Beacon Street Diary

February 15, 2007

"The First Problem" title pageThis week we've had some very interesting things pop up in the course of cataloging. The first is a pamphlet that was kept in the "Infidelity" sermon collection. The First Problem: The Soliloquy of a Rationalistic Chicken by S.J. Stone. As far as we can tell this has nothing to do with infidelity or sermons!

The second was an image was interspersed with articles collected by Albert Hale Plumb. The penciled in caption on the back reads: "patient coming to the hospital". However, we do not know who the patient is, the country, or the year.

February 2, 2007

Linda Palmer as Ann VassallWe hope that you join us next Wednesday, February 7 at 12 noon for our second in a series of Brown Bag Lunch Lectures.  This time Linda Palmer, actress and tour guide, will portray Ann Vassal and present "Dissent among the Puritans: The Story of Ann Vassall". Come and discover the warning that Ann is issuing to new residents of the Massachusetts Bay colony.

Bring your lunch. Soft drinks and dessert will be provided.

Questions: call 617-523-0470.

January 26, 2007

What a week here at the Congregational Library! We started on Monday without heat. Thankfully that has all been straightened out and we're all very warm inside today. We continue to make wonderful discoveries in the Pratt Collection materials. Mrs. S. Brainard Pratt was a Board member of the Women's Board of Missions for over twenty-five years. She also wrote poetry and pamphlets, and contributed to Life and Light for Heathen Women. We would like to find out her first name. She was Mr. Pratt's second wife.

We've also printed up and made available a new very attractive (thanks to Jess) Welcome to the Library brochure for visitors to the library.

January 22, 2007

Thanks to Robin, we now have a searchable database of Missionary Necrologies. Included in the database is an index to necrology information located in the Vinton volumes and the Missionary Herald. The database includes names and dates of missionaries and their families.

You can contact us at or call 617-523-0470 with your questions.

January 18, 2007

Thank you to Sharon Taylor for kicking off our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series. Her discussion of the Andover Controversy was both educational and entertaining. It was fascinating to listen to the details of a controversy over dogma that captured both local and national headlines at the time.

Our next Brown Bag Lunch will be Wednesday, February 7. Bring your lunch and we will provide soft drinks, chips and dessert. This time Linda Palmer will portray Ann Vassell and take us back to the time of the Puritan settlers.

You can always contact us at or call us at 617-523-0470.

January 16, 2007

Join us for our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture tomorrow at noon. Soft drinks will be provided. Don't miss Sharon Taylor's presentation on the History of the Andover Controversy. We look forward to seeing you here.

January 10, 2007

Please join us in welcoming Sarah James to our staff as a Library Assistant. Sarah is a student at Simmons College in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She received her undergraduate degree from Reed College in English. Sarah will be at the Reading Room desk on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Stop by and say hello.

January 8, 2007

We still lend books by mail so if you see something in our online catalog, call us at 617-523-0470 or email us at You can also renew books via phone or email. If you have never borrowed from us before, be sure to give us your address, phone number, and email address.

Two recent additions to our collection are:

Hodgson, Godfrey. A Great and Godly Adventure: the Pilgrims and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving.

Puls, Mark. Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution.

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".