Scope and Contents
The letters of Series I date from 1778 to 1832 and are all addressed to Enoch Hale, with the exception of four. In content, the letters relate to Hale's roles as minister, father, educator, Secretary of the General Association of Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts, and Secretary of the Hampshire Missionary Society. As minister of the Congregational Church of Westhampton, Hale received letters from other Congregational churches throughout New England and from individuals seeking transfer of church membership. In most cases there are only one or two letters from each of Hale's correspondents. A total of fifty-seven letters of Hale's eldest son, Nathan, span the years 1814 to 1826. They touch on family matters and on the younger Hale's work in Boston as a lawyer and editor of the Daily Advertiser. In a few cases the letters are actually written by Nathan's wife, Sarah, on his behalf. Among Enoch Hale's more prominent correspondents were Jeremiah Evarts (1 letter) and Jedidiah Morse (3 letters).
The diaries of Series II contain very brief daily entries describing the weather and notable activities or events. The earliest diary, which was identified only as "Hale college diary", has entries of a few words for each day. Diaries from the years 1776 to 1780 are available on microfilm. Beginning with 1783, diaries are available for each year until 1833, with the exception of the year 1793. The entries in the later diaries are somewhat longer, always reporting the weather, but also touching on sermons written and preached, town meetings attended, marriages performed, visitors received, etc. At the end of each diary, Hale wrote a page or more of summary notes, indicating the most notable events of the year and including information regarding births and deaths in the town of Westhampton. These diaries provide fifty years of consistent and valuable documentation of the daily activities of a Congregational minister in a small New England town.
The notes and memoranda of Series III are a mixture of varying interest. Some are fragmentary and difficult to identify, but as a body they serve to shed light on various aspects of Hale's career. Hale's interest in politics, his administrative duties, his ministerial activities, and his interpretation of Biblical passages are documented. The material related to the Westhampton Congregational Church includes a few items from after Hale's death, and the 1980 church bulletin recording the transferral of the Hale Papers to the Yale Divinity School Library.
Series IV, the largest of this record group, contains more than 1200 sermons, most of which are arranged chronologically in two numerical sequences. The sermons vary in length from four pages to more than twenty, and are written in legible handwriting. Some of the sermons have suffered water damage and are difficult to decipher. The date and location where the sermon was preached is generally noted on the first page. No sermons exist for the period 1793 to 1810. The earliest sermon in the chronological sequence is quite certainly not authored by Hale, as he would have been only eleven years old in 1764. In the first folder of this series are detailed registers indexing the sermons. A chronological register records sermons from 1777 to 1833. More fragmentary indices according to Biblical texts are available for some of the years between 1810 and 1829. At the end of this series are undated, unnumbered sermons and sermon fragments, ten charges to new ministers, and the published record of the sermon, charge, and right hand of fellowship at the ordination of Enoch Hale in 1779.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of the Westhampton Congregational Church, Westhampton, Massachusetts, 1980
- I. Correspondence, 1778-1832
- II. Diaries, circa 1773-1833
- III. Notes and Memoranda, 1773-1980, undated
- IV. Sermons, 1764-1833, undated
4 Linear Feet (10 boxes)
Language of Materials
Correspondence relates to Hale's roles as minister, father, educator, Secretary of the General Association of Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts, and Secretary of the Hampshire Missionary Society. Diaries contain brief daily entries describing the weather, notable activities and events, sermons written and preached, town meetings attended, marriages performed, visitors received, journeys taken and chores performed. Also included is information regarding births and deaths in Westhampton. The diaries provide fifty years of consistent and valuable documentation of the daily activities of a Congregational minister in a small New England town. Notes and memoranda reflect Hale's interest in politics, his administrative and ministerial duties, and Biblical studies. Over 1200 sermons with indexes are included. Enoch Hale, born in Coventry, Connecticut on October 28, 1753, was the brother of the famed Nathan Hale. He graduated from Yale College in 1773 and served as a Congregational clergyman in Westhampton, Massachusetts from 1778-1828. He also served as Secretary of the General Association of the Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts from 1804-1824, and was Secretary of the Hampshire Missionary Society for many years. He was involved in the educational and public interests of his community and represented Westhampton in the State Constitutional Convention of 1820. He died on January 19, 1837.
Biographical / Historical
- 1753 October 28
- Born in Coventry, CT, son of Richard and Elizabeth Hale
- Graduated from Yale College. Taught school near Windsor, CT, and studied theology
- Licensed to preach by Windham County Association of Ministers
- 1778 November
- Began preaching in Westhampton, MA
- 1779 September
- Ordained; Hale served the Congregational church in Westhampton for fifty years. He was involved in the educational and public interests of his community, serving, for example, as the representative of the town in the State Constitutional Convention of 1820. He was Secretary of the General Association of the Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts from 1804 to 1824. He also served as Secretary of the Hampshire Missionary Society for many years and took occasional mission trips.
- Married Octavia Throop: eight children. Eldest son named Nathan Hale after Enoch's famous younger brother
- Published A Spelling Book; or the First Part of a Grammar of the English language, as written and spoken in the United States
- Published Asking Amiss and Not Receiving, a sermon preached 1804 Apr 5
- 1837 January 19
Biographical information taken from: Yale Biographies and Annals 1763-1778, by Franklin Bowditch Dexter
- Congregational churches -- Massachusetts
- General Association of Congregational Churches and Ministers of Massachusetts
- Hale, Enoch, 1753-1837
- Hale, Nathan, 1784-1863
- Hampshire Missionary Society
- Massachusetts -- History
- Massachusetts -- Religion
- Religion and politics
- Sermons, American
- United States -- Religion
- Westhampton Congregational Church (Westhampton, Mass.)
- Guide to the Enoch Hale Papers
- Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository
409 Prospect Street
New Haven CT 06511 US