Author Archive

Have you seen this window?

On June 5, 1904, the Congregational Church of Needham unveiled the Greene Memorial Window during the regular Sunday morning service. The window was given to the church by Miss Marietta R. Greene in… Continue reading

Our Calvinist Roots

As anyone who walks into our church or even drives by our sign on Great Plain Avenue knows, we are an Open and Affirming Congregation. What does that mean? It means that whoever… Continue reading

The Tale of the Rajah’s Man & the Indomitable Lady Doctor

As a writer, I’m always looking for a good story. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a photograph of a turbanned man on a camel in our church archives… Continue reading

Pew Rents

The Weekly Calendar for June 15, 1890 is notable not only for its mention of the Strawberry Festival to be held later that week, but also for the general reminder to parishioners that… Continue reading

Thou Shalt Not Play Sports Nor Smoke Tobacco

The Great Pastoral Coup d’Etat of 1903 Every once in a while I come across something in the archives that reminds me how very different life used to be. Take the example of… Continue reading

Church Calendar, Sunday April 24, 1921

Nowadays we save copies of each week’s bulletin. But that wasn’t always the case. Which is why whenever I come across a stray calendar from our first 100 years I can’t help but… Continue reading

Who were the Peak Sisters and what were they doing in Needham, MA in 1890?

The more I look at this 1890 Strawberry Festival poster, the more questions I have about it. What’s an observation table? Who was Professor Pike? Walter Morgan? Is that mangled name Alice Wilcox?… Continue reading

How did people make ice cream before freezers?

I continue to be fascinated by this Strawberry Festival poster, specifically the question of how on earth do you make ice cream without mechanical or electrical refrigeration? My copy of The Original Fannie… Continue reading

How could the price of ice jeopardize an entire Strawberry Festival?

Electric refrigerators capable of making ice and keeping food cold weren’t widely available for residential (and by extension church use) until 1913. Even then, most people relied on the old system in which… Continue reading

How could the Friendly Society have staged the 1890 Strawberry Festival when they’ve only been around 79 years?

For that matter, how could the Friendly Society have collected money to support Dr. Margaret O’Hara’s work in India* in 1915? Hosted the reception following the Burning of the Mortgage in 1907? Sewn… Continue reading

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