About the PTS Archives

The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is the result of several mergers following the founding of its earliest antecedent, Service Seminary, in 1794 by the Associate Presbyterian Church. The documents recording those mergers as well as the records of seminaries past and present, are housed in the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Archives. 

The primary purpose of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Archives is to provide for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records. Records administration covers the management of records, regardless of age, to meet the administrative, financial, legal, and historical needs within the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s offices and departments. 

The PTS Archives contains Seminary and antecedent seminary institutional records, manuscript collections, personal papers, photographs, and artifacts. Other materials housed in the Archives document the histories of the Associate, Associate Reformed, United Presbyterian, and Presbyterian (U.S.A.) congregations, synods, and general assemblies.

Collection Guides and Finding Aids

Finding Aids/Collection Guides

A list of our archives collections with links to full finding aids. Access Finding Aids/Collection Guides

Special Projects

Internet Archive

Searchable database of full-text digitized seminary publications such as catalogs, journals, and scrapbooks. Access Internet Archive

Special Collections

The Library also houses a variety of special collection materials, the most significant being:

  • The John M. Mason Memorial Collection, consisting of rare theological works dating from the Reformation. 
  • The Warrington Collection, which is comprised of several thousand valuable hymnals and song books from the estate of James Warrington of Philadelphia, and provides rich research materials for scholars of American and British hymnody.
  • The Louis N. Grier Collection was received in 1975 and contains approximately 1,120 titles including two incunabula, early 16th century imprints, 17th and 18th century British publications, first editions of British literary volumes, books on bookbinding, and examples of fine bookbinding.

How do I view an item from the special collections or archives?

  • Current PTS staff, faculty, and students, as well as PTS alumni, are already eligible to view the special collections and archives. Non-PTS library users must have a library account in order to view the special collections and archives. A $30 (for non-clergy) or $15 (for clergy) annual fee is required for a library account, which will include the ability to view special collections and archives, as well as the privilege of checking out books from the general collection. 
  • Materials from the special collections and archives may be viewed by appointment. To schedule an appointment, email Mark Russell (Reference and Instruction Librarian) at mcrussell@pts.edu, or call him at 412-924-1393.
  • A Pittsburgh Theological Seminary ID card, Barbour Library Card, or other photo identification must be presented at the time of viewing.
  • Items must be viewed in the library research room. No food or drink is permitted in this room. No backpacks, briefcases, or other luggage are allowed in the research room.
  • Photos of materials may be taken only with permission of library staff. It is possible that scans or copies may be made of materials by library staff, depending on the condition of materials and copyright restrictions.