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R. Emmett Curran Papers

Identifier: GTM-180305

Scope and Contents

The papers of R. Emmett Curran, a longtime history professor at Georgetown University, consist of historical research material concerning two major topics: the history of Georgetown University and the history of the Catholic Church in America. The Georgetown University portion of the collection includes typed biographical files documenting faculty who taught at the college from 1789 to 1920 and students who attended the college from 1789 to 1955. The Georgetown University-related material includes research files, files on Maryland families, audio cassettes of interviews with university administrators, and rough drafts of Curran's three-volume "Bicentennial History of Georgetown University." The part of the collection dealing with American Catholic history contains rough drafts of books written by Curran and research files generated by him throughout his research.

The collection includes student and faculty databases, on floppy discs and printed out hard copies, compiled by Curran in conjunction with researching and writing his book, A History of Georgetown University.

Box 1 folder 1 contains a list of individual Georgetown faculty members from 1789-1920, with their school, years at Georgetown, status as Jesuit or not, and degrees. There are floppy disks with more detailed data about faculty, but it appears this data has never been printed out.

- To locate data on individual students who attended Georgetown from 1789-1955, follow these steps:

Search for the student's last name in the Student Comprehensive List (alphabetical) in box 1 folder 7 through box 1 folder 30. Next, determine the ID Number corresponding with the student on the right-hand side of the student's record. Then, go to the proper ID number from 1 to 11129 in boxes 6 through 12. Once you have the student's hard-copy worksheet, you can use the student codes in box 1 folders 5 and 6 to extrapolate data about the student, including last name, first name, father's last name, father's first name, mother's maiden name, mother's first name, father's occupation, home, state, nation/region, USA/area, urban/rural, birth year, gender, religion, etc.

For example, if you are searching for James Lycurgus Ord, go to the Student Comprehensive List for the letter "O" (box 1 folder 21). His ID Number on the right-hand side is 1441. That ID Number corresponds to box 6 (1-1600). Going to that box, Ord's data is listed.


  • 1789 - 2023


Conditions Governing Access

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 Note

R. Emmett Curran was born in 1936. He became a Jesuit of the Maryland Province in 1958, was ordained in 1968, and then left the Jesuit order in 1990s. From 1970 to 1972, Curran was a lecturer at Yale University, where he taught classes on religion in America and social reform. From 1972 to 2004, he served as a history professor at Georgetown University, teaching classes on 19th century U.S. history, the Civil War, and immigration.

Curran authored a three-volume history of Georgetown University titled "Bicentennial History of Georgetown University" (2010). He also wrote a number of books about Catholicism in America, including:

- "Michael Augustine Corrigan and the Shaping of Conservative Catholicism in America, 1878-1902" (1978).

- "American Jesuit Spirituality: The Maryland Tradition, 1634- 1900" (1988).

- "John Dooley's Civil War: An Irish-American's Journey in the First Virginia Infantry Regiment" (2012).

- "Captain Dooley's Last Campaign [a one-act play]."

- "Shaping American Catholicism: Maryland and New York, 1815-1915" (2012).

- "Papist Devils: Catholics in British America, 1574-1783" (2014).

- "Intestine Enemies: Catholics in Protestant America, 1605-1792, a Documentary History" (2017).

- "For Church and Confederacy: The Lynches of South Carolina" (2019).

- "American Catholics and the Quest for Equality in the Civil War Era" (2023).

[Source: Linkedin for R. Emmett Curran. Accessed 5/29/2024].


22.65 Cubic Feet (28 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations


This collection has been arranged into two series. There are also several sub-series beneath each series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of R. Emmett Curran, 2018, 2020, and 2023. The collection is comprised of the following accessions: GTM-180305, GTM-200112, and GTM-20230117.

Related Materials

R. Emmett Curran's papers compliment the extensive Georgetown University Archives, which document in great detail the lengthy history of Georgetown University.

Processing Information

The collection was rehoused into acid-free boxes and folders.

R. Emmett Curran Papers
Scott S. Taylor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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