1500 Harvard St NW (@16th), Washington DC 20009 202.332.5266 allsouls@allsouls.ws

Reading Souls

We love community. We love reading. Let’s read together.

Reading Souls is a welcoming community dedicated to the management of the All Souls library. With our common love for reading, sharing, and discussing ideas, we help members build connections and friendships, pursue spiritual growth, engage in social justice and community service. We organize several library events throughout the year: open houses, book donation drop-offs, volunteer days, book talks, and book clubs. Our members support and respect each others’ individual search for truth and meaning and we actively cultivate a diverse membership and welcome members from all backgrounds.

All Souls library plaque

If you’re interested in volunteering with the All Souls library, join the Reading Souls listserv here.

Events

All Souls Library Birthday. Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, 7:00 pm

Let’s celebrate the All Souls library’s 95th birthday with wine, cheese, and good company. More information to come.

If you’d like to organize an event, email ascu.library@gmail.com. Som event ideas include book clubs, author talks, podcast discussions, etc.

Catalogue

The All Souls Library Catalog will be available soon!

Donations

We are currently looking for specific donations to the All Souls library. We accept new and used copies. If you are able to donate books from the list below, please email ascu.library@gmail.com and drop them off in the return bin.

Library's History

The 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.

Read more about the Gale family.

“…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.”

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

“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.”

Learn more about All Souls’ archives and history.

Ida May Gale Library Memorial

Memorandum of Agreement made this 20th day of November, A.D., 1924, by and between OLIVE GALE McLEAN of the District of Columbia, party of the first part, and the UNION TRUST COMPANY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, a corporation , party of the second part, Witnesseth:

WHEREAS, the party hereto of the first part, 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.

NOW THEREFORE THIS AGREEMENT FURTHER WITNESSETH

That the party of the first part, in consideration of the above recited premises and the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) to her in hand paid by the part of the second part, shall, upon the mutual execution and sealing of this Agreement, deliver unto the said party of the second part, shall, upon the mutual execution and sealing of this Agreement, deliver unto the said party of the second part, the sum of Five Thousand Dollars, ($5,000) in cash, the same to be received, held, managed an controlled by the said second party, according to the terms hereof. The party of the second part is hereby authorized and empowered to invest, reinvest and change investment of said fund or any part of it at its own discretion and the net income therefrom to be paid to the Treasurer of said All Souls Church, by him to be disbursed through such Committee or Committees as may be established by the Board of Trustees for the management and control of said income for the purposes of hereinbefore mentioned.

IT IS FURTHER COVENANTED AND AGREED that the party of the first part hereby reserves the right during her lifetime to at anytime revoke, cancel and annul this Trust upon giving written notice of such intention to the party hereto of the second part, and upon the giving of such notice, all rights and interests created by this Agreement shall cease and determine and the party of the second part shall thereupon account for, turn over and deliver, to the party of the first part, absolutely all of the money, property and securities then representing this Trust Fund, less the costs, expenses and commissions herein provided for.

IT IS FURTHER COVENANTED AND AGREED that the party of the second part shall be entitled to receive as compensation for its services hereunder, and allowance of Five (5) percent on the gross income received hereunder, and one (1) percent on the corpus of the Fund upon final distribution.

IT IS FURTHER MUTUALLY UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED that this Trust shall continue for and during the term of the natural life of the said party hereto of the first part, unless sooner revoked by her in writing, and thereafter so long as said Library or Reading Room is maintained. It may be terminated by any action on the part of the Trustees of the Church inconsistent with the purpose of this Agreement, and in the opinion of the party hereto of the second part, or the Trustee then acting in the execution of this Trust, and duties herein reposed, whereupon the property and the estate then comprising this Fund shall be used by the Trustees of the aforesaid Church in general harmony with the idea governing the establishment of this Memorial Fund as hereinbefore set forth, insuring, in so far possible, the perpetuation of the name IDA MAY GALE in connection with this Trust Fund.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the said party of the first part has hereunto set her hand and affixed her seal, and the said party of the second part, in evidence of its acceptance of the Trusts and conditions hereinabove reposed it, has caused these presents to be signed by its Vice-President and its corporate seal to be hereunto affixed, on the day and year first hereinbefore written.

Featured Books

Books by All Souls Ministers and Members

Books for Newcomers to Unitarian Universalism

Other Resources

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