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The origins of Payne Theological Seminary date back before the Civil War. In 1844, leaders of the AME Church met in Ohio and established a committee to create a school for training ministers. In 1871, collegiate leaders at nearby Wilberforce approved the organization of a seminary for this purpose, and selected Bishop Daniel A. Payne to lead the seminary. Payne is one of the oldest African American seminaries and only the fourth such institution to secure full admission to the Association of Theological Schools. With funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, Payne Theological Seminary is actively digitizing materials from its historical archives .


  • Established by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, Payne Theological Seminary is one of the oldest seminaries affiliated with the AME Church.
  • Many of Payne Theological Seminary's records have been digitized and offer a look into the history of the AME Church.

Payne Theological Seminary's records have been digitized and are available by clicking the links below. Some of the records include blueprints, manuscripts, rare books, church bulletins and historic photos. Together, these artifacts and manuscripts help to document the establishment and role of the AME Church.