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John Carroll, SJ Collection

Identifier: GTM-760101

Scope and Contents

The John Carroll, SJ Collection contains original and transcribed correspondence; two religious manuscripts; biographical notes and news clippings; and miscellaneous documents related to the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States and the first archbishop of Baltimore. Of note are transcriptions of letters exchanged with Fr. Charles Plowden in folders 1, 2, and 6.


  • 1770 - 1976


Conditions Governing Access

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 All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the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

John Carroll (1735-1815) was born in Upper Marlborough, Maryland, to Daniel and Eleanor Darnall. He was home-schooled by his mother and then sent to Bohemia Manor at the age of 12. He was subsequently educated at St. Omer (Spanish Netherlands) and then entered the Jesuit novitiate in nearby Watten in 1753. By 1755 he had started his philosophical and theological studies in Liege, being ordained in 1761 and taking his final vows in 1771. Carroll remained in Europe, teaching at St. Omer and in Liege, until the suppression of the Society in 1773 when he returned to his family's plantation in Maryland.

Back in the US he worked as a missionary in Maryland and Virginia, building a small chapel on his family land in 1774 called St. John the Evangelist. Alongside his cousin Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, and Benjamin Franklin he went to Canada in 1776 to garner support from the French population for the ongoing American Revolution at the behest of the Continental Congress. The diplomatic mission was a failure and Carroll then returned to Maryland where he performed ministerial duties during the war.

After independence the Vatican established the Apostolic Prefecture of the US with Carroll as its prefect apostolic; and, in 1789, Carroll was appointed bishop of Baltimore. That year he also became involved in establishing Georgetown College, St. Mary’s Seminary, and Mount St. Mary’s College. In 1808 the Diocese of Baltimore was elevated to the Archdiocese of Baltimore–the first archdiocese in the US–with Carroll as its first archbishop. He died in 1815.


0.4 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 January 2024.

John Carroll, SJ Collection
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