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Civil War and Georgetown University

This guide is intended as a starting point for finding research materials relating to the impact of the Civil War on what was then Georgetown College.

Books about the Civil War and Georgetown University

The following books provide information about intersections between the War and Georgetown College. Some also provide biographical information about alumni who served in it. All of the books listed are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Request them via the Aeon request system. Most are also available in Lauinger Library’s general collection.


  • Ruby, James Star. Blue and Gray: Georgetown University and the Civil War.  Georgetown University. Alumni Association, 1961

    The bulk of this book consists of brief biographical sketches of alumni who served in the War. The sketches are arranged by year of graduation; use the name index to find the correct year. Images for a small number of alumni are included. Make sure to look at the introduction which gives a very good summary of events on campus during the War. It also includes transcriptions of documents which, while clearly available in 1961 when the book was published, do not form part of the University Archives collection today


  • Curran, Robert Emmett. A history of Georgetown University.  Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, 2010

    A three volume set, this is the most comprehensive University history. Volume 1 covers 1789-1889, volume 2 covers 1889-1964, and volume 3 covers 1964-1989.  Use the index to Volume 1 to locate information on the War and on individual alums who served in it.  Do not overlook the appendices: Appendix A provides statistics about student enrollments and Appendix F provides student demographics, including demographics specific to alumni who served in the War


  • Shea, John Gilmary. Memorial of the first centenary of Georgetown College, D.C., comprising a history of Georgetown University.  Washington, D.C., New York, Pub. for the College by P.F. Collier, 1891

    This book was published to celebrate Georgetown’s 100th anniversary. It lacks a back-of-the-book index or footnotes. Its contents are arranged chronologically, with each chapter covering the term of one Georgetown president. Information about the lead-up to, the course, and the aftermath of the War are found in Chapter XXV: Father John Early, Twenty-fifth President 1858-1865 (pages 198-213) and Chapter XXVI: Father Bernard A. Maguire, Twenty-sixth President 1866-1870 (pages 214-234)




  • Payne, J. Carroll. Some Reminiscences in My Life by [Self-published, undated]

    Payne from Warrenton, Virginia, was a nephew of Confederate Senator Thomas Jenkins Semmes. He enrolled in December 1869 and graduated in 1876. His reminiscences reference his service on the student committee that selected blue and gray as Georgetown’s colors. They also reflect how his family’s economic situation was negatively impacted by the War and how the University accepted him and his brothers even though they were not immediately able to pay the fees

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