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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 V: Audio-Visual
Sub-Series A: Photographs
Box 26
Folder 1: Church History (21), no date
Folder 2: Building (94), no date
Folder 3-4: Church (30), 1892-1929, no date
Folder 5: Church Pageant (5), 1954
Folder 6: Church Patrons and Group (40), 1960s
Folder 7-8: Dr Williams Era (58), 1960s
Folder 9: Church Preschool (32), 1962-1967
Folder 10: Church Publicity (54), 1988
Folder 11: Mariners (54), 1988
Folder 12: Vacation Bible School (3), 1990s
Folder 13: Youth Group Senior High (20), 1990
Folder 14: Holiday (36), 1990-1992
Folder 15: Senior High, Photocopies (19), 1990
Folder 16: Fall Festival (28), 1990
Folder 17: Youth Group Workcamp (35), 1991
Folder 18: Youth Group Mud Volleyball and Camping, Photocopies (128), 1991
Folder 19: Mariners (54), 1991-2004
Folder 20: Youth Group Workcamp (47), 1992
Folder 21: Youth Group (33), 1993
Folder 22: Vacation Bible School, Photocopies (38), 1999
Folder 23: Golf Outing and Bar-B-Q (21), no date
Folder 24: Youth Activities (24), no date
Folder 25: Church Music (17), no date
Folder 26: Architectural Drawings (12), no date
Folder 27: Negatives (9), 1954
Folder 28: Church Patrons (119), 1960s
Folder 29: Church Activities (45), 1963-1990
Folder 30: Pre-School (48), 1984-1987
Folder 31: Group Members (10), 1987, 1993, no date
Folder 32: Group Activity (37), 1990s
Folder 33: Building (Exterior) (25), 1991
Folder 34: St Patrick's Day, 1993
Folder 35: Vacation Bible School (18), 2000
Folder 36: Programs (10), 2001
Folder 37: Church Building (13), 2001
Folder 38: Easter Egg Hunt (14), 2006
Folder 39: Group Activities (80), 1965
Folder 40: Confirmation (6), 1983-1996
Folder 41: Church Group (42), 1963-1969
Folder 42: Youth Group (142), 1969-1993
Folder 43: Dr Adamson (21), 1968
Folder 44: Group Members (14), 1920-1935
Folder 45: Preschool and Photocopies (51), 1993-1994
Folder 46: Mariners, Photocopies (22), 1988
Folder 47: Dr Fulton (6), 1952
Sub-Series B: Slides
Box 27
Folder 1-3: Preschool, August 1971-April 1980, no date
Folder 4-8: Microfilm Plan of Building, 1976
Folder 9: Tennesse Mountain, 1990
Folder 10: Work Camp, 1994
Folder 11: Children, July 1994
Folder 12: Various, August 1994
Folder 13: First Preschool Karl S. (Amish), no date
Folder 14: Workcamp, no date
Sub-Series C: Cassette Tapes
Box 28
Item 1-34: October 1970; April 11, 1976-November 20, 1977
Box 29
Item 1-42: December 18, 1977-August 12, 1979
Box 30
Item 1-34: December 27, 1987-September 11, 1988
Box 31
Item 1-34: September 18, 1988-April 16, 1989
Box 32
Item 1-38: April 23, 1989-March 24, 1991
Box 33
Item 1-41: March 31, 1991-May 17, 1992
Box 34
Item 1-41: May 24, 1992-April 30, 2001
Box 35
Item 1-39: no date
Box 36
Item 1-3: Hymns, no date
Item 4-6: Sermons and Hymns, no date
Item 7-9: Hymns and Narration, no date
Item 10-11: Concerts, no date
Item 12-13: Requiem, no date
Item 14: Choir, no date
Sub-Series D: Films (16mm)
Box 37: "Eudokian" Reel 1, no date
Box 38: "Eudokian" Reel 2, no date
Box 39: "The Presbyterians", no date
Sub-Series E: Phonograph Record and Reel to Reel Sound Recordings
Box 40
Grouping 1: Phonograph Record: Rockford Church Choirs at Christmastime, no date; The Medicare 7, 8 or 9 “Make a Joyful Noise”, no date.
Grouping 2: Reel to Reel Sound Recordings: “Youth Sunday Worship Service”, January 26, 1969; “An Evening with Avery and Marsh” July 20, 1973.
Box 41: Ceramic Plate (1), Church Rubber Stamp (1), Church Bank-Cash Pouch Bag (1), Metal Engraving of Cross (1), Badges on Cloth (5), Church Plaque (1), Church Tin Print (1), no date
Box 42
Folder 1: Newspaper articles-Photocopies (17), 1956-2006; Rockford Morning Star article (1), 1954; “Rockford 50,000: 1909- 1910" (1), no date.
Folder 2: Sunday School Picnic at Honenegah Park  (1),1910; Church Building (exterior) (1), no date; Church Pledge (1), 1950.
Folder 3: Choir Photos (4), Spring 1982; Confirmation Class Photos (2),  1982, 1983; Reverend Pomnerenke (2), no date; Group Photo (3), no date.
Folder 4: "The Sounds of Music", advertisement (1),  no date; Administrative Calendar (1), 1991-1992; “Old Times Christmas Carols” (1), no date; “Burning Bush” sculpture print (1), no date; 125th Anniversary print (1) no date.
Folder 5: Planning Study (Architectural Drawings) (1), ca 1975; Various photos and negatives, no date (70), ca 1975
Folder 6: Diploma (1), 1913

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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