Georgetown University: A Documentary History

Howard W. Gunlocke Rare Book and Special Collections Room

Georgetown University at 200: A Brief History

"Congratulations, venerable mother ...! You alone, among all the colleges, have lived as long as the Republic." That inscription, in Latin, greeting the visitors to the celebration of the completion of Georgetown's first century in 1889, reminded them of the university's unique origin as an American Catholic institution of higher learning.

Two seemingly unrelated events created the conditions for this establishment of the first Catholic college in the United States: the Suppression of the Society of Jesus and the American Revolution. When Pope Clement XIV under pressure from the courts of Europe suppressed the Jesuit order in 1773, the Reverend John Carroll, a Marylander who had entered the Society in Europe in 1753 and remained there to teach in Jesuit colleges, returned home in 1774. Had the Society not been suppressed, it is highly unlikely that Carroll would ever have seen America again. A year later he became a staunch supporter of the revolution against England. For Catholics the revolution meant the opportunity to free themselves from the civil disabilities that had plagued them and other minorities in most colonies, including Maryland. With independence Catholics were now able, at least theoretically, to vote, hold office, worship publicly, and educate their children in their own schools.

No one saw more clearly the needs and possibilities for the education of the Catholic community in the young Republic than did Carroll, whom Rome appointed as first head of the American church in 1784. Carroll wanted to take full advantage of the unprecedented freedom given to the church in the United States to establish a school in the liberal arts tradition that had so distinguished Jesuit education for over two hundred years. He wanted his academy to be "the mainsheet anchor" of American Catholics, an institution that could uniquely "give consistency to our religious views in this country," by fostering an education that would combine the best of the Catholic and republican cultures. Under Bishop Carroll's leadership, ex-Jesuits established Georgetown in the late 1780's. In 1789 he secured the deed to some sixty acres of ground on a hill overlooking the village of Georgetown, a thriving tobacco port in Maryland. A few months before the academy opened in January of 1792 the bishop learned that the capital would be established in the neighborhood. It "gives a weight to our establishment," he noted, "which I little thought of when I recommended that situation."

Lack of resources - money, faculty, students - severely crippled the college during its first two decades. With the partial restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1805, the order was given the direction of the institution. For the next forty years European Jesuits constituted a substantial portion of the faculty and were responsible for the significant contributions that Georgetown made in the sciences in the second half of the century, most notably in astronomy. A year after the complete restoration of the order in 1814, the college secured its first charter from the United States government.

In accordance with Carroll's determination that his academy be no Catholic ghetto but "open to Students of every religious Profession," nearly a fifth of the students during the first ten years were Protestants. By the 1830's Jews were attending the college. Throughout the nineteenth century religious pluralism characterized Georgetown's student population.

From the beginning, Georgetown was a national, indeed international school. Its proximity to Washington with its diplomatic community was obviously a major reason for its cosmopolitan character but not an exclusive one (in the 1790's, for instance, nearly 20 per cent of the students came from the West Indies). Its faculty was as diverse in origin as its students, not only Jesuit emigrants from Poland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium, but Sulpician refugees from France between 1791 and 1815.

By and large, however, Georgetown was a southern college in the antebellum period. Of its alumni who served in the Civil War, more than four-fifths were Confederates. The war nearly closed the college. The student body fell from 313 in 1859 to 17 in the fall of 1861. Federal troops briefly occupied the campus in the first month of the war. In the fall of 1862 several of the college buildings were turned into a hospital for four months after the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).

In the postwar decades the college increasingly became more northern and Catholic, but the majority of students continued to range between the ages of ten and sixteen. By 1871 Georgetown consisted not only of the college on the hilltop but two professional schools of medicine and law in the city, founded by local doctors and lawyers in 1849 and 1870 respectively. Two presidents in the last three decades of the century attempted to convert these loosely connected schools into a university. The Rev. Patrick Healy, S.J., the son of a Georgia planter and his common law slave wife, as prefect of studies (1868-1878) and president (1873-1881) reformed the college's curriculum with a new emphasis on history and the natural sciences. To provide adequate library, classroom, laboratory, and residential facilities he constructed the magnificent Flemish Renaissance structure that now bears his name. At the professional level he oversaw the lengthening of the programs in both medical and legal education from two to three years. In 1880 he founded the Alumni Association.

The Rev. Joseph Havens Richards, S.J., the son of an Episcopalian priest, continued Healy's efforts during his decade-long presidency (1888-1898). Richards began graduate courses in the arts and sciences, built new facilities for the law and medical schools, including a hospital, and thwarted efforts to transfer the professional schools to the new Catholic University of America. During these years Georgetown began to establish a national reputation in baseball and football.

Expansion at the professional level continued in the new century. The Washington Dental College was acquired in 1901. Three years later the Nursing School was founded to provide support for the university hospital. By 1914 the total university population was 1,378, of whom 912 were attending the law school, one of the nation's largest, and exclusively a night school until 1921. (A college degree was not yet required to study law.) Dr. George Kober, dean from 1901 to 1927, ably led the School of Medicine through the period of reform that revolutionized American medicine in the early part of this century.

World War I caused a brief decline in the professional schools. On the main campus the entire student body was mobilized by law into the Students' Army Training Corps. In 1919 the Preparatory School completed its separation from the university with its relocation in suburban Maryland. That same year the School of Foreign Service was founded under the direction of Rev. Edmund Walsh, S.J., to prepare students for careers in diplomacy or international business. Within five years the enrollment reached five hundred.

In the 1920's university enrollment nearly doubled, with substantial increases in all schools except law. New facilities - New North, Copley, White-Gravenor, the Medical-Dental building - reflected the growth. The football team, a national power since 1914, peaked under coach Lou Little in the late twenties. The Depression was a period of consolidation for Georgetown. Under the presidency of Arthur O'Leary, S.J., the Graduate School was formally organized and faculty recruited for selective programs in mathematics, the natural sciences, economics, history, and government. Father O'Leary also revitalized the Alumni Association with James Ruby as first director. He was also responsible for the brief return to prominence in intercollegiate football under Jack Hagerty in the years preceding World War II.

The second "Great War" transformed the main campus from a college to a testing center for the Army Specialized Training Center. By 1943 there were but 130 students at the Law School. The Medical School alone kept its prewar enrollment. In 1944 the Graduate School admitted women for the first time.

As in the twenties the enrollment virtually doubled, and the GI Bill opened the university's doors to many who could not have considered such an education before the war. Temporary buildings accommodated the overflow of students. Substantial numbers of lay faculty were hired, not only on the main campus but at the Medical Center where Dr. Harold Jaeghers reorganized the departments and curriculum. The new hospital was opened in 1947. Under Father Edward Bunn, S.J., (1952-1964) the university entered the modern world of higher education with the restructuring of schools and the introduction of professional standards for faculty. Two new schools were divided from the School of Foreign Service: the School of Languages and Linguistics (1949) and the School of Business Administration (1955). The School for Summer and Continuing Education was organized in the 1950's.

The last two decades have been a remarkable period of growth and development for the university. The building boom on all three campuses is but the most visible sign. The undergraduate students rank among the finest in the country, as the growing number of Rhodes, Marshall, and Mellon fellowships won over the past several years attests. The faculty are increasingly gaining recognition in the world of scholarship. The Graduate School is concentrating on attaining distinction in certain fields commensurate with its resources. The Medical Center continues to build upon the excellent tradition of research in cardiology, renal medicine, and other fields that it has established in the past forty years, while making major commitments to newer fields, most notably cancer research. The Law Center has not only become again one of the largest schools in the country but now ranks among the top ones in the quality of its faculty and programs. To support this complex network of schools, institutes, and programs, the university has quintupled its endowment in the last dozen years, from forty million to two hundred million dollars.

As she begins her third century, Georgetown, in becoming one of the most dynamic universities in the country, has gone far to fulfill Carroll's vision.

--Robert Emmett Curran, S.J.


Introduction to the Exhibition:

On January 23, 1789, "for and in consideration of the sum of seventy-five pounds current money" which had been "in hand paid, " John Carroll, Robert Molyneux, and John Ashton received from Colonel William Deakins, Jr., and John Threlkeld the deed to the plot of ground on which the first building of the Academy at Georgetown was already under construction. Soon, a faculty would be recruited, classes would begin late in 1791, and the school for which Carroll had worked throughout the eighties would become a reality.

This exhibition documents the growth of Georgetown from a small academy to a major American university. Viewers of the original exhibition were urged to follow the sequence of events from the items relating to the origins of the Society of Jesus in the first flat case through the events of recent decades. The electronic version makes this even easier. We anticipate adding additional links to scanned images as time permits.

Hail oh Georgetown Alma Mater!
Swift Potomac's Lovely Daughter!

Ad multos annos!

---Jon Reynolds, University Archivist

Case 1: Jesuit Origins

Case 1-Jesuit Origins: Exercitia spiritvalia

St. Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556
[Rome: Blado]

The first edition of Loyola's "spiritual exercises," the method of formation of man and spirit at the heart of the foundation of the Society of Jesus. Woodstock Theological Library.

Document, signed, to Rev. Leonard Kessel, from Rome

St. Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556
May 22, 1551

A "celebret," granting permission to the Jesuit Fr. Kessel to perform the usual priestly duties (hearing confession, preaching, etc.). With a relic, a particle of one of the saint's bones, attached. Acquired by a previous owner by even trade for an autograph of Martin Luther. From the Talbot Collection.

De vita et morib. Ignatii Loiolae, qvi Societatem Iesv fvndavit, libri III.

Giovanni Pietro Maffei, 1533-1603
Romae: Apud Franciscum Zannettum

The first edition of Maffei's life of Ignatius, which remained the standard biography of the Society's founder for many years. The frontispiece portrait of Loyola is taken from the copy of the anonymous Vita beati P. Ignatii Loiolae Societatis Iesv Fvndatoris (Rome, 1622), a biography rendered in eighty engravings, bound second in this volume. With the signature of Archbishop John Carroll on the first title page.

Ratio atqve institvtio stvdiorum per sex patres ad id iussu R.P. Praepositi Generalis deputatus conscripta.

Society of Jesus
Romae: In Collegio Societatis Iesu

The first printed edition of the Ratio Studiorum, produced for distribution to the several Jesuit provinces for commentary and reaction. With the autograph deletions and additions common to other known copies. The only copy recorded in the United States. From the collection of Sir Leicester Harmsworth.

Ratio atq. institvtio stvdiorvm.

Society of Jesus
Romae: In Collegio Societatis Iesu

The first published edition of the Ratio, incorporating numerous changes from the private edition of 1586; this edition, however, was also superseded upon publication of that of 1599. One of two copies recorded in the United States. From the collection of Sir Leicester Harmsworth, with the earlier book label of Henry Huth.


Case 2: The Jesuits in Maryland

Reconstructed Indian long house at St. Mary's City, Maryland

Harry Connolly
Silver Gelatin Print

"On the 5th of July, 1640, having been sufficiently instructed in the mysteries of faith, he [the Tayac or Emperor Chitomachon] received the Sacramental waters with solemnity in a little chapel, which for that ceremony and for divine worship he had erected in Indian fashion out of the bark of trees." Translation from the Annual Letter of 1640, Rev. Thomas Hughes, S.J. History of the Society of Jesus in North America. Vol I. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1908.

Societas Jesu apostolorum imitatrix, sive gesta praeclara et virtutes eorum, qui e Societate Jesu In procuranda salute animarum...

Matthias Tanner, 1630-1692
Pragae: Typis Universitatis Carolo-Ferdinandeae, in Collegio Societatis Jesu ad S. Clementem, per Adalbertum Georgium Konias

The second and last of Tanner's great biographical compendia. The illustration displayed depicts the baptism of the Tayac by Father Andrew White. We do not know why his name was rendered as "Vitus."

Grant of land to William Britton

Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore
St. Mary's City
July 10, 1640

The original grant for Newtown Manor, also known as "Britton's Neck. " The Jesuits ran a school here in the 17th century. The earliest known example of the seal of the colony is attached.

The Andrew White Manuscript

Manuale sacerdotum

Douai: L. Kellam

On five pages bound at the front are drafts of prayers, the commandments, and the precepts of the Church written by Rev. Andrew White, S.J., ca. 1640 in English, Latin, and Conoy (Piscataway). A pleasing conjecture is that these were used in the instruction of the Tayac of the Piscataway.

Regvla Societatis Jesv

Lyon: Ex Typographia Iacobi Rovssin

Father Andrew White's copy of the rules of the Society of Jesus.


Case 3: The Bohemia Manor Academy

Plat of Bohemia Manor


Ledger and day-book, Bohemia Manor


Mr. Wayt's Account - Note the details The Jesuits established their second Maryland school at Bohemia Manor on the Eastern Shore at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. John Carroll entered in 1745 to prepare for the Jesuit College at St. Omer in Flanders. The opening displayed shows the account of Mr. Wayt, the schoolmaster. Wayt was a layman and a convert; he may have been put in charge of the school to help circumvent the legal prohibitions against Roman Catholic education.

St. Francis Xavier Church, Bohemia Manor, from Priest's Landing

Harry Connolly
Silver Gelatin Print

A list of papers sent to England in defense of the Roman Catholics of Maryland

Charles Carroll

The lower house of the Maryland assembly increased its attacks on Catholics after 1750. Charles Carroll, the father of the Signer, led the Catholic effort to block discriminatory legislation in the 1750's. We find Carroll's comments in this list: "Oh, the sagacious, merry and witty Govr! who ordered his clerk to write to oppose a law which passed the House the day (he) wrote his letter."


Case 4: The Beginnings of the Academy at George-Town

Proceedings of the General Chapter in the Year 1786

Resolves concerning the Institution of a School These minutes record the decision to proceed to establish the school proposed by Carroll.

To the Reverend Gentlemen of the Southern District

T. Digges, J. Ashton, C. Sewall, Sylv. Boarman, J. Carroll
February, 1787

Not all favored the establishment of a school. In this reply the proponents argue: "The schools of the Society in Europe were not calculated merely to supply its order with members, or the Church with ministers, but to diffuse knowledge, promote virtue & serve Religion. This is just the end we propose by our school, & tho' no members should take to the Church, we conceive this end alone well worth our most earnest concurrence, since it is the object of our dayly labours & the establishment of this Mission."

The residence at Whitemarsh, Prince Georges County, Maryland

Silver Albumen Print
ca. 1880

Site of the meetings of the general chapter of the clergy which approved the establishment of a school.

To all liberally inclined to promote the education of youth


Proposals for establishing an academy


Carroll's letter of authorization for fund-raising and his Proposals were the first public notices of the proposed academy; the copies displayed were sent to Edward Weld of Lulworth, Dorset, March 30, 1787.

Right Reverend John. Bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States

T. Cook

John Carroll to Rev. Charles Plowden, Maryland

March 1, 1788

"We shall begin the building of our Academy this summer. In the beginning, we shall confine our plan to a house of 63 or 64 feet by 50, on one of the most lovely situations that imagination can frame. It will be three stories high, exclusive of the offices under the whole. Do not forget to give and procure assistance. On this academy is built all my hope of permanency, and success to our H. Religion in the United States."

Rev. John Carroll by Gilbert Stuart

Estimate for college...

H. Carlile
[no date]

The estimate and contract for the construction of the original building of the college.

Old South Engraving


The original building stood on the south side of the quadrangle. It was demolished for the construction of the Ryan dormitory in 1904.

John Carroll to Rev. Charles Plowden, Maryland

January 22 - February 28, 1787

"You will observe that the perfection of this plan requires great exertions; and in particular demands persons of considerable ability for the conduct of the academy."

Lulworth Castle in Dorsetshire, the Seat of Humphrey Weld, Esqr. Publish'd as the Act directs

W. Watts, Chelsea
April 1, 1785

View of the site of the consecration of John Carroll as first Bishop of Baltimore and residence of Rev. Charles Plowden. The correspondence of Carroll and Plowden is one of the chief sources for the history of Anglo-American Catholicism in the period.


Case 5: The Early Years

George-town and the City of Washington

G. Cooke
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown

Rev. Robert Molyneux to Ignatius Fenwick

July 8, 1793

"Being out of Meat and finding none in our Great City, if it shd be convenient to you to kill a Calf, College will take what you can spare and with cr. for the same." This is the earliest letter we have by a Georgetown president written while in office.

Georgetown College in the District of Columbia


Georgetown in the District of Columbia


The first illustrated prospectus, along with the most recent. Old North, which still stands, joined the original building in 1795. Note the large handball alley.

John Carroll to Rev. Charles Plowden, Baltimore

April 30, 1792

"The academy at Georgetown, which now is on foot, and acquires reputation, will be of great service hereafter, if well conducted."

Rev. William DuBourg, S.S. third president of Georgetown

Albumen photograph of a painting [after J.P. de Clorivière?]

College of George-town, (Potomack) in the State of Maryland, United States of America


The first prospectus of Georgetown College, issued by President DuBourg on January 1, 1798. The prospectus was also available in French and Spanish. Fr. DuBourg was a native of Cape Francois on the island of Santo Domingo and a member of the congregation of St. Sulpice. He was the first Georgetown president to attempt to act on a broad scale, expanding the faculty, hiring fencing masters, buying silver and a piano. Unfortunately, his ability to raise money did not match his ability to spend it, and he was forced out in the face of rising debts.

Rev. Leonard Neale

Engraving [after J.P. de Clorivière?]

Brother Joseph Mobberly, S.J. Memoirs


"He [Fr. Leonard Neale] was a strict moralist, and during his presidency he preserved great order and discipline in the college... The students were never allowed access to the garden. He had planted two small cherry trees fronting the southern door of the old College, each of which after 2 or 3 years, produced about 8 or 10 cherries. He prized his cherries very highly and was so careful of them that he counted them every day. At length three or four of the cherries disappeared. He suspected the students. He took measure of the rogue's foot according to the track left under the tree and soon repaired to the study room where I was then presiding as Prefect...He then addressed the students dwelling emphatically on the 7th commandment...he never supposed a gentleman's son could be guilty of such meanness." In commenting on the Neale administration, John Carroll remarked " Georgetown should not be run on the principles of a convent," and generations of our students have done their best to live up to the challenge.

Regulations for the students of Georgetown College


"All particular associations and private conversations are absolutely forbidden; no two or three therefore must be seen habitually conversing together for any considerable time in private." The rules of 1829 were considered much more lenient than those of the Neale administration.

Ledger A-1, Georgetown College


"Mr. William Digges' Sukey hired at College at 10 per annum commencing March 27, 1792"

Ledger A-3, Georgetown College


"Justane in a/c with the College" Old Georgetown hands are surprised to learn that there were women at the college in the earliest days. Justane Douat was hired as a nurse for the small boys. Note the entry to cash paid for the seal of the corporation. We believe that she was giving money to engrave the emblem displayed here. Sukey was one of a small number of slaves who worked at the college along with free blacks.

Engraved copper plate


[bearing the emblem of the college]

William Gaston and Georgetown

William Gaston of North Carolina entered Georgetown November 22, 1791, as the first student to enroll. Though health forced his transfer to Princeton, where he was placed in the third year of studies after a year and a half at Georgetown, Gaston remained close to the faculty throughout his long and distinguished life. He served in Congress, where he introduced the legislation chartering the college, and served as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He wrote the state song of North Carolina and the city of Gastonia is named in his honor.

William Gaston to Rev. Joseph Carbery, S.J.

September 1, 1824

"I place my boy Augustus under the charge of the Rev. Joseph Carbery, to receive moral and religious instruction, to be taught an useful trade, and, when qualified to make a fit use of his freedom, to be emancipated." Gaston was a slave owner who looked forward to the day that slavery would be abolished.

William Gaston to Rev. John Grassi, S.J.

September 16, 1816

Gaston married the daughter of the college physician in the parlor of the Worthington house, now the home of Senator and Mrs. Claiborne Pell. Fr. Grassi officiated at the ceremony.

William Gaston

A. B. Durand

Engraved by A. B. Durand after a painting by G. Cooke, 1834

Annals of the Congress of the United States. Thirteenth Congress, Third Session, September 19, 1814-March 3, 1815. Vol. 3, Col. 1106

Washington: Gales and Seaton

"Mr. Gaston presented a petition of the President and Directors of the College of Georgetown, praying to be invested with authority and power to confer the usual academical honors..."


Case 6: The Academy Becomes a College

Order of the Exercises

Georgetown, D.C.: W. Duffy

[Commencement program, 1818]

A Parody on Gray's Elegy in a Country Church-yard, by a student of Geo.Town College

[Charles Dinnies]

The charter gave Georgetown the power to grant degrees. The first to complete the course were brothers Charles and George Dinnies of New York.

Map of the city of Washington

F.C. DeKrafft
[Washington?]: A. Rothwell

The annotations show the lots assigned Georgetown by the Commissioner of Public Land.

Origins and Mission of Two Early Land-grant Colleges: Georgetown University and George Washington University

Martin S. Quigley
Washington, D.C.
March 5, 1980

A research paper for the panel on historical perspectives on the public interest in higher education. Association for the study of higher education.

Thomas Carbury and William Hickey to Martin Van Buren

June 4, 1840

[retained copy] After George Washington University, then called Columbian College, received a grant of land from Congress, friends of Georgetown successfully petitioned for a similar grant; however, the Commissioner of Public Land delayed the transfer for some years and then assigned scattered and virtually worthless lots to Georgetown. President Van Buren ignored this letter from friends of the college.

The Great Rebellion of 1850

There were at least three serious student rebellions at Georgetown before the Civil War. The most celebrated occurred just after the Christmas holiday of 1849. The story is best told in the words of Judge Robert Ray, who wrote about it almost fifty years later: "I was in the "Ky Yi Yi" Rebellion, Father Ward was vice President, in the absence of Ryder the rebellion broke out, on account of the grub mostly as I recollect, after the matter went on for some days, we all in a body waited on Father Ward for the purpose of making known our grievances, and he as 'quict as tow and fire' wanted to know who was at the head of all this. Dominick O'Burnes of Ga spoke up and said we are all acting in concert, where upon a brake was made for the dormitory where we procured what clothes was on hand, and after smashing up things in general, about sixty of us left the College and went over to Washington, and took charge of the Globe Hotel, a third class house, & called to our aid several Senators, and Representatives from the states the boys were from, and asked them after laying our case before them, to open communication with the faculty...That was the first rebellion I was ever in, the second was the one between the North and the South, and I must say that I came out worse for the wear in both of them." ---Robert Ray to Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J.

Judge Robert Ray to Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J.

March 1, 1889

Robert Ray

Silver Albumen Carte de Visite

A Card from the Students of Georgetown College

A committee of the students
February 2, 1850

The former students of Georgetown College to Rev. James Ward. S.J.

January 16, 1850

Rev. James Ward, S.J.

Silver albumen print by Byerly


E. Sachse.


The Origins of Scientific Research at Georgetown

The Jesuit scientific tradition emphasized astronomical observations. Important research in this field was conducted at Georgetown beginning in the 1840's. As early as 1815, Congress had invited the faculty to determine the exact meridian of Georgetown. Though Frs. Grassi, Wallace and Baxter were sufficiently trained, the available instrumentation was inadequate. The measurements were completed in the 1840's by Fr. Curley, the founder of the observatory. Astronomical studies received added impetus with the arrival of the Italian refugee Jesuits Frs. Sestini and Secchi after the revolutions of 1848. Fr. Secchi is thought of as the father of astrophysics.

Drawings of sun-spots taken during September and October, 1850 from Georgetown College

Rev. Benedict Sestini, S.J.

Bound with lithographic copies of each published by Matthew F. Maury at the Naval Observatory, Washington.

New Photo Art Co. Rev. James Curley, S.J.


Silver albumen print This photo was made in celebration of Fr. Curley's ninetieth birthday and sixtieth year at the College.

Section of the Observatory from West to East

Sarony and Major

Georgetown College Observatory equipment


Silver albumen print

Quarters of the Sixty-ninth (Irish) Regiment New York State Militia, at Georgetown College, D.C.

Harper's Weekly
June 1861

The Civil War

Petition to Rev. John Early, S.J.

April 10, 1861

Ten members of the Philosophy Class petition to be allowed to return to their homes in the South.

Faculty of the Georgetown College Medical School

Alexander Gardiner

Reduced copy from the original in the University Archives

Medical Department of Georgetown College



The new building of the Medical Department



Minutes of the Faculty, Medical Department of Georgetown College



Case 7: The Centennial and Beyond

Chemistry laboratory in Healy Hall

Rev. John Brosnan, S.J.

Silver gelatin print

Rev. John Mullaly, S.J. to Rev. Patrick Healy, S.J.

August 4, 1879

"You will need all the strength and health you have gained for the work before you."

Patrick Healy Builds a University

James, Patrick, Sherwood, and Michael Healy were four remarkable sons from a family of ten children born to Michael Morris and Mary Eliza Healy of Jones County, Georgia. Their birthdates were April 6, 1830, February 27, 1834, January 24, 1836, and September 1839, respectively. Michael Healy, the father, was an Irish immigrant who came to America by way of Canada. Successful in land lotteries held in Georgia after the War of 1812, Mr. Healy was able to turn his good fortune into a prosperous cotton plantation on the banks of the Ocmulgee River near Macon, Georgia. Mary Eliza had been a mulatto domestic slave on the plantation of cotton magnate Sam Griswold until Mr. Healy purchased her in 1829. Deeply devoted to her, Michael Healy took Eliza as his wife, despite the fact that the marriage was technically against the laws of Georgia and that any offspring would be classified legally as slaves. Considered property by law, Healy's sons were barred from schools in Georgia. Unable to educate his sons properly at home, the family determined to send them North for schooling. Mr. Healy's attempt to escape the stifling Georgia Black Codes was hampered by the shocking amount of bigotry and prejudice displayed to him by Northern school officials. After an exhausting search, he located a Quaker school in Flushing, Long Island, willing to accept his three eldest sons. The educational paths of all four boys eventually converged on the College of the Holy Cross at Worcester, Massachusetts. Here James, Patrick, and Sherwood fully embraced the Catholic faith of their father, who had fallen out of practice because of the lack of Catholics and churches in Georgia at the time of his settlement. These three would later pursue priestly vocations which would stimulate and illustrate their talents for service, compassion, and learning. James would become the first black bishop in the American Catholic Church; Patrick would serve as president and rector of Georgetown University; Sherwood became director of the seminary in Troy, New York, and rector of the Cathedral in Boston. The future Captain Healy was baptized at Holy Cross like his brothers, but would undertake a career in the Revenue Cutter Service, a branch now part of the Coast Guard. Known as "Hell-Roaring Mike," he is still a legendary figure in Alaska and the Coast Guard. Having been freed from the clutches of legal and overt prejudice by a father of devotion and foresight, the four Healy brothers would take advantage of their opportunities to become important figures in American history as well as the Black heritage of the United States. -William M. Ferraro C '82

Rev. Patrick F. Healy, S.J.

Julius Ulke

Silver albumen print

Original gas fixture from the Healy building

The Riggs Library

completed with the assistance of the Alumni Association

The Society of Alumni at the Centennial Celebration

George Prince

Silver albumen print

Gaston Hall

Rev. John Brosnan, S.J.

Silver gelatin print

Memorial of the first centenary of Georgetown College, D.C. comprising a history of Georgetown University

John G. Shea
New York: P.F. Collier

Centenary of Georgetown University

February 20-22, 1889


Centennial medals

Georgetown University Alumni Association

Georgetown University 1789-1889 Centennial Banquet Society of Alumni


Constitution of the Society of Alumni of Georgetown College


Invitation to the first annual meeting of the Society of Alumni

June 23, 1881

The annual banquet of the alumni association of Georgetown University

January 13, 1876


Society of Alumni of Georgetown College


[Proceedings, first annual meeting]

Rev. John Early, S.J.


Silver albumen print Father Early served as president from 1858-1866, and 1870-1873.

William Merrick to Rev. John Early, S.J.

June 9, 1859

The earliest proposal for a Georgetown University School of Law

University of Georgetown Law Department. First Annual Commencement

June 4, 1872

Once a Week

Georgetown Varsity Eleven
February 10, 1891

Annual Field Games. Georgetown University Athletic Association. Analostan Island.

May 7, 1892

Georgetown versus Washington. American League. Georgetown Field.

April 22-23, 1901.


Georgetown University Glee, Banjo and Mandolin Concert at the Waldorf-Astoria

Wednesday, February 7, 1900


College Days at Georgetown and Other Papers

J. Fairfax McLaughlin

Glee and Banjo Clubs. Georgetown University.



Program for the Paris Olympics


Arthur Duffey's copy. Duffey, a Georgetown man, held the world record in the 100-yard dash.

The Georgetown University Baseball Club


Silver albumen print


Case 8: Into the Twentieth Century

Front View of the Georgetown University Hospital


First building of the university hospital, N Street between 35th and 36th streets, N.W. 1898

Prospectus, Georgetown University Hospital

February 25, 1897

A Menace to Georgetown: An Account of the Recent Attempt to Cut Streets through the College Grounds. A Blue and Gray Book by the President of the University.


Town vs. Gown 1908.

First graduating class, School of Nursing.


Silver gelatin print

M. J. Colbert to Rev. Jerome Daugherty, S.J.

July 24, 1901

Scholarship notice. Georgetown University Alumni Club of Philadelphia.

ca. 1902

Financial Account 1908-09

Receipts: $88,356.07 Expenses: $95,547.19

The Student Army Training Corps.


Silver gelatin print

Memorandum on a school for the diplomatic and consular service

Constantine McGuire

Origins of the School of Foreign Service This document provided the inspiration for the School of Foreign Service

Edmonston. Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J.


Silver gelatin print

Georgetown University academic exercises commemorating the founding of the School of Foreign Service.

November 25, 1919

Draft of a circular communication relating to the establishment of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J.

Tenschert and Flack. School of Foreign Service Georgetown University.


Silver gelatin print

New World Diplomacy: a series of radio broadcasts tracing the development of international relations among the states of the western hemisphere.

School of Foreign Service

Professor Boyd-Carpenter with two of the first women admitted to the Graduate School.


Silver gelatin print

U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. Enlist in a proud profession!


Dwight D. Eisenhower to Rev. Edward Bunn, S.J.

November 1, 1956

Aerial view of the Georgetown University campus.


Silver gelatin print

Georgetown Endowment Association

Rev. W. C. Nevils, S.J.

Greater Georgetown: The College

Rev. W. C. Nevils, S.J.

Georgetown began systematic fund raising in the late twenties, just in time for the depression.

Rev. William Coleman Nevils, S.J. President of Georgetown, 1928-1935


Silver gelatin print


Case 9: From Eisenhower to Viet-Nam

Proposed Foreign Service School


Silver gelatin print Thankfully, this proposed School of Foreign Service building remained a gleam in the eye of the architect [1952]

Ground breaking ceremonies for McDonough Memorial Gymnasium.


Silver gelatin print

Georgetown University Foreign Service Annex


Silver gelatin print Rev. Edmund Walsh, S.J., inspecting war-surplus buildings erected on 37th Street to hold the burgeoning post-war enrollments. This building first served as naval barracks at Solomon's Island, Maryland.

Frs. Walsh and McGrath with Professor Leon Dostert and technician, Language lab, Institute of Languages and Linguistics.


Silver gelatin print

Georgetown University School of Foreign Service announces the Institute of Languages and Linguistics


Towards a comparative study of world civilization.

Jean Canu
April, 1952

Institute of Languages and Linguistics monograph series on area studies. No. 1.

Memorandum to the committee meeting on proposed curriculum for business administration programs

Henry M. Cunningham

The Institute of Languages and Linguistics and the Business School were natural outgrowths of the Foreign Service School. The School of Languages Linguistics began separate operations in 1949; the Business School in 1955.

Aerial photograph, Georgetown University medical campus


Silver gelatin print

Aerial photograph, Georgetown University campus


Ektachrome print The university as left by Rev. Edward Bunn, S.J.

Rev. Edward B. Bunn, S.J. President of Georgetown 1952-1964

Peter Carter

Silver gelatin print

175th Anniversary commemorative key chain

The 175th Anniversary Celebrations: A Dress Rehearsal for the Bicentennial

A selection of books published during the 175th anniversary celebration

The Dilemmas of American Foreign Policy. Walsh lecture series.

Hans J. Morgenthau.
February 10, 1964


Tradition Crumbles: College Adds Girls

The Hoya, Vol. 50 No. 1
September 14, 1968

Not with My Life You Don't! A Georgetown Student Handbook

Georgetown Students for a Democratic Society


Case 10: The Seventies and Eighties

May Day disturbances


Silver gelatin print

The making of The Exorcist


Silver gelatin print

Fabian Bachrach. Rev. Timothy S. Healy, S.J.


Silver gelatin print

Rev. Timothy S. Healy, S.J. Inaugural address.

March 26, 1977

NCAA Basketball Championship



Minority graduation rates. American Association for Higher Education. Bulletin.

May 1988

from the Provost's Newsletter

Harlan Hambright [Interior, Village C]

Courtesy of Mariani & Associates, Inc.

Ektacolor print

Prospectus for the Georgetown University Intercultural Center


Solar array module


William C. Wright to Rev. Brian A. McGrath, S.J. Proposal for a campus center building.

September 17, 1965

Leavey Center

Harlan Hambright
Courtesy of Mariani & Associates, Inc.

Ektacolor print

Invitation to a ceremony dedicating the Healy Hall postal card

U.S. Postal Service
January 23, 1989

First day covers. Healy Hall postal card.

U.S. Postal Service

Georgetown University Bicentennial Events


Bicentennial commemorative pin.

A Salute to Georgetown


VHS video tape

Program for "A Salute to Georgetown," the Bicentennial Gala.


The closing of the gala


Cibachrome print

NY public library elects Georgetown University President Rev. Timothy S. Healy as new President.

February 24, 1989

[Press release]