Chicago, Illinois. South Congregational Church records, 1871-1933.

Collection Information

Chicago, Ill. South Congregational Church records, 1871-1933.


South Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)
Memorial Church (Chicago, Ill.)
Forty Seventh Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)

Forestville Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)


1871-1933 (gaps)


9 document cases and 4 clamshell boxes (4.6 cubic feet)

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Physical Access:

Ledger books are fragile. Handle with care.

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the South Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.) records, RG5198. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.


English, some Swedish, some German

Processing information:

Processed by Rachel Cohen, November 2014, using DACS Second Edition.


This collection consists of the records of South Congregational Church. The church was founded originally as Memorial Church of Chicago, Illinois in 1871. The following year, it was changed to Forty Seventh Congregational Church. In 1879, the church officially became South Congregational Church. It annexed Forestville Congregational Church in 1909. The collection includes church governance, vital statistics, religious education, and auxiliary groups.

Acquisition Information:

Items transferred to the Congregational Library & Archives in 2014 from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Items believed to have been transferred to the Chicago Theological Seminary from South Congregational Church sometime in the mid-1930s.


Historical Note

Memorial Church of Chicago, Illinois was founded in 1871. The name was changed the following year to Forty-Seventh Congregational Church. In 1909, the church was renamed South Congregational Church and moved to its location to the corner of Drexel Boulevard and Fortieth Street. The church's imposing physical structure would appear on the cover of almost every weekly calendar of the church; it was known for its tall bell tower. In 1909, the sixty five members of the Forestville Congregational Church joined with South Congregational.

The church had a very active women's association and foreign missionary society. The missionary society served abroad starting from the nineteenth century. Missionary and church member Cora McCandlish's 1897 manuscript, "A Glimpse of the Sunrise Kingdom", detailed her experiences working as a librarian in Osaka, Japan. The Missionary Society gave aid to various countries in Asia and Central America. South Congregational was accepting of new immigrants, as shown from the Swedish Protocol book from the early twentieth century included in the Auxiliary Groups series. There are also admissions from Germany and Sweden. The documents in this collection end in 1933 but the church remained open for several decades. South Congregational would become predominantly African American in the 1970s. It merged with University Church in 1989. The resulting University Christian Church is still in operation.


Scope of Collection

The South Congregational Church records document the history of the church, including church governance, vital statistics, religious education, and auxiliary groups. Included in the records are correspondence, reports, ledgers, minutes, membership slips, and donation records.


Further Searches

Subject Headings

South Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)

Chicago (Ill.) - Church history.

Congregational churches - Illinois - Chicago.

Memorial Church (Chicago, Ill.)

Church Missionary Society.

Forty Seventh Street Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)

Congregational churches - Relations.

Forestville Congregational Church (Chicago, Ill.)

Sunday school



The South Congregational Church records are arranged in four series. The series highlight church governance, vital statistics, religious education, and auxiliary groups. The records are arranged chronologically, generally.



Series I: Church Governance

Date: 1897-1933, gaps
Extent: 2 document cases, 2 clamshell boxes
Scope of Series: This series includes records of the church through its various iterations from the turn of the nineteenth century to 1933. There are ledgers reporting financials, unification files from the 1909 absorption of Forestville Congregational Church, records from the Pastoral Committee, and governance-related records.
    Date Box/Folder
Meeting minutes of the directory notebook 1897-1899 B3
Clerk records ledger 1899-1918 B1
Pastoral Succession Committee record book 1898-1899 B4/E2
Pastoral Committee records ledger 1900-1913 B2
Deacons records 1902-1903, 1907 B4/F3
Clerk records 1904-1911, 1915 B4/F4
Board of Trustees reports ledger 1904-1916 B3
Data entry record book 1904-1906 B4/E1
Pastoral Committee records 1908-1911 B4/F5
Pastoral change records 1909 B4/F6
Unification of Forestville and South Congregational Church 1909-1910 B4/F7
Church meeting records 1909-1911 B4/F8
Church Society records 1909-1911, 1914-1915, 1917 B4/F9
Assistant to the Pastor records 1910, 1914-1915 B4/F10
Financial records 1911, 1914-1915, 1919 B4/F15
Pastoral Committee meeting minutes 1913-1916 B4/F11
Pastoral Committee meeting minutes notebook 1914-1917 B4/F12
Church contributors list 1916-1920 B4/F14
Clerk records 1925-1933 B3
Eunice Trumbo ordination 1930 B4/F13
Deaconess record undated B4/F16

Series II: Vital Statistics

Date: 1871-1930, gaps
Extent: 1 clamshell box, 1 document case
Scope of Series: The Vital Statistics includes documents that show the consistently changing record of the members of the church. Admissions, dismissals, transfers, events by the members, and membership standings are included here.
  Date Box/Folder
Recommendations and transfers 1890, 1898, 1908-1911 B6/F1
Absentee list 1900, 1902, 1904, 1910 B6/F2
Dismissal slips 1904-1911 B5/E1
Dismissal slips 1912, 1914-1917, 1930 B5/E2
Dismissals and transfers 1906-1907, 1909-1911 B6/F3
Dismissals and transfers 1914-1917 B6/F4
Baptisms and deaths 1907, 1910-1911, 1914, 1916, 1929 B6, F5
Membership list undated B6/F6
Membership list 1910 B6/F7
Correspondence 1910-1911, 1915 B6/F8
Admissions 1889, 1905, 1909-1911 B6/F9
Admissions 1913-1916 B6/F10
Membership registry 1871-1913 B5
book 1921 B5
Forestville Congregational Church Clerk records 1904-1909 B5

Series III: Religious Education

Date: 1883-1928
Extent: 1 clamshell box, 2 document cases
Scope of Series: The Religious Education series shows the importance of the education of the youth in the life of the church. Included are the yearly record books of the Sunday school, pledges from the students, financials from the Sunday school, and records from the Bible Study groups.
  Date Box/Folder
Sunday School Secretary record book 1897-1904 B7
Sunday School record book 1910-1916 B9
Vacation School record book 1927 B7
Sunday School tally book 1913-1921 B9
Education donation book 1909-1928 B7
Sunday School Benevolence Fund book 1926 B8
Sunday School roster book 1919 B8
Sunday School record book 1894 B8
Sunday School record book 1895 B8
Sunday School record book 1892 B8
Sunday School record book 1897 B8
Children's dues 1896-1898 B7
Sunday School new scholars notebook 1915-1920 B8
Sunday School record book 1910 B7
Young People's Bible Class pledge book 1901, 1904 B8
Sunday School financials 1908-1910, 1914-1916 B8/F1
Sunday School record book 1912 B9
Bible Class record book 1883-1900 B9
Young People's Bible Study Group record book undated B9

Series IV: Auxiliary Groups

Date: 1871-1921
Extent: 4 document cases
Scope of Series: This series contains the records of various organizations within the church. The Women’s Associations, through their various names and times, were extremely active and thoroughly documented their efforts. This series holds records of the foreign missionary society, the church newspaper, The Lookout, and the Literary Club among other organizations.
  Date Box/Folder
Minutes of the Ladies' Society 1871-1881 B13
Sewing Society record book 1873-1883 B10
Foreign Missionary Society ledger 1881-1888 B11
Secretary's reports of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society 1894 B11
Secretary's reports of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society 1900 B11
Women's Association Dues ledger 1890-1906 B10
Ladies' Benevolence Society ledger 1883-1895 B11
Ladies' Benevolence Society / Women's Association record book 1895-1899 B11
Ladies' Benevolence Society, First Edition 1886-1892 B10/E1
Men's Club ledger 1896-1897 B12
Minutes of the Men's League 1911 B13
Christian Endeavor Society ledger 1896-1902 B10
Manuscript of Mission 1897 B10/F2
Missionary Study Circle minutes 1905-1907 B11
Women's Association Meeting Minutes book 1904-1908 B11
Ladies Literary Club ledger 1904-1909 B10
Swedish protocol book 1904-1910 B10
The Lookout records 1907-1908, 1910 B10/F3
Literary Club records 1907-1908, 1911, 1913-1914 B10/F4
Minutes of the Literary Club ledger 1899-1904 B13
Minutes of the Literary Club ledger 1909-1914 B12
Minutes of the Literary Club ledger 1914-1921 B12
Mother's Club records 1910 B10/F5
Tri-C Club records 1910 B10/F6
Young Ladies' Missionary Society records 1910-1911 B10/F7
Christian Endeavor Society records 1910-1911, 1913-1914 B10/F8
Emclopea Club records 1913-1916 B10/F9
Fidelta Club records 1913-1916 B10/F10
Missionary Guild records 1913-1916 B10, F11
Eunicea Club records 1914, 1916 B10, F2
Minutes of the Workers' Council book 1914-1916 B12
Women’s Association records 1893-1894,1908-1909, undated B10/F13
Women’s Association Member dues 1896-1905 B12
Minutes of the Women's Association 1899-1904 B13
Minutes of the Women's Association 1908-1911 B13
Women's Association records 1914-1918 B10/F14
Women’s Association Meeting Minutes ledger 1911-1915 B11
Boy Scouts records 1915-1916 B10/F15
Minutes of the Missionary Band ledger 1880-1886 B12
Mission Band records 1907, 1913, undated B10/F16
Economics Club records undated B10/F17
Bazaar records undated B10/F18


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