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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

Women at Georgetown University

This guide is intended as a starting point for finding materials relating to the history of women at Georgetown University

Enslaved Women at Georgetown

The financial records of Georgetown College show that in 1792 William Digges hires an enslaved woman named Sukey out to Georgetown College. This arrangement continues until 1797. The College pays him £10 per year. In addition to Sukey, a number of other enslaved persons work at Georgetown in the first decades of the College's operation, some owned by the Jesuit Order (until 1838 when the Order sells the enslaved people it owns to two Louisiana planters), others hired on a temporary basis from local slave holders. The last enslaved person to work on campus appears to have been Aaron Edmundston who left in March 1862, just weeks before the Compensated Emancipation Act came effect in D.C., ending slavery in the city by paying slave owners for releasing their slaves.  

Researchers interested in learning more about enslaved women on campus should begin by looking at the Georgetown Slavery Archive which presents transcriptions of documents relating to slaveholding by the Maryland Jesuits. These transcriptions are usually accompanied by scans of the original documents. Note that not all the documents on the GSA site relate to enslaved people who worked on Georgetown’s campus. However, items relating to slavery at Georgetown are aggregated together into one collection on the site. The captioning information for the items within this collection will help identify the ones which relate to enslaved women.  Among relevant documents on the site are:


Additional information on Jesuit slaveholding can be found in the  Georgetown College Financial Records: Vault Collection, GTA 000833 and in the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, GTM 119. These can be examined in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library; request them via the Aeon request system

Please note that some early ledgers from the Georgetown College Financial Records: Vault Collection have been digitized as part of an ongoing project. The digital versions can be accessed via the link above. Researchers should also note that the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus are currently being re-processed and digitized. Researchers are encouraged to consult Booth Family Center staff well in advance of visiting to ensure availability of materials

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