The main reasons I review Universalist historical documents is to
- try to see Universalists as they saw themselves and not though the (now more customary) Unitarian lens
- uncover hidden or lost accomplishments
- understand the structural reasons for Universalist decline, rather than the shoddy theological suggestions offered, usually keyed to the inevitability of consolidation with the Unitarians
Yesterday, I went to the Library of Congress. Much of the time was eaten up transitioning to the new electronic system -- which you have to do on site! -- so I only got to review one book: the 1927 Universalist Year Book. But there is a book scanner, so I'll be processing the parts I scanned for weeks.
- it's after the 1923 copyright watershed, and so won't be found online
- some kind of merger was likely, but whether it would be Unitarian or Congregationalist was a live issue
- the decline had begun, but the Depression-era devastation hadn't