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Humanist Special Collection: Physical Collections

Currently, most of the Humanist Special Collection is not digitized and is only accessible physically on site. However, you don't have to be in Chicago to use the Humanist Special Collection. This page provides and overview of how to use the Humanist Special Collection material that is not digitized. 

Physical Collection List

Papers are archival collections created by an individual or family. While many of these papers of those of humanist ministers, we also have papers of lay leaders, activists, and other individuals whose lives and experiences are important to humanism. 

Records are archival collections created by organizations. These can include congregations and organizations with historical or current connections to humanism and the larger secular/free thought movement. 

Using the Humanist Special Collection at Distance

If you need access to archival material from the Humanist Special Collection that is not digitized, we offer access to physical collections to researchers through limited scanning request and general reference. If you can't come to Chicago, email us at and we will do what we can to help you.  

Using the Archives and Special Collections in Chicago

The Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections is located right in the center of Chicago's downtown in the Loop neighborhood. We are open 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday by appointment. For researchers traveling to Chicago, we have special room rates at local hotels. Due to building security, all archive visits must be scheduled ahead of time. To arrange a visit, email us at with the dates and times you want to visit and the collections you would like to use. 

Other Useful Collections

While not part of the Humanist Special Collection, the UUA Congregational Records contain extensive documentation of the Fellowship Movement, which was heavily influenced by humanism. To explore these records, click here. 

Ask an Archivist

If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!

We can help with...

  • Scheduling an archive visit
  • Accessing archival materials
  • Using our digital archive tools
  • Answering reference questions
  • Scanning selections of documents
  • Donating archival material to Meadville Lombard
  • Creating archives at your local congregation

Meadville Lombard Wiggin Library
180 N. Wabash Ave.
Suite 625 
Chicago, IL 60601

Library and Archives Phone: 312-546-6488        Library Email:        Archives Email: