|HIGHLIGHTS OF DAWN||October 2007|
The Dawn Magazine
“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” —Psalm 43:3
THIS ISSUE OF The Dawn marks seventy-five years of continuous and uninterrupted publication as a Truth magazine. From its humble beginnings during the dark days of the great economic depression of the ‘dirty thirties’ and the ‘war years’ which immediately followed, it has proclaimed the future kingdom of righteousness and peace soon to be established over all the earth. The light of Truth has gone forth far and wide to reach a hearing ear under the wonderful banner of the psalmist’s words, ‘O send out thy light and thy truth.’
TO THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST
Thousands of subscribers from around the world and in various languages have received its harmonious explanation of Bible truths during these closing years of the present Gospel Age harvest. It has been well received by many who hunger and thirst for the Truth. Various messages are received on a regular basis at the Dawn plant that testify to the deeper appreciation and understanding of God’s Word that has been realized by many. Some have responded by giving their lives in full consecration to our loving Heavenly Father.
WITH TOLERANCE AND GOOD WILL
This printed message continues to be sent forth in the spirit of tolerance and goodwill toward all. It has never been The Dawn’s policy to force their views upon those who may differ in their religious beliefs. The Truth is sent forth as a labor of love from the combined efforts of those who willingly share in the work of the Lord’s vineyard. This work has been carried out by those who have worked directly as one family at the Dawn plant, as well as others who also participate in the harvest work from many different locations. For this wonderful mission and privilege we give thanks and praise to God.
A LABOR OF LOVE
The first issue of The Dawn magazine in October, 1932, represented a labor of love from those who shared in its inauguration. It originated as a result of a complex set of circumstances that all came together during a very difficult time in the experiences of the Lord’s people. Brother Russell had died many years before, the brethren were scattered in many different directions and efforts were being made to bring them back into the fold once again. The Dawn magazine’s message of comfort and hope has proven to be a positive influence in this very important and dedicated presentation of the Word of God.
Since its inception, various Truth-related activities have been carried out by the Dawn Bible Students as a witness to the Truth. These efforts have included the reprinting of the six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, Tabernacle Shadows and other Truth-related literature, including numerous books, booklets, and tracts in many languages.
Other endeavors have been extended to the use of radio, television and, more recently, the internet services in the presentation of the Truth. During these many years of service an extensive international pilgrim service has been conducted by those who are able to serve in this manner. Overseas activities have also been encouraged in many countries. Although these activities have continued to be carried out throughout these many years, this 75th anniversary issue of The Dawn magazine will focus mainly on its growth and evolvement.
EARLY DAYS OF THE HARVEST
Many years prior to the publication of the first Dawn magazine a series of events was taking place under the watchful care and everlasting providence of our loving Heavenly Father. On August 19, 1891, Brother W. Norman Woodworth was born in Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada, and at an early age had been drawn to the Truth. He gave his life to God in total consecration in 1907, and soon afterward began his ministry as a colporteur traveling by bicycle or walking over the back roads of Eastern Canada and the United States.
He was born into a Christian home, and was influenced by his father who had been previously associated with the Advent Church. He had received a Volume Four of Studies in the Scriptures which brought him into the Truth when young Norman was two years old. Other members of his family traveled to a nearby city in Nova Scotia to hear Brother Russell speak while he was serving in the area on a pilgrim trip. As a result of their interest for the Truth, some gave their lives in consecration to the Lord and formed a small ecclesia. Brother Woodworth had been exposed to the Truth very early in life and became a devout student of the Bible and a loyal servant of the Truth.
JOURNEY TO BETHEL
Brother Woodworth had faithfully served as a colporteur for several years, but, in 1910, he left his home in Nova Scotia, Canada to make the voyage by boat with other brethren who were returning to Brooklyn, New York. This was where the International Bible Students Association was located, and affectionately known among the brethren at that time as ‘Bethel.’ Bethel was the home where workers were housed and was appropriately given the name which means ‘The House of God.’ The IBSA was the very center of the harvest work that was being conducted from there by Pastor C. T. Russell, and as a young man of deep conviction and love for God it was Brother Woodworth’s utmost desire to serve full time in the Truth activities.
Once at Bethel, he had opportunity to meet many new brethren and to work with Brother Russell who was quickly impressed by his enthusiasm and love for the Truth. The Pastor soon invited him to become directly involved in a new ‘high tech’ secret project that he was planning and that about seventy-five other brethren were already participating in. He advised him to learn everything that he could about electrical circuits, running slide projectors, and other related equipment that was being developed at that time. He also asked him to take jobs for short periods of time, and at as many various locations as possible to learn the ‘ins and outs’ of running different types of projection equipment.
THE PHOTO DRAMA
When all of the various plans and features from many sources had been completed, the Photo Drama of Creation was unveiled by Pastor Russell to the general public as a new and dramatic type of witness activity. The high-tech project had been kept secret as much as possible because it involved tremendous effort and planning. It involved the orderly arrangement of many colored slides along with a motion picture presentation that showed the Divine Plan of the Ages and the wonderful message concerning the eternal purpose of God. It resulted in one of the most dramatic and sensational presentations of the Truth ever accomplished until that time, and it was greatly blessed by God.
Brother Woodworth was commissioned to travel extensively to show the slides to countless audiences of interested people who came to see and hear the Word of God and his plans for the human creation that were being promoted in this entirely new manner. The project was a great success and he served faithfully in this work over the course of the next several years. He was used by the Lord in presenting the Photo Drama of Creation and the sending forth of the light of Truth in countless towns and cities all over the United States and Canada. During this time, he continued to gain valuable experience in lecturing, and had greatly improved his mechanical abilities. He was now well prepared for the eventual and challenging tasks that lay ahead, including the establishment of the Dawn Bible Students Association, serving as its general manager and as editor of its forthcoming magazine—The Dawn.
BROTHER RUSSELL DIES
When Brother Charles Russell died in October, 1916, many drastic changes began to take place at the IBSA. Shortly after his death, a 7th Volume was printed by the Society that was claimed to be the posthumous work of the Pastor. This incident alone proved to be a severe test among many of the brethren at Bethel, but unfortunately this was only the beginning. Other tests of fellowship and loyalty to the Truth soon followed that also began to divide the brethren who were serving there. Some who had worked at Bethel for many years began to realize that an adverse spirit was developing, and they began to leave. Brother Woodworth also left at that time to take employment elsewhere.
USING THE AIR WAVES
During this turbulent time, radio was still in its infancy, but its potential was soon realized and greatly improved upon as a new method of mass communication. The prospects seemed endless, and in the early 1920’s the new management at IBSA requested Brother Woodworth’s help in using the new media for their witness activity.
We are fortunate to learn about these important events firsthand from his memoirs which were written during the final years of his life, and which were published in The Dawn magazine. He recalls, “Soon after I arrived in Brooklyn, the Society became interested in this new method of communication and began construction of the necessary buildings, including a home from which to operate it. It wasn’t long before the first program went on the air. Music became an important feature of programming, and the Society decided to form an orchestra to participate in this. (Brother Woodworth’s memoirs, The Dawn, January 1976, Vineyard Echoes of the Past, Part 8, “Exit to Freedom,” pages 39-42).
At that time, an orchestra of eighteen members had been formed of which Brother Woodworth was one, having volunteered to take up the trombone for the occasion. These brethren provided music that was soon broadcast over the new medium of radio. Others were also called upon to give an occasional short lecture or to read news reports. The radio work was located on Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. An elaborate modern studio was constructed during the years 1922-24, and, in the course of time, an expensive pipe organ was installed which eventually replaced the orchestra. The station used the call letters WORD which appropriately identified the Society’s intended purpose as a tool to witness to the Word of God.
During the late 1920s, Brother Woodworth began to develop a ‘question and answer’ method to send out the message of God’s Word over the air waves. The general format consisted of an ‘earnest’ seeker of the Truth who would ask questions about Bible prophecy and other related subjects, while a well-versed student would provide a ‘frank’ answer while quoting directly from the Bible. From this basic outline emerged the popular and well-known Frank and Ernest radio programs that were later broadcast over network radio stations in numerous locations in the United States as well as in many other countries around the world.
Due to the changes in management, and the general policies at the IBSA after 1916, Brother Woodworth’s services were no longer appreciated. He was brought before the board of directors and was asked to either conform to the new policies or leave. He subsequently resigned and the Frank and Ernest radio programs were dropped. He provides an interesting account in his memoirs as to what happened at that time.
We quote, “The day that Brother Dawson actually quit the service we talked matters over and decided to visit some brethren who had left the Society soon after Brother Russell’s death. I did this with the certain knowledge that it would lead to embarrassment and trouble when it became known in headquarters, and it did. One morning I found a note on my desk instructing me to appear in Brother Rutherford’s office at once. I did so. He asked me if it was true that I had made this certain visit, and I acknowledged the truth. He told me to be back at his office in an hour, and when I returned, I was confronted by the board of directors.
“When asked if I believed that the Lord had an organization, and that the IBSA was that organization, my reply was that I did not believe that any man or any group of men had a monopoly on God’s truth. That settled it. I was glad then that I had stayed on until this clear-cut opportunity of presenting the real reason for leaving came to me. There was no doubt then that to remain in the service with this group meant that one had to obey them rather than God.”—Vineyard Echoes, as above
TIME OF CONFUSION
During this period of time, the scattering and confusion among the majority of the Lord’s people was becoming more and more desperate. Some brethren preferred to remain loyal to the IBSA, believing that conditions there were only temporary and that things would be made right by God in his own due time and manner. Others were summarily dismissed for opposing the new order of things, and many simply left of their own accord. A few brethren who possessed the proper spirit of the Truth and were loyal to its fundamental teachings, left the IBSA to form new groups of Bible students. This provided them with the liberty of thought and fellowship that they had enjoyed in previous years.
In the meantime, however, special efforts were being made to contact those brethren who had become scattered and isolated from the flock of the Lord’s people. This was done by way of personal contact whenever and wherever possible and by holding special meetings for that purpose. After 1916, and throughout most of the decade of the 1920’s, was a time that is best described by the Prophet Zechariah who wrote, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” (Zech. 13:7) During his earthly ministry, Jesus also referred to Zechariah’s prophecy.—Matt. 26:31
REUNION IN PITTSBURGH
In late 1929, a group of brethren considered the possibility of holding a Reunion Convention in the Old Bible House Chapel at 610 Arch Street (Alleghany), now North Side Pittsburgh, PA. They believed that it would be the proper time and place to hold a special service in memory of Brother Russell, as it had now been thirteen years since his death. They also hoped that a convention would well serve the interests of the Lord’s people, help bring the scattered ones together again, and provide spiritual food for all. Arrangements were made, and The Reunion Convention of Christian Bible Students was held in Pittsburgh, PA November 1-3, 1929. The effort proved to be a very rich blessing for all, and it became the first of many annual Reunion Conventions to be held in Pittsburgh during the autumn season.
Following the convention a special Souvenir Report was made available for those who wished to cherish the memory of the special occasion. Pictures of the speakers and their discourses were included as well as other Truth-related information. One of the interesting features of the Report was the reprinting of the Convention Committee’s letter that had been written prior to the convention. This correspondence clearly showed their keen interest and determination to hold such an event. It was especially true in light of the scattering and confusion that had continued among the Lord’s people since 1916.
In the committee’s letter, we learn firsthand of their deep sense of responsibility and the necessity to hold the convention. The letter reads, “It has been apparent as well as disheartening to us and many other brethren to observe the development of a very grave situation amongst the Lord’s people, not only in the Pittsburgh Class, but in practically every ecclesia throughout the Tri-State territory. This condition we believe has come about by reason of a policy adopted by the Society which to a very large extent discredits and sets aside the purpose and life work of our dear Brother Russell, as well as the institution organized under his direction for the dissemination of the Truth.
“Changes in the spirit, teachings, and service have rapidly come in, one after another, so that the spirit of liberty in Christ has been supplanted by a condition entirely foreign to that set forth in the Lord’s Word. Realizing that all the consecrated brethren being Spirit begotten must be fed upon spiritual food, and knowing that our responsibility and peculiar charge is in behalf of those who are hungering and thirsting for spiritual refreshment, therefore, the following course of action, after prayerful thought and consideration has been adopted.”—Souvenir Notes, from the Reunion Convention of Christian Bible Students at Pittsburgh, PA, November 1,2,3, 1929; “Preface,” p. 9
The committee further proposed that a convention be held in the Old Bible House Chapel in Pittsburgh; that they recognized our Lord Jesus as their head and that they were not subject to any human organization. The letter was signed by the five brothers on the committee: G. S. Kendall, J. T. Johnson, E. W. Keib, J. C. Jordan, and G. M. Wilson. As a footnote of interest, Brother Wilson became one of the original directors of Dawn Publishers when it was established a few years later. He also took the part of ‘Ernest’ on the Frank and Ernest radio program when they were continued.
In 1931, a concerted effort was made by the Bible Students ecclesia in Brooklyn, New York to reach more of the scattered brethren. They did this by reviving and sponsoring the former Frank and Ernest radio program that had been dropped by the IBSA. They believed that it would be an effective witness to send out the Truth over the air waves. Dialogues were prepared and a contract was made with radio station WOR, which was one of the most powerful in New York City, to run the program for a period of thirteen weeks. Brother Woodworth took the part of ‘Frank’ and Brother John Dawson was ‘Ernest.’ Brother Dawson also later became one of the original directors of Dawn Publishers.
Program dialogues were printed commercially and interested listeners were offered a copy as a four-page Radio Echoes tract that was sent out twice each month. The response to the broadcast was encouraging, but when the contract expired the programs were discontinued due to a lack of available funds. Because the radio tract was being sent out to interested listeners it was decided that all funds should be concentrated on the printed message. The tract, therefore, continued to be sent out despite the fact that there were no more radio programs being broadcast. The radio pamphlet had been favorably received by many and the brethren decided that it should be expanded into a regular full-size Truth magazine.
THE DAWN MAGAZINE
What had originally been the first of the biweekly Radio Echoes tracts was now enlarged and renamed to become The Dawn magazine which would in turn be published at the beginning of each month. The mid-monthly radio tract was also continued and sent out on the 15th of each month, essentially making it a biweekly magazine. This arrangement continued until the end of 1933 when the radio tract was discontinued.
The first issue of The Dawn appeared October 1, 1932, and was published by the Associated Bible Students Radio Committee, 251 Washington Street, Brooklyn, New York. The early issues of the magazine were printed by the use of an old press that had been obtained and installed in the basement of an apartment building where one of the brothers from the Brooklyn ecclesia lived. It required human energy instead of electrical power and was operated by a foot-pedal mechanism. It was very difficult to produce quality printing with the antiquated machine. During cold weather it was necessary to wear warm clothing while attempting to get The Dawn printed, and the only warm place was in the office where the brethren frequently went to get warmed up.
Brother Woodworth became editor of the magazine, and prepared the articles for publication. He also volunteered to run the press. Other workers from nearby locations came in to help prepare the magazine for mailing and to perform other Truth-related duties.
DEPICTING THE COMING KINGDOM
The new magazine used the large size format (8½” x 11”) and was composed of 32 pages. The four-page radio tract, which was also renamed The Dawn, was printed on the same size paper for the mid-month publication. The front cover provided an excellent background for a beautiful and dramatic ‘sunrise scene’ depicting the dawning of a new and glorious day. This design was in harmony with the general theme of the ‘watchers’ who were waiting and looking for the promised kingdom of peace and righteousness which we believe is near at hand.
The ‘dawning of the new day’ also serves as a powerful symbol of our common Christian hope and faith. Various colors were used on an alternating basis to strengthen the cover’s effectiveness. For example the October issue was printed in blue, the November was brown and the December a rose color. Other colors were also used that helped to provide a clean fresh look to each new issue of the magazine.
The inside title page was enhanced by a simple pencil sketching. Light rays emanated outward from a center point to emphasize the dawning of the new day. This format continued until the April, 1933 issue when it was replaced with a smaller version of the cover’s sunrise scene. This arrangement prevailed until January, 1936 when the title page scene was discontinued and a more standardized format was adopted from that time forward.
THE DAWN’S PURPOSE
The Dawn magazine’s general purpose and dedication was set forth in the opening paragraph of its first issue published in October, 1932 from which we quote the editor’s comments in part. “In presenting to the subscribers of the Radio Echoes, this, our first issue of The Dawn magazine, we feel confident that all readers will appreciate the enlarged field of thought and effort which it represents. The name The Dawn reminds us of the fact that the world, for six thousand years, has been passing through a time of darkness—a night-time experience of sin and death—but a glad New Day is at hand.”—The Dawn, October, 1932, p.1
The new Truth magazine was to become a valuable instrument for carrying forward the harvest work that had been established many years earlier under the guiding hand of Brother Russell. During these closing years of the Gospel Age harvest, it has helped to make contact far and wide with those scattered brethren who had become separated from the fold, and to send out the light of Bible Truth to those who had never before heard it.
THE DAWN’S FORMAT
Careful attention was given to the magazine’s general format as set forth on the first several pages of the first issue. The Truth message was designed to serve as wide a field of interest as possible among its readers concerning its subject matter. Some articles would be prepared for those who were new to the Truth, while other reading material would be included for those who were longtime and advanced Bible students.
The first of The Dawn’s regularly featured articles was to be a News and Views section that would focus on current events as they may be considered from Bible prophecy. This policy has continued to the present time, although under a different heading. Another section was to be devoted to Science and the Bible. It was believed that scientific topics related to the Bible’s teachings would help alleviate the growing tendency among some to overlook God’s handiwork as the author and great Creator of the universe.
Doctrinal subjects based on sound scriptural teachings were to be a regular and very important part of the magazine’s structure, and to help establish The Dawn’s basic teachings. Fundamentals, rather than nonessentials were to be stressed. Another regular feature would focus on Christian Life and articles would be included to direct the reader’s attention toward maintaining a high standard of Christian consecration and conduct. The weekly Sunday School Lessons were to be used as a regular feature of The Dawn, as they had once been used in Brother Russell’s day. The Radio Echoes dialogues were also continued on a biweekly basis, and space would be allowed for miscellaneous advertising and announcements.
TRUTH ABOUT HELL REPRINTED
In addition to the various Truth-related articles that were included in the first issue of The Dawn, it also contained a complete reprint of Bro. Russell’s booklet entitled The Truth About Hell. A quarter-page advertisement was also included announcing the reprinting in magazine form of The Divine Plan of the Ages which would appear in the second issue of the magazine.
DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES REPRINTED
The November, 1932 Dawn included a complete reprint of The Divine Plan of the Ages as announced in October. This reprinting, however, created a very large magazine containing 98 pages. It was quickly realized that it was too large for The Dawn’s general reading audience to absorb all at one time. The decision was made to maintain the 32-page format which was used again for the December issue. An announcement notified the reading audience that it would, from that time forward be a 32-page magazine each month, while the mid-month radio tract would remain as a four-page pamphlet.
In December, 1932, The Dawn followed very closely to the intended format that was generally outlined in the October issue. It consisted of a News and Views analysis, two Christian Life articles, and two studies devoted to Science and the Bible. Other features included a lesson appearing under the heading Our Biblical Dialog and another on The Everlasting Gospel. Also included were the weekly Sunday School Lessons for the month, and a section on Talking Things Over.
One of the special new features introduced in the December issue was called The Children’s Hour. (Uncle Eb’s Bible Story, Lesson No.1, “The Creation”) This began a series of articles that were included in the Dawn magazines for the next several years. They were written by Brother Walter Sargeant who was from Nova Scotia, Canada, and also had lived for a time with Brother and Sister Woodworth in their home in Brooklyn, New York.
We learn of this interesting detail from Brother Woodworth’s memoirs where he recalled, “Brother Sargeant was very efficient in his work and very capable. For several years he prepared the International Sunday School Lessons which appeared in The Dawn and was also the author of the Uncle Eb’s Bible Stories. He was the writer of many Christian Life and Highlights of Dawn articles also.”—The Dawn, May 1976, Vineyard Echoes of the Past, Part 12, “Appreciation,” Brother Walter Sargeant, p. 55
THE SPEAKER’S LIST
Another important feature of the first issue of The Dawn was the list of speakers who were available to serve. This was in consideration of the fact that over sixteen years had now passed since Pastor Russell’s death, and many brethren were now beginning to respond to the various efforts that were made to contact them, and to return to the fold of Bible Students. It was hoped that they would recognize the familiar ring of Truth that was being published once again. Meetings were arranged and speakers were welcomed to visit the various ecclesias wherever possible.
Concerning the ‘speakers list’ we read in part, “Following is a list of meetings which we believe will prove of interest to all readers of The Dawn who live within reach of them. Arrangements for these meetings, and for the speakers that address them, are made by local congregations of Bible Students, hence The Dawn does not hold itself responsible. The Dawn will be glad to list the appointments of all speakers representing local ecclesias.” The speakers listed at that time were Brothers C. P. Bridges, H. E. Hollister, George Kendall, Oscar Magnuson, J. W. Reimer, J. H. Trautfelter, W. N. Woodworth.—The Dawn, December 1932, p. 32
Later the speakers list was expanded to include the pilgrim brethren’s visits. The list grew steadily during the following year to an average of about fifteen brethren being listed each month. The list more than doubled in size within a very few years, and included the time and place of the meetings. Conventions were also advertised on a regular basis.
In the June, 1933 issue, an announcement was directed to the new magazine’s readers, and advising them to now make their checks payable to Dawn Publishers instead of the former Associated Bible Students Radio Committee. In January, 1934, the new name Dawn Publishers appeared for the first time on The Dawn’s title page and it became a monthly magazine. The four-page Radio Echoes tract was discontinued.
In his memoirs, Brother Woodworth explains the reason for adopting the new name. He wrote, “Meanwhile, since the work had expanded from the original concept of the radio committee made up of the board of elders, it was recommended by the Brooklyn church, and heartily agreed to by the brethren involved, to separate this work from the activities of the church, and that those who wished should get together and form a legal organization to carry on the work. It was under these circumstances that the Dawn Publishers was formed.”—The Dawn, February 1976, Vineyard Echoes of the Past, Part 9, “Comes The Dawn,” pgs. 54-59
Dawn Publishers was formed June 7, 1932 and its directors at that time were Brothers W. Norman Woodworth, John E. Dawson, Fred Mundell, Martin C. Mitchell, William Hudgings, John G. Kuehn, Hugo F. Kuehn, George Wilson, and I. Margeson.
The origin of what is still referred to as ‘Dawn Day’ each month began during the early 1930’s. This was in the days before high-tech equipment and automation had begun to replace hand labor. At that time, The Dawn magazine was collated manually, and each month a special day was designated ‘Dawn Day’ for the purpose of putting together in magazine form what had been printed. The brethren from the local Brooklyn, New York ecclesia and elsewhere were informed as to what day it would be. Volunteer workers were thus given an opportunity to come to the Dawn plant to help out.
A large round table was laid out with all of the sections of pages arranged for that month’s issue. The brethren would stand around this table and as it was slowly turned each section and the cover were carefully picked up. When all of the sections had been assembled together, they were then handed to one of the brethren who would be sitting at the old stitching machine. He would in turn place them over a pyramid-shaped bar and guide them along to the right spot, and then press the foot-operated pedal to place two stitches in the magazine. They were then stacked at an appropriate place where they would then be made ready for mailing.
In addition to this arrangement, there was a small rack above where the pages had been placed, and the small hymn books without music were clipped to it with clothes pins. This made it possible for the brethren to see the words of the hymns as they all sang together during the proceedings. A mid-day lunch was served, and ‘Dawn Day’ was a time that brethren looked forward to each month. It made everyone feel that they truly had a share in the harvest work.
251 WASHINGTON STREET
With the increasing demand for The Dawn magazine and other printed Truth literature, it soon became apparent that a change in location and the acquisition of modern equipment was necessary. During this time a local printer who had once been involved in printing Truth literature for the International Bible Students Association wanted to retire and lease his building together with all of its printing equipment. When he learned that Truth people were interested in his printing facilities, he was prepared to make them a very favorable offer, and he leased his building together with all of its equipment to the newly formed Dawn Publishers.
The upper floor of the building also provided accommodations for volunteer workers who could come to the Dawn to work for extended periods of time. It appears that the Lord’s providential hand was truly in the matter. The Dawn was subsequently moved to 251 Washington Street, Brooklyn, New York, where they remained until the end of 1935 when the owner died and his entire estate sold by his heirs.
136 FULTON STREET
The facilities at 251 Washington Street had served the purpose of the brethren very well in helping to lay the foundation and build the groundwork for carrying on the harvest work. By the end of 1935, Dawn Publishers had become well established as a major voice of the Truth during this harvest period of the Gospel Age. Many positive advances and improvements were being made to improve and enlarge the present harvest message and to send forth the wonderful Truth of God’s Word. During these early years, there were approximately 3,000 Dawn magazines printed each month, but the number rose substantially in the years that followed.
It was now necessary for the brethren to purchase their own printing equipment, office furnishings and other supplies that had been formerly included under the very favorable lease arrangement at 251 Washington Street, Brooklyn, New York. Difficult decisions had to be made to carry on with the witness work and to balance the budget. But even with the change in location, and becoming reestablished at the new facilities, the brethren were able to usher in the new year 1936 with the publication of The Dawn magazine.
The January, 1936 Dawn represents the first printing of the magazine by Dawn Publishers from its new location at 136 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York. With this issue there were improvements made to improve the magazine’s presentation and effectiveness. The front cover design, which had been changed to a black and white sunrise scene in July, 1935, was dropped after a six-month trial period, and the decision was made to return once again to the familiar and more appealing colored scene that had adorned the cover previously.
A TRUTH SLOGAN
A new and inspiring inscription “A Herald of Christ’s Presence” also replaced the smaller version ‘dawning scene’ that had been part of the inside title page since April, 1933. This Truth slogan provided a greater depth of meaning and significance to The Dawn’s title. It emphasized the scriptural fact concerning our Lord’s promised Second Presence during the closing years of the present Gospel Age, and further stressed the nearness of Christ’s future kingdom.
A STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
Soon after the move to the new Fulton Street address the February, 1936 issue included the statement of Truth, “To Us The Scriptures Clearly Teach.” This represented an important step forward as a statement of the brethren’s basic faith and beliefs in the Truth. It had become familiar during Brother Russell’s ministry and now was to become a very prominent and important feature on the back cover of The Dawn magazine each month. It continues to remain there until the present time. There were six categories of basic Truth doctrines, including their scripture citations, outlined under the statement “To Us The Scriptures Clearly Teach.”
1) That the church is “the temple” of the living God—peculiarly ‘his workmanship;’ that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel Age—ever since Christ became the world’s Redeemer and the chief ‘corner stone’ of this temple, through which, when finished, God’s blessings shall come ‘to all the people,’ and they find access to him.—I Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3: 29
2) That meantime the chiseling, shaping, and polishing of consecrated believers in Christ’s atonement for sin progresses, and when the last of these ‘living stones,’ ‘elect and precious,’ shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the first resurrection; and the temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.—Rev. 15:5-8
3) That the basis of hope for the church and the world lies in the fact that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God tasted death for every man, ‘a ransom for all,’ and will be ‘the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,’ ‘in due time.’—Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; I Tim. 2:5,6
4) That the hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, ‘see him as he is,’ be a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ and share his glory as his joint-heir.—I John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; II Pet. 1:4
5) That the present mission of the church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God’s witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests in the next age.—Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6, 20:6
6) That the hope for the world lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ’s millennial kingdom—the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified church—when all the willfully wicked will be destroyed.—Acts 3:19-23; Isa. 35
In the April, 1936 issue the addresses of some of The Dawn’s overseas correspondents were included which helped to establish The Dawn Bible Students international position. These were The British Bible Students Committee in England, and The Berean Biblical Institute in Australia. The Canadian address was included in January 1942, and several others were added during later years.
THE EXPANDING HARVEST WORK
The harvest work was greatly expanded during the late 1930’s at the 136 Fulton Street plant. This included the publication of The Dawn magazine with an increasing subscription list, as well as numerous books, booklets, tracts, and various other kinds of Truth literature. During this time, many brethren volunteered to come to the Dawn plant to work, some on a part-time basis, and others for longer periods of time.
A new cover design appeared for the May, 1939 Dawn magazine. With the exception of the black and white covers that had been temporarily used during the last few months of 1935, it was the first major change in The Dawn’s appearance since its beginning in October, 1932. The same familiar scene had been cropped and enclosed within a large circle. The background was a solid color which was alternated each month as in the past.
In early 1940, substantial interest had been aroused by the brethren in the Brooklyn, New York ecclesia to resume the radio broadcasts. They had been discontinued after the 13-week contract that had been made in 1931. Brethren from other ecclesias also began to respond with a desire to participate in the effort and to help sponsor the programs once again. The effort began slowly with only a few stations carrying the programs at first, and they consisted of a half-hour lecture based on a particular subject of the Truth. A booklet was offered to listeners who requested one and it was very well received.
THE VOICE OF TOMORROW
In October, 1940 the radio program’s name was changed to The Voice of Tomorrow. This began a new format of the fifteen-minute program using the previous Frank and Ernest question and answer method of presenting Bible Truths to the public. In the March, 1941 issue a notice appeared concerning The Voice of Tomorrow broadcasts along with a special edition of The Dawn magazine that was being prepared as a witness activity to coincide with the new broadcasts.
A SPECIAL ISSUE DAWN
The announcement concerning a special issue of The Dawn magazine reads in part, “The demand for literature created by the radio programs has prompted us to arrange for the publication of a special issue of The Dawn that will be suitable to use in follow-up work. This special edition will be sent to all subscribers as the April issue. It will differ from the regular editions in that slightly more than the usual space will be devoted to articles designed to help beginners in the Truth; although the deeper Truths will not be ignored.”—The Dawn, March 1941, inside front cover
In the April, 1941 Dawn, further information was given concerning the special issue. “We have printed a considerable number of extra copies of this issue, making slight changes in the extra copies in order to increase their effectiveness for general distribution. These changes are: The removal of the date and designating it The Voice of Tomorrow edition. Removal of the dated Sunday school and weekly Berean lessons, and substituting in their places two radio dialogs. Other material will also be inserted in the place of the speakers’ appointments and convention announcements. With these changes they should be suitable for general distribution for some time to come.”—The Dawn, April, 1941, inside back cover
A list of the 23 stations that were now carrying The Voice of Tomorrow programs was also included. Twenty-one of these were United States stations, and two were in Canada. In addition, there were two other stations broadcasting in the Polish language.
The April issue also included a new inscription on its title page which read, “Dedicated to the Promotion of Christian Knowledge in the Spirit of Tolerance and Good Will.” This slogan was continued until the smaller size Dawn was introduced two years later.
A COMPACT SIZE DAWN
In April, 1943 the following notice was printed in The Dawn. “The suggestion has been made, and receiving serious attention, that The Dawn change its shape; that it be published in pocket size similar to the Reader’s Digest. Should this be done, the number of pages will be increased to at least sixty-four to compensate for the reduced size, thus avoiding loss of article space. Size of type would not be reduced.
“This suggested new size is becoming more and more popular with the reading public, being convenient for carrying as well as reading. The Publishers are willing to make the change if our readers wish it—in fact we are quite favorable to the suggestion.” (The Dawn, April, 1943, p.31) Subscribers were invited to send their opinions to The Dawn.
In the May Dawn, the following announcement was made. “The April issue of The Dawn carried a notice inviting readers to send us their opinions as to whether there would be any advantage in publishing The Dawn in the Reader’s Digest size. The response to this invitation has been large, and overwhelmingly in favor of the change. Chief reasons given for the preferred new size are: Convenience in carrying and reading while traveling to and from work; easy to hold while reading; and would occupy less room on tables and in bookcases. In view of what seems to be a general desire on the part of our readers, we are planning to make the change, so look for the June issue in its new size.”—The Dawn, May, 1943, p. 31
The June, 1943 issue of The Dawn marked the first major change in the appearance and presentation of the magazine. A new and smaller version (approximately 5½” x 7½”) replaced the familiar large size (8½” x 11”) magazine that had been used since the birth of The Dawn in October, 1932.
The cover design continued to use a smaller version of the familiar sunrise scene enclosed within a circle together with a variety of solid color backgrounds. With the publication of the smaller issue, the slogan “A Herald of Christ’s Presence” which had appeared on the inside title page since January, 1936 was brought to the front cover to become a subtitle where it is still found today. The Table of Contents was also moved to the lower front cover. There were 72 pages in the first issue of the smaller version, but it was standardized at 64 pages in the September issue.
An interesting feature of the compact size Dawn was the inclusion of the Broadcast Schedule. There were now sixty-six radio stations listed in the United States and Canada that were sending the Truth message out over the air waves. The list included an additional ten stations that were broadcasting the program in the Polish language. There was also one Greek language station and one in Australia. At that time, the program was once again called Frank and Ernest. The radio witness was greatly enlarged in later years on network broadcasting. The response to the program was encouraging but the cost was very high.
SPECIAL EDITION DAWNS
Shortly after making the changeover to a pocket-size magazine, a series of special gift editions were printed that were to be used for witness material. The magazine resembled The Dawn in size, and special covers were prepared to make the Truth message as presentable as possible. The slogan “A Herald of Christ’s Presence” appeared on the cover as a subtitle, and the statement of beliefs “To us the Scriptures Clearly Teach” was included on the back cover. There were no dates and each issue was 64 pages in length, which provided ample space for a complete presentation of Truth subjects as well as to provide variety. A wide range of Bible topics were included in each special issue. A complete listing of books and other available Truth literature that could be ordered from the Dawn Bible Students was featured on the inside cover.
THE MOVE TO NEW JERSEY
With the increasing volume of Truth activity that was being conducted from the Fulton Street address in Brooklyn, New York since the move there in the autumn of 1935, attention began to focus on the possibility of obtaining an entirely new and larger facility. Brother Woodworth had relocated his home from Brooklyn, New York to Rutherford, New Jersey, and was therefore in a position to take advantage of properties that became available for purchase. During the course of time, a favorable location for both the Dawn plant and a large home to accommodate volunteer workers were secured.
THE DAWN HOME
In the autumn of 1943, the grand old home at 145 West Passaic Avenue, Rutherford, New Jersey became available for purchase. It had been owned by Mr. Winant Van Winkle of the Real Estate Firm bearing his name. After his death, Mrs. Jesse M. Van Winkle put the home up for sale. It was a very large Victorian style home with three floors that would provide ample space for visiting brethren to lodge. It was large enough to accommodate many brethren all at the same time who would want to come to the Dawn to volunteer their services. Brother Woodworth arranged for the purchase and it became the Dawn Family home September 30, 1943. Countless numbers of volunteer workers have stayed there throughout these many years, and it has surely served the brethren well.
THE DAWN PLANT
At nearly the same time, the old bank building known as the East Rutherford Savings, Loan and Building Liquidating Corporation located on the ‘Triangle’ at 199 Railroad Avenue, East Rutherford, New Jersey was also put on the market for sale. Again, Brother Woodworth was on hand to view the property and he recognized that it could easily be converted for use as a printing facility. It, too, had three floors that would provide abundant space for equipment and supplies. Arrangements were made for its purchase and Dawn Publishers became the new owners October 4, 1943.
DAWN BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
Now that the Dawn had moved to its new location, The Dawn magazine was printed by Dawn Publishers Inc. Triangle, East Rutherford, New Jersey. This name continued to be used for another year until the name Dawn Bible Students Association replaced Dawn Publishers. The new name appeared in the November, 1944 issue of The Dawn magazine and continues until the present time from this location.
Those who became the first directors of the newly named Dawn Bible Students Association in 1944, were Brothers W. N. Woodworth, Fred Mundell, Martin C. Mitchell, George Wilson, Fred A. Bright, Shirley De Groot, Peter Kolliman, G. Russell Pollock, and J. H. L. Trautfelter.
NEW COVER DESIGNS
The dawning scene enclosed within a circle that had been used for the cover design since May, 1939 and then reduced in size for the June, 1943 issue was changed to a rectangular design for the September and October, 1945 issues. During the following year until November, 1946, a variety of designs were tried, and the Table of Contents was moved to the inside front cover.
A new and dramatic change in cover design was ushered in with the December, 1946 Dawn. It began a new style of cover for each separate month. This featured a special sketch, drawing or photograph emphasizing a particular theme or scriptural incident. A notice on the inside front cover of the January, 1947 issue drew attention to the cover scene which depicted an early printing press. The Highlights article for that month featured the importance of the invention of printing and the dissemination of the Word of God from its printed pages. During the next several years, this arrangement of cover design and Highlights article supporting the cover greatly improved The Dawn’s presentation of the Truth.
A SECOND DAWN HOME
Although details are lacking, a second large three-story house at 37 Wilson Avenue, Rutherford, New Jersey was also purchased as a Dawn home in 1952. The expanding harvest work made it necessary to obtain additional space for recording the Frank and Ernest radio programs and other Truth-related activities. It provided much needed living quarters for those who were full-time volunteer workers at the Dawn plant, and mid-week meetings were also held there. The home was sold in 1995.
THE PINNACLE OF TRUTH ACTIVITY
During the years following the end of World War II and especially throughout the nineteen fifties and sixties, the harvest work that was being conducted from the Dawn Bible Students Association reached the highest level of activity in its history. The witness activity had expanded greatly in many directions.
The Dawn homes at 145 West Passaic Avenue and at 37 Wilson Avenue provided accommodations for numerous volunteer workers. They had eagerly come to offer their services and to participate in the sending forth of the light and Truth in any way they could. Many brethren gathered together around the dining room table at 145 West Passaic Avenue for hearty meals, and the plant was busy with the various witnessing projects that were underway with many workers on hand.
In October, 1949, the Dawn Bible Students made a one-year contract with the American Broadcasting Corporation in an effort to increase the range and effectiveness of the Frank and Ernest radio programs through network broadcasting. This provided for 174 stations that would send out the message of Truth regularly over the air waves. The response from the network programming was good but the costs were too high to continue another year. After considerable discussion among the Dawn trustees a more favorable contract was made with The Mutual Broadcasting System that began a ten-year arrangement with network broadcasting. There were now 352 stations carrying the Frank and Ernest programs on a regular basis in major cities and rural locations all over the country. This was the highest number ever attained, and many brethren who had become isolated from the Truth for several years were brought back into the fold of Bible students once again, and others heard the message of Truth for the first time.
In the 1950’s, television was becoming advanced as a new type of media in which to send out the message of Truth. In 1957, color television was not yet available, but the Dawn Bible Students Association contracted The Charter Oaks Studio to prepare a series of fifteen-minute black and white films. These were called The Bible Answers program, and were used mostly with stations that offered free-time broadcasting. Within a few years, the programs were being shown on several stations. Half-hour black and white programs were also prepared during this time and broadcast on several stations, while continuing to use the fifteen minute programming wherever possible.
In 1962, the Dawn had forty programs available for showing. To acquire free broadcast time the services of The Modern Talking Pictures Service was secured. This agency arranged the showing of The Bible Answers on sixty-three stations at a small fee. The agency also provided for the showing of the Dawn’s films to churches, schools, nursing homes, and senior citizen clubs. After 1967, all programs were made in color and the television response soon overtook the radio as a public witness to the truth.
PILGRIMS AND SPEAKERS
A random look at some old Dawn magazines will reveal the fact that during this peak time of harvest activity three pages were sometimes required to list the speaking appointments of those brethren who were serving in this work. There were often more than forty brethren serving throughout the country during a one-month period. In addition there were generally more than a dozen speakers serving the various classes of Bible students in England, and some brethren were also engaged in overseas pilgrim activity.
During this time, approximately twenty-five thousand copies of The Dawn magazine were being printed each month at the Dawn plant in East Rutherford, New Jersey by volunteer workers. Most of these magazines were sent out to regular subscribers, but extra copies were on hand to use in the witness work. In addition, other copies were printed in several foreign languages.
In April, 1959, The Dawn magazine was reduced in size for the second time. What had been the approximate 5½” x 7½” size magazine since June, 1943 was now made slightly smaller, being about 4¾” x 6¾”. There have been a few minor changes from time to time but the general format of the magazine has continued according to that which had been established many years before.
BROTHER WOODWORTH DIES
During the spring months of 1975, Brother W. Norman Woodworth’s physical health began a substantial decline. As a result he was forced to curtail many of his Truth activities, and delegated some of them to other brethren. Eventually, he was confined to bed and unable to carry on with the harvest work that he had been so involved with for most of his life. After a consecrated walk of over 68 years, he finished his earthly course on October 29, 1975 at the age of 84 years. We trust that he was faithful in his consecration to our Lord, and has received an abundant entrance into the promised heavenly kingdom.
HIS LOVE FOR GOD
We believe that Brother Woodworth’s ministry and service to the Lord’s people had been greatly blessed by our Heavenly Father. He was especially used by God to carry on the extensive harvest work after Brother Russell’s death nearly six decades earlier. His service entered a new and vital phase in 1932 when he introduced The Dawn magazine as an effective tool and major vehicle for promoting the wonderful message of Truth. Shortly thereafter, he was responsible for helping to establish the Dawn Bible students together with its many varied departments of service.
He was always on the alert to see in what new and better ways the Truth message could be proclaimed, and he was inspired by the wonderful words of the psalmist who wrote, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.”—Psalm 43:3
HIS SPIRIT OF THE TRUTH
This inspiring level of devotion to send forth the light and Truth of God’s Word is seen in the advertisement that he wrote for the second issue of The Dawn in November, 1932 in which he encouraged subscribing to the magazine. The notice is under the caption, “Of Course You Want THE DAWN Regularly,” from which we quote.
“This is a Special issue of THE DAWN, a semi-monthly journal devoted to the promulgation of the Truth as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, concerning God’s great Plan for the blessing of all Mankind. It is our constant and earnest effort, while remaining faithful to the Word of God, to clear away from it the errors and superstitions which have been added to it by zealous, but misguided, sectarians during the Dark Ages that have intervened since its revelation.
“The regular issues of THE DAWN are of 32 pages on the First, and four pages on the Fifteenth, of each month. The latter is designed specially for the busy man or woman, and to enable those of our readers who desire to cooperate in our evangelistic work to do so, by passing on this smaller edition each month to their friends and neighbors. Extra copies will be supplied free to our subscribers for this purpose.
“The following list of Departments will give you some idea of what you may expect to find in the regular first-of-the-month issues of THE DAWN:
News and Views—in the light of Biblical prophecy.
The Christian Life—encouraging and stimulating for the advanced Christian.
Science and the Bible—of interest alike to the believer and the skeptic.
Our Biblical Diaglog—keeps one interested to the very end of the discussion.
The Everlasting Gospel—a clear statement of the great fundamentals of God’s Word, no guess work.
International Sunday School Lessons—a Present Truth presentation that makes them interesting to all.
Children’s Department—To be added soon, so that even the little ones will be waiting for the regular visits of THE DAWN.
“And you don’t have to ‘belong’ to anything in order to take THE DAWN. Yes, it’s really non-sectarian, non-channelistic, non-organizational. It sponsors the cause of the independent, liberty-loving student of the Bible. You can worship where and how you will, yet read THE DAWN—and enjoy it. The policy of THE DAWN is constructive and kindly. It presents the Truth in clear, convincing yet plain language, and lets the reader decide for himself.
“THE DAWN is available to all. The subscription price is one dollar per year, but if, by reason of unemployment or otherwise you cannot afford the dollar, we will be glad, upon request, to enter your name on the list and pay for it from a special fund provided by voluntary contributions.”
It becomes clear from the above Truth-inspired comments which were written in 1932 that Brother Woodworth’s main objective in those early days of The Dawn was to establish the magazine as a method to send out the Truth of God’s Word to as many people as possible. This work of spreading forth the harvest message has helped to clarify the major doctrines of the Bible. He was also keenly aware of the Lord’s commission to the church during these closing years of the Gospel Age harvest to preach the glad tidings of Truth whenever and wherever possible in a world that has been darkened because of sin.
In addition to preparing and overseeing the abundance of Truth-related articles and other material that appeared in The Dawn magazine throughout the many years of its publication was the additional writing and printing of dozens of booklets which he wrote on different subjects of the Truth. Each booklet had a specific message that was carefully planned and oftentimes directed to the questions and answers that had been posed during the Frank and Ernest radio programs. The booklets were offered to the listeners at the conclusion of these broadcasts and have served well to further clarify the subjects that had been discussed. Many tracts were also written for the general public and countless quantities of them continue to be sent out to those seeking a comforting message of the Truth.
THE WORK GOES ON
After Brother Woodworth’s death his title as General Manager of the Dawn Bible Students Association and editor of The Dawn magazine were retired. It is freely acknowledged that no one could ever possibly take his place. His service at the Dawn, however, also extended in many other different directions throughout his long life of dedication to God.
From the time of its founding as Dawn Publishers, a system of by-laws and regulations was established and put in place by the nine brothers who were serving on the Board of Trustees at that time. This number was later increased to twelve. The Dawn was subsequently incorporated as a Truth organization to promote an aggressive and continuing witness to the Truth in all possible ways. It has clearly maintained that status ever since.
The Dawn Bible Students Association has continued to function with the selecting of members who are elders of various ecclesias, are believed to be sound in the Truth and who are in harmony with the general witness activity. Members may also nominate other elders for membership. Those brethren who have been so nominated must be approved, however, by the Board of Trustees and those of the membership.
Having thus become a member in good standing, they in turn may then vote for the officers. Four brethren are selected from among the trustees to assume the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. Their terms of office are for one year. No one of these brethren can serve in a particular office for more than two years in succession, but their service may be rotated when voted upon.
Since Brother Woodworth’s death the Dawn Bible Students Association’s twelve trustees have been entrusted with carrying more of the responsibilities than they had done before when he was balancing the budget and making many of the major decisions and arrangements concerning the operation of the Dawn plant and the many Truth-related activities. These brethren meet at designated times during the year to discuss business and financial matters, and to carry on with the general operation of the Dawn plant. They also allocate funds that are available to promote the witness work.
THE PRESENT DAWN MAGAZINE
Management, editorial and other service-related committees that function for the specific interests of the Dawn Bible Students Association and its witness efforts consist of brethren that have been nominated and approved by the Board of Trustees and by the membership.
The Dawn magazine continues to be printed at the Dawn plant in East Rutherford, New Jersey as it has since February, 1944. It remains a monthly publication containing 64 pages. It has a beautiful multi-colored cover design that is changed from time to time on an ongoing basis. It carries the subtitle “A Herald of Christ’s Presence” as it has since April, 1933. The Statement of Beliefs “To us the Scriptures Clearly Teach” continues to adorn the back cover as it has since February, 1936.
There are approximately 6,000 copies now published in English each month. In addition to this number there are about 5,000 other copies in total that are printed in foreign languages. At the present time these include: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian and Greek. Printing is now done at the Dawn plant by the use of modern high-tech and computerized equipment. Full-time and part-time volunteer workers prepare the magazine for publication as well as to send it out to its readers.
The Dawn magazine’s main purpose and general format remains relatively unchanged since Brother Woodworth was editor. An editorial committee continues to function in preparing the articles and to send forth the message of the light and Truth of God’s Word to those who hunger and thirst for understanding. It also serves the fundamental and spiritual interests of the household of faith as it has done since October, 1932.
The brethren who share in this work consider it a labor of love under the wonderful banner of the Apostle Paul’s encouraging words which were written to the church at Corinth. “We are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”—I Cor. 3:9