Beacon Street Diary

March 9, 2007

Yesterday we attended a seminar on the topic of Online Outreach given at the Boston Public Library. We now have a whole list of new ideas and actions to take to become more visible to our patrons thanks to Jennifer Koerber, the presenter of the seminar. One idea from our list was to create an entry for the Congregational Library in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Our wonderful volunteer, Youngmi, offered to start a Wikipedia entry for us. Here's the link: The Congregational Library

We welcome your comments and edits to the entry. Watch this space for more developments in online outreach.

March 8, 2007

Three new books are now available:

The Devoted Life: an Invitation to the Puritan Classics, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason. Reviews.Devoted_life

Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England, by Ann M. Little. Reviews. Abraham

The Indians of the Nipmuck Country in Southern New England, 1630-1750: an Historical Geography, by Dennis A. Connole. Reviews.Nipmuck

If you are interested in borrowing these books, please email us at or call us at 617-523-0470.

March 6, 2007

We're continuing to catalog sermons into our online catalog. Some of the latest sermons entered are on the topic of morality. A couple of titles that caught my eye were "Comfort to Sodom: a Sermon on gambling preached in the Union Congregational Church Worcester, April 22, 1883" by Henry A. Stimson and "Joy in Heaven over the Penitent. A Sermon delivered in Park Street Church, before the Penitent Females' Refuge Society on the evening of Sabbath, December 18, 1825" by Justin Edwards. It's hard not to stop and read these sermons. Who was in the congregation who heard these sermons? Was gambling a political as well as a religious issue in that time? Who were the females in the Penitent Females' Refuge Society and what did they do?

New records are added daily so check us out.

March 1, 2007

Sacred music for 4-8 voices by beloved Jacobean composer Orlando Gibbons.

Works on this program include:

  • Praise the Lord, O my soul
  • Song of Angels (from Hymns and Songs of the Church)
  • Hosanna to the Son of David
  • O clap your hands together
  • See, see the Word is incarnate
  • Magnificat & Nunc dimittis from 'The Short Service'

Singers in this concert:

Eileen Cecelia Callahan, Beth Spaulding, sopranos;
Sheila Beardslee, Barbara Carvey, altos;
Craig Thomas, tenor;
Charles Dale, John Nesby, baritones;
Michael Lauer, bass

Guest organist: Lee Ridgway


5 Performances in the Greater Boston area


Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 8 pm

Grace Episcopal Church, 76 Eldredge St, Newton Corner MA

$15 general admission; $10 students, seniors & low income

Directions at
Information: 617/244-3221 or 978/264-0584


Friday, March 9, 2007 at 8 pm

St. Paul Catholic Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Harvard Square, Cambridge,MA
Sponsored by Harvard Catholic Students Association

$15 general admission; $10 students, seniors & low income

Directions at

Information: 978/264-0584


Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 8 pm

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 5 Bryant Street, Wakefield, MA
$10 general admission; $7 students, seniors & low income

Directions at

Information: 781/245-1374 or 978/264-0584


Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 5 pm

Old North Church, 193 Salem Street in Boston’s North End

Donations welcome

Information: 617/523-6676
Directions at


Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 12 noon

MIT Chapel (opposite Stratter Student Center)
84 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA



Directions at

February 26, 2007

We received the following Call for Papers. They have indicated a particular interest in religious history.

Ninth Annual Conference on Illinois History, Springfield, Illinois, October 18-19, 2007

Proposals for individual papers or panels on any aspect of Illinois' history, culture, politics, geography, literature, and archeology are requested for the Conference on Illinois History. The Conference welcomes submissions from professionals and avocational historians, graduate students, and those engaged in the study of Illinois history at libraries, historic sites, museums, and historical societies.

Each proposal should include a summary of the topic and a one-page resume of the participant. The summary should specify the major primary and secondary sources used in the research. Proposals should be formal, footnoted papers. The deadline for proposals is March 20, 2007.

Contact: Thomas F. Schwartz, State Historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 112 North Sixth Street, Springfield, IL 62701.

Phone: 217-782-2118, Fax: 217-558-1574,, Web site

February 20, 2007

Please be advised that our next Brown Bag Lunch will be on March 14. Previous advertisements incorrectly indicated a week earlier. Please join us for Rick Taylor's talk on "Puritans in Rogues' Island: Fascinating Stories from Rhode Island Congregational and Christian History".

February 16, 2007

If you live outside the Boston area/outside of Massachusetts and you wish you could have one of the Research 101 seminars in your area, please inquire! We've been getting a lot of positive feedback from our Records Management booklet and following up with a seminar to discuss the logistics of caring for church records is a natural next step. Please contact me for details.

Jessica Steytler, archivist

February 15, 2007

"The First Problem" title pageThis week we've had some very interesting things pop up in the course of cataloging. The first is a pamphlet that was kept in the "Infidelity" sermon collection. The First Problem: The Soliloquy of a Rationalistic Chicken by S.J. Stone. As far as we can tell this has nothing to do with infidelity or sermons!

The second was an image was interspersed with articles collected by Albert Hale Plumb. The penciled in caption on the back reads: "patient coming to the hospital". However, we do not know who the patient is, the country, or the year.

February 2, 2007

Linda Palmer as Ann VassallWe hope that you join us next Wednesday, February 7 at 12 noon for our second in a series of Brown Bag Lunch Lectures.  This time Linda Palmer, actress and tour guide, will portray Ann Vassal and present "Dissent among the Puritans: The Story of Ann Vassall". Come and discover the warning that Ann is issuing to new residents of the Massachusetts Bay colony.

Bring your lunch. Soft drinks and dessert will be provided.

Questions: call 617-523-0470.

January 26, 2007

What a week here at the Congregational Library! We started on Monday without heat. Thankfully that has all been straightened out and we're all very warm inside today. We continue to make wonderful discoveries in the Pratt Collection materials. Mrs. S. Brainard Pratt was a Board member of the Women's Board of Missions for over twenty-five years. She also wrote poetry and pamphlets, and contributed to Life and Light for Heathen Women. We would like to find out her first name. She was Mr. Pratt's second wife.

We've also printed up and made available a new very attractive (thanks to Jess) Welcome to the Library brochure for visitors to the library.