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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 751

Cole, David H. Papers, 1933-2001.

Sermons and other writings of Unitarian Universalist minister Charles Woodhouse, including sermons, material related to ministerial, professional work, and affiliations, newsletters, work for an oral history of the UU merger, and biographical documents. The papers span 1933-2001.


  • 1933-2001


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


12 boxes

This collection contains sermons; material related to Cole’s ministerial work in various churches and organizations; writings and addresses, some published; bulletins and newsletters for multiple congregations he served; documents and papers for professional organizations such as the Humiliati, the Fraters, and the Unitarian Universalist Association; as well as biographical and personal material. The collection also contains Cole's research, interviews—both in transcript and audio form—and correspondence related to An Oral History of the Consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America and the Creation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1997).

Biographical / Historical

David H. Cole (1933-2011) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on April 5, 1921. He graduated from Tufts University in 1945 and Tufts University Crane School of Theology in 1947. He served as minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Danvers, Massachusetts from 1944-1949, where he was ordained in 1947. Also in 1947, Cole and other young Unitarian ministers organized a group called the Humiliati. The group aimed to revitalize the American Unitarian Association, especially in its approach to theology. The Humilati put forth a theology of "emergent Universalism" which promoted a thorough integration of religion in all aspects of life, and that a person’s innate goodness is reinforced in worship. Throughout Cole’s ministry he worked with the First Universalist Society of Chicago, IL; the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana, IL; the Unitarian Church of Rockville, MD; and the West Shore Unitarian Church in Rocky River, OH. He married Iska Jurasek-Godsey on July 25, 1963, after which the family took up seasonal residence in Maine. During his times there, he assisted at the Midcoast Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Edgecomb, Maine, where he preached from 1963 to 2007.

After his retirement in 1986, he served as Interim Minister at the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Universalist Churches in Boston, MA; the Pacific Unitarian Church of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Church of Strongsville, OH; Olmstead Unitarian Universalist Church in Olmstead, OH; the Unitarian Universalist Church of Surprise, AZ; and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, Long Island, NY. From 1993 to 2001 Cole worked on an oral history of the UU merger, compiling interviews with ministers. The work was published in 1997 under the title An Oral History of the Consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America and the Creation of the Unitarian Universalist Association. In 2005, Meadville Lombard Theological School and the University of Chicago awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Throughout his life, Cole worked on behalf of human rights and the world community. He assisted in the organization of housing for children displaced and orphaned in Germany after World War II, he served as a delegate at conferences of the International Association for Religious Freedom in Belgium and Transylvania, and he worked both in Prague and the United States to help reorganize and revitalize Prague’s Unitarian Universalist community. Cole died on June 27, 2011.


Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Sermons
  2. Series II. Ministerial work
  3. Series III. Writings and addresses
  4. Series IV. Bulletins and newsletters
  5. Series V. Humiliati, Fraters, and other organizations
  6. Series VI. UU Merger Oral History
  7. Series VII. Biographical and personal material

Acquisition Information

Gift of David H. Cole, 2004.

Processing Information

Processed by Michaela Montgomery, 2015.
Link to catalog
Cole, David H. Papers, 1933-2001: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Repository Details

Part of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School Repository

Special Collections at Andover-Harvard Theological 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.

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