Holocaust Rescue and Relief: Digitized Records of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

New outfits for an entire Spanish family at the  Toulouse Clothing Distribution Center in France.New outfits for an entire Spanish family at the Toulouse Clothing Distribution Center in France.

In 1939, the Rev. Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and his wife, Martha, a social worker, agreed to travel to Prague to investigate reports of a humanitarian crisis. From these humble but brave beginnings, the Unitarian Service Committee was born. During and after World War II, the Service Committee aided hundreds of displaced persons in Europe. They established food and clothing distribution centers, hospitals, and homes for children. They also aided hundreds of people in their efforts to leave war-torn Europe and establish new lives for themselves in the United States.

The Andover-Harvard Theological Library is the official archive for the records of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). In a project jointly funded by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, the library completed a massive digitization project of roughly 257 boxes of archival UUSC material dating from 1939 to 1967. In total, about 238,000 documents and 3,100 photographs were scanned. Digitizing this material has helped to preserve it for future generations, and has made it available to researchers throughout the world. To read more about this digitization project, see the HDS news archive and the Harvard Gazette.

To view the digital folders, click on the collection name, read the Scope and Content note, go to the Container List, and browse the folders that have been digitized. Click on the "See digital images" link to open a folder. Once you are in a folder, use the red forward and back arrows to view the contents. Image size may be adjusted as well. 

Each collection covers a wide variety of subjects, and the name of each collection does not indicate all the subjects covered in that collection. For instance, the records of William Emerson (bMS 16135) cover such diverse subjects as the Spanish refugees in France; Communist charges leveled against the USC; child care in post-war Germany; milk distribution in France; and the post-war medical missions conducted by the Service Committee throughout Europe. The folders and photographs are searchable in HOLLIS, and this search box (which searches all our finding aids, not just the UUSC) may be useful in searching the collections. 

If you have questions about these collections, please contact the Manuscripts and Archives Department (617.496.5153).

Executive Director Records

These records contain letters and reports from a wide variety of correspondents and they cover many subjects. They were transferred to the library from USC headquarters over a period of several years, and therefore the collections have overlapping dates.

General Administrative Records

These records contain letters and reports from a wide variety of correspondents and they cover many subjects. They were transferred to the library from USC headquarters over a period of several years, and therefore the collections have overlapping dates. bMS 16114 was digitized after the AHTL project was completed. It includes information about the Righteous Among the Gentiles award bestowed on Martha and Waitstill Sharp by Yad Vashem in 2006.

Fund Raising and Publicity Records

Case Files

These records include requests from individuals displaced by World War II for assistance with housing, employment, health care, and other needs. The two collections listed here are not the only ones that contain case file information; case file information is found scattered through many of the other collections.

Special Initiatives

Photographs

Scrapbooks