(Introduction by Mr. Alec Stevens)B. H. Shadduck
Bertram Henry Shadduck was born 14 April, 1869 in Erie County, Pennsylvania. He once stated that his father was an infidel: "I didn't know what church or Sunday school was. With no one to teach me of the way of God, I naturally grew up wild. My first trip to church was to satisfy curiosity, and if I went afterward it was to escape some disagreeable (farm)work that father had for us on Sunday."
He later recalled, "At the age of eighteen, I heard a sermon that convinced me that I was treating God worse than anyone was ever likely to treat me, and I saw myself as a lost soul, reckoned in the company of the enemies of God. Broken in spirit, I could not say, 'Oh, God, You can have me; I had nothing to give Him but my burden. Not one of my close relatives or friends was a Christian. My father was hostile, and insisted that I had brought shame on the family. I left home to face the world alone. All my dream castles had crashed in ruins; all whom I had relied upon had failed me. When I would have despaired, my inner soul heard the whisper of One Who can rebuke 'the raging waters' and call back the dead. And He said, as He has said to millions of others willing to forsake His rivals, 'You can have Me.' Giving to God is not over-emphasized, but God as a gift is often overlooked." Shadduck surrendered his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and never looked back.
On 6 February, 1888, after four months as a Salvation Army soldier, eighteen-year-old B. H. Shadduck was accepted as an officer in their organization at Ashtabula, Ohio. Four years later he wrote, among numerous other lyrics put to the melodies of popular songs of the day, "The Great Judgment Morning", a Gospel standard that has appeared in over sixty hymnals, and was recorded by country artist Roy Acuff in April, 1941. On 27 June, 1893 he married Alma Sheldon, a former missionary to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and left the Salvation Army the following year.
Commencing an affiliation with the Methodist church, in 1900 he was admitted on trial into the West Virginia Conference (of the Methodist Church), taking the course of study and receiving a notation on his certificate announcing that he was graduating with "highest honors ever granted for the entire course." He was received into "full connection" and ordained a deacon in 1902 and ordained an elder in 1904. Shadduck's name appeared on the roster of summer-term students taking postgraduate work in the School of Philosophy at Grove City (Pennsylvania) College in 1909, 1910, and 1911. At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees on 11 June, 1912, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, pro merito, was conferred on Shadduck. Throughout this period of academic activity, he was living in West Virginia. As a Methodist pastor, Shadduck served churches largely in West Virginia and Ohio. His influence would perhaps have been confined to this territory had not two particular incidents sparked a prolonged response from him.
The first was the unveiling of The Chrysalis, a sculpture of a man emerging from an ape 'cocoon', in West Side Unitarian, a liberal New York City church, in 1924. Dr. Shadduck was so revulsed at the thought of evolution supplanting Biblical creation even within church walls that he responded with the publication of Jocko-Homo Heavenbound which featured a disparaging pen-and-ink rendition of The Chrysalis on its cover with an added, angelic apparition emerging from the man-ape. Though written with his characteristically homespun wit, Shadduck soberly addressed the fallacies of evolutionary theories in the light of the Scriptures as well as commonly-held scientific fact. A 32 page booklet with color covers and several full-page cartoons by F. W. Alden (of Waukesha, Wisconsin), Jocko-Homo ("ape-man") Heavenbound, was a runaway seller, going through ten reprintings and being distributed throughout much of the United States and Canada. It was favorably reviewed in a number of Christian journals of the day, but some 'modern' churches refused to endorse Shadduck's book.
The following year, Darwin's theory of evolution drew nationwide attention with "the Scopes Monkey Trial" in Dayton, Tennessee in which prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan upheld Biblical creation and defense attorney Clarence Darrow argued for evolution. Though Bryan won the trial, he grew ill and died five days after its end, and evolution had clearly more than a foothold in the mind of "Christian America".
Ironically, B. H. Shadduck's publishing base of operations was latterly held in Ashtabula, Ohio, the birthplace of Clarence Darrow. In 1925 Shadduck followed up Jocko-Homo Heavenbound with several more anti-evolution booklets, Puddle to Paradise and The Toadstool Among the Tombs, both with pithy cartoons by F. W. Alden, the former also having some artwork by Percy H. Kadey, an evangelist from Port Huron, Michigan, whose poetry was occasionally published in Moody Monthly magazine in the 1920s. Shadduck also published "100 Questions for Evolutionists, "When Snakes Began to Nurse Their Young", and "Cousin's Day at the Zoo", all eight page illustrated pamphlets, and "Buzzard's Eggs in the Eagle's Nest" which ran at twelve pages. Puddle to Paradise, amongst other authors' anti-evolution treatises, was prominently displayed in a storefront window rented by evangelist T. T. Martin in downtown Dayton during the Scopes trial.
These in turn were followed in 1928 by Alibi, Lullaby, By-By and The Gee-Haw of the Modern Jehu which took much of the modern church to task for wavering on the subject of Biblical creation vs. evolution. The same year he published The "Seven Thunders" of Millenial Dawn, the first written expose' of the Jehovah's Witnesses to ever utilize their own writings. Shadduck offered to publicly debate with their foremost proponents, but was met with ludricous terms of acceptance which required him to produce a $500 bond which he would forego should he 'slander' their literature in any way.
The same year he published Rastus Agustus Explains Evolution, Rastus being a fictional Negro janitor who listens in on 'enlightened' college lectures on evolution which threaten to topple his Christian faith whilst his pious, exasperated wife Mammy Lou contends with him. Though well-intentioned, the booklet would certainly fall into the 'politically incorrect' category today, being in somewhat the same mold as Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus. A paragraph from one of Shadduck's later books is telling: "Several years ago, someone published a book to prove that the Negro race had an inferior origin. He began, as many do, with assumptions. He assured his readers that the mark that God put on Cain was a black skin, that it was also on Cain's children, that it was a sign that they were under a curse, and that all negroes are descendants of Cain. If you accept assumptions as facts, any heresy is plausible. Many read this book with approval, overlooking the fact that all Cain's descendants were 'liquidated' in the flood."
From the onset of the Depression (1929) until 1940, Shadduck published no new books, though many of the previous volumes would go into multiple reprintings over the next twelve years. He also became an in-demand speaker in many churches, schools, and public forums across the United States.
In 1940, he wrote a new series of anti-evolution essays in The Sunday School Times, a respected weekly Christian journal, which were collected and published under the title of Mistakes God Did Not Make, complete with cartoons by Alden, his collaborator in the 1920s. It was so well-received that he was prompted to reprint it no less than eight times within a four year period, each volume selling 10,000 copies. Shadduck followed it with Dust and Deity. His last treatise in a similar vein was Man, the Harness Maker, published in 1942. He retired that year, his last pastorate being at Lake Avenue Methodist Church in Ashtabula, Ohio.
Two years later, he addressed medium/seance charlatanism as well as illicit supernatural activity in Spiritism and Kindred Beguilements. A new artist, Art Layne, provided the cover illustration and interior cartoons, and later that year Shadduck released Eagle Wings and Stopping the Stork, the former being a series of essays on the victorious Christian life which appeared in The Sunday School Times a year earlier. Lastly, Puzzles of Genesis was published in 1946, featuring cover art by Edwin B. Wallace and interior work by Art Layne.
Bertram Henry Shadduck went to meet his Maker and Redeemer on 2 March, 1950 while at his home in Ashtabula, Ohio. He was eighty years old. His chief aim, with the cartoon booklets, was to debunk the many obfuscating theories of leading evolutionists, presenting, in clear, everyday language, their arguments (which often fell apart without any opposing effort). The Sunday School Times said of one of his publications, "The wonders of God's creation are revealed in an unforgettable way, and the falsity, even absurdity, of some of the positions of the evolution theory are pointed out. Facts, and more facts---startling, amazing, amusing---are piled up with astounding impressiveness, and the influences drawn by this clear thinker and rare humorist are much more convincing than any amount of abstract argument. Young people and students particularly will find keen enjoyment in the nature study, bits of science, delicious humor, and perfect but kindly satire. The book, like others by Dr. Shadduck, ought to be distributed by the million."
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