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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 70

Eliot, Frederick May, 1889-1958. Papers, 1909-1961.


Papers of Frederick May Eliot, Unitarian minister, World War I army chaplain, and president of the American Unitarian Association. The papers cover 1909-1961.


  • 1909-1961.


26 boxes
Collection includes sermons and addresses, correspondence, 1911-1958; notebooks of preaching materials, 1914-1954; notes and quotations from his readings; college essays; hymns, prayers; magazine and newpaper clippings; and special correspondence with Leslie T. Pennington pertaining to Eliot's nomination and election as the President of the American Unitarian Association.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick May Eliot (1889-1958) was born in Boston and graduated Harvard College with an AB in 1911 and an AM in 1912. He was a Harvard College instructor of government from 1912 to 1913 and attended Harvard Divinity School from 1912 to 1915. He was ordained to the Unitarian ministry in 1915 at the First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also served at the Unity Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served as president of the Young People's Religious Union from 1916 to 1918 and served as an army chaplain in France during World War I from 1918 to 1919. He chaired the Unitarian Commission on Appraisal from 1934 to 1937. In 1937 he was elected president of the American Unitarian Association and held the post until his death in 1958. While president, he established the Unitarian Service Committee in 1940 in order to aid Europeans under the Nazi regime. He served as a trustee of Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts) from 1940 to 1958, and the College designated its religious services building as the Eliot House. He was chaplain of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1948 to 1948 and again from 1951 to 1958. He was on the Board of the Massachusetts Bible Society, served as a director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He authored The Unwrought Iron: An Introduction to Religion (1920).


Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Sermons and addresses, 1911-1917
  2. Series II. Sermons and addresses, 1917-1958
  3. Series III. College papers
  4. Series IV. Newspaper clippings about Eliot and personal material
  5. Series V. Notebooks of preaching materials
  6. Series VI. Miscellaneous notebooks, lectures, essays, etc.
  7. Series VII. Notes
  8. Series VIII. Quotes and periodical clippings
  9. Series IX. Papers
  10. Series X. Baptismal service
  11. Series XI. Correspondence

Acquisition Information

Gift of Miss Abigail A. Eliot; received: 1972.
Eliot, Frederick May, 1889-1958. Papers, 1909-1961: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University 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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