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VIRGINIA M. KEELER PAPERS

This collection contains the research materials Virginia M. Keeler used in writing her Master's thesis, entitled "The Search for Freedom, and Freedom Found: The Life and Art of Brother Francis C. Schroen, S.J." Brother Schroen was the artist who, as one of his many assignments, painted the decorative artwork throughout Healy Hall on the campus of Georgetown University. Keeler, the longtime Secretary of the University, submitted her thesis on April 29, 1989 to the School for Continuing Education at Georgetown. In her project proposal, Keeler writes, "It would be the focus of my project to endeavor to collect on slides what survives of his work, and to explore his life."

The collection consists of Keeler's thesis plus various shorter manuscripts, incoming and outgoing correspondence, and research materials including printed articles, notes, photographs, a video, and slides. Correspondence was written to institutions and individuals in an attempt to gain more information about Brother Schroen and what still exists of his paintings. Some correspondence was written to and from the descendants of Brother Schroen. The printed articles are from newspapers and magazines with biographical information on Schroen. The photographs in the collection are snapshots of Schroen's existing work, most of them taken in the 1980s. The slides are from a slide show that Keeler put together into a presentation on Schroen's work and are largely made from the photographs also contained in the collection.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

Virginia "Ginny" Mary Keeler (1932-2004) began working as Secretary to the President of Georgetown University in 1953, the year she graduated from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania. In 1968 she took on the additional duties of Assistant Secretary of the University, and in 1974 she moved on to the post of Secretary of the University, a position she held until her retirement in 1997. Keeler received the Georgetown Vicennial Medal in 1973 and the Patrick Healy award in 1984. She earned her master's degree in liberal studies in 1990. Keeler died March 16, 2004 and is survived by a brother, William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, and a sister, Julia Keeler.

Brother Francis C. Schroen, S.J. (1857-1924) left Bavaria at age one and moved with his family to Baltimore. From a very early age, Schroen was drawn to the art of painting. This was to become his lifelong career and passion. In 1878 he married Mary Meldick and together the couple had three daughters, two of whom died as young children. After Margaret and Mary were taken by diphtheria, a third daughter was born and named Margaret Mary. Tragedy again struck Schroen's life when his wife died in 1890. Schroen entered the Frederick Jesuit novitiate in 1898 and the following year was invited to Georgetown University to decorate the interior rooms and halls of the Healy Building. He took his final vows as a Jesuit lay brother in 1909 and continued to carry out painting assignments in locations across the nation and world including Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Kingston, Jamaica. Brother Schroen died at Georgetown Hospital on August 9, 1924.

[Biographical Sources: Georgetown University Archives and printed articles from this collection]

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SERIES SYNOPSIS: The Virginia M. Keeler Papers are arranged into 3 series.

SERIES: 1. Manuscripts DESCRIPTION: Manuscripts written by Virginia M. Keeler.

SERIES: 2. Correspondence DESCRIPTION: Correspondence of Virginia M. Keeler, outgoing and incoming.

SERIES: 3. Research Materials DESCRIPTION: Research materials including printed articles, notes, photographs, slides, and a videotape.

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ABBREVIATIONS:

ALS - Autograph Letter Signed

AL - Autograph Letter

ACS - Autograph Card Signed

TLS - Typed Letter Signed

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ACCESSION DATA:

Status: Open

Photocopying: Permitted in accordance with copyright law.

Provenance: Donated by Julia Keeler, April 2004.

Processed by: Heidi Fetzer, June 2004.

BULK DATES: 1989 - 1990
SPAN DATES: 1985 - 1994

EXTENT: 2 boxes

SERIES


SERIES: 1. Manuscripts


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Manuscripts written by Virginia M. Keeler.

SERIES: 2. Correspondence


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Correspondence of Virginia M. Keeler, outgoing and incoming.

SERIES: 3. Research Materials


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Research materials including printed articles, notes, photographs, slides, and a videotape.

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