Beacon Street Diary

March 28, 2017

Seats are filling up. Don't forget to reserve yours for this week's free lunchtime discussion.


William Goodell (the abolitionist) was a distant relative of William Goodell (the missionary to the Ottoman Empire) and Lucy Goodale. Like his relatives, William Goodell (the abolitionist) was deeply involved with the Congregational Church, which played a central role in the abolition of slavery in the United States.

In 1833 Goodell founded the New York Anti-Slavery Society and the American Anti-Slavery Society. Over the next three decades, he devoted his life to the cause of destroying the sin of slavery (and incidentally, the sin of racism). His descendants continued this trend. Grandson, William Goodell Frost was the third president of the remarkable Berea College (motto: God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth). It was the first school in the south to be coeducational and racially integrated. Frost was at the forefront of struggles against the Jim Crow system in the South. It was Frost who confronted the Kentucky state legislature when it passed a bill in 1904 to segregate Berea College. Frost and the Berea College administration fought this bill all the way to the Supreme Court.


Over the past decade, the study of missionaries from the United States has grown in leaps and bounds. Much of this work presumes that missionaries were always outsiders to the societies they evangelized however their children often grew up speaking local languages without a trace of an accent, and seeing the world through local lenses. This process of acculturation signals that the work of conversion was often a two-way street, and that the experience of living abroad for several generations profoundly shaped communities of missionaries.

In the Middle East, the American missionaries become involved in activities later associated with the Peace Corps, from building schools to carrying out famine relief. In Hawai'i, the American missionaries were involved in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the annexation of the islands to the United States. Finally, in the south of the United States, in the aftermath of the Civil War, missionaries built most of the historically black colleges and struggled against the racism of Jim Crow.

Miller's current research (including sources from the Congregational Library & Archives) brings these strands of missionary history together in the broader framework of world history. Research for his second book follows the story of a single missionary family, the Goodell or Goodale, across three generations from New England to the Ottoman Empire, Appalachian Mountains and Hawai'i.


Thursday, March 30th
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Free.
Register through Eventbrite.

 


image of M. L'Instant, abolitionist from Haiti, an excerpt from "The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840" by Benjamin Robert Haydon, owned by the National Portrait Gallery, via Wikimedia Commons

March 15, 2017

Don't let the snow keep you away. The sidewalks are being cleared, and there are still seats left for tomorrow's free lunchtime lecture.


Lord Mayor Robert Briscoe's Boston Tour

In the spring of 1957, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, Robert Briscoe, paid a visit to Boston, while on tour of the United States. A religious, Jewish, Irish mayor was an unexpected presence who represented much of what Cold War Americans hoped was possible in their own country: courageous patriotism from members of all parties of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Although little-remembered today, the visit of an Orthodox Jewish Irish mayor created much fanfare and presented a model of citizenship that resonated with Cold War Bostonians.

Rachel Gordan grew up outside of Boston and received her PhD in American religious history from Harvard and her bachelors from Yale College. She teaches American Jewish religion and culture at BU and Brandeis University and is working on a book about postwar American Judaism.


Thursday, March 16th
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Free.
Register through Eventbrite.

 


image of Robert Briscoe, Lord Mayor of Dublin, excerpted from a 1962 photograph of a meeting with President Kennedy, courtesy of The Jewish Chronicle

March 13, 2017

Due to the impending severe snowstorm, our reading room will be closed on Tuesday, March 14th.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Wednesday, March 15th.

We will update this post with any further information, if necessary. You can also keep up-to-date through our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

We hope all of our local patrons are safe and warm.

 


photograph "Bokeh Snow tree branches in Massachusetts blizzard" by D Sharon Pruitt, via Wikimedia Commons

February 17, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed on Monday, February 20th in observance of Presidents' Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have questions you would like to ask the staff, please send an email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Tuesday.

 


photograph of Mount Rushmore by Sfmontyo via Wikimedia Commons

 

February 14, 2017

Don't forget to let us know if you'll be joining us for this month's free lunchtime lecture. Seats are filling up fast.


In 1818, William Goodell (the missionary) introduced his relative, Lucy Goodale to his college friend Asa Thurston. Lucy Goodale and Asa Thurston were two of the earliest American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions' missionaries in Hawai'i. Over the course of the 19th century, the missionaries in Hawai'i invested heavily in sugar plantations and helped take over the islands including the coup that overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani. They eventually led the movement for U.S. annexation of the island nation.

Over the past decade, the study of missionaries from the United States has grown in leaps and bounds. Much of this work presumes that missionaries were always outsiders to the societies they evangelized however their children often grew up speaking local languages without a trace of an accent, and seeing the world through local lenses. This process of acculturation signals that the work of conversion was often a two-way street, and that the experience of living abroad for several generations profoundly shaped communities of missionaries.

In the Middle East, the American missionaries become involved in activities later associated with the Peace Corps, from building schools to carrying out famine relief. In Hawai'i, the American missionaries were involved in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the annexation of the islands to the United States. Finally, in the south of the United States, in the aftermath of the Civil War, missionaries built most of the historically black colleges and struggled against the racism of Jim Crow.

Owen MillerMiller's current research (including sources from the Congregational Library & Archives) brings these strands of missionary history together in the broader framework of world history. Research for his second book follows the story of a single missionary family, the Goodell or Goodale, across three generations from New England to the Ottoman Empire, Appalachian Mountains and Hawai'i.


Thursday, February 16th
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Free.
Register through Eventbrite.

 


image of Kailua Church, an excerpt from "The King's Country Seat, and Church at Kailua", frontispiece of Scenes in the Hawaiian Islands and California (1865) by Mary Evarts Anderson, via Wikimedia Commons

February 12, 2017

Due to the continuing severe winter weather and the city of Boston's recommendation, our reading room will be closed on Monday, February 13th.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Tuesday, February 14th.

We hope all of our local friends are safe and warm.

 


snowflake ornament image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons

February 8, 2017

Due to the impending severe snowstorm, our reading room will be closed on Thursday, February 9th.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Friday, February 10th.

We hope all of our local patrons are safe and warm.

 


snowflake ornament image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons

February 1, 2017

We are pleased to announce the the availability of three new collections in our New England's Hidden Histories program. Although they come from some of the oldest churches in Massachusetts, their earliest records have been lost. Our hope is that this program and others like it will help prevent further such losses, as well as making the information contained in these manuscripts available and accessible to all who might want them.

 

Ipswich, Mass. First Parish

This collection contains the earliest surviving records from First Parish in Ipswich, Mass. The church was originally formed and built its first meetinghouse in 1634 after the town was incorporated. The three volumes available here include records pertaining to the church and its surrounding parish on subjects such as administrative and financial matters, membership information, and singing as part of worship.

Read more in the finding guide or go directly to the collection page.

 

Ipswich, Mass. South Parish

These are the records from the South Parish in Ipswich, Mass. The congregation separated from First Church in 1747 and remained its own entity for 175 years until 1922 when the two rejoined. The two volumes contain records concerning both the church and its surrounding parish, including matters of administration, finance, and membership, as well as a brief history of the church.

Take a look at the finding guide or go right to the digital collection page.

 

Newton, Mass. First Church (digitized)

First Church in Newton, Mass. was originally established as the First Church of Cambridge Village in 1664. The village seceded to become the city of Newton in 1688. The CLA received all of Newton First Church's historical records when the church closed in 1972, but now some of the earliest books in that collection are part of our New England's Hidden Histories program. These two volumes contain the earliest surviving records relating to church administration, membership, and finances.

See where these materials fit into the larger collection on the archival finding guide or go straight to the collection page and start reading.

 

Special Thanks

These digital resources have been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

January 13, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed on Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have questions you would like to ask the staff, please send an email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return to the office on Tuesday.

 

January 4, 2017

The South Congregational Church was established in 1868; it was a formalization of what M. C. Andrews and J. B. Fairfield started in 1852 when they established a Sunday School. Over the years, the church went through many changes before closing in February 2015. This collection contains meeting minutes and reports; financials; membership ledgers including births, deaths, and marriages; social and auxiliary groups; newsletters; and orders of worship.

As we are transitioning to a new publication system for our finding aids, detailed information about this collection is temporarily only available in PDF format. Basic information can be found the collection's catalog record.

 


photograph of South Congregational Church in Lawrence, Mass. courtesy of Benoît Prieur via Wikimedia Commons

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