Beacon Street Diary

November 20, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed this coming Wednesday through Friday, November 22-24, in observance of Thanksgiving.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Monday, November 27th.

We wish all of you a safe and happy holiday.

November 9, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed on Friday, November 10th, in observance of Veterans' Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return on Monday.

November 3, 2017

Our reading room will be closed to the public on Monday, November 6th for a meeting of our board.

All of our online resources will be available as usual, and staff members will be in the office to answer questions over the phone or by email.

October 29, 2017

Just in time for Halloween, we have a collection of records from the infamous Salem Witchcraft Trials of the late 17th century.

The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem Witchcraft Trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in various towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andover, and Salem Town. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.

If you're familiar with Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, you might be surprised at how much more banal and bizarre some of the cases truly were.

The original manuscripts in this collection are owned by our project partners, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Check out the collection page for more information.

 

Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

October 6, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed this coming Monday, October 9th, in observance of Columbus Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return on Tuesday.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

October 4, 2017

Last fall we published the digitized versions of the bound records from the Congregational Church in Sturbridge, Mass. as part of our New England's Hidden Histories program. Now we've added several groups of loose records, including correspondence to the Female Society, disciplinary case documents, and relations for admission to membership.

These materials offer a deeper look into the lives of the town's residents. Most are written by individual laypeople rather than church officials, and they delve into more personal matters. Relations show the members' thoughts on their faith. Disciplinary cases remind us that neighborly squabbles and errors in conduct are nothing new. The letters to the Female Society demonstrate that the bonds of community and friendship can be some of the strongest and most enduring.

Take a look at the expanded Sturbridge collection and see what you can find.

 

Special Thanks

These digital resources have been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

September 21, 2017

On the final day of summer, we are pleased to bring you this guest post from our most recent archival intern.


This past summer I traveled through time at the Congregational Library & Archives. They gave me the opportunity of professional growth through hands-on learning that allowed my mind's eye to witness the human and financial cost of war, and discover personal stories of victims and survivors.  This was possible through processing the records from the American Committee for Relief in the Near East.


booklets on Armenia in the ACRNE collection

Another stop in the timeline of history brought me to the second half of the 1900s, where the activities of the Bay State Congregational Women's Fellowship allowed my mind to wonder through the changes in our country and culture.

I must confess, processing these two collections set my mind into writer's gear, where both learning history and creating narratives formed the perfect combination of inspiration and motivation to continue working in archives. I saw the world of possibilities each archival collection offers for interdisciplinary studies and research.

Now that the fall semester is starting we are sharing with classmates our internship experiences and I find myself recalling the fulfillment I felt during this internship. I thank the CLA and its archivists for this amazing experience.

—Maria Leighton
summer 2017 archival intern

September 13, 2017

We are excited to announce the the availability of two new collections in our New England's Hidden Histories program. Both are from towns close to us here in eastern Massachusetts.

 

Hopkinton, Mass. First Congregational Church

The Church of Christ in Hopkinton first gathered on September 2, 1724. The church began with 14 members and by the end of the first ministry, the church had 376 members. The First Parish of Hopkinton was organized in 1827, and The Church of Christ of Hopkinton was incorporated in 1895 and reincorporated in 1928.

The church's first meeting house was raised in December of 1725. In 1731 the church voted to observe the Cambridge Platform of Church Discipline, which meant adopting a congregational form of governance. In 1829 the meeting house was sold, and a new church building was built. However, this building was destroyed by a fire in 1882. A new edifice was built in the same location and dedicated in 1883. This building was also destroyed by a hurricane in 1938. The fourth building was constructed in the same location in 1939. On October 2, 1994 the congregation voted to leave the United Church of Christ denomination due to theological differences. In 1997, the current church building was constructed in order to accommodate expanding membership. In September 2011 the name of the church was officially changed to Faith Community Church. They are still active today. More information can be found on their website.

Included in these records are confessions of faith; church meeting minutes; reports; and lists of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and dismissions.

 

Pembroke, Mass. First Church

The earliest history of the First Church in Pembroke can be traced to the early 18th century. The First Church in Pembroke was organized October 22, 1712 and its first minister, Daniel Lewis, was ordained December 3, 1712. Under Lewis the parish flourished and in 1727 a larger, meeting house was built. The third meeting house was erected by the end of 1837. It continues today as a vibrant congregation.

These records document the early history and life of the church, including membership lists, administrative and financial records, and church correspondence.

 

Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

September 1, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed on Monday, September 4th in observance of Labor Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have questions for the staff, please send an email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Tuesday.

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