Beacon Street Blog

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.


May 22, 2007

Stephen Marini will be giving a lecture on “The New England Singing School and the Transformation of Congregationalist Praise, 1720-1800".

More information and registration on our website.

Call Beth Spaulding 617-523-0470 with any questions.

See you Thursday!

May 17, 2007

We wish to thank Rev. Yukimasa Ohmae for his generous donation of Japanese books that tell the story of Joseph Hardy Neesima and Doshisha University. With the assistance of a Simmons College GSLIS student volunteer, Youngmi Jeong, these books have now been cataloged. Youngmi has also created a special section in our Pratt Room to house these and several other Japanese books donated to us in the past. We hope that this will be of special interest to Japanese scholars and visitors to the library. Please search for these books in our online catalog.

Here is Youngmi with the collection:


Youngmi and Claudette

May 10, 2007

Registration from our for the CCHS Spring meeting is stlll open.

Contact Beth Spaulding 617-523-0470 x230 if you have questions or register on the website.

Please join us on May 24 for the Presentation of the Fagley and Guptil Awards, guided tours of the Hancock-Clark House and Lexington Green, and the Lecture by Stephen A. Marini on "The New England Singing School and the Transformation of Congregationalist Praise, 1720-1800." The cost is only $5.00.

May 8, 2007

We were pleased to host a tour led by Ann Vassall (Linda Palmer) yesterday. The group lead by Dr. Joel R. Beeke of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, MI heard our Associate Librarian, Claudette describe the history of the Library, the building and many of the portraits and artifacts in the Library.

May 7, 2007

From the Annual minutes of the ACA, 1939:

"In recent weeks the Library School of Simmons College has sent us one of its graduate students, Rev. Richard D. Pierce for a week of observation and practice which this school requires for all its students. Mr. Pierce who is assistant librarian at the Andover-Newton Theological School, proved himself a very capable student. In a letter recently received he spoke in a very complementary manner of our system. He wrote, in part, as follows: ' I feel that it was a week most profitably spent and will be useful experience in connection with my work here at Newton. Particularly do I admire the smooth-running system you have achieved both in charging out books and in serving reading room patrons. The charging system and the closed stacks are in a large measure, I think, responsible for the situation.'"

Both Jess and I were fortunate to have interns from the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science concentrating in archives this Spring semester. Mike Thompson worked as our records management intern bringing order to local church histories in the Class 17.11.1. While Molly Whiteside applied her advanced archive skills on manuscript sermons by such preachers as Francis Foxcroft and Thomas Shepard II.

May 1, 2007

Softlink America is the vendor the library uses for its cataloging software. Softlink is one of the world's most well-respected library automation companies. Since the company's inception in Australia in 1983, over 10,000 libraries in more than 100 countries have installed one of Softlink's suite of library automation products.

Softlink announces that their Philanthropic effort will continue for 2007; however, with a modification. As usual, this is only available only to Churches & Synagogues in North America, Softlink will provide FREE of charge, Softlink library. Please be aware, that this offer cannot be extended to schools, whether or not connected to churches or synagogues. Additionally, support services are not included; however, are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Please contact a Softlink representative to get your copy today, 877-454-2725.

April 30, 2007

Registration for the CCHS Spring meeting is now open through our website.

Please join us on May 24 at 2:00 PM for the Presentation of the Fagley and Guptil Awards, guided tours of the Hancock-Clark House and Lexington Green, and the lecture by Stephen A. Marini on "The New England Singing School and the Transformation of Congregationalist Praise, 1720-1800". The cost is only $5.00.

Register on our website.

Read about Stephen Marini.

April 26, 2007

Another one of our well-received Seminars -- Research 101 for Church Historians -- was held on Friday. A very active group of church members representing historical councils and church historians from NH, CT, and MA attended. If you would like to attend a seminar, please let us know. Our archivist, Jess, is also willing to bring this seminar to your church or conference. The booklet used in this seminar is accessible on our website.

Thank you to all the attendees, we learn from you and hope you also learn from each other.

April 18, 2007

Henry Ward BeecherThe biography, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, by Debby Applegate has won the Pulitzer Prize. This book is available at the Library. Reviews of this book can be found on If you wish to borrow this book from us, you can email or call 617-523-0470 to have this book mailed to you. Don't miss out on reading the story of one of the most famous 19th century pastors. 

April 13, 2007

The S. Brainard Pratt Collection by Claudette Newhall

Chained Bible coverJoin us from 12-1:00 on April 18 to explore the fascinating Bible Collection of Mr. Pratt. Learn the origins of his collections and see the 'chained Bible' and locket Bibles as well as a Bible for the Blind (not in Braille). Hear about the Guild of Bible Illuminators.

Bring your lunch and engage your mind in a wonderful part of the Library's history. Free. Everyone is welcome.

April 9, 2007

There is still space available for Research 101 for Church Historians on April 13. For details and to register, please see our website. We look forward to seeing you Friday.

April 4, 2007

April 6, 2007

The library will be closed in recognition of Good Friday.

April 13, 2007

Research 101 for Church Historians.

April 16, 2007

The library will be closed for Patriots' Day. Good luck to all those running the Marathon.

April 18, 2007

Brown Bag Lunch Series: The Special Collection of a Special Collector: S. Brainard Pratt, Bible Collector and Illuminator

Our own Associate Librarian, Claudette Newhall, will be presenting the history and highlights of Mr. Pratt's extensive collection, including some of his almost 300 Bibles from around the world, correspondence with celebrities of the late 19th century, and his work with the Guild of Bible Illuminators. Bring your lunch and enjoy the show.

April 23, 2007

Research 101 for Church Historians.

March 29, 2007

We now have officially fixed up our online registration for Research 101! You may register online. You may also pay online via PayPal, although using PayPal is not mandatory for the electronic registration. Those who have already contacted us are still signed up.

Click Here to register for Research 101 online.

March 28, 2007

Peggy BendrothOn April 14, Peggy Bendroth will speak on "Why Congregational History is Important". Her talk will take place from 11:00-12 noon as a part of the Church Historians' Workshop 2007.

This is an event of the Connecticut Conference, United Church of Christ. The event will take place at the First Church of Windsor, 107 Palisado Ave., Windsor, CT 06095.

For further information, contact:
Evans Sealand
125 Sherman St.,
Hartford, CT 06105.

Toll free: 866.367.2822, or 860.233.5564 locally. or visit their website.

March 27, 2007

CCHS Meeting: May 24, 2007 at Hancock Church, Lexington, MA. Tours of historic properties at 2:30. Lecture to follow at 3:30. All are welcome. Registration for event is $10.00.

CCHS Lecture Title: The New England Singing School and the Transformation of Congregationalist Praise, 1720-1800.

Stephen A. Marini is Elizabeth Luce Moore Professor of Christian Studies and Professor of American Religion and Ethics at Wellesley College. A specialist in colonial and early American religious culture, he has also been a frequent visiting professor on New England theological faculties including Harvard Divinity School, Andover Newton Theological School, and most recently Yale Divinity School/Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He is the author of three books, including "Radical Sects of Revolutionary New England" (Harvard University Press, 1982) and "Sacred Song in America: Religion, Music, and Public Culture" (University of Illinois Press, 2003).

Professor Marini is also the founder and singing master of Norumbega Harmony, Boston’s leading advocate of New England singing-school music. He is General Editor of the group’s recent tunebook, "The Norumbega Harmony: Historic and Contemporary Hymns and Anthems from the new England Singing School Tradition" (University Press of Mississippi, 2003) and has conducted the 25-voice choral ensemble’s performances on three CDs, including Sweet Seraphic Fire: New England Singing School Music from the Norumbega Harmony (New World Records, 2005).

Professor Marini is currently working on two book projects, both of them germane to today’s lecture, provisionally titled "The Mantle of Praise: Word and Music in American Protestant Culture" and "American Reformation: Religion in Revolutionary Society, 1750-17".

March 26, 2007

We thank the Newton Legacy Trust of the Central Congregational Church for approving our request for funds to assist us in continuing the work of the Congregational Library and in particular the funding of our online catalog. These funds will be used to increase the number of records cataloged and improve access to our books, pamphlets, manuscripts, church records, and images to clergy, lay persons, and researchers worldwide. It is with the help of generous grants like this one that we continue providing access to a major collection of Congregational and Christian history.

We also thank Joan Rosser, who attended one of our Research 101 Seminars, for bringing this wonderful fund to our attention.

March 21, 2007

See the post from the student who visited us on the SLA Blog.

March 20, 2007

Due to the kindness of our Japanese friends and visitors, we have acquired several books from Japan. Our student volunteer, Youngmi, is now cataloging these into our online catalog. We are fortunate to have Youngmi, who is fluent in Korean and Japanese. We will be creating a special space to shelve these books and any others we may be given.

March 19, 2007

I've been working to complete the section in US history related to the "Indians". I found a wealth of pamphlets published from the early to late 1800 regarding the condition and management of Indians. Numerous pamphlets and letters were published by the Indian Rights Association. One such pamphlet is "The Latest Studies on Indian Reservations" by J.B. Harrison and another is "Our Next Duty to the Indians" by James E. Rhoads, both published in 1887. We also have many reports, discourses and sermons from the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians, and others, in North America. One of these sermons was preached November 8, 1817 in Chauncy-Place Church, Boston by John Foster and another was preached November 5, 1829 by Benjamin B. Wisner, pastor of Old South Church, Boston. Rev. Wisner's title was "The Proper Mode of Conducting Missions to the Heathen."  In his "Address on the Present Condition and Prospects of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of North America, with particular reference to the Seneca Nation, M. B. Pierce, a chief of the Seneca Nation and a member of Dartmouth College, speaks on the wrongs done to the Indian tribes and the land frauds perpetrated upon them.

March 12, 2007

The Rev. Richard H. Taylor (Rick) presents "Puritans in Rogues' Island: Fascinating Stories from Rhode Island Congregational and Christian History" on March 14 from noon to 1:00 PM at the Library. This lecture is free and open to the public. Bring your lunch and join us.

Rick was born and raised in Patterson, NJ and is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School. He served as pastor in churches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. He recently retired from Beneficient Congregational Church of Providence, RI. He is the Vice President of the Congregational Christian Historical Society. Rick has written four directories of living and extinct churches of the forerunner denominations of the United Church of Christ and is at work on a fifth book. He is well known as an historian, writer and speaker on Congregational and Christian history.

Rich has stories to tell about some unusual episodes in Congregational and Christian history. In the 17th century, Rhode Island was the so-called Southern California of New England, a refuse for heretics, dissenters, and religious innovators.

We look forward to seeing you March 14.

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.

January 22, 2007

Thanks to Robin, we now have a searchable database of Missionary Necrologies. Included in the database is an index to necrology information located in the Vinton volumes and the Missionary Herald. The database includes names and dates of missionaries and their families.

You can contact us at or call 617-523-0470 with your questions.

January 18, 2007

Thank you to Sharon Taylor for kicking off our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series. Her discussion of the Andover Controversy was both educational and entertaining. It was fascinating to listen to the details of a controversy over dogma that captured both local and national headlines at the time.

Our next Brown Bag Lunch will be Wednesday, February 7. Bring your lunch and we will provide soft drinks, chips and dessert. This time Linda Palmer will portray Ann Vassell and take us back to the time of the Puritan settlers.

You can always contact us at or call us at 617-523-0470.

January 16, 2007

Join us for our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture tomorrow at noon. Soft drinks will be provided. Don't miss Sharon Taylor's presentation on the History of the Andover Controversy. We look forward to seeing you here.

January 10, 2007

Please join us in welcoming Sarah James to our staff as a Library Assistant. Sarah is a student at Simmons College in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She received her undergraduate degree from Reed College in English. Sarah will be at the Reading Room desk on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Stop by and say hello.

January 8, 2007

We still lend books by mail so if you see something in our online catalog, call us at 617-523-0470 or email us at You can also renew books via phone or email. If you have never borrowed from us before, be sure to give us your address, phone number, and email address.

Two recent additions to our collection are:

Hodgson, Godfrey. A Great and Godly Adventure: the Pilgrims and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving.

Puls, Mark. Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution.

January 4, 2007

A single grant award of $1,500 will be awarded for research in American
religious history, involving the collections of the Boston Athenaeum
and the Congregational Library. The grant will support a residence of
twenty days, and is open to advanced scholars, graduate students,
independent scholars, teaching faculty, and professionals in the
humanities, with applications encouraged from teachers and librarians
in secondary public, private, and parochial schools.

Applications are due by April 15, 2007. Candidates will be notified by May 15.
A curriculum vitae and letter of intent describing the proposed project
and citing collections to be consulted are required, along with two
confidential letters of recommendation; for graduate students, one of
these letters must be from their faculty advisor.

Submit to: Research Fellowships, Library of the Boston Athenaeum, 10
½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108. For further questions please contact
Stephen Nonack (617-227-0270 x250) or Peggy Bendroth (617-523-0470

January 4, 2007

12:00-1:00 January 17th, at the Congregational Library

Be sure not to
miss our first Brown Bag Lunch Lecture on with Sharon Taylor from
Andover Newton Theological School. Her topic will be "Dogmas, Debates and Heresy Trials: A Short History of the Andover Controversy".

January 2, 2007

Keep watching this space for new announcements regarding upcoming Library events. We are planning to resume our popular seminar, Research 101, in February. Tell your friends about the new Brown Bag Lunch Lectures beginning January 17. Come in and browse our new books. More details about our Brainard Pratt collection will be published. We hope to see or hear from you soon.

December 28, 2006

Is your resolution to learn something new in 2007? Are you hungering for information? Are you tired of the same old lunch time routine? Resolve to stop by the Library for one of our Brown Bag Lunch Lectures. Beginning in January, we will be feeding your mind while you feed your body. Our first lecture will be January 17 and features Sharon Taylor, Director of the Andover-Newton Theological Seminary Library. She will speak on "Dogmas, Debates and Heresy Trials: A Short History of the Andover Controversy". Join us in the Library from 12-1:00 PM.

More information can be found on our website or by calling us at 617-523-0470. Additional lectures will be given in February, March and April. Watch for further details.

December 20, 2006

Lately, we been working on adding published sermons to our online catalog. We added many funeral and ordination sermons. Each one has a story to tell about the persons and places involved. I wonder if the women minded being called "relics". How many families and friends would now request that the funeral sermon of their loved one be printed or published?

Our student library assistant, Martha Patten, has also been cataloging sermons - manuscript sermons. It's quite a challenge to decipher the handwriting from pastors in the 18th and 19th century. Unfortunately for us, Martha is leaving this week. She's completed her MLS program at Simmons and has a full time job beginning January 2 at Carlisle Public Library. We'll really miss all her help but wish her great success as a librarian.

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.