Beacon Street Diary

December 18, 2006

I'm overjoyed to announce that the library has been awarded an National Endowment for the Humanities grant for this coming year. The money will be used to hire a member of NEDCC to complete a survey our our collection. The findings from that survey will be the basis of further projects to improve the longevity of the collection.

Additionally, our grant has been pulled from the "We The People" initiative that focuses on American history and culture.

Expect to hear more on this project in the coming months.


December 15, 2006

If you have already responded to our fundraising mailing, we thank you. If you haven't gotten around to it yet, please consider donating online through our website or by mailing us your check.

Here are some of the things we accomplished in 2006:

Nearly 35,000 records cataloged in our online catalog.

Increase in Library use and patrons from October 2005-October 2006

  • 87% increase in new users/patrons who became borrowers
  • 63% increase in materials retrieved by staff members for patrons
  • 41% increase in photocopies made for patrons
  • 32% increase in books borrowed in person
  • 13% increase in patron visits

In the past two months, Peggy has represented the American Congregational Association to more than 600 people.

Jess has new and significant collections coming to the archives in 2007. We'll give you more details on these as we take possession.

Help us continue this work and more. Join us in fulfilling our dream of becoming "The Center for the Study of American Congregationalism".  We thank you again for your generosity.

December 14, 2006

MeromThank you to the Merom Conference Center for their gift of "Story of Union Christian College" by Robert Brown and 5 microfilm reels of "Records of the Merom Conference Center". These are now available for use by researchers in the library. We are in the process of making copies of an additional 5 microfilm reels of "Merom Institute" records from 1863-1910. We greatly appreciate the cooperation and generosity of the Merom Conference Center in sharing these important historical materials with us. A very specially thank you to Dale Dressler and Bob Brown. Please visit their website to learn more about their ministry.


December 12, 2006

We added a new link to our web site on the Links page to include Google Scholar. We hope this will facilitate people's research. Let us know what you think via our info email address.

November 30, 2006

Lion01The library staff has been abuzz about the Brainard Pratt scrapbooks that were rediscovered by Claudette. The good Reverend was an enthusiastic Bible illuminator and one of the found books is a specialized Bible that has more margin than text in which illuminations can be drawn. I've just uploaded a sample of some of his drawings. They're truly gorgeous. To see the album, scroll down in the left navigation bar.

November 27, 2006

Here are a few titles we recently purchased that do not circulate. Researchers are welcome to use these in the Library.

Backus, Azel. Sermons on Important Subjects. Rev. Backus (1765-1817) was the first president of Hamilton College and a Congregational clergyman. A graduate of Yale, he was installed as pastor of the Congregational Church in Bethlehem, Connecticut in 1791. This book includes a sketch of the life of the author and thirty-one of his sermons.

Day, Hartley W. The One Line Psalmist, in Day and Beal's Sight Singing Method; containing a Great Variety of the Best Church Music, Original and Selected. Day was the president and first professor in the Boston Phonographic Musical Institution. This work uses a numeral tablature system instead of staff and notes.

Rowe. John F. and G. W. Rice, eds. Biographical Sketch and Writings of Elder Benjamin Franklin. This Benjamin Franklin (1812-1878) was a distant relative of the colonial patriot Benjamin Franklin. Elder Franklin was a Restoration movement minister and the founder of The American Christian Review.

November 22, 2006

We hope that you will all be enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have many things to be thankful for especially our wonderful supporters who have provided and continue to provide funds for us to continue the important work of the Congregational Library.

In your mail you'll be receiving a fundraising request. Please be as generous as you can. If you aren't on our mailing list, please consider donating. You can now donate through our website.

Thank you for your support throughout the year.

November 16, 2006

We hope that you have received your Fall 2006 edition of the Bulletin. This is a "Books and Reading" issue. Let us know what you think about the books reviewed. Included in this issue is "A Brief History of the Congregational Library, London".

Happy reading! Womanreads01

November 13, 2006

Pilgrims_meet_indiansStop in and see our new exhibits featuring Pilgrims and Puritans. We've also displayed Thanksgiving Proclamations from the Governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our displays are designed and created by Simmons College GSLIS student volunteer, Sandy Nawrocki. 

October 27, 2006

Another successful seminar was held on October 25. We hosted 11 participants from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Our next Research 101 will be held in the spring. Please contact Jessica: if you are interested in future seminars.

Participants in the Research Seminar received our two new publications: "Preserving Your Local Heritage : a guide for church historians" and "Records Management for Local Churches." Both are available for downloading from our website.

If you have ideas or recommendations for future seminars, please contact us at