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bMS 140

Bulfinch Place Church (Boston, Mass.) Records (bMS 140): A Finding Aid

Andover-Harvard Theological Library


Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138-1911

© 1975 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update 2016 June 27

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School
Call No.: bMS 140
Title: Bulfinch Place Church (Boston, Mass.) Records, 1827-1957
Quantity: (16 Boxes)
Abstract: Contains records of the ministry of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches in Boston, which held Sunday services and sponsored the Howard Sunday School. This ministry was carried on in several successive churches, which were the Friendship Street Chapel, the Pitts Street Chapel, the Bulfinch Place Chapel, and the Bulfinch Place Church. The collection includes minutes of meetings, superintendent's reports, and teacher's reports.

Processed by:

Alan Seaburg, 1975

Acquisition Information:

Gift of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches, 1974.

Access Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Historical Note

The Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches in the city of Boston was organized in 1834 to carry on the work of the Ministry-at-Large, which was founded in 1826 by Unitarian minister Joseph Tuckerman. The purposes of the Fraternity were “moral and religious instruction and the improvement of the poor and persons who have no usual place of religious worship in the city of Boston and vicinity.” The work was chiefly visiting and becoming acquainted with people and their problems in their own homes. A delegate body representing the cooperating churches was organized, and the work was carried on by the ministers in charge of the chapels. At first the work was done without a church building. Sunday evening services were held in a building on the corner of Portland and Merrimac Streets. A Sunday School named for John Howard, an English philanthropist, was also established, and that held morning and afternoon sessions. The number of families served grew rapidly, and it soon became evident that a special building for Sunday services and the Sunday School was needed. A chapel was built on Friend Street and this served its purpose for eight years (1828-1836). A much larger chapel was built in 1836 on Pitts Street, and finally the chapel on Bulfinch Place was built in 1869. The Bulfinch Place Chapel continued as Bulfinch Place Church, and in 1928 the building occupied by this church was designated as the Parker Memorial Building, named in honor of Theodore Parker. The Bulfinch Place Church held its services and its Sunday School in the Parker Memorial Building. The Church’s bond of Union, adopted in 1928, is the following: “Bulfinch Place Church is dedicated to religion but not to a creed. Love to God expressed by service rendered to Man we regard as the essence of religion. Consecrating ourselves to this principle we strive to worship in the spirit of truth, to develop character, and to serve humanity. We cordially welcome to our fellowship all who are trying to understand and appreciate the spiritual values of life.”
-from "The Story of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches: A Chapter in Religious and Social Service." Boston, Massachusetts, July 1930



Organized into the following series:

Scope and Content

Records of the Bulfinch Place Church, (also called Bulfinch Place Chapel) particularly records of the Howard Sunday School which was operated by the church. The records include minutes, superintendent's reports and teacher's reports. Sunday services and the Howard Sunday School classes were held by members of the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches.
The records listed below were so damaged by water that they had to be discarded.

Container List: