bMS 547

First Universalist Church (Somerville, Mass.). Records, 1861-1984.

Summary Information:

  • Call Number: bMS 547
  • Title: First Universalist Church (Somerville, Mass.). Records, 1861-1984
  • Repository: Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138-1911
  • Quantity: 10 boxes

Administrative Information:

  • Acquisition Information: Gift of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 1987 and 2006.
  • Access: There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Historical Note:

The First Universalist Church in Somerville was legally established in 1854 and organized in 1861. The first pastor of the society was the Rev. George H. Emerson. The church was originally located on Cross Street until it burned down in an 1868 fire. The church was rebuilt at the same location, but then moved in 1918 to 125 Highland Street. The First Universalist Church merged with the West Somerville Universalist Church (formerly the Third Universalist Church of Somerville) in 1952 and then disbanded in 1984.

Scope and Content Note:

The bulk of this collection consists of church record books, which include membership information, pew rentals, Parish Committee meeting minutes, annual reports, and financial records; and material related to the Women's Union and the Sunday School. There are also legal documents, correspondence, and financial records related to the dissolution of the church, which was sold to King Solomon's Lodge in 1984. The collection also contains printed material related to the church.

For related information on the West Somerville Universalist Church, please see bMS 528.

Container List:

Series I. General Record Books

  • bMS 547/1 (1) Record book fragment. Includes church compact and list of members, 1861-1897.
  • bMS 547/1 (2) Record book with index, 1915-1926.
  • bMS 547/1 (3) Record book. Includes Parish Committee meeting minutes and treasurer's monthly reports, December 1920-January 1930.
  • bMS 547/2 (1) Record book. Includes annual reports, pledge collections, and financial information, 1913-1929.
  • bMS 547/2 (2) Record book. Includes annual reports and financial information, 1929-1942.
  • bMS 547/3 (1) Record book. Includes Parish Committee meeting minutes and financial reports, February 2, 1916-December 13, 1920.
  • bMS 547/3 (2) Record book. Includes Parish Committee meeting minutes, annual reports, and financial records, May 7, 1930-June 1938.
  • bMS 547/4 (1) Account book, 1877-1879.
  • bMS 547/4 (2) Ledger of bills due, 1877-1881.
  • bMS 547/4 (3) Ledger of bills due, 1881-1888.

Series II. Membership Records

  • bMS 547/5 (1) Membership record book, 1922-1984; marriages, 1922-1978; baptisms, 1921-1984.
  • bMS 547/5 (4) Membership and cash contributions records, 1924-1933.

Series III. Pew Records

  • bMS 547/6 (1) Pew tax book, 1865-1958.
  • bMS 547/6 (2) Pew rentals, 1871-1877.
  • bMS 547/7 (1) Pew rentals, 1884-1881.

Series IV. Women's Union

  • bMS 547/7 (2) Women's Union. Executive Board meeting minutes, May 20, 1940-February 26, 1943.
  • bMS 547/7 (3) Women's Union. Executive Board meeting minutes, September 24, 1963-November 9, 1967.

Series V. Sunday School

  • bMS 547/8 (1) Sabbath School Association. Constitution and by-laws, Teacher's Association meeting minutes, and annual reports, January 1, 1891-1903.
  • bMS 547/8 (2) Sunday School record book, 1897-1900.

Series VI. Legal Documents Related to Dissolution of First Universalist Church

  • bMS 547/9 (1) Legal documents dealing with closing of church and selling the property (photocopies), 1961-1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (2) Legal documents regarding the church building and land (photocopies), n.d.
  • bMS 547/9 (3) Research prepared by UUA for legal documents (photocopies), 1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (4) Constitution and by-laws (photocopies), 1970.
  • bMS 547/9 (5) Parish Committee officers (photocopy), 1966-1973.
  • bMS 547/9 (6) Church warrants, 1967, 1973, 1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (7) Church attendance, 1978-1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (8) Colcord, Elmer. Includes correspondence, legal documents, and photographs of church property.
  • bMS 547/9 (9) Colcord, Elmer. Deposition, witness for the UUA, May 14, 1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (10) Church programs, 1979-1982.
  • bMS 547/9 (11) Correspondence (photocopies), 1983-1984.
  • bMS 547/9 (12) King Solomon's Lodge, 1976-1984.
  • bMS 547/10 (1) Financial records (photocopies). Includes receipts, notes, and correspondence, 1968-1982.
  • bMS 547/10 (2) Winter Hill Universalist Fund, 1926-1984.
  • bMS 547/10 (3) Trust funds (photocopies), 1964-1970.

Series VII. Miscellaneous Printed Material

  • bMS 547/10 (4) Proved and Tested Cooking Receipts, and Other Valuable Information, Compiled by Pickle and Preserve Table Committee (recipe book), First Universalist Church Fair, 1888.
  • bMS 547/10 (5) History of the First Universalist Church in Somerville, Mass.: A Souvenir of the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebrated February 15-21, 1904, 1905.
  • bMS 547/10 (6) "Program of Exercises Held in Connection with the Opening and Dedication of Its New House of Worship," March 3-14, 1918.

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