SMR: Archives and Special Collections

The Georgetown University Library continues to expand its collections for the study of slavery locally, regionally, and nationally. In addition to our circulating and electronic collections, the Library also has primary source materials that are open to faculty, students, and other researchers. Please explore the collections below and contact us for more information. Additional information is in our Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation at Lauinger Library research guide.

Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus

The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Maryland Province Archives or MPA, represents a crucial primary source for the study of the Jesuit Order from its arrival in the English colonies in 1634 through its expansion along the eastern seaboard, and, more broadly, for the study of Catholicism in America. The MPA also documents the history and development of Georgetown University. Of particular significance is the documentation of the Jesuits’ and Georgetown University’s connection to slavery, most notably the 1838 sale of 272 slaves by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited what was then Georgetown College.

Georgetown University Archives

Georgetown University established its Archives in 1816, being one of the first American colleges to do so. Because of this longevity, the Archives has an unusually rich collection, housing material from before the University’s founding in 1789 to the present, including documentation of the history of slavery related to Georgetown.

Manuscripts Collection

The Library's Manuscripts Collections include materials related to the history of slavery, including a logbook documenting the 1795-1796 voyage of the slave ship Mary from Rhode Island to the west coast of Africa and its return trip to Georgia. The Manuscripts Collection includes the papers of many members of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus well as papers of 19th-century priests who were not members of the Maryland Province but who were associated with Georgetown. These collections inform the study of slavery, both at Georgetown and more broadly.

Woodstock Theological Library

Located on the lower level of Lauinger Library, Woodstock contains a full run of the Woodstock Letters (1872-1969) which include descriptions and analysis of Jesuit operation of plantations and ownership of slaves. The Woodstock College Archives may contain additional research materials relating to the legacy of slavery on Jesuit plantations.

Georgetown Slavery Archive

The Georgetown Slavery Archive is an online repository of materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown University, and slavery. The GSA is part of Georgetown University's Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation initiative. Among the materials in the GSA are documents from the Library's archival and special collections important to the study of slavery at Georgetown.

Washington, D.C., History Resources

In addition to the collections available at Georgetown University, there are many archives and special collections in the DC area that have significant materials on slavery, emancipation, and related topics of interest to researchers. The Washington, D.C., History Resources guide provides extensive information about these repositories and how they can support the study of slavery as well as many other aspects of the history of Washington.