RG 310. Clarendon Street Baptist Church

Finding Aid for Record Group 310

INTRODUCTION


Date:
1827 - 1990

Extent: 12 linear feet; 13 boxes

Creator: Federal Street Baptist Church, Rowe Street Baptist Church, Clarendon Street Baptist Church

Access Restrictions: Open for public access. No restrictions.

Accesssion: July, 1969; January, 1981; 1983. See Administrative History


SCOPE AND CONTENT

Includes financial accounts, minute books, membership ledgers, sunday school record books, and record books of various church groups and mission societies. The bulk of the materials are large bound volumes. Descriptive titles used in the original 1969, 1981 and 1983 inventories have been reused in the inventory below.


ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

The bulk of the records were received in July, 1969.  Box 7 contents were received January, 1981. Box 9 contents were received in 1983 after having been retrieved severely water damaged after Clarendon Street Church fire in 1982. These records were freeze dried and binding repaired.


CHURCH HISTORY

Clarendon Street Baptist Church played a central role in the early life and development of Gordon College. For 25 years, the school's early students attended classes in the Clarendon Street Church, where the school's founder A. J. Gordon served as pastor from 1869 to his sudden death in 1895. When A. J. Gordon first joined the church in December of 1869, Clarendon was Boston's most prestigious Baptist congregation. Fresh from a move from its Rowe Street location to a new building on Boston's South End, the newly-named Clarendon Street Baptist Church was in transition.

The church was originally founded as Boston's fourth Baptist congregation in 1826. Church leaders from Boston's existing three congregations began meeting and raising funds during in 1824, and two years later on September 25, 1826 laid the corner stone of the new Federal Street Church in the city's southeasterly section near Milk Street. Sustained by this area for two decades, by 1845 the church had become surrounded by businesses and warehouses. In April 1846 building began on a new building at the corner of Rowe (now Chauncey) and Bedford streets. The church remained at this second location until 1868. After holding its final service as Rowe Street Church on May 31, 1868, the church held interim services at the Baldwin Place Baptist Church until April 1869 when the congregation finally moved into its third and longest lasting building at the corner of Clarendon and Montgomery in the South End.

The congregation was determined to recruit A. J. Gordon, influential editor of the Watchword journal and pastor of Jamaica Plain Baptist Church. Gordon, who would later become closely tied to evangelist Dwight L. Moody and serve as a member of the Executive Board of the American Baptist Mission Union, agreed and ministered to the church for the next 26 years, bringing a heavy focus on evangelism and missions to this afluent congregation. In 1871, women from Clarendon and other area churches met at Clarendon Church to found the Woman's American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. The church was often singled out during this time for the high number of missionaries, evangelists, and pastors it sent into the field.

In 1889, Gordon founded and became the first president of the Boston Missionary Training School. The school's mission was to train lay people for the missions field, people who otherwise would not have had the means to complete the standard seven-year seminarian track. Criticized at the time as a "short cut method," the school blossomed at Clarendon from 1891 to 1917, quickly becoming one of the most important and influential Bible colleges in the nation.

Church Name

July 1827 Federal Street Church
April 1846 Rowe Street Church
Dec. 1868 Clarendon Street Baptist Church

Ministerial Succession

1827-1835 Howard Malcolm
1835-1837 George B. Ide
1839-1840 Handel G. Nott
1840-1848 William Hague
1848-1867 Baron Stow
1868-1895 A. J. Gordon
1895-1900 J. A. McElwain
1900-1902 Emory W. Hunt
1902-1903 James A. Francis
1904-1906 S. C. Ohrum
1907-1909 W. C. Minifie
1909-1914 James A. Francis
1916-1918 William Allan
1919-1924 W. Harry Freda
1925-1929 I. W. Williamson
1929-1932 Paul G. Jackson
1932-1933 A. A. Forshee
1933-1940 Daniel Rider
1940-1943 Harold W. Arthur
1943-1946 Norman L. Lavers
1947-1950 Arlington W. Booker
1950-1958 H. L. Sthengaard
1958-1959 Normand Norris, interim
1959-1964 Frank B. Beck
1964-1969 Paul M. Cutting
1969-1985 Leonard P. Edwards


INVENTORY

Box 1

  • Folder 1. 4 photographs of collection received, 1969
  • Folder 2. Content list of records as originally received from Clarendon Street Baptist Church in July 1969
  • Folder 3. Collection Accession Correspondence
  • Folder 4. Gift to Gordon College, 1986 by Clarendon Street Church

Federal Street Baptist Society and Baptist Church 

  • Folder 5. Baptist Meeting House in Federal Street - Receipt of Gift, Abbott Lawrence, 1826
  • Folder 6. Federal Street Baptist - Letter 1841
  • Financial Accounts: 1830 to 1891
  • Sewing Society, Financial Records: September, 1828 to March, 1862
  • Records: September 4, 1827 to April 20, 1846
  • Records: February 2, 1836 to July 30, 1844
  • Records: August 13, 1844 to July  29, 1852
  • Records: April 27, 1846 to February 9, 1893

 

Box 2

  • Folder 1. Rowe Street Baptist Church $10,000 Loan and Payment Received, 1847-1853
  • Folder 2. Rowe Street Baptist, Relocation and Purpose to build a church 1848 (various photocopies)
  • Records (Book No. 1 - Minutes): September 20, 1887 to October 8, 1907
  • Records (Book No. 2 - Minutes): October 22, 1907 to January 5, 1936
  • Records (Some church minutes, financial accounts, etc. incuding Prudential and Standing Committee action and minutes): January 15, 1894 to March 25, 1938

  Row Street Baptist Church

  • Row Street Sabbath School, Record of Teachers and Scholars: 1851 to 1859

Box 3

  • Records: Church Business Meetings: July 27, 1852 to May 1, 1867
  • Financial Records: April, 1863 to December, 1895

  Row Street Baptist Society

  • Pew Register (pg 1 - 128): 1847 to 1864
  • Treasurer's Records: April, 1858 to July, 1864
  • Treasurer's Records: October, 1864 to July, 1878 (chiefly Pew rents)

  Clarendon Street Baptist Society

  • Bills: October, 1881 to October, 1889
  • Financial Records (Treasurer): October, 1881 to October, 1889
  • Financial Records (Teasurer): January, 1896 to January, 1911
  • Financial Records (Treasurer): January, 1911 to December, 1921 (a few entries for January 1922)
  • Sunday School Library Circulation: about 1870-1

 

Box 4

  Clarendon Street Baptist Church

  • Folder 1. Prudential Committee, page highlights
  • Membership List (Ledger): May, 1872 to January,1894
  • Membership List (Ledger): 1897 or 1898: covers 1877 to 1898, 1907
  • Standing Committee Minutes: January 21, 1856 to November 21, 1887
  • Prudential Committee Minutes: May 3, 1910 to December 6, 1935
  • Deacon's Report Book: April, 1947 to January, 1950
  • Deacon's Meeting Minutes: February, 1951 to April 15, 1953
  • Account Book: 1914 to 1936 (includes Cash, General fund, Poor fund, Special accounts)
  • Treasurer's Records and Treasury of Charities: January 1, 1905 to December 31, 1910
  • Trust Funds: 1931 to October, 1936

 

Box 5

  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Pulpit Bible, 1901
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Bible School (Sunday School), Treasurer's Records: January, 1910 to December, 1919
  • Sunday School Record: January 1898 to December 1907
  • Sunday School Record January 1908 to December, 1926
  • Sunday School, Check book Ledger, Bank book: 1943 to 1949
  • Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Membership Roll: August, 1888 to April, 1889
  • Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Membership Roll: 1893 to 1895
  • Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Membership Roll: 1895 to 1897
  • Women's Missionary Society, Treasurer's Account: 1881 to 1898
  • Women's Home Mission Society, Minutes: April, 1887 to December, 1900
  • Women's Home Mission Society, Minutes: January, 1901 to December, 1908
  • Ladies Benevolent Circle, Records: June, 1919 to February, 1922
  • Men's Brotherhood Class, Records: January 10, 1937 to February 21, 1940

Box 6

  • Folder 1. Annual Reports: 1946 to 1955
  • Folder 2. Annual Reports: 1956 to 1964
  • Folder 3. Annual Reports: 1965 to 1966
  • Folder 4. Report, "Constitution & By-Laws, Membership List, Church Covenant." September, 1950
  • Folder 5. Treasurer's Report Audited July 4, 1870
  • Folder 6. Treasurer's Report 1870
  • Folder 7. Auditor's Report 1907
  • Folder 8. Clerk Records: 1900 to 1939
  • Folder 9. Clerk Records: 1940 to 1947
  • Folder 10. Clerks Records, Correspondence, Letters of Dismissal, Letters of Notification, etc.: about 1942 to 1950
  • Folder 11. Boston South Baptist Association, Annual Letters and Reports: 1941 to 1951
  • Folder 12. Pew mortgage: 1874
  • Folder 13. Report, "Declaration of Faith, List of Members." January, 1879
  • Folder 14. Induction Service Pamphlets, Clarendon ministers: 1933, 1947, 1951
  • Folder 15. Bulletin with church history, "The Church Known 'Round the World." 1949 and later editions
  • Folder 16. Miscellaneous letters and publications

Box 7

  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sabbath School Constitution and Records: 1869 to Apri 5, 1935
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Register: 1876 to 1890 (Alphabetical by name of scholar)
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Register: 1890 to 1894 (Alphabetical by name of scholar)
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Attendance Record: 1894 to 1898
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Attendance Summary: January 4, 1925 to April 17, 1932
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Treasurer's Record Books: May 1, 1938 to June 17, 1951
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Sunday School, Treasurer's Record Books: September 11, 1951 to April 26, 1968
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Women's Philathea Bible Class, Record Book: January 1, 1917 to December 31, 1917
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Women's Philathea Bible Class, Record Book: January 1, 1920 to December 31, 1920 (some records to 1924)
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Ladies Benevolent Circle, Clerk's Record Book: October 22, 1902 to April 1, 1914
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Ladies Benevolent Circle, Treasurer's Journal: September 1, 1941 to April 3, 1968

Box 8

  • Folder 1. Report of the Building Committee: April 1, 1870
  • Folder 2. Newspaper, New England Church Life. August 1, 1982 article on fire destruction of Clarendon Street church
  • Report, "The Clarendon Street Baptist Church: A Metaphor for Architectural and Social History in Boston's South End." Lynn Jenkins, August 12, 1985.
  • Visitors Register book:1938 to March 17, 1963
  • Women's Baptist Missionary Society, Reports of the Secretary: June 19, 1873 to December 2, 1896
  • Women's Baptist Missionary Society, Reports of the Secretary: June 6, 1897 to June 5, 1907
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Bible School, Records of the Secretary: May 3, 1935 to February 19, 1945
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Bible School, Records of the Secretary: March, 1946 to June 16, 1959
  • Clarendon Street Baptist Church Boy's Club, Records: 1895 to 1897
  • Clarendon Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Business Metting Records: September 26, 1892 to December 31, 1895
  • Clarendon Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Reports of Meetings of the Executive Committee: 1896 to October 3, 1898

Box 9

  • Folder 1. Clarendon St. Baptist Church Board of Deacons 1895, Jan.
  • Folder 2. Clarendon Street Church Condominiums, 1989
  • Folder 3. Clarendon Street 1986 - Condominium proposal
  • Clerk's Records: 1936 to 1937
  • Clerk's Records: 1937 to 1941
  • Clerk's Records: 1941 to 1949
  • Clerk's Records: 1949 to 1957
  • Clerk's Records: 1957 to 1963
  • Clerk's Records: 1963 to 1969
  • Treasurer's Records: 1938 to 1943
  • Treasurer's Records: 1944 to 1956
  • Treasurer's Records: 1956 to 1967
  • Collector's Records: 1951 to 1953
  • Church Register and Record: about 1920 to 1970

Box 10 Treasurer's and Clerk's Records, about 1969 to 1985

Box 11 Final 3 Pastorates, 1950 to 1990

Box 12. 310 (A5)  The Clarendon Light, 1894 to 1904

Box 13. 310 I1  Vestry Bible, 1883