The archival depository for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church is located at the Boston University School of Theology Library. The New England Conference Commission on Archives and History collection focuses on the history of the United Methodist Church in New England, with Conference Journals, church records, and archived records of conference boards and agencies, along with Methodist-related social and service organization records. Commission materials, especially journals and church records, are listed online. The listing in these pages is complete except for information notes on parish history. Listed here is information for those depositing items into our archives and researchers looking for information on our holdings.
The on-site availability of the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History collection adds greater depth to the study of Methodist in the New England Region.
The Commission is charged by the United Methodist Book of Discipline to preserve the records of the United Methodist Church and its predecessors within the Conference boundaries. For reference purposes, this collection retains records of the General Conferences, the Disciplines, and the General Minutes of [all] the Annual Conferences. Local records include annual conference journals within the six-state New England area, records from closed churches or older records from continuing churches, records of conference boards or agencies, and records of Methodist organizations or activities within the area. Coverage within these areas is not comprehensive, but all church and conference records that we have are listed in these pages. The content of church records do vary, but they typically contain: lists of probationers, members, baptism, marriages, and sometimes deaths; quarterly conference records report the pastor-parish relations and projects of the churches; financial records may indicate collections and local disbursements; there are sometimes records of Sunday Schools, Men’s and Women’s Groups, Missionary Societies, youth groups, and other activities or organizations within the church; scrapbooks or local histories.
This link directs you to our main landing page for NECCAH.
All materials dealing with the Methodist church in New England, including conference journals and records, church records, records of organizations and social groups, books and papers, were transferred to the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History. Included are manuscript letters and memoirs collected by the Historical Society and books by or about New England Methodism. General histories of the Methodist Episcopal Church recording the evangelization of New England, and national-level publications, such as General Conference materials, the Book of Discipline, and the General Minutes were also transferred to the Commission. All other published materials dealing with Methodism or other topics were transferred to Boston University School of Theology Library, including the Society’s collection of 18th and 19th century publications by or about John and Charles Wesley.
The New England Methodist Historical Society had its first tentative beginnings in 1859, but suspended work during the Civil War. There was a re-birth of interest in the early 1870’s, and full incorporation in 1881. It established a library for the study of Methodism, as well as collecting artifacts from the history of Methodism in New England. Scholars in the Boston area contributed to the library, and historians solicited memoirs from senior Conference members. In addition, a collection of Wesley works and autograph letters was created from various donations.
Members were active in the Association of Methodist Historical Societies from the 1920s onward. When the Book of Discipline required the local conference to preserve their historical materials, the historical society, having already performed that function, became the de facto historical repository for the New England Conference and later the Southern New England Conference..
Membership decreased over the years, and the collection was moved from the Wesleyan Building in Copley Square to the Boston University School of Theology’s new building at 745 Commonwealth Avenue in the early 1950’s. Even before the merger in 1993 of the Maine, New Hampshire, and Southern New England Conferences to form the New England Conference, the role of the historical society and the responsibility of the conference Commission on Archives and History were often in conflict. After much deliberation, the now re-named and re-incorporated New England United Methodist Historical Society voted in 1996 to disperse its collections.
All materials dealing with the Methodist church in New England, including conference journals and records, church records, records of organizations and social groups, books and papers, were tranferred to the New England Conference Commission on Archives and History. Included are manuscript letters and memoirs collected by the Historical Society and books by or about New England Methodism. General histories of the Methodist Episcopal Church recording the evangelization of New England, and national-level publications, such as General Conference materials, the Book of Discipline, and the General Minutes were also transferred to the Commission. All other published materials dealing with Methodism or other topics were transferred to Boston University School of Theology Library, including the Society’s collection of 18th and 19th century publications by or about John and Charles Wesley.
A link to our archival holdings for the New England Methodist Historical Society.
The Boston University School of Theology was founded in 1839 as a project of the Boston Wesleyan Association. Beginning with the appointment of Rev. John Dempster in 1842, books were collected for the project, at first housed at the Newbury (VT) Biblical Institute under the directorship of Rev. Osman Baker, and later moved to Concord, N.H., with the incorporation of the Methodist General Biblical Institute in 1848. The Institute moved to Boston in 1868 to become the founding school of Boston University. Still preserved are several hundred books from the pre-Boston days. Check out our History of the School of Theology research to discover information about the history of the School of Theology from its founding in Vermont through the present day.
This is a collection of nearly 400 eighteenth-century Wesley publications is built upon the gift of William Henry Meredith. In addition, there is a large selection of nineteenth-century editions and biographies, a gift of the New England United Methodist Historical Society. There are additional nineteenth and twentieth century editions of Wesley works, plus biographies and commentaries.
A link to BU Libraries Search, searching the cataloged items in the Wesley Collection.
Being the first seminary established for the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, the Library has an extensive collection of Methodist materials, covering General Conferences, Annual Conferences, Disciplines, hymnals, journals, histories and biographies.
Where to Find These Items
The collections listed below are located in our Archives and Research Collection. Access to archival holdings (e.g. paper church records, personal papers, baptism certificates, etc). are by appointment only; please contact please contact the Archivist and Preservation Librarian (617 353-1323 or firstname.lastname@example.org). For access to books in our special collections, please find a full-time librarian on staff during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00am-6:00pm) who will be happy to pull the material for you.