American Tract Society (The)

Individuals first printed tracts on their own or by donation, such as Rev. Dr. John Stanford who printed tracts in London about 1780. The Cheap Repository Tracts (1795 to 1798) were written by Hannah More and others, and were very successful. The Religious Tract Society, London was formed in 1799, became a major publisher.

The American Tract Society (Boston) began formation as the New England Tract Society which began in 1814 in Boston. They were printing 50 tracts.  Incorporated by the Legislature of Massachusetts in 1816. In June 1823, the named was changed (by the Legislature of Massachusetts) from New England Tract Society to American Tract Society.

In 1825, the New York Religious Tract Society (formed in 1812) met with the American Tract Society of Boston and adopted a plan to form a new American Tract Society. The Boston office was to be a branch of the New York office. On May 11, 1825, at a meeting of delegates of Tract Societies from around the country (about 38) , convened in New York, and the American Tract Society was solemnly and unanimously organized.

The object of the society was-

"to diffuse a knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of sinners, and to promote the interests of vital godliness and sound morality, by the circulation of Religious Tracts, calculated to receive the appropriation of all Evangelical Christians."

Doctrine of the society was-

Man's native sinfulness.

The purity and obligation of the law of God.

The true and proper Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The necessity and reality of His atonement and sacrifice.

The efficiency of the Holy Spirit in the work of renovation.

The free and full offers of the Gospel and duty of men to accept it.

The necessity of personal holiness.

An everlasting state of rewards and punishments beyond the grave.

 

from the "Executive Committee Address", New York, 1925.