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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.

Archival Resources

The archival materials listed here are intended as a starting point for research. They 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.

Researchers are also encouraged to explore the descriptions of other records in the University Archives collection through the Georgetown Archival Resources site. Use the search box or the search icon in the gray row at the top of the screen to begin. Additional search words can be added to the results screen using the Filter Results box to the right. Select the Georgetown University Archives repository option under Additional Filters heading to limit results to University Archives materials. Note that there are multiple other collections relating to the Civil War in the manuscripts unit of the Booth Family Center. However, most do not shed any light on the University during the War. The exceptions are noted below. In most cases, materials described on Georgetown Archival Resources site have not been digitized, so an in-person visit will be required. After researchers identify materials of interest in either the University Archives or the manuscripts unit, they can use the Aeon request system to request them and to schedule a research appointment. 

As with any archival research project, please note that not all materials in the University Archives relevant to the impact of the Civil War on Georgetown are described on the Georgetown Archival Resources site; Archives staff are happy to discuss research projects and direct researchers to additional resources.


  • Varia Collection: Numbered Series. Box 8, folders 158-161

    These four folders, whose contents are arranged chronologically, contain material created between 1860 and 1963. The material from the 1960s relates to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. These folders are the best starting point for archival research into intersections between the War and the University


  • John Early, SJ, Papers, GTA-GAMMS22. 1839-1878. Less than 1 linear foot

    Father Early was Georgetown President during the War and correspondence within his papers touches on matters relating to the conflict. This correspondence is mainly found in box 1, folders 4 and 5 of the papers.


  • Jesuit Community House Diary for 1861-1865

    This diary, kept by the Jesuit Community, provides almost daily although brief entries about events on campus. Originally kept in Latin, entries have switched to English by the time of  President’s Lincoln’s assassination in 1865


  • Georgetown College Financial Records: Vault Collection, GTA000883.  I.A.11.a, Extracts from cash book-Hired Men's Wages, 1864 - 1865

    Page 22 of this ledger itemizes the cost of glass broken in College buildings used as an hospital from September 1, 1862 to February 25, 1863


  • Medical School Ledgers, GTA 000447, 1848-1931.  

    Box 1, Ledger October 25, 1848-July 24, 1875 includes references to the creation of the  Chair of Military Surgery, Physiology and Hygiene in 1863 and to changes in the Medical School curriculum in 1864


  • Archives of the Philodemic Society, GTA000588.  1830 onward. 10 linear feet

    Arranged chronologically, these records primarily consist of proceedings and correspondence. Student sentiment can be traced through debate topics selected by the Society and also through the outcome of those debates. Both topics and outcome are recorded in the proceedings books. For example, on October 13, 1860 the topic of Whether the Union will be dissolved in the case of the election of Lincoln as President of the U.S.? was debated and decided in the negative


  • Isaiah Garrett, Jr. Letters, GTM-141219. 1859-1865. 0.2 linear feet

    This collection is housed in the manuscripts unit of the Booth Family Center for Special Collections and can be requested through Aeon and used in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. It contains 37 letters written by Garrett while he was a student at Georgetown College. National concerns as well as campus issues are considered in his writings


  • Alumni Files, GTA 000847. 1790s-present

    Includes correspondence, clippings, etc. relating to individual alumni filed alphabetically. No inventory is available and hence there is no subject access. Researchers should request files by name of alumni. The Alumni Files include a letter from parent and Nashville resident William P. Bryan to Georgetown President John Early, S.J., April 21, 1861, expressing concerns about the safety of his son (page 1 and page 2) and letter from student E.S. Reily to family members, April 6, 1862, describing a somewhat spontaneous visit to Virginia (page 1)



  • University Archives Photographic Collection (30 lf)

    Images within this collection are arranged in subject groupings: campus and surrounding area; buildings; schools; events; student groups; and individuals (Georgetown students, faculty, staff and visitors). No inventory is available

    Most of the images date from before 1970; the earliest, a portrait of T. Meredith Jenkins, S.J., dates to ca. 1849. Most are black and white photographic prints. Images relating to the Civil War can be found in the Analostan Island folder (campus and surrounding area grouping) and in the Old South folder (buildings grouping), as well as the individuals grouping (in which folders are filed alphabetically by name). Included in the individuals grouping are images of Lincoln conspirators David Herold, Samuel Arnold, and Samuel Mudd


  • Chancellor’s Office (Bunn), GTA.GAMMS304.  Box 14, folder 70

    Transcript of address delivered by Georgetown President Edward B. Bunn, S.J. at the campus event to commemorate the centenary of the Civil War, May 6, 1961


  • Georgetown University Vinyl Collection, GTA000805

    Box 1 includes a vinyl recording by the Glee Club: Georgetown Sings the Civil War. 33 1/3 RPM. Side 1: The Star Spangled Banner; Maryland, My Maryland [by James Ryder Randall] with soloist William Herrfedlt ' 63; Aura Lee; Alma Mater. Side 2: Blue and Gray Medley, soloists Evan Ewing '63, banjo, Ben Cabell '62, harmonica, John Warman '61, piano


  • Recorded Events / Library AV Material, GTA000122

    Box 2 includes a DVD recording of a Georgetown University Library Associates event: Civil War and Georgetown University, 3/24/2011. The speakers at this event were: Chandra Manning (History Professor); Maurice Jackson (History Professor) and Lynn Conway (University Archivist)


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