Skip to Main Content

Patrick F. Healy, S.J.: Georgetown University President, 1873-1882

This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Booth Family Center for Special Collection for research on Patrick F. Healy, S.J.

Archival resources: Overview


Archival material relating to Father Healy is found in multiple units within the Booth Family Center for Special Collections: in the Manuscripts Unit, in the Georgetown University Archives, and in the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Additionally, one folder in the Woodstock College Archives, which are managed by the Woodstock Theological Library, has material about Father Healy. See below for a description of some of these materials. A portion of the Patrick F. Healy Papers, GTA-GAMMS57 have been digitized.  An in-person visit will be required to work with the other materials listed in the Booth Family Center’s reading room on the 5th floor of Georgetown's Lauinger Library. Use the Aeon request system to request materials and to schedule a research appointment to examine them.

Researchers should be aware that very little of the archival resources described in this guide reflect either Father Healy's thoughts about his racial background or the thoughts and opinions of others on that topic.

The archival materials listed here are intended as a starting point for research. Researchers are also encouraged to explore the descriptions of other records in Booth’s and Woodstock’s collections 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 exploring. Additional search words can be added to the results screen using the Filter Results box to the right. Note that given variations in the cataloging of manuscript collections, no one search will locate all of the materials on Father Healy which are described on the Georgetown Archival Resources site. Researchers should search sequentially on “P. Healy”, "Patrick Healy” “Patrick F. Healy”and “P.F. Healy” to find complete results (the search should include the quotation marks in each case.)

As with any archival research project, please note that not all material in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections relevant to research on Father Healy is described on Georgetown Archival Resources site; Booth staff are happy to discuss research projects and direct researchers to additional resources.


Archival Resources: Materials in the Manuscripts Unit


  • Patrick F. Healy, SJ, papers,  GTM-GAMMS57

    A portion of these papers have been digitized. Researchers should take note of the limitations of the papers both in terms of their extent (only 0.80 Linear feet) and also of the types of material present. The papers include: diaries, which for the most part record appointments; correspondence consisting of only one folder of correspondence written by Father Healy dating from 1871-1903 and two folders of correspondence received by him dating from 1853-1906; academic notebooks; and a small amount of material about his family, particularly his brother James. This family-related material includes photographs (images of Father Healy, as well as his brothers, are present), clippings dating from 1900-1983, and a page in one the diaries titled “Family Record” which records the birth and death dates of Father Healy’s parents, siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces



  • Richard H. Clarke papers, GTM-GAMMS92b

    Box 1, folder 6: Healy, Patrick F., S.J., Begins 05/09/1872 includes one handwritten signed letter from Father Healy to Richard H. Clarke, mostly regarding Ancient American history with emphasis on Mexico. This includes references to L'Abbe de Bourbourg, John Peter Secchi, S.J., and Georgetown University







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


Father Healy was a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus and as President/Rector of Georgetown College, he reported directly to the Maryland Provincial (or head of the Province.) The Archives of the Maryland Province are on deposit at Georgetown and can be accessed through the Booth Family Center. As might be expected, the Province Archives contain correspondence and other materials by and about Father Healy. A listing of some of this material follows. Researchers are also encouraged to explore the description of the Province Archives on the Georgetown Archival Resources site, particularly to look at descriptions of records relating to Georgetown College between 1866 and 1883 which do not specifically reference Father Healy.  Links in this description allow researchers to access digitized versions of some of these records. 

Note that written permission from the Maryland Province is required for the publication of substantive portions of any material or publication-quality reproductions of any material.






  • Box 182, folder 10: Correspondence, Patrick Healy, S.J. (1 of 3), 1853 includes several letters from Father Healy. One of these dated November 23, 1853 contains the following reflection on life at Holy Cross: . . . Placed in a college as I am, near boys who were well acquainted either by sight or hearsay with me & my brothers, remarks are sometimes made (though not in my hearing) which wound my very heart . . .  I feel, that whilst we are here, with those who know us but too well, we shall always be  subject to some such degrading misfortune . . . 












Archival Resources: Materials in the University Archives


  • Old Archives Collections

    Father Healy’s records as Georgetown President do not exist as a discrete group in the Georgetown University Archives, as might be expected. Because the Archives collection was organized on a subject basis rather than by office of origin prior to 1971, his records are dispersed throughout the Archives collection. Additionally, many of the pre-1971 subject groupings, now labeled as the Old Archives collections, have not been described/described in detail and so researchers cannot effectively use the Georgetown Archival Resources site linked in the Overview section of this page to locate Healy-related materials in them. However, the pre-1971 subject system arranges records chronologically within subjects, so it is possible for researchers to easily locate the folders within any subject grouping which date from Father Healy’s presidency and to then search through them for relevant material. A list of the most important subject groupings can be found in this description of the University Archives Collection, see pages 168-170. Among the groupings Healy researchers should consider investigating are:
    • Old Archives: Alumni Association, GTA000317 

      Box 1. This includes a circular letter from Father Healy about the projected constitution of the Alumni Society of Georgetown College, dated May 3, 1880

      Box 2. This includes the text of a speech dated 1894 by an unidentified alumnus which references Father Healy

    • Old Archives: Buildings, GTA.000321 

      Box 2 contains Healy Hall files

    • Old Archives: College [No GTA number]

      Box 1

    • Old Archives: Debate: Philodemic Society, GTA.000588

      Boxes 6 and 7

    • Old Archives: Law School, GTA.000331

      Box 1

    • Old Archives: Medical School, GTA.000293 

      Box 1

    • Old Archives: Students, GTA.000099 

      Box 1, folder 1 33-1., 1851, 1872-1948 includes a note by  Father Francis Barnum on students from St. Mary's County, Maryland, which  references Father Healy's instinct always . . . to insult those who were his superiors socially


  • Commencement Files, GTA.GAMMS8

    Box 2, folder 2 includes Father Healy’s address at the 1878 Medical Department commencement


  • University Archives Photographic Collection, GTA.000109

    Includes a small number of portraits of Father Healy and a number of early photographs of Healy Hall

Archival Resources: Materials in the Woodstock College Archives

Creative Commons   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details of our policy