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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 III: Financial Records
Folder 4-5: Treasurer's Reports and Communicant Rolls, 1892-1893; 1898-1904
Folder 6: Treasurer's Reports, 1877-1883
Folder 7: Financial Statements and Reports, 1942-2005
Folder 8: Expenses and Balance (Book), September 1941-1960
Folder 9: Expenses and Balance (Book), January 1960-January 1971
Folder 10: Expenses and Balance (Book), December 1962-January 1971
Folder 11: Expenses and Balance (Book), December 1962-January 1971
Folder 12: General Fund-Budget, 1971-2011
Folder 13: Budget, 2004-2008
Folder 14: Various Funds, Capital Campaign and Budgets, 1980-2010
Folder 15: Operating Budget, 1989
Folder 16: Budget Market Study, 1989
Folder 17: Scholarship Fund, May 1985
Folder 18: Market Study, May 1985
Folder 19: Market Study Questionnaire, January 1985
Folder 20: Annual Congregation and Meeting Reports, 1933-1963
Folder 21: Stewardship, 1957-1967, 1980-1994
Folder 22: Stewardship, 1957-1967, 1980-1994
Folder 23: Stewardship, 1957-1967, 1980-1994
Folder 24: Stewardship Planning, 2005
Folder 25: Building, 1922-2006

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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