chapel service group photo


Mission Statement:

The mission of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC), a joint project of VTS and the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, is to collect and preserve the stories, experiences, and perspectives of Black Episcopalians.  The AAEHC gathers letters, journals, photographs, sermons, oral histories, writings, records, and similar materials from Black individuals and organizations and others working with people of African descent in the Episcopal Church.

Grants available from the AAEHC

Thanks to a generous grant from the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, travel reimbursement grants are available to individuals who would like to use the African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC) for research. Faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, independent researchers, and Episcopal clergy and laypersons are encouraged to apply. Funds may be used for transportation, meals, lodging, photocopying, and other research costs.

The Travel Grant Program has been temporarily suspended as we navigate the challenges of the global pandemic.  The program will recommence when safe for everyone; please check back here frequently or contact AAEHC staff for further information:


  1. reading in chapel service


    Grant Recipients

    Dr. Dan Royles (The University of Angers) – “Don’t We Die Too?”: The Political Culture of African American AIDS Activism
    The Rev. Dr. Robert Tobin (Oriel College, University of Oxford) – From Princes to Prophets: Identity and Activism in the Episcopal Church, 1945-1979
    Ms. Angela Hooks (Dutchess Community College) – Private Writing Shapes Voices for Public Discourse

  2. sitting outside on benches with notes


    Grant Recipients

    Mr. Lance Poston (University of Kentucky) – Deconstructing Sodom and Gomorrah: A Historical Intervention in the Mythology of Black Homophobia
    Dr. Jontyle Robinson (Tuskegee University) – Crite’s Creations: Capturing a Neighborhood, Connecting a Globe
    Ms. Jennifer Boyle (Teachers College, Columbia University) – The Social Gospel and Activism at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Harlem, 1950-2000
    Dr. Heather White (New College of Florida) – Gay Liberation at the Church of the Holy Apostles, New York City, 1960-1980

  3. consecration fo the chapel


    Grant Recipients

    Dr. Heath W. Carter (Valparaiso University) – The Kingdom of God May Yet Reign: The Social Gospel in American Life
    Mr. Stanley Jenkins (Morgan State University) – Race, Religion and Class: The Thought of George Freeman Bragg

  4. student dyed beard blue and red for sports


    Grant Recipients

    Mr. Christopher M. Babits (University of Texas at Austin) — To Cure a Sinful Nation: Conversion Therapy and the Making of Modern America, 1930 to the Present Day
    Ms. Patti McGee-Colston (Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento) — Conversations on Race
    Dr. James G. Romaine (Lander University) — Allan Rohan Crite, An Episcopalian Aesthetic

  5. Virginia Theological Seminary Fall Photo of Campus


    Grant Recipients

    Dr. Rosemary D. Gooden (Chicago, IL) – Walter Decoster Dennis: Naming the Gospel, Living the Gospel
    Dr. Ronald A. Johnson (Texas State University) – Bilateral Blackness: Haiti and Early American Identity

  6. chapel


    Grant Recipients

    Dr. Myra Ann Houser (Arkadelphia, AR)— Catching the Rain: George Houser, Pacifism, and Civil Rights

Happy Reverend Singing


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.

For general reference:

(703) 461-1752

Mailing Address:

Virginia Theological Seminary, Box 159
3737 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22304

On Campus:

The AAEHC is located in the Seminary Archives on the lower level of Bishop Payne Library.