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

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Archives

Introductory Information

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Archives External

Address: 4 East University Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21218

Telephone number: 800-443-1399; 410-467-1399

Contact information: [email protected]

Access Policies

Hours of service: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9:00am - 3:00pm by appointment

Open to the public: Yes

Interlibrary loan: No

Reference policy: Reference requests are accepted by: Telephone, email, in person

Background note: In 1855, William Rollinson Whittingham, Bishop of Maryland, called for preservation of long-accumulating diocesan papers, and in 1860 a Records Committee was created to care for them. Independently, at least from 1840, the Reverend Ethan Allen, first Historiographer of the Diocese, was forming a great personal collection of papers relating to the Church from colonial times; this was purchased by the Diocese in 1869. The Archives were vastly augmented ten years later, when Bishop Whittingham bequeathed his voluminous and important collection of papers to the Diocese. Growth has continued, from official and private sources, but most of the collection has only been arranged and partially catalogued since 1960. In addition to the religion-related materials described below, the Diocesan Archives are a rich source of information on American history and the history of Maryland from colonial times to the present. The papers of a number of prominent Maryland families (e.g. the Chases, Callisters, and Goldsboroughs) have been deposited with the Archives.


Books and monographs
Approximately 1300 volumes of books and several thousand pamphlets supplemented by printed ephemera such as circulars, spanning 1588 to the present. Topics include general ecclesiastical history and doctrine, as well as the history of the Church of England; the Anglican Church in the American colonies, and the Episcopal Church since 1780; colonial and state law in Maryland; diocesan and parish histories; religious controversies; relations with the Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Churches; sermons, and works by or about American bishops and Maryland clergy.

Periodicals and newspapers
Twenty-eight titles and some current subscriptions dating from 1819 to the present. Significant periodical holdings include the Washington Theological Repertory (1819-27); The True Catholic (1843-56) and its successor, American Church Monthly (1857-58); The Maryland Churchman (1892-1913, 1918-58) and its successor, The Communicator (1959-67, incomplete); Maryland Church News (1971-2015); Church Work (1885-89); and The Evergreen (1844-53). Convention journals for the dioceses of Maryland (1780-date), Easton (1882-date, incomplete) and Washington (1905-date, incomplete).

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
Approximately 270 linear feet of materials dating from 1676 to the present, with special concentration in the period 1730-1900. Materials covering the entire state and District of Columbia include official records, correspondence, minutes, and other records of the Diocese of Maryland and its bishops, clergy, churches, institutions, and organizations. These are augmented by colonial manuscripts, many colonial and later sermons, parish histories, registers of closed churches, biographical writings, family papers, educational materials, and memorabilia. There are abundant materials describing the history of the Church of England (17th through 19th centuries), and organization and development of the Episcopal Church since 1780. Holdings include much information about the social, political, and economic history of the U.S., including colonial law, the War of 1812, the Civil War, slavery, women's history, native Americans, and black history; church-state relations; the westward expansion of the Episcopal Church; and relations with other denominations, particularly the Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran Churches, as well as the Greek Orthodox Church (from 1826), the Russian Orthodox Church (from 1840), the Church of Jesus in Mexico (1870s), the Old Catholic Church in Europe (from 1871), and the ecumenical movement. There is also much material on foreign missions, especially in Greece and the Near East (from 1826), Africa (from 1820), China (from 1835), Cuba (from 1869), and Haiti (from 1861).

The greater part of the archival collections are materials related to the first six Bishops of Maryland:

  • Thomas John Claggett (1742-1816)--over 1,000 manuscripts regarding local and parish history, official certificates, and other materials related to Claggett's ecclesiastical career from 1767 to 1816. Claggett was the first Episcopal bishop consecrated on American soil; his papers deal largely with the development and administration of the Church after the American Revolution, politics, local and parish history, and other topics.
  • James Kemp (1764-1827)--over 2,000 items dating from 1784 to 1827, including letters, sermons, notes, and official papers. Topics covered include slavery, the Evangelical Episcopal Church, and the War of 1812.
  • William Murray Stone (1779-1838)--over 300 items, mostly dating from 1802-1838, relating to parish affairs and Stone's episcopate.
  • William R. Whittingham (1805-1879)--Approximately 30,000 papers, including private correspondence, 1808-1886; Whittingham's official correspondence and journals as Bishop of Maryland; his minutes and notes on proceedings of the General Convention, 1832-1877; sermons, clippings, pastoral letters, circulars, private diaries, sermons, and many other documents. The papers contain much material on church affairs throughout the United States, ca. 1823-1879; Civil War troubles; relations with other denominations in this country and in Europe; missions, particularly in the Near East, Greece, and Cuba; educational enterprises; doctrinal controversies, and other topics. Much personal and biographical information includes Whittingham's early years as a clergyman in New York and New Jersey; his work as librarian and professor at General Theological Seminary in New York, and subsequently as a Trustee; editorial activities; involvement with the Sunday School Union; travels in Europe; and many other activities.
  • William Pinkney (1810-1883)--over 500 cataloged items, including letters, sermons, addresses, pamphlets, and record books. Topics covered include canon law, organizational problems, relations with the Methodists, and Church affairs during the Civil War.
  • William Paret (1826-1911)--a large collection of correspondence, circulars, pastoral letters, sermons, visitation notices, and other materials dealing with Church administration, missions, rural church work among African Americans, and other topics.

In addition to papers of later bishops of the Diocese of Maryland, there are large collections of papers of other Episcopalian bishops in the U.S., including: Thomas Atkinson (1807-1881; Bishop of North Carolina), Philander Chase (1775-1853; Bishop of Ohio, later of Illinois), Arthur Cleveland Coxe (1818-1896; Bishop of Western New York), George David Cummins (1822-1876; Assistant Bishop of Kentucky, later founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church), George Washington Doane (1799-1859; Bishop of New Jersey), Alexander Viets Griswold (1766-1843; Bishop for the New England states), John Prentiss Kewley Henshaw (1792-1852; Bishop of Rhode Island), John Henry Hobart (1775-1830; Bishop of New York), Levi Silliman Ives (1797-1867; Bishop of North Carolina), John Johns (1796-1876; Bishop of Virginia), Jackson Kemper (1789-1870; Bishop for several Midwestern states), John Barrett Kerfoot (1816-1881; Bishop of Pittsburgh), Henry Champlin Lay (1823-1885; Missionary Bishop of Arkansas and the Indian Territory, later Bishop of Easton), Charles Pettit McIlvaine (1799-1873; Bishop of Ohio), William Meade (1789-1862; Bishop of Virginia), Richard Channing Moore (1762-1841; Bishop of Virginia); Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk (1791-1861; Bishop of New York), Horatio Potter (1802-1887; Bishop of New York), Benjamin Bosworth Smith (1794-1884; Bishop of Kentucky); Horatio Southgate (1812-1894; Missionary Bishop in the Ottoman Empire), William Bacon Stevens (1815-1887; Bishop of Pennsylvania), Henry Benjamin Whipple (1822-1901; Bishop of Minnesota), William White (1748-1836; Bishop of Pennsylvania), and Richard Hooker Wilmer (1816-1900; Bishop of Alabama).

Other materials include hundreds of sermons by Bishop Atkinson (materials dated ca. 1826-1879, including sermons during the Civil War), Rev. Joseph G.J. Bend (materials dated 1785-1812), Rev. Thomas Cradock (materials dated ca. 1745-1770), and Bishop William R. Whittingham (materials dated ca. 1825-1879); historical writings of Rev. Ethan Allen (to 1879); the Chase Family Papers (1738-1855) which include sermons and other items, 1738-1773, by Baltimore rector Rev. Thomas Chase (1700-1779), as well as voluminous materials about other members of that prominent Maryland family; and papers of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore (from 1911), the Corporation for the Relief of Widows and Children of Deceased Clergymen (1783-1989), the Girls' Friendly Society (1892-1958), the Hannah More Academy in Reisterstown (1834-1974), the Maryland Society for Promoting Useful and Ornamental Knowledge (minutes, 1798-1806), the Protestant Episcopal Brotherhood (ca. 1856-1966), and the Women's Auxiliary (1926-1968).

One reel of microfilmed diaries of Bishop William R. Whittingham, 1823-1869; and three reels of microfilmed manuscripts from Duke University pertaining to St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore.

Vertical files
Five file cases of materials, dated from 1698 to the present and arranged by subject, including manuscripts, pamphlets, biographical information, parish histories, clippings, photographs, official documents, and ephemera, all related to the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, and the Diocese of Maryland.

Photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, with some prints and engravings. Subjects include churches, church events, bishops and other clergy, lay people, and charitable and educational institutions.

37 maps, dated 1923-1983, including a large fold-out map showing ten counties and thirty original parishes of Maryland as laid out in 1692-1694 (published with The First Parishes of the Province of Maryland by Percy G. Skirven, 1923); a large framed map showing the location of churches in the Diocese of Maryland, ca. 1970; 34 maps showing boundaries of parishes in the Diocese as of 1960 (published with Parishes of the Diocese of Maryland by Nelson G. Rightmyer, 1960); and a framed map printed in 1983, showing the original Diocese of Maryland and its division into the Diocese of Easton (1868) and the Diocese of Washington (1895).

Other holdings not listed above
Scrapbooks of Reverend Ethan Allen (to 1879); the mitre and other items pertaining to Bishop Thomas John Claggett.

Subject Headings

African Americans--Missions; Anglican Communion; Apostolic succession; Catholic Church; Church of England; Church of Jesus--Mexico; Claggett, Thomas John, 1742-1816; Ecumenical movement; Episcopacy; Episcopal Church; Episcopal Church--Diocese of Easton; Episcopal Church--Diocese of Maryland; Episcopal Church--Diocese of Washington; General Theological Seminary (N.Y.); Greek Orthodox Church; Indians of North America--Missions; Liturgy; Lutheran Church; Missions and missionaries; Oxford movement; Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia; Reformed Episcopal Church; Religious education; Ritualism; Russian Orthodox Church; Sermons; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Religious aspects; United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Religious aspects; Whittingham, William Rollinson, 1805-1879