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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 740

Follen Community Church (Lexington, Mass.). Records, 1807-2015.


Records of the Follen Community Church in Lexington, Massachusetts, including general church records, financial and membership records, worship material, such as sermons and orders of service, records of church groups and clubs, and photographs. The records span 1807-2007.


  • 1807-2015


There are restrictions on access to this collection (box 7). Consult the curator of manuscripts and archives for further information.


62 boxes

The collection is divided into seven series. The general church records were compiled yearly by the church itself and contained meeting minutes, annual reports, financial reports, and material related to other church business. The collection also contains financial records, such as treasurer's reports; membership records; worship material, including sermons, orders of service, and bibles used in the church; material related to church groups and clubs, such as the East Lexington Men's Club, the Follen Alliance, and the Sewing Circle; and subject files that cover building maintenance and art in the church. There are also photographs, clippings, audio cassettes of church services, and videotapes of Youth Group services and other special services.

Biographical / Historical

The beginnings of Follen Community Church took place in February 1833 when the 300 inhabitants of the East Village of Lexington resolved to ask the town to provide them with a more convenient house of worship. After two years of fruitless efforts, they created a subscription list to pay their own minister and hired a controversial young German, Charles Theodore Christian Follen, who preached his first sermon in April 1835 in what became known as the Stone Building. The Stone Building had been built in 1833 as a venue for speakers holding radical equalitarian and abolitionist views. From 1835 to 1837, Ralph Waldo Emerson served as minister. In 1839, determined to build their own church, the group recalled Charles Follen from New York, and raised $3,386 to build an unconventional octagonal structure designed by Follen. It was dedicated on January 15, 1840; Follen himself died en route to the ceremony in the sinking of the steamboat Lexington. Organized as a Christian Association of East Lexington in 1840, it was later incorporated as the Second Congregational Society of Lexington in 1845, and subsequently incorporated (uniting the Second Congregational Society of Lexington and the First Universalist Society) under the name Church of the Redeemer in Lexington in 1865. In 1885 it was renamed the Follen Church of Lexington.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. General church records, annual reports, and newsletters
  2. Series II. Church histories
  3. Series III. Financial records
  4. Series IV. Membership records
  5. Series V. Worship materials, including sermons and orders of service
  6. Series VI. Church groups and clubs
  7. Series VII. Subject files
  8. Series VIII. Photographs, clippings, and audio/visual material

Acquisition Information

Gift of Follen Community Church, 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Suarez, 2015.

Follen Community Church (Lexington, Mass.). Records, 1807-2015: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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