[Benton Harbor: Israelite House of David as Reorganized by Mary Purnell, ca. 1930-1932]. Almost certainly the first City of David edition, perhaps the fourth edition of the Book of Rules overall. Original printed blue wrappers, 4.63 x 3.31 inches, printed in blue with Mary’s dove device, 16 pages printed in blue ink, wire-stitched. Just some slight soiling; binding staples a bit rusty; a very good copy. Item #20159
“Any one concealing evils and misdoings is a partaker of same, and an enemy and such reporting must be made to Mary and Benjamin only—no talking about it to each other.” The detailed rules for daily conduct and behavior at the House of David religious communal society in southwest Michigan—from staying out of the rooms of young women, to watching for short-changers at the colony’s concession stands—these the slightly modified rules brought over to the newly-established colony of Mary’s City of David, established in April, 1930, and promulgated shortly after the new colony’s print shop was up and running in December, 1930; this rule booklet was almost certainly published to establish Mary’s claims of continued authority for the community. The baseball games for which the community was famed also come in for regulation; the booklet here devotes an entire section to “Ball Playing Rules in Brief.” There is much here as well specific to regulating the behavior of young women. This booklet was intended for community use only, with the text noting, “This good advice is not written for fun, and it is best every way to render obedience strictly, and be careful that you do not lose or drop these rules around, nor are you to tack them up any where, except it would be in your private rooms—and even that is not the best. Keep them handy to read often—in your Bible or Star might be a good suggestion. These rules are only for such as I (Benjamin and Mary) give them to.” Yaple 324, which speculates that Mary may have issued this version of the rules at the original colony after Benjamin’s death in 1927 with Mary’s dove device on the wrappers in an attempt to invoke her continuing authority, though Yaple also notes, “There is, of course, the strong possibility that this document was issed at the City of David, and not the House of David. However, the text follows quite closely the text of all previously issued House of David Book of Rules.” The use of blue ink and Mary’s device, consistent with later City of David productions, and the fact that Dewhirst had forbidden Mary access to the House of David print shop as early as 1926 (see Yaple, page 27), suggest to this cataloguer this title is an early production of the City of David press. Signed at the foot of the text, “Mary and Benjamin.”.