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This is one of twelve sermons Earl Davis kept together in a twine-bound bundle. While these manuscripts are undated, internal evidence clearly dates them to the years 1909-1911. The United States went through a recession in 1908, and there was increasing labor unrest, including a general strike in Philadelphia in 1910. These difficulties provide some of the backdrop to these manuscripts.

This particular manuscript has a clear notation that it was written for the “Pipe and Pen Club,” presumably some periodic gathering to discuss issues of the day. It is possible that all – or nearly all – of these manuscripts were prepared for that gathering, as they do not read like sermons.

Earl Davis presents his view on how the Pittsfield City Charter should best promote democratic government. Evidently there were calls for a new Charter in 1910, although to our knowledge they were not acted on. Earl Davis argues for the critical importance of democracy, and provides various specific suggestions -- popular initiative, referendum, recall and popular veto -- that he argues would better support democracy in city government.

The primary downloadable document contains the original document followed by the transcription. The bottom of each item page also features the primary document as an embedded pdf for browsing.

Transcription by Davis Baird. Item description based off writing and context provided by Davis Baird.


Earl Clement Davis, minister, Unitarianism, religion, government

Rights Statement

What About City Government, Pipe and Pen Club [Twine Bound Bundle]



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