Collection Info

Barrett, Ellen M. Papers

Span Dates: 1946-2005

Volume: 21 linear ft.


The Ellen Barrett papers consist of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, research materials, and a wide range of personal documentation such as birth and baptismal certificates, passports, photo identification cards, journals, scrap books, desk calendars, and date books. The collection includes a variety of print materials, such as liturgical programs, church bulletins, high school yearbooks, and both religious and secular periodicals. In addition, the collection comprises a wide range of ephemeral materials, such as newspaper clippings, pamphlets, theater programs, greeting cards, name tags and ticket stubs, as well as a variety of religious artifacts such as a vestment, prayer beads, and a collection of cruciform pendants and sacred medallions. Most of the materials in this collection date from Barrett's birth, in 1946, to her entry into the Community of St. Mary the Virgin, an Anglican religious order, as an aspirant, in 2005.

Hist/Bio Note

Ellen M. Barrett, a scholar specializing in medieval monastic history, was the first openly gay person, and one of the earliest women, to be ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. Beginning in 1975, when she was ordained deacon, through 1977 when she was ordained priest, the collection documents her path to ordination and the far reaching international reaction to her ordination. The collection covers her subsequent, nearly thirty-year carreer as priest in the Episcopal Church and her eventual postulancy in an Anglican women's monastic community.

Finding Aid

A complete finding aid is available online (above).


The papers are located in the John Hay Library which houses the rare books and manuscripts, university archives and many special collections at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

Index Terms

IntegrityEpiscopalUnited StatesNew YorkCatholic gays -- United States Gay Clergy -- United StatesLesbians -- Religious lifeOrdination -- EpiscopalWomen and religionLesbian clergyBarrett, Ellen