Giving Tuesday 2022
Every day at the Congregational Library & Archives we are reminded just how much history matters. Now, more than ever, people need the CLA’s commitment to preserve and promote the Congregational story as an avenue for understanding history’s lingering imprint on today’s civic, cultural, and social issues. As a supporter recently reflected, “The CLA matters to me because it represents real lives, real faith, real stories, real history, and real significance!”
For Giving Tuesday 2022, we highlighted some of the real people who have contributed to and benefited from the Congregational Library & Archives over the past year. They are researchers, transcribers, students, ministers, and church members.
For those of you who might have missed our Giving Tuesday stories on social media in November, we have compiled them all here.
“My dissertation considers the role of religious ideas in African American women's activism, which, unfortunately, can be challenging to find in the archive. However, exploring the Congregational Education Society and the related Council on Social Action collections revealed an exciting history of collaboration between these groups and Black women during the interwar years. Without the support of the library and its staff, I would have never found these connections that have proven invaluable to the development of my dissertation."
As a member of the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, we provide fellowships to emerging scholars like Kayleigh whose work is changing our understanding of the past.
Although the CLA is based in Boston, our collections represent congregations across the continental United States and around the world.
When Derrick C. Jones began researching the history of the Gregory Congregational United Church of Christ in Wilmington, North Carolina, he turned to the CLA in search of answers:
“The Congregational Library is a most invaluable resource in more ways than one. In a recent project, the support provided from the library’s personnel allowed me to answer questions dating back to 1869. I was able to not only validate the history of Gregory Church, I was also able to connect family members to religious institutions outside of North Carolina.”
Through the generous support of donors, the CLA is able to work with researchers like Derrick to preserve and promote the history of congregations, communities, and Congregationalism.
New England’s Hidden Histories makes digital scans and full transcriptions of 17th and 18th century church records accessible for free.
A cadre of dedicated people, like Linda Gard, give generously of their time to transcribe these rich documents, and here’s why Linda believes this work is so important:
“My heart skips a beat or two when emails come with attached pages of an 18th century minister's diary, or account of an Ecclesiastical Council, or humble relation of faith. Through these yellowed pages, the very world I've shouldered all along my 40-plus years of UCC pastoral ministry as a wary and remote descendant has become full of light—recognition, insight, kinship.”
As fewer children learn cursive handwriting in school, transcriptions of colonial documents are even more critical to make texts accessible to students and scholars alike.
Gifts to our History Matters More Than Ever campaign will support our ability to continue offering impactful experiences for church members, students, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the coming year. And if you missed Giving Tuesday but would like to support the CLA, you can still make a donation here.