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Boston, Mass. Mount Vernon Congregational Church records, 1841-1969.

 Collection
Identifier: RG0026

Scope and Contents

Collection includes society records 1842-1919, including the records of the Prudential Committee, 1842-1918, treasurer, 1843-1878, annual meeting minutes 1916-1919, pew records; church records 1842-1970, including records of governing boards and committees, standing committee, membership, admissions and dismissals, treasurers' records, annual meeting minutes and reports, worship records, anniversary celebration records, including One Hundred Years of Mount Vernon Church (1942) written by Pauline Holmes; voluntary societies; scrapbooks; files on individuals; minutes and literary magazines of young people's societies from the late nineteenth century; and photographs. Also includes Chamber Street Church records, 1861-1880, which merged with Mount Vernon in 1879. Persons represented include Dwight L. Moody, evangelist and early church member, and Samuel Edward Herrick, minister from 1871-1904. The Mount Vernon Church records contain manuscript copies of most of Herrick's sermons.

Dates

  • 1841-1969

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Restriction on 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

The Mount Vernon Church was founded in 1842 by a group of enthusiastic lay men and women who felt the need of a church in Boston which would lead in the fight against indifference and Unitarianism. They invited the Rev. Edward Norris Kirk, a famous evangelist, to be their pastor. He spent thirty two years in charge of the church, from 1842 until his death in 1874. Unfortunately, most of the records of his pastorate perished in a fire in 1879. He was succeeded by Samuel Edward Herrick, pastor until his death in 1904. He too was a famous preacher. These two men, whose pastorates spanned more than sixty years, were innovators in sponsoring voluntary societies which appealed to the young unmarried teenagers who flocked to Boston form the countryside in the second half of the nineteenth century. They were not college graduates. Most of them such as Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, went from the farm to retailing at the age of sixteen. They were initially attracted by Kirk and Herrick's preaching, but stayed because of the Christian fellowship and opportunity for self - education, which such groups as the Mount Vernon Association of Young Men provided. In the twentieth century, after the Church moved to the Back Bay, it turned its attention to male college students, especially those attending M.I.T., and to female office workers. The church, whose minister from 1933 to 1948, Carl Heath Kopf, took to the radio to spread the gospel, prospered until after World War II. Then it lost all its families, when the suburbs opened up and families with children left the Back Bay. For a while it was part of the Protestant chaplaincy at M.I.T., but when that failed, the remaining members, many of whom no longer lived in the Back Bay, voted to merge with Old South.

Extent

21.47 Cubic Feet (88 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Mount Vernon Church was founded in 1842 by a group of enthusiastic lay men and women who felt the need of a church in Boston which would lead in the fight against indifference and Unitarianism. They invited the Rev. Edward Norris Kirk, a famous evangelist, to be their pastor. He spent thirty two years in charge of the church, from 1842 until his death in 1874. Unfortunately, most of the records of his pastorate perished in a fire in 1879. He was succeeded by Samuel Edward Herrick, pastor until his death in 1904. He too was a famous preacher. These two men, whose pastorates spanned more than sixty years, were innovators in sponsoring voluntary societies which appealed to the young unmarried teenagers who flocked to Boston form the countryside in the second half of the nineteenth century. Collection includes society records, treasurer, annual meeting minutes, pew records, church records, including records of governing boards and committees, membership, admissions and dismissals, treasurers' records, annual meeting minutes and reports, worship records and scrapbooks. Also contains the Chambers Street Church records.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into nine series, mainly by topic.
Series 1: Society, 1842-1919
Subseries 1: Governing Boards and Committees, 1842-1919
Subseries 2: Pew Records, 1844-1892
Subseries 3: Joint Church and Society Building Committee, 1888-1892
Series 2: Church 1842-1967
Subseries 1: Governing Boards and Committees, 1880-1922
Subseries 2: Membership, 1842-1967
Series 3: Incorporated Church, 1888-1968
Subseries 1: Governing Boards and Committees, 1919-1933
Subseries 2: Standing Committee, 1941-1957
Subseries 3: Membership, 1902-1955
Subseries 4: General Treasurer, 1888-1952
Subseries 5: Church Treasurer, 1922-1957
Subseries 6: Annual Meeting, 1925-1968
Series 4: Parish and Life Worship, 1841-1969
Subseries 1: Worship, 1880-1952
Subseries 2: Ministers and Parish Life, 1904-1969
Subseries 3: Publicity and Community Relations, 1878-1957
Subseries 4: Christian Education for Children, 1902-1948
Subseries 5: Christian Education and Residence for College Students, 1923-1958
Subseries 6: Anniversary Celebrations, 1841-1967
Series 5: Voluntary Societies, 1842-1966
Subseries 1: Young People's Societies, 1850-1966
Subseries 2: Women's Societies, 1842-1962
Subseries 3: Missionary Societies, 1843-1939
Subseries 4: Men's Groups, 1901-1941
Subseries 5: Children's Societies, 1907-1929
Series 6:Scrapbooks, 1840-1964
Series 7: Files on Individuals, 1842-1948
Series 8: Photographs, 1942-1953
Series 9: Chambers Street Church, 1842-1880

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records from Mount Vernon church were stored in Old South Church until they were brought to the Congregational Library on permanent loan in 1979.

Existence and Location of Originals

Many of the materials which were created by the church before 1879 were lost in a fire.

Bibliography

Sources used for Historical Note
  • Worthley, Harold F., "14 Beacon Street, Grand old address, great church library," A.D., United Church of Christ, Vol. 7, No. 10, Nov. 1978, pp. 39 - 42.
  • Hawes, Alice M., Glimpses of the old Mount Vernon Church, an informal talk given to the Mount Vernon Young People's Society, Herrick House, December 30, 1923. Boston: Thomas Todd Co., 1923. 19p.
  • Holmes, Pauline. One hundred years of Mount Vernon Church, 1842 - 1942. Boston: Mount Vernon Church of Boston, 1942.
  • Usher, Sally. Facts about Mount Vernon Church, 1842 - 1967. 11p., typewritten.

Processing Information

Originally processed in 1979 and re-processed by Carolyn Child in 2005. The collection was updated for ArchivesSpace using DACS Second Edition in 2018 by William McCarthy.
Title
Boston, Mass. Mount Vernon Congregational Church records, 1841-1969.
Status
Completed
Author
William McCarthy
Date
2018-02-14
Description rules
Dacs2 2013
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

Contact:
14 Beacon Street
Suite 200
Boston MA 02108
617-523-0470