A new finding aid is available to help researchers explore records of almost 400 years of Jesuit life in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Jesuit slaveholding and Georgetown’s relationship to the slave trade.
Staff at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections created the new finding aid to reflect a complete reorganization of the collection, and the incorporation of more than 100 boxes of additional materials.
The collection had been available to researchers before this reorganization, but the online finding aid was difficult to navigate, and materials related to slavery—especially the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals—were not clearly identified. As Archivist of the Maryland Province Archives Cassandra Berman wrote in a recent blog post, “The main objective in reorganizing the Maryland Province Archives was to contribute to Georgetown’s, and the Jesuits’, efforts to make their deeply troubling pasts [in relation to slavery] more transparent.”
Mary Beth Corrigan, Curator of Collections on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, proposed a streamlined organization for the collection based on Jesuit administrative structure. The new finding aid reflects this organization. The project also focused on identifying and labeling materials pertaining to Jesuit slaveholding. The new finding aid identifies 172 folders containing “Materials on Slavery” and makes them easily searchable.
Digitization of the collection is ongoing, and images of documents are linked directly to the finding aid as they are completed. Digital images from six of the 10 series are currently accessible; digitization of the full collection will be completed later this year.
A research guide to using the collection is available at https://guides.library.georgetown.edu/MPA.