**The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is currently being re-processed and digitized. This new finding aid represents only the portion of the collection that has been fully reorganized. The finding aid will be updated in stages, by subseries, as this reprocessing work is completed. The previous finding aid is still accessible here. If you need assistance determining where materials are located, please contact staff at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.**
**Please note that while the bulk of the collection will be accessible throughout the re-processing and digitizing project, select portions may be temporarily unavailable as we conduct this important work.**
This collection is presently being digitized and is viewable online as it becomes available in DigitalGeorgetown.
Scope and Contents
The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus covers the period from 1634-1995; the bulk of the materials date from 1800-1875. The collection documents the establishment of the Jesuit order, and of the Catholic Church more broadly, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Also referred to as the Maryland Province Archives, or MPA, it consists of the organizational records of the Province in its various iterations: the Mission of Maryland (1634-1773), the Mission of the American Federation/Maryland (1814-1832), the Maryland Province (1833-1878, 1943-2020), and the Maryland-New York Province (1879-1943), as well as documentation from the Jesuit Suppression (1773-1814). In addition, the MPA contains records of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen (CRCC) - the legal entity formed in 1783, and chartered by the state of Maryland in 1793 - which is authorized to make property transactions and initiate lawsuits on behalf of the Province. The collection also contains diaries and personal manuscript material from individual priests and prominent Catholic families, published and unpublished histories of the order, and materials formerly part of the Maryland Province Collection. Of particular importance are materials that document Jesuit slave ownership and the Province's 1838 sale of 272 enslaved people. The series arrangement for the bulk of the MPA reflects the organizational structure of the Maryland Province, as established by The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.
Materials on Slavery
The MPA documents Jesuit slaveholding and Georgetown University’s own historical ties to the trade of enslaved individuals. Of particular importance are records pertaining to the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited Georgetown College (now Georgetown University). This collection also documents the role of the Jesuits in establishing the system of slavery in the colony of Maryland, the political and legal measures taken by the Jesuits to maintain their ownership of enslaved individuals, the role of enslaved laborers on the plantations that sustained Jesuit schools and missions, the numerous financial transactions involving enslaved peoples, and Jesuits attempts to convert enslaved and free Black people to Catholicism. This finding aid makes note of materials on slavery at the Series, Subseries, and Folder levels.
**Please note: Our objective is to make collection material related to slavery and enslaved people as accessible as possible to researchers. Researchers may, however, encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**
This finding aid reflects the MPA’s new arrangement, including newly assigned series, sub-series, and folders. Each folder’s description in the finding aid provides cross-references to its location in the previous finding aid, enabling researchers to access materials using older citations (e.g., **Former finding aid locations: 119_1_1; 100A1-100A10**.)
References to a folder’s previous location include the collection number, box number, and folder number. For example, the number "119_1_1" indicates that the material was previously located in Box 1, Folder 1 of the main collection (119). Additional number ranges refer to the item-level descriptions completed by Joseph Zwingé, S.J. in the early 20th century. Please note that materials that were added to the MPA more recently may not have had all of these citation numbers assigned to them; in such cases, cross-references may include only the previous collection number and box number - e.g., “53_1,” or Box 1 of addenda material (53). If you need assistance with locating materials using citations from the previous finding aid, please contact staff at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
Series 1: Records of the Provincial
Series 2: Records of the Procurator
Series 3: Records of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen
Series 4: Records of the Houses
Series 5: Papers of the Maryland Mission
Series 6: Papers of the Suppression and Restoration
Series 7: Papers of Individual Priests of the Maryland Province
Series 8: Papers of Catholic Families
Series 9: Province Documentation and Printed Works
Series 10: Legacy Finding Aids and Catalogs
Series 1-3 of the MPA relate to the governance of the Maryland Province and the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen. These records document the recruitment of members; the decisions to open or withdraw from missions, colleges, and preparatory schools; and financial transactions that supported the Province as a whole. Accordingly, these records reveal the Province’s geographic expansion and its relationship to the broader Catholic Church in North America.
Series 1, 2, 4, and 5 document the pastoral ministry of the Jesuits, centered on communities established at Jesuit Houses in Maryland and Pennsylvania. These Houses also operated as plantations that generated income derived from the agricultural labor of enslaved individuals.
Series 6 documents the papal suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773 and the subsequent restoration of the order in the early nineteenth century. Series 7 and 8 include the papers of individual priests and papers related to prominent Catholic families in the region. Series 9 and 10 contain documentation (such as newsclippings and directories) of the Province and legacy finding aids and catalogs representing the MPA.
Detailed information about the contents of each Series can be found in the individual Series descriptions.
Language of Materials
Multiple languages. While the majority of materials in the collection are in English, many are also in Latin (including official correspondence). Other languages include French, German, Italian, Polish, and Russian.