chapter  4
28 Pages

The Rutherford Era

A new leader had to be chosen. Russell had le a will, giving directions for the future editing of e Watch Tower. However, one cannot leave a Society to another person: a legally incorporated entity is owned by the shareholders, and hence the establishment of the new leader was a matter for voting, in accordance with the constitution. Regarding the editorship of e Watch Tower, ve of Russell’s supporters were named, with the requirement that at least three of them must have read every article appearing in every past edition of the Watch Tower and acknowledged that it was ‘TRUTH’, and that none of them should have any association with any other journal. e ve were: William E. Page, William E. Van Amburgh, Henry Clay Rockwell, E.W. Brenneisen, and F.H. Robison. e editorial board was to be autonomous, with the right to elect new members when existing ones either died or resigned. Russell also created a reserve list of supporters who might ll any such vacancies, stating: ‘e names of the ve whom I suggest as possibly among the most suitable from which to ll vacancies in the Editorial Committee are as follows: A.E. Burgess, Robert Hirsh, Isaac Hoskins, Geo. H. Fisher (Scranton), J.F. Rutherford, Dr. John Edgar.’1 is recommendation is somewhat curious: Russell states that he is naming ve individuals, but enumerates six. One critic has suggested that Rutherford, who became the new leader, inserted his own name in Russell’s will, as part of his bid for power.2 is seems unlikely, and there is no evidence to support this contention. It is more likely that this was simply carelessness on Russell’s part, but this aberration did nothing to smooth the transition to the new presidency, which proved to be a highly contentious – indeed acrimonious – aair.