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Research Guides

Religion and Society in the Pacific Northwest: Organizations

Records of religious congregations and organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and papers of persons involved in these organizations, supporting the study of the region's social, political and economic history.


Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Columbia Conference records, 1879-1958.

Minutes, membership lists, financial records, reports, and miscellaneous correspondence of this conference of Swedish Lutheran Churches in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  Includes the district records of Bethel Church, Seattle, the Tacoma District, and Coeur d'Alene College, Idaho (1907-1917), and records of the women's associations.

Christian Friends for Racial Equality records, 1942-1970.

Established in 1942 as an outgrowth of a series of community luncheons on race relations held at the Seattle YMCA, this multi-racial, multi-faith  organization fought racial and religious discrimination through education and outreach, bringing such issues are fair housing before the public, more than 20 years before federal and state legislation.  In 1967 the organization changed its name to Christians and Friends for Racial Equality.

Church Council of Greater Seattle records, 1913-2000.

Founded in 1919 as the Seattle Federation of Churches with the stated purpose "to promote the welfare, comity and cooperation of the churches and to foster religious movements and community betterment."  Over its history, the organization has championed social service and activism on a wide range of issues including personal morals and civic betterment to international issues of justice, peace, and disarmament.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action records, 1956-2003.

Records from two nonviolent groups, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and its parent body the Pacific Life Community, whose members protested the nuclear arms race, particularly Trident nuclear submarines at the Bangor Naval Submarine Base in Kitsap County, Washington.  Christian pacifist principles strongly informed the actions of these groups.  There is also a significant visual materials collection comprising 1046 prints, 910 negatives, 12 slides, and 11 VHS cassettes documenting Ground Zero activities from 1977-2003.

Japanese Christian Church Federation (Seattle, Washington) records, 1911-1942.

Records, in Japanese and English, pertaining to the Japanese Episcopal Mission, founded in 1906 under the impetus of Trinity Episcopal Church rector (and UW professor) Herbert Henry Gowen.  The mission evolved into the congregations of St. Peter's, Seattle and St. Paul's, White River Valley.

Neighbors in Need records, ca. 1970-1974.

Founded by the Church Council of Greater Seattle to assist the unemployed by food banks and related services.  Correspondence, minutes, legal documents, reports, and legislation.  Accession 3000-1 and 3000-2.

Washington Association of Churches records, 1920-1996.

Created by a group of Protestant churches as their agency for cooperative planning, Christian fellowship and united action, the WAC's social concerns included migrant workers, Japanese American internment, refugee resettlement, and fair housing.  In 2011, WAC became the Faith Action Network.

Young Women's Christian Association (University of Washington) records, 1903-1982 (bulk 1970s).

The University of Washington Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) was established in 1895 by Ella Chamberlain, head of the English department. It was the first women's organization on campus and was organized before the incorporation of the national YWCA in 1906. In its early years, the UW YWCA was mostly a religious organization, offering Bible study groups, and devotional and missionary meetings. Throughout the 1910s, members volunteered to perform mission work and teach English to Japanese immigrants in local settlement houses. As the decades progressed, the UW YWCA was in the forefront of the movement for women's rights, including labor, reproductive and gay rights.  A companion visual materials collection contains photographs relating to the Lesbian Resource Center as well as women at work in the skilled trades.