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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.

The UUA Congregational Records contain a file on every single UUA congregation that existed during the 20th 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.

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 a 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.

Thanks to a generous grant, we have begun to digitize the New York and Pennsylvania congregational records. If you are interested in funding the digitization of your congregation’s records, please contact us.

To access files not yet digitized, please contact an archivist. While it is preferable to access these files on campus, we can digitize specific materials on request.