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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

Research on Alumni Using the Georgetown University Archives

This guide identifies and provides an overview of resources available in the University Archives which are frequently used in historical or genealogical research projects involving former students

Researching in the GU Archives: Overview

All of the resources described below are available for use by researchers in the University Archives. Use the Aeon request system to request them and to make a research appointment. 

Researching in the GU Archives: 1957 Alumni Directory

The University periodically produced printed alumni directories (listings of students with notes of their degrees and addresses) throughout the 20th century. These directories depended on self-reporting by alumni and are incomplete as a result. The scope of the 1957 directory is much wider than other directories as it represents an attempt by the Alumni Association to list every student who had attended the University to that date, regardless of whether that student had graduated and regardless of whether that student had maintained contact with the University. William Gaston, the first student to enroll at Georgetown, has an entry. In addition to an alphabetical listing of students by name, the 1957 directory also very usefully presents data in other ways, with sections listing students chronologically by school and geographically by state and town or by country in the case of international students. It also shows all honorary degree recipients in a chronological list. The 1957 directory is an excellent resource to easily establish/confirm a date of graduation, especially when an alumni card (see below) is not available

Researching in the GU Archives: University Archives Reference Files

The University Archives maintains reference files on a number of alumni, arranged alphabetically by name. These contain photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles, brochures, and other documents found in the Archives collection. They are intended as starting point for research rather than to offer exhaustive coverage but they can often provide the answers to basic informational questions. Request by name(s).

Researching in the GU Archives: Alumni Cards

Alumni Card  

 

 

 

 Alumni card for Charles Mathews

 

 

 

 

Alumni cards were created by University Archivists through the late 1960s. Each card contains information for one student. Among details typically included are: full name, hometown, date of enrollment, and degrees earned if any. In many cases, other information is also given, such as relatives who have also attended, notes about career and achievements after leaving Georgetown, and references to relevant material housed in the University Archives collection. Please note that not every student who attended before the late 1960s has a card. Students who attended the professional schools (Law, Medicine, Dental, Nursing) are less likely to have cards, as are students who only attended for short periods of time. Cards created in the 1960s typically contain less information than cards created earlier. Request cards by name(s)

 

Researching in the GU Archives: Alumni Files

These files were created by University archivists through the late 1960s. The archivists removed materials (mainly correspondence or clippings) relating to current students or alumni from groupings of records transferred to the Archives and filed them alphabetically by name of student/alumnus. Note that not every alumnus will have a file. Also note that in the past, the University classed honorary degree recipients as alumni and that, as a result, there are materials within the alumni files relating to individuals who did not earn a degree from Georgetown. No inventory of the files is available; request by name(s). 

Researching in the GU Archives: Entrance Books

 

Entrance Book 1872 

Entrance book entry, 1872

 

As students enrolled at Georgetown in the 19th century and early 20th centuries, information about them such as their father’s name and address was recorded chronologically in a series of ledgers known as entrance books. At times, additional details such as age, religion, and class placement are also captured. Some of the books have indexes; where there is no index, use the exact date of enrollment noted on the alumni card (see above) to navigate to the relevant entry.

Researching in the GU Archives: Student Accounts, 1789-1919

 

William Gaston account

 

 

  Student account from 1791-1792

 

 

 

The Archives has a long run of ledgers containing student financial accounts which are arranged chronologically. Beginning with Georgetown’s first student, William Gaston, and ending in the early 20th century, these accounts are at times very detailed. From the entries, we can learn such things as how long students stayed, what extra classes they took and what textbooks they bought, as well as how much they paid for necessities such as medical care or shoe repair. The student financial accounts are housed with other University financial records; an inventory of these records is available. The student financial account ledgers are identified with the I.A.I. designation in the inventory (see the Collection organization pane to the right of the screen.) Note that you can “grab'' the left side of that pane with your cursor and drag it to the left to expand the pane and enable you to read the full titles of the links without first clicking into them. 

Student financial account ledgers generally have name indexes; page references for accounts are also often found on alumni cards (see above.)

A project to digitize the University financial records is ongoing. Digitized records (including a number of student financial account ledgers) can be accessed via DigitalGeorgetown.

Researching in the GU Archives: Commencement Files, 1800 onward

Georgetown College received a federal charter in March 1815, allowing it to award degrees for the first time.Two brothers from New York, Charles and George Dinnies, received Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1817 and became the College's first graduates. However, formal year-end academic exercises pre-date the 1817 commencement. An inventory of the commencement files housed in the University Archives is available. These files are arranged chronologically and include programs from commencement ceremonies and from tropaia and other award ceremonies, clippings, correspondence about arrangements, and to a lesser extent transcriptions of speeches (including those given by students), and photographs. The programs can be used to establish/confirm date of graduation and specific degree information for individual students, as well as the award of medals, prizes and academic honors. Request files by date(s) of commencement.

Researching in the GU Archives: Course Catalogs/Bulletins, 1851 onward

The first catalog for Georgetown College was printed in 1851; this provides information for the 1850-1851 academic year. In addition to laying out the course of studies, the catalogs/bulletins also list faculty, indicate fees, provide a brief history of the institution, and explain entrance requirements. Earlier catalogs also list the names of students (showing their home states and the classes they were assigned to) and print commencement programs, making them a useful resource for research into individual students. The University Archives maintains almost complete runs of physical catalogs/bulletins for Georgetown College, the Graduate School, the Law Center, the Medical School, the Dental School, the Nursing School, the Foreign Service School, the Business School, the Languages and Linguistics School, and the Continuing Studies School. Request them by date(s) via the Aeon request system.

The Georgetown College catalogs for 1850-1860 and 1860-1870 are available via DigitalGeorgetown. The contents of these catalogs can be browsed or searched. To search the contents, click  on the blue ViewOpen link at the top of the screen, then after the file loads 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. Undergraduate bulletins (the modern equivalent of of the catalogs) for 1996-2019 can accessed via the University Registrar’s web site.

Researching in the GU Archives: Record of the Alumni of Georgetown College, 1812-1879

In 1879, an attempt was made to compile a roster of Georgetown students who had attended since 1812, organized geographically by place of origin.The result is the Record of Alumni of Georgetown College. This ledger lists students by state of origin and includes their date of enrollment and the name of their father/guardian. In addition to students from the U.S., it contains the names of almost 250 international students, including 71 from the West Indies (mainly from Cuba), 44 from Mexico, 32 from Canada, and 27 from England and Ireland

Researching in the GU Archives: Photographic Collections

The University Archives has two main photographic collections which include photographs of students, see below. Please note that researchers will be given gloves when they are handling photographic materials.

  • University Archives Photographic Collection (30 lf). Most of these 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. No inventory is available. Researchers should request images by name(s) and Archives staff will pull folders for them to work with. Requests for large numbers of images should be placed two to three days ahead of a research visit, so that Archives staff have sufficient time to locate and pull materials.

  • University Photographer’s files (62 lf). Images date from 1956-2004. Most are in the form of black and white negatives, some with accompanying contact sheets. Some photographic prints are also present. Included are shots of  campus buildings, events, and people (faculty, staff, students, and visitors). A partial inventory is available for images taken between 1988 and 2004. These can be requested using the box and folder numbers which can be found by clicking the folder description links in the Collection organization pane to the right of the inventory screen (you may have to scroll down to see the pane.) The folder descriptions display with a box and folder number in green font to the left side of the screen. For pre-1988 images, researchers should submit requests by name and Archives staff will pull folders for them. Requests for large numbers of images should be placed two to three days ahead of a research visit, so that Archives staff have sufficient time to locate and pull materials.

Student Publications

 

Yearbooks

 

  • Ye Domesday Booke, 1901-2017 

    Note that no Domesday Bookes were produced in 1903, 1906, 1907, 1945, and 1946 and that many of the pre-World War I yearbooks were produced by Law students with coverage limited to that school

    Digitized volumes from 1901-2011 can be browsed and searched via DigitalGeorgetown.The Date Created facet in blue on the right side of the screen (scroll down to see it) can be used to limit to a particular time period.To search within any item: 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

  • Apollonian (Dental School yearbook), 1947-1990. Not  digitized

  • Caduceus (Nursing School yearbook),1948-1969. Not  digitized

  • Curette (Dental Hygiene yearbook), 1930s. Not  digitized

  • Journey's End/ Grand Rounds (Medical School yearbook), 1947-   Not  digitized

  • Protocol (East Campus yearbook with coverage of the Foreign Service, Business, and Languages and Linguistics Schools), 1948-1967. Not  digitized

 

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. 

    Physical volumes are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections

    Issues from 1872-1920 have been digitized and can be browsed/searched via DigitalGeorgetown. The Date Created facet in blue on the right side of the screen (scroll down to see it) can be used to limit to a particular time period. To search within any item: 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

  • The Hoya, 1920-present

    Physical copies are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Note that there is no index for the physical volumes. Digitized issues from 1920-1939 and 1959-1980 can be browsed and searched via DigitalGeorgetown. The Date Created facet in blue on the right side of the screen (scroll down to see it) can be used to limit to a particular time period. To search within any item: 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 Issues from 1998 onward  can be searched on The Hoya’s website. The search box is found under the About Us tab at the top of the landing page

 

  • Georgetown Voice, 1969-present

    Physical copies are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Note that there is no index for the physical volumes. Issues from 2001 onward can be searched on the Voice’s web site. The search icon is found at the top right of the landing page

 

School-Specific Newsletters

 

  • Foreign Service School
    • Foreign Service Newsletter, 1949-1952. GTA 000287
      A weekly student publication documenting the activities, news and interests of the Foreign Service School students. Photographs are included

    • Foreign Service Courier, 1952-1971
      Published bi-monthly. Initial focus is on campus news and commentary on national current events of interest to the SFS student. This changes in the late 1950s when pieces become mostly opinion-based

 

  • Nursing School 
    • Spotlight, 1939-1941. GTA 000612
      Includes coverage of topics such as: student government, Sodality, Dramatic Club, the Nursing School song, initiation, capping exercises, and the Thanksgiving basket drive

    • Starch and Stripes, 1951-1958. GTA 000306
      Includes photographs
      ​​​​​​​

 

 

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