Guide to the Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records, 1853-1964 AIS.1968.21

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records
Creator
Grace Reformed Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
AIS.1968.21
Date
1853-1964
Extent
14.7 linear feet (28 boxes)
Abstract
This collection contains the records of the Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, PA, 1853-1964 and relates primarily to financial information and organizational infrastructure. These records include bank ledgers, statements, receipts, bills of sale, church programs, bulletins, missals, sermons, member lists, burial records, correspondence, meeting minutes, memoranda, and miscellaneous medias.

Preferred Citation

Grace Reformed Church Records, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1853-1964, AIS.1968.21, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

In December of 1853, Rev. Dr. Henry Harbaugh, president of Philadelphia based Franklin and Marshall College, was summoned to Pittsburgh at the request of resident Mrs. Amelia K. Schmertz concerning the potential establishment of a local organization of a Reformed Church. The result of this visit contributed to the 1854 establishment of the Pittsburgh congregation of the Grace Reformed Church, a denomination of The Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS). Services were first held in a hall at the corner of Smithfield Street and Virgin Alley in downtown Pittsburgh and included an initial congregation of seven charter members. A year later the Grace Reformed Church purchased three vacant lots on the corner of Grant and Webster Streets and prepared plans for the construction of a new building. Completed in December of 1857, the original church structure of the Grace Reformed Church would serve the needs of its congregation for just under six years.

In 1899, confronted with an increasing number of members leaving downtown for the suburbs, the Church purchased a plot of land in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh situated at the corner of Dithridge and Bayard Streets and in October 1901 began construction on a new edifice. Completed two years later in July 1903, this new structure served as the permanent location of the Grace Reformed Church until 1964, when the congregation was forced to dissolve due to shrinking numbers in membership and increasing financial instability. In 1968 the Church was demolished.

The RCUS was founded in 1725 as a German immigrant denomination. In 1934 a vast majority of Reformed Churches, including the Grace Reformed Church, united with the Evangelical Synod of North America to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1957 this new church merged with the Congregational Christian Churches to form the United Church of Christ. Although officially uniting with the Evangelical Synod of North America in 1934, there still exists roughly forty RCUS denominations in the United States today. The majority of these are located in the Northern Plains, South Central, and Western parts of the United States.

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Scope and Content Notes

This collection reflects the proceedings and daily affairs of the Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, PA as represented through various correspondence, financial records, and organizational materials, 1853-1964.

The collection is comprised of five series. Series I consists of material related to the history of the church, 1853-1954. Series II contains information regarding organizations affiliated with and sponsored by the church, 1903-1964. Series III consists of material related to church affairs and proceedings. Included in this series is the correspondence of the Rev. Dr. John H. Prugh, pastor of Grace Reformed Church from 1880-1915, and the correspondence of Louis A. Meyran, a considerable benefactor and member of the church consistory. This series also contains church member and roster lists in addition to miscellaneous burial records and dates 1903-1964. Series IV consists of material related to church finances 1855-1964. Included are numerous bank statements and ledgers as well as bills, receipts, and correspondence from local Pittsburgh businesses. Series V contains ten glass lantern slides, assorted photographs, and several stamps used to mark church documents and official correspondence. The small collection of lantern slides feature landscapes and monuments of biblical significance and were most likely utilized as teaching aids for bible class and Sunday school lessons.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, February 2005

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1968.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Nathaniel Eddy in February 2005.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Dan Horvath in April 2005. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1409392

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Related Materials

Related Material

Official records of Grace Reformed Church, such as membership, baptisms, marriages and deaths are designated as RG 384 and located at the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 W. James Street, Lancaster, PA 17603.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • German Reformed Church (U.S.).
  • Grace Reformed Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Reformed Church in the United States.

Genre(s)

  • Church records
  • Death records
  • Marriage records

Geographic Name(s)

  • Golden Triangle (Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- Religion
  • Oakland (Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- Religion

Subject(s)

  • Church buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Churches and Synagogues
  • Ethnic groups
  • German Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Religion

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Previous Citation

Grace Reformed Church Records, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1853-1964, AIS.1968.21, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. History, 1853-1954 

Scope and Content Notes

Series I contains programs, bulletins, newspaper clippings, notes, and publications pertaining to the history and governing rules of the Grace Reformed Church. Also included is the 1853 journal of the Reverend Dr. Henry Harbaugh describing his visit from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and detailing the potential appropriateness of Pittsburgh as a setting for the Grace Reformed Church.

  BoxFolder
Journal of Reverend Dr. Henry Harbaugh, 1853 11
  Folder
Church Bulletin, Historical Sketch of Grace Church, 1854-1902 2
  Folder
Church Bulletin, Golden Jubilee Celebration, 1904 3
  Folder
Church Bulletin, Centennial Anniversary Celebration, 1954 4
  Folder
Handwritten History of Grace Church, no date 5
  Folder
Church History, 1904 6
  Folder
Program of Dedication, 1903 7
  Folder
Constitution and Bylaws, no date 8
  Folder
Member Duties and Visitor Rules, 1920 9
  Folder
Grace Reformed Church Annual Pew Prices and Interior Blueprint, no date 10
  Folder
Scrapbook, 1906 11
  Folder
Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings, 1903-1915 12

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Series  II. Organizations, 1903-1964 

Scope and Content Notes

Series II contains record books, attendance books, registers, annual reports, bulletins and announcements, meeting minutes, and correspondence related to those organizations and classes affiliated with and sponsored by Grace Reformed Church. Records of the various women's guilds and other groups are found within this series.

Subseries  1. Sunday School, 1989-1959 

  BoxFolder
Record Book, 1903-1956 21-6
  Folder
Pupil Workbook and Teacher Guide, 1952, 1956 7
  Folder
Accounts Receivable Ledger, 1953-1955 8
  Folder
Attendance Book, 1916-1936 9-10
  BoxFolder
Attendance Book, 1952-1959 31-2
  Folder
Primary Department, Attendance Book, 1904-1927 3-5
  Folder
Library Register, 1895-1902 6
  Folder
Board Meeting Minutes, 1953-1956 7

Subseries  2. Men's Bible Class, 1911-1921 

  BoxFolder
Meeting Minutes, 1911-1921 41
  Folder
Correspondence, 1912 2
  Folder
Member and Attendance Book, 1914-1917 3

Subseries  3. Women's Bible Class, 1914-1936 

  Folder
Meeting Minutes, 1914-1936 4
  Folder
Annual Report, 1918 5
  Folder
Annual Report and Roster, 1924 6

Subseries  4. Women's Guild, 1942-1960 

  Folder
Women's Guild, Annual Reports, 1942, 1956-1960 7
  Folder
Pittsburgh Synodical Women's Guild, Eighth Biennial Meeting, 1956 8
  Folder
Women's Guild of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, Annual Reports, 1956-1958 9

Subseries  5. Women's Missionary Society, 1896-1928 

  Folder
Roster and Meeting Minutes, 1925-1928 10
  Folder
Receipts and Disbursements, 1896-1920 11
  Folder
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1910-1912 12

Subseries  6. Young People's Society, 1911-1917 

  Folder
Ledger, Roster and Meeting Minutes, 1911-1917 13

Subseries  7. Consistory, 1904-1964 

  BoxFolder
Meeting Minutes, 1904-1949 51-4
  Folder
Correspondence, 1908-1928, 1931-1950 5-6
  Folder
Member and Committee Lists, 1914-1953 7
  Folder
Announcements and Bulletins, 1950-1964 8
  Folder
Survey, 1951 9

Subseries  8. Council of the Reformed Churches of America, 1912 

  Folder
Committee Report of Foreign Missions, 1912 10
  Folder
Correspondence and Minutes, 1912 11

Subseries  9. United Church of Women, 1963 

  Folder
Annual Report, 1963 12

Subseries  10. Pittsburgh Synod of the Reformed Church, 1916-1959 

  Folder
Bulletins and Minutes, 1916-1952 13
  Folder
Miscellaneous and Correspondence, 1940-1959 14

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Series  III. Affairs and Proceedings, 1903-1964 

Scope and Content Notes

Series III contains service bulletins, sermons, church missals, correspondence, memoranda, member lists, burial records, and pledge and communicant cards related to internal affairs and general church proceedings. Also included are miscellaneous service bulletins, pamphlets, publications, and announcements of non-affiliated Grace Reformed churches.

  BoxFolder
Rev. Dr. John H. Prugh, Correspondence, 1911-1912 61-3
  Folder
Louis A. Meyran, Correspondence, 1924-1941 4
  Folder
Memoranda and Notes, 1911-1912 5
  Folder
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1903-1956 6-7
  Folder
Miscellaneous Cards of Appreciation, no date 8
  Folder
Miscellaneous Invitations, no date 9
  BoxFolder
Sermons, 1920s 71-3
  BoxFolder
Service Bulletins, 1914-1955 81-21
  BoxFolder
Service Bulletins, 1956-1964 91-9
  Folder
Miscellaneous Service Bulletins, Non-Grace Reformed Church, no date 10
  Folder
Miscellaneous Pamphlets and Publications, Non-Grace Reformed Church, no date 11
  BoxFolder
Men of Grace Reformed Church Roster List, 1911 101
  Folder
Committee and Church Member List, 1912 2
  Folder
Church Member List, 1938 3
  Folder
Miscellaneous Church Member Lists, no date 4
  Folder
Church Guestbook, 1952-1955 5
  Folder
Member Transfer Requests, 1952-1960 6
  Folder
Cradle Roll Call Certificate, 1927 7
  Folder
Burial Records, 1927-1946 8
  Folder
Church Pledge Cards, 1921-1931 9
  Folder
Advent Pledge Cards, no date 10
  Folder
Cards for Communicants, no date 11
  Folder
Miscellaneous Pamphlets and Publications, no date 12

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Series  IV. Finances, 1855-1964 

Scope and Content Notes

Series IV contains bank bonds, deposit slips, check books, bank statements, ledgers, leases, and deeds related to the financial history of the Grace Reformed Church. The bulk of the content relates to church financial records and includes correspondence, monetary transactions, and bills of sale and receipts from local Pittsburgh businesses. Also included are the last wills and testaments of Louis A. Meyran and Paul H. Hacke.

  BoxFolder
Financial Bond, 1855 111
  Folder
Mortgage Indenture, 1855-1856 2-3
  Folder
Financial Bond, 1872 4
  Folder
Financial Indenture, 1872 5
  Folder
Financial Bond, 1880 6
  Folder
Financial Contract, 1900 7
  Folder
Bill of Property Sale, 1901 8
  Folder
Financial Records, 1903-1911 9-17
  Folder
Pew Rent Pledges, 1911 18
  BoxFolder
Financial Records, 1912-1937 121-25
  BoxFolder
Financial Records, 1938-1947 131-11
  BoxFolder
Financial Records, 1948-1955 141-10
  BoxFolder
Financial Records, 1956-1964 151-6
  Folder
Grace Reformed Re-decorating Fund, Financial Records, 1956 7
  Folder
Miscellaneous Financial Records, no date 8
  Folder
Last Will and Estate Information, Paul H. Hacke, 1938 9
  Folder
Last Will and Estate Information, Louis A. Meyran, 1941 10
  BoxFolder
Deposit Slips, Germania Savings Bank, 1912 161
  Folder
Checks Paid, Germania Savings Bank, 1912-1916 2-3
  Folder
Deposit Slips, The Colonial Trust Company, 1940-1956 4-6
  Folder
Workingmans Savings Bank and Trust Co., Bank Statements, 1942 7
  Folder
Peoples First National Bank and Trust Co., Bank Statements, 1953-1957 8
  BoxFolder
The Fidelity Trust Company, 1954-1956  171-4
  BoxFolder
The Fidelity Trust Company, 1956-1957  181-3
  Folder
The Colonial Trust Company, 1938-1939  4-5
  BoxFolder
The Colonial Trust Company,  1939-1943  191-7
  BoxFolder
The Colonial Trust Company, 1943-1946  201-7
  BoxFolder
The Colonial Trust Company, 1947-1950  211-7
  BoxFolder
The Colonial Trust Company, 1950-1952 221-5
  BoxFolder
the Colonial Trust Company, 1953-1954  231-4
  BoxFolder
Unknown Bank Ledger Books, 1908-1911 241
  Folder
Ledgers, The Colonial Trust Company Bank, 1928-1956 2-5
  Folder
Ledgers, Workingmans Savings Bank and Trust Company, 1942 6
  Folder
Deposit Slips, Peoples First National Bank and Trust Company, 1953-1956 7

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Series  V. Media Material 

Scope and Content Notes

Series V contains lantern slides, stamps engraved with the bust of the Rev. Dr. John H. Prugh, and assorted photographs. The small collection of lantern slides were purchased from the T.H. McAllister Company, NY, NY and most likely utilized as teaching aids for Sunday and Bible school classes. Unless specified, all dates unknown.

Subseries  1. Lantern Slides 

  BoxFolder
Solomon's Walls, Jerusalem 251
  Folder
Second Pyramid, Giza, Egypt 2
  Folder
Ruins of Fortress Tyre, Lebanon 3
  Folder
View of Mount of Olives from Damascus Hotel 4
  Folder
Unknown 5
  Folder
Jupiter's Temple, Baalbek, Lebanon 6
  Folder
Convent of Mar-Saba, Jerusalem 7
  Folder
Nablus 8
  Folder
Ramallah 9
  Folder
Unknown 10

Subseries  2. Engraving and Stamp 

  Folder
Wood Stamp Copper Block Engraving, Bust of Rev. Dr. John H. Prugh 11
  Folder
Rubber Stamp, "My Testimony For Christ" 12

Subseries  3. Photographs 

  BoxFolder
Rev. Karl Stein and Family 261-3
  Folder
Church Treasurer Frank Freese and Family 4
  Folder
Consistory 5-6
  Folder
Unidentified Churches 7

Subseries  4. Photographic Negatives 

  Folder
Photograph Negatives, Rev. Karl Stein 8

Subseries  5. Photographs, Miscellaneous 

  BoxFolder
Photographs, Miscellaneous Unknown 271-6
  BoxFolder
Photographs, Miscellaneous Unknown 281-14

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