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Church of the Redeemer (New Haven, Conn.) Records

Call Number: RG 266

Scope and Contents

The original finding aid for the collection, compiled by Calvert D. Morgan, Jr. provides the following description of the collection: The papers of the Church of the Redeemer arrived at the New Haven Colony Historical Society in fairly haphazard arrangement, having been stored, some for over a century, in boxes, bags, and even an old leather suitcase. Though a few had suffered minor water damage, and others needed cleaning, for the most part the papers had been well preserved; the vast majority were transferred directly into folders. The order into which the collection has been arranged reflects the historical organization of the church, and the fourteen individual series into which the papers have been divided serve as a guide to the church's operations as well as to the papers themselves. The most important body of information, the papers on the history of the church, are at the head of the collection, and the arrangement descends from there.

A few matters warrant special attention, either because of their exceptional nature or because they might not be immediately apparent to the researcher. First, it bears mention that in the 1930s, the Church of the Redeemer gave an important part of their papers to the Connecticut State Library; these were photostatically copied, and the bound copies returned to the church. Those volumes occupy the first two boxes of the collection. The papers in Series 2, Annual Reports to the Church 1843-1978, fall naturally into two halves. Before the year 1937, the reports were submitted individually, and remained scattered throughout the church files; but beginning in 1937, the reports were compiled into a booklet of Annual Reports. In most cases, we have two copies of this booklet; in many, one copy was the Pastor's personal copy, with his marginal notes and emendations.

The collection of Church Calendars, by far the largest single body of papers in the collection, presents a similar situation; along with the primary set of calendars covering 1893-1976, a separate set of calendars for the years 1939-1962 was kept by the church organist, and his notes make this set an important adjunct to the larger collection. The same procedure was followed for the set of Church Directories in Series 6; directories with emendations were kept along with clean copies wherever possible.

Finally, the body of papers which comprises Series 13 of the collection, and which I have called the Mimeographed Materials Scrapbooks Collection, merits a word of explanation. This part of the collection represents the effort of the Church Secretary to keep a record of everything which was mimeographed for church purposes between the years of 1929 and 1957. Though this is an impractical research tool, it is nevertheless an important and discrete part of the collection, and an invaluable resource for the study of those years. Furthermore, although many of the items in this series duplicate other items in the collection, much of the information is unique to this part of the collection; for instance, Series 13 stands as the sole detailed account of the doings of the church Forum for students during the 1940s and 1950s.

It is important to note that information within the records of the Church of the Redeemer, because of the record-keeping conventions of the Church, can occasionally be found in a number of places; probably the most important example of this difficulty is in the matter of such information as birth, baptism,marriage, and death records. By the logic of the collection, such information would naturally fall into the category of membership records, and thus should be found in the papers of Series 6. Yet because the church rarely kept separate records of such statistics, in most cases it would be more efficient to consult the records of the Advisory Board of the Church, or, in earlier cases, the records of the Church Clerk or the Standing committee. Similar situations may occur as well in the pursuit of other information; the researcher is encouraged to follow as many avenues as become necessary in order to get the most out of the collection.


  • 1838-1980


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Church of the Redeemer, transferred from New Haven Museum, 2017


The collection is arranged in 14 series:

Series 1: The History of the Chapel Street Congregational Church and the Church of the Redeemer

Series 2: Annual Reports to the Church

Series 3: Records of Administrative and Governing Bodies of the Church

Series 4: Financial Records of the Church

Series 5: Church Calendars

Series 6: Membership Records

Series 7: Church Newsletters

Series 8: Records of the Buildings of the Church

Series 9: Records of the Committees of the Church

Series 10: Records of the Organizations of the Church

Series 11: Records of the Pastors and Associate Pastors of the Church

Series 12: Photographs and Books

Series 13: Mimeographed Materials Scrapbooks

Series 14: Miscellaneous Subjects


64 Linear Feet (62 boxes; 3 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Extensive reports, minutes, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, etc. document the history of The Church of the Redeemer, United Church of Christ (New Haven, Conn).


Historical statement by Elliott Barske, Church Historian

In 1838 the City of New Haven celebrated its bicentennial year and the fourth Congregational Church in the area came into being when on November 4th the Chapel Street Congregational Church was organized and declared a Church of Christ with 61 members. This congregation was eventually to become the Church of the Redeemer.

Two hundred years before in 1638, the New Haven Colony was settled under the leadership of Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton who established the First Church, now Center Church on the Green. Gradually over the early years schisms arose and the period of The Great Awakening and the teachings of Jonathan Edwards led to the formation of dissenting groups such as the White Haven Church and the Fair Haven Society. These two groups merged in 1796 to form North Church on the Green, the Second Church of New Haven, now known as United Church.

The Third Congregational Church was formed in 1826 under the leadership of Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor, a Professor of Theology in Yale College and a former pastor of Center Church. The founding members of the Third included 19 from Center Church and 10 from United Church. This congregation was disrupted after a new pastor, Dr. E. L. Cleaveland, who was installed in 1833, would not accept the "new theology" of Nathaniel Taylor. Many members of Third stood by Dr. Taylor and under his spiritual guidance organized and founded the Chapel Street Congregational Church. At the organization meeting Timothy Dwight, Jr., son of the President of Yale, acted as Chairman and became very active in the government of the new church.

During the over 170 years of our history, there have been 17 Pastors of whom the longest serving were Reverend John E. Todd 1869-1890 and Reverend Watson L. Phillips 1890-1915. Both were serving during the two major relocations of the church. Todd was present when our Second House of Worship at Orange and Wall Streets was dedicated on May 25, 1871 and the name changed to the Church of the Redeemer. Phillips was involved in the move to Cold Spring Street and Whitney Ave where the Parish House was dedicated on October 10, 1920. After 30 years of planning and fund raising the present Main Sanctuary was completed and dedicated on May 20, 1951 during the pastorate of the Reverend Robert E. Luccock.

MINISTRIES PAST TO PRESENT Rev. John O. Colton 1839-1840 Rev. Joseph P. Thompson 1840-1845 Rev. Leverett Griggs 1845-1847 Rev. William T. Eustis 1848-1869 Rev. John E. Todd 1869-1890 Rev. Watson L. Phillips 1890-1915 Rev. Roy M. Houghton 1917-1931 Rev. R. Hawley Fitch 1932-1935 Rev. Phillip G. Scott 1936-1949 Rev. Robert E. Luccock 1950-1962 Rev. Charles L. Ives 1962-1964 Rev. C. Arthur Bradley 1964-1981 Rev. Dr. Thomas Burgett-Leutner 1981-1994 Rev. Olivia Robinson 1994-1996 (interim) Rev. Lillian F. Daniel 1996-2004 Rev. Dr. Duncan Newcomer 2004-2006 (interim) Rev. Dr. Rochelle A. Stackhouse 2006-2017.

Guide to the Church of the Redeemer (New Haven, Conn.) Records
Compiled by Calvert D. Morgan, Jr.; Martha Lund Smalley
1987; rev. ed. 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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