The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (MPA) are on deposit at Georgetown University and remain the property of the Corporation of the Roman Catholic Clergymen. As stewards of the Archives, Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections is responsible for managing access to the material based on policies set forth by the Maryland Province.
The MPA represents a crucial primary source for the study of the Society of Jesus - from the arrival of the Jesuits in the English colonies in 1634 through their expansion along the eastern seaboard - and, more broadly, for the study of Catholicism in America. More recently, the MPA has received increased attention due its documentation of Jesuit slaveholding and Georgetown University’s own reliance on the slave trade. Of particular importance are records pertaining to the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited Georgetown College (now Georgetown University). This sale was orchestrated by Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J., who at the time was President of Georgetown College.
For those interested in the history of slavery and African-American life in the mid-Atlantic region - as well as the topic of slavery on university campuses - the MPA provides a wealth of materials. The MPA is also an important genealogical resource for many people, including descendants of the "GU 272."
The MPA is a large and varied collection, and researchers interested in a variety of topics may find rich and sometimes unexpected resources within it. Some of these topics are discussed in this guide, and Booth staff are available to assist researchers with a range of experience in special collections research.
Images: Decorated correspondence with the Provincial, circa 19th century, Maryland Province Archives
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