Archival Records of National Organizations

Letterbooks of the American Unitarian Association
Letterbooks of the American Unitarian Association

The archival records of the Unitarian Universalist Association, its predecessor denominations, and related bodies is the core of the Manuscripts and Archives Department. These records were described by Tim Driscoll, the project archivist who arranged and described much of the collection, in this way: "The collection is a rich accumulation of the routine and extraordinary records that document the management and mission of the central headquarters ... as well as the continental and international activities of Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships." Important highlights of the collection include:

  • Two record books containing records of the Universalist General Conventions beginning in 1793, including minutes of meetings, copies of circular letters, etc. (bMS 163), and Records of the Philadelphia Universalist Convention, 1789-1805 (bMS 407), some of the few surviving Universalist organizational manuscript materials from the first half of the 19th century. The latter collection includes the "Report of Committee to Select and Publish a Collection of Hymns, November 3, 1791" and includes a list of hymns selected.
  • A notebook containing records of the American Unitarian Association, 1825-1845. Contains the constitution and handwritten minutes of annual meetings (bMS 199/1).
  • Letterbooks of the American Unitarian Association, a collection of thousands of letters received by the secretaries of the AUA from the earliest organizing period through the 19th century (bMS 571, etc.). Approximately half of the volumes have been taken apart and the letters preserved.  A paper index of correspondents, dates, and locations is currently being entered in a database.
  • Papers of many of the General Superintendents of the Universalist Church of America and of many of the Presidents of the American Unitarian Association and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

For additional information, see the list of institutional records; see Visit Special Collections for additional help in finding materials.