The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut

The Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut is the official repository of records created by and about the diocese, its related bodies, and individual Episcopalians. Our foremost requirement by canon is to keep a complete record of all the Episcopal Acts of the bishops. Our mission is to identify, collect, preserve, classify, and make available the records of the ongoing life and work of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. We also offer reference service to Diocesan staff, clergy, laity and the general public. The Archives was created by resolution at the diocesan convention in 1866, and its resources exist as a part of the broader mission to support community life and parish work in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Using the Archives

The Archives and Resource Library are open Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact our archivist, Greg Farr, via letter, email or voicemail, at gfarr@episcopalct.org or 203-639-3501 ext. 135.

The archivist is also available to visit parishes and assist with setting up archival programs or records management schedules.

Finding aids

The collection is documented in a data base that is not accessible to the public. A finding aid is attached to each Diocesan Bishop biography on the Diocesan Bishops' page.

Genealogical Research

The collection is only of incidental use for genealogical research. Parish registers of defunct churches are kept in the Archives. Almost all of the records of the very early churches have been microfilmed in a joint project by the Genealogical Society of Utah (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), the Colonial Dames, and the Connecticut State Library.  For access to these microfilms, Contact the Connecticut State Library History and Genealogy section at 860-757-6500 or Toll free at 866-886-4478. Open to the public Tuesday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday, 9am to 2 pm. If you don’t live in the area, contact your local LDS FamilySearch Center

Related Collections: 

Overview of the Archives           

Collections include but are not limited to: Bishops’ works; some parish vertical files; diocesan topic files; early Colonial manuscripts (mostly sermons); historiographers’ works; clergy and persons’ biographies (primarily 19th century); and artifacts and the records of  institutions and beneficial organizations that comprise an important aspect of the ministry and mission of the diocese. All publications produced by the Episcopal Church in Connecticut are preserved. Most collections are arranged alphabetically, except publications which are chronological.  Access depends on the physical condition of the object, confidentiality and whether the manuscript in question meets the “70 year rule.” Bishops papers are not available until 70 years after their retirement, unless a researcher obtains the archivist’s or the bishop’s permission.

Copyright and Access

Patron access is by appointment only. All manuscripts owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut are free from copyright restrictions, within limitations. The Episcopal Church in Connecticut maintains all copyright on its publications. Bishops sermons and writings are under their own copyright. If a researcher plans to quote extensively from a publication, we ask him or her to submit the quotation to the Canon for Communication or the Archivist asking for permission to use it and to what extent. The quotation will need to be credited to this institution.

Individual authors hold copyright for their own writing, publications, and manuscripts. The Diocesan archives holds copies of manuscripts and publications owned by other repositories (See within each itemized record group for ownership information). Adherence to those copyright restrictions is the users' responsibility.

Background Note

The archives of the Episcopal Diocese of CT were officially formed by the Annual Diocesan Convention of 1866 (p. 39 Journal of 1866 Convention) “Resolved, that a Registrar be appointed by this convention to take charge of all documents, papers and records belonging to this diocese.” The Rev. Eben Edwards was Beardsley unanimously appointed. Though the archives weren’t officially formed until 82 years after the consecration of Bishop Seabury, numbers of Churchmen had been holding documents that were readily donated to the newly-founded archives. A recent archivist, author, and Anglophile, The Rev. Cn. Kenneth Cameron, actively and aggressively sought copies of documents from other repositories to add to the collection. He acquired on microfilm letters to the Bishop of London from Colonial missionaries employed by the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and he appealed to fellow archivists for copies of manuscripts and parts of their collections, particularly the collection of Bishop Whittingham of Maryland.

Scope of the Collection

The Connecticut Diocesan Archives contains the Episcopal Acts of the Bishops, official records, manuscripts, and related materials concerning the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and its relationship with the Scottish bishops of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, where Seabury was consecrated in 1784. The diocesan archives consists of over 1200 cubic feet of materials spanning the years from Colonial times to the present. The strongest areas of the collection are the first four bishops and the bishops of the 20th century bishops (please refer to the Bishops’ table, biographies and finding aids). The archives are bound to maintain the parish registers of closed churches. The Archives also documents relations with some denominations, especially with the Connecticut Congregational Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Connecticut Episcopal Church’s relationship with “ChrisCon” the ecumenical Christian Conference of Connecticut, and its social outreach, is well documented in the bishops’ files.  There are numbers of scrapbooks of foreign missions in the Far East, the United States territories, and missions to the Native Americans. Two other strong features of the collection are the “Pan Anglican” magazine that resulted from Bishop Walter Henry Gray’s organizing the Anglican Congress of 1954, and the “CMPC” (Church Missions Publishing Company, organized in 1898 by the Junior Woman’s Auxiliary). Over the years, CMPC published missionary pamphlets, biographies, and monographs to educate Sunday school children, and later, adults. This collection describes the missionary zeal at the turn of the 20th Century going forward. Another important collection is the church blueprint collection.

Resource Library

The resource library supports the historical, intellectual, spiritual, theological and cultural trends in Connecticut with a strong collection of periodicals and  monographs on the relationship between the Anglican Church and the American Colonists; the influence of the Congregational Church on the politics and religious laws of Connecticut; freedom of thought and dissidence in the Colonies; the emerging Episcopal Church; local and state histories, parish histories, biographies and collections of sermons. The library has a complete run of “Spirit of Missions”, “Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland” and the Connecticut Episcopal publications dating from 1845; clergy directories dating from the mid-nineteenth century and all of the Journals of Convention. The library seeks to collect books written by Connecticut Episcopalians, both clergy and lay, and maintains an audio-visual collection. Special collections are Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, Church polity, and Hymnody.

The Collections

Please see the Diocesan Bishops' page to reference each individual collection.

Each collection includes:  official records, Journals, reports, minutes, correspondence, photographs, and other materials of the Bishops of the Diocese.

Other Collections:

  • Christ Church Cathedral (Hartford, CT) gathered in 1742 and named as a Cathedral in 1919. Current building built in 1827-1829. The building is named in the National register of historic places, Ithiel Town, architect
  • The Bishops Fund for Children
  • Parish and diocesan vertical files
  • The Woman’s Junior Auxiliary (now Episcopal Church Women)
  • Fund for the Relief of Widows and Orphans
  • Armsmear, the home of Elizabeth Colt bequeathed for the housing of Episcopal widows
  • Girls' Friendly Society
  • Numbers of private schools, such as the Episcopal Academy; Rectory School; Kent School; South Kent School; Wooster School; St. Margaret’s School; Pomfret School;
  • Trinity College
  • Berkeley Theological Seminary
  • Daughters of the King
  • Brotherhood of St. Andrew
  • Society for the Increase of the Ministry
  • Episcopal Social Services (ESS)
  • Deaneries, Clerical Associations
  • Christian formation
  • Youth
  • Venture in Mission

Photographs and Prints

The Archives holds a large number of photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with some prints and engravings filed throughout the Bishops, organizations, and parish vertical files. Subjects include churches, church events, portraits of bishops and other clergy, lay people, and charitable and educational institutions.