February 25, 1824 – Luther Rice was elected treasurer of the Baptist General Tract Society that was founded on this day. The Evangelical Tract Society was formed in Boston in 1811; and the Philadelphia Sunday School and Adult School Union was organized in 1817, and then in 1824 Baptists joined with other denominations in organizing the American Sunday School Union. However, an agitation arose among Baptist leaders in favor of “the desirableness and feasibility of having a Baptist Sunday School Union for the United States,” for the purpose of preparing and publishing their own Sunday school literature. It was argued that distinctive and important Baptist doctrines were excluded from materials provided by interdenominational groups. Rice had envisioned making “Washington a Baptist center of influence,” but plates for the tracts had to be made in Philadelphia and then shipped to Washington for printing. Half of the finished product had to be returned to Philadelphia for shipment to southern distribution points. This was costly and time consuming, and over the protests of Rice, the society voted to relocate in Philadelphia in 1826. In the 1830’s the society sent out printed matter for general use, and the Triennial Convention in 1835 called upon the Baptist General Tract Society to expand into the publication of books that could be used in homes and Sunday schools. On April 30, 1840, in New York, representatives from fifteen states from N.H. to Louisiana gathered to change the complexion and name to The American Baptist Publication and Sunday School Society. They were then able to train their people and ministers in areas of belief that other evangelicals do not agree. It consisted of a Doctrinal Series, Historical Series, and Biographical Series.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 77-78.