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I was surprised to find that these classic papers are available online:

It's interesting to read Church's papers to see how he's approaching the project. Initially, he's trying to clarify the notion of a free variable in logic, or rather to chuck it out in favor of a clear discipline for binding variables. Because he's looking at foundational issues in logic, he's at great pains to identify his assumptions.

A minor historical fact: alpha- and beta-conversion are defined in these early Church papers, but not with those names; they're identified as I-conversion and II-conversion (there is a conversion rule III, which looks like the reverse of beta-conversion).