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Dahlgren Chapel

This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Georgetown University Archives for research on Dahlgren Chapel.

Writings about Dahlgren Chapel


Hoya article called  Start of Chapel Renovation Ends long Liturgical Battle from August 30, 1975

The Hoya, August 30, 1975

The items listed below are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Special Collections items do not circulate; request them for use in the Booth Family Center via the Aeon request system.


University Archives Reference Files


University Archives staff maintain reference files on a variety of subjects related to Georgetown University history, including on Dahlgren Chapel. These files contain photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles, brochures, and other documents found in the University Archives collection. They are intended to provide a starting point for research rather than to offer exhaustive coverage of any subject but they can often provide the answers to basic informational questions. In addition to files on Dahlgren, the archives also maintain reference files on John Vinton and Elizabeth Drexel Dahlgren who funded its construction.




  • Dahlgren Chapel, Georgetown University. Undated [post 1975]. 10 pages. The cover of this pamphlet has a line drawing of the front exterior of the Chapel. It provides a chronological overview of the history of the Chapel and ends with an Incidentals of Interest section which references “the monk of Dahlgren” carving, the inscribed tablet asking for prayers to Elizabeth Drexel Dahlgren on the floor at the Chapel’s entrance and the six nave windows which portray St. Helena, St. Ignatius Loyola, St Louis, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga
  • Durkin, Joseph T., S.J. The Windows of Dahlgren 1893-1993: A Prayerful Guide. Dahlgren Chapel Centennial Committee, Georgetown University, 1993. 24 pages.
  • Watkins, Anna. History of Dahlgren Chapel. Office of Mission and Ministry, Georgetown University, 2009. 35 pages.
  • Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, April 2014. 34 pages. A limited edition commonplace book, this publication was produced as part of the Campaign for Georgetown. It commemorates the completion of a renovation of the Chapel. 


Mentions in University Histories 


  • Curran, Robert Emmett. A history of Georgetown University.  Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, 2010A three volume set, this is the most comprehensive University history. Volume 1 covers 1789-1889, volume 2 covers 1889-1964, and volume 3 covers 1964-1989. Pages 38-39 of volume 2 discuss the construction of Dahlgren. This publication is available in Lauinger Library's general stacks, as well as for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Request it for use in the Booth via the Aeon request system.
  • Durkin, Joseph T., S.J.  Georgetown University: the middle years, 1840-1900. Washington, Georgetown University Press, 1963. This publication was published to coincide with the University’s 175th anniversary. Pages 189-190 discuss Dahlgren Chapel. This publication is available in Lauinger Library's general stacks as well as for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Request it for use in the Booth via the Aeon request system.
  • Nevils, W. Coleman, S.J. Miniatures of Georgetown, 1634-1934; tercentennial causeries.  Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 1934. This work was published by Father Nevils towards the end of his presidency. He served as University President from 1928-1935 and his association with Georgetown began in 1918 when he was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Science. His book contains detailed and colorful stories about aspects of the University’s history but has no footnotes or bibliography. Pages 275-277 discuss Dahlgren Chapel. This publication is available in Lauinger Library's general stacks as well as for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. Request it for use in the Booth via the Aeon request system.


Articles in University Publications 


Articles in the Georgetown College Journal, 1872-1920 (Available online)

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. It contains articles about the Chapel’s construction, as well as events held in it.

Physical volumes are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections; request them for use via the Aeon request system.

Digitized issues 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 in a list of search results: 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. Note when formulating searches that the name Dahlgren Chapel seems to have first been used in the November 1894 issue. Prior to that the building was referred to as the Chapel of the Sacred Heart/Sacred Heart Chapel. Because of this, no one search will find all relevant articles. Also note that you can use quotation marks around the phrase you are searching on, i.e. “Dahlgren Chapel”, “Sacred Heart Chapel”, etc. to create searches on specific phrases and get more relevant results.

The following articles relate to the building and design of Dahlgren Chapel; researchers can explore additional College Journal articles via the DigitalGeorgetown link above:

Articles in The Hoya, 1920-present

Digitized issues from 1920-1999 can be browsed and searched via DigitalGeorgetown. Physical copies from 1920 to the present are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections; request them for use via the Aeon request system. Note that there is no index for the physical volumes. 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.

Search results in The Hoya will mostly relate to events which took place in Dahlgren, although many of the results from the 1970s relate to renovation plans.


Articles in the Georgetown Voice, 2001-present 

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. Physical copies from 1969 to present are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections; request them  for use in the Booth via the Aeon request system.  Note that there is no index for the physical volumes.

As with The Hoya, issues from the 1970s relate to renovation plans including:

  • “Fr. King, Chieffo Slam Chapel Changes.”  October 3, 1972, page 2

  • “Dahlgren Renovation Defended.” October 10, 1972, page 7

  • “Push Chapel Changes.” October 10, 1972

  • “Dahlgren Chapel Controversy Approaches Climax.” October 1, 1974

  • “Fourth Set of Dahlgren Plans Unveiled.” April 22, 1975

  • “Death of Tradition.” January 27, 1976

  • “The Once & Future Dahlgren: In Tune with Vatican II.” January 27, 1976

  • “Dahlgren Renovations Spark Controversy.”  August 31, 1989


Articles in Other University Publications


Request these for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections via the Aeon request system.

  • “These Recent Gifts.” Discipline Office Newsletter, April 9, 1946. This article references the gift of a new Hammond organ donated by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond R. Buse
  • “Renovation of Historic Chapel Complete.” Ye Domesday Booke, 1953, page 163 (Available online)
  • “Class of ‘58 Donates Memorial.” Foreign Service Courier, September 15, 1958, page 10. This article relates to the gift of a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola “the first such in the history of the University” placed in the Chapel in memory of two members of the Class of 1958 Stephen Mucheman and Louis Loichot, who were killed in a car crash in 1957
  • Georgetown Record, February 1958. The front cover of this magazine produced by the Development Office includes a photograph of the St. Ignatius Loyola statue placed in Dahlgren Chapel
  • “Dahlgren: Center of Controversy.” Georgetown Today, January 1973, pages 10-12
  • “Dahlgren Chapel to be Renovated.” Georgetown Today, September 1975, page 25
  • “Dahlgren Chapel Reopening.” News from Georgetown University, February 2, 1976
  • “The New Dahlgren” by Lawrence Madden, S.J. Ye Domesday Booke, 1976
  • The Chronicle. Volume 5, September 1988-May 1989
  • “Georgetown University Refurbishes Dahlgren Chapel.” Georgetown News, May 15, 1989
  • “Georgetown University Dedicates Landegger Organ in Dahlgren Chapel.” Georgetown News, November 7, 1989
  • “Georgetown University Dedicates Renovated  Dahlgren Chapel.” Georgetown News, January 12, 1990
  • “New Landegger Pipe Organ was Dedicated in Dahlgren Chapel November 11.” Georgetown Magazine, Winter, 1990, page 6
  • “For the Love of Dahlgren.” Georgetown Magazine, spring/summer 1993, pages 23-24


Articles in The Washington Post (Available online)


The Washington Post provides surprisingly detailed coverage of happenings on campus, particularly in the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. It includes articles about Dahlgren Chapel’s construction, as well as about events held in the building. The Georgetown University Library offers digital access to the Post’s historic archives (scroll down and select that publication from the list) which cover the period 1877 through 1994. 

Find tips about effective searching given changes in the building’s name over time in the Georgetown College Journal section above. When searching, use the Advanced Search option and enter “Georgetown University” in one search box and the building name in another. The Sorted By dropdown list (on the left side of the screen) can be used to sort the results in chronological order or you can use the bar graph beneath it to limit results to a specific decade or even a year within a decade. Additionally, if you select article under the Document type link, you can eliminate obituaries from the search results and greatly reduce their number.

Note that off-campus access to the Post’s digital archives is limited to those who can authenticate via their GU netid. If you do not have a GU netid, you cannot access the Post archives off-campus. 


Articles in Woodstock Letters (Available online)


Woodstock College, a Jesuit Seminary in Maryland, and the Maryland Province of the Society circulated Woodstock Letters among Jesuits and their institutions between 1872 and 1969. The publication includes articles on events, institutions and people, as well as historical pieces. There is an index and this includes at least two references to Dahlgren Chapel. To find these references in the physical index, navigate to the Washington, D.C. section, then to the Georgetown University heading within that section and scan for references to the Chapel

Woodstock Letters has been made available online by the Jesuit Archives & Research Center. To access the index online, click on the Index document in the center of the screen - this is the first document shown under the introductory text on the  landing page. By clicking on the Index document, you will be able to access the entire index volume. Scroll through the pages or perform a control f search (hold down the control and f keys on your keyboard at the same time and enter a search term, "Dahlgren Chapel" in the search box which appears to the top left of your screen) to navigate to relevant references.

To move from the index to the articles being indexed, take note of the two numbers which appear after each topic in the index. The first number given is the volume number, the second is the page number within that volume. Navigate to a needed volume by selecting it from the list of volumes in blue on the left side of the landing page. You will automatically be taken to the cover page of that volume in the center of the screen - note that it will not necessarily be the top volume on the page but the one you are taken to. Click on the cover page to access the contents. You can use the control f search to navigate within the volume or use the page count box at the top left. You can also navigate to specific pages using the page count box at the top left - note that the page numbers given in that box are for the PDF document, include the cover page, and therefore do not exactly sync with the page numbers of the physical volume. You can see the physical page numbers at the top left of each page.

Physical volumes of the Woodstock Letters are available for use in the University Archives; request them via the Aeon request system - start with the index.


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