Beacon Street Diary

January 4, 2007

A single grant award of $1,500 will be awarded for research in American
religious history, involving the collections of the Boston Athenaeum
and the Congregational Library. The grant will support a residence of
twenty days, and is open to advanced scholars, graduate students,
independent scholars, teaching faculty, and professionals in the
humanities, with applications encouraged from teachers and librarians
in secondary public, private, and parochial schools.

Applications are due by April 15, 2007. Candidates will be notified by May 15.
A curriculum vitae and letter of intent describing the proposed project
and citing collections to be consulted are required, along with two
confidential letters of recommendation; for graduate students, one of
these letters must be from their faculty advisor.

Submit to: Research Fellowships, Library of the Boston Athenaeum, 10
½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108. For further questions please contact
Stephen Nonack (617-227-0270 x250) or Peggy Bendroth (617-523-0470

January 4, 2007

12:00-1:00 January 17th, at the Congregational Library

Be sure not to
miss our first Brown Bag Lunch Lecture on with Sharon Taylor from
Andover Newton Theological School. Her topic will be "Dogmas, Debates and Heresy Trials: A Short History of the Andover Controversy".

January 2, 2007

Keep watching this space for new announcements regarding upcoming Library events. We are planning to resume our popular seminar, Research 101, in February. Tell your friends about the new Brown Bag Lunch Lectures beginning January 17. Come in and browse our new books. More details about our Brainard Pratt collection will be published. We hope to see or hear from you soon.

December 28, 2006

Is your resolution to learn something new in 2007? Are you hungering for information? Are you tired of the same old lunch time routine? Resolve to stop by the Library for one of our Brown Bag Lunch Lectures. Beginning in January, we will be feeding your mind while you feed your body. Our first lecture will be January 17 and features Sharon Taylor, Director of the Andover-Newton Theological Seminary Library. She will speak on "Dogmas, Debates and Heresy Trials: A Short History of the Andover Controversy". Join us in the Library from 12-1:00 PM.

More information can be found on our website or by calling us at 617-523-0470. Additional lectures will be given in February, March and April. Watch for further details.

December 20, 2006

Lately, we been working on adding published sermons to our online catalog. We added many funeral and ordination sermons. Each one has a story to tell about the persons and places involved. I wonder if the women minded being called "relics". How many families and friends would now request that the funeral sermon of their loved one be printed or published?

Our student library assistant, Martha Patten, has also been cataloging sermons - manuscript sermons. It's quite a challenge to decipher the handwriting from pastors in the 18th and 19th century. Unfortunately for us, Martha is leaving this week. She's completed her MLS program at Simmons and has a full time job beginning January 2 at Carlisle Public Library. We'll really miss all her help but wish her great success as a librarian.

December 18, 2006

I'm overjoyed to announce that the library has been awarded an National Endowment for the Humanities grant for this coming year. The money will be used to hire a member of NEDCC to complete a survey our our collection. The findings from that survey will be the basis of further projects to improve the longevity of the collection.

Additionally, our grant has been pulled from the "We The People" initiative that focuses on American history and culture.

Expect to hear more on this project in the coming months.


December 15, 2006

If you have already responded to our fundraising mailing, we thank you. If you haven't gotten around to it yet, please consider donating online through our website or by mailing us your check.

Here are some of the things we accomplished in 2006:

Nearly 35,000 records cataloged in our online catalog.

Increase in Library use and patrons from October 2005-October 2006

  • 87% increase in new users/patrons who became borrowers
  • 63% increase in materials retrieved by staff members for patrons
  • 41% increase in photocopies made for patrons
  • 32% increase in books borrowed in person
  • 13% increase in patron visits

In the past two months, Peggy has represented the American Congregational Association to more than 600 people.

Jess has new and significant collections coming to the archives in 2007. We'll give you more details on these as we take possession.

Help us continue this work and more. Join us in fulfilling our dream of becoming "The Center for the Study of American Congregationalism".  We thank you again for your generosity.

December 14, 2006

MeromThank you to the Merom Conference Center for their gift of "Story of Union Christian College" by Robert Brown and 5 microfilm reels of "Records of the Merom Conference Center". These are now available for use by researchers in the library. We are in the process of making copies of an additional 5 microfilm reels of "Merom Institute" records from 1863-1910. We greatly appreciate the cooperation and generosity of the Merom Conference Center in sharing these important historical materials with us. A very specially thank you to Dale Dressler and Bob Brown. Please visit their website to learn more about their ministry.


December 12, 2006

We added a new link to our web site on the Links page to include Google Scholar. We hope this will facilitate people's research. Let us know what you think via our info email address.

November 30, 2006

Lion01The library staff has been abuzz about the Brainard Pratt scrapbooks that were rediscovered by Claudette. The good Reverend was an enthusiastic Bible illuminator and one of the found books is a specialized Bible that has more margin than text in which illuminations can be drawn. I've just uploaded a sample of some of his drawings. They're truly gorgeous. To see the album, scroll down in the left navigation bar.