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William H. Duncan, SJ Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS52

Scope and Contents

The William H. Duncan, SJ Papers contain journals he maintained throughout his Jesuit vocation; financial ledgers regarding the estates of his father John and sister Margaret; and several pieces of correspondence. Of note are entries related to the sale of enslaved persons in Lowndes and Autauga, Alabama, in 1860 (folder 7).

Materials on Slavery

This collection contain references to slaveholding. Relevant materials have been noted on the folder level.


  • 1854 - 1894


Conditions Governing Access

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 All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the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

William H. Duncan, SJ (1835-1894) was born in Montgomery County, Alabama, to John (1796-1849) and Catherine Moffett Cryan Duncan (1807-1849) and attended Georgetown University beginning in 1849. After graduating in 1853 with a BA he studied law, but thereafter entered the seminary at Mount St. Mary's to become a secular priest (1860). He was ordained in 1862 and spent the next seven years working with the diocese in Mobile, Alabama, but in 1869 he decided to become a Jesuit and entered the novitiate at Frederick. After spending the second year of his probation at Woodstock, he was then transferred to St. Mary's (Boston) in 1871. There he succeeded Fr. Robert Brady as superior and stayed in that position until 1891, after which he became an assistant in charge of schools. He was appointed procurator at Georgetown University in 1893 and died there in 1894.


0.40 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



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 April 2024.

William H. Duncan, 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