History of the Archives

Canon IX, of the Registrar, was adopted by Convention in 1861. The Registrar’s duties included collecting and preserving Convention records and journals; preserving other documents illustrating the history of the Diocese, and reporting annually on the condition of all documents in his care. There was no official archival space, although the Cathedral occasionally provided an area for a “library.” In 1973 Canon IX was amended by Convention to be “Of the Registrar and Archivist,” thus creating the official position of Diocesan Archivist. Duties were expanded to include documents relating to any parish, mission, or institution of the Diocese. A few years later, through the efforts of the Rev. Larry Clark, Diocesan Registrar, and the first Archivist, a room in the basement of the Cathedral was converted into archival storage.

In spite of the early date of the founding of our Diocesan Archives, it was not until Fr. Clark’s tenure that the materials received any kind of professional care. During the intervening years, some documents disappeared and others suffered from mildew and insect damage, or simply the ravages of time. Fr. Clark made great strides in procuring not only space with metal shelving, but also appropriate archival boxes and folders.

In 2004, the One in Christ capital campaign provided for a major renovation of the Archives, which are now housed entirely in the basement of Loring House, the location of the diocesan offices. There is adequate space and lighting with proper temperature and humidity controls.

What’s in the Diocesan Archives?

The Archives contain a mixture of public, historical records that can be used for research, and legal records that are sealed from view. Together they comprise a history of the people and places that have formed and shaped us over the years.

  • Journals of the Conventions of the Diocese of Maine
  • Copies of The Northeast
  • Records of Diocesan Council
  • Records of the actions of the Standing Committee
  • Papers and Records from the Bishops of Maine
  • Records of the ordained clergy in the Diocese
  • Records deposited by congregations in the Diocese
  • Records of the work of the program commissions and committees of the Diocese
  • Pictures, news articles, blueprints, and lots more!

Research Requests

While the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine has not closed to routine research requests during the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical space at Loring House (143 State Street) in Portland, has been closed. Dicoesan Archivist, Canon Barbara Martin, has announced that effective immediately, appointments are being taken from researchers for access to the Archives. Appointments are generally scheduled on Tuesdays between 9AM and 1PM, but other days/ times may be possible ~ please don’t hesitate to ask!  Space inside the Archives is limited and only one visitor per room (Archives proper and the Biddeford Room) can be accommodated right now.  A research associate will be present to give directions and facilitate your work.  Masks are optional (subject to change), and you will be asked to sign in and out.  Please reschedule your visit if you, or someone in your household, is not feeling well.  Please submit your request for research or to make an appointment here:

Request Form