Skip to Main Content

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

Virginia Theological Seminary: Bishop Payne Library

Introductory Information

Virginia Theological Seminary: Bishop Payne Library

Address: 3640 Bishop Walker Circle, Alexandria, Virginia 22304

Telephone number: 703-461-1733

Contact information: [email protected]

Online catalog

Access Policies

Hours of service

Open to the public: Open to researchers by appointment

Interlibrary loan: Yes

Reference policy:  Reference questions are accepted via email or phone. Emails sent to  [email protected] are directed to multiple members of the library staff who will respond as appropriate to any inquiries. The library website has an ask-a-librarian button, where users can fill out an inquiry form.


Books and monographs
~ 200,000 print books, and 300,000 eBook titles (on-site use). The strengths of the collection are biblical studies, church history, theology, Anglican & Episcopal History, and liturgical music.

Periodicals and newspapers
The library subscribes to several subject-specific journal databases and, additionally, maintains current subscriptions to ~300 individual journals in religion and theology. Major database subscriptions include the Atla Religion Database, Oxford Bibliographies for Biblical Studies, EBSCO Religion and Philosophy, Proquest Religion Database, the Oxford African American Studies Center, ERIC, APA PsycArticles, and JSTOR Arts & Sciences III. A full list of databases is available at

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
3200 linear feet of manuscripts and papers relating to the history of the Seminary and the Diocese of Virginia. The library is also home to the African American Episcopal Historical Collection, which documents the history and witness of Black Episcopalians. The AAEHC is home to many oral history recordings and transcriptions.
Link for additional information about the archives

The Library maintains a small microform collection, mostly covering historical newspapers and periodicals of the Church of England and Episcopal Church.

Rare Books and Special Collections
The library's rare book department specializes in the history and editions of the Book of Common Prayer, printed Bibles, Anglican church music, and the theology, history, and liturgy of Anglicanism.

Subject Headings

Anglican Communion--Doctrines; Anglican Communion--History; Biblical studies; Church history; Church history--United States; Church music; Church of England--Doctrines; Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia


The library publishes current research guides on topics relating to the Seminary's teaching and research mission.
Visit the library's research guides

Highlights include:

  • Anglicanism
  • Episcopal Church Resources
  • Episcopal Clergy Biographical Research
  • Biblical Interpretation Resources
  • The Anthropology of Christianity
  • Christian Ethics
  • Christianity and Ecology
  • Disability and Christianity
  •  Liberation Theology