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Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus

Identifier: GTM-000119

Scope and Contents

**The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is currently being digitized, and has recently been reorganized. This finding aid represents the collection's new organization, and replaces the former finding aid (GTM119). If you need assistance locating materials using older citations, please contact staff at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.

Digital images of the material in the collection are viewable online as they are completed, and are linked to individual folders.

Please note that while the bulk of the collection will be accessible throughout the digitization project, select portions may be temporarily unavailable as we conduct this important work.**

Scope and Contents

The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus covers the period from 1630-2003; 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diaries and personal manuscript material from individual priests and prominent Catholic families, published and unpublished histories of the order, and materials formerly part of the Maryland Province Collection.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 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.**

Previous Citations

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 Zwinge, 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.


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: Records of the Maryland Mission

Series 6: Records 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 Overview

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.


  • 1630-2003


292 boxes (292 total boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers (201 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 53 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, 14 card catalog drawers))

Language of Materials

Multiple languages

Metadata Rights Declarations


The Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen retains ownership of the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. The core of the collection has been on deposit at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (BFCSC) at Georgetown University since 1977. Two additional deposits were made in 1992 and 2011. In 2018, the University and the Province signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This renewed the agreement placing the MPA on deposit, allowing the BFCSC to continue preserving these materials and making them available to researchers. The MOU also made provisions for additional, unspecified materials to be sent from the Province to the BFCSC. The MPA now also contains the materials of the Maryland Province Collection (1683-1970), a collection that had been comprised of items related to the Maryland Province that had been dispersed in various locations in the Georgetown University Archives.

A Detailed Provenance of the Maryland Province Archives is also available.

The previous online finding aid is available here as a PDF.

Access Guidelines for the Maryland Province Archives at Georgetown University Library

The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Access to the Archives is governed by the Maryland Province. 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 Maryland Province.

The Maryland Province Archives represents a crucial primary source for the study of the Society of Jesus from its arrival in the English colonies in 1634 through its expansion along the eastern seaboard, and, more broadly, for the study of Catholicism in America; the history and development of Georgetown University; and of particular significance and interest at the current time the Jesuits’ and Georgetown University’s connection to slavery, most notably the documentation of the 1838 sale of 272 slaves by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited Georgetown College (now Georgetown University). The Georgetown Slavery Archive, a project initiated by the Archives Subgroup of the University’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation, currently is digitizing and making available online relevant documents from the Maryland Province Archives and elsewhere.

Georgetown University Library and the Maryland Province are committed to providing access to the Maryland Province Archives to scholars, the public and especially to descendants of the Georgetown 272. To date, 71 linear feet of records of the Maryland Province, housed in 136 manuscript boxes, are processed and available for research. Descriptions of this material are available in this finding aid. 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 (

Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus
Cassandra N. Berman and Mary Beth Corrigan, Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2019-2022: This collection was re-processed from 2019-2022. New series, sub-series, and folders have been assigned, and materials have been rearranged. The description for each folder provides cross-references to the previous finding aid, enabling researchers to access materials using these older citations.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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