1874 Photograph Series: An Exhibit from the Georgetown University Archives
On two occasions in 1874, in April and in July, an unknown photographer under the direction of Librarian and Chaplain John S. Sumner, S.J., walked the Georgetown University grounds taking photographs. The resulting twenty-three images provide a fascinating and at times unrecognizable glimpse of a campus on which only seven buildings stood (the South Building, the North Building, McSherry, Gervase, Mulledy, Maguire, and the Observatory), surrounded by rolling fields and woods. Each photograph is accompanied by original captioning information; explanatory notes by the University Archivist are included for some.
Archivist's notes: the west side of Old North is seen across the Quandrangle to the right. The level of the Quadrangle was lowered - and the number of steps up to the Old North porch increased - in the early 1890s during the construction of Dahlgren Chapel. Maguire Hall was opened in 1854 to to house the "small boys," as the students of the prep division were known. Younger students remained on campus until 1919 when the Georgetown Preparatory School relocated to suburban Maryland
Archivist's note: the graveyard shown is the Jesuit Community Cemetery which was moved to this, its current, location in 1854. The move was required by the construction of Maguire Hall close to its original position. The site selected in 1854 was far from any building on campus as this image illustrates.
Archivist's note: the Walks, a series of connected paths around campus which were terraced and landscaped with trees, were laid down by Brother Joseph West in the 1820s. They became an important part of campus life, offering an escape from the restrictions of school discipline. Twentieth Century development on campus, beginning with the building of Copley and White-Gravenor Halls in the 1930s, encroached on the Walks and eventually obliterated them.
Archivist's note: this photograph was taken from close to the Observatory.
Note the bridge carrying the canal - schooners in port - the wide causeway to Analostan Island - the splendid gardens and tool house which are now ball field and tennis courts.
Archivist's notes: the Aqueduct Bridge was removed after Key Bridge opened in 1923 ; Analostan Island is now known as Roosevelt Island.
Archivist's notes: the first building on campus, the South Building, was also known as the Carroll Building after Georgetown's founder John Carroll. The South/Carroll Building was razed in 1904 and Ryan Hall stands on its site today. In 1881, Fort Whipple was redesignated Fort Myer in honor of Brigadier General Albert J. Myer.
The corner shows the steps to the present Maguire Building. College Wall, Mrs Southworth's cottage, and part of Georgetown.
Archivist's notes: the brick structure seen to the left is a handball court or alley. The playing of handball on campus dates back to 1812, when a court was constructed near the present location of Healy Hall. Games, contested by an even numbers of players, would last about twenty to thirty minutes.
Archivist's note: the level of the Quad which was lowered in the 1890s during the construction of Dahlgren Chapel. The small brick building to the left of the porch was the porter's lodge. It was later used as a barber's shop and then a lumber room before it was demolished.
Curated by Lynn Conway, University Archivist