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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 99

Pierce, Richard D. (Richard Donald), 1915-1973. Papers, 1728-1973.


This collection consists of biographical, academic, and religious material related to Richard Donald Pierce. The papers span 1728-1973.


  • 1728-1973.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


3 boxes
This collection is organized into three series: biographical and personal material, material from his academic life, and material relating to his religious and philanthropic life. The biographical material includes calendars of his academic and ministerial schedules for most of the last twenty years of his life. There are also photographs of Pierce with friends, colleagues, and family; correspondence (mostly letters from his sister); a Pierce family genealogy, records related to genealogical research; a diary from his youth; and prints and stamps he collected. The academic series consists of reading notes, lecture notes, and papers written for courses Pierce took, mostly from his seminary years. His dissertation, research materials for his dissertation, and his PhD diploma and other honorary degrees are also included. The ministerial and philanthropic material consists of orders of service, newsletters, and correspondence from churches he preached in, as well as notes and administrative material from the First Church in Boston, where he served on various committees. The collection also includes several issues of the Franklin Journal from his tenure as minister in Temple, Maine; prayers, invocations, and lectures he delivered at various churches and functions; and correspondence, agendas, and orders of service from various organizations he was associated with.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Donald Pierce (1915-1973) was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1935 and received his BD in 1938 from Andover Theological Seminary. On August 19, 1939, he was ordained by the Franklin Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches. He served as acting minister for the Congregational and Baptist Churches in Temple, Maine, from 1937-1952. He was granted affiliated Unitarian standing in 1944, and in 1951 became a minister in the American Unitarian Association.

He received an SB from Simmons College in 1946, a PhD from Boston University the same year, and an STM from Harvard Divinity School in 1948. He spent most of his academic life at Emerson College in Boston, joining the history faculty in 1947, and becoming Dean of the Chapel in the same year. He was Chair of the Faculty from 1952-1958, and Dean of the College from 1958-1973.

He prepared and edited the Records of the First Church in Boston, 1630-1867, which was published in 1961, and also edited the Records of the First Church in Salem, published in 1974. He belonged to the First and Second Church in Boston, but preached often in various churches over the course of his career.


Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Biographical and personal material
  2. Series II. Academic material
  3. Series III. Religious and philanthropic material

Acquisition Information

Gift of Thomas Dahill, 2009.
Pierce, Richard D. (Richard Donald), 1915-1973. Papers, 1728-1973: 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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