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In 1789, John Carroll and the directors of a proposed "Academy at Georgetown" received the deed to the property on which they were already constructing a school building. Planning for the school had begun as early as 1783; fund-raising in 1786; construction in 1788; the building was completed and the instruction of students begun in 1791. This school was the first institution of higher learning opened under Roman Catholic auspices in the new republic; indeed, without the fruits of the American Revolution, the school would have been impossible, since under colonial law, Roman Catholics were forbidden to conduct schools or to celebrate the mass in public. The spirit of the revolution is also evident in the statement that the school "should be open to students of every religious profession", and the numbers of non-Catholic students and teachers have always been substantial.
Who were these men? John Carroll, the founder, was the son of a prominent Maryland merchant. His cousin Charles Carroll was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his brother Daniel signed the American Constitution. John had left America at the age of 14 in order to attend Catholic school on the continent. While there he decided to join the Society of Jesus. In time he was ordained and began a career as a teacher. Had not the Vatican abolished the Society of Jesus, Carroll would probably have lived out his life as a teacher and administrator in Jesuit schools in Europe. With the suppression, Carroll decided to return to America where he intended to serve as a simple country pastor, but it was not to be. First the Continental Congress asked him to join a diplomatic mission to Canada; later, with Independence won, Carroll developed an organization plan for the America clergy, who had been cut off from ecclesiastical authority by the Revolution. Carroll was named superior of the American mission and then the first American Roman Catholic Bishop.
The other directors of the Academy were also former members of the Society of Jesus, but many of the early faculty were members of the Sulpician order and refugees from the French Revolution. With the restoration of the Society of Jesus, the school passed fully under Jesuit auspices, and the long tradition of Jesuit liberal arts education has inspired our programs ever since.
Other traditions established in these early years include: - Internationalism: Our first printed prospectus was published in Spanish, French, and English, and many students came from the West Indies and the Iberian peninsula. -Public service: Over a hundred of our graduates have served in the American congress, including our very first student, William Gaston, who represented North Carolina in congress, and was later Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. A number of our alumni are members of the present congress, including Senators Patrick Leahy and George Mitchell. President William J. Clinton is a member of the class of 1968.
Growth of the School
With the full restoration of the Jesuits, it was decided to seek civil recognition for the school. William Gaston helped guide the Charter through Congress. It was passed and signed by President Madison March 1, 1815. The first Bachelor of Arts degrees were awarded in 1817. During the Civil War, the College all but closed, as troops occupied the campus and most students returned home to join the two armies. After the war, the colors Blue and Grey were adopted to symbolize the reunification of North and South.
Georgetown College gradually moved towards University status in the nineteenth century. Master's degrees were first awarded in the 1820's. The School of Medicine was founded in 1851, and the Law School in 1870. The University Hospital was established in 1898; the Dental School in 1901; the Nursing School in 1903. The international focus of the school received recognition in the establishment of the School of Foreign Service by Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., in 1919. The School of Languages and Linguistics and the Business School grew out of programs in the School of Foreign Service. Fr. Walsh later developed an international reputation as a student (and opponent) of totalitarian regimes of both the left and the right. He would serve on the Nuremberg Tribunal as an expert on geopolitics.
Georgetown has often been revitalized by refugees from the upheavals of the Old World. In the 1790's it was the French; in the 1840's and 1870's it was the Italians; and in the 1930's and 1940's it was the Germans. Particularly noteworthy are Professors Heinrich Rommen, Heinrich Kronstein, and Ernst Feilchenfeld. Among our alumni helping with the reconstruction of Germany were Major General George A. Horkan, who, as Chief Quartermaster of the European Command, directed the Berlin airlift.
Georgetown University has grown from a small academy into a modern university with 12,000 students coming from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries; indeed, we are the largest private enterprise operating within the Nation's capital. Our alumni are active in all phases of the life of the nation and the world. A representative sampling might include: President William J. Clinton; Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating; broadcast journalist Maria Shriver; Project Hope founder William Walsh; Tony-award winners Jack Hofsiss and John Guare, authors William Peter Blatty and Michael Dorris; AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland; NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and basketball star Patrick Ewing.
Jon K. Reynolds Luncheon remarks, Atlanta, Georgia April 26, 1996
We are gathered here to celebrate Georgetown, her alumni, the South, Atlanta, the Olympics, and last, though certainly not least, the Year of the Library, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of Lauinger, which some old timers still call the "new" library. This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the establishment of an organized library at our university, and yes, Dixie, it was a tough winter in them northern hills.
In this century, it has been easy to forget that Georgetown was, at its founding, a largely southern institution, and that Washington was, until very recently, a southern city. Our founders were all products of the Maryland plantation economy, and Georgetown was a tobacco port, located well south of the Mason Dixon Line.
In the early years, we did attract some students from the north east, but the bulk came from Maryland, with sizable representations from Louisiana, Georgia and other southern states.
Indeed, 925 Georgetown alumni served the confederacy, while 216 chose the union. Confederates included General Lewis Armistead, who led a brigade in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, and died with his hand on a union gun, at the so-called high water mark of the Confederacy.
Also Thomas Semmes, shown here on the right, of the class of '42 was elected to the Senate of the Southern Confederation, where he chaired the committee that designed the flag and great seal of the southern union. James Dougherty, on the left, of the class of 1857, a Pennsylvania Yankee in the Federal army, discovered a new use for a Georgetown education when he was taken captive by a unit of Stuart's cavalry. It turned out so many of the men were Hoyas, that they decided to let him go, thus possibly saving him a stay at Andersonville prison camp, also in Georgia.
On the other hand, I hope we will all be allowed to leave town peaceably, if I show this wonderful photo from the University collection...
...since it shows Sherman and his staff before Atlanta, and if I point out that General Sherman was actually a Hoya Dad - - his son Thomas of the class of 1874 eventually became a Jesuit AND Fr. Durkin wrote his biography. By the way, I am happy to report that Fr. Durkin is still doing well at the age of 93. He remains an avid user of the library, and still charges across the campus with a lighter step than the vast majority of our faculty.
We should also remember Patrick Healy, perhaps the most impressive Georgetown President of the nineteenth century, who was born on a plantation in Georgia. Since he was of mixed race, his parents sent him first to Quaker schools and then to Holy Cross College, where he decided to become a Jesuit. He would set Georgetown on the course of becoming a modern university.
Now we mustn't forget that the Olympic torch is on its way to Atlanta, and we will conclude with a small dose of history.
I can report that Georgetown has been involved with the Olympics throughout the modern era. In the 1890's, Georgetown was a hot bed of track and field activity. Olympic historians have told us that Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern games, actually visited Georgetown, but no record survives in the archives. Perhaps this visit inspired the formation of a Georgetown delegation to the 1900 Olympics, held in conjunction with the Paris International Exhibition. The university archives includes this copy of the official program brought back by sprinter Arthur Duffey.
Oddly enough, the word "Olympics" does not appear in the Program. Perhaps the French did not wish to detract from the concurrent military exhibition. The United States delegation included Team manager Charles J. Martell, Georgetown Law '99, Coach William Foley; sprinters Arthur Duffey, Edmund Minihan, and William Holland; and trainer Mace Montgomery, who was probably the first African-American involved in Georgetown athletics. He is shown on the right, with Theodore Woodward, groundskeeper.
This next photo shows the athletes and coaches with Fr. Whitney, and with Georgetown alum John Quinn, the great collector and patron of the arts, who once owned the manuscript of Ulysses, but who did not give it to our Library. One of the goals of the Library Associates is to make sure that no fish like that ever escapes our net again. Your help is solicited.
Arthur Duffey, who held the world record in the 100 yrd. dash at 9.6 seconds, was recognized as the premier sprinter of his day, but he fell during the Olympic final, and his injury kept him from competing in the 60 meter dash, which was then an Olympic event. E.J. Minihan finished fourth in the 60 meter dash. William Holland, a medical student, won the silver medal in the 400 meters. This unfortunately dim photo shows Holland winning his heat.
Financing international competition was no small feat at that time or any time, for that matter. And so the athletes held a Benefit performance featuring the mandolin club, which performed such snappy ditties as "Whistling Rufus" and "The Sweetest Dream of All." The university lawyer seems to have been the fundraising chairman, and the archives has his letter dunning the University President for a $100 contribution, as well as describing William Holland's attempts to find a political job that would require no work and only sporadic attendance, so that he might continue to train and keep up with his medical studies. The university's friends on Capitol Hill expressed much amusement at this notion, but apparently someone found him a job as a night watchman. Did he stay awake all night? ... deponent sayeth not.
Since that time over thirty hoyas have competed in the games, including champions such as Bob LeGendre, who won the bronze medal in the Pentathlon at the Paris Olympics in 1924. During the competition he broke the world record in the long jump at 25' 5 and 1/2". The Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1932, and Georgetown was represented by Leo Sexton, C'30, one of the legends of Georgetown track and field. In the 1932 Games, Sexton put the shot 52 and a half feet to capture the gold medal and at the time set an Olympic record.
It was not for twenty years that Georgetown placed another competitor in the Olympic games. However, we should note that had the war not caused the cancellation of the 1940 games, Al Blozis would have been a clear favorite to win the shot put. Al's fame was such that he was featured in an issue of True Comics, that we see here. Al died leading a squad in the battle of the Bulge.
Relatively few qualified for Olympic competition in the fifties and sixties. Charles Capozzoli, Business '53 competed in the 5,000 Meters at the Helsinki games. Crew Coach Tony Johnson earned a silver medal at the 1968 Olympic Games while he was coaching the varsity heavyweights at Georgetown. Jay Forster B'70 was the first Georgetown student-oarsman to row internationally, and was a reserve with the 1972 U.S. Rowing team during the Munich Olympics. Michael Vespoli, B'68 also competed in the 1972 games, rowing with the fours with coxswain. His team placed fifth in the finals.
Coach Thompson assisted Dean Smith in '76 and Coached the '88 squad along with Assistants Craig Esherick, Mike Riley, and Mary Fenlon. There are six one-time Hoyas in this photo.
The 1992 Olympic Games saw more Hoya competitors than any other Olympiad. The contingent included Patrick Ewing, who needs no introduction, trainer Lorry Michel, rower Kelley Jones, kayaker Alexandra Harbold, and track stars John Gregorek, John Trautman and Steve Holman.
Holman is one of fifteen track and field athletes competing in Olympic trials later this spring and summer, other strong candidates include: Kevin McMann in the hammer, and Joline Staeheli, NCAA indoor mile champ. and finally, Melissa Schwen has already qualified for the Olympic women's pairs rowing team.
We thank these athletes for representing us so very well.
And now, for a change of pace... As mentioned earlier, this is the year of the library, and these are revolutionary times for all branches of the information industry. One week we are told the internet will lead American commerce into the next century, the next that it is all hype. In between, the guardians of morality fantasize about somehow controlling it all, though even the KGB found control beyond their capacity during the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Our Special Collections Division is convinced that the World Wide Web, though still in its infancy, is the most important development in information delivery since movable type. And we have "put our effort where our mouth is", and developed one of the most advanced Special Collections Web sites on the internet. If the computer cooperates, I will show you where we are now, and where we hope to go in the very near future...
If you are reading this on your computer, you have found us, and in effect, are in the middle of the demonstration given in April. If you have come directly to this entry from a search engine, please visit the main page. The page features links to our Guide to Special Collections, links to over 200 finding aids, and links to articles about Georgetown and the library. We hope to implement a searching function in the near future, and we will be adding additional articles, on-line exhibitions, and a historical tour of the campus and Georgetown.
Thank you for your attention.
Header Image caption:
The S.S. Georgetown Victory
from Georgetown Magazine
For a comparatively small private school, Georgetown alumni have long engaged in a surprising diversity of activities. In military affairs, no less than politics and business, our alumni have compiled a remarkable record, and have turned up in the front lines in all our nation's struggles. Our second student, Charles Philemon Wederstrandt, joined the Navy, and served aboard the U.S.S. Constellation before resigning because of poor health. Though no longer on active duty, he led troops in the successful defense of Baltimore against the British in 1814.
U.S. Army Lieut. William Walker, of Mississippi and the class of 1841, was first to scale the fortifications at the Battle of Chapultepec in the Mexican War, and later lost an arm and a leg in the service of the Confederacy; nevertheless, at the end of the war he was still on active duty, serving as a Brigadier General in command of the Department of North Carolina. General Lewis Armistead, C.S.A., who attended preparatory classes in 1830-31 before entering West Point, was mortally wounded at the side of a union gun at the furthest advance of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, the so-called high-water mark of the Confederacy. Francis Preston Blair, of the class of 1836, rose to the rank of Major General in the Union forces and commanded the XV and XVII Corps in Sherman's march to the sea.
In this century, Dennis P. Dowd, Jr. C '08 enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and is thought to have been the first American to join the Allied forces in World War I. He was killed flying with the famous Lafayette Escadrille long before the United States entered the war. George A. Wolf, BSBA 1939, was lost aboard the U.S.S. Arizona in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first of 125 Georgetown men to lose their lives in the Second World War.
GU Victory in Sydney Harbor Entering Sydney Harbor
A curious footnote to this history is provided by the S.S. Georgetown Victory, which was among the last casualties of the Second World War. The 7000 ton Victory-class troopship was the 53rd in her class built at the Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyard at Baltimore, and launched April 28th, 1945. The Victory-class ships were an improvement on the famous Liberty ship design, providing greater tonnage, speed and comfort. After the war, many were converted to other purposes. For example, the Seton Hall Victory was converted for service as a radar ship during the Apollo program; the Notre Dame Victory became a Great Lakes bulk carrier; and the Vasser Victory became the Spanish liner Begoña. A few Victory ships were used by the military as late as the Viet-Nam conflict. Entering service near the end of the war, the Georgetown Victory and others like her, were given the happy task of transporting the troops for demobilization. Even so, the photo we have showing the ship leaving Sydney harbor for Glasgow, just a year after her launching, shows a battered and war-weary vessel; nonetheless, she must have seemed beautiful to the 1400 boys aboard, who were on their way home. Alas, she didn't complete the final voyage. On April 30, 1946, she ran aground off Killard Point, County Down, Ireland. All 1400 men were rescued by life boats and breeches buoy. The Illustrated London News noted that the ship was so close to land, that a number of men waded ashore through heavy oil and were cared for in nearby homes. The newspapers blamed heavy fog, but an authoritative history of the Victory ships says she was running at full speed on a fine clear evening. Undoubtedly, everyone aboard was anxious to reach port. In any case, by daybreak the next day, the vessel had broken her back on the ledge, and deteriorating weather conditions made her breakup seem imminent. Later, all remaining portable gear not already taken by looters was removed and the ship abandoned. Winter storms later separated the wreck into two parts. These sections were finally salvaged in 1951 and consigned to the ship-breakers at Troon.
University Archivist Jon Reynolds's earliest career objective was to write non-fiction that was both interesting and informative. We hope this column represents a return to these original purposes.
The rest of the story:
In late February, 1999, we were delighted to receive the following email:
Hi there Jon!
My name is Eddie Wright and I am from Swindon, England. My family have recently gone onto the Internet at home and I was browsing recently when I decided to look for information on the SS Georgetown Victory and was delighted to find your article. I was onboard the Georgetown Victory for her unfortunate last voyage and have pondered many times in past years what caused the grounding and eventual salvage of the ship
I served in the Fleet Air Arm and was in Sydney aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Perseus from December '45 carrying out 'ditching' operations of American 'Lease Lend' aircraft in the Pacific, many were new and unused! In March '46 many of us, as younger men were exchanged for Naval personnel in barracks who were due for demobbing before us. I was drafted to SS Georgetown Victory on 26th March '46 - leaving Sydney we headed for the UK calling in for water and fuel at Freemantle, Colombo and Aden via the Suez Canal.
On the night of the grounding events were something like this… by about 11.00pm on the 29th April, most of the navy personnel had kitbags packed and ready for disembarking at Glasgow the next morning. Most of us were settling down for sleep by that time - then there came a terrific crash and the ship stopped dead. All the main lights went out (emergency limited lights came on) and water was pouring through the air vents making us think we were going down. Kitbags and other loose baggage flew everywhere. There was of course a rush from all decks to get to the Upper deck, I can't remember now if if there were any loud speaker announcements or commands given.
On the upper deck we could see in the dimness that we had grounded and were right under the cliffs. Engines were put astern but failed to move us. No one left the ship at this time and we became aware after a hour or so that the tide was ebbing and we were going to be left almost high and dry.
With the sea level falling during the early hours of the morning the ship moaned and groaned as she started to break up. Water and steam pipes would suddenly burst and those who has settled back down on the lower decks would come rushing back up top.
Rescue started at about 5.00am, men were leaving the ship via scramble nets down into several small boats which took us the 50 metres or so to the rocky shore. We then headed up the cliff path where Irish farmers waited at the top to transport us to RAF coaches. We were taken to the local airfield for breakfast.
Later an Army convoy took us to Belfast Army barracks and at midnight on 30th April several hundred off us boarded an ordinary passenger steamer to Glasgow, our original destination.
From there we had 7 days survivor leave (normal RN practise) then I was demobbed back to civilian life after 3 years service.
I can confirm that the sea at the time of the grounding was flat calm and there was no mist!
Oh, by the way I expect by now that you may well be aware that in the photo of the SS Georgetown Victory under Sydney bridge, the ship is in fact entering the inner harbour and docks not leaving. The photo is taken from the North Shore looking across the harbour towards the city, the Opera House would be to the left of the picture on the city side. I was there again in December 1995 with my wife... what a beautiful city!!
Anyway, I hope my story hasn't been too boring, but may be of some interest to you. (My daughter has kindly typed this for me as I would have been here for weeks!)
Sincerely, Eddie Wright
The photos soon followed:
1. Yours truly, Eddie aboard HMS Perseus.
2. Dockside in Sydney, minutes before departure for the UK.
3. Passing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the last time.
4. Lifeboat drill during the voyage (Eddie extreme right).
Hard aground! - click for larger image
The newspaper cutting attached would seem to indicate that most of our belongings were lost, I don't think this was so. An official Naval salvage party was organised during the day. As an Air Mechanic (Air Frames) I personally only lost a good kit of tools which were due to be mine on demobilisation. I did make sure that presents from Australia such as silk stockings for my fiancee (who died in 1972 after nearly 25 years of marriage)and other items for my family left the ship with me down the scramble nets. These were contained in a fairly large suitcase which was rope lashed to my back. I wondered at the time If I would fall off the nets with the weight, but all was well. Oh! I must make this comment about the lifeboat drill photo, it probably cannot be seen that I and many others aboard hadn't shaved for days. The reason being that Georgetown Victory only carried freshwater for drinking and catering, other supplies were taken from the sea for personal washing etc. We were issued with salt water soap… try it some time!! You will know why shaving was an agonising chore!!! I hope the photos attached are OK for quality, in terms of their possible use. I think I have told you everything that may be of interest to you now. I look forward to hearing from you in future days.
Best regards, Eddie.
Needless to say, these letters and photos really made our day here in Special Collections. We are most grateful to Mr. Wright for sharing them with us.
Mr. Wright died in 2004. His widow, Mrs. Sheila Kingdon (formerly Wright), would be happy to hear from others interested in the Georgetown Victory at: email@example.com.
Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J., (1849 -1921) was, at various times, a world traveler, Alaska missionary, student of Inuit linguistics, and the first to attempt to manage the Georgetown University Archives. A man of rare wit and good humor, it was said that he was sometimes reassigned with the express purpose of cheering up the other community. The following vignettes show there was, at times, more than a little edge to his humor; perhaps the Provincial moved him before the sisters would have a chance to poison 'im.
--Jon Reynolds, University Archivist
When I was appointed Chaplain at the Connecticut Avenue convent, I found that the community consisted of the most moth-eaten mildewed bunch of sisters in the whole archdiocese, so I decided that for their own sake, they needed stirring up.
There was one old sister who was dreadfully slow and pokey so I named her Pocahontas and the name stuck to her ever after. Pocahontas would insist on serving my Mass, no matter what I said about the rubrics. I would order her to place the wine and water within reach and stay out of the sanctuary, but it did no good. One morning at the Lavabo, I handed the finger towel to her but she had her head bent down and did not see me, so I laid the towel gently on top of her head. She carried it there through the rest of the Mass to the great amusement of the other Sisters and the children. At the final blessing she bent her head and the towel fell off and gave her a great scare. After that, I had no more trouble with Pocahontas, for when she got over being mad, we became very friendly.
The Rock & Rye
One morning I happened to have a cold which caused me to cough several times during Mass. When I went down to breakfast, I found a wine glass of rock & rye by my plate. After breakfast I filled the little glass with coffee and went home. The serving sister thought I had not taken the cordial and was much astonished thereat, so she carried it back to the Mother Superior. There had just been an election in the Convent and the new Superior said "we cannot pour this back in the bottle and the best thing to do is to take it to Mother [the former Superior] for she is not feeling very well." The sister went off with the glass and said "Rev. Mother sends you this." The former Superior was very much surprised and said " Thank Mother for me, I will take a little now and the rest after Prime."
A few moments later a peremptory knock sounded on the door of the Superior's room, and in came the other who in a rather excited tone said, "Did you send me this?" The Mother said, "why yes." "And what did you send this for?" The Mother answered, "why I though it would do you good." A lively discussion arose between them before the fact was mentioned that it was only coffee. They then concluded that the serving sister had swiped the cordial and put in the coffee, so they sent for her and gave her a great dressing down. The poor sister denied all knowledge of the affair and spent the day in tears. There was no way of clearing up the mystery until my return next day.
The Presentation Cake
On the Rev. Mother's feast day, I picked out a nice round block of wood, and got the cook to cover it with icing, and ornament it with bon bons and flowers so that it looked exactly like a beautiful cake. Then I sent it down to the convent with the compliments of their Chaplain. (Note, the archivist's father played the same joke on our pastor, though using styrofoam, proving once again that great minds and mud run in the same channels.)
On the occasion of a great feast day at the convent, I went to our kitchen with a roll of raw cotton, which I made up into little balls, then dipping them into a batter I fried them a nice delicate brown. I then spread a napkin on a dish and piled up the fritters nicely and sprinkled them with sugar. I sent them to the Convent in time for their dinner. The nuns were delighted, the dish was placed on the dining table and passed along. Then came the grand climax as one nun after another started choking and pulling cotton from their mouth to the great amazement of those to whom the dish had not yet reached. It was along time before we heard the end of the famous fritters.
The Alaska Tar-paper Episode
Bro. Cunningham of the Alaskan mission was an expert axe man. Few could surpass him in erecting a log house. He built nearly all our houses in the Mission and seemed able to execute with the axe alone what an ordinary carpenter would require a chest of tools to accomplish. One time at Kozyrevski he needed a pair of pantaloons and the Sisters agreed to make them. There were two small rolls of cloth in the storehouse, one was fairly good and the other was the most common grade of shoddy. This was the one selected by Fr. Tosi, and it was brought in to our house. The next morning a little girl raced over from the convent saying that the Sister Superior had sent her for the cloth for Bro. C's pants. Now it happened that just about a half hour earlier the Sister who did the cooking had sent over for a roll of tar paper which she wanted to repair the kitchen roof. So in fun I gave the roll of tar paper to the little girl who had come for the cloth. In a few moments she was back with a note to Fr. Tosi from Sister Superior in which she said "that stuff was not fit for making pantaloons." If she had only mentioned that it was tar paper, there would not have been any joke. Now Fr. Tosi was aware that the Sister knew about the two rolls of cloth and he immediately concluded that she wanted the better grade, so he determined that she should not have it. He of course knew nothing about the roll of tar paper and so he sent back word that the stuff was plenty good enough and that she would have to use it for the pantaloons.
The poor Sister was now completely disconcerted and sent back a note saying "that it was absolutely impossible to use that stuff for pantaloons," failing again to mention that it was tar paper. This made Fr. Tosi very indignant over what he considered was obstinacy on the part of the Sister and so he started over to the Convent full of wrath. Just as he arrived there and was about to vent his indignation, the cook came in and seeing the roll of tar paper, she exclaimed that she had been waiting for it all the morning. This cleared up the mystery, but in the meantime I had put on all my furs and gone to the top of the hill back of the mission where I spent an hour or two in order to allow the authorities time to cool down.
University Archivist Jon Reynolds' older sister is a nun, and so he all but grew up in convents, and can attest that the sisters do indeed put up with a lot of grief.
Timelines: Georgetown Magazine by Jon K. Reynolds
The University Archives includes a few documents that are unsigned, untitled, and that over time have lost all indication of where and why they were created. Archivists call this a loss of provenance. One such stray is a remarkable document beginning: "The Revolution which has lately taken place in this Institution must have been attended with very unpleasant consequences." From the context, we believe it is the President's address to the students upon the resumption of studies after a student uprising. It provides an amusing glimpse of the oratorical style of the day, and a rare look at what our predecessors considered important:
The writer asks: Behold me then, in a double point of view, as a teacher and an adopted Father. The Principal duties of a Parent are that his Children be maintained and educated. As to maintenance, I am justified in saying that as far as I have seen, and heard from others, undoubtedly such of you, Gentlemen, as have been here in a former session must agree with me, that there are very few if even one boarding house in this section of the country equal to ours. Every step that quick sighted prudence could take in securing you a reasonable variety of salutary provisions, well aired rooms, in fact every thing conducive to health and comfort has been attended to. I freely promise you that a continuation of such comforts will be strongly and satisfactorily evidenced in the praiseworthy exertions of Mr. Turner, even by a kind anticipation of your reasonable wants. As to education. It may generally be defined as every preparation made in youth for the direction and regulation of future conduct. Man, poor weak man, if left dependent on himself would exhibit in his life a tissue of extravagant inconsistency; limited by the narrow circle of his senses, the powers of his mind lulled by the poisonous opiate of inaction, dragging on a beast like existence. It is education alone that brings him out of this state of sensual slavery, that chases away the clouds and darkness that rest on the horizon of his mind, that gives him elasticity, vigor and tone, that invests him with the power of Association serving as a vinculum to unite and nearly identify him with the men of past ages, that elevates him into dignity and by a regenerative process lends him the wings of Science that waft him into the region of Astronomy and introduce him to Nature's works and Nature's God. Young gentlemen, your Parents and Guardians truly sensible of the important advantages that flow from a liberal education have thought proper to send you here. It will be my incessant care, with the blessing of God to attend to your interests, to your progress literary and moral, in fact to every thing which will prepare you for worthy and useful members of Society. I am to expect that you never will lose sight of the sacred character of Gentlemen. When the bell summons you to table, be orderly in your conduct, wait for the arrival and precedence of your teacher. When you enter the Hall or refectory, sit down at the same time making as little noise as possible on the occasion and during the repast do not rise from the table until your fellow students have done. I beg leave to observe that nothing incapacitates a student so much for study as eating too heartily. Overloading the stomach besides its bestiality can never be a salutary practice. It brings on drowsiness, indigestion, and a concomitant train of unpleasant symptoms that vitiate the functions of that important organ, inducing if not premature death, at least the feelings of precocious old age. Sating too freely of butter or any such oleaginous substance is injurious to that organ, in as much as in many constitutions it greatly promotes the secretion of bile, affects the stomach and spreads its noxious effects to the teeth. Decayed teeth like a decayed body may be inherited yet it frequently happens that both are the effect of neglect and imprudence. You should pay particular attention to the former for independent of their contaminating the breath and rendering it offensive to those who are within its reach, they must be removed; their absence particularly of the front ones must render your pronunciation inarticulate. Such a defect would be a serious calamity to such of you young Gentlemen as Providence may mark out for public speakers. I would certainly caution you against the liberal use of animal food at supper. This repast, some of the Faculty will tell you, if freely indulged in cannot be salutary. I can speak from my knowledge of some very respectable French Families that supper is not considered a regular meal. When I say regular, I mean that you do not see the same number of dishes in point of quantity or quality that you do served up at breakfast or dinner. It chiefly consists of well dressed salad, some stewed fruit, apples, pears or grapes with light bread and wine or coffee. The repast is light indeed. The consequence is from their Philosophical temperance the French live to a fine old age. One of the Gentlemen Trustees will I am sure declare that he has seen in the public walks and Churches more instances of longevity one month in Paris, than he has probably for nearly his whole life in this land of Freedom.
This story was intended to be simply an amusing look at our past; unfortunately, the evidence has a nasty way of intruding on the wishes of historians, journalists, archivists, and even, I'm told, politicians. Just before press time, we discovered near the end of our document, (it was well after the funny bits) the writer begins to refer to "You young Virginians." Why would a Georgetown President address our students thus? We then begin to try to locate a record of the Mr. Turner mentioned, who was apparently in charge of room and board. No Turner has been found. Did we somehow come into a document originating at the University of Virginia? The writer seems to be speaking at a time when all save one American President had been born in Virginia, i.e. prior to the election of John Quincy Adams, but this would place the document prior to the arrival of students at Mr. Jefferson's academical village. Had the writer simply forgotten about the second Adams? or is it from William and Mary? Colleagues at both institutions are hot on the trail. Stay tuned...
University Archivist Jon Reynolds hasn't read Milton since he was a Sophomore at Georgetown.
From 1789 to 1836
We celebrated the bicentennial of Archbishop John Carroll's "academy" in 1989, for on January 23, 1789, Carroll and two others took title to the land on which the first building stood. Nonetheless, only in the late fall of 1791 did the first faculty and students assemble and instruction begin. In its first years the academy was seen as an institution primarily for Roman Catholics, and its growth was slow. Georgetown's third president, Louis Guillaume Valentin DuBourg, a Sulpician, later the first bishop of New Orleans and after that archbishop of Besançon, advertised Georgetown's willingness to accept students of other religious faiths and styled the school a "college." As might be expected, enrollment increased and the college began to prosper.
DuBourg, an exile from the revolutions of the early 1790s in what is now Haiti, was an educated and sophisticated man, and to him Georgetown owes the beginnings of its library. He brought with him from Baltimore in 1796 more than a hundred volumes, many of which were his own—others had belonged to a fellow Baltimore Sulpician. Many of these volumes still survive in the library. DuBourg's own books, chiefly French works in history and the classics, were well bound in calf by a good Parisian binder. But the third president also brought to Georgetown both the notion of a library and the firm intent to begin one for his school. A volume of Tacitus survives with a Latin notation in DuBourg's hand which translates as "For the use of Georgetown College," and it seems certain that it was he who had printed the earliest bookplates, which have space for the manual insertion of a shelf number as well as the printed mark of ownership: "Georgetown College." From the date of DuBourg's initiative we count the lifespan of the library, now just at the end of its second century.
Following DuBourg's abrupt--and generally unlamented--departure towards the end of 1798, the library languished for the better part of a decade. Undoubtedly, additions to it were made; but the description given in John Gilmary Shea's 1889 history of the university still seems applicable:
The library of the college was not very extensive, it must be confessed. It was all contained in one of the rooms of the old south building, opposite the present domestic chapel, and this room was occupied by Bishop Neale during his presidency. He slept there in a press-bed, which was unfolded every night and inclosed in its case every morning.
The library's first periods of rapid growth coincided with the presidencies of two other bookish men, Jesuits and good friends: Giovanni Antonio Grassi and Enoch Fenwick.
In 1812, Grassi became Georgetown's ninth president, and by early 1816 at the latest he construed his duties to include acting as librarian as well. Archbishop Carroll died in December 1815, just a few days before Grassi became an American citizen. Carroll's will provided for the sizable bequest to Grassi of 400 pounds sterling in 5% stock, with the flexible stipulation that Grassi could use the stock as an endowment fund, spending the interest on books for the college library, or dispose of the capital entirely "if he can employ it advantageously in the purchase of valuable works of real learning and utility suitable to the course of studies pursued in the College." Which course Grassi chose has not been discovered, but the library grew at an unprecedented rate during his tenure as president.
A second legacy from Carroll to Fenwick and Grassi was a carton of books and liturgical paraphernalia which was, at the time Carroll drew up his will, already on the way to him from a priest in Antwerp, Corneil Geerts. Geerts sent Carroll a letter listing some 35 books in the carton, mostly theological in content: that list survives, and from it we know that Geerts' copy of the Douai, 1653, edition of the Jesuit Paul Laymann's Theologia moralis (now in the Woodstock Library) is the self-same book that Grassi received and cataloged in May or June of 1816. Grassi's "cataloging" consisted of stamping the title page of the volume at hand with the familiar oval bookstamp used at the college until about 1868 and supplying the press letter and number by hand. If he created a parallel list of the books in a separate ledger, it has not survived.
Grassi supplemented his purchases for the library, amongst which was the second, quarto, edition of Diderot's Encyclopédie in 45 volumes, with gifts from a variety of sources. Geerts sent a second shipment of books direct to the college in April, 1817; the Jesuit rector of St. Peter's, New York, Pierre Malou, donated a number of valuable books between 1813 and 1819; a Jesuit at Frederick, Maryland, Francis Malevé, began giving books to the college; and at various times Enoch Fenwick gave a sizable number of volumes which bear his signature. When Grassi left Georgetown late in 1817 to return to Italy, the library must have numbered well over 5,000 volumes. It was, appropriately, topheavy in theology: the Jesuit novitiate established in 1806 was in the college. But there were substantial holdings in the classics, European history, education, foreign languages, and the sciences. The dislocations caused by the French Revolution had an impact, too: the collections included volumes whose bindings bore the arms of Louis XV of France and of his wife, Maria Leszczynska.
The library's growth continued through the presidencies of Enoch Fenwick (1820-1822) and the second term (1822-1825) of his brother (later bishop) Benedict Fenwick, the last non-Jesuit president of Georgetown. Books belonging to two Jesuits who died in 1823, Henry Verheyen and Francis Malevé, were added, but the number of volumes purchased seems to have increased as well during this time. By the fall of 1824 the collections had grown sufficiently large to merit the appointment of an official librarian, Georgetown's first: Thomas C. Levins (then still a Jesuit), professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. Levins' impact on the collections was small: he was almost immediately dismissed from the Society for insubordination, and in early 1825 he left Georgetown for New York. His place was filled for a year by William Feiner, but when Feiner became president of Georgetown in 1826, the library was turned over to James Van de Velde, later bishop of Natchez.
Sometime between 1826 and 1831 Van de Velde wrote out the first catalog of the library; his computations on the final leaf show a grand total of 11,150 volumes, and when the library was moved to commodious new quarters in the north building on February 16, 1831, it was reckoned to contain 12,000 volumes. He took his library work seriously, but it was not universally appreciated. James Curley, then a young Jesuit and later librarian in his turn, reminisced towards the end of his long life about
the beautiful appearance of the Library, books arranged by size, folios, quartos, octavos, &c. [but] a young man, named Van de Velde, took charge, and with new ideas, arranged the books by subjects—spoiling its beauty!
The quarrelsome Anne Royall visited the college about 1825 and noted that the library contained 9,000 volumes, but she was more impressed with a kitchen garden she thought "the finest in the country" that was to be seen from the library's windows.
The 1820s and early 1830s were good years for the library, the last it would see for some time. The collections rivalled any in the United States in size: Harvard's collection was larger; those at Yale and Brown similar to Georgetown's; everyone else trailed far behind. The makeup of these collections was much the same. The areas at Georgetown we would, looking back, identify as particularly weak--art and modern literature—were not strong elsewhere. Georgetown's collection was unique in this country only because its large theological and devotional component was Roman Catholic rather than Protestant.
In the 1820s, for the first time, gifts from non-Jesuits began to appear in some quantity. In 1821 Hyde de Neuville, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of France, presented a Chinese-French-Latin dictionary on behalf of his government, and later in the decade a sizable number of books, including some from the library of Thomas Jefferson, were donated by one of Jefferson's collateral descendants, Burwel S. Randolph. In the 1830s Susan Decatur gave books to the library, and on the Fourth of July, 1833, George Washington Parke Custis donated to the college the copy of the first edition of Mark Catesby's Natural History owned by his ancestor John Custis and later among the books that George and Martha Washington enjoyed at Mount Vernon.
The new library room of 1831 was fitted with a door painted by James Simpson in trompe-l'oeil style as shelves of imaginary books whimsically titled and ostensibly written by the Georgetown faculty; a portion of this door survives in the library today. An effort was made to create a dictionary catalog of the holdings, but it was never fully completed, and in 1836 the assignment of call numbers in the system instituted by Grassi was abandoned. Occasional lists of books acquired continued to be made until 1868, but no further real cataloging work would be undertaken until 1892.
From 1836 to 1889
Our knowledge of the college library in the 1840s derives largely from the quantitative analysis of the collections done in 1847 by the librarian, Joseph Maria Finotti (then still a Jesuit) who later compiled the Bibliotheca Catholica Americana (1872), the first bibliography of American Catholic publications. The emphases in the collection remained much the same as they had been a decade earlier, and for good reason: between 1831 and 1847 the library acquired only a little over 4,000 volumes. Setting aside one major acquisition, the gains came to fewer than 150 volumes per year. The collection that had been not only adequate but outstanding in 1831 was virtually out of date a decade and a half later.
The major acquisition was the library formed by Thomas C. Levins, so briefly Georgetown's first librarian. Levins' somewhat tempestuous career in New York from 1825 until his death in 1843 brought him into contact with booksellers such as Lorenzo da Ponte (author of The Barber of Seville) and Obadiah Rich, men who had widespread contacts with dealers in Europe, and who could satisfy Levins' collecting desires for incunabula, for important scientific and mathematical works, for first editions of Erasmus, for important editions of the Bible, and, above all, for books written by members of the Society of Jesus or against that Society from which Levins had been expelled. Many of Levins' most important books came from a sale of duplicates by the archepiscopal library of Mainz in the early 1830s. The careful catalog of Levins' library James Ward made shortly after it was unpacked at Georgetown in 1844 gives a total of 1,991 volumes, including eleven incunabula, among the first to enter the college's collections.
The establishment of the Georgetown College Observatory led to the development of the first "branch" library at the college. Under the dynamic leadership of James Curley, the Observatory solicited astronomical publications from observatories the world over, and Curley built up a substantial reference collection in positional astronomy, physics, mathematics, and navigation. Among its treasures was the copy of the first edition of Newton's Principia mathematica (1687) brought to America by the Jesuit missionary Henry Neale sometime before his death in 1748. By 1853 the legitimate claim could be made for an observatory collection of about 500 volumes. A substantial part of this early collection survives in the library today.
Georgetown began publishing annual college catalogs in 1850, and these provide regular reports on the state of the library for nearly ninety years. From 1880 until 1916 the catalogs include a quite detailed listing of donations to the library. The initial catalog makes the claim for a collection of 22,000 volumes, an increase of more than 5,500 from the total recorded just three years earlier. The 1853 catalog is much more specific:
The College possesses a select Library of twenty-four thousand volumes, amongst which there are many very curious and rare works. In the Library there are one hundred volumes printed between the years 1460 and 1520. There are three manuscripts written before the year 1400, and one written in 1620.
In that year still, among American colleges only Harvard, with more than 50,000 volumes, had a larger collection. By 1861 the claim was made for a collection of 30,000 volumes. These were not, certainly, all in the college library so understood. The numbers given include the collection at the observatory as well as those of the various student-developed and student-run society libraries.
The college library at this time, of course, like most American college libraries, was not open to the generality of students. These supplied their needs for reading, as did their colleagues in many other American colleges, by the formation of a wide range of literary societies. One of the main reasons for being of these societies was the building up of collections of books, and members were expected to donate volumes to the collections on a regular basis as well as pay dues that went for further purchases, binding, and repair work when necessary. Georgetown's first such society, the Philodemic, which still seeks to foster excellence in debate, was founded in 1830. Philodemic Society library records and a collection of catalog slips date from as early as 1836; towards 1850 it had a library of more than 700 volumes not including unbound pamphlets and speeches. The society libraries' collections varied according to the age group to which they catered, the academic pursuits which they sought to promote, and the relative affluence of their membership.
Georgetown's complement of societies included, besides the Philodemic, the Philonomosian (founded 1839); the Philhistorian (a history club, as the name suggests); the Reading Room Association (whose emphasis was on journals and newspapers); the Toner Scientific Circle; two Sodality groups (for older and younger students) whose main interest was in devotional works; and a short-lived Greek Academy, which died during the Civil War. The student members donated, and the societies purchased, volumes primarily of recent date and primarily in English: these were, after all, libraries for repeated student use and enjoyment. Taken together, they provided for their members a close approximation of the familiar "undergraduate library" of today. After the Civil War the societies' books were consolidated by stages into a single "Societies' Library" and this, renamed the Students' Library, was housed in the former college library rooms in 1889. A printed catalog of the principal holdings was issued at that time, listing some 3,000 titles. The Students' Library would survive as a separate unit until the first decade of the twentieth century.
The main college library continued to grow after the Civil War. In the years leading up to the college's centennial in 1889 the number of private donors seems not to have matched that of half a century earlier, but there were several significant additions to the collections. Just at the Civil War's commencement members of the Talbot family presented a number of worthy scientific and mathematical works as well as a few examples of fine printing of the eighteenth century. The acquisition of part of the library of English mathematician John Bonnycastle (1750-1821) added greatly to the strength of holdings in early mathematics, but neither the means of acquisition nor the precise date can now be established for certain. During the 1880s gifts rarely came to as many as 50 volumes a year. A notable exception came in 1884, when John McNally, a priest from Baltimore, donated about 1,000 volumes, including a substantial number of early publications relating to the French Revolution.
Up until the activity fostered by the centennial celebrations in 1889 the library retained its largely somnolent aspect, as a visitor just before 1880 later described:
… it is hard not to regret the old library—a spot of darkness and dust, a tangled garden, where one came upon a treasure unexpectedly among clumps of weeds and enjoyed it the more. … Father Sumner was not a man to hurry a visitor or to expect a systematic examination of the precious volumes. He was the ideal guide for a ramble among old books. One might dip into the stream—which is Lethe to a bookworm—without fear of boring him or being expected to talk.
The library was home to bookworms of another kind as well. John F. X. O'Conor, librarian from 1880 to 1882, was able to pursue at Georgetown, with the encouragement of its president, Patrick Healy, the field research which underlay his publication Facts About Bookworms (1898), in which one illustration is the title leaf of a particularly choice wormy specimen from the old Georgetown collection.
From 1889 to 1940
Early in 1889 E. Francis Riggs, as a memorial to his father, donated the funds to fit out the Healy Building's south pavilion as a modern and capacious library. The original room was designed for 105,000 volumes, more than twice the number to which the university laid claim. The new library—and perhaps incipient rivalry with the recently-founded Catholic University across town—led to very rapid growth in the library's collections, fueled not least by an outpouring of gifts not before paralleled in the library's history. The catalogs for the years 1890 to 1900 record donations far in excess of those of the previous ten years.
The 1891 catalog acknowledges gifts of 2,349 volumes exclusive of those presented by other institutions or government agencies: pride of place goes to the 601-volume rare book collection, consisting largely of literary works printed between 1484 and 1700, presented by alumnus Dr. W. Warrington Evans. An important manuscript gift was the diary of Bishop John England, given by Bishop John W. Murphy. The following year the number of books donated fell off by over half, but autograph letters of Archbishop Carroll and Bishop (now Saint) John Nepomucene Neumann were given, as were the crucially important John Mosley letters, the latter through the kindness of John Gilmary Shea's daughter Emma Isabel. Her sister, Elizabeth Shea, is acknowledged in the 1893 catalog as the donor of the bulk of her father's manuscript collection, the source of the Mosley letters given earlier by her sister.
John Gilmary Shea, the greatest American Catholic historian of his century, gave Georgetown only a few books in his own name. Towards the end of his life, however, he agreed to a bargain by which his library, claimed to include some 10,000 books and pamphlets and then virtually unmatched in the fields of Spanish and French exploration and the history of the Catholic Church in America, was transferred to the university through a complex scheme which required from Georgetown an investment, in part recoverable, of about a dollar per volume. Shea's death brought his books to Georgetown in 1892. They, together with purchases and the many other gifts, filled almost a third of the Riggs Library's available room for growth in the first three years after the original donor's gift was announced.
The flow of significant donations to the research collections was to continue unabated for many years as the library was directed from 1895 to 1922 by Henry J. Shandelle (his place being taken from 1899 to 1901 by the equally able Francis Barnum). Such donors as Msgr. James J. Chittick, William T. Connolly, Louisa Beauchamp Hughes, Daniel Lamson, the duc de Loubat, E. F. Riggs, and Joseph Smolinski gave, over a period of years, literally thousands of printed books and manuscripts. Two separate events which occurred early in Shandelle's tenure opened to the library another field of potential growth.
In 1898 the University Archives was formally organized, and in 1899 its collections were arranged in the vault and adjoining rooms in the lowest floor of the south pavilion of the Healy Building. To the archives were annexed the growing collection of early American church silver, vestments, and other items which donors had been presenting to the college museum for a dozen years. The catalog of 1909 announced the establishment of the Morgan Maryland Colonial History Endowment, thereby putting to use funds bequeathed by Ethelbert Carroll Morgan more than a decade earlier. The Maryland Colonial Library, with its own librarian, Edward I. Devitt, was housed in the room adjacent to the Archives vault. The university catalog included the following inducement for donors:
Old Maryland families who wish to safeguard for future generations their family papers and documents, find our archive room an appropriate and safe place of deposit.
In cooperation with Frank Barnum, who served off and on as University Archivist for nearly two decades, Devitt continued the solicitation of useful collections. A number of early books used by Jesuit missionaries in the eighteenth century began to trickle in from parishes and houses in southern Maryland. The Tilghman Family Papers were given shortly after the Maryland Colonial Library was formed, as were various other small groups of family papers. Approaches were made to others whose papers would arrive after Barnum and Devitt were both dead, though the Maryland Colonial Library as a serious collecting entity did not survive the loss of its first librarian. The catalog of 1921 gives a good idea of what Shandelle, Barnum, and Devitt had accomplished, however:
… files and cabinets contain approximately fifty thousand valuable papers and manuscripts. Chief among them are the papers relating to the foundation and growth of Georgetown College, the Sherman, the Duke of Gonzaga, and the Commodore Decatur papers, many Papal Bulls and Briefs, the original interpretations of Lord Baltimore's charter, signed by Christopher Milton, brother of the poet, autographed copies of Key's "Star-Spangled Banner" and Randall's "Maryland, My Maryland," etc.
Sometime before 1927 the library took possession of its first telephone, which was one of the first units installed on the main campus. Technological progress was one thing, but the period of rapid growth ushered in by the construction of the Riggs Library was over. Yet in 1934 the library received one of its most important acquisitions. The widow of New York financier Nicholas Brady presented, together with a large group of first editions of Johnson, Boswell, Keats, and Shelley two extraordinary manuscripts: the so-called "Crewe" manuscript of Sheridan's The School for Scandal and Mark Twain's autograph manuscript of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But the catalog for 1925 showed holdings of 173,795 volumes; that for 1935, 177,574, giving a net gain over the decade of just under 4,000 volumes. In fact, the Riggs Library was overcrowded in 1925, and one obvious solution, not only encouraged but enforced by the lean years of the Depression, was to slow the pace of acquisitions. Another was to change the emphasis in the overall collection away from the traditional humanities taught on the main campus.
The transfer of the youngest students to Georgetown Preparatory School in Garrett Park, Maryland, and the almost simultaneous founding of the School of Foreign Service, both in 1919, produced lasting changes in the library. The School of Foreign Service, with its own library staff, started and continued developing its own collection, housed first with the Law School Library and, after 1933, largely in the handsome Hirst Room in the Healy Building. At the time of the transfer the collection amounted to almost 20,000 volumes. These were not included in the totals given for the college library since the foreign service library was at the time an independent entity. The foreign service collection emphasized international relations, diplomacy, and related subjects; its librarian in the 1930s, Marlin S. Reichley, was quick to adopt the Library of Congress classification schedule which would only be taken up by the college library some time later.
In 1940 the library celebrated its "tercentenary," publishing in an edition of 200 copies a commemorative volume containing evaluative essays describing its medieval and literary manuscripts, its incunabula, its early Maryland Catholic books, and "the library and its work today." To achieve an age of 300 years, the history of the collections was extended back in time to include books supposed to have been in a collection at the grammar school started by a Jesuit brother, Ralph Crouch, at Newtown Manor in 1640. A collection of 195 such volumes, Catholic works printed in English on the Continent or secretly in England itself, was grouped together in a pair of handsome glass-fronted bookcases under the title "Refugee Literature" by Wilfrid Parsons, whose bibliography, Early Catholic Americana (1937), greatly extended the work compiled by Finotti 65 years earlier. The concluding section of the commemorative text by Phillips Temple, the first professional librarian in the college's history, contains a tribute to his Jesuit predecessor, Arthur A. O'Leary:
He guided the Library through its transitional phase from a secluded repository of books, especially old books, to its present status as an active force in the students' life, a center for the organization and dissemination of knowledge and information.
O'Leary, and Temple after him, expanded the physical size of the library, erected more shelves, arranged for the binding of journals, and reorganized the collections. The unifying link, however, which governed and necessitated the modernization of the library, was the card catalog: in it, all the books were for the first time "together," and through it access to Georgetown's holdings (or most of them) was open to the entire college community. Well into the 1950s, however, entering freshmen were introduced to, and encouraged to rely upon, the resources of the Library of Congress to supplement Georgetown's holdings.
From 1940 to 1996
Brought somewhat abruptly into the twentieth century, the library did not at once embark on a rapid collection-building program. Financial constraints in the 1940s and early 1950s prohibited this, and the emergence of another separate, specialized collection in connection with the Institute (later School) of Languages and Linguistics, founded in 1949, provided outside competition for already scanty resources. By the time this collection was amalgamated into Riggs Library in 1959 it numbered approximately 15,000 volumes, providing the basis for one of the library's great collection strengths today. In the mid-1950s the School of Foreign Service Library, too, ceased its separate existence, its last librarian, Madeline Evers, presiding over the amalgamation of its collections into the Riggs Library.
During this decade the system of "seminar libraries" also came to an end. These specialized collections aimed primarily at providing quick reference for students in various disciplines. Scientific collections were housed "adjacent to the respective laboratories." Others were housed in rooms in the Healy Building: an English seminar in the Southwell Room; history and political science in the Bellarmine Room; mathematics in the Secchi Room. And at one time some were located on the East Campus. Sooner or later, all were merged into Riggs. The process of consolidation continued into the early 1960s, when the departmental (seminar) libraries in the sciences and mathematics were brought together in the new Blommer Science Library in 1962, and the few remaining departmental collections reunited with the main library collection.
A 41-page self-study of the library was prepared for the Middle States accreditation visit in 1960, and this document provides the most accurate survey of the library up to that time. The collection, amounting to about 220,000 volumes, was fairly characterized by the accreditation team as insufficient to support the graduate teaching and research programs of the university, especially in the sciences. By the time accreditation came due again, in 1971, some of the worst defects had been corrected: construction of the Blommer Science Library was a help, but the major corrective was the opening of Lauinger Library in 1970 to house a collection grown in a decade from 220,000 to almost 450,000 volumes and a staff more than doubled in size. For the first time, Georgetown could truly lay claim to a university library as such.
In the quarter-century since 1970 growth of the collections has been dramatic. The acquisition of the library's millionth volume was celebrated in 1983, and the university library system as a whole celebrated the acquisition of its two-millionth volume in 1994. The main campus libraries can lay claim in 1996 to more than 1,480,000 monographs and journals; more than 872,000 microforms; and large and growing collections of audiovisual materials, photographs, and government documents. Holdings of the latter--nearly half a million items--have grown exponentially in the last two decades, since Georgetown became an official government documents depository. The card catalog is gone, its automated replacement familiar to all.
To a remarkable degree the growth in collection size can be attributed to the generosity of others. Those who have given Georgetown books and other materials in the past 26 years number in the hundreds; their gifts have ranged from a single volume to collections numbering more than 22,000 volumes. A typical year during this time has seen the influx of 20,000 to 30,000 gift volumes, and, while by no means all have been added to the collections, the number that has exceeds 300,000. An important focal point for gift solicitation and for collection building during this time has been the library's Special Collections Division, first organized shortly after the Lauinger building was opened for use.
The original holdings of the division included approximately 30,000 books, among them virtually all of the Shea library, much of the Levins library, and about half of the oldest college library collection, as later identified by its characteristic shelfmarks. Manuscripts included a number of small collections relating to the Panama Canal and the vast bulk of the McCarthy Historical Project Archive, then newly received. Among the earliest tasks to be completed were three retrievals: of Georgetown's copy of Shakespeare's First Folio from storage at the Folger Shakespeare Library; of the Robert F. Wagner Papers from an East Campus basement; and of the University Archives, which incorporated the manuscripts gathered by the Morgan Maryland Colonial Library, the Shea Papers, and other small collections of papers, from the basement of the Healy Building. The Viti collection on heraldry and the O'Connor collection on railroading were separated from the general library backlog, and in 1972 the first important purchase was made, the 2,000 volumes of the Riedel Collection, which included comprehensive holdings of the works of Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton.
To an even greater extent than for the general library collection, the growth of Georgetown's special collections is the result of gifts: not only gifts in kind, which have been preponderant, but gifts of funds as well, largely raised since 1975 under the auspices of the Library Associates. This generosity has made possible collections which today comprise nearly 100,000 rare books; nearly 700 separate manuscript collections which extend over more than 7,000 linear feet of shelving; extensive collections of fine prints, posters, original editorial cartoons, and other graphic arts containing more than 15,000 items; more than 300,000 photographs and slides; and more than 10,000 films, audiotapes, videotapes, and phonograph recordings.
This collection growth has been guided by a coherent policy of collection development. The Special Collections Division has operated under a written collection development policy since 1977. It collects actively in the fields treated as separate chapters in this volume: the history of the Society of Jesus; political science; diplomacy, international affairs, and intelligence, American history, including local history; European history; literature and linguistics; the visual and performing arts; and the arts of the book. The aim has been to bring together related collections in a limited number of fields so as to create in each a group of materials which reach the critical mass necessary to support advanced research.
The advent of automated systems and computer technology has vastly enlarged the potential use of the library's special collections by researchers at a distance from Georgetown. The retrospective conversion of rare book cataloging records is largely completed, and a beginning has been made in cutting into an uncataloged backlog of books running to some 40,000 titles. Processing by computer of manuscript collections and records in the University Archives has been routine since the early 1980s, and finding aids for several hundred collections and record groups have been linked in a single searchable database, which itself has become the basis for one of the largest special collections World Wide Web sites on the Internet.
As the library enters its third century, it is worth remembering these words from former librarian Joseph E. Jeffs' introduction to the second edition of this catalog:
It [the catalog] is intended, also, as an open invitation to our own students and faculty and scholars everywhere to come and use the materials described in these pages. They are not intended as museum pieces, but rather as the raw materials of original research.
In 1789, the separate education of men and women, and indeed the idea that women needed but few educational opportunities, was taken for granted. John Carroll thus did not need to specify that his academy was for the education of young men, and in modern times, the admission of women on the basis of full equality was considered a thoroughly revolutionary development. A group of golden jubilarians once told me that Fr. McDonough, our long-time Prefect of Discipline, simply didn't believe women had any place around the college, and so tried his best to make sure that his young men never encountered them. For their part, this group assured me they made it their mission to meet as many young women as possible. So much for the schemes of Jesuits. There were women on the campus even then, and there were in fact women involved with Georgetown from the very beginning. These sketches provide an introduction to this all but unknown story.
Eleanor Darnall Carroll
Eleanor Darnall Carroll, the mother of John Carroll, our founder, was one of the few women in colonial America to be given a formal education. For the Maryland Catholics, this meant convent schools in Flanders. Her influence clearly was vital throughout son John's entire life. Indeed, had she not lived well into her eighties at Forest Glen, now a subway stop on the Red Line, Carroll would not have returned to Maryland, and thus would not have had the occasion to establish our University. Nor would he have had the occasion to encourage Mother Seton to begin her educational work at Emmitsburg, or to approve the school at the Visitation convent in Georgetown. In the very first decade of our existence, Georgetown employed both lay men and lay women, but all we know about them is found in the payment schedules in the ledger books. Justane Douat was a woman of means who came here from Santo Domingo to serve as a nurse for the students. From her accounts we know that she attended the theater with then University President Fr. DuBourg and Bishop Flaget of Kentucky, and employed her own servants. That is about all we know about her, though there is one interesting unexplained line in her account: "to cash paid for the seal of the corporation." From this entry it appears she was donating the money to engrave the emblem that is now the seal of the university, but the accounting practices of the time were sufficiently irregular, that we can't really say for sure.
Susan Decatur, the widow of naval hero Stephen Decatur, lived in a cottage where the White-Gravenor building now stands. In addition to a number of mementos left to the university collection, Mrs. Decatur made several significant cash grants to the university in return for a life annuity. She then lived long enough to be one of the few people to actually make a decent living out of the university.
There were many other women whose hard work and support did much to build this place, from the women who ran the laundry that stood near the present site of Harbin, to the women whose donations built Dahlgren chapel, the two Ryan buildings, and much of the east campus. Also, we should remember that the Visitation Academy girls made the banner that marked the adoption of Blue and Gray as the official school colors, but still, they were not admitted as students. The Jesuits held the line.
Until recently, it was thought that the first women officially enrolled at Georgetown were the students of the nursing school, but a research request caused us to discover two women enrolled in the Medical School in the 1880-81 school year. Jeannette Sumner and Annie Rice transferred to the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia after that year, completed their medical education and established the first dispensary in Washington serving the needs of poor women and children; yet we have no idea how they came to be admitted or why they transferred. Still, they were definitely the first women to be enrolled at Georgetown.
Women have officially studied at Georgetown continuously since the founding of the Nursing school in 1904. In 1919, special arrangements were made to offer classes at Georgetown Visitation for nuns wishing to improve their education. During the 1930's women were admitted to the Hygienist program at the Dental School, and were admitted to regular graduate programs during the second world war. By 1952, women were admitted to all schools but the college, though on a very limited basis. By that time, there were 409 women on campus out of a total enrollment of just over 5000. The women of Georgetown have always been a very talented group. For example, the late Rita Lenihan, who was in the first group of women admitted to the graduate school, later commanded the women's naval forces; Mary Jo Bane, SFS '63, the first woman editor of the Foreign Service School Courier, is on leave from a Harvard Professorship to serve as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services; and Christine Niedermeier, C'73, L'77, the first woman to deliver the Cohongurotan oration, is running for Mayor (actually, the Connecticut title is "First Selectman") of Fairfield, Connecticut.
The first tentative recognition of the need for women's extracurricular activities came in 1952 with the establishment of the women's athletic association. Initially, the association was limited to nursing students, and the main activity was intramural basketball. Later field hockey, swimming, tennis, badminton, bowling and horseback riding were added, and local intercollegiate competition began in basketball and field hockey. In 1956, nurses Skippy White and Carol Bloise won spots on the men's sailing team and were the first Georgetown women to win varsity letters. Soon women were leaders in all aspects of student activities, and it remained only to breach the hallowed walls of the college. This was accomplished with only minor discomfiture in 1969. By 1976, Georgetown was more than 50% female, with 2642 women undergraduates enrolled. Though we may assume the battle of the sexes will remain a feature of human nature, and the full meaning of equality has yet to be realized, happily, equal educational opportunity is no longer a subject for debate at Georgetown.
Jon Reynolds University Archivist
Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J., (1849 -1921) was, at various times, a world traveler, Alaska missionary, student of Inuit linguistics, and the first to attempt to manage the Georgetown University Archives. Though we had a place called the archives as early as 1816, Barnum appears to be the first to systematically collect and arrange historical material in the archives; this he did in a strikingly modern manner, though his work was often interrupted by postings to other Jesuit communities. A man of rare wit and good humor, it was said that he was sometimes reassigned with the express purpose of cheering up the other community. Thus for the benefit of anyone suffering from mid-winter cabin fever, or a surfeit of term papers, we hope that a small dose of Barnum on the perils of research might bring a welcome smile.
Difficulty of the Native Language
On arriving in Alaska, the first thing the missionary has to do, is to learn the language of the district in which he is stationed. It is hard for those who are accustomed to the aid of grammars and dictionaries, to realize what trouble it is to acquire a strange idiom without any help. One would scarcely believe what an amount of patient investigation is necessary to obtain the various expressions, so as to feel sure of their exact meaning. Let us take an example. Suppose we are in a boat, you pick up an oar, point to it and say, "Cha" =what? The native whom you address, gazes placidly at you, and says; "Chuya-ugeeakoa," which means, " I would like some tobacco." You proceed to write in your note-book, Oar = Chuya-ugeeakoa; you feel that you have a start, and so you endeavor to obtain the verb. Therefore you row a few strokes, and then you "cha" again. Probably by this time, he is sulky at not receiving the desired chew, or he is somewhat suspicious over that mysterious proceeding of yours with the pencil, so he pays no further attention to you. If he is a very intelligent fellow, he will say "Thou hast been rowing." Splendid! down it goes in the note-book. You notice that there is no similarity between the two words; well, after all, there is none in English either. Next you point to one who is rowing near you and "cha." The answer comes, and it is in the dual, but down it goes as your "third singular." Now you brace for a mighty effort, the hardest of all, to obtain the first person singular. "How do you say, I row?" is what you express as clearly as you can. Thou rowest is the invariable replay. Or he may suppose you wish a friendly criticism on your stroke, and with native simplicity says, "Thou rowest very poorly." For the 1st plural you designate yourself and others, and the reply is, "Ye row." When you get to the third plural and point to all rowing, you promptly get the word, "We are tired of rowing." They wish to rest and to have something to eat. When you have made out your paradigm at the mission, it will run, in English, somewhat as follows:
Oar = I would like some tobacco.
1st person Sing. Thou rowest very poorly. 2nd person Sing. What do you want. 3rd person Sing. You are both rowing. 1st person Plur. Ye row. 2nd person Plur. Thou hast been rowing. 3rd person Plur. We are tired of rowing.
After this come the verification, which is far more difficult and slow. You soon find out by continual research and comparison, that there is evidently something wrong about that word for oar. Then you notice that on using the first person singular of your verb, that the person addressed appears neither interested nor flattered, so it must be wrong too, and thus the whole tense is laboriously reconstructed.
from: Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J. Life on the Alaska Mission Woodstock College Press, 1893.
Georgetown Magazine, September-October 1983 by Jon K. Reynolds
Therefore to this dog will I, Tenderly not scornfully, Render praise and favor.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The noble dog has shared man's adventures since prehistoric Times. His is thus a suitable figure to lead the Hoyas into athletic battle, exemplifying as he does the virtues of patience, stubborn courage, stamina, and loyalty. This is the story of Georgetown's canine collegians, be they blue blooded or blue collar, athletic or otherwise.
We don't really know how it began. We may assume there were dogs at Georgetown from the beginning. After all, the school ran a farm along the western edge of the campus until the twentieth century, and many of the students were rural in origin. However, as with so many facets of day-to-day life, there was no occasion to write about the dogs of Georgetown. They themselves did not keep diaries, and their expenses were not kept in detailed ledgers as were the student body's. As often happens, it took a breach of the peace to cause the first documentation referring to dogs at the College.
It seems that a terrier named "Rough And Ready" served as the guardian of the bakery and kitchen. There he ran off small boys bent on stealing pies and attempted to protect his territory from one Pompey Gavin, a large and apparently belligerent bulldog named for the college baker, the celebrated Brother Gavin. Pompey - "as bloody minded as his classic predecessor " -was determined to become top dog at the bakehouse. One fateful night in April 1862, matters came to a head. An epic dogfight ensued, and Rough was fatally injured.
The students decided to bring the miscreant to justice before a jury of his peers. They drew up a detailed indictment, which survives in the college archives. "Blocher" (a German shepherd, perhaps?) served as foreman (foredog?) of the jury. The verdict: guilty as charged. The sentence: banishment, in this case to the Georgetown Villa, which is now the McLean Gardens development on Wisconsin Avenue. According to the College Journal, Pompey was then poisoned by the Union soldiers occupying the villa. "He had been sent thither to protect the premises, and, emulating the example of the murdered Rough, fell a victim to his fidelity " - thus the dark and bloody ground of our early history.
Around the turn of the century, various dogs began to be associated with Georgetown athletics, at least on an informal basis. The first was an enormous canine of unspecified breed belonging to the Rev. William Carroll, S.J. Appropriately, this hound was said to delight in the name Hoya. Hoya, for reasons unknown, decided to adopt the Prep division football team. Unfortunately, he took the rivalry with the College team a bit too seriously, and was banished to Saint Thomas Manor in Charles County, Maryland, for biting halfbacks. It must have been an effective defensive tactic, at least. Richmond Jack, a contemporary of Hoya, was a purebred Russian wolfhound, born May 10, 1906. Though Richmond jack's pedigree remains in the archives, we have neither his job description nor obituary; thus his role at Georgetown must remain obscure.
In 1911, an otherwise unknown dog was called forth to meet the Virginia mascot (a pig) before the annual football game. According to the yearbook, our official mascot was a small boy. Was he sick that day? Or did someone decide that it was inappropriate to send a boy to do a dog's job? In any case, the unknown mascot led the Blue and Gray to victory, 9-0. It is evident from the single fuzzy photograph that survives in the University of Virginia archives that this otherwise unknown mascot numbered at least a few English bulldogs among his ancestors. This anonymous representative set a better example for the breed than did the brutal Pompey Gavin.
After the First World War, many veterans returned to the campus. Among them was one "Stubby", who was said to represent the breed Boston bull terrier in a rather general way. Stubby had joined the 102nd Infantry at Yale, where the division was in training, and accompanied them to the front as divisional mascot. After the war, he joined a colleague named J. Robert Conroy at the Georgetown University School of Law, where he served several terms as mascot to the football team. Between the halves, Stubby would nudge a football around the field, much to the delight of the crowd. This trick became a standard feature of the repertoire of Georgetown mascots throughout the twenties and thirties.
Stubby was followed by a succession of Boston bull terriers. The first and most famous was Hoya 1, who had been recruited from Green Bay, Wisconsin, by Paul Van Laanen (C'26). Hoya soon became a sidekick of the Rev. Vincent McDonough, S.J., who was prefect of discipline and moderator of athletics. ( The gymnasium is named in his honor.) While Father "Mac" kept his eye on the athletes, Hoya would work on his halftime routine. Al Philip Kane (C'28, L'32, GL'34) remembers that the spectators cheered as loudly for Hoya as they did for the team. Kane also points out that it was at this time that the newspapers began to refer to the team as "the Hoyas," rather than "Hilltoppers" or "the Blue and Gray." Pending further research, it does appear that the team was named for the dog, who was in turn named for the traditional cheer. Incidentally, Hoya was simply a nom de sport. His real name was "Jazz Bo."
The line of succession was interrupted by World War II. The mascot's mantle passed to a charming Great Dane named Coulson's Hoya, a.k.a. "Butch". Butch was originally the mascot of a group in the Army Training Program at Georgetown. He stayed on at the college when his master was sent to the Far East. Butch lent his presence, which was considerable, to many campus occasions in the years following the war. He seems to have been a remarkably cooperative canine and was a particular favorite of newspaper photographers. At various times the papers featured Butch with a birthday cake; Butch with pretty girls; Butch with the Georgetown cannon; Butch posing as a photographer. It is surprising they didn't dress him up in white tie and tails -it would have fitted the sort of personality that comes across in the photographs.
In 1947, Butch suffered one of the occupational hazards of collegiate mascots: he was kidnapped by a group of young "scholars" from Fordham. Happily, he was rescued by a group from Georgetown, including Neil McShane (B'50), Richard Kelley (B'50), Tom McHugh (B'50), and William Blatty (C'50, later of Exorcist fame). During the course of the rescue, they also managed to capture the new Fordham mascot, which was a ram whose horns had been clipped. According to the Washington Times-Herald, our intrepid quartet stopped at a veterinarian's office to confirm that the animal was in fact a ram. So much for a liberal education. Another clipping shows Butch greeting the Villanova mascot, then in the care of Blatty, Kelley, and Charles Bidwill (C'50), now President of Sportsman's Park Racetrack in Chicago.
After Butch's retirement, the mascot's title returned to the breed Boston bull terrier, though this time in the guise of a person in a dog costume. We do not know this mascot's name; in fact, the only evidence of his existence is two photographs and a brief appearance in a game film from the middle fifties.
The final chapter of our story begins in 1962, when a student committee led by Stan Samorajczyk set out to restore the tradition of a live mascot. After reviewing the available documents, the group decided that a purebred English bulldog would best exemplify the tenacious qualities of our heroes of the hardwood. The committee was equally tenacious. Since the administration did not wish to commit funds to the project, the committee raised money through dances, an exhibition basketball game, sale of stock certificates, and door-to-door solicitation. Incidentally, the basketball game was the least profitable of these endeavors. In spite of financial difficulties unbecoming to a dog of his position, "Jack I" served faithfully for four eventful years. He too suffered the indignity of a villainous kidnapping, this time at the hands of ruffians from Holy Cross. Jack retired in 1967 and was replaced by Jack II, a younger and more vigorous bulldog. He in turn was replaced by a student (Pat Sheehan, C'81) in the now familiar bulldog suit. Pat was succeeded by Lloyd Williams, who expects to graduate next year. During last year's basketball campaign, Lloyd was joined by "Rocky", a prize-winning bulldog owned by Michael Meyers ( D'58). Rocky (also a nom de sport) is expected to return for the upcoming season.
Unfortunately, space does not permit us to chronicle all the dogs of Georgetown. Before closing, however, we must salute "Duchess," who chose to make her home on the East Campus in the fifties; several generations of Observatory mascots, including "Max," who was banished for killing sheep on the Archbold estate; and the labrador who in the middle seventies taught most of the student body to play catch. Some of us thought he deserved a degree. Anyone with additional memoirs is invited to submit them to the University Archives.
Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. * -St. Bernard, ca. 1150 *Whoever loves me, let him also love my dog.
Jon K. Reynolds (C'65), University archivist, is a frequent contributor to Georgetown Magazine.
GeorgeTown College October 7th 1830
It is with great difficulty I can steal a few moments to pen these lines to you, and as my time as well as subject is limited I hope you will excuse the brevity of this...The cold north winds begin to warn us of the approach of his majesty old Jack Frost and of Christmas, also imagine to yourself only for a moment a darkum nitum, all starrorum, I mean by this very early in the morning, that I wake and proceed with slow steps you may be sure to the pump, for the sleep is not yet extracted from my eyes, to wash and then to go to hard study. I lay my head on it, you do not go through this up your way. I cannot complain of this because it is entirely at my own option. Papa was here lately to see us but did not stay long. He brought little Eddy with him and when he had got once into the carriage it was impossible to get him out of it, for if I attempted to move him he would "holler" so loud as to disturb the boys in studies.
We play football at present, what I mean by football is that it is a kind of leather bag in which is placed a bladder filled with air which causes it to bounce up very high and is kicked about by the boys. I have had my feet skinned and bruised by it very often. I am lame with one I have received today. Tell me in return all the news up your way, how you like your situation, how you go on in your studies, all these will be alike gratifying and amusing to me. Make a watch guard for me if you please, although I have not a watch at present, it is no sign that I never will have one. Excuse this bad writing as I am pressed for time, have a bad pen, and am surrounded with noise. Write to me soon, as I am very anxious to hear from you. All friends join with me in sending their best love to you - and believe me to be.
Your affectionate brother
John C. Brent
Miss Emily C. Brent St. Joseph's Valley Near Emmitsbourg, Maryland
John Carroll Brent was born in Washington July 25, 1814. He entered Georgetown in 1830, and was graduated in 1833. In addition to his football exploits, he was a charter member of the Philodemic Society, and the first reader in the then new Mulledy refectory. He practiced law in Washington, and his influence with Dr. Johnson Eliot is said to have led the founders of the Medical School to join Georgetown College. In 1843, he published the first biography of Archbishop John Carroll, our founder, and his great-uncle. He died in Washington February 10, 1876. According to his obituary in the College Journal, "Had he possessed more than a modest competence, he would doubtless have perpetuated his own name with it, by liberal gifts. He honored his Alma Mater, however, ny what she regards as of more worth than gifts, on the part of her children,—a spotless life." We trust he got his watch.
University Archivist Jon Reynolds always preferred basketball and golf because of the skinning and bruising mentioned by young Mr. Brent.