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8. Papers of Catholic Families, 1630 - 1907


Scope and Contents

Series 8, Papers of Catholic Families, contains select records created by or pertaining to several prominent Catholic families in the mid-Atlantic region (the Brents, Brookes, Brownes, Carrolls, Fenwicks, Griffins, Neales, and Sewalls). These families were significant land and property owners, often operating their own plantations and interacting in different capacities with the Maryland Province, including bequeathing property to the Province. Several families, including the Carrols, Fenwicks, and Sewalls, were also slave owners. Materials in the series consist primarily of financial records (daybooks, account books, estate records, and property documents), correspondence, and deeds and indentures. Slave ownership is documented in the Fenwick, Carroll, and Sewall subseries in the form of deeds and other records pertaining to the purchase and sale of enslaved individuals, and account books and daybooks recording work performed by enslaved individuals, provisions for enslaved laborers, and more. James Carroll’s Daybook (1714-1721) is particularly significant, as it documents the financial transactions of the prominent planter-merchant and slaveholder who bequeathed to the Maryland Jesuits the land and enslaved property that became the White Marsh House and plantation, and the community of enslaved people who labored there.

Materials on Slavery

Some folders in this series contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.


Series 8 organized into eight subseries:

  • 8.1 Brent Family (1630-1842)
  • 8.2 Brooke Family (1732-1736)
  • 8.3 Browne Family (1800-1846)
  • 8.4 Carroll Family (1714-1721)
  • 8.5 Fenwick Family (1724-1865)
  • 8.6 Griffin Family (1701-1790)
  • 8.7 Neale Family (1786-1800)
  • 8.8 Sewall Family (1762-1907)

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 Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies.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.


  • 1630 - 1907

Conditions Governing Access

The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Access to the Archives is governed by the Maryland Province. 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 Maryland Province.

The Maryland Province Archives represents a crucial primary source for the study of the Society of Jesus from its arrival in the English colonies in 1634 through its expansion along the eastern seaboard, and, more broadly, for the study of Catholicism in America; the history and development of Georgetown University; and of particular significance and interest at the current time the Jesuits’ and Georgetown University’s connection to slavery, most notably the documentation of the 1838 sale of 272 slaves by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited Georgetown College (now Georgetown University). The Georgetown Slavery Archive, a project initiated by the Archives Subgroup of the University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation, currently is digitizing and making available online relevant documents from the Maryland Province Archives and elsewhere.

Georgetown University Library and the Maryland Province are committed to providing access to the Maryland Province Archives to scholars, the public and especially to descendants of the Georgetown 272. To date, 71 linear feet of records of the Maryland Province, housed in 136 manuscript boxes, are processed and available for research. Descriptions of this material are available in this finding aid. 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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: 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