American Chesterton Society 2018

$16,973 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 124 people in 6 months
Dear Friend of Chesterton,

As you know, G.K. Chesterton is one of the most prolific authors who ever lived. For the last twenty years, the American Chesterton Society has been involved in the gigantic project of finding everything Chesterton wrote, collecting and copying it, and transcribing it. It has been a completely volunteer effort. The goal is to make all of Chesterton’s writings available for scholars, students and fans to search and study and contemplate. We have been creating the Chesterton Digital Library (CDL) with the planned end product being a searchable online source of all of Chesterton. This would include not only his books, but his uncollected journalism (over 5000 essays), plus newspaper interviews, accounts of speeches, and supplemental literature. There will be over 7000 unique items in this collection.  Why is the Chesterton Digital Library (CDL) important? 

 1. To make Chesterton more accessible to everyone. At the American Chesterton Society, our mission is to make G.K. Chesterton better known and loved in the world. We have many ways that we work to do this, but our most fundamental way is to simply introduce more people to Chesterton. With the CDL, all of Chesterton's writings will be at the fingertips of the three billion people who use the internet daily. 

 2. To help those who want to quote Chesterton in their articles and research papers, or those who want to discover what Chesterton had to say on a certain topic or topics. Researchers currently write to the American Chesterton Society requesting help for their work, and we try to help as many as possible, but once the CDL is up and running, they can run custom searches on any topic.

 3. To help the team that will eventually be involved in the Cause for the Sainthood of Chesterton. This team will have to wade through as much of Chesterton’s writings as they possibly can during the years of investigation into Chesterton’s sainthood. Our work will help those involved by handing them a database where items can be read, checked off, marked for attention as important. In other words, this will be an invaluable tool for that team.

In the last three years, we’ve catalogued and processed hundreds if not thousands of Chesterton’s works. The website has been started, a database is being created, and soon a website will be in beta testing. The entirety of the project has been volunteer run, volunteer time, typing, editing, database creating, consistency checking and every bit of research has been done by volunteers. Sometimes works come from libraries where it is given free, other times, the library will charge a nominal fee for retrieving the item. The fees may be small, perhaps $2-$30, but over time and with many items, these fees can add up. Storage space to hold the digital library is also a nominal but ever present fee, one that will continue year after year. And it is time to take the project to the next step, creating the search engine and the extended web machine that will be user-friendly.

We hoping to raise $20,000 to bring the CDL close to completion.

Please consider giving to this worthwhile and worthy project. We thank you for being a part of the American Chesterton Society and the Chesterton Digital Library.

Your Servant,
Dale Ahlquist
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Happy Birthday, G.K. Chesterton!
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Dear Friends,
A push to beg you to share your donation or share our page to your friends who may be willing to help. Thanks and God bless you all! You are all amazing and we pray for your daily here at the American Chesterton Society.

An answer to the question about methods and details--for most people a searchable database of everything Chesterton wrote is a great goal and enough information.

However, for those librarians and database specialists out there, please know that we have consulted with the best and have help from the best. We are creating a database of individual documents of every work that Chesterton ever wrote--over 7,000 individual items! Known and popular essays to lost essays that no-one has seen or read for over one hundred years.

In the past, we had Chesterton's opinion pieces, now we have collected those of the person he was answering, and all of their back and forth arguments, so that you, our readers and friends, can see exactly why Chesterton chose to argue, what arguments he picked and how he crushed the wishy washy thinking of his opponent with Christian kindness, common sense, and intelligence.

The database will be searchable by the item--periodical, date; the key words, or any words you ask of it. If you are wondering what Chesterton had to say about the Punic Wars, or economics, or Roman history or women's votes, you can search those.

One amazing feature is being able to read complete essays which haven't been read or seen for over one hundred years (except by 2 other people--the person who found the essay and the person who typed the essay!)

Needless to say, for those who love reading Chesterton, once this CDL is finished, there will never be another website you will need to visit, because it may take us the rest of our lives to read everything Chesterton wrote :-)

It is important to note that the work we do here may be involved in the future Cause--if a Cause opens--of Chesterton's sainthood. At this moment, February of 2018, what we have is an investigation into whether such a Cause should or should not be opened.

If a Cause is opened, then either one of two things will occur: either EVERYTHING Chesterton ever wrote will need to be read by a committee looking to investigate his thoughts and ideas throughout his life--or--as was the case with another prolific British convert Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (an interesting story which you can read here-- that the Vatican committee assigned to that investigation decided they would only read Cardinal Newman's works from after his conversion onwards.

Still, if this were the case for GKC, Chesterton converted in 1922 and lived till 1936 and produced an enormous amount of writing in that time. All of which would need to be found, sorted and read by a committee of people assigned to it. Our CDL would help with that process. And we all would be incredibly proud to have helped.

Thank you again for your generosity and help to make this Chesterton Digital Library a reality.
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Hi Chesterton Lovers! Thanks so much for all you're doing to help us spread the good news of Chesterton. We've reached the half way mark and are heading towards the finish line. If everyone could please share just once on your social media platform of choice, we'd have it made! Thanks for your help. --Dale Ahlquist
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$16,973 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 124 people in 6 months
Funds raised will benefit:
American Chesterton Society
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Minneapolis, MN
EIN: 411865930
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