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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

Georgetown College in the 18th Century

This guide is intended as a starting point for finding materials relating to the founding and development of Georgetown College in the 18th century



This timeline, while not intended to be exhaustive, presents some key dates in Georgetown College's development in the 18th century. Information about events highlighted (as well as events omitted) can be sought in the University Archives.




John Carroll circulates his Proposals for Establishing an Academy at George-Town in the spring




John Carroll explains his plans and hopes for his academy in a letter written to Father Charles Plowden on March 1: We shall begin the building of our Academy this summer. In the beginning, we shall confine our plan to a house of 63 or 64 feet by 50, on one of the most lovely situations that imagination can frame. It will be three stories high, exclusive of the offices under the whole. Do not forget to give and procure assistance. On this academy is built all my hope of permanency, and success to our H. Religion in the United States

Construction begins on the first campus building which becomes known as the South Building in April




John Carroll, Robert Molyneux and John Aston purchase the first portion of campus from Colonel William Deakins, Jr. and John Threlkeld on January 23

John Carroll is appointed Bishop of Baltimore on November 6




Classes begin with William Gaston from North Carolina and Philemon Charles Wederstrandt from Maryland

William Digges hires an enslaved woman named Sukey out to Georgetown College from 1792 to 1797. The College pays him £10 per year. In addition to Sukey, a number of enslaved persons work at Georgetown in the first decades of the College's operation, some owned by the Jesuit Order, others hired on a temporary basis from local slave holders

First music professor, Henry Demonti, is appointed

Land on which Old North sits is bought

First international students, brothers Nicholas and Jean Jaques Fevrier, arrive from the French West Indies on April 17




Robert Molyneux, a former Jesuit and emigré from England, is appointed as the second president. He serves until 1796




John Carroll reports that construction on the North Building (Old North) is substantially complete




William Louis DuBourg, S.S., a native of the French colony of Saint Domingue [which we know today as Haiti] becomes the third president of Georgetown in October. Aged 30 when he takes office, he is still the youngest person to have assumed that role




George Washington visits and speaks from the steps of Old North on August 7

Board of Directors is established in September

Serious fire starts on November 15 after a log rolls out of a fireplace on the second floor of the South Building. Citizens from Georgetown help to put it out. Damage is assessed at £21




Georgetown issues its first printed prospectus on January 1. A three page document, printed in English, Spanish and French, it is designed to inform the parents of prospective students about the curriculum, fees, what students need to bring with them, etc.

College pays for the engraving of a printing plate for its seal on May 11

President DuBourg, a professor and two students dine with George Washington at Mount Vernon on July 10

Leonard Neale is appointed as the fourth president of Georgetown in December




Formal religious community according to the Visitandine rule and a school for girls are founded near what are now 35th and P Streets, N.W. Given the school’s geographical proximity to the College, associations form between the two institutions

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