First Congregational Church Records (Sterling), 1857-1982
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Brief Description:

This collection documents the history of the First Congregational Church from its founding in 1857 through 1982.  The records are organized into six series covering different facets of church operation.  Series one, administrative records, comprises historical information, constitutions and by-laws, church record books containing meeting minutes (1857-1961), trustee meeting minutes (1949-1955), annual reports (1940-1981), resolutions and legal agreements, and correspondence (1949-1965).  These materials describe church actions taken on building development, recruitment of new pastors, membership problems, and the financial status of the society.  The second series contains financial records such as cash books, day books, and pledge books for the years 1888 to 1976.  Membership records comprise the third series.  Here researchers can find the names of all church members, dates of communions and baptisms, a register of marriages and deaths, and a listing of contributions.  In addition, there are letters of transfer and dismission (1883-1973).  These first three series represent the core records of the church.

The last three records series contain information on building development, the Sunday School, and various organizations within the church.  The fourth series documents the church's campaign for a new education building and modernization of older facilities.  Series five contains the minutes of the Board of Religious Education meetings from 1942 to 1971 describing curriculum changes over the twenty-four year period.  Also included are treasurer's books and attendance records.  The final series contains records of the Deacons (1945-1970), the Prudential Committee (1902-1977), the Men's Bible Class (1904-1909), the Mary and Martha Class (1927-1936), the Mayflower Circle (1948-1958), the Woman's Missionary Society (1914-1940), and the Woman's Guild (1895-1980).  Records of the Woman's Guild comprise the largest subseries describing their activities, membership, constitution, and financial situation.  Photographs and scrapbooks (1858-1959) complete the collection.

Researchers studying the responses of northern Illinois citizens to the Great Depression and World Wars I and II may want to consult these records around those various time periods.  For those studying religious history in this area, the Center holds other collections which may provide some pertinent information.  Please consult the Center's Regional Collection Guide or with a staff person for information on complimentary records collections.

Held at:
Northern Illinois University
Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1779
Email: rhcua [at]
Record Series Number: RHC/RC/155
Volume: 6.0 Linear Feet
Acquired: 08/19/1982.
Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Subject Index
First Congregational Church (Sterling, Ill.)
Great Depression.
Sterling (Ill.)
World War I
World War II
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.
Acquisition Notes: Rev. M. Melvin Hough  Rev. M. Melvin Hough of Sterling, Illinois donated the records of the First Congregational Church to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on August 19, 1982.
Related Materials: For those studying religious history in this area, the Center holds other collections which may provide some pertinent information.