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American Congregational Association records, 1851-2019.

Identifier: RG4360

Scope of the Collection

The types of records include material about the political body that governs the association; the major activities of the Congregational Library & Archives; the building and tenants; and the financial and developmental efforts to maintain both building and library. All those separate sections have the requisite meetings, reports, and correspondence that go along with all those activities. For most recent records, be sure to inquire about material stored on the Library’s server.


  • 1851-2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is restricted from public access. For access, contact an archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are subject to U.S. Copyright Law. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of collection items and to secure any permissions necessary for their reproduction and publication. Requests for permission to publish material must be discussed with the archivist or librarian.

Historical Note

The American Congregational Association was formed in 1851 as the Congregational Library Association. Two years later, reorganized and expanded, it rented rooms at the Tremont Street Temple in Boston, with a library of 56 books and pamphlets. The Association was formally incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1854 “for the purpose of establishing and perpetuating a library of the religious history and literature of New England, and for the erection of a suitable building for the accommodation of the same, and for the use of charitable societies.” In 1864, the organization changed its name to the American Congregational Association in recognition of its broader scope. The Association lived in peripatetic existence until 1898. In 1857 the Association moved from its rented rooms at the Tremont Temple to a house on Chauncy Street where it remained for ten years. Between 1867 and 1872, the Association again rented space before purchasing two buildings at the corner of Beacon and Somerset Streets. The building was renovated for library space and rental offices. This new headquarters was dedicated in 1874. The Association moved once more, in 1898, to its present site at 14 Beacon Street, a building constructed specifically for the library and for rental office space. The Association receives the bulk of its funding from rental income. Association Governance: The Association, which refers to itself as a corporation, is governed by a Board of Directors who meet quarterly. For a complete list of officers, see Appendix . Description of Committees: For a full description, please review the revised 2014 by-laws. The only named committee in the by-laws is the Executive Committee, made up of the chair, the vice chair, secretary and treasurer. However, current standing committees include: • Building Committee • Financial Development and Board Nominating Committee • Finance, Budget, and Audit Committee • Personnel Committee The Executive Committee will form ad-hoc committees as the need arises when issues or programs come up that are outside the parameters of the existing committees. From 1999-2012, there was a period of change when there were a significant number of committees, which are represented in the Committee Minutes in Series 1. For descriptions of those committees, please refer to older handbooks or older versions of this guide.


37.85 Cubic Feet (61 items: 18 document cases, 14 record cartons, 9 clamshell, 4 flat storage, 4 specialty, 3 volumes, 9 architectural tubes , 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



This collection comprises the institutional records of the American Congregational Association from its earliest documents to current era.


There are eight series total, although only seven are described so far, because photographs apparently are a hard thing (for me).
Series 1: ACA Board
Subseries 1: ACA Board Governance, includes Legal Activities
Subseries 2:Board Development
Subseries 3: Management
Subseries 4: Meetings, Reports
Subseries 5: Committees
Series 2: Operations, Building
Subseries 1: Management
Subseries 2: Projects
Subseries 3: Legal
Subseries 4: Athenaeum
Subseries 5: Reports
Subseries 6: Drawings
Series 3: Operations, Library
Subseries 1:Management (Administrative)
SubSeries 2:Collection Management
Series 4: Development
Subseries 1: Fundraising and Gifts
Subseries 2: Outreach
Subseries 3: Publicity and publications
Subseries 4: Management
Series 5: HR
Series 6: Financial
Subseries 1: Daybooks
Subseries 2: Account books, Ledgers, Reports

Subseries 3:Membership and Fundraising
Subseries 4: Rent Books
Subseries 5: Library Account Books
Subseries 6: Financial Statements
Subseries 7: Correspondence
Subseries 8: Records related to tax status
Series 7: Photographs

Technical Access

A VCR will be needed to access “Journey with Dr. Worthley”

Further Resources

There are many items within the collection that can help illuminate the institutional records.
  1. Spreadsheet for the blueprints Z:\DATA\shared\14_Beacon\Architecural and Technical Drawings
  2. Recent material created by the ACA in digital format: Library’s server (Z:\DATA\shared\ACA_BoardRecords\ACADigitalArchive4360)
  3. Centennial Celebration: American Congregational Association (9.3.92 B)
  4. Proceedings at the dedication of the Congregational House, Boston, February 12th, 1873 : together with a brief history of the American Congregational Association (9.3.95)
  5. Bulletin of the American Congregational Association
  6. Congregational Christian Historical Society. Records, 1957-2006. (RG 1187)
  7. Earlier finding guides may provide insight into the structure of the material and the organization. See collection file for older guides.


As the institutional records of this organization, there are constant accruals throughout the year. This will continue to be true for as long as the organization exists.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Steytler 2015, using DACS Second Edition.
American Congregational Association records, 1851-2019.
In Progress
Jessica Steytler
Description rules
Dacs2 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
  • Spreadsheet for blueprints in Building Series

Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

14 Beacon Street
Suite 200
Boston MA 02108