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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

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Archives

(Maryland Diocesan Archives)

Address: 4 East University Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21218
Telephone Number: (800) 443-1399
(410) 467-1399
Fax Number: (410) 584-7788
Contact Persons: Mary O. Klein, Archivist
Email Address: [email protected]

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Open to the public: Monday-Wednesday 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Photocopying: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

The public is welcome; very few materials are restricted. Most items may be photocopied, at a charge, depending on condition. All materials must be used on site; there is no interlibrary loan.

Reference Policy:
Reference is provided by telephone, mail, email, and on site. In general, the collection is of only incidental use for genealogy, apart from some biographical material and the registers of some defunct churches. The Archivist cannot undertake genealogical research, but information and suggestions on the holdings will be provided.
Borrowing Privileges:
Not a lending institution..
Baltimore Archives Network
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.

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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
Approximately 1,300 volumes, several thousand pamphlets, and innumerable printed ephemera, circulars, etc., with publication dates from 1588 to the present. There are about 114 titles printed prior to 1699, with 90 volumes from the 18th century, and the remainder from the 19th and 20th centuries. Apart from reference books, imprints relate to subjects and individuals represented in the wide-ranging manuscript collection, such as the general history of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in the American colonies, colonial and state Maryland law, diocesan and parish histories, doctrinal controversies, relations with the Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Churches, sermons, and works by or about American bishops and Maryland clergymen. Publications before 1760 are almost entirely British.

Books and pamphlets are currently being catalogued, with about 100 books and 2,000 pamphlets catalogued so far. Other works are arranged by category and author.

Periodicals and newspapers:
28 titles and eight current subscriptions, dating from 1819 to the present. Significant periodical holdings include the Washington Theological Repertory, Vols. 1-8 (1819-1827); The True Catholic (sponsored by Bishop William R. Whittingham, 1843-1856); American Church Monthly, Vols. 1-3 (successor publication to The True Catholic, 1857-1858); The Maryland Churchman (Diocese of Maryland periodical, 1892-1913, 1918-1958); The Communicator (successor publication to The Maryland Churchman, incomplete holdings from 1959-1967); Maryland Church News (1971-date); Church Work, Vols. 1-4 (1885-1889); and The Evergreen, Vols. 1-10 (1844-1853). There are also convention journals for the Dioceses of Maryland (1780-date), Easton (incomplete holdings from 1882-date), and Washington (1905-date, with incomplete holdings for early years). Prior to 1868, the Diocese of Maryland comprised the whole state and the District of Columbia. In that year the Eastern Shore became the Diocese of Easton; and in 1895, the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties were set apart as the Diocese of Washington.

Some periodicals are catalogued; most are arranged by title chronologically.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and 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).

A catalog of approximately 165,000 cards indexes part of the collection by name and subjects. There are also finding aids for shelf locations. For further assistance, consult the Diocesan Archivist.

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.
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).
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.
Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
A large number of uninventoried photographs, prints, and engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Subjects include churches, church events, clergy, lay people, and charitable institutions. There are also three oil paintings of prominent clergy: Bishop William R. Whittingham, ca. 1840, evidently copied from a daguerrotype; Rev. William Francis Brand (1814-1907), ca. 1900; and Rev. Samuel Jarvis Farmer (1786-1851), ca. 1840
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


Hallowak, Thomas L., ed. Baltimore's Past: A Directory of Historical Sources. Baltimore, MD: History Press, 1995.

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