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J. Havens Richards, SJ Papers

Identifier: GTM-000010
The J. Havens Richards, SJ papers primarily concern Richards' presidency of Georgetown College from 1888 to 1898. Boxes 1 and 2 contain correspondence written to Richards, chiefly of a mundane nature. The second box contains correspondence to Richards from the Provincial, Father General and the Curia. The correspondence concerns plans for the University, relations with Catholic University, and reflects some of the concerns in education prevalent during the Americanist controversies. Boxes 3 and 4 contain notes and manuscripts of addresses, lectures and sermons from 1899 to 1923. The final boxes contain letter books kept by Richards between 1888 and 1900. Also included are three letter books (1888-1898) specifically containing correspondence from Richards to the Provincial, Father General, and other persons regarding confidential matters.


  • 1872 - 1930
  • Majority of material found within 1888 - 1898


5.75 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

J. Havens Richards was born November 8, 1851 in Columbus, Ohio. His father Henry Richards, an ordained Episcopalian minister, converted to Catholicism shortly after his son's birth. Havens attended Boston College where he showed marked interest and ability in the sciences, especially physics. He entered the Society after graduation, in 1872. Immediately following his third year probation in 1888, he was named the thirtieth president of Georgetown College.

Richards' term as president of Georgetown, which lasted until 189 was marked by significant accomplishments and disappointments. His attempts to mold Georgetown into a university were threatened by the creation of the Catholic University of America in 1888. Richards' plans to expand the College's graduate programs in law and medicine were in direct opposition to Rome's decisions to continue Georgetown's undergraduate programs while limiting the existence of graduate programs to Catholic University. Nevertheless, Richards succeeded in expanding the two schools, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The physical dimensions of the campus also grew with the completion of the Healy building and the construction of the law building, the hospital, and Dahlgren Chapel. After leaving Georgetown in 1898, Richards was stationed at Frederick, Los Gatos in California, Boston College, and Poughkeepsie in New York. He died in 1923.


In University Archives prior to 1970.
J. Havens Richards, SJ Papers
Margaret H. McAleer (Special Collections staff)
September 1982
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository