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First Presbyterian Church of Rockford



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Historical and Administrative Records

Membership Information

Financial Records

Church Groups and Committees


Oversize Drawer 29

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First Presbyterian Church of Rockford, 1854-2010 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: First Presbyterian Church of Rockford, 1854-2010

Predominant Dates:1854-2010

ID: RHC/RC/325

Extent: 18.75 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 09/17/2012

Subjects: First Presbyterian Church of Rockford, Rockford (Ill.)


The First Presbyterian Church of Rockford Records contain five series of records:  (l) Historical and Administrative Records, (2) Membership Information, (3) Financial Records, (4) Church Groups and Committees, (5) Audio-Visual.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The first series contains historical and administrative records. The first series consists of four subseries:  historical records, annual reports, board of trustees minutes and records and administration records. These include the history of the church from its founding in Rockford in 1854 and as well as correspondence. This section also contains other land and property deeds and ministerial records dating from the late 1800s, annual reports (1919-2010), session meeting reports (including late 1800s), by-laws, and additional administrative correspondence until 2010. Also included in this series are the church deeds of 1951 and 1954, deed and land titles of 1904 and 1954, hymn books (1917), and centennial church records (1854-1962). The second series, Membership Information, consists of three subseries:  records of church members and membership cards, bulletins and newsletters, and church-members correspondence. This series includes records relating to church members, membership cards, church bulletins and directories, church-member correspondence, member lists, reception and dismissals, bulletins and directories, church handbooks and baptism records from early 20th century. There are also memorial records of church members and eulogies (1961-1996). In one “Baptism” book, there is a list of Presbyterian members that were on the “Khaki Roll” from WWI. There is also a list of church members WWII roll call.

The third series consists of financial records, treasury reports, and communicant rolls. These include General Fund information pertaining to how money was collected and raised and specifically how the funds were dispersed, (1971-2011). There are records on the church building and fund from 1922-2006, treasurer’s reports (1877-1883), financial statements and reports(1942-2005), expenses and balances records (1941-1971), annual congregation and meeting reports (1933-1963) and stewardship records (1957-1994).  The fourth series, Church Groups and Committees, consists of three subseries; financial reports, church groups and committees and programs.  This series is the bulk of the collection. First Presbyterian Church was comprised of dozens of church organization committees. These include the audit, property, renovations, Eudokian, Thistle bookshop, witness and outreach, youth, worship, Christian education, Evangelism, missions, music, finance and stewardship, and women’s ministry committees.  The Church records contain information on how the different groups, organizations and committees within the Church raised funds and donated their time and money to those less fortunate both here and abroad. The Deaconess Committee was a women’s group that visited the sick and elderly, boosted their morale and assisted with their needs. The Eudokians were a young women’s group that existed for several decades beginning in the 1920s. They were involved in many church-related programs and charitable events. The Missions committee involved an overview of the Church’s purposes as well as mission trips. This series also contains information relating to various Church programs and the church scrapbooks.

The fifth series, Audio-visual, consist of seven subseries; photographs, slides, cassette tapes, films, phonograph records/reel to reel sound recordings, church artifacts, and oversize records. This series contains photographs and slides of the interior and exterior of the church, church members, youth groups, church mission trips, church celebrations and other church activities. Of particular interest is a film that features the exterior of First Presbyterian Church and surrounding area taken in the 1920s by the Eudokian Committee.  Also contained in this series are sermons on cassette tape and church artifacts.

Collection Historical Note

Several names in Rockford’s local history are mentioned in the collection and may be useful to researchers doing local history. Because Rockford began as a manufacturing center, businessmen were able to contribute to the growing community, including the Church. First Presbyterian was built on land originally owned by George Haskell, who acquired the land patent from the United States of America in 1842. This original land patent as well as subsequent land acquisitions and divisions is in the collection. In addition, the collection has information regarding prominent local figures involved in the original church formation. The First Presbyterian Church was formed in Rockford, Illinois in 1854. The first permanent building they used for church purposes was called “The Little Brown Church,” a simple rectangular building that was used until a more permanent structure was built. A fund was created in 1862 for the building of the new structure located on West State Street in Rockford, Illinois. When that church was outgrown, a new larger church was dedicated and opened in 1908 in a different location at the NW corner of North Main Street and Park Avenue, where it stands today.

The Church contains a large pipe organ that was an integral part of the church for many years. A special committee was formed for the funding of and building preparation for this organ.  Church meeting minutes make reference to the locating, funding and arrival of this organ. As the Church aged, additions and updates were desired and a capital campaign was begun in 1993 to raise the necessary funds. Due to declining membership and rising costs, the First Presbyterian Church of Rockford joined with another church, The Second Congregational UCC in 2011. Although the congregation continues to gather at their new home in Rockford, church leaders felt the need to archive the collection from First Presbyterian in order to maintain its individual and original histories.

Subject/Index Terms

First Presbyterian Church of Rockford
Rockford (Ill.)

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Alternate Extent Statement: 245 digital file (141 MB)

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Technical Access Note: Electronic records may be accessed on the computer in the Center’s reading room.

Acquisition Source: Rev. Beth Wagner

Acquisition Method: Rev. Beth Wagner, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Rockford, donated the church records in three parts to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center between September and December 2012.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Historical and Administrative Records],
[Series II: Membership Information],
[Series III: Financial Records],
[Series IV: Church Groups and Committees],
[Series V: Audio-Visual],
[Oversize Drawer 29],

Series I: Historical and Administrative Records
Sub-Series A: Historical Records
Box 1
Folder 1: History, 1854-1995
Folder 2: Early History of First Presbyterian Church by J.S. Gimes, 1882
Folder 3: Early Church Design, Weekly Bulletin, 1908
Folder 4: Banquet Invitations, 1906
Folder 5: Memorials and Commemoration, 1898, 1968
Folder 6: 75th Anniversary, 1929
Folder 7: 100 Year Centennial Celebration, July 8-11, 1954
Folder 8: 125th Year Centennial Celebration, September-October 1979
Folder 9: Centennial Church Records, 1854-1962
Folder 10: 150th Sesquicentennial Celebration Guest Book, 2004
Folder 11: 150th Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, 2004
Folder 12: 150th Sesquicentennial Church Memorials, 2004
Folder 13: 150th Sesquicentennial Celebration, 2004
Folder 14: Presbytery of Blackhawk, Church History, 25th Anniversary, 1992-1997
Folder 15: Sabbath Sunday School History and Reports, 1869-1875
Folder 16: Dedication Services Manuals, 1857, 1908
Folder 17: By laws, 1971-2007
Folder 18: Church Deeds, 1951, 1954
Folder 19: Deed and Land Titles, 1904, 1954
Sub-Series B: Annual Reports
Box 1
Folder 20-22: 1919-1937
Folder 23-29: 1939-1947
Folder 30: 1976-1977
Folder 31: 1980-1982
Folder 32: 1985-1992
Folder 33: 1999-2002
Folder 34: 2004-2010
Sub-Series C: Board of Trustees
Box 2
Folder 1: 1863-1907
Folder 2: 1962-1966
Folder 3: 1968-1975
Folder 4: 1976-1978
Folder 5: 1981-1984
Folder 6-14: 1985-1999
Folder 15-16: 1986-1987
Folder 17: 2000, 2008
Sub-Series D: Administration
Box 2
Folder 18: Sessions Procedures Manuals, 1988-1990
Box 3
Folder 1: Session Procedures Manuals, 1988-1990
Folder 2: Administration, 1982
Folder 3: Budget, 1982
Folder 4: Building, 1982
Folder 5: Music, 1982
Folder 6: Program, 1982
Folder 7: Service, 1982
Folder 8: Goals and Objectives, 1995
Folder 9: Program Council, 1987-1989
Folder 10: Session, Deacons, Deaconess, 1992-1993
Folder 11: Clerk of Session Information, Memorandums, Correspondence, 1975-1976
Folder 12: Session Members and Elders List, 1967-1976
Folder 13: Handbook for Elders of the Session, no date
Folder 14: Dr. Fulton Correspondence, 1931
Folder 15: Reverend W. Kent Clise Installation Information and Correspondence, 1975
Folder 16-19: Reverend Clise Correspondence, 1980-1990
Folder 20: Interim Pastor Calvin M. Marcum, Information, Correspondence, 1980-1991
Folder 21: Reverend Calvin Marcum Correspondence, Information, 1991
Folder 22: Reverend David H. Barnes Information, Correspondence, 1991-1992
Folder 23: Annual Christmas Correspondence from Pastors, 1971, 1978, 1981
Folder 24: Correspondence to Church Members, General, 1983-2004
Folder 25: Minister of Music, Margaret J. Dean Correspondence, 1983-1991
Folder 26: Church Sermons, 1982-1983
Folder 27: Lay Leadership Handbooks, 1993, 2000
Folder 28: Leadership Retreat, 2001
Folder 29: Ministry Yearbooks, 1992-1993, 2001
Folder 30-31: Deaconess Reports, 1961-2001
Folder 32: Pastor and Church Staff Information, 1967-1971,  1993
Folder 33: Board of Deacons Meeting Minutes, 1981-1999
Folder 34: Treasury Reports and Communicant Rolls, 1863-1896
Folder 35: Pastor Bob Hillenbrand Retirement, 2010
Folder 36: "Conscientious Objection", Pastor James Adamson, 1971
Folder 37: Committee on Stronghold Ministries, 1985-1994
Folder 38: Director of Children, Youth Christian Education Job Summary, May, 2009
Folder 39: Director of Children and Youth Ministry Hiring, 1995-1996
Folder 40: Sunday School Programs, Children and Youth Director Documents and Activities, and Disc (1), 1992-1994
Folder 41: Interim Pastor Hiring, 2000
Folder 42: Administration Staff Job Description, 1979-1998
Folder 43: Staff Directory, 2003, 2006-2008
Box 4
Folder 1: Pastor and Staff Resignation, 1982-2004
Folder 2: Vocation Agency Employment Search Information and Church  Profile, 1975, 1986
Folder 3: Personnel Policies, 2009
Folder 4: Custodian Joe Lupton Records, Correspondence, 1969-1970
Folder 5: Staff Information Form, no date
Folder 6: Marion Wishhart Administrative Assistant, Information and Correspondence, 1968-1970
Folder 7: Minister of Education Job Description, 1976
Folder 8: Minister of Music, Margaret J. Hitchcock, Information and Correspondence, 1983
Folder 9: Pastor Job Description, no date
Folder 10: News Articles, Pastor Barnes, 1991
Folder 11: Personnel Policies, March, 1993
Folder 12: Associate Pastor for Program and Education, Mark D. Atkinson, 1984
Folder 13: Award (Certificate of Appreciation awarded by Northern Illinois Hospice Association), 1985
Folder 14: Church Adoption Assistance Correspondence, 1989
Folder 15: Guest Evangelical Preachers, 1984, 1989
Folder 16: Pastor Youth Fellowship Fact-sheet and Instructions, 1986
Folder 17: Administration, 1962-2008
Folder 18: Administrative Department Meeting Minutes, 1971-1976
Folder 19: Church Information Forms, 1971-1976
Folder 20: Outreach to Inactive Members, no date
Folder 21: Strategic Planning Survey, no date
Folder 22: "From Darkness into Light, Come" Church Painting Proposal, 1987
Folder 23: Harvest Fest, 1983-1990
Folder 24: Legal Issues of Sanctuary, 1986,
Folder 25: Feasibility Study, 1985
Folder 26: Church Computerization of Records, 1987-1990
Folder 27: Church Goals and Objectives, 1970-1995
Folder 28: Church Wish-Books, 1987-1988
Folder 29: Legal Correspondence, 1967-1970
Folder 30: Burpee-Wood Funeral Home Information, 1976-1978
Folder 31: General Assembly Meeting Minutes, no date
Folder 32: Presbyterian Church Assembly and Unions, 1952, 1956
Folder 33: Protestant Community Services, 1992-1995
Folder 34: Public Relations and Press Release Information, 1987-2001
Folder 35: Medical Benevolence Foundation, 1994
Box 5
Folder 1: Presbyterian Planning Calender, 2005-2007
Folder 2: Church Responses to Angela Davis, 1971
Folder 3: Photo Essay on Need for Church Growth and Facilities, no date
Folder 4: Brochures, no date
Folder 5: First Presbyterian Church First Dance Final Report, 2006
Folder 6-7: Pastor Calvin Marcum, Talks and Sermons, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1990, 1991
Box 6
Folder 1: VE Day Address, May 13, 1945
Folder 2: Children, 2004-2011
Folder 3: The Ten Commandments, J. Rodman Williams, November, 1957
Folder 4: Reverend Linthicum, 1962
Folder 5: Contemporary Service of Worship Music List, 1996
Folder 6: Communion Instructions, 2000-2007
Folder 7: Dr Ely Service in Dedication of Church Building, 1908
Folder 8: Student-led Worship, 2011
Folder 9: Thanksgiving Eve Service, 1986-1988
Folder 10: All Saints Day Correspondence and Information, 1984-1991
Folder 11: Church Advent Programs and Information, 1977-1991
Folder 12: Lent and Lenten Devotion Booklet, 1977-1999
Folder 13: Hymn Books, 1917
Folder 14: Worship, 1950-2006

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Historical and Administrative Records],
[Series II: Membership Information],
[Series III: Financial Records],
[Series IV: Church Groups and Committees],
[Series V: Audio-Visual],
[Oversize Drawer 29],

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