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4.9 Newtown and Leonardtown (St. Mary's County, Md.), 1794 - 1982


Scope and Contents

The records in this subseries pertain to the Jesuit House in St. Mary’s County, Maryland that was first known as Newtown (founded in 1662) and then as Leonardtown (when it was relocated to the town of the same name in 1868). This subseries includes Litterae Annuae and Historia Domus; Newtown House financial records, Newtown House sacramental records, Newtown House correspondence; Saint Joseph’s Church minute book, pew rent book, and treasurer’s accounts; Sacred Heart Church Board of Trustees minutes; St. Aloysius Church subscription book for church improvements; St. Joseph’s and Immaculate Conception receipts and expense journal; St. Aloysius Church Announcement Books; St. John’s and St. Mary’s Chapel Announcement Books; Our Lady’s of Medley’s Neck Announcement Books; St. Francis Xavier Announcement books; newsclippings; photographs; archaeological survey; historical manuscripts. In addition, there are two marriage permits (April 27, 1854, and June 26, 1854) sanctioning the marriages of enslaved people at St. Aloysius Church.

Between 1662 and 1964, the Newtown House and Leonardtown House served as a center of pastoral activity for the northern and western portions of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Located on the neck of land bounded by the Potomac River on the south, Bretton’s Bay on the east, and St. Clement’s Bay, the Newtown residence originated in 1662 with the establishment of St. Francis Xavier Church. Only six years later, the Maryland missionaries purchased a nearby estate of 850 acres upon which they built the manor house. Their ministry included the Anglo-Irish merchant-planters, indentured servants, tenant farmers, and those enslaved by the Jesuits and their neighbors. In 1868, the Jesuits moved their residence to St. Aloysius Church in Leonardtown, the capital of St. Mary’s County. From that location, the Jesuits continued their ministry among both white and Black residents. The area was known for its rural poverty, and segregated parishes emerged, separating white and Black parishioners. Between 1958 and 1968, the Jesuits turned over their ministry of the churches served by the Leonardtown community to the Archdiocese of Washington.

For more information, see Background on the Houses at Newtown and Leonardtown and Superiors of Newtown-Leonardtown.

The following churches were served by the Jesuits at Newtown and Leonardtown:

- St. Francis Xavier Church (Compton, Md.), 1662-1967 (Seat of Newtown residence, 1662-1868)

- St. Aloysius Church (Leonardtown, Md.), 1766-1964 (Seat of Leonardtown residence, 1868-1964)

- Sacred Heart Church (Bushwood, Md.), 1755-1964 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1964)

- St. Joseph’s Church (Morganza, Md.), 1759-1966 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1966)

- Our Lady’s Medley’s Neck (Leonardtown, Md.), 1765-1964

- St. John’s Church (Hollywood, Md.), 1818-1961 (Alternate Name: Church of St. John Francis Regis, served from Great Mills residence, 1927-1961)

- Immaculate Conception Church (Mechanicsville, Md.), 1878-1966 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1966)

- Church of the Holy Angels (Bedlam Neck, Md.), 1902-1958 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1958)

- Chapel of Saint Mary’s (California, Md.), 1912-1955 (Served from Great Mills residence, 1927-1955)

If these churches are active, sacramental records may be available to genealogists by consulting the churches or their successors directly. Researchers also should consult the Archdiocese of Washington.

**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.**

Materials on Slavery

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

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.

Provenance and Arrangement

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Materials in this subseries are from the original MPA placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s, the MPA Addenda, and the Maryland Province Collection.


  • 1794 - 1982

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