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

Union catalog of large or unique religion collections in area libraries and archives

Introduction

A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Highsmith, Carol M., photographer. Religion mural in lunette from the Family and Education series by Charles Sprague Pearce. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. North Corridor, Great Hall.

The purpose of this guide is to provide information about religion-related collections in selected libraries and archives in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. While some of this information is available in published library guides and directories, there is no single work providing detailed information on religious studies collections. It is our hope that Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives will provide this service. The focus of this guide is primary source material in the area of religion as well as large or unique published collections of interest to the serious scholar or researcher of religion. The guide includes mainly libraries and archives affiliated with academic institutions or religious denominations, private institutions with strong religion resources, and state and federal repositories. Prinicipal considerations for inclusion in the guide were importance or uniqueness of collections, as well as availability and accessibility to researchers.

The information in Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives was derived from a survey of area libraries, supplemented by research in the Library of Congress' extensive collection of bibliographies, library directories, and library finding aids, in print and electronic. Each repository was asked to provide information by filling in an entry template. As entries were drafted, we consulted with staff as appropriate; once completed, entries were sent to the repository for final approval. While not all the institutions contacted elected to participate in the survey, the response rate was over 95%; 102 repositories in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are described in this guide. Not all categories of information from the original template are represented in every entry; the detail of each entry was left largely to the discretion of the survey respondents. The subject headings are an amalgam of Library of Congress subject headings, American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Thesaurus terms, and suggestions from the survey respondents.