The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus covers the period from 1630-2004; 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 (MPA), it consists of the organizational records and papers 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). The records of the Provincial and Procurator who ensure that the missions and schools of the Province fulfill the goals of the Society as a whole comprise the bulk of the collection. In addition, the MPA contains key documents of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen (CRCC)--the legal entity formed in 1783 and chartered by Maryland in 1793--which is authorized to make property transactions and initiate lawsuits on behalf of the Province. The MPA also includes pastoral records of the houses (Jesuit communities) within the Province; diaries and personal manuscript material from individual priests and prominent Catholic families; published and unpublished histories of the order; and materials formerly part of the Maryland Province Collection.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 sale of approximately 300 enslaved people in 1838. 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.
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 the 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 after reprocessing between 2019 and 2022, including newly assigned series, sub-series, and folders. Each folder’s description in the current finding aid provides cross-references to its previous location (collection #, box #, and folder #) when applicable, enabling researchers to access materials using older citations.
For example, the number "119_1_1" indicates that the material was previously located in box 1, folder 1 of the main collection (119), while "119.1_1_1" means that the material was previously located in box 1, folder 1 of the addenda (119.1). Further, a previous citation such as "53_1_1" refers to box 1 folder 1 of what was known as the Maryland Province Collection (53).
Additional numbers (e.g., "100A1") refer to the item-level descriptions completed by Joseph Zwinge, SJ in the early twentieth century and correspond to a card in his card catalog that remains a part of this collection. Please note that materials that were added to the MPA more recently may not have had all of these citation numbers assigned to them.
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.
The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is 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 (email@example.com).
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.
308 boxes (212 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 58 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers )
This collection is arranged into 10 series.
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, Catalogs, and Guides
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 status of members; the rules and regulations of the Society and relations with the Jesuit Curia in Rome and local dioceses; the decisions to open or withdraw from missions, colleges, and preparatory schools; and financial transactions that supported the Province as a whole, including the operations of plantations in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Series 4 documents 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 5 includes rules and regulations related to the Maryland Mission and legal papers that address the relationship between the Jesuits and the colony as well as reports of Missionaries.
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 (including directories, catalogs, and news clippings) of the Province as well as legacy finding aids and catalogs representing the MPA.
The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is on deposit at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (BFCSC); the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen retains ownership of the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (GTM-000119). In the early twentieth century, Georgetown University archivists solicited deposits from the houses of Southern Maryland which later became part of the Maryland Province Collection (GTM-53). In 1977, the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen deposited the records of the Maryland Province which subsequently became the Archives of the Maryland Province (GTM-119). Additional deposits made in 1992 and 2011 were opened to researchers in 2017 and referred to as the MPA addenda (GTM-119.1). In 2018 the University and the Province signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which allows the BFCSC to continue preserving these materials and making them available to researchers. An additional deposit was made in 2023.
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository