About the American Chesterton Society
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:
Television. 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.
Periodicals. Members of the American Chesterton Society receive a subscription to our award-winning publication, Gilbert Magazine. 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.
Publishing. 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 and Pilgrimages. The ACS will hold its 32st annual conference at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts in August of 2013. We’ll also host a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy in March of 2013. The trip will feature a full-day International Chesterton conference, organized in collaboration with the Italian Chesterton Society.
Local Societies. We now have nearly 60 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.
Invited Lectures. Dale Ahlquist has given over 200 talks on Chesterton in the last four 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 “Amber” 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 the past three years, Dale Ahlquist has discovered almost 300 uncollected Chesterton essays in microfilm newspaper collections in America and England. 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.
Scholarly Work. 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.
Education. In 2008, the ACS helped co-found Chesterton Academy, a new high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In just four years the school has grown from 10 students to almost 70 students, and we have received dozens of inquiries from groups around the country who seek our support to start similar schools. We are creating a model that we hope will help restore education: a classical, integrated curriculum at an affordable cost.
Membership in the American Chesterton Society is $42 a year. Your annual membership contribution entitles you 6 issues of Gilbert Magazine and a 20% discount on books purchased from the Society. We ask our members to help revive an interest in Chesterton, to spread his influence and ideas, to bring him to a new generation, and to give him as a gift. Please buy the books and merchandise not only for your own pleasure and benefit, but also for others. And donations are tax-deductible.
Please feel free to call or contact me at anytime. Your support is greatly appreciated!
The American Chesterton Society