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Guide to the Judson Memorial Church Archive

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Tania Friedel and Matt Moore, 2000-01; 2001 accretion processed by Gwynneth Malin. Processing of media materials by Brent Phillips, 2006. 2009 Accretion processed by Nicholas Martin, 2010. Scrapbooks and yearbooks re-processed by Kristen Joy Owens, 2015.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 21, 2017
Description is in English.

 Updated by Jacqueline Rider to reflect incorporation of video preservation master and sub-master files.  , March 2017

Scope and Content

The Judson Memorial Church Archive is a diverse collection of materials which document the arts ministry, building plans and maintenance, church administration, community outreach/social action programs, early church history, client records, and financial records. These materials comprise correspondence, minutes, ephemera, financial records, publicity, production files, building plans, posters, photographs, ledgers, reels, tapes, and videos. The Archive is primarily organized by subject, such as Arts, Building, General Archives, and Early Church History. There are some exceptions to this arrangement by subject, such as the Judson Centennial.

The Judson Centennial is a large collection of materials within the Judson Memorial Church Archive and within the Accretion 2001. The Centennial records document a range of activities which took place in 1990 as part of the Centennial celebration of the Judson Memorial Church. Due to its large size and diverse nature, the Judson Centennial records have been divided by subject and have been arranged within the appropriate series. Therefore, the Centennial records pertaining to dance, theater, and the arts are included in series A, subseries 1, General Arts. The Centennial materials pertaining to the restoration of the church fae and stained glass windows have been arranged within series B, the Building Series, subseries 3, Centennial Renovations. There is also a substantial number of Centennial records pertaining to fundraising, which have been arranged within the Special Events subseries of the General Archives Series, series C.11. This division of the Judson Centennial records serves to preserve the original order and provenance of the collection established by the Judson Memorial Library Commission.


Series A: Arts

Series A, subseries 1 is the general arts section. Box 1 is divided into three groups, Right-to-Sing, Grants and Funds Requests, and the Judson Centennial. Boxes 2 and 3, the Arts-General files, contain files of performances and events (mostly musical) including the Mahalia Jackson concert and the Bread and Puppet Theater.

Box 1 of the Accretion 2001 contains records of the Judson Centennial, including press releases, programs, reservation lists, reviews, and scripts of performances and art-related events from 1990. These records are arranged in chronological order, by the date of the event. Materials without a single or specific date are placed in alphabetical order at the beginning of this subseries. This box also includes the records of the performances of the Bread and Puppet Theater and the Judson Chamber Concerts. The records of the Bread and Puppet Theater in this subseries are mostly programs, flyers, and reviews of performances. A strength of this collection is that it includes several pamphlets called Bread and Puppet Newspaper, published by the Bread and Puppet Theater. These pamphlets consisting of hand drawn comics which address current events, such as the Vietnam War, have been removed from the collection and catalogued as part of the Downtown Collection. Poetry publications of the Judson Memorial Church, such as Exodus and The Judson Review, are also included in this subseries. The records in this subseries are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series A, subseries 2 is the Judson Dance Theater section, which contains programs, reviews, publicity, correspondence and photographs of dance performances arranged chronologically. Performers include Lucinda Childs, Aileen Pasloff, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneeman, and others in performance dates beginning in the early 1960's. These files are followed by an alphabetized index of Dance Theater performers and a section of miscellaneous Dance Theater photographs, including those donated by Al Giese for Bennington College's Judson Project (video tapes from the Judson Project are in series G).

Boxes 2a and 2b of the Accretion 2001 consists of performance programs, reviews, flyers, photographs, resumes and obituaries of performers, arranged alphabetically by artist.

Series A, subseries 3 is the Judson Poets' Theater section. This section begins with files concerning the creation and administration of Judson Poets' Theater, followed by chronological production files of Judson Poets' Theater musical and theatrical performances, which include correspondence, programs, date and performer listings, and photographs. Next, there are files containing reviews of individual performances, followed by scripts of plays performed at Judson Poets' Theater, and concluding with scripts that were not produced.

Series A, subseries 4 contains the Judson Gallery files, arranged in chronological order, and including information on events and shows, correspondence, flyers, reviews, publicity and photographs. Judson Gallery was host to visual-art exhibitions as well as several events and happenings, including the Hall of Issues, DIAS, Claes Oldenberg's Ray-Gun, the Destruction Film Festival, Manipulations and the Flag Show, which featured artists including Jim Dine, Charlotte Moorman, Claes Oldenberg, Yoko Ono, and Robert Rauschenburg.

Box 3 of the Accretion 2001 contains records that document the exhibits of the Judson Gallery and the artists who were connected with the gallery. These records are arranged alphabetically by artist's name.

Series B: Building

Series B contains the Judson Memorial Church building files. Series B, subseries 1 contains chronologically arranged files concerning the Judson Memorial Church Building, which include information on building proposals, plans, committees, property negotiations (see also series C, subseries 14) and photographs of the church and its surroundings. Series B, subseries 2 contains the Grace House Renovations files, which include correspondence, committee minutes, proposals, and financial information. Series B, subseries 3 contains the Centennial Renovations files, which include correspondence, proposals, administrative files and photographs of the various renovation projects, including the La Farge stained-glass windows and marble, copper, and terra cotta repairs. For building plans see oversize flat boxes.

Box 3 of the Accretion 2001 contains records from series B, subseries 3, concerning the Centennial renovation projects. These records include proposals, administrative files, correspondence, information about foundations and fundraising, and photographs of the different renovation projects which were undertaken as part of the Centennial celebration. One of these projects was to restore the La Farge stained glass windows. Several color photographs of these windows are also included in series C, subseries 11, Special Events.

Series C: General Archives

Series C contains the general church archives. This series includes administrative records, committee minutes, worship materials, publications, correspondence, outreach programs, events, and photographs.

The following is a list of subseries in the general church archives:

.01 Baptism .02 Marriage/Death Records .03 Membership Records .04 Financial Information .05 Church Board/Committees .06 Worship Materials .07 Publications (in-house) .08 Minister-Generated Materials .09 Correspondence .10 Community/Social-Action Programs .11 Special Events .12 Publicity/Articles .13 Photographs .14 Legal Materials .15 Affiliations

Box 4 of the Accretion 2001 contains baptism records from series C, subseries 1 and marriage and death records from series C, subseries 2. Highlights of these records include original marriage bulletins which are small bound volumes with handwritten entries of wedding services performed at the Judson Memorial Church from 1957-1966. Files for the memorial services of various members of the Judson congregation and community include photographs of the deceased, programs for the memorial services, and handwritten eulogies by Rev. Howard Moody. Most of these memorial services were for members of the congregation, dancers, or artists, although some services were for famous people including Lenny Bruce and John F. Kennedy Jr.

Box 5 of the Accretion 2001 contains financial ledgers from 1965-1968 and receipt books from various years. Oversize financial ledgers from series C, subseries 4 are included at the end of the collection in the oversize section.

Series C, subseries 10, the community/social-action files, contain information on the AIDS Task Force, 1930's social-action, the Prostitution Project and various youth programs. Much of the information pertaining to Judson Memorial Church's involvement with abortion counseling coordinated by the Clergy Consultation Service (CCS) is in sealed boxes at the end of the archive. These boxes are sealed until 2025.

Box 6 of the Accretion 2001 contains records from series C, subseries 10. The AIDS Task Force records are comprised mostly of subject files. One file pertains to the curriculum of a workshop called "There's Always Something You Can Do" created by professional dancer, Eleanor Goff. The workshop is designed for people with AIDS and was offered at the Judson Church. Included in these records is a booklet of practices based on the Judson workshop which was distributed to hospitals for dissemination to patients. This workshop and others like it laid the groundwork for the "Move to Heal" dance class for people with HIV run by Movement Research at the Judson Church in the 1990's. Another file from the AIDS Task Force contains newspaper clippings and memos documenting the history of the controversial Compound Q study. In 1989, private doctors in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles treated people with AIDS with the drug, Compound Q, without implementing the usual scientific and ethical controls used in clinical trials. A poem by AIDS activist, Larry Kramer, dated September 20th, 1989 about the Compound Q trials is also included in this file.

Series C, subseries 10 also contains materials on pornography and Judson Church's involvement in the campaign against censorship. Records in this file consist of newspaper clippings and newsletters of Women Against Pornography (WAP) and of the Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force (FACT). The WAP materials document the tours to 42nd Street led by feminist Susan Brownmiller in 1979 to protest pornography and the sex industry. The files also contain information on the 1985 Meese commission to study the control of pornography, the laws written by Andrea Dworkin and Katherine McKinnon to censor pornography, Andrea Dworkin's suit against Larry Flint of Hustler, an article against censorship written by Lisa Duggan, and flyers for Annie Sprinkle's performances.

Series C, subseries 11, Special Events, within the Accretion 2001 contains records pertaining to the Judson Centennial. These records include old photographs, drawings, and articles that were posted on the display board during the Centennial, contact sheets of photographs from Centennial events, fundraising information, and minutes from the Centennial committee meetings. A booklet called "Imagine Greenwich Village without Judson Memorial Church", published in honor of the centennial, provides an informative overview of the activities of the Judson Memorial Church since its inception. The Centennial records are arranged in their original order.

Series D: Scrapbooks

This series contains two boxes of Judson Memorial Church scrapbooks and yearbooks, followed by a third box containing miscellaneous New York City arts performances compiled by a friend of the church. Most of the scrapbook articles are also located in series C, subseries 12 or filed by subject throughout the collection.

Series E: Books

This series contains books that were a part of the Judson Memorial Church archive that are about the Church. Other books from the collection were removed and catalogued in the downtown collection.

Series F: Early Church History

This series contains files of early church history, including Berean Church (the original name of Judson Memorial Church) founded in 1838 and Mariner's Temple, a missionary institution, which was affiliated with Judson Memorial Church from 1902-03. Series F also contains church histories, including biographical information on Adoniram Judson, early articles about the church and brief church chronicles. Early membership, baptismal, and financial records are filed by subject in the general archives or located with the oversize ledgers.

A strength of the Accretion 2001 is its inclusion of several original documents related to early church history. These records had been compiled and organized within a binder by the Judson Memorial Church. In processing the Accretion 2001, these records have been kept together to preserve their provenance. The documents have been arranged within subseries 1, 2, and 3 of series F, but the original order used in the binder has been preserved. One original document of special note is the Articles of the Berean Church dated October 1838 which also lists the 21 original members of the Berean Church.

This series also contains several original fundraising letters and publicity pieces by Rev. Edward Judson from the early 1900's. One such piece, dated June 15th, 1910, outlines the Fresh Air, Cool Water and Flower Fund. The Fresh Air section of this fund provided for "tired shop girls, old people, children and mothers with little children" to spend two weeks in the country at the Fresh Air Home in Sommerville, New Jersey
. This home and property had been given to the Judson Memorial Church as a Children's Home and it was used year-round for this purpose. The Cool Water section of the fund allowed Judson to operate five public ice water fountains in the city during the summer months. The Flower Mission oversaw the distribution of fresh flowers to the "homes of the poor and the bedsides of the sick at home and in hospitals."

Also included in this series are an original signed letter from John D. Rockefeller to Rev. Petty dated 1918 and an original worship service schedule written in Italian which demonstrates the church's early outreach efforts to the Italian immigrant population.

Series G: Media.

Series G contains the videos, cassettes, and reels from the Judson Memorial Church archive. These files are arranged alphabetically and include performances, interviews, speeches, sermons, church source material, and other miscellaneous recordings.

Sources: Books

Missing Title

  1. Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Mission For Life (New York: The Free Press, 1980)
  2. Sally Banes, Democracy's Body: Judson Dance Theater - 1962-1964 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1983)
  3. Sally Banes, Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980)

Journals and Periodicals

Missing Title

  1. Jennifer Dunning, "A Church Celebrates Its First Century of Creative Growth," The New York Times, April 11, 1990.
  2. "Exodus Quarterly Holds Reception," The Village Voice, November 11, 1959.
  3. Bernard Holland, "Music: 'Insurrection'," The New York Times, February 20, 1984.
  4. Clark Whelton, "Bars and Stripes Forever," The Village Voice, November 19, 1970.
  5. FDA Cracks Down on Compound Q - Village Voice
  6. Private Study of AIDS drug; Praise and Warning 9/20/89


Folders are arranged chronologically by series/subseries with the exception of the audio and video items with are arranged alphabetically by title and separated by format.

The Archive is primarily organized by subject, such as Arts, Building, General Archives, and Early Church History. Many of these subjects are subdivided into subseries. There are some exceptions to this arrangement by subject, such as the Judson Centennial.

Missing Title

  1. Series A: Arts
  2. Series A: Arts - Oversize Boxes
  3. Series B: Building
  4. Series B: Building - Oversize Boxes
  5. Series B: Building - Oversize Flat Boxes
  6. Series C: General Archives
  7. Series C: General Archives - Oversize Ledgers
  8. Series C: General Archives - Oversize Boxes
  9. Series D: Scrapbooks
  10. Series E: Books
  11. Series E: Books - Oversize
  12. Series F: Early Church History
  13. Series F: Early Church History - Oversize Ledgers
  14. Series G: Media
  15. Ephemera
  16. Accretion 2001 - Series A: Arts
  17. Accretion 2001 - Series B: Building
  18. Accretion 2001 - Series C: General Archives
  19. Accretion 2001 - Series C: General Archives - Oversize
  20. Accretion 2001 - Series C: Sealed Boxes
  21. Accretion 2001 - Series F: Early Church History
  22. Accretion 2001 - Series G: Media
  23. Accretion 2009 - Series A: Arts
  24. Accretion 2009 - Series A: Arts - Oversize
  25. Accretion 2009 - Series B: Building
  26. Accretion 2009 - Series C: General Archives
  27. Accretion 2009 - Series F: Early Church History
  28. Accretion 2009 - Series G: Media