Congregational Library & Archives

Congregational Library & Archives Founded in 1853, the Congregational Library & Archives holds over 250,000 items documenting the history of one of the nation's oldest and most influential

Operating as usual

Today marks the 401st anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Plymouth, England in 1620. Learn more about the jour...
09/16/2021

Today marks the 401st anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Plymouth, England in 1620. Learn more about the journey, the people, and their settlement in America this #MayflowerDay with our Plymouth's Pilgrim's guide for adults and kids: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/PlymouthsPilgrims

Today marks the 401st anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Plymouth, England in 1620. Learn more about the journey, the people, and their settlement in America this #MayflowerDay with our Plymouth's Pilgrim's guide for adults and kids: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/PlymouthsPilgrims

This #NationalOnlineLearningDay remember that you can peruse our YouTube channel for playlists featuring lectures by his...
09/15/2021

This #NationalOnlineLearningDay remember that you can peruse our YouTube channel for playlists featuring lectures by historians, interviews, and author talks - all for free! https://www.youtube.com/user/CongLib/videos

This #NationalOnlineLearningDay remember that you can peruse our YouTube channel for playlists featuring lectures by historians, interviews, and author talks - all for free! https://www.youtube.com/user/CongLib/videos

September is Gospel Music Heritage Month. The Congregational Library has collected a large number of hymnals and songboo...
09/14/2021

September is Gospel Music Heritage Month. The Congregational Library has collected a large number of hymnals and songbooks through the ages, spanning the 19th century to (judging by the groovy covers) the 1970s and beyond.

For all those going #BackToSchool today, we hope you're having a better time than Helen is in this book by the Massachus...
09/13/2021

For all those going #BackToSchool today, we hope you're having a better time than Helen is in this book by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, circa 1846.

Congregational clergyman and prolific writer Rev. Charles Edward Jefferson died on this day in 1937. He was most famousl...
09/12/2021

Congregational clergyman and prolific writer Rev. Charles Edward Jefferson died on this day in 1937. He was most famously minister of Broadway Tabernacle Church (now Broadway United Church of Christ) in New York City from 1898-1929. Read more and search his papers at CLA: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/finding-aids/JeffersonCharles4700

Congregational clergyman and prolific writer Rev. Charles Edward Jefferson died on this day in 1937. He was most famously minister of Broadway Tabernacle Church (now Broadway United Church of Christ) in New York City from 1898-1929. Read more and search his papers at CLA: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/finding-aids/JeffersonCharles4700

Please enjoy another Virtual History Talk #TBT, to our enlightening interview with Dr. Richard Boles - who is now also a...
09/09/2021
Dividing the Faith: An author interview with Dr. Richard Boles

Please enjoy another Virtual History Talk #TBT, to our enlightening interview with Dr. Richard Boles - who is now also a member of our board of directors. Richard talks about his new book "Dividing the Faith" and the rise of segregated churches in the early American North. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCsBTMQ7ynw

Bringing you the latest research on historical African American and Native American churches and church attendance in the northern U.S., Dr. Richard Boles, a...

#OTD in 1636 the college that would become Harvard University was founded in order to create a "church in the wilderness...
09/08/2021

#OTD in 1636 the college that would become Harvard University was founded in order to create a "church in the wilderness" by training Puritan clergy to minister to the new commonwealth. A vast majority of the Congregational ministers within our colonial-era records are Harvard alumni.

#OTD in 1636 the college that would become Harvard University was founded in order to create a "church in the wilderness" by training Puritan clergy to minister to the new commonwealth. A vast majority of the Congregational ministers within our colonial-era records are Harvard alumni.

Popular TV show Ally McBeal aired for the first time on this date in 1997 - Did you know that the American Congregationa...
09/08/2021

Popular TV show Ally McBeal aired for the first time on this date in 1997 - Did you know that the American Congregational Association building (14 Beacon street, where our library is housed) was the establishing shot for Ally's law firm, Cage & Fish?

Popular TV show Ally McBeal aired for the first time on this date in 1997 - Did you know that the American Congregational Association building (14 Beacon street, where our library is housed) was the establishing shot for Ally's law firm, Cage & Fish?

This #NationalNewHampshireDay, why not peruse the records of the oldest church in the state? The colonial-era records of...
09/07/2021

This #NationalNewHampshireDay, why not peruse the records of the oldest church in the state? The colonial-era records of the First Parish Church in Dover, NH, founded in 1633, were digitized thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the First Parish Church as part of our New England's Hidden Histories project: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series1/DoverNHFirst1319

This #NationalNewHampshireDay, why not peruse the records of the oldest church in the state? The colonial-era records of the First Parish Church in Dover, NH, founded in 1633, were digitized thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the First Parish Church as part of our New England's Hidden Histories project: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series1/DoverNHFirst1319

It's #WorldBeardDay! Which Congregational or Congregational-adjacent influencer wore it better? John Knox (Calvinist for...
09/04/2021

It's #WorldBeardDay! Which Congregational or Congregational-adjacent influencer wore it better? John Knox (Calvinist forefather), Martin Kellog Holbrook (minister), Sir Titus Salt (patron), or John Gibson Paton (missionary)?

09/02/2021

"It's not just that the documents were hidden, it's that the lives of the people were hidden."
- Helen Gelinas, director of "New England's Hidden Histories"

In this latest of our Virtual History Talk series, Francis Bremer talks with Helen about this flagship digital humanities project, including the importance of preserving vulnerable church records, the unprecedented abundance of women's biographical material contained within digitized NEHH records, and our BIPOC finding guide.

This #WorldDistanceLearningDay, why not check out the huge array of digitized resources in "New England's Hidden Histori...
08/30/2021
New England's Hidden Histories: Colonial-Era Church Records | Congregational Library & Archives

This #WorldDistanceLearningDay, why not check out the huge array of digitized resources in "New England's Hidden Histories", our flagship digital humanities project showcasing Colonial-era records from partners across the region: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/main

Congregational church records offer a rich and remarkable view of life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. Well before the writing of the Constitution each member in the early Puritan churches had an equal vote, with the power to govern themselves and to choose their own ministers. T...

08/28/2021

After a summer hiatus, our virtual History Talks series is back with another enlivening author interview; this time with Randall Balmer, prize-winning historian, Emmy Award nominee, and Professor of American Religious History at Columbia University and Dartmouth.

Dr. Francis Bremer interviews Dr. Balmer about his latest book, "Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right," in which Balmer guides the reader along the convoluted historical trajectory that began with American evangelicalism as a progressive force opposed to slavery, then later an isolated apolitical movement in the mid-twentieth century, all the way through the 2016 election in which 81 percent of white evangelicals coalesced around Donald Trump for president. The pivotal point, Balmer shows, was the period in the late 1970s when American evangelicals turned against Jimmy Carter—despite his being one of their own, a professed “born-again” Christian—in favor of the Republican Party, which found it could win their loyalty through the espousal of a single issue.

#OnThisDay in 1759, Congregational minister Rev. John Cleaveland wrote to his wife Mary while encamped at Fort Louisbour...
08/27/2021

#OnThisDay in 1759, Congregational minister Rev. John Cleaveland wrote to his wife Mary while encamped at Fort Louisbourg as chaplain during the French and Indian War. Cleaveland was a "New Light" revivalist, and complains toward the end of the letter about an orthodox chaplain in camp trying to steal his thunder.

Read more about Rev. Cleaveland at: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series2/CleavelandJohnPapers .

#OTD #OTDH

Today is Women's Equality Day, in commemoration of the passage of the 19th amendment. This GBH Forum Network lecture wit...
08/26/2021
The Unappreciated Role of Women in the Shaping of Puritanism | Forum Network

Today is Women's Equality Day, in commemoration of the passage of the 19th amendment. This GBH Forum Network lecture with our own board member Dr. Francis Bremer shines a light on Puritan and Congregationalist women's roles in shaping the country long before achieving the vote: https://forum-network.org/lectures/unappreciated-role-women-shaping-puritanism/

The Boston Public Library together with the New England Historic Genealogical Society presents “The Unappreciated Role of Women in the Shaping of Puritanism.” While everyone knows of the challenge that Anne Hutchinson posed to the New England puritan establishment, the roles of ordinary women in...

#OnThisDay in 1920, the #19thAmendment was certified. First proposed in Congress in 1878, the amendment did not pass the...
08/26/2021

#OnThisDay in 1920, the #19thAmendment was certified. First proposed in Congress in 1878, the amendment did not pass the House and Senate until 1919. CLA holds a number of materials, both pro and anti, from this long fight. #OTD #VotesForWomen suffrage100ma

For tomorrow's #NationalDogDay, we present this dapper seafaring pup from Boston Seaman's Friend Society tract, "Sailor'...
08/25/2021

For tomorrow's #NationalDogDay, we present this dapper seafaring pup from Boston Seaman's Friend Society tract, "Sailor's Pets at Sea," 1904.

For tomorrow's #NationalDogDay, we present this dapper seafaring pup from Boston Seaman's Friend Society tract, "Sailor's Pets at Sea," 1904.

Rev. Increase Mather died #OnThisDay in 1723. A Congregational minister, author, and president of Harvard University for...
08/23/2021

Rev. Increase Mather died #OnThisDay in 1723. A Congregational minister, author, and president of Harvard University for twenty years (1681–1701), he was influential in the administration of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, most famously during the time of the Salem witch trials. #OTD #OTDH

Rev. Increase Mather died #OnThisDay in 1723. A Congregational minister, author, and president of Harvard University for twenty years (1681–1701), he was influential in the administration of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, most famously during the time of the Salem witch trials. #OTD #OTDH

Some folks expressed interest in the location of our former library building. One of the best places to research this an...
08/22/2021

Some folks expressed interest in the location of our former library building. One of the best places to research this and other early city architecture is Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, who have digitized maps like these showing original plots before development, including the land sold for the building of the Somerset Clubhouse which would subsequently be purchased by the American Congregational Association.

https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:9s161h11m

https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:9s161h178

#TBT to our interview with Michelle Coughlin, author of "Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: Re-Imagining a Li...
08/19/2021
Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: An author interview with Michelle Coughlin

#TBT to our interview with Michelle Coughlin, author of "Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: Re-Imagining a Life".

This biography recreates the life of a woman in a historical era that is renowned primarily for men’s stories. Blending historical records with material culture, Coughlin provides the keys to re-imagining Winslow’s world in all its rich complexity.

https://youtu.be/2IsY3QHtzVE

Michelle Coughlin digs deep in to Colonia-era women's history in this latest CLA author interview. Dr. Donna Curtin, Executive Director of the Pilgrim Hall M...

In honor of #WorldPhotoDay we're highlighting our image catalog, which currently contains 1,000 digitized images of Cong...
08/19/2021

In honor of #WorldPhotoDay we're highlighting our image catalog, which currently contains 1,000 digitized images of Congregational churches and people. More information can be found at https://www.congregationallibrary.org/digital-collections/image-catalog

In honor of #WorldPhotoDay we're highlighting our image catalog, which currently contains 1,000 digitized images of Congregational churches and people. More information can be found at https://www.congregationallibrary.org/digital-collections/image-catalog

On this day in 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making #WomensSuffrage legal in the U...
08/18/2021

On this day in 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making #WomensSuffrage legal in the United States. Enfranchisement was a hard won struggle fought over many decades, and even after passage of the amendment many women were effectively barred from the polls by race, class, and other factors.

The CLA holds a number of contemporary materials with arguments both for and against women's right to vote.

The library is now open by appointment, but in this uncertain era of viral variants it's always worth revisiting which o...
08/17/2021
Beacon Street Diary blog | Congregational Library & Archives

The library is now open by appointment, but in this uncertain era of viral variants it's always worth revisiting which of our resources are available to peruse remotely. Sara describes a number of options for remote research in this Beacon Street Diary blog: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202006/i-want-it-now-guide-getting-what-you-need-cla-collection-home

One of the difficulties of working with rare and archival collections is that it is not always easy to see them in person, even under circumstances far more typical than we’re currently experiencing. The materials you need may be scattered across multiple repositories or located in a different par...

He's not exactly the library cat, but he is the *librarian's* cat, which is basically the same thing, right? This #Black...
08/17/2021

He's not exactly the library cat, but he is the *librarian's* cat, which is basically the same thing, right? This #BlackCatAppreciationDay we express our profound appreciation for Lincoln, Sara's notoriously strict work-from-home supervisor and official Zoom-bomber.

He's not exactly the library cat, but he is the *librarian's* cat, which is basically the same thing, right? This #BlackCatAppreciationDay we express our profound appreciation for Lincoln, Sara's notoriously strict work-from-home supervisor and official Zoom-bomber.

If you're stopping by our neck of the woods, consider also paying a visit the excellent outdoor exhibition on #BostonCom...
08/16/2021

If you're stopping by our neck of the woods, consider also paying a visit the excellent outdoor exhibition on #BostonCommon telling the story of the MA 54th Regiment, Civil War & #Shaw54thRegimentMemorial.

Henry Martyn Dexter was born on this day in 1821. A prolific Congregational historian, he edited the Congregationalist, ...
08/13/2021

Henry Martyn Dexter was born on this day in 1821. A prolific Congregational historian, he edited the Congregationalist, headed the American Congregational Association, and participated as a member of The American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Many of his writings can be found in our collection.

Henry Martyn Dexter was born on this day in 1821. A prolific Congregational historian, he edited the Congregationalist, headed the American Congregational Association, and participated as a member of The American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Many of his writings can be found in our collection.

#TBT to our interview with Carla Pestana, author of "The World of Plymouth Plantation" - an intimate look inside Plymout...
08/13/2021
"The World of Plymouth Plantation" - author interview with Carla Pestana

#TBT to our interview with Carla Pestana, author of "The World of Plymouth Plantation" - an intimate look inside Plymouth Plantation that goes beyond familiar founding myths to portray real life in the settlement—the hard work, small joys, and deep connections to others beyond the shores of Cape Cod Bay.
https://youtu.be/fy0JJ5T9zkQ

We've just added another thoroughly enjoyable author interview to our series:Dr. Carla Pestana, UCLA History Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of Ame...

The most recent edition of the CLA's Bulletin is out, featuring articles by library staff, clergy, and historians such a...
08/11/2021

The most recent edition of the CLA's Bulletin is out, featuring articles by library staff, clergy, and historians such as Lori Rogers-Stokes and Richard Boles. To get access to this and more benefits, consider becoming a member today!
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/get-involved/become-a-member

The most recent edition of the CLA's Bulletin is out, featuring articles by library staff, clergy, and historians such as Lori Rogers-Stokes and Richard Boles. To get access to this and more benefits, consider becoming a member today!
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/get-involved/become-a-member

With the winding down of the Olympics, we cast our mind back to this Beacon Street Diary blog exploring Puritan concepts...
08/09/2021

With the winding down of the Olympics, we cast our mind back to this Beacon Street Diary blog exploring Puritan concepts of sports. Puritans were known for their strong opinions, and this was no exception! (ballgames, if you were wondering, are right out): https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/201402/puritans-and-sport

With the winding down of the Olympics, we cast our mind back to this Beacon Street Diary blog exploring Puritan concepts of sports. Puritans were known for their strong opinions, and this was no exception! (ballgames, if you were wondering, are right out): https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/201402/puritans-and-sport

Address

14 Beacon St Ste 206
Boston, MA
02108

We are easily accessible by public transportation and encourage visitors to use the MBTA. The nearest subway stop is Park Street Station, at the intersection of the Red Line and Green Line. Upon exiting Park Street Station, turn left and walk up Park Street, toward the Massachusetts State House. Turn right on Beacon Street. The library is located on the second floor of 14 Beacon Street. It is less than a five-minute walk from the Park Street station.

General information

The Congregational Library & Archives is an independent special collections library and archives located on the second floor of the Congregational House at 14 Beacon Street in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The Library was founded in 1853 by a gathering of Congregational ministers and has since evolved into a professional library and archives that holds more than 250,000 items, predominantly focused on 18th to 21st century American Congregational history. The Library's reading room is free and open to the public for research but the Library's stacks are closed and book borrowing privileges are extended exclusively to members. The Library welcomes visitors and researchers of all backgrounds and experience level, from folks with a passing interest in history to family genealogists to scholars utilizing our collection for a thesis. If you have any questions, please send a message via Facebook or an email to [email protected] and a member of our team will respond to you as soon as possible. Please visit our website If you would like to browse our online catalog, become a member, or learn more about our New England's Hidden Histories program.

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

Telephone

(617) 523-0470

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Congregational Library & Archives-- Thank you for serving us so well-- I'm proud on Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) to support you!!!
please concact me. i found pilgeam things when i was 14...i want to show it....please.it misht be history....who can i talk too????
Do you posses a copy of a history of West Congregational Church that I wrote a decade ago: Wheat & Weeds in a Country Parish? I was pastor of the church during the 1960s and associate until about 2001. I was professor at NECC for 3 decades, retiring 2001 as emeritus. My education: The Roxbury Latin School (Boston), Wheaton College (Illinois), Fuller Theological Seminary, and Boston University (PhD in philosophy).
Everyone should know about this organization.