The American Chesterton Society (ACS), founded in 1996, works to promote interest in G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the 20th century’s greatest writers. A convert to the Catholic Church, Chesterton wrote over a hundred books during his lifetime and published over five thousand essays in newspapers and magazines.
One of the most quoted writers in the English language, yet one of the least studied, G.K. Chesterton foresaw and wrote about the issues we struggle with today: social injustice, the culture of death, the decline of the arts, assaults on religion, and attacks on the family and on the dignity of the human person.
Interest in, and appreciation for, Chesterton’s work appears to be growing thanks in part to the sustained efforts of the ACS. Our organization’s efforts include:
The Apostle of Common Sense, our television series on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). This popular program, now on its seventh season, is designed to help viewers discover and rediscover G.K. Chesterton, to be challenged by his ideas, to see the completeness of his thought, and to be treated to the joy and depth of his faith.
Members of the American Chesterton Society receive a subscription to our award-winning publication, Gilbert. Each issue contains original writings by Chesterton covering any subject under (or above) the sun. In addition, our own contributors write on family life, the arts, politics, faith, current events, popular culture, literary and film criticism, and original short fiction.
WEBSITE AND ONLINE STORE
Our popular website includes a wealth of information on G.K. Chesterton, including free access to many of Chesterton’s writings, a collection of his quotations, and nearly one hundred of Dale Ahlquist’s lectures on Chesterton’s books and essays. Our online store is the most complete collection of Chesterton-related material anywhere on the internet.
Through our newest initiative, ACS Books, we are publishing our own titles, in both soft cover and e-book format. Our first two books, short detective stories, were released in 2011. In March of 2012, we published The Hound of Distributism, a volume of essays on Chesterton’s economic theory of Distributism, which is attracting considerable interest during the current period of socio-economic malaise.
CONFERENCES | PILGRIMAGES
The 33rd annual conference will be in Mundelein, IL at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The ACS held its 32st annual conference at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts in August of 2013. We also hosted a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy in March of 2013. The trip featured a full-day International Chesterton conference, organized in collaboration with the Italian Chesterton Society.
We now have nearly 70 local Chesterton Societies around the country, and we have assigned a dedicated volunteer liaison to support increasing society activity. We’ve also supported the efforts of Chesterton societies getting started in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, and Russia.
Dale Ahlquist has given over 600 talks on Chesterton in the last six years and dozens of radio interviews. Recent invited talks include a lecture at the International Congress on G.K. Chesterton at the University of San Pablo in Madrid; the Men of Christ Conference in Milwaukee, and the Bringing America Back to Life symposium in Cleveland.
THE DIGITAL COLLECTION
Through our electronic database of Chesterton’s writings, the ACS continues to build the most complete collection of Chesterton’s writings anywhere on earth. Over the past fifteen years, we have been painstakingly collecting Chesterton’s works and transferring them to an electronic database – a monumental task. In some cases, these essays have not seen the light of day for over one hundred years. Our goal is to make this tool available to the public and to give readers around the world access to all of Chesterton’s writings for the first time ever.
Students and scholars continue to contact the ACS, as we represent a Chesterton resource far more extensive than any library. More and more graduate and post-graduate students are doing theses and dissertations on Chesterton. As a result, Chesterton’s writings are even beginning to sneak back into classrooms at scattered high schools and universities. In the past two years, three major new biographies have been published, two of them by Oxford University Press. This would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
In 2008, the ACS helped co-found Chesterton Academy, a new high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has been rated one of the “Top 50 Catholic Schools” in the nation by the Cardinal Newman Society. His pioneering work in classical, integrated education has helped develop a curriculum that is capturing the minds of parents across the country. What started with only 10 students is now a school bursting with enrollments and a driven staff passionate about educating the next generation at Chesterton Academy.
This year we are taking our proven and fresh educational model and launching the new Chesterton Schools Network initiative to support schools hungry to mirror our integrated learning approach. Equipped with our curriculum, new academies will open in Buffalo, Chicago, and a second division of Chesterton Academy is in the works for the Twin Cities area. The Chesterton Schools Network will inspire our children to be faithful, robust thinkers steeped in the arts. Some of our graduates will become our leaders, while others may discover a vocation to religious life.
The American Chesterton Society relies on memberships, revenue from book sales, and donations to support our efforts to promote G.K. Chesterton. Please consider joining or making a donation today. Membership entitles you to 8 issues of Gilbert and a 20% discount on books purchased from the society.
Please feel free to call or contact us at anytime. Your support is greatly appreciated!