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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

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.

Newspapers

  • Georgetown College Journal, 1872-1920

    The College Journal was the first printed newspaper produced by Georgetown students. A monthly publication, it is a combination of student newspaper, literary publication, and alumni bulletin. The printing of letters and reminiscences from “Old Boys” extends its coverage of campus life and events to well before the Civil War

    Digitized issues can be browsed and searched via DigitalGeorgetown. Remember that language changes over time and as you search, look in the results for other words to search on. Search terms to start with include: confederacy, Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, 1861, and 1862.  Searches can be truncated by adding a *, i.e. confeder* will find results for confederate, confederates, confederacy, etc. And phases can be searched on by adding quotation marks, i.e. “Robert E. Lee” wil search for that exact phrase; without the quotation marks, the search will look for Robert and E. and Lee but not necessarily together. The Date Created facet in blue on the right side of the screen (scroll down to see it) can be used to limit search results to a particular time period. To search within any item in the search results: click on the title in blue, then click on the blue ViewOpen link at the top of the screen, then hold down the control and f keys on the keyboard at the same time, and enter a search term in the box which appears in the top right corner

    Physical volumes are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Request them via the Aeon request system

 

  • Harper’s Weekly

    An article about the 69th Regiment of the New York State Militia’s billeting on campus appears in the June 1, 1861 issue of Harper’s weekly. The article, titled Our Army at Washington, is accompanied by a hand-drawn illustration. Photography during the Civil War was a difficult and time consuming process. Because of this Harper’s, like other newspapers, sent artists into the field as well as photographers

    Digitized issues of Harper’s Weekly can be accessed here. Navigate to the June 1, 1861 issue by clicking on Browse link on the Welcome page, clicking on the 1861 link under the Select a Volume option, and clicking on the 06/01/1861 link under the Select an Issue option. Our Army at Washington appears about 2/3rds of the way down the list of articles in the issue. Hold down the control and f keys at the same time and enter the phrase Our Army (this search is case sensitive) to find it quickly. Alternatively, click on the Search link on the Welcome Page, select the Full Article Text - Standard Search option, and enter the phrase Georgetown College in the search string box. The Our Army at Washington article is the fifth item on the list of search results. Its accompanying illustration is the fourth

Online exhibits

These exhibits, curated by staff in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, present images of items from the Center’s collections, accompanied by captions to provide context.

  • Shades of Blue and Gray: Georgetown and the Civil War

    An overview of the impact of the War on Georgetown, this exhibit includes items about alumni who fought and material relating to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. All of the items included are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library; request them via the Aeon request system

     
  • Blue and Gray in Bronze

    A more focused exhibit than Shades of Blue and Gray (see above), this exhibit was installed in the Kerbs Gallery on the third floor of the Library between March and June 2011. It considers two Georgetown students depicted in a statue commissioned by the Liljenquist family. The students are Patrick H. Brennan, M’1867, who served in the Union Army and Thomas H. Stack, C’1866-1868, who fought for the Confederacy. The statue resides in the University Art collection. The documents included in the exhibit are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library; request them via the Aeon request system

     
  • A Look Back at the Lincoln Assassination and the Conspirators

    This exhibit features documents about the Lincoln assassination drawn from manuscripts collections housed in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. It includes references to three Georgetown alumni: David Herold (enrolled from 1855 to 1858); Samuel Arnold (enrolled from 1844 to 1845); and Samuel Mudd (enrolled from 1851 to 1852). Items included in the exhibit are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library; request them via the Aeon request system

Database

American Civil War Research Database

Use this to search for information about Georgetown alumni who fought in the war.  Note that a search on Georgetown will not get any results. Search instead by the last name of Georgetown students, e.g. Armistead to find the entry for Lewis Addison Armistead

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