EXTENT: 33 items (1 container)
ORGANIZATION: Organized into four series: I. Correspondence, 1805-1838; II. Sermons, 1784-1835; and Lecture, 1830; III. Monument in Concord, [1835?]; IV. Reports, 1795-1831; V. Documents relating to the legal cases of Alpheus Livermore, 1814.
BIOGRAPHY: Unitarian clergyman; pastor of the First Parish in Concord, Mass., 1778-1841; step-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Born in Woodstock, Conn., May 1, 1751; died in Concord, Sept. 21, 1841. Graduated from Harvard College in 1776. Ordained and installed as pastor of the First Parish on Nov. 7, 1778. On Nov 16, 1780, married Phebe (Bliss) Emerson, widow of William Emerson, Ripley’s predecessor at the First Parish. Living in the Old Manse, the Ripleys had two sons and a daughter in addition to raising the children of Phebe and William Emerson. On Nov. 16, 1828, the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination, Ripley delivered his Half Century Discourse, which was printed in 1829. Member of Concord’s School Committee, founding member of the Library Company in Concord (1784), member of the Corinthian Lodge of Freemasons, temperance advocate, and agitator for the erection by the town of a monument commemorating the Battle of Concord. Ripley proposed placing a monument near the site of the North Bridge and gave land on which to build it. The Battle Monument was constructed in 1836 and dedicated in 1837.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Correspondence, sermons, lecture, manuscripts of parts of a series intended for newspaper publication, and reports. Some items are drafts or copies in Ripley’s hand. Correspondence, 1805-1838, includes letters of reference for John Barrett, Jr., Mary Jones Dunbar Minot (Thoreau’s grandmother; the letter of reference addressed to Benj. Russell), and Sally Chandler, ALS from Town Clerk Abiel Heywood (1810 Apr. 6) concerning change in intermission of public worship, ALS to Nathan Barrett (1812 Aug. 24), ALS to James Warren of Plymouth, Mass. (1820 Feb. 28), petition by Ripley (1822 Jan. 16) on behalf of prisoner Daniel Smith, ALS from Mrs. Joseph Tuckerman and others (1827 May) regarding an "association of Ladies … formed & organized … with a view to the mutual benefit of female domestics & their employers," ALS from K.J. McMurphy (1828 May 20) regarding stagecoach trip from Concord to New York State, ALS from Edward P. Cranch (1829 July 10) with list of Concord subscribers "willing to assist the Unitarian society in the City of Washington in paying for their meeting house" (on blank page following letter), ALS to Nathan Barrett, Jr. (1838 Feb. 22). Interfiled with the correspondence (preceding Abiel Heywood letter) is a copy of the "Observations to the congregation on the Alteration of the Intermission," read the Sunday after Apr. 28, 1809. Sermons (1784 Nov. 22, 1801 May 17, 1822 Oct. 16, 1828 Nov. 16, and 1825 Jan. 25) include manuscript of Ripley’s Half Century Discourse, apparently edited for publication. Lecture (read before the Concord Lyceum 1830 Dec. 29 and later in Lincoln and Ashby) entitled "On the government of the temper." The pseudonymous "Monument in Concord" series ([1835?]), consisting of installments 1 and 3-8 written to the editor of the Yeoman’s Gazette and signed "Middlesex," relates to the proposed Battle Monument in Concord and to the Battle of Concord. Reports include committee reports by Ripley to the First Parish in Concord (one 1795 and one undated concerning covenant, one undated concerning measures necessitated by erosion of Hill Burying Ground), an 1815 report on an ecclesiastical council held in Sudbury, an 1826 report of Concord's committee to revise school regulations, and an 1831 report to the Berry Street Conference. Documents relating to the legal case of Alpheus Livermore consist of statements of Samuel Angier and Alpheus Livermore regarding the killing of an Indian, in Ezra Ripley's hand, 1813 [i.e. 1814], and Ripley's "certificate" affirming the sincerity of the statements, 1814.
SOURCES OF ACQUISITION: Multiple; only partially established. ALS to James Warren: purchased of Applebaum, 1987. 1835 Jan. 25 sermon: gift of George W. Kelley of Rockland, 1910/1911. Item identified in 1875/1876 Town Report as "manuscript lecture": gift of E.C. Tenney of Ashland, 1875/1876.
NOTES/COMMENTS: Fifteen items among papers transferred from Letter File (Letter File 9, A1, M1, R1-R9, R14, R17, R19, T2), Mar. 1995.
PROCESSED BY: LPW; finding aid prepared 9/30/95; prepared for mounting on the Web by CM, 03/04. Revised 7/29/15.
SERIES I. CORRESPONDENCE, 1805-1838:
ALS to Trustees of Phillips’ Academy in Andover, 1805 Sept. 24, on behalf of John Barrett, Jr.
"Observations to the congregation, on the Alteration of the Intermission," 1809 Apr. 28.
ALS, Abiel Heywood, Town Clerk, to Ezra Ripley, 1810 Apr. 6, concerning change in intermission of public worship discussed in "Observations" listed directly above.
ALS to Nathan Barrett, 1812 Aug. 24.
ALS to Benj. Russell, 1815 July 28, on behalf of Mary Jones Dunbar Minot (Thoreau’s grandmother); + typed transcript.
Character reference, 1816 June 6, on behalf of Sally Chandler.
ALS to James Warren of Plymouth, Mass., 1820 Feb. 28.
Petition by Ripley to Gov. John Brooks, 1822 Jan. 16, on behalf of prisoner Daniel Smith.
ALS from Mrs. Joseph Tuckerman and others (1827 May) regarding an "association of Ladies … formed & organized … with a view to the mutual benefit of female domestics & their employers"
ALS from K.J. McMurphy (1828 May 20) regarding stagecoach trip from Concord to New York State.
ALS from Edward P. Cranch (1829 July 10), with list of Concord subscribers "willing to assist the Unitarian society in the City of Washington in paying for their meeting house" (on blank page following letter).
ALS to Nathan Barrett (Jr.), 1838 Feb. 22.
SERIES II. SERMONS, 1784-1835, AND LECTURE, 1830:
Sermon, 1784 Nov. 22.
Sermon, 1801 May 17.
Sermon, 1822 Oct. 16.
Sermon, 1828 Nov. 16 (holograph of Half Century Discourse).
Sermon, 1835 Jan. 25.
Lecture: Lecture at Concord Lyceum, 1830 Dec. 29 [etc.], "On the government of the temper".
SERIES III. MONUMENT IN CONCORD, [1835?]:
Nos. 1 and 3-8, written to editor of Yeoman’s Gazette, signed "Middlesex," relating to proposed Battle Monument in Concord and to Battle of Concord.
SERIES IV. REPORTS, 1795-1831 (2 undated):
"Report of the chh committee," 1795 Mar. 10, regarding covenant.
"Sketch of report," undated, regarding revision of church covenant.
Report of committee appointed by town to consider the "wasting of the burying hill," undated.
Copy of report on ecclesiastical council held in Sudbury, 1815 Sept. 27.
Report of the "committee to revise the school regulations" [apparently a subcommittee of the Concord School Committee, which Ripley chaired], 1826 Dec. 28.
Draft of report to Berry Street Conference, 1831 May 25.
SERIES V. DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE LEGAL CASE OF ALPHEUS LIVERMORE, 1814:
Statements of Samuel Angier and Alpheus Livermore regarding the killing of an Indian, in Ezra Ripley's ms. hand, "Prison in Concord," 1813 [i.e. 1814] Jan. 7; accompanied by Ripley's "certificate" affirming the sincerity of the statements, Concord, 1814 Jan. 17.
Mounted 10th Mar. 2004;, rev. 10th June 2006; rev 29 July 2015. rcwh.