The archives of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas identify, collect, preserve and make accessible records, artifacts and memorabilia that documents the history of the church, it’s clergy, parishioners and parish organization, and of the on-going development of the Black presence in the Episcopal church.
Items that provide information regarding the liturgy and worship, ministry, evangelism, administration and stewardship, Christian teaching, social interactions, advocacy and community outreach of the church are appropriate for the collection. Also, knowledge of the lives and ministry of parish clergy, parishioners and parish organizations enhances understanding of the past and present role of St. Thomas in the Episcopal community and the community at large.
The archives contain materials that document the development and mission of the church, and its contribution to the Protestant Episcopal denomination of American history and culture for over 200 years. The records date from 1790 to 2003 with the bulk of the materials being from the period 1794 to 1960s.
The collection contains church record books (the original church charter dated 1796, marriages, deaths, communicant records, vestry minutes, pew rentals), photographs, manuscripts, scrapbooks, church programs, pamphlets, church building plans, audiovisual materials, and various types of memorabilia including plaques, silver bowls, pens and an 18th century presentation baseball bat.
Members of the church, scholars, the community, college students, historians and authors frequently visit the archives as they perform their research. When researchers come to the church, a member of the Historical Society retrieves needed materials and monitors use.
For information about accessing the collection, contact the church office. Mr. Arthur Sudler, director of the Historical Society will make arrangements for the viewing of a specific item in the collection. Some items are fragile; therefore, in some cases facsimiles will be provided instead of the originals.