First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.)

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A church was formed in Cambridge in 1633, but in 1636 the minister and many members removed to Hartford, Conn. A new church was gathered that year. In 1829 the church separated into Unitarian and Trinitarian bodies, the Unitarians retaining the name of First Parish in Cambridge.

From the description of Records, 1658- (Harvard University, Divinity School Library). WorldCat record id: 269368754

The first Meeting House was built in 1632 and Thomas Hooker became the first minister in 1633. A new church, the First Church in Cambridge, was gathered on February 1, 1636, under the Rev. Thomas Shepard. For a century, the doctrine preached by Shepard and his successors was Calvinistic, but by 1829 most of the Parish had become Unitarian. The fifth and current Meeting House was built in 1833, and Harvard College commencements were held in it until 1873.

From the description of First Parish in Cambridge. Records, 1804-2006 (Harvard University, Divinity School Library). WorldCat record id: 416616748

The first Meeting House was built in 1632 and Thomas Hooker became the first minister in 1633. A new church, the First Church in Cambridge, was gathered on February 1, 1636, under the Rev. Thomas Shepard, a significant leader of the great Puritan migration to New England in the 1630s. For a century, the doctrine preached by Shepard and his successors was Calvinistic. In the eighteenth century, a tendency toward a more liberal theology developed. The division between Calvinists and Arminians, which appeared in many churches of the Standing Order in the eighteenth century, reached a time of crisis and controversy in the period from 1805 to 1830. The minister of the Cambridge church at that time was the Rev. Abiel Holmes, 1792-1829, father of Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1826 he decided to break off relations with the liberals, and specifically to stop pulpit exchanges with the liberal or Unitarian ministers. The Parish voted to dismiss him as its public teacher of religion and morality and by 1829 most of the Parish had become Unitarian. Dr. Holmes and the more conservative members of his flock departed and founded the Shepard Congregational Society. In 1899, it was agreed that the church associated with that society should be called the First Church in Cambridge (Congregational), now part of the United Church of Christ, and this church, the First Church in Cambridge (Unitarian). The Rev. William Newell was the first avowedly Unitarian minister, from 1830 to 1868.

The fifth and current Meeting House was built in 1833, and Harvard College commencements were held in it until 1873. Here Presidents Everett, Sparks, Walker, Felton, Hill, and Eliot were inaugurated, and in 1837, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave his Phi Beta Kappa oration " The American Scholar." The Parish House was built in 1902, and the interior of the Meeting House remodeled in 1914. The Crothers Chapel (named after the Rev. Samuel Crothers, pastor from 1894 to 1927) was dedicated in 1941.

From the guide to the First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1804-2010., (Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School)

The first Meeting House was built in 1632 and Thomas Hooker became the first minister in 1633. A new church, the First Church in Cambridge, was gathered on February 1, 1636, under the Rev. Thomas Shepard, a significant leader of the great Puritan migration to New England in the 1630s. For a century, the doctrine preached by Shepard and his successors was Calvinistic. In the eighteenth century, a tendency toward a more liberal theology developed. The division between Calvinists and Arminians, which appeared in many churches of the Standing Order in the eighteenth century, reached a time of crisis and controversy in the period from 1805 to 1830. The minister of the Cambridge church at that time was the Rev. Abiel Holmes, 1792-1829, father of Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1826 he decided to break off relations with the liberals, and specifically to stop pulpit exchanges with the liberal or Unitarian ministers. The Parish voted to dismiss him as its public teacher of religion and morality and by 1829 most of the Parish had become Unitarian. Dr. Holmes and the more conservative members of his flock departed and founded the Shepard Congregational Society. In 1899, it was agreed that the church associated with that society should be called the First Church in Cambridge (Congregational), now part of the United Church of Christ, and this church, the First Church in Cambridge (Unitarian). The Rev. William Newell was the first avowedly Unitarian minister, from 1830 to 1868.

The fifth and current Meeting House was built in 1833, and Harvard College commencements were held in it until 1873. Here Presidents Everett, Sparks, Walker, Felton, Hill, and Eliot were inaugurated, and in 1837, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave his Phi Beta Kappa oration " The American Scholar." The Parish House was built in 1902, and the interior of the Meeting House remodeled in 1914. The Crothers Chapel (named after the Rev. Samuel Crothers, pastor from 1894 to 1927) was dedicated in 1941.

Thomas Hooker, 1633-1636; Samuel Stone, 1633-1636; Thomas Shepard, 1636-1649; Jonathan Mitchel, 1650-1668; Urian Oakes, 1671-1681; Nathaniel Gookin, 1682-1692; William Brattle, 1696-1717; Nathaniel Appleton, 1717-1784; Timothy Hilliard, 1783-1790; Abiel Holmes, 1792-1829; William Newell, 1830-1868; Francis G. Peabody, 1874-1879; Edward H. Hall, 1882-1893; Samuel McChord Crothers, 1894-1927; Ralph E. Bailey, 1928-1934; Leslie T. Pennington, 1935-1944; Wilburn B. Miller, 1945-1958; Ralph N. Helverson, 1959-1977; Edwin A. Lane, 1978-1987; Thomas J. S. Mikelson, 1989-2006; Jory Agate, 1997-2007. Frederick Emerson Small, 2008- Lilia Cuervo, 2010-

From the guide to the First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1658-1993., (Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School)

The first Meeting House was built in 1632 and Thomas Hooker became the first minister in 1633. A new church, the First Church in Cambridge, was gathered on February 1, 1636, under the Rev. Thomas Shepard, a significant leader of the great Puritan migration to New England in the 1630s. For a century, the doctrine preached by Shepard and his successors was Calvinistic. In the eighteenth century, a tendency toward a more liberal theology developed. The division between Calvinists and Arminians, which appeared in many churches of the Standing Order in the eighteenth century, reached a time of crisis and controversy in the period from 1805 to 1830. The minister of the Cambridge church at that time was the Rev. Abiel Holmes, 1792-1829, father of Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1826 he decided to break off relations with the liberals, and specifically to stop pulpit exchanges with the liberal or Unitarian ministers. The Parish voted to dismiss him as its public teacher of religion and morality and by 1829 most of the Parish had become Unitarian. Dr. Holmes and the more conservative members of his flock departed and founded the Shepard Congregational Society. In 1899, it was agreed that the church associated with that society should be called the First Church in Cambridge (Congregational), now part of the United Church of Christ, and this church, the First Church in Cambridge (Unitarian). The Rev. William Newell was the first avowedly Unitarian minister, from 1830 to 1868.

The fifth and current Meeting House was built in 1833, and Harvard College commencements were held in it until 1873. Here Presidents Everett, Sparks, Walker, Felton, Hill, and Eliot were inaugurated, and in 1837, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave his Phi Beta Kappa oration " The American Scholar." The Parish House was built in 1902, and the interior of the Meeting House remodeled in 1914. The Crothers Chapel (named after the Rev. Samuel Crothers, pastor from 1894 to 1927) was dedicated in 1941.

Thomas Hooker, 1633-1636; Samuel Stone, 1633-1636; Thomas Shepard, 1636-1649; Jonathan Mitchel, 1650-1668; Urian Oakes, 1671-1681; Nathaniel Gookin, 1682-1692; William Brattle, 1696-1717; Nathaniel Appleton, 1717-1784; Timothy Hilliard, 1783-1790; Abiel Holmes, 1792-1829; William Newell, 1830-1868; Francis G. Peabody, 1874-1879; Edward H. Hall, 1882-1893; Samuel McChord Crothers, 1894-1927; Ralph E. Bailey, 1928-1934; Leslie T. Pennington, 1935-1944; Wilburn B. Miller, 1945-1958; Ralph N. Helverson, 1959-1977; Edwin A. Lane, 1978-1987; Thomas J. S. Mikelson, 1989-2006; Jory Agate, 1997-2007. Frederick Emerson Small, 2008- Lilia Cuervo, 2010-

From the guide to the First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1834-1912., (Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Crothers, Samuel McChord, 1857-1927. Sermons, 1879-1927 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Pennington, Leslie Talbot, 1899-1974. Correspondence, 1935-1944 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn First Church (Cambridge, Mass.). Account books, 1638-1783 (inclusive). Houghton Library
referencedIn Cambridge (Mass.). Proprietors of the Palls. Accounts, 1784-1819. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Bailey, Ralph Edward, 1888-1960. Sermons, 1929-1932 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1834-1912. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). First Parish in Cambridge. Records, 1804-2006 Harvard University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1658- Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Munro, James, 1735-1804. Notebook, 1776-1854. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1658-1993. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1804-2010. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf First Parish (Cambridge, Mass.). First Parish in Cambridge. Records, 1834-1912. Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Harvard University. Corporation. Records of early Harvard buildings, 1710-1969. Harvard University, Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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correspondedWith Ames person
associatedWith Anita Farber-Robertson person
associatedWith Bailey, Ralph Edward, 1888-1960. person
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associatedWith C. Conrad Wright person
associatedWith Church of Christ in Cambridge corporateBody
associatedWith Cole person
associatedWith Congregational Church corporateBody
associatedWith Conrad Wright person
associatedWith Crothers. person
associatedWith Crothers, Samuel McChord, 1857-1927. person
associatedWith Cushman person
associatedWith Duehay person
associatedWith Edward H. Hall person
correspondedWith Edwin A. Lane person
correspondedWith Eliot' person
correspondedWith Ezra Stiles's person
associatedWith First Church (Cambridge, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith First Parish in Cambridge corporateBody
correspondedWith Frances Fowler. person
associatedWith Francis G. Peabody person
associatedWith Fred Small person
associatedWith Ganz person
correspondedWith George G. Bradford person
associatedWith Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909. person
correspondedWith Harvard College corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard-Radcliffe corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard Summer School corporateBody
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associatedWith Holmes, Abiel person
associatedWith Holmes, John, 1904-1962. person
associatedWith Hooker, Thomas person
associatedWith James Freeman Clarke person
correspondedWith J. R. Richards person
associatedWith Lowe, Charles person
associatedWith Max Gaebler's person
associatedWith Munro, James, 1735-1804. person
correspondedWith Newell person
correspondedWith Newell's person
associatedWith Newell, William person
associatedWith Pennington, Leslie Talbot, 1899-1974. person
associatedWith Perrin person
associatedWith Philip P. Sharples person
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associatedWith Ralph E. Bailey person
correspondedWith Ralph N. Helverson person
associatedWith Samuel McChord Crothers, memorials person
associatedWith Shepard, Thomas person
associatedWith Stebbens person
associatedWith Stephen P. Sharples person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai person
associatedWith Susan E. W. Brackett. person
associatedWith The Nameless Coffeehouse corporateBody
associatedWith Third Congregational Society corporateBody
correspondedWith Thomas J. S. Mikelson person
associatedWith Thomas Mikelson person
associatedWith Unitarian Universalist Service Committee corporateBody
associatedWith United Church of Christ. corporateBody
associatedWith Wilburn B. Miller person
associatedWith Wilson person
correspondedWith Winston Churchill person
associatedWith Wright, Conrad. person
associatedWith Wright, Elizabeth Woodman. person
associatedWith Young People's Religious Union corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts--Cambridge
Massachusetts
Cambridge (Mass.)
Massachusetts--Cambridge
Subject
Sunday schools
Church work with men
Church work with women
Church work with youth
Unitarian churches
Church work with young adults
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1658

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