We are in the middle of retrospectively cataloging the entire collection into an online system. All archive manuscripts and most of our books and pamphlets are now listed in this catalog, with more being added daily. Please look carefully at the circulating status of each item before contacting the library staff. This retrospective project started in the summer of 2005 and is projected to last for a few more years due to frequent new acquisitions. If you do not find what you are looking for, be sure to contact us for confirmation of our exact holdings. So we can properly flag our incoming mail, please include CL in the beginning of the subject line with a specialized topic heading.
This repository is independent from any specific church or denomination. We operate under the auspices of the American Congregational Association, which is a non-profit organization with independent means. The archives collects material that documents the Congregational, Congregational Christian, Christian, and United Church of Christ tradition throughout the world. There are approximately 900 separate archival and manuscript collections totaling over 1200 linear feet.
The collection is extremely rich in New England history, due to the early influence of Congregationalism in the region. Other collection strengths include: New England local church records, American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions records, missionary and charitable associations records, and manuscript sermons from the seventeenth to twentieth-century. There are also a number of collections — both independent and intermingled among church records — that would be of interest to women's studies scholars, including collections documenting women's missionary associations and women's charitable organizations.
Unlike other repositories, researchers may find that there is a fluidity between "library" and "archive". The library contains a wealth of materials that complement the archives and manuscript collection, and vice-versa. Printed and published materials in the library provide town histories, documentation of church architecture, theological works and hymnals. The rare book collection contains a large number of antiquarian Bibles and printed works documenting early Congregational history, from the seventeenth-century on. There is also a large collection of mid to late-nineteenth century periodicals, many published by missionary societies, particularly women's missionary societies.
Together the library and archives are particularly useful for documenting three different periods of Congregational history:
Although the collection primarily consists of textual information, there is some audio-visual and audio material. In some cases, the archive has a microfilm and/or digitized copy of the original records. Not every original collection is housed here. The Holdings section at the bottom of an individual catalog entry will indicate if there is also microfilm of the collection. Please note that we do not participate in Inter-library Loan, since we lend directly to all our patrons.