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Guide to the Rev. Levi Ballou Papers

MSN/EA 0502

 

Collection Summary

Title: Rev. Levi Ballou papers
Dates: 1836-1865
Collection No.: MSN/EA 0502
Creator: Ballou, Levi, 1806-1865
Extent: 116 documents; 2 containers; .83 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: The manuscript sermons and other personal papers of the Universalist minister Rev. Levi Ballou, who from 1843 to 1865 was settled at the First Congregational Parish and Society of Orange, Massachusetts.

Selected Search Terms

Universalist Church -- Sermons
Ballou, Levi, 1806-1865
Universalists -- United States -- History -- Sources
Funeral Sermons -- Civil War -- Sources
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories -- Massachusetts Infantry -- 36th -- Sources

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: Rev. Levi Ballou Papers, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Ballou Papers were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2003, from Dan Casavant Rare Books of Waterville, Maine. Arranged and described 2003, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska.

Biographical Note

Levi Ballou was born on 10 May 1806 in Halifax, Windham County, Vermont, the son of Asahel Ballou and Martha Starr. The Ballou family, of Huguenot descent, was central to the history of denominational Universalism in America. Theologically, the Universalists rejected the predestinarianism of Puritan Calvinism and held to the distinguishing principle of the ultimate salvation of all humanity. Organizationally, they were committed to what at times became an extreme form of congregational autonomy. In terms of denominational strength, the movement probably peaked in the late 1840s. Levi Ballou's great-uncle was Rev. Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), the most important American Universalist theolgian of the early nineteenth century; an older brother, Rev. Hosea Ballou II (1796-1861), was the first president of Tufts College, established by the Universalists in 1853. Many other family members (including a second brother, William Starr Ballou) served in the ministry, or otherwise contributed to the Universalist movement. Levi Ballou was a teacher and singing instructor before embarking on the study of theology, with his brother Hosea. He began preaching about 1836, itinerating mostly in the Connecticut River Valley, in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. In 1843 he settled at the First Congregational Parish and Society of Orange, Massachusetts—later known as the Second Universalist Society—in Frankin County, in the north-central part of the state. The parish had long been supportive of Universalist doctrine; Ballou would remain there as pastor for the rest of his life. Besides preaching at Orange and in surrounding parishes, Ballou served on the Orange public school board, and had an active interest in the establishment of Tufts. He married Mary Chase in July 1842, and following Chase's death in 1853, was remarried to Elvira Goodell. Ballou had three children with Chase, and four with Goodell. He died of pneumonia on 27 October 1865, ten days after his last sermon at Orange.

Scope and Content Note

The papers include around 70 manuscript sermons written by Levi Ballou, on sheets sewn into octavo-sized booklets; these average perhaps 30 pages in length, and appear to date from throughout Ballou's career. More than half are funeral sermons, including four written for members of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry killed in the Civil War. The papers also include a 224-page manuscript log kept by Ballou from 1836 until his death, in which he recorded the date, place, and scriptural premise of every sermon or lecture he delivered, often accompanied by payment received. There are also examples of various other kinds of writing, including prayers, lectures, and obituaries. Nothing Ballou wrote seems to have appeared in print; indeed, a "will and decree" dating to 1857 stipulates that "no Sermon I have, or written communication of mine, shall ever be published." There are also a small number of financial records, including a day book for 1842-45.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in four series: 1. Sermons; 2. Miscellaneous Religious Manuscripts; 3. Financial Records; 4. Miscellaneous Papers. Typically, there is one item per folder.

Container List

  • Series 1: Sermons 
    • Folder 1 (MSN/EA 0502-1) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon log, 1836-1865. AMs, with 224 pages of entries in Ballou's hand.
      A hand-stitched, octavo-sized booklet recording sermons delivered over the course of Ballou's professional career, before and after he settled at Orange. Sermons are chronologically arranged. Each entry notes the date and location of a given sermon, as well as the scriptural passage that served as its premise. Ballou also records whether the sermon was delivered on a special occasion (a funeral, for instance). Periodically, Ballou includes additional information, such as payment received or whether the sermon marked an exchange with another preacher. For example, on 28 January 1844 Ballou notes that he preached in Templeton on Matthew 5:48 ("Be ye therefore perfect even as your . . . perfect.") and Philippians 2:12 ("Work out your own salvation with fear and . . . pleasure.") and, further, that he exchanged services with Brother Bushnell who was preaching at Ballou's church in Orange. The back of the log includes several lists dating from 1849 to 1853, in which Ballou enumerates services conducted at the church in Orange, and the name of the presiding minister. Sections were added to the book as necessity dictated.
      • Folder 2 (MSN/EA 0502-2) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Genesis 3:19, n. d. 
        • Folder 3 (MSN/EA 0502-3) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Revelation 14:13, n. d. 
          • Folder 4 (MSN/EA 0502-4) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Matthew 5:23-24, n. d. 
            • Folder 5 (MSN/EA 0502-5) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:1, n. d. 
              • Folder 6 (MSN/EA 0502-6) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on John 16:33, n. d. 
                • Folder 7 (MSN/EA 0502-7) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:21, n. d. 
                  • Folder 8 (MSN/EA 0502-8) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Philippians 1:27, n. d. 
                    • Folder 9 (MSN/EA 0502-9) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on John 17:26, n. d. 
                      • Folder 10 (MSN/EA 0502-10) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on John 14:6, n. d. 
                        • Folder 11 (MSN/EA 0502-11) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 John 4:1, n. d. 
                          • Folder 12 (MSN/EA 0502-12) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Luke 10:36, n. d. 
                            • Folder 13 (MSN/EA 0502-13) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Malachi 3:3, n. d. 
                              • Folder 14 (MSN/EA 0502-14) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Romans 8:20, n. d. 
                                • Folder 15 (MSN/EA 0502-15) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Romans 8:20, n. d. 
                                  • Folder 16 (MSN/EA 0502-16) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on James 4:7, n. d. 
                                    • Folder 17 (MSN/EA 0502-17) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Pslams 119:165, n. d. 
                                      • Folder 18 (MSN/EA 0502-18) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Hebrews 6:11, n. d. 
                                        • Folder 19 (MSN/EA 0502-19) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Romans 6:16, n. d. Ballou uses this passage from Romans ("Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are, to whom ye obey, whether of sin, unto death, or, of obedience unto righteousness.") as the basis for a sermon on the evils of slavery.
                                          • Folder 20 (MSN/EA 0502-20) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Isaiah 53:11, n. d. 
                                            • Folder 21 (MSN/EA 0502-21) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Luke 8:15, n. d. 
                                              • Folder 22 (MSN/EA 0502-22) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Acts 7:6, n. d. 
                                                • Folder 23 (MSN/EA 0502-23) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Hebrews 13:14, n. d. 
                                                  • Folder 24 (MSN/EA 0502-24) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Pslams 23:4, n. d. 
                                                    • Folder 25 (MSN/EA 0502-25) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on John 14:19, n. d. 
                                                      • Folder 26 (MSN/EA 0502-26) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Ecclesiastes 12:7, n. d. 
                                                        • Folder 27 (MSN/EA 0502-27) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Matthew 5:4, n. d. 
                                                          • Folder 28 (MSN/EA 0502-28) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Pslams 42:11, n. d. 
                                                            • Folder 29 (MSN/EA 0502-29) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:18, n. d. 
                                                              • Folder 30 (MSN/EA 0502-30) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Psalms 60:11, n. d. 
                                                                • Folder 31 (MSN/EA 0502-31) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:49, n. d. 
                                                                  • Folder 32 (MSN/EA 0502-32) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Luke 2:29-30, n. d. 
                                                                    • Folder 33 (MSN/EA 0502-33) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Isaiah 60:1, n. d. 
                                                                      • Folder 34 (MSN/EA 0502-34) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Isaiah 61:1, n. d. 
                                                                        • Folder 35 (MSN/EA 0502-35) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Timothy 1:10, n. d. 
                                                                          • Folder 36 (MSN/EA 0502-36) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Timothy 1:10, n. d. 
                                                                            • Folder 37 (MSN/EA 0502-37) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on John 14:1, n. d. 
                                                                              • Folder 38 (MSN/EA 0502-38) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Job 13:15, n. d. 
                                                                                • Folder 39 (MSN/EA 0502-39) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Job 13:15, n. d. 
                                                                                  • Folder 40 (MSN/EA 0502-40) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Job 14:14, n. d. 
                                                                                    • Folder 41 (MSN/EA 0502-41) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:13, n. d. Ballou notes that the sermon is his first on this particular passage.
                                                                                      • Folder 42 (MSN/EA 0502-42) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:13, n. d. Ballou notes that the sermon is his second on this particular passage.
                                                                                        • Folder 43 (MSN/EA 0502-43) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:13, n. d. 
                                                                                          • Folder 44 (MSN/EA 0502-44) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Matthew 11:28, 1850 May 25. Funeral sermon delivered at Orange, Massachusetts for a Mrs. Cheney. Ballou notes that this is his second sermon on this particular passage.
                                                                                            • Folder 45 (MSN/EA 0502-45) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Matthew 11:28, n. d. 
                                                                                              • Folder 46 (MSN/EA 0502-46) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on John 3:16, n. d. 
                                                                                                • Folder 47 (MSN/EA 0502-47) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Matthew 18:3, n. d. 
                                                                                                  • Folder 48 (MSN/EA 0502-48) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:58, n. d. 
                                                                                                    • Folder 49 (MSN/EA 0502-49) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Matthew 7:12, n. d. 
                                                                                                      • Folder 50 (MSN/EA 0502-50) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Philippians 2:12-13, n. d. 
                                                                                                        • Folder 51 (MSN/EA 0502-51) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Matthew 4:10, n. d. 
                                                                                                          • Folder 52 (MSN/EA 0502-52) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 John 5:4, n. d. 
                                                                                                            • Folder 53 (MSN/EA 0502-53) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Proverbs 4:23, n. d. 
                                                                                                              • Folder 54 (MSN/EA 0502-54) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 Kings 18:21, n. d. 
                                                                                                                • Folder 55 (MSN/EA 0502-55) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on Job 2:10, n. d. 
                                                                                                                  • Folder 56 (MSN/EA 0502-56) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon on 1 John 3:24, n. d. 
                                                                                                                    • Folder 57 (MSN/EA 0502-57) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermons on Psalms 77:7-10 and Isaiah 61, n. d. 
                                                                                                                      • Folder 58 (MSN/EA 0502-58) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:2, n. d. 
                                                                                                                        • Folder 59 (MSN/EA 0502-59) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Isaiah 40:8, n. d. 
                                                                                                                          • Folder 60 (MSN/EA 0502-60) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Mark 5:39, n. d. 
                                                                                                                            • Folder 61 (MSN/EA 0502-61) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, n. d. 
                                                                                                                              • Folder 62 (MSN/EA 0502-62) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on John 14:18, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                • Folder 63 (MSN/EA 0502-63) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:18, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                  • Folder 64 (MSN/EA 0502-64) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Corinthians 1:7, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                    • Folder 65 (MSN/EA 0502-65) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Hebrews 6:19, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                      • Folder 66 (MSN/EA 0502-66) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Hebrews 6:19, n. d. Ballou notes that the sermon is his second on this particular passage.
                                                                                                                                        • Folder 67 (MSN/EA 0502-67) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Pslams 68:20, 1864 January 24. A funeral sermon delivered in North Orange, Massachusetts for Pvt. Edwin Stevens, Company H, 36th Massachusetts Infantry.
                                                                                                                                          • Folder 68 (MSN/EA 0502-68) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:2, 1864 May 29. A funeral sermon delivered in North Orange, Massachusetts for Cpl. Henry H. Mayo, Company H, 36th Massachusetts Infantry.
                                                                                                                                            • Folder 69 (MSN/EA 0502-69) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:12, 1864 June 19. A funeral sermon delivered in North Orange, Massachusetts for Cpl. Jerome Pierce, Company H, 36th Massachusetts Infantry.
                                                                                                                                              • Folder 70 (MSN/EA 0502-70) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon on Pslams 108:12, 1864 July 10. A funeral sermon delivered in North Orange, Massachusetts for Pvt. Edmund S. Ward, Company H, 36th Massachusetts Infantry.
                                                                                                                                                • Folder 71 (MSN/EA 0502-71) Rev. Levi Ballou, Outline for sermon on Romans 5:8, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                  • Folder 72 (MSN/EA 0502-72) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon fragment on 1 Corinthians 15:25, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                    • Folder 73 (MSN/EA 0502-73) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon fragment on Romans 14:15, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                      • Folder 74 (MSN/EA 0502-74) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon fragment on John 12:32, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                        • Folder 75 (MSN/EA 0502-75) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon fragment on Proverbs 23:7, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                          • Folder 76 (MSN/EA 0502-76) Rev. Levi Ballou, Funeral sermon (fragment) on Psalms 23:4, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                            • Folder 77 (MSN/EA 0502-77) Rev. Levi Ballou, Sermon Fragments, n. d. 13 items.
                                                                                                                                                              Fragments of various sermons. Items are of varying length; some are as brief as 1-2 pages.
                                                                                                                                                            • Series 2: Miscellaneous Religious Manuscripts 
                                                                                                                                                              • Folder 78 (MSN/EA 0502-78) Rev. Levi Ballou, Discourse on intemperance, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                                • Folder 79 (MSN/EA 0502-79) Rev. Levi Ballou, Discourse before the Annual Association, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                                  • Folder 80 (MSN/EA 0502-80) Rev. Levi Ballou, Speech, n. d. 
                                                                                                                                                                    • Folder 81 (MSN/EA 0502-81) Rev. Levi Ballou, Marriage ceremonies, n. d. 2 items.
                                                                                                                                                                      Two documents outlining the prayers of the marriage ceremony.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Folder 82 (MSN/EA 0502-82) Rev. Levi Ballou, Prayers, n. d. 2 items.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Folder 83 (MSN/EA 0502-83) Rev. Levi Ballou, Obituaries, 1849-1850. 1 item.
                                                                                                                                                                          A small pamphlet with the obituaries of five local citizens who died during this time.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Folder 84 (MSN/EA 0502-84) Rev. Levi Ballou, Notes on the date of the Second Coming, c. 1840. 3 items
                                                                                                                                                                            • Folder 85 (MSN/EA 0502-85) Rev. Levi Ballou, Scriptural references, c. 1836-1849. 3 items.
                                                                                                                                                                              • Folder 86 (MSN/EA 0502-86) Rev. Levi Ballou, Extracts, n. d. 3 items.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Folder 87 (MSN/EA 0502-87) Rev. Levi Ballou, "Will and Decree" regarding publication, 1857 August 25. 
                                                                                                                                                                                • Series 3: Financial Records 
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Folder 88 (MSN/EA 0502-88) Rev. Levi Ballou, Day book, 1840-1845. A small pamphlet recording business transactions, in day book form.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Folder 89 (MSN/EA 0502-89) Rev. Levi Ballou, Accounts re services rendered at Cambridge Port, 1842-1846. 
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Series 4: Miscellaneous Papers 
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Folder 90 (MSN/EA 0502-90) Plan for a meeting house, n. d. A plan of the floor of an unidentified meeting house, rendered in ink.
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Folder 91 (MSN/EA 0502-91) Letter. Thomas A. Denison, Chicopee, Massachusetts, to Rev. Levi Ballou, n. p., 1853 May 13. 
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Folder 92 (MSN/EA 0502-92) Miscellaneous manuscripts, n. d. 4 items.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Folder 93 (MSN/EA 0502-93-F1) New Hampshire marriage authorization certificate, 1842 June 9. 1 item.
                                                                                                                                                                                              A certificate issued by the state of New Hampshire giving Ballou the legal right to perform marriages.