Continuing to celebrate Pittsfield’s 250th Anniversary, the Berkshire Athenaeum has placed on display in the main reading room of the library another selection of original documents, this selection from the period 1764 through 1778 and relating to the ministry of the Reverend Thomas Allen.
The six documents currently on exhibit, selected from the Athenaeum’s large collection of Pittsfield manuscript materials are: two early town meeting notices with agendas dated February 14th, 1764 that demonstrate the town’s efforts to complete the first meeting house and bring Thomas Allen to Pittsfield as the first permanent minister; a letter dated March 3rd, 1764 from the Rev. Stephen West, minister at Stockbridge, recommending Mr. Allen for the position; Reverend Thomas Allen’s letter dated March 20th, 1764 accepting Pittsfield’s invitation to become minister; a sample sermon, dated September 20th, 1778, showing the personal shorthand method used by Rev. Allen and the Reverend Allen’s personal journal.
Also included in the exhibit are a brief outline of the Reverend Allen’s lineage, a 1799 line drawing of Thomas himself, and an 1857 photograph depicting the parsonage, located on the corner of First and East Streets, in which Rev. Allen and his family lived.
As these documents must be protected from long exposure to light, they will remain on display only until late June, when a third selection of original documents creating a similar vignette will replace them.