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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 4

Arlington Street Church (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1730-1979


Records of the Arlington Street Church, including record books of marriages, baptisms, and church membership, as well as correspondence, material on ministers, pews, and financial records. The records span 1730-1979.


  • Creation: 1730-1979


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


52 boxes

This collection consists of correspondence; official and general church records, including record books of marriages, baptisms, and church membership; material on church committees and organizations; ministers and personnel; and financial records. Portions of this collection have been digitized and can be accessed by clicking on the "See digital images" link in the container list.

Biographical / Historical

This community was founded in 1729 by Scots-Irish Presbyterians, who were immigrants from the northern part of Ireland. The congregation was first referred to as the Church of the Presbyterian Strangers. Originally, their services were conducted in a converted barn; this structure was converted into a meeting house in 1744, which became known as "the Meeting House in Long Lane." In 1786, the Massachusetts Convention met in this church, and in honor of this event the name of Long Lane was changed to Federal Street, and the church became known as the Federal Street Church. The congregation moved to a new building in 1862 on Arlington Street in the Back Bay section of Boston, and it became known as the Arlington Street Church. Some of the church's early ministers were: John Moorhead (1729-1773); Robert Annan (1783-1786); Jeremy Belknap (1787-1798); John Snelling Popkin (1799-1802); William Ellery Channing (1803-1842); and Ezra Stiles Gannett (1824-1871).


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. General correspondence, 1805-1879
  2. Series II. Official and general church records
  3. Series III. Church construction
  4. Series IV. Committees, 1803-1951
  5. Series V. Organizations and activities, 1774-1939
  6. Series VI. Liturgy, organ, and decorative fixtures, 1862-1935
  7. Series VII. Sunday School and "Church Door Pulpit"
  8. Series VIII. Ministers and personnel, 1783-1954
  9. Series IX. Pews
  10. Series X. Financial records
  11. Series XI. Relations with other organizations and individuals

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Arlington Street Church, 1978 and 1980.

Digitization Funding

Collections and items have been digitized with the generous support of The Polonsky Foundation.

Related Materials

For related collections, please see bMS 593.

Arlington Street Church (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1730-1979
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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