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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Asbury United Methodist Church:
Archives and History Center

Address: 926 Eleventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-4488
Telephone Number: (202) 628-0009
Fax Number: (202) 783-1519
Contact Persons: Lonise Fisher Robinson, Church Historian

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Third Tuesday of each month
(except summer months):
11:00 a.m.--2:00 p.m.
Open to the public: By appointment only
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

Calls for requests are accepted at any time. Small amounts of material may be copied in the History Center.

Reference Policy:
Telephone reference calls are screened in the church office by the secretary, then passed on to the church historian. Mail and on-site reference is provided.

Borrowing Privileges:
Not a lending institution.


Background Note:
The congregation, founded in 1836, traces its origins to the Foundry Methodist Episcopal Church (now Foundry United Methodist Church). It is one of the oldest African American churches in the District of Columbia, with a small collection of materials on other African American churches and their histories. The name has changed several times: Asbury Aid Society, Asbury Chapel, Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, Asbury Methodist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church.
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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
About 50 annual journals. These are historical church publications, such as Asbury United Methodist Church Silver Anniversary and Asbury United Methodist 130th Anniversary, 1966. Other publications include celebrations, family directories, brochures, flyers, bulletins, programs dealing with conference activities, the work and history of the church, and important events in race relations in the District of Columbia. The materials in the collection were published during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Items are listed in a card catalog, and will eventually be in a computer catalog.

Periodicals and newspapers:
The Archives and History Center has 2 current subscriptions, the Baltimore-Washington Connection and the Washington Historical Society Bulletin, and a retrospective collection including many of the newsletters of the congregation. These include The Asbury Messenger, Asbury's Newsletter, The Asbury Communicator, The Asbury News, The Asburyan, The Press, and The United Methodist Reporter. Methodist publications are available, such as the Official Discipline of the United Methodist Church and the Official Journal of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. Also included in this collection are the minutes of the Administrative Board, directors, trustees, and ministers' wives associations, as well as reports dealing with the financial, programmatic, and outreach aspects of the Church's work. The collection is particularly strong in newsletters from the early 1930s, when the church had a large congregation and was very active.

Materials are listed in a card catalog, although some items are unprocessed.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
About 60 shelves of archival material including personal papers of congregants, membership, confirmation, marriage, and baptismal records, all dating from the 1930s to the present. Unfortunately, earlier records were destroyed. There are about 6 shelves of materials relating to African-American church history. These include committee records, special events, albums, and books. The more important of Asbury's archives have been microfilmed and are available at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

Archival materials are listed in a card catalog.

Videos and Sound Recordings:
The Center has 14 videotapes of the church's sesquicentennial and several videotapes of musical concerts, etc. The church also has a tape ministry program consisting of worship services beginning in the late 1980s.

Materials are listed in a card catalog.

Vertical files:
Four drawers of books and papers in a fire-proof file cabinet, including a memorial book containing a letter signed by Mary McLeod Bethune (a member of the church while she was in Washington D.C.).

This material is uncataloged.

Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
Eight files of snapshots of church activities; about 15 framed pictures of earlier activities; and one carousel of slides. The oldest of these materials dates from the early 1900s.

Materials are listed in a card catalog.

Other holdings not listed above:
Architect's plans for the church building, plans for the 1972 educational center, information concerning the renovation of the Casavant organ, and electrical renovation of the church schematic.

Subject Headings

African American churches; African American Methodists; Asbury United Methodist Church; Church history--Washington, D.C.


Sluby, Paul E. Asbury: Our Legacy, Our Faith 1836-1993: The History of Asbury United Methodist Church, Washington, DC. Washington, DC: The Asbury United Methodist Church, 1993.

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  September 13, 2011
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