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John C. Fitzpatrick papers

Identifier: GTM-810909

Collection level scope and contents note

The John C. Fitzpatrick Papers consist mainly of the correspondence, manuscripts, notes, and sketches of John Clement Fitzpatrick (1876 - 1940) together with genealogical material about the Fitzpatrick and Combs families, including clippings, family journals, and a large number of photographs. The genealogical portion of the collection was put together in part by Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Gerrety, the only child of John C. Fitzpatrick. Included in the collection are also sets of her correspondence, notes, and clippings. The papers comprise 3.5 linear feet, arranged in 7 boxes consisting of 73 folders.

The John C. Fitzpatrick Papers are organized into five series: the John C. Fitzpatrick Series, the Elizabeth F. Gerrety Series, the Fitzpatrick and Combs Families Series, the Photographs Series, and the Oversized Series.

The genealogical material about the Fitzpatrick and Combs families are of particular interest to those interested in the history of Washington, D.C. The papers of James N. Fitzpatrick are included, which contain letters from Gen. William T. Sherman and three letters from John Russell Young, famous American journalist and diplomat who indentures mainly showing the exchange and leasing of property by the Fitzpatrick and Combs families in the District of Columbia between 1804 and 1887. The photographs are among the most interesting series in the collection, reaching as far back as the 1850's and including shots of John C. and James N. Fitzpatrick, John Russell Young, James Harries Rogers, Gen. Anthony "Nuts" McAuliffe, Gen. John J. Pershing, and Richard M. Nixon during his Vice Presidency.


  • 1804-1980

Conditions Governing Access note

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.

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 notes

John Clement Fitzpatrick was born in Washington, D.C. on August 10, 1876 to James N. Fitzpatrick and Elizabeth Combs Fitzpatrick. James Fitzpatrick was an auditor for the House of the Senate and later worked in the Treasury Department. John Fitzpatrick began working for the Library of Congress in 1897 and worked as the Assistant Chief of the Manuscripts Division there from 1902 until 1928. In 1918 he received an A.M. from St. Mary's College in Pennsylvania, and later received an honorary L.H.D. from George Washington University in 1926 and an honorary D.Litt. from Washington & Lee University in 1932.

John C. Fitzpatrick's lifelong devotion and interest in George Washington led him to publish a vast amount on the nation's first president, including a biography, George Washington Himself (1933). Fitzpatrick also edited and compiled many collections held by the Lirbary of Congress for their publication including Washington's Expenses as Commander in Chief, Calendars of Washington Manuscripts, Correspondence with the Continental Congress, Correspondence with the Military, List of Early Washington Papers, Franklin Manuscripts, Vernon-Wagner Navy Papers, Autobiography of Martin Van Buren (1920), and the Diaries of George Washington (1925). In 1928 Fitzpatrick left the Library of Congress in order to head the George Washington Bicentennial Commission, organized by Congress to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Washington in 1932. Among the Commission's projects was the publication of the monumental Writings of Washington, which Fitzpatrick edited and compiled over twelve years. John C. Fitzpatrick died in February, 1940 while working on the 29th volume (of 40 projected volumes) of the Writings of Washington.

Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Gerrety was born in 1926 to John C. and Elizabeth Kelly Fitzpatrick in Washington, D.C. Her mother died when she was 8 years old, and upon the death of her father when she was 14, a student in high school at Immaculata Seminary in Washington, her guardian became Katherine F. Rogers, John Fitzpatrick's sister and the executor of his will. Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Gerrety graduated from Trinity College in Washington with a B.A. in 1948 and later worked at the Library of Congress, George Washington University and Georgetown University Library, the latter institution from which she retired in 198-.


4.90 Linear Feet (7 Hollinger Document Cases + 1 drop front (20x24"))

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joseph M. Gerrety, Jr.; Donald E. Gerrety; and Elizabeth F. Gerrety, 1981 and 1986.

John C. Fitzpatrick papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057