Manuscripts and Archives

Andover-Harvard Theological Library serves as official repository for the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Beacon Press, the collections are particularly strong in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, and also include ministers' papers and the records of affiliated groups.   

Archives at Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Harvard University, including Harvard Divinity School, developed a strong connection to the Unitarian movement in America beginning in the early nineteenth century.  These ties are reflected in the richness of the Harvard Library's Unitarian Universalist resources.     

All archives at  Harvard University.

Published guides:

UUSC History Materials. Ed. by Ghanda DiFiglia. [Boston: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, 1980.] (126 leaves in various foliations; 29 cm. Photocopy of typescript.) [Ref. BX9803.U79 D53 1980]

The description of the arrangement of the collection which appears at the beginning has been superseded by research aids available from the Manuscripts and Archives Department at Andover-Harvard Theological Library. This work includes a reflective essay by the compiler on the origins and development of the Unitarian Service Committee and the Universalist Service Committee and a historical outline of the committees' activities. Outlines for the oral histories on audiotape are also included. An index appears at the beginning. For digitized materials, see Holocaust Rescue and Relief: Digitized Records of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

Guide to the Records of the Canadian Unitarian and Universalist Churches, Fellowships and Other Related Organizations. Ed. by Heather Watts. [Halifax, Nova Scotia?]: Archives Committee, 1990. (viii, 301 p.; 28 cm.) [Ref. CD3622.W39 1990]

A very thorough guide. Each listing includes a historical sketch of the congregation in addition to detailed descriptions of the archival material. A series of indexes begins on p. 291, including an index of ministers, of lay people (primarily record keepers and historians), of extant records by decade, and of denominational organizations. A final index groups congregations under subjects for which they have relevant material.

Guide to the Archives of King's Chapel, 1686-1899. Ed. by Deborah A. Cozort, Nancy L. Kessner, and Carl Scovel. [Boston: Society of King's Chapel], 1979. (110 p.; 28 cm. Photocopy of typescript.) [Ref. BX9861.B7 K56]

Includes a thorough and helpful introduction to each set of records. This index was compiled under grant number 78-105 of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

An Inventory of Universalist Archives in Massachusetts. Prepared by the Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, Work Projects Administration (1942).


Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Unitarian and Universalist Publications. Research Materials in Microform Available in the Harvard University Library; Guide No. 6. Cambridge: Harvard University Library, 1983. (iv, 12 p.; 28 cm.) [Ref. Z1033.M5 R45 no. 6]

A guide to material in the Andover-Harvard microfilm collection, listing 180 rare and fragile titles filmed with funding from the United States Department of Education in 1978. As noted in the preface, Andover-Harvard holds other Unitarian Universalist material on microfilm which is not included in this particular index.

Seaburg, Alan. "Recent Scholarship in American Universalism: A Bibliographical Essay." Church History 41.4 (1972: December): 513-523.

Wright, Conrad. American Unitarian and Universalist Historical Scholarship: A Bibliography of Items Published 1946-1995. (Journal of Unitarian Universalist History ; v. 28, pt. 1, 2001.) The Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, 2001. (144 p.; 24 cm.) [Ref. Z7845.U5 A43 2001]


Robinson, David. The Unitarians and the Universalists. Denominations in America, vol. 1. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985. (xiii, 368 p.; 24 cm.)[Ref. BX9833.R63 1985 (also stacks)]

The first 200 pages constitute an excellent essay in Unitarian Universalist history. The second half of the book is devoted to biographies of Unitarian and Universalist leaders, with a bibliography for each entry. A general bibliographic essay follows on pages 345-355.

Eliot, Samuel A. Heralds of a Liberal Faith. 4 vols. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1910; Boston: Beacon Press, 1952. [Ref. BX9867.E4 (also stacks)] Volume 1 online; volume 2 online (Andover-Harvard Library digitized copies); volume 3 online (Harvard College Library digitized copy).

Volume 1 includes biographies of 69 ministers prominent between 1750 and 1825; Volume 2 includes biographies of 98 ministers active through 1850; Volume 3 covers the ministries of 134 ministers serving during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Volume 4, published in 1952, covers 67 additional ministers who were prominent during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first volume and parts of the second volume are largely excerpted from Sprague's Annals (below).

Sprague, William Buell. Annals of the American Unitarian pulpit; or, Commemorative notices of distinguished clergymen of the Unitarian denomination in the United States, from its commencement to the close of the year eighteen hundred and fifty-five. Annals of the American Pulpit, vol. 8. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1865.[Ref. BR569.S7 (also stacks)] Harvard College Library digitized copy

Includes biographical sketches of 80 ministers identifiable within the liberal wing of Congregationalism as it became the Unitarian movement between 1717 and 1855. The sketches draw heavily upon letters and reminiscences. This is volume 8 of the nine-volume series, Annals of the American pulpit; or, Commemorative notices of distinguished American clergymen of various denominations, from the early settlement of the country to the close of the year eighteen hundred and fifty-five. The series includes Trinitarian Congregationalists (v.1-2), Presbyterians (v.3-4), Episcopalians (v.5), Baptists (v.6), Methodists (v.7), and Lutheran/Reformed Dutch/ Associate/Associated Reformed/Reformed Presbyterian (v.9).

Hitchings, Catherine F. Universalist and Unitarian Women Ministers. 2nd ed. [Boston]: Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, 1985. (179 p.; 23 cm.) [Ref. BX9967.H57 1985 (also stacks)]

Includes biographical entries on deceased women who were first ordained directly into the Universalist and Unitarian ministries and who served at some time in the United States. An appendix lists women in ministerial fellowship as of 1985. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Harris, Mark W. Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004. (xxiv, 575 p.; 22 cm.) [Ref. BX9809.H37 2004]

The book provides an overview of Unitarian and Universalist history. While the emphasis is on North America, other parts of the world are included. Most of the entries are biographical (major leaders of the movements and famous persons), although there are also theological, historical, and geographical listings.

Adams, John G. Fifty Notable Years: Views of the Ministry of Christian Universalism during the Last Half-century: With Biographical Sketches. 2nd ed. Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1883, c1882. (336 p., 15 leaves of plates: ports.; 23 cm.) [BX9933 .A3 1883a]

This work includes 135 biographical sketches of Universalist clergy. Andover-Harvard digitized copy

See also Andover-Harvard Theological Library's Guide to Religious Biographical and Genealogical Information


Weis, Frederick Lewis. List of the Unitarian Churches and Their Ministers in the United States and Canada. Lancaster, Mass.: n.p., 1947. (523, 57 l.; 28 cm. Photocopy of typescript.) [Ref. BX9831.W45]

Revised occasionally between 1947 and 1960 (?) by the library staff, Meadville Theological School, where the original typescript is deposited. Listings are arranged alphabetically by town name.

Ouren, D. [Dallas] L. Some Major American Universalist Churches. N.p., [1982]. ([90] leaves; 28 cm. Photocopy of typescript/manuscript.) [Ref. BX9911.O97]

'Rough draft.' Includes records of ministers with dates, through about 1950, but the compiler notes that many dates are approximate. Includes general bibliographical references (l.[5]), and references for each congregation. Records for Universalist colleges and seminaries appear at the end of the text.

Worthley, Harold Field. An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620-1805. Harvard Theological Studies, 25; Proceedings of the Unitarian Historical Society, 16.1-2. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970. (xiv, 716 p. 24 cm.) [Ref. BX7148.M4 W65]

Includes brief notes on the organizational histories of each congregation and identifies extant records. Includes bibliographical references.

Taylor, Richard H. The Churches of Christ of the Congregational Way in New England. Benton Harbor, Mich.: R.H. Taylor, 1989. (vii, 308 p.; 29 cm.) [Ref. BX7139.T39 1989]

Listings are arranged first by state, then county, then town; researchers will wish to consult the indexes when place-names are unclear. The listings require close attention to the compiler's methods of arrangement and system of abbreviations; see pp. 30-34 for basic help in interpreting the data, and pp. 251-252 for a guide to abbreviations. Appendix 1 lists only Unitarian churches (see p. 234), but some relevant data is only available for these churches in the main listings. Because this publication is 'ecclesiastically biased,' Unitarians should be aware that 'in all cases of church-parish splits [the author has] uniformly shown the church as the continuing Trinitarian body and the parish as the Unitarian body.' Includes bibliographical references (pp. 253-265).

Richardson, Peter Tufts. The Boston Religion: Unitarianism in Its Capital City. Rockland, Me.: Red Barn Pub., c2003. (viii, 256 p.: ill. ; 25 cm.) [BX9833.6.B7 R53 2003]

Wright, Conrad. Walking Together: Polity and Participation in Unitarian Universalist Churches. Boston, Mass.: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1989. [BX9850.W75 1989]

For digitized publications in the public domain that chronicle major events events in the life of Unitarian and Universalist congregations, see Unitarian Universalist Congregations.



Journal of Unitarian Universalist History. Formerly The Proceedings of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society. Chicago: The Society, 1981-. [BX9803.U77]

Robinson, David. The Unitarians and the Universalists. Denominations in America, vol. 1. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985. (xiii, 368 p.; 24 cm.) [Ref. BX9833.R63 1985 (also stacks)]

The first 200 pages constitute an excellent essay in Unitarian Universalist history. The second half of the book is devoted to biographies of Unitarian and Universalist leaders, with a bibliography for each entry. A general bibliographic essay follows on pp. 345-355.

Wilbur, Earl Morse. A History of Unitarianism. Volume 1: Socinianism and Its Antecedents. Volume 2: In Transylvania, England, and America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1945-52. [BX9831.W49 1945 v.1-2]

Parke, David B. The Epic of Unitarianism: Original Writings from the History of Liberal Religion. Boston: Starr King Press, [1957]. Boston: Beacon Press, 1960. [BX9813.P3 1957, 1960]

Cassara, Ernest. Universalism in America: A Documentary History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971. [BX9941.2.C38]

Miller, Russell E. The Larger Hope: The First Century of the Universalist Church in America, 1770-1870. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1979. [BX9933.M54 1979]
Miller, Russell E. The Larger Hope: The Second Century of the Universalist Church in America, 1870-1970. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1985. [BX9933.M542 1985]

Miller's two volumes are a virtual encyclopedia of information about the Universalist Church in America and its predecessors.

Wright, Conrad, ed. A Stream of Light: A Sesquicentennial History of American Unitarianism. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1975. 2nd ed. Boston: Skinner House Books, 1989.[BX9833.S74 (2nd ed. 1989)]

Allen, Joseph Henry, and Richard Eddy. A History of the Unitarians and the Universalists in the United States. The American Church History Series, vol. 10. New York: Christian Literature Co., 1894. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1982. (xi, 506 p.; 21 cm.; photocopy of microfilm reproduction.) [Ref. BR515.A5 1982 v. 10 (also stacks)] [Andover-Harvard digitized copy]

Most bibliographic references appear within the body of the text, but a separate brief bibliography on Universalism is also included. One interesting feature of the book is an entire chapter devoted to Universalist hymns. Includes an index.


Nemser, Rudolph W. The Berry Street Conference. 1993. (51 leaves; 28 cm. Typescript.) [Ref. BX9803.B4 N45 1993]

List of the speakers, speeches, and officers of the Berry Street Conference, the oldest continental organization for liberal ministers, founded in 1820 by William Ellery Channing and his colleagues in Boston. It now meets annually at the time of the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly for the purpose of presenting the Berry Street Lecture. In some cases, the guide notes where a published version of the Berry Street Lecture for a given year may be found. In other cases, references are given to published mentions of the lecture. Brief descriptions, primarily of the reception of the speeches, are included with many entries.

James Luther Adams
Adams, James Luther. Not Without Dust and Heat: A Memoir. Intro. by Max L. Stackhouse. Foreword by George Huntston Williams. Chicago, Ill.: Exploration Press, 1995. (xiii, 465 p., [8] p. of plates: ill.; 24 cm.) [BX9869.A32 A32 1995]

Includes a bibliography of Adams's writings on pp. [427]-452. Includes an index and bibliographical references. The library also has an early working copy (with approximately twice as much material and notes and corrections) of the manuscript at R.B.R. folio BX9869.A32 A32 1994.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Myerson, Joel. Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography. Pittsburgh, Penn.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982. (xviii, 802 p.: ill., port., facsims.; 25 cm.) [Ref. Z8265.M94 1982]

Includes an index and many photo duplications of covers and title pages of various editions. The author follows the same approach he uses in the Theodore Parker bibliography, providing complete textual descriptions of the various editions of Emerson's publications and including references to libraries which own intact texts for each edition.

Burkholder, Robert E., and Joel Myerson. Emerson: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography. Pittsburgh, Penn.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985. (xiv, 842 p.: port.; 24 cm.) [Ref. Z8265.B87 1985]

Includes helpful brief descriptions of the substance of each commentary on Emerson. Articles from twentieth-century Unitarian Universalist periodicals such as the Journal of Liberal Religion were apparently not included.

Cameron, Kenneth Walter. Index-Concordance to Emerson's Sermons: With Homiletical Papers. 2 vols. Hartford, Conn.: Transcendental Books, 1963. (2 v.; 709 l.; ports. 29 cm.) [Ref. BX9843.E487 S47]

Since this concordance was prepared prior to the publication of Emerson's complete sermons, the researcher who hopes to use this index must refer to the key on pp.704-709 to locate the sermon number in which the reference appears. At best, the pagination given by the compiler only suggests how near the beginning or end of a sermon one can expect to find the reference. (Consult Albert J. von Frank's The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4 volumes [Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1989], BX9843.E487 C66 1989 v.1-4, which includes a chronology on pp. 41-51, an index in each volume, and a scripture index in vol. 4.) Cameron has included several of his essays on Emerson's sermons in an appendix.

Barton, William B. A Calendar to the Complete Edition of the Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Memphis, Tenn.: Bee Books, 1977. (88 p.: facsim., port.; 23 cm.) [Ref. Z8265.B37]

'A calendar of all the known sermons Ralph Waldo Emerson preached between 1826-1839.' This volume includes a summary of each sermon's content, the dates and places each was delivered, and detailed textual descriptions of extent copies of each text. Compare the calendar provided on pp. 41-51 of Albert J. von Frank's authoritative The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4 volumes (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1989), BX9843.E487 C66 1989.

Homer Alexander Jack
Jack, Homer Alexander. A Bibliography of the Writings of Homer A. Jack. Swarthmore, Penn.: n.p., 1991. (65 l.; 29 cm.; Photocopy of typescript.) [Ref. BX9869.J33 1991]

Includes index.

Theodore Parker
Myerson, Joel. Theodore Parker: A Descriptive Bibliography. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 307. New York: Garland, 1981. (xii, 225 p.: 2 facsims.; 23 cm.) [Ref. Z8660.64.M96]

This bibliography provides complete textual descriptions of the various editions of works by Parker, edited by him, or attributed to him. Each entry includes references to libraries which own a complete version of that particular edition.


Foote, Henry Wilder. Catalogue of American Universalist Hymn Writers and Hymns. [Compiled for the Hymn Society of America (for the proposed Dictionary of American Hymnology.] Cambridge, Mass.: s.n., 1959. (35 leaves; 28 cm.; Typescript.) [Ref. ML3178.U7 F54 1959a (also folio)]

Contains a helpful historical introduction, an annotated chronological list of American Universalist hymn books, and biographical sketches of Universalist hymn writers together with a list of the writer's hymns. Not as complete as the author's Unitarian counterpart (below).

Foote, Henry Wilder. American Unitarian Hymn Writers and Hymns. [Compiled for the Hymn Society of America for publication in the society's proposed dictionary of American hymnology.] Cambridge, Mass.: s.n., 1959. (270 leaves; 30 cm.; Typescript.) [Ref. ML3178.U6 F54 1959 (also folio)]

Contains an enlightening historical essay on the significance and stature of Unitarian hymnography in the nineteenth century. A descriptive catalogue of Unitarian hymn books follows, including 48 hymnals from 1782 through 1937. Biographical sketches and a list of hymns is provided for 130 writers. Also included is an index of first lines.