Donating Your Records

 

Donating Material

In 1853, the Congregational Library was founded with a donation of 56 books from the personal collections of a small number of Boston clergymen. Since then, the library’s collection has been greatly enhanced by the generosity of the thousands of individuals who have supported it.

We welcome inquiries about donations of all types of recorded material that support the library’s mission, though our ability to accept gifts may be constrained by limitations on space and capacity to provide the best possible care for an item. Below you can find more information about the criteria we use to evaluate potential donations.

If you have questions about our donation process or our evaluation criteria, please contact us by email (info@14beacon.org) or phone (617-523-0470) and a staff member will get back to you.

 

Evaluation Criteria

The library is committed to advancing the study and understanding of the Congregational story as one of the most historically influential intellectual, civic, and spiritual traditions. To this end, the library collects material related to all aspects of Congregationalism as it is practiced today and historically, material that provides historical context and supports the study of the same.  This includes published and manuscript materials, the records of organizations, individuals, and families. The library accepts material in a variety of formats including print, audio-visual, and born-digital. All offers of gifts are given careful consideration and are evaluated in terms of their relevance to the library’s mission and our capacity to care for them.

The Library is generally interested in collecting:

  • Works on Congregational history, theology, and polity
  • Material about and records of individual Congregational churches including all types of record books, correspondence, church organization records, photographic material, building records, published histories etc.
  • Material about and records of Congregational organizations, including national and regional conferences, missionary organizations (ABCFM, AMA, AHMA, etc.), benevolent societies, etc.
  • Material about and personal papers of ministers or other prominent Congregationalists (missionaries, etc.) including diaries, correspondence, manuscript sermons, etc.
  • Periodicals related to Congregationalism or regional religious periodicals
  • Material related to other denominations that have merged with the Congregational church (Christian Connexion, Evangelical and Reformed Church, German Evangelical), or that have historically interacted with Congregationalists (Baptist, Quaker, etc.)
  • Material about social issues and movements Congregationalists have played an active role in (temperance, abolition, social gospel, etc.)
  • Town histories of areas where Congregationalists have been particularly active
  • Secondary literature relevant to and that supports study within the collection.

The Library generally does not collect:

  • Duplicates of items already in the collection
  • Material in such poor physical condition that it prevents usage or poses a hazard to other materials in the collection (moldy, hazardous materials, etc)
  • Artifacts, artwork, and physical objects
  • Archival material with questionable ownership, prior claims or contested intellectual rights
  • Family or pulpit bibles printed after 1800.
  • Newspaper clippings

These lists are not exhaustive. If you have questions about the material you’re interested in donating, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Process

The first step in donating material to the library is to contact us via email (info@14beacon.org) or phone (617-523-0470). Staff will discuss the material with you and the logistics of making your donation, including how to fill out a gift agreement form and making arrangements for pick-up or delivery. If the Congregational Library is not the best home for your material, staff can recommend other organizations that may be. Staff are neither qualified nor permitted to appraise material for its monetary value. You can locate a reputed antiquarian book dealer near you through the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America for these purposes.