Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Woman's Missionary Society of the Enfield Congregational Church Records
In February 1885, women of the Congregational Church in Enfield, Massachusetts held a meeting in the chapel to form a women's missionary organization to diffuse missionary intelligence, increase interest in missionary work, and raise funds for "carrying it forward." The first president of the Woman's Missionary Society was Caroline Bartlett, a long-time Enfield resident. During the first three years of the Society, she continued to be re-elected and built the membership from 32 to 124. By the early 1890's, the group included many prominent women from the community.
The society sponsored many talks by missionaries reporting on their work and routinely held discussions where one of the members would lead a discussion on a recent article. In May 1887, for example, the Society hosted a Miss Kemp who taught freedmen in Spellman, Alabama; in October 1886, Caroline Bartlett led a discussion centered on Rev. E.C. Ewing's sermon, "The Perils of Immigration."
The other activities concerned raising money for missionary work. The Society charged $0.52 per year dues and also passed a contribution box at the monthly meetings. During 1926-1927, the Society raised $354 and distributed among the Women's Home Missions Association, the Women's Board of Missions, the American Missionary Association and several smaller charities. In that same year, the Society raised funds for sufferers from the flood of 1927.
In 1927, the Society merged with similar groups in Hatfield and Northampton, forming the Hampshire County Branch of the Women's Board of Missions.
Enfield was among the Western Massachusetts towns abolished in 1938 to allow the Swift River Valley to be flooded, thereby creating the Quabbin Reservoir to provide Boston with water.