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

Saint Mary's Seminary and University Marion Burk Knott Library

Introductory Information

Saint Mary's Library External

Address: 5400 Roland Ave, Baltimore MD 21210

Telephone number: 410-864-3626

Contact information External

Online catalog External

Access Policies

Hours of service: See main Library homepage - left-hand side.

Open to the public: Yes

Interlibrary loan: Yes - "library of last resort only"

Reference policy: Reference requests are accepted by: telephone, email, in person.

Background note: St. Mary's Seminary and University, the oldest Catholic seminary in the United States, was founded in Baltimore by the priests of the Society of St. Sulpice from Paris, France in 1791. The original buildings of the seminary were located on Paca Street in the city. The institution moved to its present location at Roland Avenue in 1929. The Marion Burk Knott Library can trace its roots to books brought to the new world by those Sulpician priests.

Up until the 1970's the library was operated by priests and seminarians. The first librarian with a master’s degree was hired in the 1970's and from that point on, the library evolved into what it is today -- the largest specialized theological library in the Baltimore area, a major academic, theological library, fully accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Association of Theological Schools.

In addition to the Seminary, the Knott Library also serves the Ecumenical Institute, which has been a part of St. Mary’s since 1968.


Books and monographs
The collection numbers over 150,000 print volumes and has access to over 100,000 e-books. The primary focus of the collection is Biblical Studies, Philosophy and Theology (Doctrinal, Ecclesiastical, Systematic and Practical). It naturally contains works by and about the Roman Catholic Church (such as theology, doctrine, church documents, mission and church history). Other areas well represented are ecumenical works from all faiths, black theology, patristics, bioethics, psychology and pastoral counseling.

Periodicals and newspapers
403 periodical/newspaper subscriptions (print, with a growing number of online journals) and 22,000 bound journal volumes. Together they represent a collection strong in religious, theological, and philosophical titles.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
See Archives Page

Videos and sound recordings
The collection numbers over 2,500 items. Some topics represented are spirituality, retreats, religion, sociology, ethics, movies of a religious or inspirational nature, The Great Courses and other topics.

Databases and/or electronic resources External

Special collections

  • The Raymond E. Brown Johannine Collection, originally belonging to Fr. Raymond Brown, a world-renowned New Testament scholar, was donated to the Library before his death in 1998. It contains his works plus expanded works in Johannine studies.
  • The John Paul II / Catholic Jewish Relations Collection was added in 2007, in honor of Pope John Paul II and his commitment to affirming the religious bond between Jewish and Christian people. It contains writings by and about the Pope, as well as works about Catholic-Jewish relations and accounts of righteous gentiles in the Holocaust.