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1. Records of the Provincial, 1805-1981


Scope and Contents

Series 1, the Records of the Provincial, documents the formation of missions, Houses of Jesuit formation, colleges, and houses for the entire Maryland Province under its various iterations. During its existence between 1805 and 2020, the Province included the mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. There were periods when the Province also included missions in other northeastern states and foreign missions: New York, 1814-1818; Missouri, Mo., 1823-1833; Worcester, Ma., 1843-1921; Boston, 1847-1921; New York, 1879-1943; Jamaica, 1893-1928; and the Philippines, 1928-1943.

Series 1 includes the correspondence of the Provincial, documents related to membership, records of the Special Visitor sent from Rome that laid the groundwork for the foundation of the Maryland Province, and records of the Missouri Mission.

Materials on Slavery

Some folders in this series contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Some folders in this series contain documents addressing the Province's 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.


Series 1 is organized into the following subseries:

  • 1.1 Correspondence, Chronological, 1805-1883
  • 1.2 Correspondence, Superior General, 1759-1935
  • 1.3 Correspondence, Circular Letters, 1759-1942
  • 1.4 Correspondence, Subject, 1813-1988
  • 1.5 Correspondence, Correspondent, 1900-1971
  • 1.6 Membership, Final Vows, 1812-1951
  • 1.7 Membership, Vital Records, 1755-1869
  • 1.8 Special Visitor Peter Kenney, S.J., 1819-1900
  • 1.9 Missouri Mission, 1823-1859


Since 1805, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus - the leader of the order in Rome - has appointed Provincials to lead each of the order's geographic provinces, including each iteration of the Maryland Province: the Mission of the American Federation (1805-1833), the Maryland Province (1833-1879), the Maryland-New York Province (1879-1943), and the Maryland Province (1943-2020). By virtue of their office, these Provincials implemented the plans of the Jesuit Curia, recruited new members, implemented the rules and regulations of the Society, and oversaw the extension of the Province from the pre-Suppression missions established in Maryland and Pennsylvania into Missouri, New England, and New York.

Provincials balanced the evangelical mission of the Society with the financial realities of the Province. Provincials influenced the investment and disposal of properties owned by the Province, including the sale of 272 enslaved individuals in 1838, the maintenance of the plantations in Southern Maryland and Pennsylvania and their disposition during the twentieth century, and the acquisition of properties to build schools and parishes throughout the Province.

Provincials played an important role in mediating relationships with diocesan leaders, whose cooperation enabled them to establish schools and parishes. They also worked together when the Jesuits decided to withdraw from a church or school and transfer its operations to the Archdiocese. At times, these relationships placed Provincials at the center of conflict; this was especially true when the Most Reverend Ambrose Maréchal, Archbishop of Baltimore between 1817 and 1828, made diocesan claims to both the real estate and the enslaved individuals held at Bohemia and White Marsh, property the Society had considered its own.

Provincials bore chief responsibility for the recruitment and formation of members. They authorized the admission of novices and their advancement as coadjutors and scholastics. Provincials recommended to the Superior General members that should be invited to take their four vows and become fully-professed members of the Society. They also assigned members to missions within the Province and to pastoral roles (such as Superiors and Ministers of Houses) or teaching roles within preparatory schools, colleges, or Houses of Jesuit formation.

Provincials generally held their posts for two successive terms of three years; a single term typically signals a controversial tenure. If a Provincial died while in office, the rector of the lead academy in the province acted in his place until the Superior General named his successor. During the nineteenth century, this interim period could last for several months. Every Provincial worked with a Board of Consultors, an advisory body that typically included the Socius (an assistant or associate to the Provincial selected by the Superior General) and the Procurator (the bursar of the Province).

Folder Descriptions

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

Conditions Governing Access

Most materials dated 1900 and later have not been digitized. Materials dating 1900-1939 are available for research use at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. All materials dated 1940 and later are restricted.


  • 1805-1981

Superiors and Provincials

The following individuals served as Superiors and Provincials of the Province.

Superiors, Mission of the American Federation, Society of Jesus

  1. Robert Molyneux, from 27 June 1805
  2. Charles Neale, from 9 December 1808
  3. John Anthony Grassi, from 1 October 1812
  4. Anthony Kohlmann, from 11 September 1817
  5. Charles Neale, from 15 November 1821
  6. Francis Dzierozynski, from 13 August 1823

Superior and Special Visitor, Mission of Maryland, Society of Jesus

  1. Peter Kenney (Superior and Visitor) from 14 November 1830

Provincials, Maryland Province

  1. William McSherry, from 5 February 1833
  2. Thomas F. Mulledy, from 10 October 1837
  3. Francis Dzierozynski, from March 12, 1840
  4. James Ryder, from 14 September 1843
  5. Peter Verhaegen, from 4 January 1845
  6. Ignatius Brocard, from 26 January 1848
  7. Charles H. Stonestreet, from 15 August 1852
  8. Burchard Villiger, from 25 April 1858
  9. Angelus M. Paresce, from 19 April 1861
  10. Joseph E. Keller, from 15 August 1869
  11. Robert W. Brady, from 8 May 1877

Provincials, Maryland-New York Province

  1. Robert Fulton, from 28 May 1882
  2. Thomas J. Campbell, from 21 May 1888
  3. William Pardow, from 16 November 1893
  4. Edward I. Purbrick, from 14 March 1897
  5. Thomas J. Gannon, from January 1901
  6. Joseph Hanselman, from 25 March 1906
  7. Anthony J. Maas, from 4 October 1912
  8. Joseph Rockwell, from 31 July 1918
  9. Norbertus deBoynes, from 11 December 1919 (visiting Province)
  10. Laurence J. Kelly, from 23 June 1922
  11. Edward C. Phillips, from 12 September 1928
  12. Joseph Murphy, from 28 August 1935
  13. James P. Sweeney, from 7 October 1939

Provincials, Maryland Province

  1. Vincent L. Keelan, SJ, 1943-1947
  2. David Nugent, SJ, 1947-1951
  3. William F. Maloney, SJ, 1952-1958
  4. John M. Daley, SJ, 1959-1965
  5. Edward J. Sponga, SJ, 1965-1968
  6. James L. Connor, SJ, 1968-1973


From the Collection: 292 boxes (292 total boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers (201 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 53 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, 14 card catalog drawers))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057