Brooklyn Historical Society logo

Guide to the Presbyterian Churches of Brooklyn collection ARC.241

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-222-4111
library@brooklynhistory.org


Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Patricia Glowinski and Matthew Gorham

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 28, 2011
English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Additional content contributed by Emily Reynolds on January 13, 2011, and by Matthew Gorham on July 29, 2011.  , January 13, 2011

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Bay Ridge-Fort Hamilton Presbytery (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Brooklyn-Nassau Presbytery (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Bushwick Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Central Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: City Park Chapel (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Classon Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Clinton Street Presbyterian Church.
Creator: First Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Fort Hamilton Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Homecrest Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Memorial Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Pacific Street Chapel.
Creator: Park Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Second Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: South Brooklyn Presbyterian Church.
Creator: South Third Street Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Spencer Memorial Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Throop Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Union Church of Bay Ridge (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Creator: Westminster-Bethany United Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
Title: Presbyterian Churches of Brooklyn collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1831-1984
Abstract: The Presbyterian Churches of Brooklyn collection contains materials from 22 Presbyterian churches and associations located in Brooklyn, N.Y. The collection spans the years 1831 to 1984 and includes church histories, reports, minutes, manuals, yearbooks, programs, financial records, registers, newsletters, and miscellaneous publications. The yearbooks are of particular interest as they often contain membership lists.
Quantity: 2.5 Linear feet in six manuscript boxes.
Text [Box]: ARC.241 3 of 6
Text [Box]: ARC.241 4 of 6
Text [Box]: ARC.241 5 of 6
Text [Box]: ARC.241 6 of 6
Text [Box]: ARC.241 1 of 6
Text [Box]: ARC.241 2 of 6
Call Phrase: ARC.241
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Return to Top »


Historical note

The First Presbyterian Church, Newtown (founded in 1652) and the First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica (founded in 1662) were the first organized Presbyterian churches in what is today New York City. Located in the present-day borough of Queens, the original churches faced religious suppression when they were forced to take on Anglican pastors by the ruling Anglican colonial governors. After years of religious persecution, including the imprisonment of the Presbyterian preacher and father of American Presbyterian Francis Makemie, the church eventually was able to expand when the First Presbyterian Church, Manhattan was founded in lower Manhattan in 1716. Soon after, in 1717, another church was organized in Staten Island and in 1822, the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn was formed in what is today the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

During the American Revolutionary War, many church members became known for their revolutionary activities against the British. It was also during this period that the church expanded its membership by opening schools and Sunday schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Beginning in the 1830s, the issue over slavery eventually led to a split in the Presbyterian Church when the Southern Presbyterian Church was created in 1861. Anti-slavery churches, such as the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn faced mob violence during the time leading up to the rupture of the church. Following the Civil War, the church turned its attention to missionary work and social reform. In Brooklyn, the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church sent the first Presbyterian missionary to Korea.

The Presbyterian Church in America faced more challenges during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the heresy trial of New York City born theologian and scholar Charles Augustus Briggs. Briggs was one of the early proponents of Higher Criticism, a movement within the church that stressed that the Bible contained errors that should be interpreted as stories and not as facts. This split in doctrine led to what would become the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy within the American Presbyterian Church, as well as in other Christian denominations in America.

In 1983, the split in the Presbyterian Church that occurred during the Civil War was mended when the church was reunited to form the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America.

Sources:

  1. Jackson, Kenneth T. "Presbyterians." The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.

Return to Top »


Scope and Contents note

The Presbyterian Churches of Brooklyn collection contains materials from 22 Presbyterian churches and associations located in Brooklyn, N.Y. The collection spans the years 1831 to 1984 and includes church histories, reports, minutes, registers, financial records, manuals, yearbooks, programs, newsletters, and miscellaneous publications. The yearbooks are of particular interest as they often contain membership lists.

Churches represented in the collection are: The Union Church of Bay Ridge (formerly Bay Ridge Presbyterian Church and Bay Ridge Reformed Dutch Church); Bay Ridge-Fort Hamilton Presbytery; Brooklyn-Nassau Presbytery; Bushwick Presbyterian Church; Central Avenue Presbyterian Church; Classon Avenue Presbyterian Church; City Park Chapel; Fort Hamilton Presbyterian Church; Homecrest Presbyterian Church; Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; Memorial Presbyterian Church; Park Presbyterian Church; Spencer Memorial Presbyterian Church; South Third Street Presbyterian Church; Throop Avenue Presbyterian Church; and Westminster-Bethany United Presbyterian Church; South Presbyterian Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pacific Street Chapel, Second Presbyterian Church, Clinton Street Presbyterian Church, and First Presbyterian Church.

Return to Top »


Access Points

Document Type

  • Annual reports
  • Church records
  • Directories
  • Financial records
  • Manuals (instructional materials)
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes
  • Newsletters
  • Programs (documents)
  • Publications
  • Registers (lists)
  • Reports
  • Yearbooks

Subject Organizations

  • Bay Ridge-Fort Hamilton Presbytery (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Brooklyn-Nassau Presbytery (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Bushwick Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Central Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • City Park Chapel (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Classon Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Clinton Street Presbyterian Church.
  • First Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Fort Hamilton Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Homecrest Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Memorial Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Pacific Street Chapel.
  • Park Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Second Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • South Brooklyn Presbyterian Church.
  • South Third Street Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Spencer Memorial Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Throop Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Union Church of Bay Ridge (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Westminster-Bethany United Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).

Subject Topics

  • Christian life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church anniversaries -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church finance -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church history
  • Church management -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church membership -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church property -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church societies -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Clergy
  • Religious institutions -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bay Ridge (New York, N.Y)
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bushwick (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)

Return to Top »


Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Presbyterian Churches of Brooklyn collection, 1986.028, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Archival Materials

Brooklyn Historical Society also holds several related collections. Interested researchers should see the First Presbyterian Church collection (ARC.125); Prospect Heights Presbyterian Church records (ARC.087); and Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church records (2009.011). Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Portions of this collection were donated by John Herzon in 1977, and the donors of other materials are unknown.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the collection level.

Return to Top »


Return to Top »