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Xonnabel Clark Collection

Identifier: CHC027

Collection Description

The Xonnabel Clark Collection consists of documents, photographs, and other material collected by Xonnabel Clark relating to the church she attended for many years, Grace Vision United Methodist.

The items in this collection were donated by Xonnabel Clark after the Grace Vision United Methodist congregation moved from their longtime Cambridge home to St. Johns in Watertown. Mrs. Clark had already cultivated a relationship with the Cambridge Historical Commission during the Historical Landmark application for the church in 2013.

Collection Arrangement Materials arranged by subject


  • ca. 1871-2013


Language of Materials

Material in English.

Access Restrictions

Collection is available for research under the CHC rules of use.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.

Biographical Note

Xonnabel Clark was born Xonnabel Marie Green on 23 Nov 1932. She married Emory J. Clark circa 1953. Mrs. Clark received her Master’s in Education from Harvard University and was a teacher and counselor at various area schools including the Hecht House in Boston and the Newton Public schools while her husband, Emory Clark (1925-present) had the first black-owned and -operated pharmacy in Cambridge. They had five children: Emery E, Xonna Marie, Ellington, Eugene, and Donatilda Debra Clark (1966-1980). Mrs. Clark was an extremely active member of the Grace Methodist congregation from 1956 to approximately 2013 and became the unofficial church historian during the 2000s.


10 folders (1 letter carton)


Historical Note on the Grace Vision United Methodist Church: The original congregation were members of the Harvard Street Church. It is unclear if the church was an outgrowth of the Sabbath School – a joint venture founded in April 1870 by Baptist, Congregational, and Methodist Churches in the Cambridge area – or if the original congregation had already begun organizing before that point. The Cottage Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge was officially founded on 5 April 1871. In the early years, the seventeen-member congregation worshipped at the small chapel built on Cottage Street, but eventually the congregation grew to such a size that a larger space was needed. A plot of land was bought at the corners of Magazine and Perry Streets, an architect (Franklin E. Kidder) was found, and construction began in 1886. It was renamed Grace Methodist Episcopal and services began at the new location on 56 Magazine Street in June of 1887. Since then, Grace Vision United Methodist Church has gone by many names, changing names four times – from Grace Methodist Episcopal to Grace Methodist to Grace United Methodist, and finally, to Grace Vision United Methodist – with the final change occurring due to a merging of two separate Methodist congregations, Grace UMC and Vision UMC in 2008. Over the years, Grace Vision has been heavily involved in community support and outreach programs, including the original Sabbath School, as well as sponsoring the Fisk Jubilee Singers, various Scout troops, and providing space to other church and community groups throughout the years, including the Cambridge Welcoming Ministry (an LBGT-focused congregation) and the Grace Academy, which offered an ESL program for adults, and art and music programs for children.


Scope and Content: This collection consists of church programs, newsletters, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera relating to the Grace Vision United Methodist Church and other surrounding churches in the area. Dates: ca. 1871-2013

Collection Arrangement

Materials arranged by subject

Physical Location

Please contact our staff at (617) 349-4683 to make an appointment to view this collection

Acquisition Information

Gift of Xonnabel Clark, 2013

Related Material

CHC survey files: Grace Vision United Methodist Church

CHC vertical files: Emory J. Clark

Processing Information

Processed by Jacky Martin, 2018

Encoded by: Meta Partenheimer, 2018
Inventory of the Xonnabel Clark Collection, ca. 1871-2013
Processed by: Jacky Martin; machine-readable finding aid by: Meta Partenheimer
© 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives Repository

831 Massachusetts Avenue
2nd Floor
Cambridge Massachusetts 02139 US