Religion: 38 Million Bibles

This week, in its own handsome six-story office building on Manhattan's Park Avenue, a publishing house with only one book on its list holds its annual meeting. The meeting celebrates an important milestone for the organization — it is the 135th anniversary of the American Bible Society.

On May 8, 1816, a number of Christian leaders met in Manhattan's Garden Street Dutch Reformed Church to discuss the country's need for Bibles. Novelist James Fenimore Cooper was among them; so was Preacher Lyman Beecher. Then & there, the American Bible Society was founded. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey, a onetime president of the...

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