In 1939, Rev. Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and his wife, Martha, a social worker, agreed to travel to Prague to investigate reports of a humanitarian crisis. From these humble but brave beginnings, the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) was born. During and after World War II, the USC aided hundreds of displaced persons in Europe establishing food and clothing distribution centers, hospitals, and homes for children. They also aided hundreds of people in their efforts to leave war-torn Europe and establish new lives in the United States. In 1945, the Universalist Service Committee was established and was also active in assisting the victims of war. In 1963 these two committees merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).
Martha and Waitstill Sharp, were honored by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel, as Righteous Among the Nations for the work they did in helping people escape from Nazi persecution in 2006.
The Andover-Harvard Theological Library is the official archive for the records of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the UUSC. In a project jointly funded by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, the library completed a massive digitization project of roughly 257 boxes of archival UUSC material dating from 1939 to 1967. In total, about 238,000 documents and 3,100 photographs were scanned. Digitizing this material has helped to preserve it for future generations, and has made it widely available to researchers.
In 2015, the UUSC celebrated its 75th anniversary and Andover-Harvard Theological Library curated this exhibit to commemorate the milestone.