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
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Operating as usual

A major #TBT throwback to our old Somerset Street location, which we are a little jealous of. Did you know that the orig...
07/22/2021

A major #TBT throwback to our old Somerset Street location, which we are a little jealous of. Did you know that the original Congregational Library was housed at the corner of Beacon and Somerset Streets? In 1871 the American Congregational Association purchased the Somerset Club House and an adjoining estate, for occupancy by various Congregational organizations, which had formerly been housed separately. The first Congregational House was dedicated February 12, 1873.

A major #TBT throwback to our old Somerset Street location, which we are a little jealous of. Did you know that the original Congregational Library was housed at the corner of Beacon and Somerset Streets? In 1871 the American Congregational Association purchased the Somerset Club House and an adjoining estate, for occupancy by various Congregational organizations, which had formerly been housed separately. The first Congregational House was dedicated February 12, 1873.

Today is the birthday of Rev. Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), America's first fully ordained Black minister. His writings and...
07/18/2021

Today is the birthday of Rev. Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), America's first fully ordained Black minister. His writings and other records are featured in our BIPOC finding guide: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/POCFindingAid/firsthand-writings-BIPOC

Today is the birthday of Rev. Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), America's first fully ordained Black minister. His writings and other records are featured in our BIPOC finding guide: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/POCFindingAid/firsthand-writings-BIPOC

Happy Independence Day from the CLA!
07/04/2021

Happy Independence Day from the CLA!

Happy Independence Day from the CLA!

A little selection of some of the beautiful #marbling we found in our 18th-19th c. General Association of Connecticut re...
06/28/2021

A little selection of some of the beautiful #marbling we found in our 18th-19th c. General Association of Connecticut records this morning. It truly is a blessed #marbledmonday!

(Our librarian Sara recently wrote a blog that has more info on marbling and other paper arts: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202102/paper-arts-cla)

Tomorrow, Friday June 18, we will be presenting with our partners at Quartex and Adam Matthew: at the American Theologic...
06/17/2021
Meet Quartex at ATLA Annual 2021 Online

Tomorrow, Friday June 18, we will be presenting with our partners at Quartex and Adam Matthew: at the American Theological Library Association's #ATLA2021 conference - Drop by to hear Zack and Jules talk about how we're using our new digital asset management system to increase access to the CLA's digital holdings:

https://www.quartexcollections.com/news/item/meet-quartex-at-atla-annual-2021-online

Quartex will be presenting at this year’s virtual conference on Friday, June 18, between 1pm-1.30pm CT, alongside our partners at Congregational Library & Archives.

The CLA reading room is now available to visit in person by appointment. Head over to our website for further details, a...
06/15/2021

The CLA reading room is now available to visit in person by appointment. Head over to our website for further details, and to plan your visit with our scheduling calendar: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/news/library-opening-monday-june-14-appointment

The CLA reading room is now available to visit in person by appointment. Head over to our website for further details, and to plan your visit with our scheduling calendar: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/news/library-opening-monday-june-14-appointment

#OnThisDay in 1721, Cotton Mather began his inoculation campaign against Smallpox, urging Bostonians to adopt the practi...
06/06/2021

#OnThisDay in 1721, Cotton Mather began his inoculation campaign against Smallpox, urging Bostonians to adopt the practice. Mather was a forefather of Congregationalism, and the CLA holds "Matheralia" ranging from sermons to Spiderman comics (yes, really): https://www.congregationallibrary.org/researchers/bibliographies/MatherBiblio

#OnThisDay in 1721, Cotton Mather began his inoculation campaign against Smallpox, urging Bostonians to adopt the practice. Mather was a forefather of Congregationalism, and the CLA holds "Matheralia" ranging from sermons to Spiderman comics (yes, really): https://www.congregationallibrary.org/researchers/bibliographies/MatherBiblio

If you find the term "metadata" a head-scratcher, or even if you're an information professional looking for a helpful re...
05/28/2021

If you find the term "metadata" a head-scratcher, or even if you're an information professional looking for a helpful refresher, check out Zack's latest blog where he lays out the basics of this foundational concept, explains how to create your own schema from scratch, and provides a window into the "behind the scenes" of our library and archives work with digital resources:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202105/launching-digital-collection-making-metadata-model-digital-resources

If you find the term "metadata" a head-scratcher, or even if you're an information professional looking for a helpful refresher, check out Zack's latest blog where he lays out the basics of this foundational concept, explains how to create your own schema from scratch, and provides a window into the "behind the scenes" of our library and archives work with digital resources:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202105/launching-digital-collection-making-metadata-model-digital-resources

We were delighted to speak with the AP this week about records of smallpox outbreaks in the 1700s, especially the diary ...
05/21/2021
Old records shed new light on smallpox outbreaks in 1700s

We were delighted to speak with the AP this week about records of smallpox outbreaks in the 1700s, especially the diary of Ebenezer Storer, digitized as part of our New England's Hidden Histories program (the original is owned by American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society).

Storer made the difficult decision to inoculate his children during an outbreak of the disease in 1764. This process, espoused famously by Rev. Cotton Mather after the major smallpox epidemic of 1721, introduced a live virus onto an abrasion on the skin. It carried more risk and was less effective than modern vaccines, but was evidently still worth it - the technique had long been practiced in parts of Asia and Africa before introduction to the West. Storer's children and other family survived the outbreak, prompting him to give thanks to God in the pages of his diary.

BOSTON (AP) — A highly contagious disease originating far from America's shores triggers deadly outbreaks that spread rapidly, infecting the masses. Shots are available, but a divided public agonizes over getting jabbed.

Happy May Day, which was also the day in 1809 when the cornerstone was laid at the @ParkStChurch, aka our neighbors. The...
05/01/2021

Happy May Day, which was also the day in 1809 when the cornerstone was laid at the @ParkStChurch, aka our neighbors. The CLA maintains a large collection of Park Street's historic records which are available for research. For more info see the finding aid: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/finding-aids/BostonMAParkSt1284

Happy May Day, which was also the day in 1809 when the cornerstone was laid at the @ParkStChurch, aka our neighbors. The CLA maintains a large collection of Park Street's historic records which are available for research. For more info see the finding aid: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/finding-aids/BostonMAParkSt1284

Okay, why did someone back in the mists of time decide to cut out just the "H" in American Home Missionary Society? Any ...
04/26/2021

Okay, why did someone back in the mists of time decide to cut out just the "H" in American Home Missionary Society? Any ideas? 😱

Okay, why did someone back in the mists of time decide to cut out just the "H" in American Home Missionary Society? Any ideas? 😱

#OnThisDay in 1721 the HMS Seahorse brought a devastating outbreak of smallpox to Boston. References to the disease are ...
04/22/2021

#OnThisDay in 1721 the HMS Seahorse brought a devastating outbreak of smallpox to Boston. References to the disease are numerous in our 18th-century records, including this digitized 1764 entry from the diary of Cambridge resident Ebenezer Storer. (https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series2/StorerEbenezer)

#OnThisDay in 1721 the HMS Seahorse brought a devastating outbreak of smallpox to Boston. References to the disease are numerous in our 18th-century records, including this digitized 1764 entry from the diary of Cambridge resident Ebenezer Storer. (https://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/series2/StorerEbenezer)

#OTD in 1621 the Mayflower set sail for England after 110 days at anchor in Plymouth. Nearly half the crew had died duri...
04/05/2021
Introduction | Congregational Library & Archives

#OTD in 1621 the Mayflower set sail for England after 110 days at anchor in Plymouth. Nearly half the crew had died during the trip, but the survivors conducted the vessel back successfully.

Learn more about the colony in our "Plymouth's Pilgrims" guide! https://www.congregationallibrary.org/PlymouthsPilgrims

Plymouth’s Pilgrims: Their Church, Their World, and Ours Our four-part historical introduction and discussion guide, “Plymouth’s Pilgrims: Their Church, Their World, and Ours” is now available, free of charge and right in time for your 2020 planning. Elegantly written by Library board member...

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! From our collection of materials bought back by missionaries, this book is a collec...
04/04/2021

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

From our collection of materials bought back by missionaries, this book is a collection of pressed flowers artfully arranged from important biblical sites circa 1880.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

From our collection of materials bought back by missionaries, this book is a collection of pressed flowers artfully arranged from important biblical sites circa 1880.

For those of you watching #WandaVision, has Cotton Mather shown up to torment Wanda aka Scarlet Witch yet? I'm assuming ...
03/29/2021

For those of you watching #WandaVision, has Cotton Mather shown up to torment Wanda aka Scarlet Witch yet? I'm assuming that's going to be a key plot point, based on this Spiderman comic. (Which, yes, is genuinely part of our "Matheralia" collections).

For those of you watching #WandaVision, has Cotton Mather shown up to torment Wanda aka Scarlet Witch yet? I'm assuming that's going to be a key plot point, based on this Spiderman comic. (Which, yes, is genuinely part of our "Matheralia" collections).

Get a sneak peak into our new digital collections system, in this blog by archivist Zachary Bodnar. We've been hard at w...
03/25/2021

Get a sneak peak into our new digital collections system, in this blog by archivist Zachary Bodnar. We've been hard at work transferring our digital assets to Quartex, which will feature improved navigation and search functions for collections like those in New England's Hidden Histories:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202103/launching-digital-collection-navigation-and-enhancing-search-and-browse-experiences

Get a sneak peak into our new digital collections system, in this blog by archivist Zachary Bodnar. We've been hard at work transferring our digital assets to Quartex, which will feature improved navigation and search functions for collections like those in New England's Hidden Histories:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202103/launching-digital-collection-navigation-and-enhancing-search-and-browse-experiences

03/24/2021

To the Members and Friends of the Congregational Library and Archives,

I wanted to let you know that Dr. Jeff Cooper has resigned from his position as Project Director of New England’s Hidden Histories. Co-founded by former Executive Director Dr. Peggy Bendroth, Dr. Ken Minkema of Yale University’s Jonathan Edwards Project, and Dr. Cooper, New England’s Hidden Histories (NEHH) has been a flagship program of Congregational Library and Archives (CLA). Since 2005, the CLA has partnered with other organizations and churches to rescue documents and records that might otherwise be lost, endeavoring to make them widely accessible through preservation and digitization. Dr. Cooper left the history department at Oklahoma State University to serve as NEHH Director, and in the past six years Drs. Bendroth and Cooper were successful in receiving two significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities which furthered the NEHH goals of digitizing important materials for academic, ecclesiastical, and public accessibility. I thank Dr. Cooper for his contributions to the work of New England’s Hidden Histories, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.

We at the Congregational Library and Archives are committed to the ongoing work and worth of New England’s Hidden Histories, and are moving now to appoint an outstanding historian to serve as Acting Project Director. I hope to share news of this appointment in the coming weeks. This summer, we anticipate launching a national search for the next NEHH Director.

If you have any questions about this process or wish to nominate potential candidates for the role of Acting Project Director, please do let me know at [email protected].

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray
Executive Director, Congregational Library and Archives, Boston, Massachusetts

A true survivor, South Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan endured two fires and a tornado which destroyed o...
03/23/2021

A true survivor, South Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan endured two fires and a tornado which destroyed over half of the church's buildings, including the pipe organ and sanctuary. Still, the church persisted from 1890-2001, when it finally closed its doors due to declining membership. William expands on this important collection in his latest blog:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202103/collection-highlight-south-congregational-church-grand-rapids-michigan

A true survivor, South Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan endured two fires and a tornado which destroyed over half of the church's buildings, including the pipe organ and sanctuary. Still, the church persisted from 1890-2001, when it finally closed its doors due to declining membership. William expands on this important collection in his latest blog:
https://www.congregationallibrary.org/blog/202103/collection-highlight-south-congregational-church-grand-rapids-michigan

See below for the library's statement regarding the recent atrocities in Atlanta, which is also available on our website...
03/19/2021
Statement on Atlanta Shootings | Congregational Library & Archives

See below for the library's statement regarding the recent atrocities in Atlanta, which is also available on our website at: https://www.congregationallibrary.org/news/statement-atlanta-shootings
_______________________________________________________________________

To the Members and Friends of the Congregational Library and Archives,

I am writing to you in grief and sadness over the shooting in Atlanta earlier this week. Eight people were killed, many of them members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. This was an act of misogynistic and white supremacist violence. With over 3,800 anti-Asian, racist hate incidents in the United States in the past year, mostly against women, it is important that we not be silent. Such hate has no place in our democracy, and people of faith must do everything in their power to counteract white supremacy and protect our AAPI neighbors. They are integral members of our communities whom we value and respe

There are numerous organizations that have published statements of solidarity with the AAPI community, but the Congregational Library and Archives and the churches with which we work bear special responsibility for working to counteract this violence. I was particularly disturbed to hear that the domestic terrorist in question claimed "s*x addiction" and the resultant "temptation" as the justifying rationale behind his attack. S*x addiction means something particular in Evangelical circles that differs from its use in other parts of our culture, and the use of "temptation" as a justification means that Biblical interpretation played a role in the violence that he enacted. In addition, the perpetrator's personal context is that he is the son of a youth pastor and active in a Southern Baptist church. I lay this out because it is important to recognize that he adopted a faith-based narrative in which he was out of control, had a s*x addiction, and was taught to blame, objectify, and react violently to "temptations." This shooting was, in effect, a toxic brew of misogyny, faith, and white supremacy, and Christian churches and organizations such as ours which interact so intimately with churches bear a special responsibility for denouncing it.

One of the ways that we exhibit our faith in public is to not remain silent in the face of such hate. Misogyny and racism have no place in Christian faith, nor in our society. Women are not "temptations." To the members of the AAPI community, know that we at the Congregational Library and Archives stand with you, and we are committed to resisting white supremacy among our churches and in our land.

May peace be with us all,

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray
Executive Director
Congregational Library and Archives, Boston, Massachusetts

Friday, March 19, 2021 To the Members and Friends of the Congregational Library and Archives, I am writing to you in grief and sadness over the shooting in Atlanta earlier this week. Eight people were killed, many of them members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. T...

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 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

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.