Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 573

Congregational Parish (Unitarian) of Arlington, MA. Records, 1733-1965

Scope and Contents

Parish registers (marriages, baptisms, funerals, membership); legal documents including pew deeds; records of organizations and committees; financial records and correspondence; building records; newsletters and programs; ministerial papers; some town records and memorabilia. Records span the period from the organization of the Northwest Precinct in Cambridge (1732) to the merger of the First Congregational Parish (Unitarian) and the First Universalist Society, both in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1965. Collection also includes some later papers of the Reverend William W. Lewis (1955-1969) and of organizations which became defunct in the period immediately after the merger. The records are organized into seven series, which are: I. Official Records; II. Ministers/Ministry; III. Building and Property records; IV. Denominational records; V. Sunday school/religious education; VI. organizations; and VII. History. These series are further divided into subseries, as indicated by the following list.


  • 1733-1965


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


44 boxes

Biographical / Historical

The church was gathered on September 9, 1739 as the Second Church in Cambridge. Cambridge's Second or North-West Precinct (often called Menotomy Precinct) had been set off in 1732; organization of the Second Parish in Cambridge came at a somewhat later date. In 1829, the congregation called its first Unitarian minister,Frederic Henry Hedge. In 1867, the town's name was changed from West Cambridge to Arlington, and the church was then called the First Congregational Church and Parish (Unitarian) of Arlington. In 1965, the First Congregational Parish (Unitarian) and the First Universalist Society of Arlington merged to form the present day First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (from An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts, by Harold Field Worthley, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1970, and from Arlington's First Parish, by Charles Grady, 2000).


Series I. Official records
  1. Subseries A: Parish records (baptisms, marriages, deaths)
  2. Subseries B: Membership, parish lists. Etc
  3. Subseries C: Warrants of parish meetings
  4. Subseries D: Records of parish meetings
  5. Subseries E: Annual reports
  6. Subseries F: Records of Parish Committee
  7. Subseries G: Financial records
  8. Subseries H: Trustees of trust funds
  9. Subseries J: Records of Standing Committees
  10. Subseries K: Records of consolidation. 1964-65
  11. Subseries L: Miscellaneous documents
Series II: Ministers and ministry
  1. Subseries A. Papers of ministers - Thaddeus Fiske D.D. 1788-1828
  2. Subseries B: Programs and newsletters
Series III: Building and property records
  1. Subseries A: Records relating to First, Second and Third Meetinghouses, 1734-1855
  2. Subseries B: Building Fourth Meetinghouse, 1856
  3. Subseries C: Records relating to Fourth Meetinghouse, 1S56-1965
  4. Subseries D: Building Parish House, 1956
  1. Series IV: Denominational records
  1. Series V: Sunday School and religious education
Series VI: Organizations
  1. Subseries A: Social Alliance
  2. Subseries B: Evening Alliance
  3. Subseries C: Young Peoples' Religious Union
  4. Subseries D: Laymen's League
  5. Subseries E: Couples' Club/Pairs & Spares
  6. Subseries F: Fair
Series VII: History
  1. Subseries A: Papers of George H. Gray, 1853-1867
  2. Subseries B: History of the church
  3. Subseries C: Dedications, centennials
  4. Subseries D: Miscellaneous papers of church families
  5. Subseries E: Town events
  6. Subseries F: Arlington Council of Churches
  7. Subseries G: Miscellaneous photos, flyers, programs, prints, and scrapbooks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers donated by the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
Congregational Parish (Unitarian) of Arlington, MA. Records, 1733-1965
Andover-Harvard Theological Library

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.

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