ABOUT OUR COLLECTIONS
The Congregational Library & Archives holds some 225,000 items, both archival and published, covering Congregational Christian history and a broad array of related topics.
The CLA collects materials relevant to the history, practice, and study of Congregationalism and the Congregational story. In addition to material directly related to Congregationalism, the CLA also collects material that provides context and support for the study of Congregationalism and materials that have historically influenced Congregational theology and practice.
Our rare book section includes an unusually rich and complete representation of English and first-generation Puritan works, including an original copy of the 1649 Cambridge Platform. The collection of works, both in manuscript and print form, related to minister Cotton Mather and his relations is nationally significant. The Pratt Bible Collection includes many rare and distinctive examples of Bibles and Biblical literature in a variety of languages, some appearing in print for the first time.
The library’s archive of colonial-era church records is extensive, containing many sets of seventeenth-century documents as well as full collections from large and historically significant modern churches like Boston’s Old South, established in 1669, and Park Street Church, formed in 1809. Many are available in digital form as part of our New England’s Hidden Histories project and accessible on our website.
The Congregational Library also has a large sermon collection of some 12,000 individual pieces, covering the period from the late 1600s to the twentieth century, in both manuscript and print form.
As a designated archive of the Congregational Christian churches, the library holds major institutional records of the denomination. Among the collections are important missionary memoirs and unique records related to the operation of the American Board for Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), such as the activities of the Prudential Committee. Some 1,500 different periodicals in the collection represent Congregationalism’s long standing interest in social reform, missionary work, and education. The library also holds rare newspapers from the Christian Connection, a denomination that merged with Congregational churches in 1931.
Explore our collection by searching our online catalog. Additional research guides for materials related to Black and Indigenous people, German American Congregationalism, and early American sacred music can be found online as well.