Interior view of the African Meeting House, Boston, Mass., undated


The pulpit, pews and balcony seats are shown in this image of the African Meeting House, located on Smith Court on Beacon Hill in Boston. The Meeting House was built in 1806 and is the oldest African meeting house in the United States. The building was built with funds raised by local community members, both white and black, but it was constructed almost entirely with black labor.

At the time of this photograph, the African Meeting House had become the home of Congregation Libavitz. Though the pews in the photograph are the original pews, the pulpit was no longer original to the building. "At the end of the 19th century, when the black community began to migrate from the West End to the South End and Roxbury, the building was sold to a Jewish congregation. It served as a synagogue until it was acquired by the Museum of African American History in 1972" (Museum of African American History website). For more information, see Old Time New England July 1942, v.33, no. 1, serial no. 109.


Descriptive Terms

interior views
religious buildings
churches (buildings)
meeting houses (religious buildings)
synagogues (buildings)
black-and-white prints (photographs)

Additional Identification Number

DigitalID 001140
AccessID 1540
Other identifier HNEDID-001140

Physical Description

1 photographic print : black-and-white

Collection Code


Collection Name

General photographic collection

Reference Code



Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Beacon Hill (Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts) [neighborhood]

Record Details


Haskell, Arthur C. (Arthur Cushman), 1890-1968 (Photographer)

Material Type

black-and-white prints (photographs)

Other Organizations

Congregation Libavitz


Architectural photography
African Americans
Joy Street (Boston, Mass.)

Description Level


Location Note

Geo.: Large: Mass.: Boston: Smith Court: Unmounted