Beacon Street Diary

February 20, 2009

"Ringing the Gotchnag" coverAuthor Jonathan Page discusses his recently published book, Ringing the Gotchnag: Two American Missionary Families in Turkey, 1855-1922. This narrative, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, details how and why missionary policy changed while illuminating a fascinating tale of New England Christians in the land of the sultan.

Jonathan is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Divinity School. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he is the Epps Fellow in the Memorial Church, Harvard University.

Jonathan will be available to sign copies of his book. A few copies will be available for sale at the event. Bring your lunch and join us at noon for an informative and engaging discussion. Free and open to the public.

February 6, 2009

What is Congregationalism, and why is it important? This three week mini course will provide a quick orientation, a time-line, and plenty of time for discussion of one of the nation's most influential religious traditions.

Peggy Bendroth, historian of American religion and Director of the Congregational Library, welcomes all students at all levels for a weekly class covering three centuries, from Congregationalism's English Puritan roots to the denominational merger that created the United Church of Christ in 1957. Program fee: $45 for all 3 weeks. Advance registration is required.

For additional information or to register contact Susan Thomas at 617-523-0470 or

February 3, 2009

The Church 2.0: Web Tools for the Tech Savvy Christian workshop on Thursday, February 5 has been canceled. Please check our web site for other events.

January 12, 2009

All those either working on a history of a local congregation, or contemplating doing so, are welcome to drop in to our Library Writers' Group. We will share questions, ideas, issues, and help each other. Writers with manuscripts at all levels welcome. Workshops are led by Library Director Peggy Bendroth. Each session will begin at 12 noon. No charge for this workshop.

For further information contact us at 617-523-0470 or email

Visit us online for a complete list of events, classes, tours, lectures , and more.

January 7, 2009

The library will be closed to the public from Noon until 2 PM on January 14.

The Massachusetts Bible Society is holding a luncheon at the library with our Director Peggy Bendroth as the featured speaker. Her topic is "The People and the Book: A History of the Bible in American Culture".

Reservations are required. For details and to make reservations please see

December 29, 2008

The Library will close at noon on December 31. We will be closed on January 1, 2009. We will reopen at 9 AM on Friday, January 2.

Have a great holiday.

December 24, 2008

Press Release:

December 23, 2008
Press contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302,
                     David Taylor (202) 707-1737,



Over many decades, the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress has documented everyday citizens reactions to major historic events in our collective American experience. For instance, man-on-the-street interviews were recorded on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941; Italian-Americans were documented to celebrate the Columbus Quincentenary in 1992; interviews were conducted with Americans across the nation in the weeks following the tragedy of September 11, 2001; and the Veterans History Project is preserving the personal experience stories of Americans who served the nation in wartime. These voices of ordinary Americans responding to extraordinary events exist as valuable research collections for the scholars of today and they are a cultural legacy preserved for future generations.

On January 20, 2009, the United States will inaugurate Barack Obama, the countrys first African-American president. In anticipation of citizens efforts to mark this historic time around the country, the AFC will be collecting audio and video recordings of sermons and orations that comment on the significance of the inauguration of 2009. It is expected that such sermons and orations will be delivered at churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, as well as before humanist congregations and other secular gatherings. The AFC is seeking as wide a representation of orations as possible. This collection is one of many oral history and spoken word collections at the AFC that preserve American emotions and memories of important cultural events.

Congregations and groups interested in contributing to this once-in-a-lifetime documentary project are asked to record sermons and orations delivered during Inauguration Week 2009 and donate them to the Library of Congress. The donated recordings will be preserved at the AFC in order to enhance the nations historical record and preserve the voices of religious leaders and other orators for researchers and scholars of the future. After being processed by archivists, the collection will be made available to scholars, students and the general public.

Individuals and groups interested in contributing to the Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project are asked to submit audio and video recordings made in digital or other approved formats. To be accepted into the collection, the recordings must be of sermons and orations that were delivered to congregations and other audiences between Friday, Jan. 16 and Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009.

In addition to audio and video recordings, the AFC is collecting written texts of sermons and orations (submitted in the form of print or electronic media), as well as printed programs from the events during which the sermons and orations were delivered. All submissions must be postmarked by Feb. 27, 2009, and must be accompanied by a signed release form and completed data form, found on the AFC website,

For additional information about the Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project, including the technical specifications of the recordings that can be accepted, downloadable copies of the required forms, and instructions for submitting collections, please visit, or call the Center at (202) 707-5510 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, Eastern Standard Time.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library's Web site and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to preserve and present American Folklife through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training.

PR 08-234

December 19, 2008

The staff of the Congregational Library wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

The Library is closing at noon on December 24. We will be closed on December 25 and 26. We will reopen on December 29 at 9:00 AM.

Enjoy your holidays.

December 2, 2008

We will be closing the Library on Monday, December 8 at 1:00 PM to host the tenants Holiday Party in the Library. The party will be followed by the quarterly Board of Directors meeting.

The Library will be open normal hours the remainder of the week.

October 28, 2008

The Library is open Monday-Friday 9:00AM--5:00PM and evenings by appointment.

Tours of the library are available by appointment only during the months of November, December and January. The Tuesday tours are suspended.