The Church Historian
Whenever a question arises about the early history of Old North Church, Mary Kent Davey Babcock’s many works are among the first resources checked.
Born in Maine and raised in Boston, Babcock began her writing career while living in Paris and writing for literary magazines. She joined Old North in 1913.
When the Women’s Guild opened the House By the Side of the Road– social center for the church and community– Babcock served as its first resident hostess. While she was living there, she came across two document chests filled with church records and histories. Thus began a lifelong passion for the history of Old North. Babcock wrote many articles, published and unpublished, about the 18th- and 19th- century history of the church.
Her work culminated with the 1947 publication of Christ Church, Salem Street, Boston, which details Old North’s history from 1723-1775. Babcock was not a professional historian and occasionally her biases are apparent. The book, however, covers a range of topics from the founding of the church, to the building of the pipe organ, to biographies of the church sextons. Her research continues to inform Old North’s interpretation today.