The documents in this archival history of the Unitarian Universalist Society provide a range of perspectives on the congregation, dating back to the earliest meetings of traveling Universalist preachers with local settlers in a log cabin on the Iowa River in 1838.

Historical documents and resources

Pencil sketch of old church building at 10 S Gilbert Street by Stan Haring
Pencil sketch of the church building at 10 S Gilbert Street in Iowa City by Stan Haring

Click on any of the titles below to access the associated resource.

Augusta Chapin History of the First Universalist Church of Iowa City (PDF)
Written in 1871 by the congregation’s first female minister, this brief handwritten history describes the earliest years of the First Universalist Church of Iowa City. It includes a list of founding church members from 1841.

Universalism and Unitarianism in Iowa City, by Ruth Irish Preston (PDF)
A lengthy, two-part history of the congregation’s first seven decades, written in 1907-1908.

Edna B. Wilson and the Church Chart (PDF)
An oral history interview with an early and long-time congregation member, covering the years 1878-1933.

Universalism. Thirty-one Years of Its History in Iowa City, 1841-1873 (PDF)
A photocopy of a newspaper story published in the Daily Press in 1873.

History of the Universalist Church in Iowa: 1843-1943 (PDF)
This Master’s Degree thesis, written in 1944 by Elva L. Tucker, a graduate student in history at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa), provides a detailed discussion of the evolution of our Iowa City congregation and the larger Universalist movement in Iowa.

From Within These Walls – Building Centennial Booklet (PDF)
A series of 24 essays published in 2008 to commemorate 100 years in the church building at 10 S. Gilbert Street and covering a wide range of congregational life.

History of the Iowa City Unitarian Universalist Society, by Tom Mikelson (PDF)
Published in 1981 by Rev. Tom Mikelson, then minister of the congregation, based on his archival research and including a broad perspective on Unitarianism and Universalism.