African American Episcopal Historical Collection
Welcome to the AAEHC!
If you have any questions about the Collection or about doing research, please contact us directly or send an email to our general mailbox: AskAAEHC@vts.edu. Thank you and please check back frequently for new content.
Grants available from the AAEHC.
In 2003 the African American Episcopal Historical Collection was established at the VTS Archives as a joint project with the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church. Through documents, institutional records, oral histories, personal papers, and photographs, the collection documents the experience of African American Episcopalians in the U.S. Individual collections contain significant references to religious faith and involvement in the Episcopal Church, particularly at the regional, diocesan, and local levels.
The AAEHC is a cooperative effort of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop Payne Library here at Virginia Theological Seminary.
The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church was founded in 1910 to further the understanding of church history among those interested in the Episcopal Church. The Historical Society publishes a journal (Anglican and Episcopal History), sponsors a book series (the University of Illinois Press Studies in Anglican History), and organizes historical conferences. Members of the Historical Society began to discuss the possibility of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection in the 1990s and to gather materials for the collection in 2000.
In December 2002, the Historical Society and the Virginia Theological Seminary agreed jointly to sponsor the AAEHC. VTS, which is the second oldest and largest of the Episcopal seminaries in the United States, has had a long-standing interest in ministry by and among African Americans. From 1878 through 1949, the Bishop Payne Divinity School in Petersburg, Virginia, was the primary institution for the education of African American candidates for Episcopal ministry. Bishop Payne Divinity School merged with Virgnia Theological Seminary in 1953. The VTS library was later named Bishop Payne Library in honor and memory of the former divinity school.