A collaborative effort of several Boston churches (including Second Church, First Church,
Old South Church, New South Church, and the Arlington Street Church), the lectures or sermons
raised funds to benefit the poor. Cotton Mather gave the first recorded lecture in 1720. By
1860, one lecture was given each year, but was still called the Quarterly Charity Lecture.
The funds raised at each lecture were divided among the affiliated churches, and the churches
donated the proceeds to various charitable causes and organizations. Records include three
volumes of records including minutes, lecture summaries, and accounts, as well as loose
correspondence and reports.