Our Mission

The Congregational Library & Archives fosters a deeper understanding of the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, and civic dimensions of the Congregational story and its ongoing relevance to contemporary society by collecting, preserving, and sharing materials and by actively engaging with faith communities, students, scholars, and the general public.

Past, Present, and Future

The Congregational Library began in 1853 when a small group of Boston clergymen donated 56 books from their personal collections. A century and a half later, it has become an internationally recognized resource for scholars, religious leaders, and local churches.

Today the Congregational Library & Archives is a thriving center for researchers of all kinds, from professional historians to church members curious about their roots — anyone wanting to understand more about a religious tradition that has deeply informed American culture. The Congregational story is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, beginning with the seventeenth-century Puritans and continuing on through nineteenth-century abolitionists and social reformers to the work of modern-day Congregational churches toward a just and open society.

We believe that the stories of the past are an essential resource for twenty-first century life, providing depth and balance in an always moving world. In that spirit we are continually updating our learning opportunities. As an all-purpose library, we serve the professional scholars, graduate students, and genealogists who work in our historical collection, as well as the busy people who come here for seminars on Congregational history, walking tours of Boston's historic churches, or informal lunches with well-known scholars and popular authors.

The Congregational Library & Archives brings old and new together, carrying forward a tradition of care for the world's future by preserving and interpreting the stories of the past.