Young, William H., (1883-1975). Papers, 1908-1973

Collection Information

William H. Young papers


Young, William H. (Harvey), 1883-1975




6 linear feet, 18 boxes.

Collection ID #:

MS 4744

Conditions Governing Access:


Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the William H. Young papers, MS 4744. The Congregational Library and Archive, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Processed by Cheryl Ostrowski, January 2008


William Harvey Young was a minister in the Congregationalist faith. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 1915, after receiving his degree from Grinnell College in Iowa. He spent most of his life as a congregational minister in the towns of Brimfield, Chillicothe, Thawville, and Galesburg, Illinois, from the early 1920s until his retirement in the early 1960s.

Social action was an integral part of his religion. While attending sociology classes at Columbia University in New York City, he lived on the East Side among the Bohemian people with whom he worked, and many of his sermons reflect the social concerns of the time. He was also involved the temperance movement and conducted an investigation of taverns in Illinois in the early 1930s as a member of the Anti-Saloon League. His interests included photography and theater, and he often wrote to playwrights seeking permission to host their plays.

Taking a respite from church duties, he sold law correspondent courses in the mid-west in the early 1920s. He converted to Congregationalism from Methodism in 1923, and took a pastorship at the Union Church in Brimfield, Illinois. He would remain a Congregational pastor throughout the rest of his ministry. He was concerned with the merger between Congregational Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church the occurred in the 1950s, and was active in its opposition. He married Blanche De Bra in 1914. They had four children: Harvey Jr., Arthur, Barbara, and Katherine.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of papers concerning his education and ministry, including sermon notes, records of income and expenses, personal diaries, documents about the lives of the churches in which he served, and correspondence documenting the 1950’s merger between the Congregational Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, which he strongly opposed. Together these papers give considerable detail about church business and the economically difficult life of a minister in small Midwestern towns in the early 20th Century.


Series Description

Organized into the following series:

Series I. Education
Series II. Diaries
Series III. Financial
Series IV. Sermons
Series V. Correspondence
  Subseries A. Personal
  Subseries B. Professional
  Subseries C. Merger
Series VI. Church Files
Series VII. Subject Files
Series VIII. Biographical


Box and Folder List

Series I:  Education

Box 1
Folder 1 Grinnell College Material 1910-1912
Folders 2-6 Union Theological Course Notes, Papers 1912-1913
Folders 7-14 Union Theological Course Notes, Papers 1914-1915
Folder15 Union Theological Course Notes, Paper Undated
Folder 16 Teacher Certificate, Papers, Pamphlets 1909-1916
Folder 17 Grinnell College Alumni Newsletters 1965-1974
Folder 18 Union Theological Alumni Correspondence 1961-1967

Series II: Diaries

Box 3 Diaries 1923-1947
Box 4 Diaries 1948-1960
Box 5 Diaries 1960-1971
Box 6 Diaries, Multiple Date Books, and Undated Notebooks 1972-1973
Box 7 Appointment Calendars and Cash Accounts 1930-1973

Series III: Financial

Box 8
Folder 1 Financial Correspondence, Loan Payment Receipts 1908-1935
Folder 2 Family Account Ledger 1941-1946
Folder 3 Family Account Ledger 1948-1952
Box 9
Folder 4 Family Account Ledger 1952-1958
Folder 5 Family Account Ledger 1958-1965
Folder 6 Family Account Ledger 1965-1971

Series IV: Sermons

Box 10
Folder 1 Sermons 1913-1916
Folder 2 Sermons 1917-1919
Folder 3 Sermons ca. 1914-1920
Folder 4 Sermons  
    Formerly housed in separate binder 1916-1919
    List of Sermons 1929-1933
Folder 5 Sermons 1920-1925
Folder 6 Sermons on the topic of evolution 1925
Folder 7 Sermons, Sermon notes 1933, 1957
Folder 8 Funeral Sermons 1951-1960
Folder 9 Funeral Sermons 1961-1970

Series V: Correspondence

  Subseries: A : Personal Correspondence
Arranged Chronologically
Box 11
Folder 1 Correspondence 1908-1914
(bulk: 1914)
Folder 2 Correspondence 1913-1966
Folder 3 Correspondence: Life Insurance 1918-1943
Folder 4 Stanley and Helen Norton 1949-1952
Folder 5 Stanley and Helen Norton 1953-1961
  Subseries: B : Professional Correspondence
Arranged Chronologically
Box 12
Folders 1-3 Correspondence From W. H. Young 1913-1928,
(bulk: 1936)
Folders 4-6 Church Employment Search: Correspondence From W. H. Young 1934-1941
Folders 7-9 Correspondence To W. H. Young 1913-1939
(bulk: 1936)
Folder 10 Letter From President Franklin R. Roosevelt;
W. H. Young’s Reply
Folders 11-13 Church Employment Search: Correspondence To W. H. Young 1934-1941
Box 13
Folder 14 Correspondence To W.H. Young 1941-1967
Folder 15 Correspondence From W. H. Young 1941-1967
Folder 16 Correspondence To W. H. Young From Servicemen, World War  II
Contains Photographs
Folder 17 Correspondence To W. H. Young From Servicemen, Korea 1951-1953
Folder 18 Central West Association of Congregational Churches. Correspondence 1930-1949
Folder 19 Congregational and Christian Conference of Illinois. Correspondence 1935-1953, 1969
  Suberies: C : Merger Correspondence
Arranged Chronologically
Box 14
Folder 1 Correspondence To W. H. Young 1947
Folder 2 Correspondence To W. H. Young Jan.-Oct. 1948
Folder 3 Correspondence To W. H. Young Nov.-Dec. 1948
Folder 4 Correspondence To W.H. Young Jan.-Mar. 1949
Folder 5 Correspondence To W. H. Young Apr.-Dec. 1949
Folder 6 Correspondence To W. H. Young 1950-1956
Folder 7 Correspondence From W. H. Young 1947-1956
(1948-1949 bulk)
Folder 8 Correspondence From Ray Arnold 1948-1954
Folder 9 Correspondence From Marion Bradshaw 1948
Folder 10 Correspondence From Malcolm K. Burton 1948-1949

Series VI: Church Files

Box 15
Folder 1 Edelstein Congregational Church, Edelstein, Illinois. 1948-1949
Folder 2 First Congregational Church, Union Church, Brimfield, Illinois. 1917, 1924-1928
Folder 3 First Congregational Church Burlington, Iowa. 1957-1973
Folder 4 First Congregational Church, Speer, Illinois. 1916-1949
(1944-1949 bulk)
Box 16
Folder 5 Plymouth Congregational Church, Chillicothe, Illinois. 1942-1946
Folder 6 Plymouth Congregational Church, Chillicothe, Illinois. 1947-1949
Folder 7 Plymouth Congregational Church, Chillicothe, Illinois.
Contains photographs
1942-1953, 1964-1969
Folder 8 Thawville Congregational Church, Thawville, Illinois. 1949-1960
(1949-1956 bulk)
Folder 9 Vacation School, Congregational and Methodist Churches, Thawville, Illinois. 1950-1955

Series VII: Subject Files

Box 17
Folder 1 Abraham Lincoln Research 1924-1935
Folder 2 Dissertation: Contributions of Brownist Congregationalism to Democracy in England and New England. by Harold L. Michael. Chicago Theological Seminary, 1925. 1925
Folder 3 Illinois Commercial Telephone Company - Correspondence 1950-1952
Folder 4 International Cultures Association Articles For Publication 1969-1973
Folder 5 Law Correspondence Course - Sales Diary 1921-1923
Folder 6 Music - Programs, Notes, Correspondence 1915-1924
Folder 7 Prohibition, 18th Amendment - Correspondence, Tavern Investigation 1926-1941
Folder 8 Topical Writings 1920-1954

Series VIII: Biographical

Box 18
Folder 1 Second Generation Pioneers: Blanche De Bra and Harvey Young undated
Folder 2 Biographical Information  
    Contains photographs  
Folder 3 News Clippings about W. H. Young 1915-1954
Folder 4 Familial Correspondence 1935-1955
Folder 5 Certificates, including Baptismal record 1884-1921