Guide to the Records of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1797-1979

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Records of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Collection Number
MSS#86
Date [inclusive]
1797-1979
Extent
.5 cubic feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traces its origin to 1787 when John Penn and John Penn, Jr. donated land to the trustees of the "Episcopalian Protestant Church." Three years later, the church was established, adopting the "Episcopal" name to distance itself from the name "Anglican" and other institutions directly linked to the British throne. These records include transcribed administrative records, an index to those records, cemetery records, historical material, and programs.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Records of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1797-1979, MSS#86, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

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History of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (1787-)

The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traces its origin to 1787 when John Penn and John Penn, Jr. donated land to the trustees of the "Episcopalian Protestant Church." Three years later, the church was established, adopting the "Episcopal" name to distance itself from the name "Anglican" and other institutions directly linked to the British throne. Even though the church fathers owned land given to them by the Penn Grant, they were unable to construct a permanent building and met in private homes or in the courthouse. The initial leader of the Church was Reverend Francis Reno, 1791-1794, who conducted services in Pittsburgh and Chartiers, Pa. Reverend John Taylor was the congregation's first permanent minister and served from 1797 to 1817. During his service as minister, Trinity constructed its first permanent home. The First Trinity Church was built in 1805 in downtown Pittsburgh at Sixth Avenue, Liberty Avenue, and Wood Street, not on the land included with the Penn Grant. The Church was originally known as the "Round Church" because of its shape. To meet the needs of increasing membership, the Second Trinity Church was constructed in 1825 and built on the original site. Reverend John Henry Hopkins, 1824-1831, contributed greatly to the design and construction of this building. In 1872, the Third Trinity Church was built to accommodate additional parishioners and was constructed under the rectorship of Reverend John Scarborough, 1867-1874. When Dr. Alfred W. Arundel was rector, 1891-1911, he changed of the parish from an independent church to an institutional one, making it the center of the Diocese. In 1928, the Trinity Church became the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, denoting a change in stature of the parish, not a change in the physical building. After the interior was damaged by fire in 1967, the cathedral was once again renovated to fit its contemporary needs. Trinity has over the years been the "Mother" church of many parishes in the area and has had a significant part in their establishment.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Records include transcribed administrative records, an index to those records, cemetery records, historical material, and programs. The administrative records were transcribed and assembled by the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America, c1937, from existing records available in the church. These administrative records primarily document marriages, baptisms, confirmations, and funerals from 1797-1867. Also included are the church's member list from 1817, and a brief history of the church. The index to these transcribed records will be primarily useful for genealogical research, as many of the entries are reserved for the names of the congregants. The preface of the book addresses the arrangement of the transcribed records and the problems faced when undertaking that project. The cemetery records include inscriptions from the tombstones in Trinity's churchyard dating back to 1779 and in some cases, include the names of those who erected the stone and also the eulogies given at the funeral. Historical material includes a history written by John A. Lathwood, c1945, describing the original congregants' desire for building the church and his opinions on the moral atmosphere of Pittsburgh during the 1870s. Another historical sketch provides Trinity's history through 1969 and contains numerous images of the church structure over the years, and photos of all the Bishops after 1944. Also included is a description of each of the new stained glass windows added to the church in 1969, a self-guided tour of some of the grave sites in the churchyard, and a brief history written by Charles Covert Arensberg in 1970 to commemorate the designation of Trinity as a historic landmark. Programs include a copy of the Episcopal Register reporting on the January 1872 opening services of the Third Trinity Church with detailed descriptions of the new church, a brief historical sketch, a program of the consecration services, and a sermon given by Reverend Cornelius E. Swope, who served the congregation from 1862-1867. There is also a sermon given by Dean N. R. H. Moor, 1931-1963, from 1932 and various other items.

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Arrangement

The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Records are housed in one archival box and are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Spring 2000

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

This material came in three accessions in 1938, 1974 and 1980.

Acc# 512 (1938) Gift of the Allegheny County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames, (Transcription of Records).

Acc# 1974.59 Gift of Mrs. Cotts, (Printed Material).

Acc# 1980.178 Gift of Elizabeth Titzel, (Printed Material).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by James Munizza in 1989.

Records rearranged and inventory rewritten by Kara Lewis on March 15, 1994.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Sherry Kowalski on January 26, 2000.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Episcopal Church -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. -- Allegheny County Committee.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Genealogy -- Religious.
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Religion.

Personal Name(s)

  • Arensberg, Charles Covert.
  • Lathwood, John A.
  • Moor, Dean N. R. H.
  • Swope, Cornelius E.

Subject(s)

  • Cemeteries -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Church buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Churches.

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Collection Inventory

Administrative Records 
  boxvolume
 1797-1867 1
  folder
Index  c1937 1

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  folder
Cemetary Records  c1913 2

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  folder
Historical Material  1945-1970 3

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  folder
Programs and Sermons  1872-1979 4

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