Beacon Street Diary

Archives: October 2021

October 1, 2021

by Sara Trotta, Librarian

Is there anything better than that new book smell? Maybe new old book smell and fortunately, at the Congregational Library, I regularly get to experience both. Recently, the library staff came together to discuss some suggestions for new material to be added to the circulating collection.

Deciding what to add to the library’s collection is a complex process. For our circulating collection, we look for books that are relevant to our mission and books that will help support research into the library’s primary sources. The staff also takes into account gaps in our collection and try to predict what will be useful to researchers in the future while balancing all of this with a limited budget. This time we were able to purchase nearly all of the staff suggestions. Here are some of our favorites:

Doomed Romance: Broken Hearts, Lost Souls, and Sexual Tumult in Nineteenth Century America by Christine Leigh Heyrman

This book is the staff’s next book club pick. The book depicts the case of a young woman seeking to become a foreign missionary caught in a love triangle who has her reputation impugned by a jilted suitor. Who can resist some juicy historical gossip? But this isn’t just a 19th century soap opera. Doomed Romance examines the role women played in foregin missionary work and what made them suitable (or not) for such a vocation. It also features many of the subjects of our reading room portraits in leading roles.

 

 

 

Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880 by Phillip H. Round

Removable Type features the CLA’s own copy of the “Eliot Indian Bible”, the first Bible printed in the United States which was printed not in English, but in an Algonquin dialect. From the back cover blurb: “Removable Type Showcases the varied ways that Native peoples produced and utilized printed texts over time, approaching them as both opportunity and threat.” Given the significance of early interactions between Congregational colonizers with Native peoples that extend into the 19th century, this book has a lot of relevance to the collection beyond the Eliot Bible.

 

 

 

Black Prophets of Justice: Activist Clergy Before the Civil War by David E. Swift.

This book was recommended to us by Richard Taylor, author of The Churches of Christ of the Congregational Way in New England as well as other regional indexes, an invaluable resource. Black Prophets of Justice describes the lives and contributions of several Black Congregational ministers, stories that have been otherwise untold.

All of these titles are available to be  borrowed by members of the library. You can search for them (and more!) in our online catalog. If you have a suggestion for a book to add to the collection, please write to us at ref@14beacon.org.