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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Theophilus Anthony Brouwer

President of the American Bible Society, 1909-1911

Church Affiliation: Dutch Reformed

Black and White Portrait of Theophilus Brouwer from a color portrait by Jassa Salganik

No birth date is recorded for Theophilus Brouwer in the many records surveyed, although his age was reported to be 85 at the time of his death on August 3, 1911. He was the son of Jacob Brouwer, a broker and commission merchant and Jane Maria de Riemer He traces back to the earliest settlers of New York, the Dutch who established it as New Amsterdam, his ancestors include Jan Jansen Brouwer, a member of the council of Peter Minuit, director-general of New Netherlands in 1626 and Isaac de Riemer, Mayor of New York City in 1700. He followed the ways of his fathers, serving for 27 years as treasurer of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church of New York City.

He also held other notable posts in New York City - he was President of the New York Port Society. He was actively involved in the formation of the Young Men's Christian Association and served in the National Temperance Society and other religious organizations.

The notes of the meetings of the managers of the American Bible Society, its annual reports and other records indicate that behind the scenes, Theophilus Brouwer was one of the men who made sure the organization actually ran. He chaired many of the meetings of the Vice Presidents during the tenures of presidents Fancher and Gilman and for many years directed the foreign work of the Society. The annual report of 1912 summarized his work and memorialized him thus: “His name was a synonym for Christian devotion to every good cause, and his death a loss to the Society not easily to be measured.”