As we enter the holiday season, many of you are probably getting ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. This year, we'd appreciate it if you'd also set aside a little something for Giving Tuesday, a movement started last year to promote charitable contributions.
The Administrative and Development Coordinator works under the direction of the Executive Director and the Director of Development of the Congregational Library and Archives with responsibilities in planning and implementing all fundraising activities, institutional events, and communications, for general office administration. The coordinator will be the first face and voice that many members, donors and prospective donors will encounter.
The Community Renewal Society records are now processed and available for research. Donated by the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2011, this collection documents the history of the Community Renewal Society, originally known as the Chicago City Missionary Society, between 1881 and 1978.
Incorporated on December 31, 1882, the Chicago City Missionary Society (CCMS) was created to promote religion and morality through Congregational Churches in Chicago and its vicinity. The original Executive Committee comprised three ministers, three laymen, and a professor from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Caleb Foote Gates was elected first President and Dr. Julius C. Armstrong first Superintendent of CCMS. Caleb Gates wrote of the Society's creation, "It will be seen... that the Society was brought into existence to meet a felt want, and for the discharge of a sacred duty that burdened the hearts of the churches."
In total, the records illustrate a changing city and highlight the ways in which the CRS helped Chicago's growing population via missions, outreach programs, and consultation. Beyond the wealth of early 20th century documentation, this collection is rich in recent records particularly from the 1950s and 1960s highlighting the struggle for racial, economic, and social equality in Chicago. The Community Renewal Society continues its mission today. For more information about its work, see the CRS website.
The Murlin Heights Congregation, established 1847, started out within the Christian denomination. The church's first parsonage was constructed in 1917 allowing for permanent residence for pastors. Dayton was a focal point for Christian leadership, from which Murlin Heights benefited in the church's early years, particularly from McDaniel Howsare, who served as the denomination's secretary of evangelism and life service and Roy Sparks, secretary of home missions. It was a rural church for several decades until Dayton industrialized. It identified as having rural roots and location, but had blue and white collar members in the congregation. The congregation did join the United Church of Christ in 1957. The church struggled with financial concerns and closed in 2011.
This is one of our "MPLP" collections, so it is not fully processed, only accessioned and described as we received it. Because of that, the precise year scope of the collection has not been fully determined. The information we received indicates that it contains materials dating 1948-2011. There are 17 boxes of materials including subject files, annual reports, executive board minutes and reports, Sunday bulletins, newsletters, membership records, and financial records. This collection is now open for research. For more detailed descriptions, see the finding guide.
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) sent Daniel Crosby Greene as the first American missionary to Japan in 1869 at the dawn of Japan rescinding their national Isolationism, which had lasted centuries. Notable missionaries include: Daniel Crosby Greene, Orramel and Anna Gulick, Jerome Davis, Sophia Davis, Francis Davis, Lucille Downs, and Otis Cary.
The ABCFM continued to serve in Japan for the next several decades. The greatest disruption came during World War II at which time the Japanese government instituted State Shinto. Additionally, Protestant religions were mandated to consolidate under one umbrella, the United Church of Christ in Japan. It bears a resemblance in name only to the current United Church of Christ. After World War II, mission work continued.
One of the longest lasting connections between the original American Board missionaries and modern life is through the thriving Doshisha University, which was founded by the Rev. Jerome Davis. Doshisha school children visit the Congregational Library & Archives on a yearly basis as part of their school program.
We recently uncovered a second-generation photocopy the Japan mission's "doomsday book" that had been safely tucked away on our shelves. Cristina unearthed it during the course of her work and we realized pretty quickly that we had rediscovered a treasure. The note that came with the manuscript indicates that the original's location remains unverified.
This manuscript book was handed down from missionary to missionary from within Japan's mission station in order to keep track of those who served the American Board. The book is filled with handwritten notes, typescript, and copies of newspaper articles chronicling the generations. There is a great deal of potential for new perspectives gained from this small corner of a big missionary world. We hope that this teaser will get some of you to come in and conduct your own treasure hunt.
Take a look at the finding guide for more details.
To learn more about the American Board in Japan, check out the page about it on our exhibit site.