Case 6: The Academy becomes a College

43. Order of the Exercises [Commencement program, 1818] Printed by
W. Duffy, Georgetown, D.C.

44. [Charles Dinnies] A Parody on Gray's Elegy in a Country Church-yard. By
A Student of Geo.Town College [1818?]

The charter gave Georgetown the power to grant degrees. The first to complete the course were brothers Charles and George Dinnies of New York.

45. F.C. DeKrafft. Map of the City of Washington [Washington?] A. Rothwell, 1833

The annotations show the lots assigned Georgetown by the Commissioner of Public Land.

46. Martin S. Quigley. Origins and Mission of Two Early Land-grant Colleges:
Georgetown University and George Washington University. A research paper for the panel on historical perspectives on the public interest in higher education. Association for the study of higher education. Washington, D.C. March 5, 1980

47. Thomas Carbury and William Hickey to Martin Van Buren [retained copy]
June 4, 1840

After George Washington University, then called Columbian College, received a grant of land from Congress, friends of Georgetown successfully petitioned for a similar grant; however, the Commissioner of Public Land delayed the transfer for some years and then assigned scattered and virtually worthless lots to Georgetown. President Van Buren ignored this letter from friends of the college.

The Great Rebellion of 1850


There were at least three serious student rebellions at Georgetown before the Civil War. The most celebrated occurred just after the Christmas holiday of 1849. The story is best told in the words of Judge Robert Ray, who wrote about it almost fifty years later:

"I was in the "Ky Yi Yi" Rebellion, Father Ward was vice President, in the absence of Ryder the rebellion broke out, on account of the grub mostly as I recollect, after the matter went on for some days, we all in a body waited on Father Ward for the purpose of making known our grievances, and he as 'quict as tow and fire' wanted to know who was at the head of all this. Dominick O'Burnes of Ga spoke up and said we are all acting in concert, where upon a brake was made for the dormitory where we procured what clothes was on hand, and after smashing up things in general, about sixty of us left the College and went over to Washington, and took charge of the Globe Hotel, a third class house, & called to our aid several Senators, and Representatives from the states the boys were from, and asked them after laying our case before them, to open communication with the faculty...That was the first rebellion I was ever in, the second was the one between the North and the South, and I must say that I came out worse for the wear in both of them."
---Robert Ray to Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J.

48. Judge Robert Ray to Rev. Francis Barnum, S.J., March 1, 1889

49. Robert Ray. Silver albumen carte de visite [1860?]

50. A committee of the students. "A Card from the Students of Georgetown College"
February 2, 1850

51. The former students of Georgetown College to Rev. James Ward. S.J.,
January 16, 1850

52. [Rev. James Ward, S.J.] Silver albumen print by Byerly [1880?]

53. E. Sachse. Georgetown. Chromolithograph [1850?]



The Origins of Scientific Research at Georgetown

The Jesuit scientific tradition emphasized astronomical observations. Important research in this field was conducted at Georgetown beginning in the 1840's. As early as 1815, Congress had invited the faculty to determine the exact meridian of Georgetown. Though Frs. Grassi, Wallace and Baxter were sufficiently trained, the available instrumentation was inadequate. The measurements were completed in the 1840's by Fr. Curley, the founder of the observatory. Astronomical studies received added impetus with the arrival of the Italian refugee Jesuits Frs. Sestini and Secchi after the revolutions of 1848. Fr. Secchi is thought of as the father of astrophysics.


54. Rev. Benedict Sestini, S.J. Drawings of sun-spots taken during September and
October, 1850 from Georgetown College. Bound with lithographic copies of each published by Matthew F. Maury at the Naval Observatory, Washington

55. New Photo Art Co. Rev. James Curley, S.J. Silver albumen print [1886]

This photo was made in celebration of Fr. Curley's ninetieth birthday and sixtieth year at the College

56. Sarony and Major. Section of the Observatory from West to East [ 1841]

57. Georgetown College Observatory equipment. Silver albumen print [1880?]


The Civil War

58. "Quarters of the Sixty-ninth (Irish) Regiment New York State Militia, at Georgetown
College, D.C." Harper's Weekly,June 1861.

59. Petition to Rev. John Early, S.J., April 10, 1861

Ten members of the Philosophy Class petition to be allowed to return to their homes in the South.


Origins of the School of Medicine


60. Alexander Gardiner. Faculty of the Georgetown College Medical School [ 1867?]
Reduced copy from the original in the University Archives

61. Medical Department of Georgetown College [Prospectus] 1851

62. The new building of the Medical Department. Engraving [1889?]

63. Minutes of the Faculty, Medical Department of Georgetown College. 1849-1875


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