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Thomas Bray papers

 Collection 0063-MDHC

Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was a leading figure in the Church of England in colonial Maryland. The collection includes information on colonial religion, libraries, and the Anglican Church Establishment Act contained in petitions, meeting minutes, correspondence, and theological tracts.


  • 1697-1705

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


4.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Thomas Bray papers cover the period 1697 to 1705 and consist of minutes, petitions, proposals, legislation, correspondence, catalogs, and lists. A number of the documents in the collection describe conditions of life and the state of the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include the church in the Maryland colony. Other topics covered include Quakers, clergy, libraries, the Anglican Church Establishment Act, and plans for the financial support of the clergy.

The documents have been described individually.


Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was a leading figure in the history of the Church of England, founding the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (S. P. G.) and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S. P. C. K.). In 1696 Bray was appointed Commissary of the Bishop of London for the Anglican Church in Maryland. He remained in London until 1699 attempting to obtain royal approval for two successive Acts of the Maryland Legislature for the creation of a tax-supported Anglican establishment. He spent the spring and summer of 1700 returning to London with a new Act that was approved by William III.

Bray was interested in seeing the clergy supplied with theological books and designed a system of parish and provincial collections from which books could be borrowed. The books were heavily theological but a selection of non-theological subjects was planned. Books from these collections could be borrowed by the laity.


This collection is organized as one series.

Series 1

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The papers of Thomas Bray were purchased by the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in 1979.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of the documents and letters in this collection are available at in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Guide to the Thomas Bray papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742