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Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist Resources (LIGHT): General UU Resources
As a Unitarian Universalist library, we hold extensive material produced by and about Unitarians, Universalists, Unitarian Universalists, and liberal religion more broadly. The material on this page is not meant to be exhaustive or representative, but these resources are all organized chronologically or by individual named entries, making them excellent reference resources.
The Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography is a public web resource that contains hundreds of concise biographies of Unitarian and Universalist leaders and celebrated individuals whose religion was Unitarian, Universalist, or Unitarian Universalist. The theme in many of these biographies is the relationship between personal religious conviction and achievement in the larger world. The dictionary also provides authoritative judgment on the nature and extent of its subjects' Unitarian and Universalist identity and/or affiliation. The articles have been contributed by a number of historians and researchers, many recognized experts on their subjects.
Harvard Square Library is a digital library that features biographies, books, historical documents, and other materials about Unitarian Universalism and religious liberalism. Harvard Square Library provides these materials free of charge to an audience of Unitarian Universalist congregations, ministers, members, and friends, as well as theological students, scholarly researchers, and other site visitors from around the world.
Dissenting Academies Database and Encyclopedia 1660-1860 is a major digital resource for the study of the dissenting academies in the British Isles from 1660 to 1860. This database detailed historical accounts of individual academies, Congregational, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Baptist, Methodist, and nondenominational, together with biographical articles on leading tutors including Joseph Priestley and Thomas Belsham, and a wealth of data on the lives and careers of students who received an academy education, such as Thomas Secker, Isaac Watts, and Thomas Malthus.
This guide is a joint venture between the MidAmerica Region History and Heritage Committee and the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections that contains links to online congregational histories. While not exhaustive and not the entire story of our movement, these histories are a useful resource to ground UU history in the life of the congregations in which it is lived.
While increasingly dated, this is an authoritative bibliography created by Conrad Wright and is still quite useful.
Other Digital Resources
While Google Books and Hathi Trust are not explicitly focused on Unitarian and Universalist material, they do contain extensive, full-text searchable copies of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century Unitarian, Universalist, and liberal religious pamphlets, books and other published material.
Google Books contains full text access to published works in the public domain and limited access to some published copyrighted material. If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy.
HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The partnership includes a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.
Unitarian Universalism is our specialty! Our team of librarians and archivists can answer questions you have you about using these resources, finding more specialized resources, or any other question about Unitarian Universalism.
All of these resources are held by Wiggin Library and can be checked out by students and community members. These general resources provide overviews of UU history, theology, polity, and practices. To check out a book, just click the title to open its online catalog record.
All of these resources are held by Wiggin Library and can be checked out by students and community members. These resources are historical in nature and contain primary documents and entries for both individuals and congregations. To check out a book, just click the title to open its online catalog record.
All of these resources are held by Wiggin Library and can be checked out by students and community members. These books contain entries on individual theologians. To check out a book, just click the title to open its online catalog record.
All of these resources are held by Wiggin Library and can be checked out by students and community members. This book provides a chronological overview of liberal religious education. To check out a book, just click the title to open its online catalog record.
"This book attempts to trace the history of Universalist and Unitarian hymn writers, hymns, and hymn books. It is not complete since hymns and even their writers and hymnbooks are often ephemeral, and disappear quickly from memory." (Description from publisher)
Organized by region, by congregation, and by minister, Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist directories and yearbooks provide extensive information about congregation size and growth.
The Wiggin Library at Meadville Lombard holds a complete set of the Unitarian print directories, a near complete set of the Universalist directories, and a complete set of Unitarian Universalist directories. To access print copies of these materials at Meadville Lombard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections
Meadville Lombard has over 400 physical and digital archival collections, with topics ranging from Puritanism to Paganism and everything in between. Our emphasis is liberal religion in the west, 20th century Unitarian Universalism, and communities underserved and excluded by traditional archives. We are particularly proud of our UUA Congregational Records, which tell the story of every Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist congregation from the 1920s to the 1990s.'
Andover-Harvard Theological Library serves as a national repository and library of record for the Unitarian Universalist tradition. Its collections includes books, hymnals, periodicals, curricula, pamphlets, sermons, personal papers, audio-recordings, movies, church records, photographs, postcards, digital, and many other types of materials. These pages have been created to give an overview of its Unitarian Universalist resources in the general and special collections and to suggest ways of using them.
The William Munroe Special Collections abundantly document the Colonial, Revolutionary, and literary history of Concord, Massachusetts and shed light on the full range of Concord individuals (major and minor), events, institutions, and organizations. Printed books, archival and manuscript materials, pamphlets, ephemera, broadsides, maps, photographic and pictorial holdings, municipal records, printed town reports, street directories, vital records, genealogical volumes, historic building files, works of art, artifacts, and other types of material may be all used by the researcher in the Special Collections.
Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures.
The University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center is home to the Library’s rare books, manuscripts, and the University of Chicago Archives. Included are the records of the University of Chicago Divinity School Federated Faculty and papers of scholars and ministers affiliated with Meadville Lombard.
The Harris Manchester Special Collections holds the manuscripts, papers, and other interesting artifacts relating to the history of the College and its members, as well as prominent British Unitarians. It also has extensive archive holdings on Protestant Dissent and non-conforming traditions, and over 10,000 pamphlets and tracts, primarily Unitarian, from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
"ArchiveGrid provides access to detailed archival collection descriptions such as documents, personal papers, family histories, and other archival materials held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. It also provides contact information for the institutions where these collections are kept."
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, founded in 1824, is one of the nation’s largest archives of historical documents. We are proud to serve as Philadelphia’s Library of American History, with over 21 million manuscripts, books, and graphic images encompassing centuries of US history. HSP serves more than 4,000 on-site researchers annually and millions more around the globe who use its online resources. HSP is also a leading center for the documentation and study of ethnic communities and immigrant experiences in the 20th century, and one of the largest family history libraries in the country.