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Patrick F. Healy, SJ Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS57

Scope and Contents

The Patrick F. Healy, SJ Papers consist of diaries, academic notebooks, correspondence, photographs, newsclippings, and other personal papers written by or concerning Healy and his family. The materials cover the period from 1841-1983; the bulk of the materials date from 1877-1906.

The twelve diaries in the collection primarily record appointments. The correspondence consists of a single folder of materials written by Healy (1871-1903), as well as two folders of correspondence received by Healy (1853-1906). Personal records include vital, Church, and Jesuit membership documents. There is also a small amount of material about Healy's family, particularly his brother, Bishop James A. Healy. Family-related material includes photographs (images of Patrick Healy, as well as his brothers) and newsclippings (1900-1983). There is also a page in the earliest diary (1879-1880) titled “Family Record,” which lists the birth and death dates of Healy's parents, siblings, cousins, nephews, and nieces.


  • 1841 - 1983
  • Majority of material found within 1877 - 1906


Conditions Governing Access

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 All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the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

Patrick Francis Healy was born in 1834 near Macon, Georgia. His father, Michael Morris Healy, was a plantation owner and slaveholder; his mother, Eliza Smith, was enslaved by Healy. In 1829, Michael and Eliza entered a common law marriage to circumvent anti-miscegenation laws and subsequently had ten children, of which Patrick was the third. In terms of this racial background, neither Healy nor the Jesuits acknowledged that he was technically born enslaved.

Patrick Healy enrolled in Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1844, and after graduating entered the Jesuit novitiate in Frederick, Maryland in 1850. During the period of his formation as a Jesuit, he taught at Holy Cross, studied philosophy and theology at Georgetown, and lived and studied in Italy and Belgium, earning his Ph.D. in 1865. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1864 and took his final Jesuit vows in 1867.

In 1866, Healy returned to Georgetown to teach and then assume the role of Prefect of Studies. In 1873, Healy became the acting President of Georgetown College, then President in 1874. During his presidency, he worked to transform Georgetown into a modern university. He raised funds for, and oversaw the construction of, the building that would become Healy Hall; he expanded the curriculum, especially in relation to English and science; he strengthened graduation requirements and improved the professional schools; and he encouraged the formation of an Alumni Association.

Healy resigned from the presidency in 1882. He spent the next 30 years traveling and working as a parish priest in Portland (Maine), Providence, New York City, and Philadelphia. In 1908 he returned to Georgetown; he died two years later.


0.8 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Related Materials

For a guide to primary and secondary materials about Patrick Healy, as well as a timeline of his life, see the Patrick F. Healy LibGuide by University Archivist Lynn Conway.

Those interested in learning more about Patrick Healy and the Healy family, especially in relation to racial identity, should consult James O’Toole’s Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920 (2002) and Albert S. Foley, S.J.’s Dream of an Outcaste (1976).

Materials pertaining to Patrick Healy can also be found in several different collections within the Booth Family Center for Special Collections:


Francis A. Barnum, SJ papers, GTM-GAMMS56

Richard H. Clarke papers, GTM-GAMMS92b
  • Box 1, folder 6: Healy, Patrick F., S.J., Begins 05/09/1872

    includes one handwritten signed letter from Father Healy to Richard H. Clarke, mostly regarding Ancient American history with emphasis on Mexico. This includes references to L'Abbe de Bourbourg, John Peter Secchi, S.J., and Georgetown University

Joseph M. Finotti, SJ papers, GTM-GAMMS10 Jackson McElmell Papers, GTM-GAMMS241 John J. Ryan, SJ papers, GTM-GAMMS 047

Maryland Province Archives, GTM000119

University Archives:

Old Archives: Alumni Association, GTA000317
  • Box 1. This includes a circular letter from Father Healy about the projected constitution of the Alumni Society of Georgetown College, dated May 3, 1880
  • Box 2. This includes the text of a speech dated 1894 by an unidentified alumnus which references Father Healy
Old Archives: Buildings, GTA.000321
  • Box 2 contains Healy Hall files
Old Archives: College [No GTA number]
  • Box 1
Old Archives: Debate: Philodemic Society, GTA.000588
  • Boxes 6 and 7
Old Archives: Law School, GTA.000331
  • Box 1
Old Archives: Medical School, GTA.000293
  • Box 1
Old Archives: Students, GTA.000099
  • Box 1, folder 1 33-1., 1851, 1872-1948

    includes a note by Father Francis Barnum on students from St. Mary's County, Maryland, which references Father Healy's instinct always . . . to insult those who were his superiors socially

Commencement Files, GTA.GAMMS8
  • Box 2, folder 2

    includes Father Healy’s address at the 1878 Medical Department commencement

University Archives Photographic Collection, GTA.000109
  • Includes a small number of portraits of Father Healy and a number of early photographs of Healy Hall

Woodstock College:

Woodstock College Archives, WTL-761101
  • Box 110: IIF-168: Healy, Patrick F., S.J. - Two documents resigning property - Dated August 31, 1867

  • **The above list of materials at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections was created by University Archivist Lynn Conway.**

    Patrick F. Healy, SJ Papers
    Cassandra N. Berman
    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