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Thomas F. Mulledy, SJ Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS26

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of papers documenting the spiritual ministry and correspondence of Thomas Mulledy from the time of his entry in the Society of Jesus in 1815 until his death in 1860. The papers include sermons, 1829-1860; discourses, exercises, instructions, and lectures, 1834-1860; mass intentions, 1824-1860; and verses, 1817-1859. They also include two manuscripts: "Liber Manualis Sacerdotum" ("Priest's Manual"), 1815-1828, and "Vade Mecum" ("Go With Me"), 1815-1822.

Further, there are letters received by Mulledy, 1825-1847, and materials from his time in Italy, 1820-1828. Of special interest are three folders of letters from Special Visitor Peter Kenney, SJ, 1830-1841.

Materials on Slavery

This collection contain references to Jesuit slaveholding. Relevant materials have been noted on the series, subseries, and folder levels.


  • 1815 - 1860
  • Majority of material found within 1840 - 1860


Language of Materials

Multiple languages. A majority of the papers are in English with a smaller number in Latin; there are also a handful of documents that include French and Greek.

Conditions Governing Access

The Thomas F. Mulledy, SJ Papers are on deposit at Georgetown University and are 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 All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the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 (

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical Note

Thomas F. Mulledy, SJ (1794-1860; entered 1815; ordained 1825; fully-professed 1832).

Born the son of Irish immigrants in Romney, Virginia (Hampshire County, present-day West Virginia) on 12 August 1794, Thomas F. Mulledy was first educated at Georgetown College before entering the White Marsh novitiate in 1815. He eventually returned to Georgetown to pursue his scholastic studies as well as teach. By 1820 the Jesuit Superior General Luigi Fortis had selected Mulledy as one of several American scholasticates to study in Rome in order to lead the consolidation of the Society in the United States.

After he returned to the US in 1828, Mulledy helped Fr. Peter Kenney, the Special Visitor assigned by Jesuit Superior General Jan Roothan, prepare a report that evaluated the operations of Jesuit schools, churches, and plantations. As Rector of Georgetown College (1828-1837) and Consultor (1828-1837), Mulledy advocated that the Society sell the enslaved people who labored on the plantations to help finance the expansion of the newly-formed Maryland Province. Although this proposal divided the order, in 1836 Jesuit General Jan Roothan approved the sale. Soon after his appointment as Provincial in October 1837, Mulledy began to take steps to execute the plan. In June 1838, Mulledy arranged the sale of 272 men, women, and children to Jesse Batey, whose land holdings included a 2,800-acre estate in Maringouin, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, and Henry Johnson, a former governor of Louisiana and member of Congress. Mulledy personally went with Johnson and local sheriffs to gather the enslaved men, women, and children from four plantations and transport them to the ship in Alexandria that took them to Louisiana. Without authorization from the Society Mulledy used $24,000, most of the down payment for the sale, to reduce the debts of Georgetown College.

The controversy resulting from the spectacle of the sale, the separation of families, and the unauthorized appropriation of money to the College led Mulledy to resign his position as Provincial and to travel to Rome to meet personally with Roothan. The Superior General assigned Mulledy to work with the English-speaking community in Nice, France. By November 1843, Mulledy returned to the US to become the first president of Holy Cross College in Worcester (Mass.). Nearly two years later, in September 1845, he returned to Georgetown College and served as its Rector until August 1848. Thereafter, he was stationed in Philadelphia; Frederick (Mary.); Worcester (Mass.); Washington, DC; and Baltimore. He died at Georgetown on 20 July 1860.

For a chronology of his life, see the Milestones attached in External Documents below.


3.2 Cubic Feet (8 boxes)

Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was previously part of the University Archives (prior to 1970).

Processing Information

This collection was rehoused into acid-free boxes and folders in December 2023.

Thomas F. Mulledy, SJ Papers
Aleksandra Kinlen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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