Beacon Street Diary

July 13, 2007

As of the beginning of September we will be losing our wonderful administrative assistant, Beth Spaulding, who has received an incredible fellowship from Boston University to continue her doctoral studies full time. We are now looking for a part time administrative assistant to take her place. If you or someone you know is interested, please see the job description and application details on our website.

June 29, 2007

Jessica, Beth, and Peggy returned safely from Synod this week and now we have photos to share with you! You can find the link on the left hand bar of the page, or go directly to the gallery.

Jessica and Beth at Synod

June 29, 2007

Yesterday we had a visitors from Kyoto, Japan. The Vice Principal of the Doshisha Elementary School, Hiroyuki Okuno, and Arisa Furimoto, the teacher in the "Hardy" classroom are in Boston to arrange their students' exchange visit next year to Boston as sister cities. They were delight to see the bust of Alpheus Hardy and our collection of Neesima and Doshisha University books displayed in the Pratt Room. They added to our collection a Doshisha Elementary School flag, a map of Kyoto detailing the schools, and a guide book to the Doshisha schools. They were pleased to see that we are telling the story of Neesima to our visitors here in Boston.

June 21, 2007

I highly recommend watching the following video from the site. It's about 4 minutes long and gives a great, real life example of what a wiki is and why they can be helpful. Wikis in Plain English.

For those of you going to Synod this week, Peggy Bendroth, Jessica Steytler, and Beth Spaulding will be there! Visit us in the exhibit hall at the Historical Council table.

June 20, 2007

Do you know where your old records are?

  • Those ledger books and pastors' diaries tell the story of your congregation’s past. If they become lost or damaged, they are gone forever.
  • Old records are also an invaluable historical resource. If they are locked away in a closet, their stories are lost as well.

The Congregational Library is now accepting applications from churches for microfilming grants.

  • We will cover costs of preparation and filming for records dating before 1800.
  • The Library will keep an additional microfilm reel to supplement its collection of Congregational church records. We strongly encourage individual congregations to place old and fragile records on permanent loan in the library archives.

Inquiries about microfilm grants and about permanent loans should be directed to Peggy Bendroth, Executive Director

Not sure where those old records are or how to find them? The Library also offers seminars and resource materials on records management for local churches. Inquiries about these services should be directed to the Library Archivist, Jessica Steytler

The Congregational Library
14 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

More information is available on our website

June 7, 2007

We have bookmarks in support of the Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Red Sox Mentoring Challenge. There is a shortage of volunteers to mentor thousands of kids across Massachusetts. For more information or to sign up, Step up to the Plate! Be a Mentor.

June 7, 2007

I'm very pleased to report that I have completed the guide for the Mass. Council, and the collection is now represented in our catalog. I'm in frequent communication with the Council and they are currently working on an addition to the collection, as is the way of active organizations. We expect the rate of new material to even out as soon as outgoing director, Diane Kessler, finishes clearing her office files. Researchers are welcome to start researching. Please email us to inquire about our research travel grants for this specific collection.

-- Jessica Steytler

May 31, 2007

The Story of Owen Lovejoy: Congregational Pastor-Politician and Ant-Slavery Activist

"His Brother's Blood" coverOwen Lovejoy and his brother Elijah, who was killed by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois, were leading figures in the fight against slavery. Join authors Bill and Jane Ann Moore, who edited the award-winning book, His Brother's Blood: The Speeches and Writings of Owen Lovejoy, 1838-64, for some lively lunchtime conversation about Lovejoy's career and legacy.

Tuesday, June 12 - 12:00-1:00 PM. Free and open to the public. Please bring your lunch.

Questions -- call 617-523-0470.


May 30, 2007

The Frederick Fagley Awards

presented May 24, 2007

The Congregational Christian Historical Society established the Fagley Award in 1965, in honor of Frederick Fagley, one of the organization’s founders. The first awards, given in 1966, went to the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford and to the Kiantone Congregational Church in New York, which belonged to the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.

The award falls into two categories, for churches with a membership over 350 members and those under 350. I’m happy to report that this year we have three wonderful recipients.

The Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (350 and above) -- This congregation marked its 150th year with a beautifully produced historical book, “Walking Together in All God’s Ways", written by Dave Kenny, who was very ably assisted by the church’s sesquicentennial book committee. The richly narrated text is supplemented by many color illustrations and topical insets. The various materials they produced included most notably a CD of music and narration, entitled “Music and Thanksgiving".

Trinity United Church of Christ, Columbus,Ohio, (350 and below) –- Annette O’Stroske compiled and edited a bound volume of memoirs and stories from this congregation’s first fifty years together. Written reminiscences from a wide range of church members make this a very personal and historically interesting look back over a remarkable time of growth and development.

Honorable Mentions

Ripley United Church of Christ, in Traer, Iowa, celebrated its first 150 years together through a variety of creative projects, including a historical booklet, a stained glass window project, a play ("Vintage Views"), and a driving tour of historical points of interest.

Mayville Congregational United Church of Christ in Mayville, North Dakota, marked 125 years together with a beautifully produced booklet entitled "From Our Roots", compiled by Dorothy Enger. The booklet included a bookmark complete with acorn and oak leaf motifs.

Congratulations to all of our hardworking and creative award winners!


The Nathanael M. Guptill Award

presented May 24, 2007

The Guptill Award was established in 1997, in honor of Nathanel M. Guptill, past president of the Congregational Christian Historical Society, to be given to institutional histories, typically state conferences or associations. The first winner of the award was John E. Nutting, for his history of the Vermont Conference.

This year’s winner is our own Rick Taylor for his magisterial history of the Rhode Island Conference, "Embracing God’s Hospitality: Celebrating Over Two Hundred Years of Ministry Together". Like all of Rick’s historical work, this one is deeply grounded in the larger story of Congregational Christian history, but also alert to the telling details of local church life. And again, like so much of Rick’s research, this history breaks new ground with primary sources, including the fascinating story of African-American composer Newport Gardner and a prophetic stand on gender-inclusive language in 1869 when the Christians ordained Ellen G. Gustin.

Congratulations to Rick on a tremendous labor of love, and a solid scholarly achievement.

May 23, 2007

"Mayflower Papers" book coverWe have received The Mayflower Papers: selected writings of Colonial New England edited by Nathaniel Philbrick and Thomas Philbrick. If you read The Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick you may want to add this to your reading list. This book is a selection of personal writings Philbrick used for his best seller.

cover of " Upon the Altar of the Nation"Another new book in the Library collection is Upon the Altar of the Nation: a moral history of the Civil War by Harry S. Stout. Stout is Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University and the author of The New England Soul. In this book, he examines the "just war theory" drawing from public and private documents.