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John Carroll (1735-1815): Founder of Georgetown College

This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for research on Archbishop John Carroll

Archival Resources: Overview


Archival material relating to Archbishop Carroll is found in multiple collections within the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, including in the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus and in the John Carroll Collection which is housed in the Manuscripts Unit. Additionally, a number of folders in the Woodstock College Archives which are managed by the Woodstock Theological Library have material about Archbishop Carroll. See below for a description of some of these materials. Note that none of the materials listed below have been digitized, so an in-person visit will be required to work with them in the Booth Family Center’s reading room on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library. Use the Aeon request system to request them and to schedule a research appointment to examine the materials.

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. 

Researchers who wish to explore resources available outside Georgetown will find significant material relating to Archbishop Carroll in the Archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

As with any archival research project, please note that not all material in the Booth Family Center relevant to research on Archbishop Carroll may be described on Georgetown Archival Resources site; Booth staff are happy to discuss research projects and direct researchers to additional resources.


Published editions of Archbishop Carroll’s letters


Transcriptions of many of Archbishop Carroll's letters and other writings, including those housed in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, can be accessed through two publications:




Materials in the Maryland Province Archives


The Archives of the Maryland Province are on deposit at Georgetown and can be accessed through the Booth Family Center. They contain correspondence and other materials by and about Archbishop Carroll, including records about the foundation and development of Georgetown College. 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.

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. Also 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: 2, Folder: 4 Correspondence-Society of Jesus-Maryland [2 K0-4]., 01/01/1788-12/31/1864

    Includes letter [perhaps draft, dated June 21, 1805] from Archbishop John Carroll appointing Robert Molyneux, S.J., as Superior of the Society of Jesus in the United States; two handwritten copies of official letter (June 27, 1805) appointing Fr. Molyneux as Superior, as well as material on Bishop Leonard Neale, S.J., Archbishop of Baltimore, Bishop John Carroll and John Grassi, S.J.










  • Box 57, Folder 4  Carroll-Plowden Correspondence (1) [202 B1-9]., 02/28/1779-06/29/1785

    Contains letters from John Carroll to Charles Plowden, SJ: on general situation of ex-Jesuits and property, religious liberty in states 2/28/1779; on death of George Hunter, SJ, desire of Robert Molyneux, SJ to come to Maryland from Philadelphia 4/27/1780; on possibility of Society's restoration, administration of mission 2/20/1782; inquiring about Jesuits in Italy 5/18/1783; on arrival of Leonard Neale, SJ, plans for college and seminary, Propaganda's efforts to take over Society property, Society in Russia 9/26/1783; on Society in Russia and prospects for restoration, on note to Congress re Propaganda's desire for Society property (includes transcription of note) 4/10/1784; on apostasy of Charles Wharton 9/18/1784; on national character of clergy, Carroll's appointment as bishop, founding of two colleges in Maryland and hope for establishment of seminary, religious liberty, Wharton controversy 2/27/1785; on Carroll's move from Rock Creek to Baltimore 6/29/1785.


  • Box 57, Folder 8 Carroll-Plowden Correspondence (5) [202 B34-43]., 02/03/1791-06/01/1792

    Contains letters from Carroll to Plowden: on visit to Port Tobacco Carmelites, abandonment of Kentucky mission by Capucin, projection of opening of Georgetown Academy, future appointments of Bishops in America 2/3/1791; on Plowden's donation to Georgetown, coming of Sulpicians to America, progress of Carmelites, Burke's anti-revolutionary pamphlet 3/21/1791; on acceptance of Catholics in Boston 6/11/1791; arrival of clergy from France, settlement of French immigrants in Virginia, lack of means for Seminary, opening of Georgetown Academy, fallen state of Capucins, request of Indian tribe in Massachusetts for priest, plan for Diocesan Synod in November, need for clergy in Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania 9/3/1791; call to Diocesan Synod 9/27/1791 (duplicate circular); on opening of Georgetown Academy and lack of president, Diocesan Synod 10/12/1791; on election of Bishops, assignment of Leonard Neale, SJ to Philadelphia 1791 (Note: this is a letter fragment with beginning missing); on German priest's attempt to set up schismatic church, contributions for Seminary 3/1/1792; on hopes for Georgetown's role in fostering Catholicism in America, recommendation of second Diocese for America 4/30/1792; on prospects for establishment of second Diocese, convert status of Maryland Governor Thomas Sim Lee 6/1/1792. 


  • Box 57, Folder 9 Carroll-Plowden Correspondence (6) [202 B 44-47]., 02/24/1793-11/13/1795

    Contains letters from Carroll to Plowden: on French refugees in England, Rome's refusal of second Diocese 2/24/1793; on potential difficulties for Academy of Liege, plight of English Benedictines 11/15/1794; on yellow fever epidemic, choice of Leonard Neale, SJ as coadjutor, Liege Academy 4/15/1795; on Rome's lack of response of nomination of Neale, Propaganda's donation of funds to Georgetown 11/13/1795.


  • Box 57, Folder 10 Carroll-Plowden Correspondence (7) [202 B48-54]., 05/23/1796-12/29/1799

    Contains letters from Carroll to Plowden: on hopes for arrival of brief of consecration for L. Neale, death of mother and brother, prospects of restoration of Society 5/23/1796; on continued want of brief for Neale, Washington's address on retirement, lack of entrants for St. Sulpice Seminary, resignation of Robert Plunkett from presidency of Georgetown and replacement by Rev. Louis Dubourg 9/24/1796; on continued lack of response on Neale, schismatic church set up in Philadelphia 7/7/1797; on continued lack of response on Neale, return of Notley Young to Georgetown 3/7/1798; on resignation of Dubourg from presidency of Georgetown, yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, supply of clergy in Kentucky and Georgia, continuation of schism in Philadelphia 12/11/1798; on refinement of the use of the English language 12/13/1798; circular letter on death of Washington 12/29/1799.


  • Box 57.1, Folder 12 Correspondence of John Carroll to Robert Molyneux, SJ [203 R1-10]., 02/03/1807-12/29/1807

    Contains letters from Abp Carroll to Molyneux: on Georgetown's unfinished state, desire to keep school open, Georgetown's costs in money and reputation 2/3/1807; on settling of Deer Creek boundary 2/25/1807; on income from Bohemia Manor, praise for Society, 3/27/1807; on schism in Pennsylvania, authority of Bishops over Society 4/7/1807; on healing of schism, books for Georgetown, possibility of arrival of Jesuits from Naples 5/10/1807; on financial distress of Georgetown, delay in deed for White Clay Creek, inferiority of Society colleges to Sulpician colleges in America 5/22/1807; on administration of Goshenhoppen, disguise of Society offices 12/11/1807; on payments to be made to Georgetown, lack of payment from Bohemia 12/29/1807. Also includes ALS from Joseph Stone to F. Neale on debts to Georgetown; undated notes of Abp Carroll on reimbursement of Georgetown by Jesuits on retreat there.


  • Box 57.1, Folder 15 Correspondence [203 T6-11]., 01/10/1805-12/16/1805

    Contains letters from Abp Carroll to Rev. John Byrne on possibility of general restoration 1/10/1805; to F. Neale denouncing sales of slaves in White Marsh "in direct contradiction of the decision of the Corp" 10/3/1805, and to F. Neale on confirmation of Charter of 1805, 12/16/1805.


Materials in the Manuscripts Unit


  • John Carroll Collection, GTM-760101. 1781-1976.  0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

    This collection includes original letters by Archbishop Carroll as well as genealogical materials.


  • American Catholic Sermon collection, GTM-840320

    This includes 56 texts by Archbishop Carroll. To locate specific descriptions of each text, navigate to the links in blue for John Carroll in the Collection organization pane to the right of the screen (the sermons are arranged alphabetically by last name), then click on a link and scroll down until you see the Additional Description link at the bottom left of the screen - it’s the third link from the bottom. Click on that to see more information.


  • John Gilmary Shea Papers, GTM-GAMMS269. 1600 - 1892. 24.25 Linear Feet (39 boxes)

    This collection contains research materials gathered by Shea (1824-1892) who was the preeminent American Catholic historian of his day.  Included is correspondence from, to and about Archbishop Carroll, mostly in the form of transcripts. Also included is material relating to members of his family, including his mother, as well as a folder of photographs which contains undated images of a bust of Archbishop Carroll and of his chalice. This link can be used to access the Carroll material in the Shea papers.


Materials in the Woodstock College Archives, WTL-761101


Woodstock College was founded in 1869 in the township of Woodstock, MD. The College served the Maryland Province of Jesuits, and later the Maryland-New York Province, as the scholasticate for Jesuits under formation. It was also a hub of Jesuit information, with a printing press and publications, that served to communicate Jesuit activity amongst the society.

Researchers are encouraged to explore the description of the Woodstock College Archives on the Georgetown Archival Resources site. A listing of some of the material it contains relating to Archbishop Carroll follows.





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