Bishop Payne Divinity School. Records

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Bishop Payne Divinity School. Records


  • 1929-1965 (Creation)


.25 cu.ft. (partial box)

Name of creator


Originally called St. Stephen’s Normal and Theological School (having absorbed St. Stephen’s Normal and Industrial School), Bishop Payne Divinity School was founded in 1878 as a branch seminary of the Virginia Theological Seminary. When the school was chartered by the State of Virginia in 1884, it was renamed in honor of the Rt. Rev. John Payne, the first Bishop of Liberia, as Bishop Payne Divinity and Industrial School. The school was folded into and received support from the American Church Institute after 1906 and in 1910 it was renamed the Bishop Payne Divinity School at which time the school was given the power to confer the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. The school was closed in 1949 and in 1953 its financial assets were transferred from the DFMS to the Virginia Theological Seminary for the purpose of recruiting and educating African Americans.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The DFMS archive on the American Church Institute (ACI) is largely focused on the years 1906-1967, although documentation on individual schools dates from 1867 (see AO-00-R0061-02 through AO-00-R0061-02-12). This set includes records of the oversight of Bishop Payne Divinity School, Petersburg, Virginia. Records in this series consist mainly of correspondence, especially from the ACI Treasurer’s office concerning the school’s building fund (1932-1948, 1951), and also correspondence of the Rev. George A. Wieland, Home Department Director and later ACI Director (1929-1930, 1942-1951). Board of Trustees meeting minutes and correspondence (1938-1944, 1947-1948), financial documents (1939-1965), and two school catalogs (1945, 1946) are also present.


This material constitutes file series 10 of the ACI archive.

Conditions of access and use elements

Access conditions

Access to Episcopal Church records is governed by the Archives Public Access Policy. Research requests must be submitted in writing.

Technical access

Rights and permissions

The Archives is able to respond to limited requests for reproductions subject to copyright restrictions, internal policy, and the condition of the source documents.

Languages of the material

  • English

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Related records and archives

The Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary holds Bishop Payne Divinity School Records, 1885-1953, RG V19.

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