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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

Archival resources: General


The archival materials listed here are intended as a starting point for research; archives staff are always happy to discuss research projects and direct researchers to additional resources. The materials listed relate to the foundation and management of Georgetown College, including the purchase of land for campus, as well as to the students who enrolled. 

Some of these materials are housed in the University Archives; others are found in the Archives of the Society of Jesus which are on deposit at Georgetown or in the Library’s manuscripts unit.  With noted exceptions, these materials are not available digitally. They are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library. Use the Aeon request system to request materials and to schedule a research appointment to examine them.

Archival Resources: Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, GTM-119


Many of the records relating the first decades of the Georgetown College are found in the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, housed in the manuscripts unit, rather than in the University Archives. Researchers should note that the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus are currently being re-processed and digitized and they are encouraged to consult Booth Family Center staff well in advance of visiting to ensure availability of materials.

An inventory to the Maryland Province Archives is found here. A search on Georgetown College in the Search collection box at the top right of the screen gets a large number of results. You can reduce the number of results by using the Filter Results box to limit the search by date. Note that using the From Year and To Year boxes will not bring consistently accurate results. Instead enter 178* in the search within results box to limit to records dating from 1780-1789 or 179* to limit to records from 1790-1799. Note that not all of the results with either of those limiters are going to be relevant. Among the relevant results are  box 19box 57, folders 7,  8, 9, 10 and 13; box 2, folder 6 ; box 42, folder 1; and box 20, folder 7.

Georgetown College Prospectus, 1798


Georgetown College published its first printed catalog in 1851. Prior to that, prospectuses intermittently were produced as a convenient way of communicating the aims, curriculum, costs, and rules of the institution to parents of potential students. The first prospectus was produced in 1798 in English, Spanish and French. The University Archives has a copy of the English version (page 1, page 2, page 3) and fragments of the the Spanish one.

Archival Resources: William DuBourg Papers, GTM-820101


William DuBourg served as Georgetown’s 3rd president. An inventory of his papers is found here. To explore the inventory, click on  the arrow next to the Rev. William DuBourg Papers link in blue under the Collection Organization heading to the right of the screen, then click through the links which appear underneath - a more detailed description of the material represented by each of the links will appear the center of the screen under the Container summary heading.

Archival Resources: Georgetown College Financial Records: Vault Collection, GTA-000883


This collection contains over 200 volumes detailing the business affairs of Georgetown College in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. An inventory is found here. Included are ledgers, journals, day books, cash books, and expense books. Navigate through the collection by using the links under the Collection organization heading in blue on the right of the screen.  Each of the links represents a volume. Note that you can use your cursor to “grab” the vertical line that forms the left side of the Collection organization box and move it to the left, to expand the area in view - that way you can see the entire volume title and span dates, without having to click into each link. Volumes from the 18th century include student accounts denoted by the I.A.1 designation. These provide detailed information about the expenses of an education at Georgetown, documenting not only tuition and room and board expenses but also charges for items such as required textbooks, haircuts, etc. Other volumes document the College's expenses for food, clothing, household items, and services. And entries scattered throughout pre-1863 volumes document the participation of the College in slavery and record expenses for slave provisions such as clothing and medicine and wages paid for the employment of enslaved laborers and servants hired out by their owners.

Please note that some early ledgers from the Georgetown College Financial Records: Vault Collection have been digitized as part of an ongoing project and the digital versions are available through DigitalGeorgetown. You can limit to volumes from 1789 or from the 1790s by using the Date created facet in blue to the right (you will have to scroll down to see it.)

Archival Resources: Old Entry Book, 1789-1876. GTA 000581


Contains details of College real property, with details of conveyances and tax liabilities. A description is found here. Transcriptions of deeds relating to the incremental purchases of land by the College begin on page 38. Copies of these deeds can also be found in Land Records: Vault Collection,  GTA 171117 (see above.)

Archival Resources: "Catalogs" 1791-1850, GTA 000425


Contains typed lists of students and faculty from the enrollment of Georgetown's first student in 1791 until the publication of the first College catalog in 1851. These lists were created by a previous University Archivist using records in the Archives collection. Students are listed in the order in which they enrolled. Also sporadically included are the text of prospectuses and extracts of Board of Directors minutes.

Archival Resources: College Students, 1791-1915 (Found in Entrance Books and Other Student Ledgers, GTA 000401. Box 7)


This list was created by Archivist Francis Barnum, S.J. It is in alphabetical order and includes the home town, state, and date of enrollment for each student. In total, 9128 students are listed, including those who did not graduate.

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