History

All Souls Library was founded on November 20, 1924. A donation of $5,000 was given for the creation of the library. It was dedicated to Ida May Gale by her daughter, Olive Gale McLean.

Plaque on fireplace mantle in the All Souls Library

Read more about the Gale family here.

Ida May Gale

“…being the only child and daughter of Ida May Gale, late of the District of Columbia, having provided and furnished at her own expense, a Library or Reading Room in All Souls Church (Unitarian) now situated at Sixteenth and Harvard Streets, Northwest, Washington, D.C. is desirous of securing to said Church and its Congregation, a reasonable certainty of additions to its collection of books, provision of appropriate current periodicals, correspondence conveniences, and other features which will add to the comfort or convenience of this Memorial Room, by the establishment of a fund to be known as the IDA MAY GALE MEMORIAL and for this purpose has given, donated and set apart out of her funds, the sum of Five Thousand Dollars, ($5,000) for this purpose.”

Click here to read the library’s founding document from November 20, 1924.

Interested in learning more about the history of Unitarian Universalists in Washington,D.C.? Check out this book:

Unitarians and Universalists of Washington, D.C., Images of America, 2010

Unitarians and Universalists of Washington, D.C., Images of America

“Unitarians established a church in the nation’s capital in 1821, and the first Universalist sermon in Washington was presented at city hall in 1827. Since these beginnings, Washington-area Unitarians and Universalists have created congregations that affirm ideals of religious liberalism: a commitment to religious freedom, a reasoned approach to faith, a hopeful view of human capacities to create a better world, and the belief that God is most authentically known as love. Images of America: Unitarians and Universalists of Washington, D.C. features prominent figures such as Robert Little, an English Unitarian who fled his native land and became minister of First Unitarian Church of Washington; political rivals John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, both founding members of the congregation; and Clara Barton, who organized the American Red Cross after her experiences on the battlefields during the Civil War. In 1961, Unitarians and Universalists joined together, and the story continues as Unitarian Universalists interpret the values of religious liberalism for each new generation.”

Click here to learn more about All Souls Archives and History.