Massachusetts Woman’s Home Missionary Union. Records, 1879-1990 (gaps)

Collection Information

Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union records


Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union




6 linear feet, 7 boxes

Collection ID #:

RG 0122

Conditions Governing Access:


Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union records, RG 0122. The Congregational Library and Archive, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Original processor unknown

Revision History:

Accession 1995 - 03 and portions of 1982 accession processed by archive staff, February 1996.


Annual reports, minutes, lists of officers and corporate members, treasurers reports, documentation of bequests (legacies), documentation of grant programs, investment reports, photographs and historical information.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Massachusetts Woman's Missionary Union, ca. 1982, 1995.

Historical Note

The Woman's Home Missionary Association's first meeting was November 4, 1879 in the vestry of the Park Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts; the organization was officially chartered September 28, 1881. The association's first report states: "On November 4, 1879, a group of devoted women met in Park Street Church, Boston, to confer on what Congregational women could do to spread the knowledge of the gospel in the United States. They organized a "society for the prosecution of Home Missionary work." On February 26, 1880, a constitution was adopted and a name was given this new child -- Woman's Home Missionary Association. March 18th the first public meeting was held, and on October 18th, the close of the fiscal year, $2,644 had been received for the work" (series I-A, 1-1). Members were from Boston, as well as neighboring cities. Life members contributed $20 and annual members contributed $1 each (series V, 7-26). Names appearing on the original 1881 charter include: Sarah M. Hunnewell, Mary A. Tyler, Abby W. Pearson, Mary H. Bishop, Mary M. Topliff, Louise L. Adams, Mary A. Moore and Ann Maria Preston (series V, 7-18).

Founded to meet the material and spiritual needs of women and children, the Association raised money through concerts and lectures in churches. Auxiliary groups quickly formed within the state of Massachusetts and substantial bequests (or legacies) were left to the Association.(1) Donations of books, clothing, school supplies and toys grew from $7000 in 1883 to $36,000 in 1902. By 1926 the Association acquired $113,483 per year and donated $1,500,000 from gifts of living donors and $165,982 from legacy gifts, a total of $1,766,000 between 1880-1926 (series I-A, 1-5).

The Women's Home Missionary Association was primarily organized to support home missions and the Congregational homeland societies (i.e., the Congregational Home Missionary Society, the Congregational Church Building Society, the Congregational Sunday School Extension, the American Missionary Association, the Congregational Education Society, the Congregational Foundation for Education, the Congregational Board of Ministerial Relief and the Annuity Fund for Congregational Ministers, series V, 7-22). Through this work the Association supported: Miss Lilla Davis and the Cotton Valley School for African-American women in Alabama, the first such school in the country; the Santee Indian School in Nebraska; Tuskegee Normal School in Alabama, now Tuskegee Institute; Bethlehem Bible Readers Home in Ohio, which later became Schauffler College and later Oberlin College; and French Protestant College in Springfield, Massachusetts, now Springfield International College. Dr. and Mrs. Booker T. Washington were frequent speakers at the early meetings and were influential in the Association's establishment of African American schools in the South.(2)

Around 1920, the funds and work of the General Association of Massachusetts' (3) men's and women's organizations merged, and the Massachusetts Court ruled that money held as specific bequests for women and children must be separated and administered by a corporation elected for this purpose.(4) As a result, the Woman's Home Missionary Association became the Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union in 1924. "to act as trustees of funds entrusted to them and to disburse the income of the same for the work of Congregational Home Missions."(5) In 1927 the Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union and the Massachusetts Branches of the Woman's Board of Missions merged to become the Congregational Woman's Missionary Society of Massachusetts (series I-A, 1-5). By 1934, the charter and bylaws used the name Massachusetts Home Missionary Union (series V, 7-18).

Today the Union disburses approximately $40,000 annually. The Union receives quarterly requests from the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and also supports the Massachusetts Conference, which is responsible for the United Church of Christ missionary work in Massachusetts.(6) In addition, the Union funds numerous charitable organizations. See Appendix A for a list of the officers of the Massachusetts Home Missionary Union from 1881-1937. Note that for a short period, the board was not all-female: from 1932-1937 Reverend Oliver D. Sewall served as treasurer since "after the merger in 1927, it was felt wise that this position would be a man conversant with the State treasury" (series I-C, 2-13).



(1) Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union (Who are We?), October, 1979, p. 1-2.

(2) Ibid., p. 2.

(3) The General Association of Massachusetts was founded in 1802 and later became the Massachusetts Congregational Conference. In 1966, the name changed to the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Ibid., p. 3.


Scope and Content Note

Annual reports from 1966-1988 (series I-A, 1-9-13) contain copies of the Massachusetts State Annual Report form, as well as a MHMU annual report. The notation "gaps" denotes the absence of a MHMU annual report; if the box list notes a gap, a Massachusetts State Annual Report form may exist, even if a MHMU annual report does not. Annual Report Correspondence 1981 (series I-A, 1-14) documents the reinstatement of nonprofit corporation status, which lapsed in 1981 due to an absence of annual reports on file with the state of Massachusetts. The necessary forms and annual reports were filed in 1981 and nonprofit corporation status was reinstated.

Minutes contain a mixture of annual meeting minutes and board of director minutes. Typically the minutes between 1879-1908 (series I-B, 1-6-17) contain annual meeting minutes and lists of the officers, committee members and their cities of residence. The minutes from 1918-1925 contain monthly meeting minutes and the treasurer's report, since both reports are were typed together. The minutes and treasurer's report from 1934-1990 are filed separately. Agendas (series I-D, 2-19-23) include a mixture of annual meeting and board of director agendas. If agendas are typed on the same page as the minutes, they are located with the minutes.

Treasurer's reports contain a wide variety of information, from annual reports to five - year reports. The majority of the finance committee reports are also filed with the treasurer's reports, since they include very detailed financial information (series II-A, 2-26-36).

Bequests (or legacies, according to the Massachusetts Home Missionary Union records) contains correspondence, documents and probate notices and clippings related to gifts bequeathed to the Massachusetts Woman's Home Missionary Union. Originally, several documents were stored together in one envelope. If the envelopes had relevant information written on the outside, the envelope was saved (series I-G, 3-16). Newspaper clippings (mostly probate notices) were xeroxed onto permanent paper and filed alphabetically by last name (series I-G, 3-1).

There are a number of separate ledgers and bank books that document the income from different funds (series II-E). Ledger sheets were removed from their original binders, for preservation purposes. Correspondence that specifically related to the bequests are filed in series II-F, 3-7-13. Correspondence that relates to the management of investments are filed in series II-H, 3-20-32; the majority of this correspondence is to and from the treasurer and investment management companies.

The majority of the correspondence from 1965-1990 contains correspondence to and from the Massachusetts Home Missionary Union and potential grant recipients; the bulk of the correspondence contains grant proposals and notification of awards. Correspondence from 1920-1982 documents the Travis Scholarship award; series III-A, 6-9 contains photographs of the Travis Scholarship recipients.

The majority of the historical material (series V) was found in several folders, in no apparent order. Some of this material is correspondence answering questions about the foundation of the MHMU and its relationship (or lack or relationship) to other early missionary societies. There is also some material that appears to have been collected to answer these questions (e.g., material on the history of home missionary societies in America and the New Hampshire Cent Society). There is also a congratulatory letter from President Jimmy Carter, commemorating the Massachusetts Home Missionary Union's 100th anniversary in 1979 (series V, 7-49). Miscellaneous items contained in this series include the black metal embossing stamp (series V, 7-52) for the Massachusetts Home Missionary Association (ca. 1924) and unidentified photographs of a Congregational Medical Services Car (series V, 7-51). The photographs were found in the back of the 1926 annual reports/addresses at 25th anniversary.

Biographies and memorial material were found located throughout the collection, in no apparent order. Newspaper or fragile copies were copied onto permanent paper and filed in series V, 7-24.



Series I. Board of Directors
  Subseries A. Annual Reports
  Subseries B. Minutes
  Subseries C. Officer / Corporate Member Roster
  Subseries D. Agendas
  Subseries E. Misc. Correspondence to Board of Directors
Series II. Financial
  Subseries A. Treasurer's reports
  Subseries B. Finance Committee Minutes
  Subseries C.   Auditor Reports and Financial Statements
  Subseries D. Golden Anniversary Fund
  Subseries E. Massachusetts Home Missionary Union Funds
  Subseries F. Bequests
  Subseries G. Investments/Stock Certificates
  Subseries H. Investment / Finance-related Correspondence
  Subseries I. Ledgers
  Subseries J. Investment Reports / Purchases and Sales
Series III. Programs
  Subseries A. Travis Scholarships Fund
  Subseries B. Grant Program Correspondence
Series IV. Suffolk District
Series V. History
  Subseries A. Legal Documents
  Subseries B. Printed Material
  Subseries C. Biographical Material
  Subseries D. Misc.
  Subseries E. History of other Home Missionary Societies
  Subseries F. History -- Financial
  Subseries G. History -- Correspondence
  Subseries H. History -- Photographs
  Subseries I. History -- Misc.


Box and Folder List

Box 1
Folders 1-13 Annual Reports 1880-1927; 1935;
(gaps in last section)
Folder 14 Annual Report Correspondence 1981
Folder 15-32 Minutes, treasurer reports (treas. only to 1925) 1880-1950
Box 2
Folders 1-12 Minutes 1950-1990
Folders 13-18 Officer / Corporate Member Roster 1881-1990
Folders 19-23 Agendas 1927-1990 (gaps)
Folder 24 Nominating Committee material / guidelines / correspondence 1970-1971
Folder 25 Board Correspondence   
Folders 26-36 Treasurer’s reports 1926-1990
Folder 37 Finance Committee minutes 1897-1916; 1925,
1928 (gaps)
Folders 38-44 Auditor’s Reports 1952-1985
Folders 45-49 Golden Anniversary Fund, correspondence 1925-1930
Folder 50 Financial Report 1930
Folder 51 Printed material / photographs   
Folders 52-54 Income sheets   
Folder 55 Administration Fund Ledger 1909-1930
Folder 56 Chamberlain, Sarah P. Fund ledger 1911-1913
Folder 57 Hyde, Mary W. and Lucy Hale Bannister Fund 1897-1903
Folders 58-59 Towne, Joseph Hardy and Rosina Fund 1912-1916;
Folder 60 Fund History   
Folders 61-63 Funds 1903-1916; 1937;
Box 3
Folder 1 Bequests clippings (probate court notices, articles)   
Folder 2 Bequest lists 1881-1929
Folders 3-6 Bequest Documents, A-Z   
Folders 7-13 Bequest Correspondence 1900-1977
Folder 14 Bequests bank books ca. 1917-1921
Folders 15-18 Bequest: receipts, envelopes, ledgers, notes, worksheets   
  Investment / financial 
Folder 19   Clippings, announcements  
Folder 20   Correspondence / documentation (concerns certificate #751 1951-1986
Folders 21-32   Correspondence 1881-1987
Folder 33 Stock certificates / receipts   
Folder 34 Investment / financial handwritten notes / scribbles  
Box 4
Folder 1   Income and payments - fund income 1932-1946
Folder 2   Assets, liabilities, income, expenses 1933-1968
Folders 3-4   -- 1946-1963;
Folder 5   Income 1938-1983
Folder 6   Investment 1970-1985
Folder 7   Income 1970-1977
Folder 8   General 1974-1982
Folder 9   Misc 1974-1982
Folder 10   Grant Schedules 1975-1982
Folder 11   Cash receipts, disbursements 1978-1985
Folder 12   Income 1978-1985
Folder 13   -- 1985-1986
Folder 14   Cash book 1946-1963
Folder 15   -- 1964-1977
Folders 16-17   Gifts received from churches no date; 1915
Folder 18   -- 1982-1989
Box 5
Folders 1-18   Reports, listings, purchase & sales 1968-1988
Box 6
  Travis Scholarship Fund  
Folder 1   History  
Folderz 2-8   Correspondence 1920-1982
Folder 9   Recipient photographs  
Folder 10   Booklets  
Folders 11-30 Grant Program Correspondence 1965-1990
Folder 31 Grant Program - brochures, information about groups funded   
Box 7
  Suffolk District
Folder 1   Newsletter 1957
Folder 2   By-Laws  
Folder 3   Printed Material  
Folder 4   Office of the President guidelines  
Folder 5   Officers and life members  
Folder 6   Correspondence 1956-1960
Folder 7   Annual reports and committee reports 1955-1959
Folder 8   Annual reports 1960-1966
Folders 9-10   Agendas and annual letter from the president 1950-1966
Folder 11   Auditor’s reports 1957; 1960
Folders 12-13   Minutes 1955-1966
Folder 14   Treasurer’s Reports 1954-1966
Folder 15   Alliance of the Woman’s Home Missionary Union Yearbook 1926-1927
Folder 16   Charter of incorporation, renewal 1881, 1924
Folder 17   History of association 1881
Folder 18   Charter, by-laws, constitution  
Folder 19   MHMU name change 1924
Folder 20   WHMA and Rhode Island Neighborhood of Auxiliaries, separation 1923
Folder 21   Brochure 1879-1979
Folder 22   Plan of work of the Women’s Home Missionary Association 1924-1925
Folder 23   Printed material  
Folder 24   Membership biographies and memorials  
Folder 25   Biographies (Mrs. Almira S. Steele)  
Folder 26   Newspaper clippings  
Folder 27   Speakers 1941-1975
Folder 28   Speakers - Kip Tiernan speech 1982
Folder 29   Anniversary materials: 25, 50, 80, 125  
Folder 30   Library of Congress registration 1900
Folders 31-40: includes copies and originals
  Sermons / Addresses from the National Council 1892 meeting
Folders 31-32   Columbus and the National Council 1892
Folders 33-34   Meeting 1892
Folders 35-36   Note for the free preaching 1892
  History - Newspaper clippings  
Folders 37-38   Advance Oct. 7 1892
Folders 39-40   Northwestern Congregationalist Oct 21 1892
Folder 41   Pew holders - New Meeting House Society 1821-1835
Folder 42   US home missionary history  
Folder 43   National Council material  
Folder 44   New Hampshire Cent Society  
Folder 45   Financial, Mass. Congregational Fund  
Folder 46   Financial, Conditional gifts, Cong. Edu. Soc.  
Folder 47   Insurance Policies 1966-1988
Folder 48   Correspondence 1881, 1921,
1928, 1933
Folder 49   Correspondence, Jimmy Carter 1979
Folder 50   Correspondence from previous members 1982
Folder 51   Photographs, Congregational Medical Services car  
Folder 52   Embossing stamp for MHMA 1924


Appendix A - List of Officers

Officers from 1881-1937 (transcribed from series I-C, 2-13). Officer names past 1937 may be obtained from officer lists (series I-C, 2-13-18) and from annual reports (series I-A, 1-6-13).

1881-1887 Danielson, Mrs. John W.  
1888-1892 Palmer, Mrs. Alice Freeman  
1892-1900 Goodell, Mrs. Constans L.  
1900-1907 Blodgett, Mrs. William H.  
1907-1923 Patton, Mrs. Cornelius H. (d. 1936)
1923-1929 Smith, Mrs. Henry Francis  
Home Secretary
1882-1893 Lord, Miss Nathalie  
1893-1894 Pickens, Miss Anna A.  
1894-1901 Kellogg, Mrs. Louise A. (d. 1929)
1901-1906 Sherman, Miss L. L.  
1906-1909 Jackson, Miss Mary C. E.  
1909-1920 Noyes, Miss Louise K. (d. 1936)
1920-1932 Camp, Mrs. Mabel S. Badger  
1880-1882 Pearson, Abby W.  
1882-1886 Moore, Mrs. Henry H.  
1886-1887 Proctor, Mrs. H. H.  
1887-1889 Burgess, Miss S. K.  
1889-1890 Leland, Miss Ella A.  
1890-1895 Burgess, Miss S. K.  
1895-1899 Bridgman, Miss Annie C. (d. 1936)
1899-1917 White, Miss Lizzie D. (d. 1929)
1917-1932 Duncan, Mrs. [Amos L.] Albert Greene Hatheway (d. 1932)
(married Albert Greene Duncan 1922)
1932-1937 Sewall, Rev. Oliver D. (d. 1937)
Assistant Treasurer
1896-1903 Woodberry, Miss Miriam L.  
1903-1917 Smith, Miss Ellen A.  
1915 Taft, Miss Leora M. (substitute)
1917-1937 Taft, Miss Leora M.  
Field Secretary
1905-1907 Woodberry, Miss Miriam L.  
1907-1909 Noyes, Miss Louise K.  
1909-1910 ...  
1910-1911 Taft, Miss Anna B.  
1911-1912 Lewis, Miss Anna N.  
1912-1926 Briggs, Ona A Evans (married 1925 to Rev. H. A. M. Briggs)
Secretary Junior Work
1896-1897 Brown, Mrs. Henry C.  
1897-1901 Shepard, Miss Bertha  
1901-1904 Moore, Miss Anna P.  
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