The Office of Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Office provides statistics, biographies, photos, background information, and other resources to media representatives reporting on the mission and ministries of The Episcopal Church

Episcopal Church Archivist Mark Duffy retires after 30 years

April 21, 2022
Office of Public Affairs

After 30 years of service with The Episcopal Church, Mark Duffy, canonical archivist and director of the Archives, retired on March 31.

“We can all give thanks for Mark Duffy’s leadership as Archivist,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “In everything from research for General Convention committees, Executive Council, legal matters, and assistance to bishops and dioceses, Mark and his team have served The Episcopal Church diligently and well.”

Appointed as the second director of the Archives, Duffy began his work for The Episcopal Church in 1992. As archivist, he and the Archives Board stewarded the church’s considerable archival holdings, including records and materials generated by the General Convention and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society; personal papers and effects of historically significant Episcopal leaders; and special collections.

The Archives of The Episcopal Church contains materials across multiple media formats, from papers and documents—including correspondence, diaries, periodicals, and journals—to personal effects, ephemera, and such objects as photographs, paintings, and film.

Under Duffy’s direction, the Archives completed a move to a new location in Austin in 2021, after being housed at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, since the 1950s.

“The Board of Archives gives thanks to Mark Duffy for his 30 years of service—during  his tenure the holdings of the church have expanded and a user-friendly website and digital archives have been established and used frequently, especially in preparation for General Conventions,” Board Chair Pan Adams-McCaslin said. “Mark is well respected in the historical preservation community, and we are grateful to him for his wisdom, resilience, and perseverance through the years.”

In 2012, Duffy received the Society of American Archivists and the Society of Southwest Archivists’ Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award for his significant contributions to the field of religious archives. He has published award-winning articles and manuals on religious archives that have become standards in the professional literature. Duffy also served in a variety of leadership positions with the Society of American Archivists and was inducted as a Fellow of the Society in 2014—the highest distinction bestowed for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Prior to his 1992 appointment, Duffy served as the chief archivist and project director for the City of Boston Archives, where he was responsible for initiating and administering a comprehensive municipal archives and records management program for the first time for the city. Duffy also worked at Harvard University as associate curator for university records and planning and later as associate director for the Harvard Depository.

During the past three decades, Duffy’s work as archivist has supported The Episcopal Church and its ministry in developing systems for intake, retention, and care of holdings; creating and disseminating guidance on best practices for church records; building online resources and tools; and providing insightful interpretations of the collection to help tell the story of The Episcopal Church.

Michael Barlowe, executive officer of the Episcopal Church General Convention, announced Duffy’s retirement in an email to staff. “We thank Mark for the distinguished service he has given to the church, and we wish him a long and fulfilling retirement,” he wrote.

Photo, top: Mark Duffy is presented with a plaque naming the reading room of The Episcopal Church Archives in his honor by Archives Board Chair Pan Adams-McCaslin; the Rev. Brian Wilbert, board secretary; and the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander, former board chair.

Second photo: Mark Duffy with Archives board representatives and his staff in the reading room of the Archives. Photos by Amy Evenson.