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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Howard University School of Divinity Library

Introductory Information

Howard University School of Divinity Library

Address: 2929 Van Ness Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

Telephone number: 202-806-0768

Contact information

Online catalog

Digital Collections link

Access Policies

Hours of service:
Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. 
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m

Open to the public: Yes

Interlibrary loan: Yes

Reference policy: Reference requests are accepted by:  Ask-a-Librarian form, chat, telephone, email, in-person

Background note:
The library collection at the Howard University School of Divinity traces its history to the establishment of the academic unit for theological education, in 1870, three years after the opening of Howard University.  In 1940, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Dean of the School of Religion, purchased a portion of the Auburn Seminary Library collection when that seminary’s library merged with the Union Theological Seminary Library. This single acquisition greatly expanded the Howard Divinity School’s reference and resources collections and was a significant factor in the Howard Divinity School receiving its first accreditation. The library at the Howard University School of Divinity participates fully in the mission of HUSD and has as its underlying spirit the provision of excellent library and information service in a courteous, timely, accurate and effective manner to every customer.  The HUSD Library is a forward-looking organization, dedicated to providing the highest standards in service and resources that support the mission of the Howard University School of Divinity:

“… a graduate theological and professional school, educates and forms academic and religious leaders to serve the Church and society, and to celebrate the religious and cultural heritage of African Americans, the African Diaspora, and Africa.”


Books and monographs
The Library holds 130,597 volumes, primarily from the 19th to 21st centuries. Subject emphases reflect the areas of study at the Divinity School. They include biblical studies, reformed theology, church history, ethics, world religions, pastoral counseling, urban ministries, African religions, and African-American religious history.

Periodicals and newspapers
The Library holds 256 subscriptions and 2,400 bound volumes, primarily published in the 19th to 21st centuries.

The online catalog covers these titles. The subject emphases of the serial collection mirrors those of the book collection.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
These collections are located in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

The Library holds 4,227 reels of microfilm. These include dissertations and back issues of religious journal titles. The online catalog covers these titles.

Databases and/or electronic resources
Electronic resources form a large part of the collections and are available to users from campus anywhere off campus and from any location through the library’s proxy server.

Digital collections

Other holdings not listed above
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, located on Howard University’s main campus in the Founders Library, houses one of the most comprehensive collections of African-American, African and Africana history and memorabilia found anywhere in the world. The Center houses hundreds of thousands of pamphlets, books, periodicals, photographs, personal papers, manuscripts, music, artifacts, and other materials documenting the history, culture, and experiences of Black people in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and other parts of the world. The manuscript division contains the primary source documents of individuals and organizations. Throughout the 210 or more processed collections, there is a wealth of material on the African American Christianity. The collections contain different record types such as personal papers, organizational records, oral histories, and photographs. The materials presented in these collections are of interest to librarians, scholars, and researchers documenting African American Christianity.

Subject Headings

African Americans--Religion--History; African religions; Biblical studies; Church history; Ethics; Pastoral counseling; Reformed theology; Urban ministries; World religions