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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 539

Peabody, Ephraim, 1807-1856. Autograph Book, 1662-1849.


Autograph book kept by Unitarian minister Ephraim Peabody covering the period 1662-1849 and including letters from many leading Unitarians.


  • 1662-1849.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


2 boxes

This collection consists of a volume of autograph letters and signatures kept by Ephraim Peabody and arranged "with pious care by his wife as a token of her affection." The material covers the period from 1662 to 1849, and includes letters from many leading Unitarian ministers of this period including Henry Whitney Bellows, William Ellery Channing, Convers Francis, Ezra S. Gannett, Andrews Norton, Theodore Parker, George Ripley, Henry Ware, and Henry Ware, Jr. The volume was given to the library of the American Unitarian Association, October 24, 1928, by Francis G. Peabody. The volume was taken apart and the letters arranged alphabetically in separate acid free folders. All the letters are addressed to Peabody unless otherwise noted.

The eighteenth century materials in this collection consist of sermons written by John Williams in 1727; the Rev. David Hall (1704-1789; Harvard AB, 1724) of Sutton, Massachusetts in1730; and Samuel Dunbar in 1778. The collection also includes fragments of four sermons and religious notes attributed to Rev. Stephen Williams (1693-1782; Harvard AB 1713) of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, in 1721, and a document with two 1798 letters between Rev. Samuel Foxcroft (1735-1807; Harvard AB 1754) of New Gloucester, Maine and Rev. Eli Forbes (1726-1804); Harvard AB 1751) of Gloucester, Massachusetts, concerning the printing of a religious book. There is also a sermon from 1662 by an unknown author.

Biographical / Historical

Ephraim Peabody (1807-1856) was born in Wilton, New Hampshire, graduated from Bowdoin College in 1827 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1830. He served parishes in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati, Ohio, and New Bedford and Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1846 until 1855 he was the pastor of King's Chapel, Boston. He helped plan the Boston Public Schools system and was a founder of the Prudent Institution for Savings, a forerunner of modern savings banks. He also served as an editor of the Western Messenger.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Series I. Collection information
  2. Series II. Letters
  3. Series III. Miscellaneous autographs
  4. Series IV. Miscellaneous

Acquisition Information

Gift of Unitarian Universalist Association, 1980.

Related Materials

For related collection, please see bMS 381.

Peabody, Ephraim, 1807-1856. Autograph Book, 1662-1849: A Finding Aid.
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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