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3. Records of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen, 1694-1956


Scope and Contents

Series 3, the Records of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen, documents the activity of the legal entity established in 1792 to protect Jesuit property interests in the Maryland region. The series includes minutes proceedings, by-laws, and Trustee lists from the meetings of the Corporation (1793-1956); legislative acts, property transfers, power of attorney documents, some Trustee correspondence, and the charter establishing the CRCC (1789-1918); and the wills of both Jesuits and those outside the community that documented the assets, properties, and bequests relevant of the Province (1694-1944). Subseries 3.2 also contains a letter addressed to Francis Neale, S.J., that considered the possibility of manumitting the enslaved individuals living at Bohemia (dated approximately 1817).

Series 1, the Records of the Provincial, and Series 2, the Records of the Procurator, provide more substantial documentation of the financial transactions of the CRCC.

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 3 is organized into the following subseries:

  • 3.1 Minutes and Proceedings, 1793-1956
  • 3.2 Legal Documents, 1789-1918
  • 3.3 Jesuit Wills, 1722-1944
  • 3.4 Non-Jesuit Wills, 1694-1917


The Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen (CRCC) was chartered by the state of Maryland in 1792 as the sole representative of the former Jesuits in the purchase and sale of real estate and capital investments. It enabled the former Jesuits to take advantage of the disestablishment of the Anglican Church and the corporate laws established by the newly-formed state of Maryland. The CRCC took ownership of real estate and enslaved people previously owned by individual Jesuits and their trustees.

The CRCC took over the principal function of the Select Body of Clergy to secure ownership of the plantations whose income had supported Jesuit missions during the colonial period. Established in 1783, the Select Body had provided governance to the ministry of former members of the Society of Jesus whose order had been suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773.

When it was chartered in 1792, the Trustees of the CRCC had sole authority to acquire real estate and initiate lawsuits on behalf of the Mission of the American Federation. They also accepted donations of real estate and other forms of capital, including properties bequeathed by members of the Province and by other benefactors. It defended itself against the claims made by Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal of Baltimore in 1818 that the Archdiocese owned Bohemia and White Marsh (including the people enslaved there). The settlement of the case led to the erosion of the Trustees’ authority, as the strict separation between temporal and spiritual affairs raised concerns in the Jesuit Curia. After the establishment of the Maryland Province, the Provincial appointed the Trustees effectively placing the CRCC under his authority; the Procurator served as Agent of the Corporation. The CRCC nonetheless retained its function as the Province’s financial investor and legal representative.

The CRCC’s ownership of enslaved people created conflicts within the Province. The CRCC acknowledged that plantation management required discretion in the sale, hiring out, discipline, and living conditions of enslaved individuals, but the CRCC exercised its authority to sell people, including the sale of 11 individuals from St. Inigoes in 1835, and the mass sale of approximately 300 people from St. Inigoes, White Marsh, Newtown, and St. Thomas Manor in 1838. The CRCC oversaw the proceeds from these sales, which it used to relieve themselves of the debts of Georgetown College, settle claims by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and expand work of the Maryland Province into the Northeast.

After the 1838 sale, the CRCC maintained its investment in commercial agriculture by renting out its lands to tenant farmers. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the Corporation oversaw a shift in investment strategy, moving away from commercial agriculture and towards urban real estate and capital markets. By 1970, the Corporation had divested the Province from most of its legacy properties. The Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen still exists as a legal body.

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.


  • 1694-1956

Conditions Governing Access

The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus. As stewards of the Archives, the Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections is responsible for managing access to the material based on policies set forth by the USA East Province. Researchers may view these materials in the Reading Room of the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. General policies for using Special Collections can be found here.

Access to the Archives is governed by the USA East Province and is subject to all Library and Special Collections policies and procedures in addition to the specific guidelines below. These guidelines are a summary of access policies; the Archives may include materials that fall outside the scope of these general guidelines. For information on access to specific materials, please contact the Special Collections staff.


1. All Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring before January 1, 1940, shall be open for review unless otherwise restricted, subject to Library policies and procedures.

2. All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the Provincial or someone designated by the Provincial.

3. Researchers may quote from the materials.

4. Researchers may take their own photographs of the material for scholarly and research purposes. Allowing photographs is not an authorization to publish or to deposit the material in another library or archive.

5. Written permission from the USA East Province is required for the publication of substantive portions of any material or publication-quality reproductions of any material.

6. Material not yet processed is not available to researchers; permission will not be granted to access any unprocessed material.

7. Audiovisual, microfilm and other material in the Archives, the original of which is held in another archive, may be consulted and transcribed only. Written permission from the archive holding the original material is required for any duplication, reproduction, or publication of that material.

8. Use the Permission Request Form to request permission (i) to access any restricted processed material or (ii) to publish reproductions or quote substantive portions of the material. Send the completed form by email to the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (


From the Collection: 308 boxes (212 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 58 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, plus 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