SMR: Collections News

As part of the SMR Initiative, the Library has assessed its existing holdings and acquired new collections to support the University’s goal of promoting the study of slavery. This page documents the progress of the Library in developing its collections and enhancing access by improving discovery tools and digitizing records. 


Lauinger Library staff have also participated in professional conferences both to learn from the experiences of other librarians and to share insights to help other organizations improve access to their resources on slavery. To request copies of these presentations, please contact Mary Beth Corrigan, Librarian of Collections on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation,


February 2016

Georgetown Slavery Archive Initiated -- The Archives subgroup of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation created a digital repository of items selected from the holdings of the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (BFCSC) that document Georgetown University's relationship to slavery. Each document is reproduced digitally and transcribed; several documents include interpretive information. The Georgetown Slavery Archive has developed to include documents related to the Jesuit plantation and materials from external repositories.

March 2017

Presentation on Documentation of Slavery –  Lynn Conway, University Archivist, presented Jesuit Slaveholding Records in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Georgetown University Library" at the Universities Studying Slavery Spring 2017 meeting.

August 2018

Library Host Archivists – As part of the Society of American Archivists annual meeting, the Library hosted the program "Special Collections as a Site of Reconciliation: The Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation Project at Georgetown University.”

September 2018

Maryland Province Archives Project Established - The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus and Georgetown University entered into an agreement to digitize records dated before 1900 within the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (MPA) that included funding of staff to complete this project.  The MPA includes comprehensive documentation of Jesuit enslavement from the establishment of the Maryland colony in 1634 through emancipation in 1864, the Christianization of enslaved people, the segregation of parishes, and racism within the Catholic Church.

June 2019

Journal of the Slave Ship Mary Opened to Researchers – Librarians worked with History Professor Adam Rothman to provide access to a journal that logged the daily activities of a 232-ton slave ship Mary between November 1795 and August 1796. It documents the seizure of people along the Senegambia, Windward Coast, and Gold Coast of West Africa; a tumultuous journey that included a rebellion by the captives; and the deaths of 38 enslaved people by suicide and illness. The Journal was the gift of Robert Askew in 2017, which was facilitated by Jack Pelose (CAS ‘19) and his father John Pelose who also provided funds for conservation treatment of the document. The document is accessible by this finding aid and on Digital Georgetown. Yasmine Bouachri (CAS ‘20) helped edit a video about the logbook and its preservation.

August 2019

Georgetown College Financial Records Digitized – The Booth Family Center for Special Collections (BFCSC) and Digital Services and Technology Services (DSTS) began to digitize the financial records of Georgetown College dating from its founding in 1789. A major source of financial transactions involving enslaved people – including the acceptance of their labor to pay for student tuition, the sale of individuals, and wages paid for the labor of enslaved people hired out by their owners. These records are part of the Georgetown College Financial Records – Vault Collection and can be accessed on Digital Georgetown


September 2019

Maryland Province Archives Project Implementation - Lauinger Library hired Cassandra Berman as Archivist for the Maryland Province within the BFCSC, and Theodore Mallison as Digital Production Coordinator for the Maryland Province Archives within DSTS. 

September 2020

New Databases - The Library used funds from the Legacy Fund honoring Artemis Kirk, Library Director Emeritus, to purchase the following electronic resources to support the SMR Initiative. NetID and password are required for access.

  • African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956 - Provides online access to approximately 75 U.S. newspapers chronicling over a century of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 22 states and the District of Columbia—including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.
  • African Americans And Jim Crow: Repression & Protest, 1883-1922 - Sourced from the Library Company of Philadelphia's Afro-Americana Collection, African Americans and Jim Crow: Repression and Protest offers more than 1,000 fully searchable printed works critical for insight into African-American culture and life from the beginning of Jim Crow to World War I and beyond.
  • Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia Created from the renowned holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia, this compelling collection offers more than 550 fully cataloged and searchable works by black authors from the Americas, Europe and Africa.

October 2020

New Database - The Georgetown community now has access to ProQuest History Vault: Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Law and Order in the 19th Century (1636-1880). With digitized records from the Rhode Island Historical Society, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the National Archives, this collection contains business documents and legal correspondence dealing with the slave trade. The archive also includes some early letters received by the U.S. Attorney General, providing a window on citizen opinion in 19th century America.

December 2020

New Research Guide - BFCSC has created a research guide, Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation at Lauinger Library. This guide describes significant sources within the Art, Manuscripts, Rare Books, and University Archives units of BFCSC for scholarly research and public conversations about slavery and race. The guide also links to Lauinger databases and digital projects led by Georgetown researchers and outside scholars. 

January 2021

Grant to Build Collections Relating to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Justice - The Library's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is the recipient of a grant from the Library's Gladys Brooks Emerging Disciplines Fund to expand collections in areas relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice. Materials purchased with this grant have a special focus on Anti-racism, Racial Justice, and Police Brutality.


February 2021

Librarians Participate in the Chesapeake Digital Humanities Consortium Meeting - Mary Beth Corrigan, Emily Baldoni, and Adrian Vaagenes formed a panel "Using Digital Humanities Tools for Archival Description: the Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Initiative at Georgetown University." Corrigan and Baldoni discussed On These Grounds as a method of reparative description using linked object data provided by Omeka S. Vaagenes discussed using Tableau to map the dispersal of Jesuits throughout the Maryland Province and its missions.


June 2021

Anti-Racism Toolkit - The Library has added resources to the Anti-Racism Toolkit to make it more useful for researchers. Organized topically, the toolkit includes subjects such as civil rights, criminal justice, systemic racism in education, and medicine, as well as links to general interest books, guides at other universities, and key research databases.

July 2021

New Research Guide - The BFCSC has created a new research guide, Washington, D.C., History Resources. This guide is intended to help researchers interested in finding sources for short-term research projects, extensive digital projects, or substantial research papers and theses. Of particular interest to those researching issues relating to slavery in Washington, D.C., is the section on Slavery and Emancipation

August 2021

Documentation of Enslavement by the Jesuits Uploaded to Digital Georgetown - Library staff uploaded documents from the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (MPA), Subseries 1.1. Records of the Provincial -- Correspondence, Chronological 1805-1883, which includes correspondence related to the Jesuit plantations, 1838 sale, and evangelization efforts among Black people. These materials can be viewed and downloaded from Digital Georgetown and the finding aid.

June 2022

Extension of the Maryland Province Digitization Project - Jesuits East USA (successor organization of the Maryland Province) accepted the Library proposal to continue the digitization of records related to slavery and its legacies held by BFCSC. The Processor of Jesuit Collections has been revising the description of the papers of individual Jesuits (members of the Maryland Province) that support the study of slavery, segregation, and other forms of racism. The funding has also enabled DSTS to hire a Digital Productions Assistant for Jesuit Collections.


Documentation of Enslavement by the Jesuits Uploaded to Digital Georgetown - Library staff uploaded documents from the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (MPA), Subseries 2.1, Records of the Procurator, Subject files, 1633-1968. This subseries contains records related to the Province's finances, including legal documents on the founding of Jesuit plantations and the purchase and exploitation of enslaved people, including seminal documents related to the Maryland Province's sale in 1838. These materials can be viewed and downloaded from Digital Georgetown and the finding aid.  


New Database - The Georgetown community now has access to Proquest History Vault: Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915, Plantation Records, Part III. NetID and password are required for access. These records were selected from the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


September 2022

Library Staff Present at the Universities Studying Slavery Conference - Mary Beth Corrigan, Cassandra Berman, and Theodore Mallison led a panel on the accessibility and the archives of slavery. Their presentations described how the new finding aid and digitization of the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus addressed the goals of the SMR Initiative by improving access to the records of slavery for students, faculty, and GU272 descendants.

October 2022

Article on MPA Digitization Project - Cassandra Berman, who prepared the MPA for digitization, wrote "Slavery's Archive: Confronting Jesuit Slaveholding at Georgetown University" for the American Historical Association's newsletter Perspectives on History (October 18, 2022). The article explores the significance of the MPA in documenting the history of enslavement and the importance of the digitization project in the reconciliation process.

March 2023

MPA Project Team Honored by Professional Archivists -- Cassandra Berman, Mary Beth Corrigan, and Ted Mallison were awarded second place in the annual juried competition for the Best Finding Aid by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) completed in 2022. The citation noted that the new finding aid for the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus was an outstanding example of reparative archival description.

August 2023

Maryland Province Extension Project Implementation – Lauinger Library hired Aleksandra Kinlen as Processor of Jesuit Collections within the BFCSC and Abigail Youngblood as Digital Production Specialist within DSTS.  


October 2023

Completion of the First Phase of the MPA Project - BFCSC and DSTS completed the digitization of all documents within the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (MPA) that were created before 1900. These materials can be viewed and downloaded from Digital Georgetown and the finding aid.

Papers of Individual Jesuits Uploaded to Digital Georgetown - BFCSC and DSTS completed the digitization of the papers of the following Jesuits: Stephen Dubuisson, SJ - William Feiner, SJ CollectionGeorge Fenwick, SJ Papers, and Joseph Mosley, SJ Papers. Digitized as part of the MPA extension project, each of these collections include documentation of slavery in Maryland or Georgetown College. 


November 2023

New Database - The Georgetown community now has access to Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movements, part of Reveal Digital,  which presents primary source documents of the civil rights activism of everyday citizens of Black, Latine, Indigenous and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. When completed in 2025, the collection will include letters, general correspondence, logs, demonstration plan outlines, transportation logs and plans, meetings, worship services, photographs, newsletters, news reels, interviews and musical recordings.

Papers John McElroy, S.J., and Paul and Anthony Kohlmann, S.J., Uploaded to Digital Georgetown - BFCSC and DSTS completed the digitization of the John McElroy, S.J. Papers and Paul and Anthony Kohlmann, S.J. Papers. Father McElroy was the assistant treasurer of Georgetown College (1810-1815), treasurer of Georgetown College (1816-1822) and associate pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (1819-1822) who both enslaved people and tried to convert enslaved and free Black people in Georgetown. Father McElroy continued this type of work as the superior of the Frederick community between 1823 and 1845. The Paul and Anthony Kohlmann, S.J. papers include “Exhortatio ad nigros servos” (“An exhortation to black slaves”), that was  addressed to the enslaved community at White Marsh in Prince George’s County, Maryland.


Patrick F. Healy, S.J. Papers Uploaded to Digital Georgetown –  The president of Georgetown University between 1873 and 1882, Patrick F. Healy, S.J., was the son of an enslaved woman and Irish plantation owner in Macon, Georgia. Able to pass as white, Patrick Healy and his brothers attended the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where they entered the Society of Jesus. The papers include his diaries, but also family correspondence regarding the public acknowledgment of Father Healy’s racial ancestry.


New Databases – Funds from the Resources Legacy Fund to honor Artemis G. Kirk, University Librarian Emeritus, has facilitate the purchase of the following collections available through Archives Unbound: 

  • The Minority Voter, Election of 1936 and the Good Neighbor League - This collection provides access to manuscript material on the Good Neighbor League, a vital force in helping make minorities part of the Roosevelt coalition in 1936. 
  • Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford) - This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt and Race Relations, 1933-1945 - This collection from FDR's Official File demonstrates FDR's controversial record on civil rights, including on the issues of lynching, segregation, race riots, and employment discrimination.
  • War on Poverty: Office of Civil Rights, 1965-1968 - The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes of meetings, convention programs, and other records concerning the activities of Maurice Dawkins, Assistant Director for Civil Rights in the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). The OEO was created to oversee antipoverty programs of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.
  • Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial - Reproduced here are records of the New York State Supreme Court, which include a full testimony of all witnesses, including the two who spoke in secrecy to hide their identities; preliminary motions, summations, the court's charge, the verdicts, and the sentences; and a confession made years after the trial by one of the men convicted.
  • Black Economic Empowerment: The National Negro Business League - This collection comprises the National Negro Business League files in Part III of the Booker T. Washington Papers in the possession of the Library of Congress
  • We Were Prepared for the Possibility of Death: Freedom Riders in the South, 1961 - Freedom Riders were civil rights activists that rode interstate buses into the segregated South to test the United States Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia. Boynton had outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. This collection contains over 4,000 documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library related to the 1961 Freedom Ride.


April 2024

Papers of Thomas Mulledy, S.J., and John Carroll Uploaded to Digital Georgetown – BFCSC and DSTS completed the digitization of the Thomas Mulledy, S.J., Papers and the John Carroll Collection. Father Mulledy strongly advocated for the sale of the people enslaved by the Jesuits and executed the agreements with purchasers in 1838. In 1789, Named the first bishop of Baltimore and founded Georgetown University, John Carroll maintained a vested interest in his family’s wealth, derived largely from tobacco plantations that exploited enslaved labor.


New Databases – The Library used funds available through the Resources Legacy Fund to honor Artemis G. Kirk, University Librarian Emeritus, to make available new databases from ProQuest and Alexander Street. 

  • ProQuest History Vault: Reverend J. H. Jackson and the National Baptist Convention, 1900-1990 - This collection includes sermons, writings, personal papers, correspondence, and other documents of the Reverend Joseph Harrison "J. H." Jackson, who served as president of the National Baptist Convention (NBC) between 1953 and 1982. 
  • African Diaspora, 1860-Present - This Alexander Street collection contains primary source documents related to the migrations, communities, and ideologies of the African Diaspora through the voices of people of African descent. It focuses on communities in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, and France.
  • Chicago Defender (Historical) - This acquisition expands the Library’s existing holdings of the Chicago Defender to include a full 100 year period of coverage from 1910-2010.