4101 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
||J. Theodore Anderson, Director of Library and Archives Department
|Hours of Service:
||8:00 a.m.--4:00 p.m.
||8:00 a.m.--1:00 p.m.
|Open to the public:
Photocopying is available only for a small number of pages on specific reference
questions. In special cases the Library will search other area libraries and
try to find the book needed for some special program of the church. The Director
of the Library and Archives is available Monday through Thursday and on Sundays.
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- Reference Policy:
- Telephone and mail questions are accepted if they are within the scope of the materials available in the Library and Archives.
- Borrowing Privileges:
- The public may borrow books. Patrons must complete a non-member card form
and return books within four weeks..
- The Library and Archives Department is a member of the national Church and
Synagogue Library Association and the Society of American Archivists. Additional
information about the Library and Archives is available on the church
website at http://www.nationalpres.org/culbertson_library.php.
- Background Note:
- The National Presbyterian Church and Center evolved from: The First Presbyterian
Church (founded 1795), the Church of the Covenant [Presbyterian] (founded
1883), and the Covenant First Presbyterian Church (two churches combined in
1930). By order of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian denomination, Covenant
First Presbyterian was designated as The National Presbyterian Church in 1946.
Library was founded in 1969 as a part of the mission of the National Presbyterian
and Center when it moved to its location in a new building at the corner of
Nebraska and Van Ness, NW. A Satellite Library operation in
the Main Church Building provides additional accessability and contains many
of the newer additions to the collection.
- Books and monographs:
- The Library holds 10,500 volumes with inclusive publication dates from 1768
to present. Only a few are from the 18th century. The focus of the collection
is the history
of the National Presbyterian Church and Center, biblical studies, devotional
guides, religious life, and Presbyterianism in the Washington area and the
nation. The Library also has materials in braille,
including the King James Bible, Presbyterian hymnals, the Book of Order
of the Presbyterian Church, and study programs of the Presbyterian Church
USA for women's groups as well as a collection of Bibles in approximately 40
different languages. The Library has both a card and computer catalog covering
the entire collection. The Library of Congress classification system
is used for cataloguing the collection and the data on both the cards and computer
system is in the LC format.
A Satellite Library in the Main Church Building augments the collection accessibility
and contains many of the newer accessioned items.
- Periodicals and newspapers:
- The collection includes 37 subscriptions and 180 bound volumes, dating from
1970 to the present. Subject emphases include Presbyterian history and current
biblical studies; and the history of religion. Journals of note include Presbyterian
Life and its subsequent title, Presbyterians Today, Presbyterian
Survey, Journal of Presbyterian History, and American Presbyterians,
now called American Presbyterians, as well as many standard religion
journal titles. The collection also includes annual reports, bulletins of the
parent churches, and newsletters.
Journals are organized alphabetically except for a few which are bound and classified.
- Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
- The Archive Department houses over 260,000 documents within the Chapman Memorial
Archive Collection. There are scores of volumes and many loose, unorganized
papers dating from 1795 to the present. The focus of this collection is the
history of the three Presbyterian churches which led to the formation of the
National Presbyterian Church and the subsequent history of The National Presbyterian
Church and Center, when it became the National Church of the Presbyterian denomination
in 1946. Bound copies of the deliberations of the General Assembly of the denomination
are also archived in this area.
A complete system of electronic cataloging and indexing is in progress.
- The collection contains microfilms of all Session and Trustee official records as well as those of other Presbyterian organizations of the National Presbyterian Church and its predecessors. Highlights include official records of the Church including those for marriage, births, and baptisms.
An index is being created for this collection.
- Maps of the Holy Land together with other historic religious maps are of
limited quantity and included in several atlases in the collection. In addition,
the collection contains a few aerial-view maps of church-owned land in Northwest
D.C. across from American University where the Church was planning to build
its new building. These are from the 1960s.
- Videos and Sound Recordings:
- Approximately 100 videotapes, dating from 1969 to present. This collection
covers special events, celebrations, departure of ministers, and events involving
national figures which have taken place in the Church. Of special note is the
funeral of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. There is also a scattered
collection of sermons on cassette tape from the past 30 years and a complete
collection on cassette tape from the past 12 years.
- Vertical files:
- 12 file drawers of vertical files with inclusive dates from 1795 to present. Topics and formats include newspaper clippings, biographical sketches, histories of Presbyterian institutions, Presbyterian College and Seminary data, and program materials for the Christian Education Program of the Church.
- Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
- 1200 slides and over 8000 black-and-white and color prints and drawings
with inclusive dates from 1795 to the present. This collection includes images
of events, people, groups, clergy, mission stations, buildings and plans, as
well as prominent visitors to the Church.
In-process material is arranged by classification scheme. The Library is still identifying many of these images. As the process of classification and identification continues, the Library is building a "who's who" of members of the church since its founding in 1795 along with their contributions to the church and the nation.
- Other holdings not listed above:
- The Library is part of the Library and Archives Department of the Christian
Education Division. In the archives department is a collection of historical
documents and ephemera going back to 1795 from each of the earlier churches
that joined to form the National Church and
The Church campus also includes a separate Day School (K-6) Library of about
16,000 children's books.
Calvin, John, 1509-1564; Knox, John, ca. 1514-1572; National Presbyterian Church--History; Witherspoon, John, 1723-1794
Brand, Charles J. "The Emergence of the National Presbyterian Church." Journal of Presbyterian Historical Society Vol 22, (June 1950): pp. 1-6.
Bryan, W. B. "The Beginnings of the Presbyterian Church in the District of Columbia." Paper read to Historical Society, April 11, 1904.
Elson, Edward L.R.. Wide Was His Parish: An Autobiography. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1986.
First Presbyterian Church. Centennial Celebration, First Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC. Washington, DC: First Presbyterian Church, 1895.
Nannes, Casper. National Presbyterian Church and Center. Washington, DC: National Presbyterian Church, Bicentennial Committee, 1970.
National Presbyterian Church: The First 200 Years: 1795-1995. Washington, DC: National Presbyterian Church, 1995.
Presbyterian Church in the United States, General Assembly. The Presbytery of Washington City and the Churches Under its Care: Prepared for the Centennial of the General Assembly, May 17, 1888, by Order of the Presbytery in Response to the Resolution of the Assembly. Washington, DC: Gibson Bros., Printers and Bookbinders, 1888.