he relies on Frost's "Christian spirit" and "good sense" to understand his position.

J.B. Cranfill (The Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas) to Frost, April 24, 1892
view letter | text only
Cranfill states his position on the conflict between the Sunday School Board and the American Baptist Publication Society: "I assure you that I am in hearty sympathy with our [Southern Baptist] series and hope to be able to be helpful to you in pushing it into our churches. In saying this I do not mean to imply that I am not also a friend to the [American Baptist] Publication Society. I am a friend of both and I have never seen any reason for the stir that has been made in the matter between our two sections." Cranfill then encourages Frost to "favor us with considerable business."

J.M. Carroll (Texas State Mission Board) to Frost, November 26, 1892
view letter and letterhead
Carroll announces the commencement of the Texas State Mission Board's official publication: the Texas Mission Journal. Carroll encourages Frost to advertise the Sunday School Board's literature in the Texas Mission Journal, as he is "anxious to get [the] 'Convention Series' before our people."

J.S. Williams (The Baptist Leader Publishing Company, Cumming, Georgia) to the Sunday School Board, November 14, 1893
view letter | text only
Williams, editor of the North Georgia Baptist Convention's Baptist Leader, informs the Sunday School Board that the American Baptist Publication Society "is sending in a great deal [of] advertising," and he urges the Sunday School Board to do the same. "If you will send us in a large ad, say like one in The Teacher, we will only charge you half price this time, as we are greatly in favor of your publications . . ."