The UUA Congregational Records is our most used archival collection. This page provides a summary of the contents of this collection and tools to access material within this collection.
In 2014, the Unitarian Universalist Association entrusted Meadville Lombard with 450 linear feet of archival material documenting the history of 20th-century UU congregations. Stretching from the 1920s to the 1990s, these materials provide a rare glimpse into the lived Unitarian Universalism of congregations across the United States and insight into the ways the American Unitarian Association, the Universalist Church of America, and the UUA supported these congregations.
This is one of Meadville Lombard’s most prized collections. We want to ensure that this rich source of material is accessible to the communities it documents. The collection has been open to researchers from the moment we received it. Over one hundred researchers have made use of these documents so far. From professional scholars, to seminarians, to lay UUs, these records have been used for books, research papers, congregational histories, sermons, and anniversary celebrations.
The UUA Congregational Records contain a file about every single UUA congregation that existed during the twentieth century. Most files contain dozens of pages, with some larger congregational files numbering hundreds of pages. Documents within these files include field reports from regions, districts, and the national office; congregational histories; photographs; correspondence between the congregation and the UUA; paperwork filed to the UUA; sermons and orders of service; and other printed ephemera.
If you are able to come to Chicago, email an archivist to schedule a visit. Researchers can request individual congregations or entire states or regions to access.
If you can't come to Chicago, we can still help you! Even though onsite access is preferable, if you have specific questions or need scans of specific documents, we can help you. For assistance, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!
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Not sure where to start with your UU-centric research question? We can help! Our Researching UU Individuals and Organizations guide will direct you to useful reference material, digital resources, books, and archival documents, both at MLTS and at other libraries and archives, to help you research Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist history.