The archives of this church contain lots of fascinating historical documents. According to Keith Coryell, director of the Geneva History Center, the original record book of the church, dating back to 1842 and earlier, could easily generate a master’s thesis in history. I’ve recently been looking at another remarkable document in the archives here, titled “Records of the Unitarian Sunday School of Geneva Ills. copied from original entries in another book beginning with the date of Nov. 9, 1867, ending with June 12, 1892.” The records continue in other hands to the closing of the Sunday school in 1901 due to lack of enrollment, with one additional entry recording a christening in 1907. This record book, combined with other material in the archives, could be the foundation of yet another master’s thesis, this time in religious education.
Here’s one entry from the Sunday school record book, written in a beautiful round hand with a very fine pen nib:
January 1st 1896
An entertainment was given by the Unitarian Sunday School, at the Unitarian Church on New Year’s Eve and was attended by a packed housed [sic] and proved to be a very entertaining affair. The efforts of the children, big and little, in representing the holidays of the year under the leadership of Father Time, were really good — all given in costume — and made a decided hit, besides being in an entirely new line. They were assisted by Mae Blackman in solos, Mrs. Will Harvey in readings, Stella Mann in Recitations, and the little Cory Sisters in duetts [sic] and solos. Mrs. Woolley [Rev. Celia Parker Woolley, minister here at that time] arranged and managed the affair and the lady teachers who assisted her, earned much credit.
A fee of ten cents was asked from those outside of the pupils of the school and the net proceeds were $12.00.