2017 Events

excerpt from a poster for an American Committee for Relief in the Near East fundraising campaign
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Speaker: Owen Miller

It is difficult to underestimate the effect of the missionary experience, either for the Middle East or for the United States. American missionaries founded the top universities in Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon. These institutions of higher education played a key role in the education of a segment of the political elite. And in the United States, nearly all of the academic study of the Middle East, until the mid-1950s, was directly linked to missionary endeavors. Perhaps even more importantly,...

image of Kailua Church, an excerpt from "The King's Country Seat, and Church at Kailua", frontispiece of "Scenes in the Hawaiian Islands and California" (1865) by Mary Evarts Anderson
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Speaker: Owen Miller

In 1818, William Goodell (the missionary) introduced his relative, Lucy Goodale to his college friend Asa Thurston. Lucy Goodale and Asa Thurston were two of the earliest American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions' missionaries in Hawai'i. Over the course of the 19th century, the missionaries in Hawai'i invested heavily in sugar plantations and helped take over the islands including the coup that overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani. They eventually led the movement for U.S. annexation of...

Robert Briscoe, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1962
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Speaker: Rachel Gordan

In the spring of 1957, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, Robert Briscoe, paid a visit to Boston, while on tour of the United States. A religious, Jewish, Irish mayor was an unexpected presence who represented much of what Cold War Americans hoped was possible in their own country: courageous patriotism from members of all parties of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Although little-remembered today, the visit of an Orthodox Jewish Irish mayor created much fanfare and presented a model of...

M. L'Instant, abolitionist from Haiti, an excerpt from "The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840" by Benjamin Robert Haydon
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Speaker: Owen Miller

William Goodell (the abolitionist) was a distant relative of William Goodell (the missionary to the Ottoman Empire) and Lucy Goodale. Like his relatives, William Goodell (the abolitionist) was deeply involved with the Congregational Church, which played a central role in the abolition of slavery in the United States.

In 1833 Goodell founded the New York Anti-Slavery Society and the American Anti-Slavery Society. Over the next three decades, he devoted his life to the cause of...

electric guitar
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Speaker: Randall J. Stephens

Alongside the headlines, radio sermons, about the Beatle scare in the mid-1960s there was another story emerging. The so-called generation gap and the trouble with wayward youth riled conservative Christians from coast to coast. In response to worries about the widening generation gap, many evangelicals — as well as Catholics and some mainline Protestants — made peace with the form of rock music. The embrace of rock was not too out of the ordinary. Conservative Christianity proved remarkably...

cover illustration from the 1849 edition of "Pilgrims Progress" by John Bunyan published by the American Tract Society
Monday, April 24, 2017
Speaker: Sonia Hazard

Join Sonia Hazard, who holds a joint research fellowship with the Congregational Library & Archives and the Boston Athenaeum, for a report on her current research at both institutions. Hazard works on the popular reception of evangelical print media in the antebellum United States, specifically the cultural impact of the American Tract Society, the biggest religious publisher in the country during that period. She is especially interested in recovering unorthodox modes of reception...

illustration of a piper from the title page of "The Psalm Singer's Amusement" (1781) by William BIllings
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Performers: Norumbega Harmony

Join choral ensemble Norumbega Harmony for a noontime concert exploring the musical and cultural transformation of Congregational sacred music from the Revolutionary Era's stark psalm tunes and lively fuging tunes, pioneered by William Billings of Boston (1746-1800), to the European Romantic melodies and harmonies of the city's great music educator and church composer Lowell Mason (1792-1872).


David A. Hollinger, UC Berkeley
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Speaker: David A. Hollinger

We will be hosting historian David A. Hollinger to talk about his upcoming book, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World But Changed America. This is a unique opportunity, not only to meet a leading historian — Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of History emeritus at the University of California,...

Christmas tree decorations
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Performers: Concordia Consort

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the stacks
Not a soul was not wanting a time to relax;
The staff chose books from the collection with care,
In hopes that good friends of the Library would soon be there!

Join the Congregational Library & Archives for an evening of fun, food, and festive music as we celebrate the holidays for our second Late Night at the Library! The staff has carefully selected the best of the best of our holiday-related materials...