Friday, February 1, 2013
We're pleased to announce that three more collections in our New England's Hidden Histories program are now available:
The collections contain records of memberships, baptisms, marriages, deaths, disciplinary cases, covenants, minutes of church council meetings, and financial accounts during the 18th and 19th centuries. Since church records during that period were often the primary town records, they are a valuable resource to researchers in many fields, from religious historians to genealogists.
There are more collections in the works. We will let you know when they are available for use.
All three of these churches are still active, so we are grateful to them for adding their early records to our program, and pleased to be able to offer our researchers access to these unique documents. If your church is interested in participating in New England's Hidden Histories, there is more information in that section of the website. If you'd like to help us transcribe some of these manuscripts and make them even more useful to more people, there is information about that as well.
Monday, January 14, 2013
We are pleased to announce the availability of four new collections:
These collections are new acquisitions for the library and were part of proof-of-concept testing of a new archival standard. Those of you used to looking at our finding guides will notice some differences with these collections. This is because we are implementing a new industry-wide standard which holds that in certain circumstances it is allowable, and even preferable, to value access to collections over providing detailed description and context. This precept is supported by various surveys, formal and informal, in which researchers and patrons say they prefer to know that a collection exists and have a rough indication of what the collection contains to waiting a longer time without knowledge of the collection's existence so that they can have a finding guide which contains a detailed biographical or historical note and container list.
This standard, known as "More Product, Less Process" (or more efficiently as MPLP) has been implemented at institutions across the country, and has had the cumulative effect of getting archival collections in front of researchers faster. These four collections represent the Congregational Library's foray into implementing this new standard. We welcome feedback from our researchers as to the guides' effectiveness, as well as any questions you might have about these collections or this new standard.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
November is not just about Pilgrims — it is also Native American Heritage Month. And so our Brown Bag Lunch guest was Linford Fisher, author of a fascinating new book, The Indian Great Awakening. Lin is an assistant professor of history at Brown University, and spent many years combing through acres of colonial era documents to unearth a little-known story about Native Americans and their encounter with Christianity.
The story is far more complicated than most people would guess. Conversions to Christianity took different forms and had different meanings over the course of the long period Lin writes about, from 1650 to 1820. We invite you learn more in the short interview that our executive director Peggy Bendroth conducted with Lin after the lunch meeting.
Watch the video on YouTube and check out our channel for other interviews.
Friday, November 2, 2012
The Congregational Training School for Women was founded at Chicago Theological Seminary in 1909 as an opportunity to provide Congregational women with advanced educational training for professional positions in Congregational churches at the beginning of the twentieth century. The school continued its mission until it was subsumed into Chicago Theological Seminary in 1926. This collection includes course schedules, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, pamphlets, and alumnae association records.
Take a look at the collection's finding guide for further details.
Monday, October 22, 2012
We have a new collection to be added to our Project for Preserving Congregational Records. The First Church of Christ (aka "Old North") in Marblehead sent us nine of their earliest record books starting in 1684. These books have been processed, the collection's finding guide is available, and these materials are next on our schedule to be scanned.
Once they are digitized and processed, they will be made available online for everyone to see. Additionally, the original books will be kept here at the library. We appreciate working with such enthusiastic churches who have a vested interest in preservation, access, and history.
Monday, October 15, 2012
We are pleased to announce that the records of the First Congregational Church in Hyde Park (a neighborhood of Boston) have been processed and are now ready for researchers to use. The collection spans almost 150 years and contains a wealth of information, particularly in its detailed membership records.
Take a look at the finding guide for more details.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Steven Picazio is joining us as part-time Assistant Librarian for Cataloging and Reference. He is a graduate of St. Michael's College, Colchester, VT with a BA in English in 2007, and received his MSLIS from Simmons College, Graduate School of Information and Library Science here in Boston this past December.
Steven was a cataloging and reference intern at the Congregational Library from August-December 2011. Prior to attending Simmons, he worked as a sales associate at Borders. Steven sees this position as "a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the library as it grows and as it continues to provide unparalleled access to the history of Congregationalism, New England, and religion in America."
Steven will be at the desk in the Reading Room on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. We're pleased to welcome him back as part of the staff.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
We are no longer accepting new applications for the Assistant Librarian position posted earlier this month. Thank you to all who have applied. You will be contacted by our Librarian soon if you have not been already.
Monday, July 23, 2012
If Beards Were All, Goats Could Preach
"Wisdom," a Swedish proverb holds, "is in the head, and not in the beard." You can find proverbs with similar sentiments in many different cultures, from variations on "A beard does not a philosopher make" to "If the beard were all, goats could preach", and while we often imagine the sage on the mountain top with his long white beard, it is clear that his wisdom does not flow from it. That said, images from throughout history show us that various forms of facial hair have been the favored fashion of many men, regardless of status or occupation.
We have put together a digital photo album from our image collection of influential Congregationalists who sported comment-worthy facial hair. We recognize, however, that it is not their tonsorial styling which made them great, but their dedication to education, scholarship, worship, and the Congregational Way. We encourage you to view this gallery and learn about their stories. We also invite you to then vote for your favorite, and we will announce the results at a later date.