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Archives and Special Collections: Overview

At Meadville Lombard, archiving is a form of justice making work. From preservation to digitization, we work to make the richness and diversity of Unitarian Universalism's history freely and easily available to anyone who seeks it. We have been collecting history for over 175 years and hold material from students and scholars, laity and ministers, and congregations and organizations around the world. As the only exclusively UU archive, we take seriously the trust our community has placed in us to preserve our shared history.

Our Collection

Meadville Lombard has over 400 physical and digital archival collections, with topics ranging from Puritanism to Paganism and everything in between. Our emphasis is liberal religion in the west, 20th century Unitarian Universalism, and communities underserved and excluded by traditional archives. We are particularly proud of our UUA Congregational Records, which tell the story of every Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist congregation from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Using the Archives

Archives are meant to be used! Barring few exceptions due to donor requests, all of our collections are unrestricted access and open to researchers. In addition, all of our digitized material is freely accessible. Anyone in need of information or material in the Meadville Lombard Library and Archives will have access to them. 

  • To use any of our Physical Archive Collections, click here.
  • To use any of our Digital Archive Collections, click here.
  • To use the UUA Congregation Records, click here.

Special Collections

A Unitarian Universalist archive involves more than simply collecting UU materials; it means applying our UU values and principles to how the archive functions. One way we do that is through our Special Collections. Our special collections are gatherings of unique archival materials produced by a specific community traditionally excluded from the archival record.  Special collections are a vital part of the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections because they empower communities underserved by archives to preserve and make accessible their history. To access our Special Collections, click here

Ask an Archivist

If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!

We can help with...

  • Scheduling an archive visit
  • Accessing archival materials
  • Using our digital archive tools
  • Answering reference questions
  • Scanning selections of documents
  • Donating archival material to Meadville Lombard
  • Creating archives at your local congregation

Newly Digitized Items

We are always digitizing new material! Click the links below to see what is new. 

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