Religion (39 collections) SCUA

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Sanders, Paul Samuel

Paul Samuel Sanders Papers, 1937-1972.

(9 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 084

Methodist Clergyman; literary and religious scholar.

Correspondence, drafts of writings, notes for lectures and sermons, book reviews, course materials, class notes taken as a student, biographical material, and other papers, relating chiefly to Sander’s studies of English and religious literature, his teaching career at several colleges (including the University of Massachusetts) and church-related activities. Includes draft of an unpublished book on the Bible as literature; correspondence and organized material from his participation in Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies, Amherst Massachusetts (LAOS); and notebook of funeral records (1940-1957).


  • Layman's Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Methodist Church--Clergy
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English


  • Sanders, Paul Samuel

Types of material

  • Sermons

Shattuck, Louise F.

Louise F. Shattuck Papers, 1881-2006.

31 boxes (24 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 563
Louise Shattuck
Louise Shattuck

A life-long resident of Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, and a third-generation Spiritualist, Louise Shattuck was an artist, teacher, and noted breeder of English cocker spaniels.

Shattuck’s work as a teacher, writer, artist, and dog breeder are documented in this collection through decades of correspondence and diaries, artwork, publications, and newspaper clippings. Of particular note are the materials associated with the Spiritualist history of Lake Pleasant, including three turn of the century spirit slates, samples of Louise’s automatic writing, a ouija board and dowsing rods, and an excellent photograph album with associated realia for the Independent Order of Scalpers, a Lake Pleasant.


  • Dogs--Breeding
  • English Cocker spaniels
  • Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • Spiritualism


  • Shattuck, Louise F
  • Shattuck, Sarah Bickford

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Spirit slates
  • Spirit writing

Sirius Community

Sirius Community Collection, 1979-2003.

2 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 835

Founded in September 1978, Sirius is an intentional community in Shutesbury, Mass., built on four foundational pillars: spiritual, ecological, communitarian, and educational. Established by former members of the Scottish Findhorn Community, Sirius is rooted in a non-sectarian spirituality and practices consensus in the community governance process and in their shared vision of an ecologically sustainable future.

The Sirius collection contains a nearly complete run of the commune newsletter along with a selection of fliers and brochures about the community, and a small number of newsclippings and photographs.


  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Sustainability

Types of material

  • Newsletters

Sufi Order International

Abode of the Message Collection, 1975-2012.

1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 780

Founded in 1975 by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, The Abode of the Message is the headquarters for members of the Sufi Order International. Sitting on 430 acres, formerly the site of a Shaker Village in New Lebanon, New York, the Abode was settled by 75 adults and 20 children coming from all over the United States. The Sufi Order initiates spent the first several months preparing for the arrival of winter, a task that required much effort since buildings were in need of repair, there was no central heating system or updated electrical wiring, and few bathrooms. Within a year, the community prospered with the establishment of woodworking, stained glass, and sewing shops, a bakery, and a small school. Today, the community is smaller in number, but their mission remains the same: to collectively embody spiritual awakening.

The collection consists chiefly of publications produced by the Abode, including two newsletters Connections and The Messenger dating from the 1970s to the present. Also represented are other Sufi Order publications, such as Heart & Wing and Mureed’s Newsletter.


  • Sufi Order International

Towle, Gifford H.

Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers, 1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980).

24 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 881
Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957
Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957

For thirty five years, Gifford Towle (1907-1987) and his with Marjorie worked as missionaries in the state of Maharashtra, India. Born and raised a Quaker, Towle was educated at the Mt. Hermon School and Massachusetts State College, graduating in 1932. After marrying in a Quaker ceremony held in Congregational Church that September, Towle entered the Hartford Seminary with the goal of preparing himself for foreign missionary work. Gaining experience through appointments at churches in Packardville, Pelham, and Southampton, Massachusetts, he enlisted with the American Marathi Mission in 1939. Assigned to the Vadala Mission in Ahmadnagar, the oldest missionary outpost of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, he drew on his education at Mass. State to introduce modern agricultural engineering technologies and concepts, particularly in the “the practical field of water resources.” After retiring in 1973, Towle toured the country lecturing on India and his experiences.

The Towle collection is a remarkably rich assemblage reflecting over three decades of life as a foreign missionary and agricultural engineer in rural India. Between regular reports on the progress of the mission and his extensive correspondence with his family and American and Indian associates, the collection provides a detailed record of the massive changes affecting India from the end of colonialism through the beginning of India’s green revolution and into the early 1970s. A diligent writer, meticulous record keeper, and avid photographer, Towle left a thorough record of his life’s work and its impact on the lives of rural Indians.


  • Agriculture--India
  • India--Description and travel
  • Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
  • Missionaries--India


  • Towle, Marjorie Blossom

Types of material

  • Photographs

Turner, Abel

Abel Turner, The Life and Travels of Abel Turner, 1839.

451p. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 708 bd

As a young man in Foxcroft, Maine, Abel Turner was caught up in the evangelical revivals and converted to Free Will Baptism, becoming a minister by the age of 21. Beginning in the backwoods settlements, Turner spent the better part of a decade attempting to “convert sinners” in Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties and the in the Burned-Over District of New York state, from Utica to Penn Yan and Cattaraugus County.

Written for his wife, Abel Turner’s long and detailed autobiography is a remarkable record of a young Free Will Baptist minister’s labors during the Second Great Awakening. Beginning with his childhood in Maine and his conversion experience, the manuscript provides insight into Turner’s experiences preaching in the rough-hewn interior settlements of Maine and the Burned-Over District of New York from roughly 1821 through 1839. In addition to some wonderful commentary on evangelical religion in the heart of the Awakening and on Turner’s own spiritual development, the memoir includes fascinating descriptions of the towns and people he met along the way.


  • Free Will Baptists (1727-1935)--Clergy
  • Maine--History--19th century
  • New York (State)--History--19th century
  • Second Great Awakening--Maine--History
  • Second Great Awakening--New York (State)--History


  • Turner, Abel

Types of material

  • Autobiographies

United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.)

United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.) Records, ca.1830-1990.

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 787
First Congregational Church, ca.1910
First Congregational Church, ca.1910

The present day United Congregational Church of Holyoke is the product of complex history of growth and consolidation of five separate churches responding to the changing demographics and spiritual needs of the city. Established in 1799, the First Congregational Church in Holyoke was initially a small congregation perched above the floodplain south of the center of town, sharing preachers with the equally sparse population of Baptists until the establishment of the First Baptist Church in 1826. The First Congregational Church was finally erected in 1838, and ten years later, the Second Church was established in to serve the needs of the growing Protestant population in the city center, building their own church in 1853 as the mill economy was booming. Reaching out to the millworkers, members of the Second Church opened the Grace Mission in 1870, which spun off into its own church in 1896. Skinner Chapel was founded in 1909 as an addition to the Second Congregational Church, dedicated to the prominent Skinner family. Finally, the German Reformed Church was organized in 1892, though meetings were held years earlier. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, declining memberships in each of these churches led to a series of mergers, beginning in 1961 when the German Reformed Church united with the First Congregational to become the First United Congregational Church. Grace Church and the First UCC merged in 1973 to become Grace United, and in 1996, Grace joined with the Second Congregational Church to become the present UCC of Holyoke.

The records of the UCC of Holyoke document over 200 years of the ecclesiatical history of an industrial city. In addition to records of membership, baptisms, marriages, and church governance, the collection includes valuable records of the women’s missionary society, the German Maenner Bund, and a long run of church newsletters that offer insight into the weekly course of events in the religious community. Materials relating to Skinner Chapel are part of the collections of Wistariahurst Museum.


  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Missionaries--Massachusetts


  • First Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • German Reformed Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Grace Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Second Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Newsletters
  • Photographs

Westhampton Congregational Church (Westhampton, Mass.)

Westhampton Congregational Church Records, 1817-1970.

17 vols. (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 806

The Congregational Church in Westhampton, Mass., was formally organized on Sept. 1, 1779, with the installation of a young graduate of Yale, Enoch Hale, brother of the patriot Nathan Hale. At the end of Hale’s fifty years in the Westhampton pulpit, the church experienced a crisis that resulted in the separation of a portion of the membership as the Union Church, led by the charismatic evangelical preacher John Truair. The churches were reunited in 1850.

The records of the Westhampton Congregational Church document nearly two hundreds of religious life in a rural western Massachusetts community. Beginning with the founding of the church in 1779, the collection include a nearly unbroken record of church activities including thorough records of membership, transfers, marriages, baptisms, deaths, and church discipline, and for the latter century, a complete record of church finances. Of particular note is a volume recording the activities of the secessionist Union Church, 1829-1849.


  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Hale, Enoch, 1753-1837
  • Revivals--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Second Great Awakening
  • Truair, John, 1780-1845
  • Westhampton (Mass.)--Religious life and customs


  • Union Church (Westhampton, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Account books

Woodbury Boarding House

Woodbury House Boarding Register, 1804-1920.

1 vol. (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 172 bd

Boarding house on Folly Cove in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and boarding house at Echo Hill Cottage, perhaps also in Gloucester. Includes names of visitors, callers, boarders, and lodgers (some family friends and neighbors, others unknown guests) who hailed primarily from Massachusetts but also from states around the country. Also contains early accounts from 1804, guests at a Christmas party, lists of members of the Lanesville Universalist Church and Society who died or moved away, moral and religious verses entered by “Grand Ma”, and numerous preserved dried flowers and foliage, among other notations.


  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Gloucester
  • Gloucester (Mass.)--History

Types of material

  • Guest registers
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