Beacon Street Diary

June 9, 2006

This summer we are fortunate have three students from the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science volunteering at the library. They are cataloging, answering reference questions, covering the circulation desk, shelf reading, creating displays, word processing, assisting with programs, and working on assigned projects.Two of the students recently started the program. Pete is a former editorial assistant and has his undergraduate degree in Psychology. Pete also works part-time for the Boston Public Library.

Sandy is the co-owner of a back products store and an active member of the Acton Congregational Church. Sandy has also volunteered at her son's high school library.

Martha will be finishing her course work in December. She was a Classics major and currently works for an academic publishing company.  Martha previously worked at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Witch House in Salem.

We are blessed to have these talented and motivated students assisting us.

June 8, 2006

The archive recently acquired a new small collection from Peter D. Hanson of Vermont. Thank you to Peter for donating a fascinating set of letters that focus on the murder of a missionary, Justin W Parsons, stationed in Turkey in the 1870s until his untimely end in the summer of 1880. This collection was originally Isaac Jennings pastor at Old Bennington, Vermont.

The collection includes 13 letters, the earliest of which is from the lamented Justin Parsons. The letters continue on, sent to Jennings or his wife, Sophia. There are 3 missives from the Department of State, a few published documents from the American Board, and a newspaper story covering the circumstances.

To find out more, please visit us and study the sordid details.

June 5, 2006

It's now a few days away from our Research 101 registration deadline (June 9) and we only have one spot left. We are planning to have an encore seminar on June 28th if we do get more registrants beyond the cut off. Please contact us if you have any questions.

June 2, 2006

Our mailing for the Research 101 has reached our audience and within the past few days, we have gotten close to selling out all our spots. I expect by Monday we will have a full docket. Peggy, Claudette, and I planning for having a second one within the next month or two if we have as strong a demand as this week has indicated.

If you were interested in participating in this program, send your registration today: first come, first served.


May 16, 2006

If you missed the meeting in Concord, NH, here are the Fagley award winners for this year.

Established in 1965, this Society’s Frederick L. Fagley Awards are given each year to anniversary churches which, in the opinion of the awards committee, create superior programs, printed historical materials, and/or anniversary projects. Qualifying churches are divided into two classes: those with 350 or more members and those with under that number.

May 12, 2006

We've just added two new books that you may find interesting. The first is Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-century Woman (Caroline Healey Dall), edited by Helen R. Deese. According to the dust jacket, Caroline Healey Dall kept a diary for seventy-five years. She was a Transcendentalist, early feminist, writer, reformer, and minister's wife. She insured that her papers would be preserved by arranging to donate them to the Massachusetts Historical Society. See the review on

The second book we'd like to mention is The Mighty and the Almighty : Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, Madeleine Albright. From the dust jacket, she "...offers a thoughtful and often surprising look at the role of religion in shaping America's approach to the world." See the review on

We have just added several other titles so check them out by stopping by or searching in our online catalog.

May 11, 2006

We have listed a number of our duplicate copies of books for sale on We've included some Bible commentaries, dictionaries, and biographies. So if you see the seller "conglibrary", that's us. We continue to review our holdings and remove duplicate editions that are no longer needed.

May 8, 2006

If you are in the Concord, NH area on Thursday night, don't miss David W. Stowe's lecture "Psalms and Hymns in the Lives of American Congregationalists". See the CCHS website for details. The lecture is free and begins at 7:30. David is the author of How Sweet the Sound : Music in the Spiritual Lives of Americans. See Barnes & Noble's book description for more details.

May 5, 2006

We're sending off our last batch of 5,000 cards to our conversion vendor today. You should see these records in our catalog by mid-June. We're continuing to work on adding the local copy information to the records we downloaded at the end of March. We'll be taking some time to review sections of our collections and shift books in the stacks before we send more cards out. We've removed numerous duplicate copies from the stacks and are selling them where possible. We listed a couple of items for sale on : 52 Story Sermons and Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible in 5 volumes. We'll be listing more there as we go along.

May 1, 2006

Special Educational Program offered on June 14, 2006.

We are offering a special research seminar to church historians, archivists, or any interested lay people who would enjoy a day of research into their congregation's past. We will also provide resources for planning anniversary celebrations and commemorative services.

The library and archive contain many wonderful resources. We have local church records, town histories, conference records, and denominational yearbooks dating back to the 1850s. Our collection also includes a wide variety of 18th and 19th century hymnals and sermons.

Your day at the Congregational library will include hands on instruction in searching and using our collections, a guided tour of the facilities, and an afternoon of guide research. Lunch will be provided. Registration fee (lunch included) is $20.00.

Please contact Jessica Steytler or 617-523-0470 to have a brochure mailed to you or if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you in Boston on June 14.