Episcopal Diocese of Washington Archives
Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW
Washington, DC 20016
|| (202) 364-6600
|| Richard G.Hewlett,
|Hours of Service:
|Tuesday and Thursday
||10:00 a.m.--2:30 p.m.
|Open to the public:
||By appointment only
Personnel files and some recent files are not available to the
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- Reference Policy:
- Telephone and mail reference questions are answered from the
public, provided that inquiries are precise and can be answered
without extensive research.
- Borrowing Privileges:
- Not a lending institution.
- Background Note:
- The Episcopal Diocese of Washington was established by the General
Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1895 from portions of the
Diocese of Maryland. The Diocese includes approximately 95 parishes
and missions in the District of Columbia and in Montgomery, Prince
George's, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties in Maryland. The offices
of the Diocese are maintained in Church House on the Cathedral
Close. The Bishop of Washington is the spiritual leader of the
diocese and its chief executive officer. The Washington National
Cathedral is the seat of the bishop.
Researchers should note that there is no central register
of genealogical data in the Episcopal Church. Such records are
held by individual parishes. The only such data held by the
diocesan archives are those for some twenty closed parishes.
Records for parishes existing before 1895 are held by the Diocese
of Maryland Archives in Baltimore. Most records of colonial
parishes are held by the Hall of Records, the State Archives,
- Books and monographs:
- This is a library of histories and reference works related to
the history of the Cathedral and the Episcopal Church (500 volumes,
open to the public) with inclusive dates from 1800 to 1995. The
Library contains bound volumes of the Journal of the Diocese
of Washington, 1895 to the present; the official proceedings
of the annual diocesan convention, including committee reports;
financial data; rosters of clergy and lay leaders; and data on
parishes and missions. The library also has a set of the bound
volumes of the journals of the Diocese of Maryland, 1800-1895,
which contain information on the history of parishes that existed
before 1895 in what is now the Diocese of Washington. The collection
is focused on records of the diocese, but some files contain information
related to the Washington National Cathedral (of which the bishop
is the chief executive officer).
There is a computer catalog for all volumes in the collection,
1800 to the present.
- Periodicals and newspapers:
- The Diocese of Washington is a periodical, originally
in magazine format, now in newspaper format, usually published
nine times each year since 1933. The archives has all volumes.
The subjects covered in this journal relate to the parishes and
missions of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
- Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
- The central core of the diocesan archives is the manuscript
collection which consists of 30 record groups, 198 record storage
boxes, and 3,900 file folders, 1895-1994. The largest record groups
include the files of the seven bishops who have successively led
the diocese since 1895. The bishops' records contain: correspondence
files relating to the parishes and missions of the diocese; diocesan
committees and boards; activities of the national Episcopal Church;
and management of the diocesan staff; records of the bishops'
official acts; and clergy personnel files. Because the bishop
is also the chief executive officer of the cathedral, the bishops'
files contain some records related to the cathedral and its associated
schools. Other record groups contain files of the diocesan convention,
the secretary of the convention, and standing committees on missions
and Christian social relations.
The archives also holds parish registers and vestry minutes
of some 20 closed parishes and missions. Records of active parishes
are held by the individual parishes. The diocese has no central
register of baptisms, marriages, or burials conducted in the
A computerized inventory which can be searched by folder title
and record date span is available for the entire collection.
A new system, which incorporates key word searching, is being
The Archivist is Mrs. Margaret D. Lewis, (202) 537-8981.
- 4 of the 15 record groups have been microfilmed for security
- Some record groups contain occasional historical maps of parish
- Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
- 2 record groups contain historical photographs of parishes
and missions, clergy and lay leaders.
Church architecture; Church buildings; Councils and synods; Creighton,
William Forman, 1909-1987; Dun, Angus, 1892-1971; Ecumenical movement;
Education and religion; Episcopal Church; Episcopal Church--Clergy;
Episcopal Church--Diocese of Washington; Freeman, James Edward, 1866-1943;
Haines, Ronald H., 1934- ; Harding, Alfred, 1852-1923; Prayer; Preaching;
Religion and state; Religious biography; Ritual; Sacraments; Satterlee,
Henry Yates, 1843-1908; Sermons; Theological education; Walker, John
Thomas, 1925-1989; Women and religion; Worship
Hamer, Philip M., ed. A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts
in the United States. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
Inventory of Church Archives in the District of Columbia.
District of Columbia Historical Records Survey. Washington, DC:
District of Columbia Historical Records Review, 1940.
Inventory of Diocese of Washington Archives. Historical
Records Survey, Work Progress Administration. Washington, DC: Works
Progress Administration, 1930. (Outdated but contains valuable historical
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.
The Library of Congress. Washington, DC: The Library of Congress,