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Congregational Home Missionary Society records

Identifier: 368-098

Scope and Contents

The records of the Congregational Home Missionary Society (CHMS) contain correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, reports, and printed matter mainly covering the years 1917-1927. The collection documents the financial and administrative work of the Society, as well as the personal activities and issues faced by its missionaries. Foreign speaking communities are also detailed within the letters and reports of the Society.

The bulk of the collection documents, through correspondence and reporting, the CHMS’s work within the various states with the largest groups of files represented for the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Additionally, a component of the collections consists of the early records of the Congregational Church Extension Boards under which the CHMS became a department in 1917. The departments of church extension focused the missions programs and services in the areas of funding aid, consultation, and Christian education. The bulk of the correspondence throughout the collection are represented by General Secretaries Charles E. Burton and Earnest M. Halliday, as well Frank L. Moore, Assistant Treasurer and Secretary of Missions. Auxiliary officer’s correspondence is representative of W. Knighton Bloom, Secretary of Missions for the Eastern Division, Harold M. Kingsley of the Department of Negro Work; Malcolm Dana of the Department of Rural Work (Town and Country); Charles H. Baker, Treasurer; William s. Beard, Secretary of Promotion; and many others.

Of note are the files of the Department of Foreign Work, which documents missionary work with foreign speaking congregations and communities. These files also contain a set of records of the General Committee of Missionary and Immigrant Aid Work at Ellis Island, which document missionary efforts by multiple religious denominations including Catholic and Jewish aid societies to assist newly arrived people with regards to conditions on the island, housing, medical care, and connections with their relatives.

Photographs are located throughout the State files when attached to individual letters or special reports. A small series of photographs for various states are located at the end of the collection and often include images of church buildings, and individual missionaries and communities.

Main topics include immigrant communities, missionary recruitment, religious training, church expansion post-World War I, and missionary work and conditions throughout the United States.


  • Created: 1870-1955
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1917-1927
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1966


Conditions Governing Access

The records of the Congregational Home Missionary Society are open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Any copyrights such as the donor may possess in this property are hereby dedicated to the public. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Historical Note

By 1893, the American Home Missionary Society (1826-1893) was largely Congregational in nature and was re-named the Congregational Home Missionary Society. The Congregational Home Missionary Society (CHMS) financially assisted congregations that were not able to support their own minister and was responsible for the missionary activities in states west of the Mississippi, the southern Ohio River region, Black churches in northern cities, and foreign-speaking churches. During reorganization in 1906, state organizations long a component of the CHMS, whether called a Missionary Society, State Conference, State Association, or State Convention, that raised more funding than was spent on their home missions programs within their area agreed to give a percentage of the excess funding to the CHMS. This “Constituent States” funding was administered through the CHMS for activities, such as maintaining a pastor for frontier, rural, and urban churches, and to assist churches during disasters.

By 1936, there were 24 self-supporting state conferences from areas that had higher population density, with the bulk of the funding allocated to support activities in less populated and impoverished areas, which continued to be the southern states, Ohio River states, and western states, except California and Washington, and were termed “Missionary States.” The CHMS also provided grant and loans for churches and parsonages, and continued support of foreign-speaking churches. Two special services departments were established and maintained relationships with African American churches in the north through the Department of Negro Work and rural areas through the Department of Town and Country.


35.03 Linear Feet

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Arrangement Note

The records of the Congregational Home Missionary Society are arranged into the following file groups: State files, Congregational Church Extension Boards files, Department of Foreign Work files, Early correspondence and records, and Photographs.

Source of Acquisition

United Church Board for Homeland Ministries

Method of Acquisition

Official transfer of the records of the United Church Board of Homeland Ministries and its predecessor corporations to the Amistad Research Center as the official repository of the records of the history of Congregational and United Church of Christ home missions and ministries work in the United States until 2000

Related Materials

The Amistad Research Center holds the related collections of the American Home Missionary Society; the Congregational Home Missionary Society; the American Missionary Association; the Congregational Church Building Society; the Office of Church Building of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries; the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries; and minute books for the American Education Society; the American College & Education Society; and the Congregational Education Society. Lastly, one volume of the Records of the Trustees of the National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States (1886-1915).

The Amistad Research Center also holds a number of collections of Officers of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries including the personal papers of Executive Vice Presidents Howard E. Spragg (1940-1989) and Shelby Rooks (1969-1994).

More records relating to the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, the United Church of Christ, and the Congregational Church can be found in the Archives of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, OH, and the Congregational Library and Archives in Boston, MA.

Processing Information

The archival processing of the Congregational Home Missionary Society were completed with funding assistance from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation.

Congregational Home Missionary Society records
Brenda Flora, Laura Thomson, and Lee Facincani
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222