Donating UU Congregational Records

The Manuscripts and Archives Department of Andover-Harvard Theological Library collects the records of non-active Unitarian Universalist congregations and the historical records of a small number of existing contemporary congregations. Please contact the curator of manuscripts and archives (617.496.5153) if you are interested in donating materials to this department.

Listed below are some of the kinds of materials that the department collects (and does not collect). If you have records that are not mentioned in the lists below, or if you have any questions about what we collect, please contact the curator of manuscripts and archives (617.496.5153).

Materials that the department collects:

  • Architectural plans and other building records
  • Mission statements and other documents which outline the goals and policies of the church
  • Minutes of meetings of groups associated with the church (board of directors, youth groups, women's groups, etc.)
  • Church newsletters (these will usually be cataloged with other library materials)
  • Marriage, baptismal, dedication, and burial records (and other personal records of church members)
  • Biographical information about ministers who have served at the church
  • Statistical profiles of the church community
  • Orders of service
  • Sermons delivered at the church (typescript or AV tape)
  • Oral history interviews (typescript or AV tape) done with church members
  • Correspondence, posters, and other materials which document the ministries and events of the church
  • Photographs and other AV materials of the church and its members
  • Financial records, such as annual summaries, budgets, fund raising summaries, etc. (We do not collect detailed financial information, such as check stubs, vouchers, etc.)

Materials that the department generally does not collect:

  • Information files used for reference and research that are not specifically about the church
  • Detailed financial records, such as check stubs, vouchers, etc.
  • The department does not collect books about congregations, but book selectors for the library may be interested in adding books about your congregation to the library. Please contact the reference staff if you would like to send us books.

Packing and Sending Your Records

Please do not attempt to organize or catalog the records before sending them to us. They can simply be removed from the file drawers in their original order, and shipped to us in whatever manner is most convenient. Please make sure folder titles are clear, and spell out all acronyms.

Please label the boxes as to their contents, and number the boxes consecutively. It is also helpful to provide a list giving a short description of the contents of each box (for example, Box 1, Rev. Harry Smith, Administrative Correspondence, 1987-1997).

Please do not pack the boxes too full; there should be enough room in the box for you to comfortably put your hand in it. If your files are in hanging file folders that have tags with information on them, please try to pack the folders so you can get the box closed. Putting the files in sideways may help with this.

It is not usually our policy to pay shipping costs, but contact us if that is an issue.

If you have any questions, please call this department. 

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