We welcome materials donated by churches, organizations, and individuals.

In 1853, the Congregational Library was founded with a donation of 56 books from the personal collections of ministers, a doctor, a lawyer, and a widow. Since then, the library’s collection has been greatly enhanced by the generosity of thousands of individuals who have supported it.

We welcome inquiries about donations of all types of recorded material that support the library’s mission. Our ability to accept gifts, however, may be constrained by limitations on space and capacity to provide the best possible care for an item. Below you can find more information about the criteria we use to evaluate potential donations. We also encourage you to read more about our collection and our Collection Development Policy document to learn more about the types of materials we maintain.


Evaluation Criteria

The CLA is committed to advancing the study and understanding of the Congregational story as a historically influential intellectual, civic, cultural, and spiritual tradition. To this end, the library collects material related to all aspects of Congregationalism as it is practiced today and historically, material that provides historical context and supports the study of the same.  This includes published and manuscript materials, the records of churches, organizations, individuals, and families. The library accepts material in a variety of formats including print, audio-visual, and born-digital. All offers of gifts are given careful consideration and are evaluated in terms of their relevance to the library’s mission and our capacity to care for them.


The CLA is generally interested in collecting:

  • Material about and records of individual Congregational Christian churches including all types of record books, correspondence, church organization records, photographic material, building records, published histories, etc.;

  • Material about and records of Congregational organizations, including national and regional conferences, missionary organizations (e.g., ABCFM, AMA, AHMA, etc.), benevolent societies, etc.;

  • Material about and personal papers of ministers or other prominent Congregationalists (missionaries, etc.) including diaries, correspondence, manuscript sermons, etc.;

  • Periodicals related to Congregationalism or regional religious periodicals;

  • Material related to other denominations that have merged with the Congregational church (e.g., Christian Connexion, Evangelical and Reformed Church, German Evangelical), or that have historically interacted with Congregationalists (e.g., Baptist, Quaker, Unitarian, etc.);

  • Material about social issues and movements Congregationalists have played an active role in (e.g., temperance, abolition, social gospel, etc.);

  • Town histories of areas where Congregationalists have been particularly active;

  • Secondary literature relevant to and that supports study within the collection.


The library generally does not collect:

  • Duplicates of items already in the collection;

  • Material in such poor physical condition that it prevents use or poses a hazard to other materials in the collection (e.g., moldy materials, etc.);

  • Artifacts, artwork, and physical objects;

  • Archival material with questionable ownership, prior claims or contested intellectual rights;

  • Family or pulpit bibles printed after 1800; and

  • Newspaper clippings.


These lists are not exhaustive. If you have questions about our evaluation criteria, please contact us by email at or phone at 617-523-0470.



The first step in donating material to the library is to contact us via email at or phone at 617-523-0470.

Staff will discuss the material with you and the logistics of making your donation, including how to fill out a gift agreement form and making arrangements for pick-up or delivery. If the Congregational Library & Archives is not the best home for your material, staff can recommend other organizations that may be.

Please keep in mind that our staff members are neither qualified nor permitted to appraise material for its monetary value. You can locate a reputed antiquarian book dealer near you through the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America for these purposes.