The Bible in America

History From its founding in 1816, the American Bible Society has grappled with the task of making the Word of God available to Christians and churches in America. From its earliest days, it has worked to provide scriptures to the men, and later women of the military, to local and international bible societies, and to translate the Holy Bible to other languages used by peoples in the United States so that they could not only possess scripture, but could understand its importance in their own lives.

Leaders Starting with a leader of the American Revolution, Elias Boudinot, John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and going right down to the most recent president Lamar Vest, The American Bible Society has always been led by “true believers” in the Bible cause.

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Churchill Hunter Cutting

President of the American Bible Society, 1919-1924

Church Affiliation: American Baptist

Black and White Portrait of Churchill Cutting from a color portrait by Jassa Salganik

Churchill Hunter Cutting was born September 12, 1842 in Southbridge, Massachusetts, the son of Sewall Sylvester Cutting, the pastor of the Baptist church there, and Elizabeth Eddy (Brown) Cutting. The following special minute to the annual report of the American Bible Society of 1924 serves both as biography and tribute.

On Thursday, March 6th, 1924, Mr. Churchill H. Cutting offered his resignatin as president of the American bible Society. On Thursday, April 3, 1924, Mr. Cutting's resignation was accepted by the Board of Managers and he was elected President Emeritus. On the morning of Wendesday, April 23, 1924, Mr. Cutting died in his home in New York city. Friday, April 25, 1924, Mr. Cutting was buried in Greenwood Cemetery beside his beloved wife. A brief service of prayer was held in his home in the Madison Square Hotel, and a larger company attended private services in the Board Room at the bible House, which seemed a singularly appropriate room for such a service, as he loved it and had presided there with courtesy and dinity during these last years of his life.

Mr. Cutting loved the American Bible Society and was greatly appreciated by those who were familiar with its governing and adminsitrative activities. No president, we believe, has ever given so much time and close attention to the detailed operations of the Society. Retired from business, living not far away, Mr. cutting was able to visit the executive offices almost daily, except for the summer absences, through the years of his presidency. During the past winter, failing health made these visits less frequent.

There was no department of the Society's work in which he was not interested. His wide reading, for he was unusually abreast of the day in his knowledge of the best recent literature, caused him to be in touch with the literary problems of the Society and their relationship to new languages, new peoples and new world conditions. His extensive acquaintance in different parts of the United States was all brought to bear in the selection of representatives of the Society for different private and public activities. His experience in business for many years in this city made him alert in all questions connected with the disctribution of Scriptures by the various methods employed by the Society. Questions concerning investments, banking, etc. received the consideration of his sound judgment, and matters of promotion and publicity, the bringing of the Society's needs to individuals, to groups of people here and there,, etc. enlisted his keenest intelligence. Rarely a week passed in which he did not present to the officers or to the committees some new and worthwhile suggestion. He lived with the Bible Society not only at the Bible House, but at his home and wherever he went. He took great pride in the Society and believed it had an immeasured responsibility and opportunity in the needs of the world at the present time.

Mr. Cutting was elected president of the Society April 3, 1919. His presidency covered exactly five years. These years have been years of anxiety and care, as the work of the Society has been affected by the aftermath of the World War, Exchanges have fluctuated violently, production has been difficult, and many conditions have called for constant exercise of wisdom and judgment. The great change by which all the manufacturing work of the Society was removed from the Bible House and contracts made for printing and binding through other organizations - an act of far-reaching significance - was wrought out under his care.

It was a great pleasure to him to welcome President and Mrs. Harding as Life Members of the Society in May, 1922. He presided with tact and grace, at the Annual Meeting of the Society held at Sagamore Hill, the home of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt in May, 1923. His alert mind seized upon the radio as a means of extending the knowledge of the Scriptures throughout the earth.

These are some of the outstanding events during his presidency. Mr. Cutting, however, had been for a long time in constant relationship with the Society during his membership on the Board of Managers. He was elected a member of the Board in 1882, and at the time of his election to the Vice-Presidency of the Society in 1916, he was the senior in membership on the Baord. Throughout all this time he was related to the Foreign Agencies Committee, being for nearly seven years its Chairman. He had largely to do with the creation of the Committee on Ways and Means, of which he became the Chairman and into which he threw all his energies. He was a member also of the Committee on the Centenary and was frequently in attendance at the unusual number of meetings necessary to carry through the great celebrations of 1916. At a meeting of the Board of Managers in May, 1922, a fitting celebration of his forty years of membership was held. The services were participated in by Vice President Hyde, now the president of the Society, Vice President William Phiiops Hall, Mr. James Wood, President Emeritus, various members of the Board and others. A very beautiful gift of forty wonderful roses was presented to Mr. Cutting on this occasion by one of the members of the Board of Managers.

Mr. Cutting's father was a distinguished Baptist minister, pastor at the time of Mr. Cutting's birth on September 12, 1842, of the Baptist Church in Southbridge, Mass. He was a leader in the denomination, editor of many of its important pubications, secretary of its Home Mission Society, a professor in Rochester University, and a force in all the affairs of that great evangelical church.

Mr. Cutting was for many years interested in the affairs of the Baptist Church, serving as a Manager of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. He was a member of the Strong Place Church, Brooklyn.