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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation at Lauinger Library

This guide highlights the primary source documents at Lauinger Library that supports the goals of Georgetown University's Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Initiative.


The Booth Family Center for Special Collections has played a central role in the development of the Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation Initiative at Georgetown University. When the university's SMR Working Group conducted its research in 2015, it urged for greater attention to be paid to key documents held in Booth. The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, for example, documents Jesuit slaveholding and the Province's 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals, while the University Archives holds records documenting enslaved people who worked on campus . Since that time, Booth staff have been assessing their collections, identifying important documents and works of art to add to their collection, and digitizing collections to make them accessible to faculty, students, researchers, and descendants of those enslaved by the Jesuits and the College.

This guide describes significant sources within the Art, Manuscripts, Rare Books, and University Archives units of Booth for scholarly research and public conversations about slavery and race. The collections created by the Maryland Jesuits warrant special consideration because of the legacy of their participation in slavery and their role in the Christianization of Black people. The work of Booth is ongoing and updates will be made to this guide as the assessments of existing collections, collecting initiatives, and digitization projects progress.

Electronic resources -- including Lauinger databases and digital projects led by Georgetown researchers and outside scholars -- further extend the possibilities for the study of slavery and emancipation by Georgetown students and faculty. The digitized manuscript collections, computational data, and genealogical resources provided in these resources can help researchers answer questions about the experiences of the enslaved outside of Maryland and throughout the United States.

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