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Thomas E. Pugh Papers

Identifier: MS 00005

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The papers of Rev. Thomas E. Pugh, who was the minister of the Williamsburg Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia from 1952-1981.

Collection includes both personal and ministerial related material.  Early photograph albums show Pugh's childhood but his correspondence and papers begin with his student days at the University of Richmond in 1940.  He attended Crozer Theological Seminary and Harvard University Chaplain School before becoming an Army Chaplain in 1944.  His first pastor posting after World War Two was Hephzibah Baptist Church in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.  Material includes correspondence, photograph albums, scrapbook, sermons, church bulletins and newsletters, marriage and death records, diaries, memorabilia, ephemera and more.  Thomas E. Pugh married Mary Decker in 1941 who also attended Crozer Theological Seminary.  Scrapbooks and seminary research papers for Mary Decker Pugh are included.  Includes letters from their son, Thomas Nelson Pugh, while serving in the United States Air Force from 1967-69 and Sympathy cards for his untimely death in 1992.  Some papers deal with Pugh Family genealogy and inheritances from Decker and Pugh Families.  His diaries contain mostly appointments.

Before the donation of his papers, Rev. Pugh reviewed the material, often adding notes to clarify the importance of items and creating folders to keep certain items together.


  • Creation: 1914-2001
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1941-1998


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Thomas E. Pugh was born on November 9, 1917 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and died June 17, 2006 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Pugh was pastor of Williamsburg Baptist Church for 29 years, 1952-1981. His tenure was the longest in the history of the church. When he retired, Pugh was named pastor emeritus.

When Pugh accepted the pastor position, one of his objectives was to embrace the students of the College of William and Mary. He sought to provide a ministry which would aid in their development during the formative college years.

Outside of the church community, Pugh served many organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Rotary Club. One of his most significant contributions to the Williamsburg community was his 25 year membership on the board of the Williamsburg Community Hospital.

Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


15.50 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Arranged into series: Correspondence; Ministry Related (subseries: sermons, Williamsburg Baptist Church, Marriages, Funerals, Pastorates...);  Personal and Family (subseries:  Community Involvement, Personal Matters, Academic, Vacations, Military Service as Chaplain, Family); Diaries and Photographs/Scrapbooks.

Acquisition Information:

Gifts of Rev. Thomas Pugh via the Williamsburg Historic Records Association ( Accessions 1999.07, 1999.30A, 1999.57A, 2000.32, 2004.38, 2006.62A). Accession 2007.33 was a gift from Rev. Thomas Pugh and Mark Pugh. Accession 2015.211 was a gift from Mark Pugh.

Processing Information:

Collection is partially processed as of September 2009.  Processing completed June 2015.

Guide to the Thomas E. Pugh Papers
Finding Aid Authors: Ben Bromley and Anne Johnson.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Revised by Anne Johnson in 2009. Collection processed and inventory completed by Anne Johnson in June 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository