Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 140

Bulfinch Place Church (Boston, Mass.) Records, 1827-1957

Contains records of the ministry of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches in Boston, which held Sunday services and sponsored the Howard Sunday School. This ministry was carried on in several successive churches, which were the Friendship Street Chapel, the Pitts Street Chapel, the Bulfinch Place Chapel, and the Bulfinch Place Church. The collection includes minutes of meetings, superintendent's reports, and teacher's reports.

Dates

  • 1827-1957

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Extent

16 boxes

Records of the Bulfinch Place Church, (also called Bulfinch Place Chapel) particularly records of the Howard Sunday School which was operated by the church. The records include minutes, superintendent's reports and teacher's reports. Sunday services and the Howard Sunday School classes were held by members of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches.

The records listed below were so damaged by water that they had to be discarded.
  1. Abstract from Class Book No. 4. 1838-1841.
  2. Sunday School Minute Book No. 12, 1853-1854.
  3. Sunday School Minute Book No. 13. 1854-1856.
  4. Sunday School Minute Book No. 11. 1851-1853.
  5. Sunday School Minute Book No. 10. 1849-1851.
  6. Sunday School Minute Book No. 9. 1847-1849.
  7. Sunday School Minute Book No. 8. 1845-1847.
  8. List of students, teachers and record of SS attendance. n.d.
  9. List of students, teachers and record of SS attendance. 1897.
  10. Sunday School Minute Book No. 15. 1858-1860.
  11. Sunday School Record Book. A.M. and P.M. 1866-1867.
  12. Sunday School Book of Classes No. 6. 1843.
  13. Sunday School Attendance Record Book. 1885.
  14. A Duplicate in Part of Receiving Book No. 1.
  15. Sunday School Minute Book No. 1. 1831-1833.
  16. Sunday School Receiving Book 1861-1862.
  17. Sunday School Receiving Book 1863-1867.
  18. Sunday School Receiving Book No. 1. 1831-1837.
  19. Sunday School Receiving Book No. 2. 1837-1839.
  20. Sunday School Receiving Book No. 3. 1839-1843.
  21. Sunday School Minute Book No. 4. 1837-1839.
  22. Sunday School Minute Book No. 2. 1833-1835.
  23. Sunday School Minute Book No. 3. 1835-1837.
  24. Sunday School Minute Book (duplicate of No. 1). 1831-1833.
  25. Sunday School Book. About lessons. n.d.
  26. Sunday School Minute Book No. 5. 1839-1841.
  27. Howard Sunday School. Social Club.
  28. Sunday School Receiving Book. 1862-1863.
  29. Sunday School Record Book, 1888-1893.
  30. Sunday School Record Book, 1878-1883.

Biographical / Historical

The Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches in the city of Boston was organized in 1834 to carry on the work of the Ministry-at-Large, which was founded in 1826 by Unitarian minister Joseph Tuckerman. The purposes of the Fraternity were “moral and religious instruction and the improvement of the poor and persons who have no usual place of religious worship in the city of Boston and vicinity.” The work was chiefly visiting and becoming acquainted with people and their problems in their own homes. A delegate body representing the cooperating churches was organized, and the work was carried on by the ministers in charge of the chapels. At first the work was done without a church building. Sunday evening services were held in a building on the corner of Portland and Merrimac Streets. A Sunday School named for John Howard, an English philanthropist, was also established, and that held morning and afternoon sessions. The number of families served grew rapidly, and it soon became evident that a special building for Sunday services and the Sunday School was needed. A chapel was built on Friend Street and this served its purpose for eight years (1828-1836). A much larger chapel was built in 1836 on Pitts Street, and finally the chapel on Bulfinch Place was built in 1869. The Bulfinch Place Chapel continued as Bulfinch Place Church, and in 1928 the building occupied by this church was designated as the Parker Memorial Building, named in honor of Theodore Parker. The Bulfinch Place Church held its services and its Sunday School in the Parker Memorial Building. The Church’s bond of Union, adopted in 1928, is the following: “Bulfinch Place Church is dedicated to religion but not to a creed. Love to God expressed by service rendered to Man we regard as the essence of religion. Consecrating ourselves to this principle we strive to worship in the spirit of truth, to develop character, and to serve humanity. We cordially welcome to our fellowship all who are trying to understand and appreciate the spiritual values of life.”

-from "The Story of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches: A Chapter in Religious and Social Service." Boston, Massachusetts, July 1930

  • 1826-1840 Joseph Tuckerman
  • 1834-1839 Frederic Tarrall Gray
  • 1839-1845 Robert Cassie Waterston
  • 1845-1846 Andrew Bigelow
  • 1846-1896 Samuel Hobart Winkley
  • 1894-1927 Christoper Rhodes Eliot
  • 1898-1901 Andrew Dewey Keengan Shurtleff, assistant minister
  • 1923-1926 Harold Lionel Pickett, associate minister
  • 1927-1931 Robert W. Jones
  • 1932-1943 Chester Arthur Drummond
  • 1938-1940 Agnes Cecelia Larson Cook
  • 1942-1957 Ivan Anton Klein
Ministers
1826-1840
Joseph Tuckerman
1834-1839
Frederic Tarrall Gray
1839-1845
Robert Cassie Waterston
1845-1846
Andrew Bigelow
1846-1896
Samuel Hobart Winkley
1894-1927
Christoper Rhodes Eliot
1898-1901
Andrew Dewey Keengan Shurtleff, assistant minister
1923-1926
Harold Lionel Pickett, associate minister
1927-1931
Robert W. Jones
1932-1943
Chester Arthur Drummond
1938-1940
Agnes Cecelia Larson Cook
1942-1957
Ivan Anton Klein

Arrangement

Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Bound records
  2. Series II. Church records in file folders

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches, 1974.

Processing Information

Processed by: Alan Seaburg, 1975
Link to catalog
Title
Bulfinch Place Church (Boston, Mass.) Records (bMS 140): A Finding Aid
Author
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
EAD ID
div00140

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.

Contact:
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-1911 USA
(617) 384-7904
617-496-4111 (Fax)