Maryland Province Archives - News

Our work with the Maryland Province Archives is ongoing. Materials are available on DigitalGeorgetown and linked through the new finding aid.

Please check this page for regular updates!

MPA Series 1 Completely Digitized and Online

We are very pleased to announce that digitization of Series 1: Records of the Provincial has been completed, and over 25,000 pages of correspondence and other documents from 1755 to 1900 are now viewable online in our DigitalGeorgetown repository! The online Finding Aid is also complete up through Subseries 4.8.

Series 1 is one of the largest series in the collection, and it is a remarkably rich historical resource that we hope will be of use and benefit to researchers from many and diverse backgrounds.

MPA Project Presentation at Digital Library Federation Forum 2021

Digital Production Coordinator Theodore Mallison and MPA Archivist Cassandra Berman gave a 15-minute talk at this year's Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum on November 1st, titled "Digitizing the Maryland Province Archives: Confronting Jesuit Slaveholding and Providing Access for Diverse Communities."

The Digital Library Federation is a community of practitioners who advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. DLF serves its parent organization, the Council on Library and Information Resources, as the place where CLIR’s broader information-community strategies are informed and enriched by digital library practice.

Watch the presentation here!

Research in the News

Georgetown Library staff members Cassandra Berman, Mary Beth Corrigan, and Adrian Vaagenes contributed to the University's 2021 Juneteenth celebration by highlighting special collections materials related to emancipation in a blog post.  They also curated a pop-up exhibit featuring the Library's 1846 copy of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a print of the Emancipation Proclamation, and an 1863 lithograph illustrating emancipation by Thomas Nast from Harper's Weekly.

Georgetown student and GU 272 descendant Mélisande Short-Colomb wrote and starred in "Here I Am," a one-woman play that explores her identity as a descendant of Mary Ellen Queen and Abraham Mahoney, two of the enslaved individuals sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838.  She used documents from the Maryland Province Archives to help tell the story of her ancestors and to examine her own journey to Georgetown.  Short-Colomb's play, which debuted online in April 2021, was profiled in the Washington Post.

Congratulations to MPA researcher Dr. Laura Masur and the Catholic University of America's Archeology Department for receiving a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust!  The grant will help fund student involvement in an ongoing archeological study of Jesuit plantation grounds in Cecil County and St. Mary's County.  More information about the grant can be found here.  Dr. Masur also recently published an article in the U.S. Catholic Historian based in part on her research using the Maryland Province Archives and Georgetown University Archives. 

Elsa Barraza Mendoza, Ph.D. candidate in history at Georgetown University, and GU history professor Adam Rothman both published articles in a special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies on Jesuits and slavery.  Their articles were based in part on their ongoing work with the Maryland Province Archives.  The special issue can be accessed here.

Processing and Digitization

Since October 2019, efforts have been underway to reorganize and digitize the Maryland Province Archives.  This project will culminate with a new finding aid and the digitization of all pre-1900 materials in the collection.

Our goal is for researchers to able to search the collection more efficiently, better locate materials of interest (especially those related to slavery), and view digital images online through DigitalGeorgetown, the university's digital collections portal. Two library staff members are dedicated to this project: Archivist Cassandra Berman and Digital Production Coordinator Theodore Mallison.

*As of March 2022, 192 boxes/96 linear feet have been reprocessed. 41,398 pages have been digitized.*

Series 1 of the Maryland Province Archives—the Records of the Provincial (1805-1981)—has been digitized. Materials are available on DigitalGeorgetown and linked through the new finding aid.

Blog Posts and Media Coverage

First Subseries of Maryland Province Archives Available in DigitalGeorgetown, Georgetown Library News

Celebrating Juneteenth with the Library's Special Collections, Booth Family Center for Special Collections Blog

Hail Columbia: Contesting Slavery in the Maryland Province Archives, Booth Family Center for Special Collections Blog

Women on the Margins in the Maryland Province Archives, Booth Family Center for Special Collections Blog

Collection Highlight: Maryland Province Archives, Blog of the Women’s Collections Section of the Society of American Archivists

Maryland Province and Georgetown Enhance Access to Archives with New Archivist, Georgetown University News

Cassandra Berman, Archivist for the Maryland Province Archives, reviews materials in the collection.