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James Curley, SJ Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS42

Scope and Contents

The James Curley, SJ Papers contain notebooks, journals, biographical notes, correspondence, photographs, and miscellaneous documents. Of note is a personal journal (1868-1889) and a journal for the Georgetown campus greenhouse and garden (1870-1889).


  • 1815 - 1893


Conditions Governing Access

The James Curley, 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 All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the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

James Curley, SJ (1796-1889) was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, coming to the US in 1817. He first worked as a bookkeeper and clerk in a Philadelphia grocery store before teaching mathematics at a county school in Frederick, Maryland. In 1826 he began studying Latin at Washington Seminary (now Gonzaga College High School) to prepare himself for priesthood and applied for admission to the Society when the school closed in 1827. From there he began his Jesuit formation, briefly teaching at the Frederick novitiate before taking first vows in 1829.

In 1831, Curley went to Georgetown and there taught a variety of subjects (e.g., astronomy, physics, chemistry, botany, and natural philosophy) until 1879, during which he was ordained (1833) and took his final vows (1841). Within this period he was also provincial consultor (1847-1850), socius (1850-1860), and instrumental in establishing the school’s greenhouse and observatory (1840s). He remained at Georgetown until his death in 1889.


0.7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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

Related Materials

Materials pertaining to James Curley, SJ and the Georgetown Observatory are also housed in the Georgetown College Observatory Collection

Processing Information

This collection was rehoused into acid-free boxes and folders in January 2024.

James Curley, 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