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Bishop Payne Library
African American Episcopal Historical Collection


Donating Materials to the AAEHC
The African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC) encourages donations of archival materials from African American individuals and/or organizations or others working with African Americans in the Episcopal Church.

Materials of interest from individuals may include personal papers, manuscripts, speeches, lectures, memoirs, professional files, minute reports, brochures and flyers, films/videos, audiotapes, correspondence, diaries, photographs, oral histories, sermons and other materials that reflect the life, work, and religious experience of the African American Episcopal individual, or with such persons.

Materials from organizations can include minutes, proceedings of meetings, correspondence, photographs, and files on specific projects with and for African Americans in the Episcopal Church.

Why Donate?
Each donation helps to enlarge the historical documentation of the experience of African American Episcopalians in the Episcopal Church.  These records are maintained as primary sources for education and research.  Each year these collections are consulted by a growing number of researchers.  With the donation of each new collection, we are able to increase the breadth and depth of our resources to better serve the educational needs of the Virginia Theological Seminary and of scholars who are drawn to our collections. 

How to Donate a Collection
A collection may be donated in one or several parts.  Donors do not need to sort or discard papers before donating them.  If they wish to do so, it is preferable that they contact the AAEHC before beginning, as it is helpful to the archivist to receive materials in the order which they were used or stored.  Please be aware that items which the donor considers unimportant may have significant value in light of the archives' other holdings.

Legal transfer of the documents from the donor to the AAEHC occurs when the donor reviews and signs a gift agreement formally making the collection part of the AAEHC's holdings.  During the processing and indexing of the materials, if staff find items that do not belong in the repository, those items will be returned to the donor or disposed of in accordance with the donor's wishes.

Monetary Support
Preparing papers for use by researchers is one of the most expensive operations in a repository.  Any persons or groups interested in helping preserve this history are invited and encouraged to consider making a monetary gift toward the arrangement, cataloging, and conservation of the Collection.

If you are interested in providing financial support for the AAEHC please contact: The Rev. Dr. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Rd., Alexandria, VA, 22304; (703) 461-1711, bhawkins@vts.edu.  Please specify the African American Episcopal Historical Collection when making contributions.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Other Types of Contributions
The AAEHC acquires collections by several means: gift, purchase and transfer.  The archives staff can help you decide which contribution category is most suitable for your collection.  Your needs for access to the materials, tax considerations, and the condition and value of the material should all be taken into account.
     Gift:  A gift is an uncompensated donation of material.  Gifts to the AAEHC of materials that are not the original creations of the donor are generally tax deductible.  The Library, however, does not provide evaluations of donated materials, or advice concerning tax regulations.  Donors should seek the advice of their own tax counsel.
     Purchase: Occasionally, the AAEHC purchases collections offered for sale if the material is of particular importance and other means of acquisition are not available.  The funds for such purchases, however, are extremely limited.
     Transfer: The AAEHC occasionally accepts appropriate collections transferred from other organizations.

Shipping Collections
Donors will arrange in consultation with the AAEHC for collections to be transported to the Bishop Payne Library at the Virginia Theological Seminary.  Before shipping any collections please contact the AAEHC staff.

Collecting Exclusions
It is not possible for the AAEHC to accept all materials that are offered.  This may be due to duplication, condition, format, or subject areas in which we do not collect.  The AAEHC reserves the right to refuse any collection for any reason.

Copyright generally belongs to the creator of the writings, photographs, music, etc., and can be legally transferred.  To allow researchers ready access to material and to be able to quote readily in publications, the AAEHC encourages donors to transfer any copyright which they possess in the donated papers to the Virginia Theological Seminary.  Please consult your attorney regarding copyright issues.

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a collection to the AAEHC.  Donors are encouraged to speak with their accountant about this matter.  By law, staff cannot give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of the collection.  Please consult an appraiser for asistance.  The AAEHC can provide a list of appraisers, but it is the donor's responsibility to arrange for and bear the costs of any appraisal.

Sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections.  The staff will discuss with the donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or of others.  Although we want to make all paper and records freely accessible to researchers, the AAEHC will normally agree to reasonable and equitable restrictions for a limited period of time.

For Further Information about Donations
For more information on donating your collections to a repository please refer to the Society of American Archivists (SAA) publications: A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository; A Guide to Donating Your Organizational Records to a Repository; and A Guide to Deeds of Gift.

To discuss donating a collection of personal papers or organizational records to the AAEHC, please contact us.

For financial contributions, please contact: The Rev. Dr. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Vice President for Institutional Advance, (703) 461-1711, bhawkins@vts.edu.  Don't forget to specify the AAEHC!
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory