The Crawford Family Papers contain primary source materials generated by a prominent nineteenth century Georgetown family, the Crawfords. Letters and writings of Richard R. Crawford, who served as mayor of Georgetown in the 1850s, shed light onto his term in that office, his legal career apart from his mayorship, and the community's politics. Crawford's lengthy manuscript letterbook containing letters he wrote in 1857 and 1858 to the Georgetown Board of Aldermen and Common Council is the most substantial item in this collection. A vivid letter to Richard from novelist and Georgetown homeowner E.D.E.N. Southworth is also noteworthy. In addition, numerous personal letters of Richard's brother William Crawford provide insight into the family's history. Throughout the papers, references to significant figures with Georgetown connections, such as Henry Addison, James Craik, Francis Scott Key, Robert Todd Lincoln, and Montgomery C. Meigs, abound. Moreover, some fascinating details of life in Georgetown are preserved in these documents including letters from the historic house "Evermay," checks from Georgetown's Farmers and Mechanics Bank, and a bill of sale for slaves sold by William Crawford in Washington, D.C. The documents in the Crawford Family Papers are arranged chronologically and span the dates from 1812 to 1896. They are contained in one archival box amounting to 0.5 linear feet of material. The Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division contains numerous local history collections. Other collections covering Georgetown history in the 1800s include the Stephen and Susan Decatur Papers, the Archives of Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, and the research files for the book "Black Georgetown Remembered" (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1991), among others. Of course, the Georgetown University Archives, housed in the Special Collections Division, document the history of the university from its founding in 1789 to the present. Finally, a number of rare books on Georgetown history are found in the Special Collections Division Rare Book Collection.
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Other Sources: The book "A Portrait of Old Georgetown" (Richmond, VA: Garrett & Massie, 1933) by Grace Dunlop Ecker was most helpful for identifying names of prominent figures mentioned in the Crawford Family Papers. Other books providing historical context include Richard Plummer Jackson's "The Chronicles of Georgetown, D.C. from 1751 to 1878" (Washington, D.C.: Polkinhorn, 1878), "Records of the Columbia Historical Society [Washington, D.C.]," Henry Ridgely Evans' "Old Georgetown On the Potomac: A Historical Sketch" (Washington, D.C., 1933), Sally Somervell Mackall's "Early Days of Washington" (Washington, D.C.: Neale, 1899).
Collection-level Access Restrictions
Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.