Beacon Street Diary

March 27, 2007

CCHS Meeting: May 24, 2007 at Hancock Church, Lexington, MA. Tours of historic properties at 2:30. Lecture to follow at 3:30. All are welcome. Registration for event is $10.00.

CCHS Lecture Title: The New England Singing School and the Transformation of Congregationalist Praise, 1720-1800.

Stephen A. Marini is Elizabeth Luce Moore Professor of Christian Studies and Professor of American Religion and Ethics at Wellesley College. A specialist in colonial and early American religious culture, he has also been a frequent visiting professor on New England theological faculties including Harvard Divinity School, Andover Newton Theological School, and most recently Yale Divinity School/Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He is the author of three books, including "Radical Sects of Revolutionary New England" (Harvard University Press, 1982) and "Sacred Song in America: Religion, Music, and Public Culture" (University of Illinois Press, 2003).

Professor Marini is also the founder and singing master of Norumbega Harmony, Boston’s leading advocate of New England singing-school music. He is General Editor of the group’s recent tunebook, "The Norumbega Harmony: Historic and Contemporary Hymns and Anthems from the new England Singing School Tradition" (University Press of Mississippi, 2003) and has conducted the 25-voice choral ensemble’s performances on three CDs, including Sweet Seraphic Fire: New England Singing School Music from the Norumbega Harmony (New World Records, 2005).

Professor Marini is currently working on two book projects, both of them germane to today’s lecture, provisionally titled "The Mantle of Praise: Word and Music in American Protestant Culture" and "American Reformation: Religion in Revolutionary Society, 1750-17".

March 26, 2007

We thank the Newton Legacy Trust of the Central Congregational Church for approving our request for funds to assist us in continuing the work of the Congregational Library and in particular the funding of our online catalog. These funds will be used to increase the number of records cataloged and improve access to our books, pamphlets, manuscripts, church records, and images to clergy, lay persons, and researchers worldwide. It is with the help of generous grants like this one that we continue providing access to a major collection of Congregational and Christian history.

We also thank Joan Rosser, who attended one of our Research 101 Seminars, for bringing this wonderful fund to our attention.

March 21, 2007

See the post from the student who visited us on the SLA Blog.

March 20, 2007

Due to the kindness of our Japanese friends and visitors, we have acquired several books from Japan. Our student volunteer, Youngmi, is now cataloging these into our online catalog. We are fortunate to have Youngmi, who is fluent in Korean and Japanese. We will be creating a special space to shelve these books and any others we may be given.

March 19, 2007

I've been working to complete the section in US history related to the "Indians". I found a wealth of pamphlets published from the early to late 1800 regarding the condition and management of Indians. Numerous pamphlets and letters were published by the Indian Rights Association. One such pamphlet is "The Latest Studies on Indian Reservations" by J.B. Harrison and another is "Our Next Duty to the Indians" by James E. Rhoads, both published in 1887. We also have many reports, discourses and sermons from the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians, and others, in North America. One of these sermons was preached November 8, 1817 in Chauncy-Place Church, Boston by John Foster and another was preached November 5, 1829 by Benjamin B. Wisner, pastor of Old South Church, Boston. Rev. Wisner's title was "The Proper Mode of Conducting Missions to the Heathen."  In his "Address on the Present Condition and Prospects of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of North America, with particular reference to the Seneca Nation, M. B. Pierce, a chief of the Seneca Nation and a member of Dartmouth College, speaks on the wrongs done to the Indian tribes and the land frauds perpetrated upon them.

March 12, 2007

The Rev. Richard H. Taylor (Rick) presents "Puritans in Rogues' Island: Fascinating Stories from Rhode Island Congregational and Christian History" on March 14 from noon to 1:00 PM at the Library. This lecture is free and open to the public. Bring your lunch and join us.

Rick was born and raised in Patterson, NJ and is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School. He served as pastor in churches in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. He recently retired from Beneficient Congregational Church of Providence, RI. He is the Vice President of the Congregational Christian Historical Society. Rick has written four directories of living and extinct churches of the forerunner denominations of the United Church of Christ and is at work on a fifth book. He is well known as an historian, writer and speaker on Congregational and Christian history.

Rich has stories to tell about some unusual episodes in Congregational and Christian history. In the 17th century, Rhode Island was the so-called Southern California of New England, a refuse for heretics, dissenters, and religious innovators.

We look forward to seeing you March 14.

March 9, 2007

Yesterday we attended a seminar on the topic of Online Outreach given at the Boston Public Library. We now have a whole list of new ideas and actions to take to become more visible to our patrons thanks to Jennifer Koerber, the presenter of the seminar. One idea from our list was to create an entry for the Congregational Library in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Our wonderful volunteer, Youngmi, offered to start a Wikipedia entry for us. Here's the link: The Congregational Library

We welcome your comments and edits to the entry. Watch this space for more developments in online outreach.

March 8, 2007

Three new books are now available:

The Devoted Life: an Invitation to the Puritan Classics, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason. Reviews.Devoted_life

Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England, by Ann M. Little. Reviews. Abraham

The Indians of the Nipmuck Country in Southern New England, 1630-1750: an Historical Geography, by Dennis A. Connole. Reviews.Nipmuck

If you are interested in borrowing these books, please email us at or call us at 617-523-0470.

March 6, 2007

We're continuing to catalog sermons into our online catalog. Some of the latest sermons entered are on the topic of morality. A couple of titles that caught my eye were "Comfort to Sodom: a Sermon on gambling preached in the Union Congregational Church Worcester, April 22, 1883" by Henry A. Stimson and "Joy in Heaven over the Penitent. A Sermon delivered in Park Street Church, before the Penitent Females' Refuge Society on the evening of Sabbath, December 18, 1825" by Justin Edwards. It's hard not to stop and read these sermons. Who was in the congregation who heard these sermons? Was gambling a political as well as a religious issue in that time? Who were the females in the Penitent Females' Refuge Society and what did they do?

New records are added daily so check us out.

March 1, 2007

Sacred music for 4-8 voices by beloved Jacobean composer Orlando Gibbons.

Works on this program include:

  • Praise the Lord, O my soul
  • Song of Angels (from Hymns and Songs of the Church)
  • Hosanna to the Son of David
  • O clap your hands together
  • See, see the Word is incarnate
  • Magnificat & Nunc dimittis from 'The Short Service'

Singers in this concert:

Eileen Cecelia Callahan, Beth Spaulding, sopranos;
Sheila Beardslee, Barbara Carvey, altos;
Craig Thomas, tenor;
Charles Dale, John Nesby, baritones;
Michael Lauer, bass

Guest organist: Lee Ridgway


5 Performances in the Greater Boston area


Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 8 pm

Grace Episcopal Church, 76 Eldredge St, Newton Corner MA

$15 general admission; $10 students, seniors & low income

Directions at
Information: 617/244-3221 or 978/264-0584


Friday, March 9, 2007 at 8 pm

St. Paul Catholic Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Harvard Square, Cambridge,MA
Sponsored by Harvard Catholic Students Association

$15 general admission; $10 students, seniors & low income

Directions at

Information: 978/264-0584


Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 8 pm

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 5 Bryant Street, Wakefield, MA
$10 general admission; $7 students, seniors & low income

Directions at

Information: 781/245-1374 or 978/264-0584


Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 5 pm

Old North Church, 193 Salem Street in Boston’s North End

Donations welcome

Information: 617/523-6676
Directions at


Thursday, March 15, 2007 at 12 noon

MIT Chapel (opposite Stratter Student Center)
84 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA



Directions at