Since her retirement in 2007, Margaret Jerrido is an archives consultant and archivist for the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church Prior to her retirement, she was the Director of the Urban Archives in the Paley Library at Temple University for 17 years. Assistant Archivist in the Archives & Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Director of the Black Women Physicians Project at the former Medical College of Pennsylvania. Ms. Jerrido has conducted workshops on how to preserve all formats of historical materials, planned workshops and lead discussion groups on how to form an archives, designed an oral history workshop, and participated in panels on how to do oral histories. She has done presentations on the history of African-American women and minorities in medicine. She has written and was awarded grants from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, William Penn Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. She is a member of the Delaware Valley Archivists Group (DVAG) and the Mid-Atlantic Archives Conference (MARAC). She was the first Chair of the former group and has been involved in the latter holding various offices and presenting a number of papers on various aspects of collecting, preserving and maintaining historical records. She is a Board member of the Lincoln Day Educational Center and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
Following are some of the publications which Ms. Jerrido has written for, contributed to or edited: Directory of African American Collections in Greater Philadelphia and Selected Suburban Areas. PACSCL Photograph Directory. The Encyclopedia of African American Cultural and History. Black Women in American: an historical encyclopedia. and the Handbook of American Women’s History.
History of the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church Archives
During 1991-1993, Ms. Jerrido, was instrumental in guiding the Historical Commission of the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church and providing the expertise on how to arrange, organize and preserve the historical materials of the Church. Funds were secured from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission to purchase preservation supplies and pay consultant fees to produce a finding aid to the collection. Since 1993, additional materials have been received and different techniques and technological methods have been introduced in the archival profession. Many of these new and innovative ideas have not been applied to this collection.
Pastor Leath, who was presiding at that time, expressed concern that the current arrangement, preservation, and retrieval system are not sufficient and adequate enough to serve the growing number of scholars, students, historians, and others who use materials in the collection. Hence, he wanted the expertise, guidance, support and the current archival technique and methods to acquire, preserve, arrange and make available historical materials not only of Mother Bethel specifically, but materials relevant to the religious, social and intellectual life of African-Americans in the A.M.E. church in general.
The value of the historical materials has been recognized for a number of years and systematic efforts to organize them have been in place since about 1876. In the Richard Allen Museum there is a room designated for and houses the artifacts and historical documents of the church and the African American Episcopal religion. Just as important, the light is minimal and the temperature can be controlled. The Museum, located on the church site, has a number if items on permanent display and is open to the public.
Prominent among the display items are the tomb of Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, his wife Sara Allen, and artifacts from the early church.
The archives room houses the Christian Recorder, the oldest African American periodical in the United States. The Recorder, dating back to 1854, is a valuable vehicle for seeking information about many of the African-American leaders who were members of the church. Some of the paper based historical documents include minutes, financial records, visitors logs, roll books, Founders Day materials, funeral programs, and books. There are also photographs and audiovisual materials. Because of the historical significance of these valuable materials it was recognized by the Pastor and the Historical Commission that the acquisition, preservation, and organization of these materials continue so that the history of African-Americans in religion, the A.M.E. domination, in general, and Mother Bethel church, specifically be made available for research use.
To this end, several preservation initiatives have been done: microfilming of the early documents and rehousing of the materials into acid free folders and boxes; most of the photographs have been rehoused in mylar sleeves. Finding aids for the textual materials and photographs have been compiled and are available on the website.