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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

June 16, 2020

Many of us were looking forward to visiting Baltimore in June of this year for General Assembly. Even though General Assembly will now be a virtual occasion, we can still reflect on the historic nature of the city and its connection to the PCUSA and General Assemblies past.

One of many historic events that happened in Baltimore occurred in 1976 when Thelma Cornelia Davidson Adair was elected and became the first African American woman Moderator of the General Assembly for the...

January 8, 2019

One of the most interesting things about working in an archive is that you never know what you will find inside records. While working on a Genealogy Research Service request related to the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Ohio, I came across some unexpected drawings and figures. Reproduced in this post you can see the pages that caught my eye. (Click images to enlarge.)

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June 7, 2018

On December 26th 1965, Duke Ellington took the stage at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City for a performance of what he would call the most important work he had ever done. That day he performed one of his three “Sacred Concerts.” These concerts were written in the later stages of his life as he found himself grappling with his own mortality and relationship to God. The Presbyterian Historical Society is fortunate to hold within our collections a program from that historic night....

February 16, 2018

One of the first things you learn when studying the “Civil Rights Movement” is that calling it the “Civil Rights Movement” is a bit of a misnomer. There was not a single movement, just as there was not a single leader. The multiple civil rights movements that evolved independently and yet concurrently during the 1950s and '60s were led by men and women who shared a common belief in equality and social justice.

As historians move beyond the narrative of a single story we begin to encounter new stories and new truths. Reverend Cecil Augustus Ivory is a name...

February 14, 2018

In honor of Valentine’s Day we would like to share with you the story of Minister John H. Grier, “The Marrying Parson.” John Hays Grier was born in 1788 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In 1809, he graduated from Dickinson College and then studied theology under his uncle Reverend Nathan Grier and was licensed to preach in 1813 by the Presbytery of New Castle. He was installed as pastor of the United Churches of Pine Creek and Great Island, Lycoming County, PA, in 1814.

In 1840 the members of...

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