One night in September 1898 two salesmen, John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hill, shared room 19 in the Central Hotel, Boscobel. They wondered if some organization could not be started for the mutual help and recognition of Christian travelers. A chance meeting of the two on May 31, 1899 in Beaver Dam led to plans for an organizational meeting held July 1 in Janesville. They were joined by William J. Knights who suggested the name “The Gideons” from the Book of Judges. Hill was chosen first President. By 1948 (the Fiftieth Anniversary) the Gideons Commercial Travelers’ Association of America had become world-wide and had distributed over 15½ million Bibles, Psalms and New Testaments to hotels, the armed forces and to young people.
Photographer: Keith L, HMDB.org
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