For the Record...200 Years of Collecting Georgetown's History
Introduction and Highlights
One of the oldest academic archives in the U.S., the Archives at Georgetown University was set up in 1816 to house the Title papers of the Corporation [of Roman Catholic Clergymen.] Over the decades, its mission has expanded. The Archives now actively acquires, preserves, organizes and encourages the use of records, regardless of medium, that document all aspects of the University’s rich history and traditions. Records are kept in the Archives not simply because they are old, have financial value, or display well. They are kept because they have research, historic, administrative or legal value to the University or because they have an “emotional” value in that they serve to connect alumni with both their personal Georgetown experiences and their part in the continuum of Georgetown history. Archives staff respond to approximately 1000 reference or research queries each year on the history of the University, its component parts, or people associated with it. These queries come from Georgetown administrators, faculty, students and alumni, as well as from external researchers such as scholars, writers, journalists, production companies and genealogists.
This exhibition focuses on four aspects of University history that are frequently researched: Georgetown's foundation and development as a school; its evolution as a home away from home for generations of students who have studied, lived, played, and engaged with issues and trends here; its expansion and transformation as a physical campus; and the activities and achievements of individual students both on campus and after leaving Georgetown. The items on display document only a small portion of the myriad research possibilities afforded by material housed in the Archives.
John Carroll's Proposals and his letter authorizing fund-raising for Georgetown are the oldest items in the University Archives. They constitute the first public notices of his proposed academy. The purpose of that academy is expressed in the opening line of the Proposals: to unite the Means of communicating Science with an effectual Provision for guarding and improving the Morals of Youth.
Carroll had begun planning an American Catholic college as early as 1783. He wanted to educate youth from Catholic families so that they could play an active role in shaping the new republic; he also wanted to create a pool of educated candidates for the priesthood. However, his intention was not to create an exclusively Catholic institution, and this is explicitly stated in the third paragraph of the Proposals: Agreeably to the liberal Principal of our [the U.S.] Constitution, this Seminary [in this context simply meaning school rather than theological college] will be open to Students of Every Religious Profession. The Proposals situate Georgetown, both the town and the soon to be founded college, in the state of Maryland as Washington, D.C. was not incorporated by Congress until 1802.
This, our first prospectus, was published towards the end of the tenure of Georgetown's third president, William Louis DuBourg, S.S. Georgetown did not publish a printed catalog until the 1851-1852 academic year. Prior to that, prospectuses were produced as a means of communicating the aims, curriculum, costs, and rules of the institution to parents of potential students. Through them, researchers can trace the development of the College in its early decades, including its choices in how best to market itself and its expansion as it became more financially stable and confident in its ability to survive and prosper.
The 1798 Prospectus was published in French and Spanish as well as in English. The use of these languages reflects the fact that Georgetown attracted international students, even in the 1790s. At this time, they mostly came from Caribbean countries and from Louisiana.
This is the only copy of the Spanish Prospectus known to have survived.
This oval emblem was created during the administration of Georgetown’s third president, William Louis DuBourg, S.S.
Georgetown University, then Georgetown College, adopted an official seal for the first time in 1844, after the institution was incorporated by an Act of Congress. The 1844 seal borrowed many design elements from the 1790s emblem. In the late 1880s the seal design was modified, and for the next 90 years or so it was typically rendered as round in shape and with far less detail. In 1977, Father DuBourg’s original oval emblem was adopted as the official Georgetown University seal.
Many researchers have drawn on the rich graphic and photographic resources preserved in the Archives. This image is the earliest portrait in the Archives collection. It portrays T. Meredith Jenkins, who died of yellow fever in Rio de Janeiro on April 11, 1850. Jenkins entered the Jesuit Order in 1834 after attending Georgetown College. An aspiring astronomer, he offered $8000 inherited from his mother to James Curley, S.J. in 1841, so Fr. Curley could begin building the Observatory he had planned for campus.
The daguerreotype photographic process was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre in 1839. It was primarily used for portraits. The daguerreotype was a polished copperplate onto which an image was directly exposed. With no negative created, each daguerreotype is unique.
This extraordinary collection is among the most recent donations to the Archives. Comprising over 160 items, its contents date from 1804 to 2010, almost the entirety of Georgetown’s existence. While photographs, newspaper articles and other printed items are included, the bulk of the collection is made up of letters or postcards between Georgetown students and their families and friends.
Letters from students are rare in the Archives because, although written on campus and wonderfully reflective of student life, they are mailed away and only come back to Georgetown if they are later identified and donated to us. This collection represents a concerted effort, over the course of a number of years, to locate and gather together examples of student letters so that they are available in the Archives for study. The letters supplement and enhance official records and paint a rich picture of activities and happenings on campus. The collection also includes items that speak to events and life in the wider Georgetown community.
Displayed here are three items from the Letters from Georgetown Collection that date from the 1860s.
Letter from student [George] Ernest Hamilton to his mother, Mary Emily Hawkins Hamilton, in Port Tobacco Maryland, November 11, 1865 (seen to the left)
. . . Oh Mama, you do not know how very very much I want to see you all. We have been here six long weeks, indeed I feel as if I had been here more than six months, indeed you do not know how very slow time passes up here a week up here semes as long as a month use to at home . . . sometimes I get to thinking about you all and I feel as if I would go crazy but as it cannot be helped I sopose I must make the best of it . . .
The plaintive, homesick note sounded by this letter, as well as the creative spelling and punctuation, are perhaps explained by Hamilton’s age (he was only 11.) He did, however, persevere, and “make the best” of his Georgetown experience, graduating from the College in 1872 and from the Law Department in 1874. He served as Law School Dean from 1900 to 1903 and from 1914-1943.
Envelope addressed to Darius C. Braughton, Washington, D.C., 147th Regt, Co. C., NYSV, postmarked Nov 21  (seen center)
As the penciled addition of the phrase "Collage Hospital, George-Town" indicates, this envelope was addressed to a Union soldier undergoing medical treatment on campus during the Civil War.
All of the College buildings except Old North were requisitioned to provide hospital accommodation on August 31, 1862, after the Second Battle of Bull Run. Georgetown College was able to continue in operation, although enrollment dropped as low as seventeen. Campus was not returned to the College’s control until February 1863.
Letter from Silas Townsend to his father, written at Trinity Hospital, Washington, D.C., August 6, 1862 (seen to the right)
Silas Townsend, a Union soldier with the 29th Massachusetts Infantry, fell ill during the spring of 1862 and was sent to the hospital set up in Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown by the federal government. He writes to his father in Middleborough, Massachusetts, giving a pessimistic assessment of his condition: I am no better I grow weaker every day and I tell the Doctor so and all he says is I must stur around must not lay a bed so much and I told him I hadent got streangth enough to stur around much and that was all he said and it was all he caired about me. If only I was at home I think I might stand some chance of getting well but I never shall get well as long as I stay here. On the third page Silas asks him, if you think best, to write to Capt. Tripp and tell him you will give him fifty dollars to get my discharge . . . if only I was to home I never would leave again.
Silas did survive his illness and secured a discharge from the infantry. He returned home in the fall of 1862 but did not stay there. He enlisted in the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry towards the end of 1863.
Georgetown as a School
De Mondésir was a member of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, a French religious order. He arrived in Baltimore from France in 1791. In late October of that year he was sent to Georgetown, where he was the first person to move into the South Building, then still under construction. His salary of 75 pounds sterling is recorded at the top of the right page. De Mondésir taught French, Greek, and philosophy at Georgetown until 1796 and returned to France in 1801.
Members of the Society of Saint-Sulpice or Sulpicians contributed much to the operation of Georgetown during its early years. There were no Jesuits when the school was founded, as the Society of Jesus had been suppressed by the Pope in 1773 and would not be not fully restored until 1814. Several early Georgetown teachers were Sulpicians as was Georgetown’s third president, William Louis DuBourg.
A small number of enslaved persons worked at Georgetown in the first decades of the College's operation, some owned by the Jesuit Order, others hired on a temporary basis from local slave holders, as this ledger entry reflects. Very little documentary evidence of them survives in the Archives, other than in financial records. In 1838, at the direction of Fr. Thomas Mulledy, S.J., who served as Georgetown President from 1829 to 1838 and from 1845 to 1848 and as Maryland Provincial from 1837 to 1839, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus sold 272 enslaved persons. Proceeds from that sale were applied to crippling building debts that Georgetown College had incurred.
In September 2015, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia charged a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the Jesuit Community, to provide advice and recommendations on how best to acknowledge and recognize Georgetown’s historical relationship with the institution of slavery.
A native of the French colony of Saint Domingue [which we know today as Haiti], Father DuBourg came to the U.S. via France. He was appointed President in October 1796, at age 30. To this day, he is the youngest person to have assumed that role. He was intent on moving beyond the struggles of raising money and recruiting faculty, which had characterized Georgetown's early years, and on transforming the school into an elite college. As well as producing Georgetown’s first prospectus*, significantly increasing the faculty size by hiring 16 new teachers, enlarging the curriculum by adding classes in history, moral philosophy, music, dancing and drawing, and mandating uniforms for students (blue coats with red waistcoats for Sundays and special occasions), he adopted an emblem* or seal for the College. The Georgetown University seal draws heavily on the design of this emblem.
*President DuBourg's prospectus and the copper printing plate for his College emblem can be seen in the Spotlight exhibition case
In March 1815, Georgetown received a federal charter allowing it to award degrees for the first time. Two brothers from New York, Charles and George Dinnies, received Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1817 and became the College's first graduates.
John Carroll had initially decided not to seek a charter for his school. For a school within the District of Columbia, such a charter would have to be granted by Congress and Carroll did not feel that Georgetown was strong enough or had enough friends in Congress to pursue one. By the end of 1814, however, the Society of Jesus had been fully restored, William Gaston (Georgetown's first student) had been elected to Congress, the children of several senators were enrolled at Georgetown, and James Madison, known to be supportive of the rights of religious minorities, particularly Catholics, was U.S. President. Based on these factors, Archbishop Carroll and Georgetown President Giovanni Grassi, S.J., asked Gaston to introduce a bill chartering the College.
Paragraph two: The course of ordinary studies is completed in six years ; at the completion of which, if the scholar have made sufficient proficiency, he may receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts. If he remain longer and study the higher branches of Mathematics and Philosophy, he may take the degree of Master of Arts, if success in his examinations entitle him to it.
Georgetown's first master’s degree was awarded in 1821, although the beginnings of graduate work at Georgetown can be traced to the 1817-1818 academic year when Charles and George Dinnies, the first graduates, undertook postgraduate work in mathematics and philosophy.
This is not the first time I have animadverted on what is now called the Second Class of Grammar. It seems as if almost all the indolence of the College were concentrated on this one Focus. Wrong concordance and Barbarisms, misinterpretations and Solycisms [sic] were continually given us, when we asked an account of the ordinary parts of Speech. I am tired of warning the students of this Class and I must therefore say that S. Gold [Samuel O. Gould], [John] Ettershanks, Cormic [Michael Louis Cormick] and W. Hurtie [William Herty] are condemned to the usual punishment of second examine and during the ensuing vacation, must spend each day two hours of solitary study extraordinary. Theodore Jenkins* did himself much credit, and proves that evil communication does not always corrupt good manners.
Much of what we know about early teaching at Georgetown is gleaned from this ledger, also known as the Classical Journal. It records with some gaps, particularly around the time of the Civil War, details about the curriculum, class placements, examination results, and faculty assignments. Some of the contributors indulge in editorial comments on the work habits and scholarship of their students, comments that make for particularly interesting reading.
*A daguerreotype of T. Meredith Jenkins, S.J., taken before 1850, can be seen in the Spotlight exhibition case
Few examples of such awards survive in the Archives. The award displayed here is for the study of Spanish and was given to Nicholas Campbell, a Georgetown student between 1838 and 1840. Campbell was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Navy, in 1861.
As was the custom, this award was signed by the Georgetown President. On January 1, 1840, Jose Lopez, S.J., was appointed acting President after the death of William McSherry, S.J. Fr. Lopez came to the Georgetown area with the widow and children of the Mexican Emperor, Agustín de Iturbide, as their personal chaplain. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1833 and is believed to be the first Mexican to hold the office of president at a U.S. college.
Georgetown displayed a strong international orientation even in its earliest days: nearly 20% of students who enrolled in its first decade came from outside the United States. Classes began in January 1792 with two students, William Gaston and Philemon Charles Wederstrandt, a distant cousin of Georgetown’s founder John Carroll. Less than four months later, on April 17, 1792, the College’s first international students enrolled. They were brothers, Nicholas and Jean Jacques Fevrier, from the French West Indies.
In 1879, an attempt was made to compile a roster of Georgetown students who had attended since 1812, organized geographically by place of origin. The result is seen here. Although far from complete, it lists almost 250 international students, including 71 from the West Indies (mainly from Cuba), 44 from Mexico, 32 from Canada, and 27 from England and Ireland.
. . . We slept in a cold dormitory, in winter, and had to rise at 5.15 in the morning. If we did not get down to the subterranean wash-room where often the ice had to be broken to get water for ablution, we were barred out and obliged to wash at the pump, on the campus, which still remains. Often I have, in sleet and snow with wet shoes and shivering frame, performed that task while bitter tears streamed down and froze upon my checks, and I thought of my mother and my home, wondering why such affectionate parents as mine had condemned their little boy to such torture. Pneumonia . . . came speedily . . .
As well as institutional records, the Archives houses student letters and publications which show school life from a different perspective. These can include details and insights not found in official records.
Begun in 1872, the College Journal was Georgetown’s first printed student publication. Until 1920 and the establishment of The Hoya, the College Journal, which was a monthly periodical functioned, as the student newspaper. After 1920, it continued more as a literary and arts magazine.
Student memoirs also offer color and insight into school life. In his College Days, J. Fairfax McLaughlin, a lawyer and writer who graduated from Georgetown College in 1860, records memories of and reflections on his time as a student. Page 96, for example, references a demonstration at the 1849 commencement for which Angelo Secchi, S.J. (“who looked very much like Daniel Webster”) constructed an electrical battery which . . . held up sixteen hundred pounds, a demonstration not mentioned in the 1849 commencement program.
Father Secchi, who is known as the father of astrophysics, came to Georgetown from Italy with fellow astronomer Benedict Sestini, S.J., after the revolutions of 1848. Their arrival gave impetus to astronomical research at Georgetown begun a few years earlier when the Georgetown College Observatory was constructed.
The list of Holy Cross graduates to receive Georgetown degrees, seen to the right of the second page, includes the name of Patrick F. Healy from Georgia, who would later become the 29th President of Georgetown and for whom Healy Hall is named.
Georgetown College, as reflected in John Carroll’s Proposals For Establishing an Academy, at George-Town, Potowmack-River, Maryland, always accepted non-Catholic students, a stance that was undoubtedly beneficial when the institution was seeking its federal charter in 1815. The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, in contrast, maintained an exclusively Catholic enrollment when it was founded in 1843. As a result, the Massachusetts State Legislature refused to grant it a charter and Holy Cross was unable to award degrees. A charter was finally granted in 1865, but Georgetown conferred degrees on Holy Cross graduates in the interim.
In 1852, the first catalog for Georgetown College was printed. In addition to providing a brief history of the institution, indicating fees, listing faculty and students, and reprinting the commencement program, the catalogs also laid out the curriculum. As these pages from the 1853-1854 catalog show, the complete course of studies for much of the 19th century occupied seven years: three in the Preparatory Schools and four in the Senior Classes (or collegiate division.) The curriculum emphasized Greek, Latin, and mathematics. Scientific disciplines such as chemistry and astronomy were included, although their study was limited mainly to the senior class (the Class of Philosophy) until the arrival of Patrick F. Healy, S.J., who became Prefect of Studies (Dean of the College) in 1868 and President in 1874.
The inclusion of astronomy in the curriculum is linked to the construction in the early 1840s of the Georgetown College Observatory, one of the first fixed astronomical observatories in the U.S. The Observatory was used by students, such as Edmund Smith, C'1848, and other researchers to study and map the skies until the Astronomy Department closed in 1971. Smith worked as an expedition artist after graduation. In 1848, he went to Chile with the U.S. Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere.
The evolution of the curriculum can be traced through the catalogs which have been produced annually since 1852. Seen to the left is a page from the 1906 catalog which includes the first reference in any catalog to electives, in this case “The Elective” undertaken by seniors. Seen to the right is a page from the 1960-1961 College catalog which reflects how vestiges of a curriculum weighted towards the classics survived even into the 1960s. As shown, it was possible for students on the classical track in the College of Arts and Sciences to substitute Greek classes for math requirements during their freshman and sophomore years.
As students enrolled at Georgetown in the 19th century, information about them (such as age, religion, class placement, and father’s name and address) was recorded chronologically in a series of ledgers known as entrance books.
Six names from the bottom on the page displayed is the entry for David Herold* who enrolled on October 4, 1855, aged thirteen. Herold attended Georgetown until 1858 and was one of four conspirators hanged for involvement in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. This involvement may explain the later addition in an unknown hand of the penciled word "alas" after Herold's name - presumably written to convey dismay that he was included in this or any record of Georgetown students.
*Herold's photograph can be seen in the Alumni (Famous and Infamous) exhibition case
Georgetown’s first professional school opened as the Medical Department of Georgetown College in 1851. There was already a medical school at Columbian College (now known as George Washington University) which controlled privileges at the city’s only hospital, as well as membership in the newly established American Medical Association. Four local doctors not associated with Columbian (Noble Young, Flodoardo Howard, Charles H. Liebermann and Johnson Eliot) approached President James Ryder, S.J., in the fall of 1849 about starting a medical school under the auspices of Georgetown. Father Ryder had asked Rome for permission to start such a school in the early 1840s and had not received it. In 1849, he appears to have decided not seek to permission again. He simply proceeded to open the Medical Department. The Department was set up to be self-financing, with each faculty member sharing equally in the proceeds from student tuition as well as bearing the costs of its operation.
Seen & approved by President Patrick F. Healy, S.J., these include the following statement on admissions at the top of the last page: No other than white male students shall be admitted to this school.
Patrick Healy was the son of Michael Morris Healy, an Irish immigrant who settled in Macon, Georgia, and his common-law wife, Eliza, who was an enslaved woman. Patrick entered the Jesuit Order in 1850 and served as Georgetown President from 1874 to 1882. He was the first African American to head a predominantly white university in the U.S. Neither the Jesuit Order nor Father Healy acknowledged his racial heritage during his lifetime and no African Americans were admitted to Georgetown while he was President. In fact, it was not until after World War II that African-American students began to enroll.
It is possible that the ca. 1881 rule limiting admission to “white male[s]” was prompted, at least in part, by the enrollment of two women, Annie E. Rice from Maine and Jeannette J. Sumner from Michigan, in the medical program in 1880. They hold the distinction of being Georgetown's first female students. After one year they transferred to the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia and completed their medical education there. Unfortunately, the Medical Department’s records provide no clues as to how they came to be admitted or why they transferred. Women did not study at Georgetown again until the establishment of the Training School for Nurses in 1903.
Georgetown’s second professional school, the Law Department, was founded in 1870. It was the first law school created by a Jesuit institution of higher learning in the United States. Classes began in October 1870 with 25 students who came from twelve states and from Cuba. There were no academic prerequisites and the median age of early students was 19. A Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree could be earned after two years of evening classes, a course of studies designed to accommodate the schedules of federal workers. In 1872, the first ten graduates received their degrees.
In 1891, the Law School moved into this, its fifth home. It remained in this location until 1971 when the Law Center opened on New Jersey Avenue. When the Foreign Service School opened in 1919, it did not have its own building and held most of its classes in the Law School building. The Law School had one of the largest enrollments of any law school in the country in the early 1920s and, as a result, the coexistence of the two schools was not always peaceful. The sharing arrangement, intended as temporary, lasted until 1932 when the Foreign Service School moved to Healy Hall.
John Carroll’s original admission requirements stipulated that students had simply to know how to read before they could be enrolled and the 1814 Prospectus stated that “the age of admission is from eight to fourteen." In 1870, it was decided that no students younger than 12 would be accepted, 12 having been determined to be an age at which one is capable of appreciating the advantages of college life. The admission age was raised again to 13 in 1894. It was not until in 1919, however, that the younger students who were enrolled in what was by then called the Georgetown Preparatory School moved to a new campus in Garrett Park, Montgomery County, Maryland.
Pictured, left to right: Charles MacDougall Pallen (xC ‘1909); Milton D. W. Jeffs (xC’1909); M. Lecomte; Dennis P. Dowd, Jr. (C’1908)*; William Robert Rice (L’1908); Charles Frederick Smyth (xC’1908); Maxwell C. Adams; Christian deGuigne; and William Luke Byrne (C’1910).
*Dennis P. Dowd is featured in the Alumni (Famous and Infamous) exhibition case
The Dental School was originally known as the Washington Dental College. This independent school was founded in 1897 at 625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., and was accredited by the National Association of Dental Faculties in 1899. In May 1901, the Medical School faculty voted to approve the assimilation of the College as the Dental Department of the Medical School. Classes began in the fall of 1901 with 29 students, including two from Turkey and one from Japan.
Note that the original faculty included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, whose area of expertise was Articular Speech-cleft Plate. He is listed among the clinical staff. Bell who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1879.
The Dental Class of 1921 is pictured outside the Medical School Building located at 920 H Street, N.W. In 1930, both the Medical and Dental Schools moved onto campus for the first time when the Medical-Dental Building opened on Reservoir Road. The Dental School was closed in 1990 due to a decline in the number of applicants and rising costs.
Women have studied at Georgetown continuously since the founding of the Training School for Nurses in 1903. The School was established to provide support for the University Hospital which opened in 1898 on the corner of 35th and N Streets. The Hospital was managed by the Sisters of St. Francis but the Order was not able to supply enough sisters to staff it as the facility expanded. The University, therefore, created a school for nurses run by the Order to provide additional staff.
There is no charge for tuition, board or medical attendance. An allowance of $8 a month is made to each candidate for incidental expenses.
Students were initially required to live at the Hospital. There were no other women students at Georgetown and, as a consequence, no women’s dormitory. Nursing education began as a three-year diploma program. In 1944, a five-year program was introduced with two academic and three clinical years. This five-year program gave way to an integrated four-year degree in 1951.
The Foreign Service School opened in February 1919, with an initial enrollment of 62 students. The first school of its kind in the United States, it was organized in the aftermath of World War I. Its academic program had a dual emphasis on foreign commerce and diplomacy, both considered equally useful in promoting and sustaining world peace.
A focus on foreign language proficiency and on international business expertise within the curriculum, seen even in this announcement of the School's opening, led to the creation of the Institute of Languages and Linguistics in 1949 and the School of Business Administration in 1957.
While the idea of a School of Foreign Service at Georgetown was proposed in 1918 by Constantine Maguire, at that time Assistant Secretary-General of the Inter-American High Commission in Washington, it fell to Father Edmund Walsh to establish it. An educator, scholar, and statesman, Father Walsh remained actively involved in running the School, serving as either Regent or Dean, while undertaking many international trips and diplomatic missions. He directed the Papal Famine Relief Mission to Russia in 1922, worked on behalf of the Vatican to resolve long-standing issues between Church and State in Mexico in 1929, negotiated with the Iraqi government to establish an American College in Baghdad in 1931, and served as Consultant to the U.S. Chief of Counsel at the Nuremberg Trials.
When Father Walsh died in 1956, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower sent a letter to the University which read in part: The death of Father Walsh is a grievous loss to the Society in which he served so many years, to the educational and religious life of the United States and to the free people of the Western World. For four decades, he was a vigorous and inspiring champion of freedom for mankind and independence for nations . . . at every call to duty, all his energy of leadership and wisdom of counsel were devoted to the service of the United States. In 1957, the Foreign Service School was named in Father Walsh's honor.
A group of 18 foreign service students spent June and July of 1920 in Venezuela, studying trade and economics at the University of Caracas. They stayed with local families to practice their Spanish. This trip may be the first study abroad program undertaken by an American university.
"To meet the growing need for coordinated and interrelated training for business and pubic administration," a new division of Business and Public Administration was established in the Foreign Service School in September 1936. The fourth and fifth years of study within the division were designated for elective specialization in one of three major fields: professional accountancy, executive business administration or public administration. In 1957, the division separated from the Foreign Service School and became an independent school, now known as the McDonough School of Business.
In 1949, an Institute, later School, of Languages and Linguistics was established as an offshoot of the School of Foreign Service. It was located at 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, and with its opening Georgetown became the first school ion the U.S. to offer courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Languages. Its classes were tailored toward students who were considering positions in the diplomatic corps or other government agencies.
In 1995, the School of Languages and Linguistics joined the College of Arts and Sciences as a degree program under the name of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL).
A 50-seat language lab was located at the Institute of Languages and Linguistics. In November 1950, a second lab was opened in Poulton Hall to support language courses in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Foreign Service School.
The Institute of Languages and Linguistics was set up and directed for its first decade by Leon Dostert, who had served an interpreter for General Dwight Eisenhower during World War II. In 1946, Dostert was placed in charge of organizing simultaneous interpretation at the Nuremberg Trials. There he met Edmund Walsh who invited him to Georgetown. Under Dostert's leadership, Georgetown pioneered the use of language laboratories in teaching.
The Georgetown Summer School was set up in 1953 and conducted its first classes in the summer of 1954. In 1970, it adopted the name School for Summer and Continuing Education, and today is known as the School for Continuing Studies. The earliest reference to the concept of summer studies at Georgetown, however, is probably found in the 1809 George-Town College prospectus which states: The idle, for punishment, are confined in the vacation to certain extraordinary hours of study during play time, in order to repair what they have neglected to learn in schools ; therefore if they are found deficient in the last and most important examination of the year, before the August vacation, they will not be allowed to go home during that time.
The College of Arts and Sciences was the last school on campus to admit women. The second-to-last Georgetown school to admit women, the Dental School, had done so in 1954.The admission of women to the College was part of a deliberate effort to increase undergraduate numbers without diluting the quality of students. Fifty places were set aside for women, beginning with a few transfer students in the spring of 1969. Over 500 applications were received for those 50 places.
Classes began on the Georgetown-Qatar campus in August 2005. After the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and Georgetown University signed the agreement to establish the campus in Doha on May 17, 2005, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia said: Georgetown is excited about the opportunity to extend its international presence to an important region of the world. For more than 200 years we have been educating students to be leaders engaged in the world and a campus in Qatar will be a another way of enhancing our mission.
On October 8, 2013, foundation exercises for Georgetown’s newest school, the McCourt School, were held in the Quadrangle. The school is named for Frank H. McCourt, Jr. (C’1975), whose gift of $100 million endowed it.
When planning began for the inaugural exercises of the McCourt School, the organizing committee used the Archives to locate examples of previous such occasions on campus, including the academic convocation to celebrate the founding of the Foreign Service School in 1919.
The McCourt School of Public Policy represents a new era for Georgetown University, one that connects the Jesuit values of service and justice with a critical need in the 21st century for scholars, leaders, policymakers, and organizations to work together in new ways for the well-being of society . . .
Georgetown as a Place
This is perhaps the earliest image of the Georgetown campus. It shows the South Building to the left, the first building on campus which was begun in 1788, and the much larger North Building, begun in 1794.
The South Building was a very utilitarian building with classrooms, a dining room, a chapel, and student and faculty rooms. It was razed in 1904 to make way for the construction of Ryan Hall on the same site. Under John Carroll’s original plans for his academy, most students were to board off-campus in private lodgings, with professors visiting them to give them some employment out of school hours, to prevent idleness and dissipation.This arrangement was quickly reconsidered and the decision made that students should board on-campus.The North Building was subsequently built to provide additional dormitory and study space. It became "Old" with the opening of New North in 1926.
The North Building was modeled after Nassau Hall at Princeton University and its design reflects the Federal architectural style common in the surrounding community when it was built. The towers on the north side are not original. They were added in 1810 to buttress the building because of concerns that it was on the verge of collapse.
Note the number of steps leading up to the Old North porch in this image. The construction of Dahlgren Chapel in the 1890s required the regrading of the Quadrangle and the addition of steps.
Two new buildings were added in the 1830s: Gervase, which opened in 1831 as the College infirmary, and Mulledy Hall (now known as Freedom Hall), a multi-functional building, which was completed in 1833. Freedom Hall’s first floor housed the student dining hall until the early 20th century when Ryan Hall opened. Its second floor included a student chapel used until Dahlgren Chapel opened in the 1890s. The third floor was used as an auditorium where commencements and other large gatherings were held until Healy Hall was completed.
One of the few pre-20th century maps of campus in the Archives, this shows almost every structure in the vicinity of today’s Quadrangle, including a greenhouse, bakery, icehouse and privies. We can date this map because Maguire Hall, completed in 1854, does not appear on it.
Shown in this image are five of the six main buildings on campus at this time. From left to right, these are the infirmary or Gervase Hall, Mulledy Hall (now Freedom Hall), the South Building, the Small Boys Building or Maguire Hall, and the North Building. The sixth main building was the Observatory. Of these buildings, all but the South Building still stand. The foundations for Healy Hall would be dug a decade after this photograph was taken.
The Jesuit Cemetery was laid out in its present location, north of the Old North Building, in 1854. Originally located further south on campus, close to what is now the south end of Healy Hall, the first burial there took place on August 16, 1808. The building of Maguire Hall necessitated moving of Cemetery to its current location, at that time far from any developed area of campus, because administrators did not want it adjacent to the new building.
. . . The erection, in 1854, of a large new building for juvenile students [Maguire Hall], an improvement long desired, afforded the increased accommodation the growing wants of the institution demanded. To effect this improvement it was found necessary to approach rather near the old Community burial ground lying southeast of the College, and consequently the bodies resting there were moved to the beautiful and romantic spot where they now repose . . .
Until 1953, there were two cemeteries on campus, the Jesuit Community Cemetery and the College Graveyard or Old Burial Ground which was located on the incline where Reiss Science now stands. Burials began in the latter cemetery in 1817 and continued into the 1890s. The death register for Holy Trinity Church records the names of those buried there, among them a number of slaves.
Over time, the University grew up around College Graveyard and in 1953 those buried there were moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery, with one exception. Susan Decatur, who died in 1860, was moved to Holy Rood Cemetery on Wisconsin Avenue. In 1988 she was moved again, this time to Philadelphia to be buried with her husband.
Before Father Patrick Healy became Georgetown President in 1874, there had been plans to build several new buildings on campus in the same architectural style as the existing ones.Father Healy abandoned these plans and instead planned and constructed one large building in a very different style.
The completion of Healy more than doubled the total square footage of campus buildings. In addition to its size and its Medieval Revival or Flemish Romanesque architecture, the building stands out for another reason. It was the first on campus to face D.C. rather than the river. Some historians have suggested that Father Healy deliberately selected this orientation as a signal that Georgetown should be viewed, from that point on, as an educational institution of great local and national importance.
Healy Hall was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Over the years, Healy Hall has provided class, laboratory, library, dormitory, office, and event space. Additionally, its basement has been designated for use as an air raid/civil defense shelter. By 1962, the University was reporting that it had 229,000 square feet of fallout shelter space (including 13,000 square feet in Healy Basement) that could accommodate 15,000-20,000 people. This was seen as adequate to take care of all the students and many residents in the Georgetown area.
According to a 1967 survey, Healy basement was the main Quadrangle shelter. Supplies stored at the northeast end of the basement included 111 cartons of biscuits, 159 water drums, 16 sanitation kits, and 5 medical kits.
The Quadrangle is the heart of campus and the history of the development of campus is the history of the Quadrangle for the first 140 years of Georgetown’s existence. Academic, residential, and spiritual activities were all centered on it. Not until the 1930s when the Medical-Dental Building opened on Reservoir Road, followed by the building of Copley Hall and White-Gravenor, did the focus of campus planning shift away from it.
By the time this photograph was taken, the Quadrangle was close to completion, with Healy Hall built to the east and Dahlgren Chapel to the west. Dahlgren was consecrated in 1893, the first building on campus financed entirely by outside philanthropy and the first to be named for a non-Jesuit. It was paid for by John Dahlgren, who had graduated in 1889, and his wife Elizabeth Drexel Dahlgren. Elizabeth took a close interest in plans for the Chapel’s design and even specified what kind of ivy should be planted to grow on its exterior.
A version of this pump shed still stands in the Quadrangle. The College got its drinking water from the well it covers until 1884 when municipal water became readily available. In the College’s early years, students would wash there in the mornings. A long line of towels was hung between two locust trees in the Quadrangle, so students could dry off after washing. An indoor washroom was built in 1822, but for years after its addition students preferred to wash at the pump in warmer weather. Georgetown’s water was known for its purity. The Baltimore Sun reported in 1879 that “the famous pump” at Georgetown had the “best pure pump water in the District.”
A less than pleasant recollection of washing at the pump in the 1840s and 1850s can be read in the James Ryder Randall letter included in the Georgetown as a School exhibition case.
By the 1930s, ivy all but covered the exterior of Dahlgren Chapel and was growing on other buildings around the perimeter of the Quadrangle including Mulledy Hall, now known as Freedom Hall (seen to the left in this photograph) and Healy Hall. The roof line of Freedom Hall helps date this photograph. In 1947, a fire destroyed its top floor and it was rebuilt to a different configuration.
Seen to the right is the last building constructed around the perimeter of the Quadrangle, New North, which opened as a dormitory in 1926.
The Medical Faculty of Georgetown University contemplates the erection of a Hospital on the corner of 35th and N Streets in West Washington. In doing so they hope not only to advance the interests of higher medical education, but also the cause of humanity, as Georgetown with a population of over 25,000 people has no hospital or dispensary facilities . . . Since the Hospital will be open to the sick poor regardless of creed or color we appeal to all classes, and especially to the friends and alumni of the University, for substantial aid in this undertaking . . .
The construction on the first section of the Hospital was completed in May 1898 and it opened to the public in August of that year. It included beds for 29 patients, a lecture room, and an emergency operating room. The recessed entrance seen to the right, today converted into an entrance stairway, was for ambulances. This building, along with a number of other sections of the original Hospital, was incorporated into the Nevils Building which opened in 1957.
The second section of the Hospital was opened on 35th Street in 1904, expanding the number of available beds to 100. Additional sections were opened along N, 36th, 35th and Prospect Streets between 1909 and 1928.In 1947, the new University Hospital opened on Reservoir Road. The original Hospital buildings today serve as student residences (the Nevils Building, Ryder Hall, Xavier Hall, and Loyola Hall).
Material in the University Archives documents not only what was but in some cases what could have been, as this publication illustrates. In March 1908, after Representative Everis Anson Hayes of California purchased land to the west of campus, a bill was introduced into Congress to extend P Street and Volta Place so that he could have easy access to his property. The University hired an attorney to fight the action and also approached U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt for help. Roosevelt would not explicitly commit to veto the bill if it passed Congress, although he did state that he was generally opposed to bills from which congressmen would personally benefit. Declining at least five offers to purchase the land bought by Hayes, the University waged a successful campaign against the road extensions. They argued both that a beautiful and necessary part of campus would be destroyed by the through streets and, perhaps more compellingly, that the construction would be extremely costly, given the topography of the land.
Ryan Gym opened in October 1906 and was designed to serve a student body of around 250. It was a gift of Ida M. Ryan of New York, who also paid for Ryan Hall and helped fund the Georgetown University Hospital. Ryan served as the campus gymnasium until the opening of McDonough Gymnasium in 1951. After McDonough opened, Ryan was remodeled at a cost of $200,000 to provide space for the offices of the Treasurer, University Records, Public Relations, Placement and University Development and was renamed the Ryan Administration Building. It is now incorporated into the Davis Performing Arts Center which opened in 2005. While the Center was in the design stage, the architects looked at every image in the Archives which showed either the interior or exterior of the Gym.
Note the elevated running track seen around the perimeter. This created shooting challenges for basketball players. A Hoya article of January 10, 1940, reports the track’s removal and notes: This structure had long been a hindrance to basketball players . . . as students know, it was impossible to make a shot from the corner of the court as the ball was blocked by the overhanging balcony.
By the 1930s, there was a pressing need for a new gymnasium to replace the outdated facilities in Ryan Gym which had opened in 1906, just north of Old North. Early plans placed the new gym next to the old but that concept was later dropped because of noise, parking, and access issues and an alternative site, south of the Observatory, was selected.
The McDonough Memorial Gym was entirely funded by subscriptions from alumni and friends. It was named for Vincent S. McDonough, S.J. (1870-1939) who served as Director of Athletics, as well as Prefect of Discipline and a student counselor. When asked what he would most like to honor his 25th anniversary as a priest, he replied: You give the boys a new gym and I’ll be happy. A few days later, on September 3, 1939, he was found dead in his room, beside a radio broadcasting news of the declarations of war by Britain and France.
This letter documents the purchase of bricks damaged in the War of 1812 and a piece of wood from the White House which was under renovation. The cost was $300. The bricks, as the notation on the carbon indicates, were incorporated into a fireplace in McDonough Gymnasium.
The explanation for the almost total absence of pre-1930 campus maps from the Archives collection is provided by this image. All residential, educational and devotional activities centered on the buildings surrounding the Quadrangle. Beyond that were the main athletic field on today's Copley lawn, a second field (formerly the Prep field) on the future site of Lauinger Library, and tennis courts on the site of New Village A. The only significant campus structure not seen in this image is the Observatory. Maps were simply not needed to navigate around campus.
In the early 1920s, planning began for construction of additional buildings on campus. This work, to be funded through a capital campaign known as "Greater Georgetown," was motivated by a rapid increase in enrollment after World War I. Greater Georgetown represented the first shift away from a focus on the Quadrangle in campus planning.
The building of Copley Hall and White-Gravenor in the 1930s came out of Greater Georgetown. And, as this plan shows, there was to have been a third building facing Copley Hall, the construction of which would have created a second quadrangle. This building was not started for financial reasons, however, as the University did not want to overextend itself during the Depression.
As part of Greater Georgetown planning, consideration had to be given to relocating the main athletic field from what is now Copley Lawn. In 1921, a 20,000 seat stadium was proposed for the far northwest of campus. Less than a decade later, this site would become home to the Medical-Dental Building and the Varsity Athletic Field.
Copley Hall, which opened as a dormitory in 1931, was completed $125,000 under budget. The depressed state of the national economy lowered building costs. Additionally, the University saved money on materials by buying 7000 tons of granite and sandstone from the old M Street Bridge over Rock Creek, which was demolished in 1929, and incorporating them into the building.
Copley is named for Thomas Copley, S.J., who embarked for Maryland from Europe in 1637 and hoped to found a college there as early as 1640.The naming of campus buildings for 17th-century Jesuits (such as Fathers Thomas Copley, Andrew White, and John Gravenor) was a calculated move by Georgetown President W. Coleman Nevils, S.J. He wanted to connect the University to the earliest days of Maryland, specifically to a succession of Jesuits who started grammar schools there and who aspired to found a college. Through links to those Jesuits, Georgetown could be considered, at least in Father Nevil's view, to be as old as if not older than Harvard which was founded in 1636 and which claims the title of the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
The construction of White-Gravenor was initially projected to cost $1,000,000. This figure made the Jesuit superiors in Maryland and Rome anxious about the University's ability to fund the work and Father Nevils was directed to raise at least half of the cost before any building began. He was able to achieve this, even in the midst of the Great Depression, by appealing to the patriotism of potential donors and telling them that they would be aiding the nation’s financial recovery by funding construction work which would create jobs. The final cost of White-Gravenor's construction was $400,000.
Significant development took place on campus between the mid-1940s and the 1960s. Greatly expanded facilities were required to accommodate a student body which almost doubled due to opportunities afforded by the GI Bill. The University began raising money for a $14 million building program in the 1950s.The program called for a new library, a science building to bring chemistry, physics and biology facilities under one roof, a Graduate School building with a dormitory, buildings for the Schools of Foreign Service, Languages and Linguistics, and Nursing, and a new dining hall. Initial plans called for most of these to be built along Prospect Street to the west of 37th Street. Out of these plans came Lauinger Library, Reiss Science Building, Edmund A. Walsh Memorial, St. Mary's Hall, and New South, not all built, obviously, in the location originally proposed.
From 1891 to 1970, the University's main library was the Riggs Memorial Library located in the south tower of Healy Hall. As early as the 1930s, Riggs Library had outgrown the available space in Healy. A number of sites were considered for a new library, including those on which Reiss Science and Village C were later built. By 1965, the choice had been narrowed to the two possible locations on 37th Street. Changes to D.C. zoning laws then eliminated the University's ability to use the site opposite the main gates, so the location on the corner of 37th and Prospect Streets was the site selected for what became Lauinger Library.
. . . The most important exterior aspect of the library is its relationship to the older buildings on campus, especially the Healey [sic] building, which will be its nearest neighbor. Stylistically, the Healey building, is “Flemish Romanesque” while Copley and White-Gravenor are built in a style commonly known as “Collegiate Gothic” . . . The most significant common denominator in all these buildings is the undulating exterior wall surface and the profusion of vertical elements . . . We recognize these aspects in the design of the Library building, which will have an irregular outline and a pronounced vertical emphasis . . .
In July 1965, the architectural firm of John Carl Warnecke and Associates was commissioned to design the library. In 1963, Warnecke had been chosen to design the grave site memorial to John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery.
Lauinger opened in 1970 and is one of the distinctive buildings on campus. Press critiques of the building at the time of the Library's dedication were generally favorable. The Evening Star described it as "adding an imposing new shape to the Potomac Palisades setting," The Georgetowner termed it "an architectural landmark" that "excites the eye and demands of the mind" and The Washington Post commented that "the architects managed to blend it into the cityscape, if not unobtrusively, [then] successfully."
Student Life at Georgetown
Tuition ledgers are one of the few sources in the University Archives that give a glimpse of what life was like for students in the early years at Georgetown. The ledgers documented not only tuition, room and board expenses for students but also recorded regular day-to-day expenses like haircuts, shoe laces, spoons and the purchase books for class. Students at this time were not allowed to manage their own money, so everything was recorded in the ledger. This reproduction shows a page from the ledger for one of Georgetown’s earliest students, James Gallagher, who arrived on April 25, 1792.
Daily life for students, much like their pocket money, was managed very closely. Day-to-day schedules were set down to the minute and just about everything was regulated; what time the students got up in the morning, their conduct at meals, what books they read, and how they walked to mass are just a few among many rules students had to follow. Rule 4, showed in the reproduced page, outlines the times and places where silence is expected from all students.
During his term as University President, Patrick F. Healy, S.J. set about relaxing many of the rigid rules that had governed student life on campus up to that point. Healy felt the older students should be treated more like adults and so he granted them more freedoms, including the opportunity to live in private rooms. The rooms, however, came with their own set of rules, as outlined on the card above.
The Sodality of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin was the first student organization established at Georgetown, and is believed to have been in operation as early as 1796. The purpose of the Sodality, as stated in their constitution, was “…to foster in its members, and in the student body as a whole, ardent devotion, reverence and filial love toward the Blessed Virgin Mary and thereby assist them in becoming good Catholics sincerely bent upon sanctifying themselves and their neighbor and in defending he Church of Christ against the attacks of the world.” The earliest record of the Sodality in the University Archives is this book, which contains the constitution and rules for the group along with the names of students received into the Sodality from 1810-1825.
Commencement at Georgetown in the 19th century was the premier academic event, showcasing student achievements to large crowds. Unlike commencement ceremonies today, these early celebrations included speeches, music, academic demonstrations, recitations, and dramatic performances, and could last up to eight hours. Premium medals were awarded at commencement to the top students in different subjects. The President of the United States was a frequent guest at commencement ceremonies and would distribute the premium medals and diplomas when in attendance.
The silver premium medal displayed here was awarded to Edmund Plowden for his accomplishments in arithmetic.
Students first began playing handball at Georgetown in 1812, when the first handball court was erected near the present day location of Healy Hall. The court pictured above was erected in 1897 near the present day location of Village A. Descriptions of the game itself are sparse in the Archives; the only information we have claimed it to be a game played by an even number of players and lasted for 20-30 minutes. Handball was hugely popular on campus until just after the Civil War when baseball supplanted it as the preferred recreational activity.
Student letters, like this one, provide valuable information on what life was like for students at Georgetown in the 19th century. In this letter to his sister, John Carroll Brent mentions how the students have begun playing a form of “football”, the first description of this kind of sport in the University Archives. Brent writes near the bottom of the page: “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.”
During leisure time, students would take advantage of the walking paths on campus. The Walks, as they were known, were developed in the 1820s by Brother Joseph West and graced the campus landscape for roughly a century, after which campus development gradually took over the land.
The quality of food on campus was so bad in 1867 that it prompted one student, Walter Chism, to pen this poem and circulate it amongst his classmates with a note on the back reading “open read and pass.” The heavily folded lines on the page serve as evidence that the poem was well circulated. The text added at the bottom of the poem comes courtesy of Fr. Francis Barnum, S.J. during his time as Archivist in the early 20th century. Barnum was also a student at Georgetown in the 1860s, and therefore understood the plight of Chism and his classmates.
Student organizations have been a constant presence on Georgetown’s campus since at least 1810. Hundreds of different organizations have been founded since that date giving every student at Georgetown a chance to participate in a club that speaks to them; from performing arts and debate groups to cultural heritage and community service groups and many more. While not all of these groups are still active, the University Archives has records documenting the activities of many of these groups, a very small sample of which are on display in this case.
First organized in 1830, the Philodemic Society is the oldest student organization still active on campus. The group holds weekly debates as well as several special annual debates. The Merrick Debate, pictured here, has been held annually since 1874.
The Georgetown College Cadets were first organized in 1832 and enjoyed much popularity in the years before the Civil War. The Cadets played a prominent role at civic celebrations like Independence Day and Thanksgiving, and also served as escorts for distinguished visitors to Washington, D.C. The College Cadets live on today in Georgetown’s current ROTC battalion, the Hoya Battalion.
The Georgetown Chimes have been a fixture on campus since the group was founded in 1946 by Frank Jones (LL.B., 1948, LL.M., 1952). In addition to a full yearly performance schedule, the Chimes continue to perform at the monthly Chimes Night at the Tombs, a tradition since 1964. They also play host to the yearly Cherry Tree Massacre a capella performance. The Chimes have been very generous benefactors of Lauinger Library for many years.
The Black Student Alliance was founded in 1968 as a way to unite African-American students on campus, and help to provide a way to address the concerns of black students at a predominantly white university. Starting with only about 10 members, the group thrived. They brought in prominent African-American speakers, organized campus and community events, and reached out to the high school students in D.C. Today, the BSA continues to be one of the leading cultural organizations on campus.
The Corp is a non-profit, student-run corporation first chartered in 1972. Initially, the group existed as a mechanism by which Georgetown students could file a lawsuit against the University should the need arise. Corp members recognized they could provide additional services to students and quickly expanded to fill those needs. The services provided over the years have included a food co-op (Vital Vittles), a shuttle bus (now GUTS), a travel service, a furniture co-op, summer storage service, the Midnight Mug coffee shop in Lauinger Library and many others.
The first organized sport to be played at Georgetown was baseball. The first recorded game took place in 1866. Today, Georgetown has 23 varsity men’s and women’s teams and thousands of enthusiastic supporters. The items in this case represent only a small fraction of material in the University Archives related to athletics and school spirit.
Drama and music performances have been fixtures on campus since the mid-nineteenth century. The Jesuits felt participation in pursuits outside of the classroom complemented the formal education that students were receiving at Georgetown. These activities, among others like dances and comedy shows, play a large role in the entertainment scene on campus, and the University Archives has hundreds of posters, programs, and photographs that document these traditions.
A Georgetown tradition hosted by The Chimes since 1974, the Cherry Tree Massacre is a gathering of the top a capella groups from Georgetown as well as other colleges.
Rangila has been produced by the South Asian Society since 1995. Proceeds from the show benefit the Asha Kendra Hope Center in Jaipur, India. The production of Rangila 2010: Happily Every After included more than 410 dancers and 30 choreographers.
Student efforts at printed journalism can be traced back as far as 1872 and the publication of the first issue of The Georgetown College Journal. Countless newspapers, magazines and newsletters have come and gone since then covering all aspects of student life on campus. While The Hoya, The Georgetown Voice, and The Georgetown Independent are well known, here are a few lesser-known publications that once circulated on campus and now make their home in the University Archives.
The New Press was founded in 1988 as a way to bring greater attention to women’s issues and would later expand to include gender issues more broadly.
Billed as a newspaper for African-American students and students of color, The Fire This Time began in 2000 as a way to empower students of color by giving them a platform to share important information and views following two hate attacks against students of color. The title continues to be published as an online magazine.
Student activism at Georgetown dates back at least to 1833, when students first rioted against the administration following the expulsion of a fellow student. Since then, students have routinely gathered in order to have their voices heard on countless issues. Here are just a few examples of student activism efforts at Georgetown.
Georgetown students participated in multiple protests in the fall of 1969 to oppose plans by the District of Columbia to build a bridge over the Potomac River near the Three Sisters islets. Construction for the bridge would have displaced thousands of families, predominantly African-Americans, from their homes in D.C. Plans for the bridge were eventually withdrawn from D.C.’s master transportation plan in 1977.
In solidarity with other colleges and universities across the country, Georgetown students organized a rally to protest South Africa’s apartheid policies. The group also demanded that the University divest its roughly $9 million holdings in companies conducting business in South Africa.
Organized by the Student Coalition against Apartheid and Racism, students staged a two-week sit-in at White-Gravenor to continue the 1985 protests against apartheid in South Africa and demand divestment of University holdings in companies with financial interests there. The Georgetown Board of Directors voted to divest in September 1986.
Members of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee staged an 85-hour sit-in at President Leo O’Donovan’s office in protest of issues related to the working conditions in the factories that make Georgetown’s collegiate apparel. At issue was a code of conduct agreement from the Collegiate Licensing Company that did not disclose the location of the factories. The sit-in ended when a compromise was reached between the students and Dean of Students James A. Donahue, whereby Georgetown would seek public disclosure of factory locations.
Alumni (Famous and Infamous)
Billy Gaston arrived from North Carolina in 1791. As was typical of Georgetown’s early students, he was young (only thirteen years old) when he arrived. Gaston was typical in another respect in that he was transient and stayed only until 1793, when his mother withdrew him due to concerns over his health. He later graduated from Princeton University.
Elected to Congress in 1813, Gaston introduced the legislation chartering Georgetown College in 1815. He then served as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. The city of Gastonia, North Carolina, is named in his honor.
Gaston arrived before the College's first building was completed and, as a result, had to lodge at a nearby tavern for almost two months before he could move onto campus. This is reflected in the opening entries of his account, with the entry for November 10, 1791, reading: To washing at the tavern 2 [shillings].
The Archives has a long run of ledgers containing student financial accounts. Beginning with Gaston's and ending in the early 20th century, these accounts are very detailed. Students could not have money in their possession. The College held any money they arrived with or were sent. Accounts, as a result, had to be meticulously kept and record every financial transaction for each student, both debit and credit. From entries in these accounts we can learn such things as the cost of tuition, what extra classes were offered, the titles of required textbooks, how long students stayed, and how much they paid for necessities such as medical care or shoe repair.
Alumni cards were created by archivists prior to 1971 and provide a valuable source of information about many former students. They include basic information such as name and date of enrollment, as well as references to relevant records held by the Archives. In some cases, as seen here, notes from unattributed sources are also included.
James Ord was reputed by some to be the son of the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) and Maria Fitzherbert. The Prince and Mrs. Fitzherbert underwent a secret marriage ceremony in London, England in 1875, the year before James Ord was born. That ceremony was illegal under English law, however, because the Royal Marriage Act of 1772 required the Monarch to give consent before any of his/her children married and no consent had been given. James joined the Jesuit Order in 1806 and went on to teach at Georgetown. Leaving the Order in 1811, he joined first the U.S. Navy, then the U.S. Army. He died in 1873.
Lewis Armistead is probably best known for his role in Pickett's Charge. He resigned his U.S. Army commission in May 1861 and was appointed Colonel of the 57th Virginia Regiment in the Confederate Army. In April 1862, he was appointed Brigadier-General and assigned to command a brigade in what later became Pickett's Division of the Army of Northern Virginia. On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, he led his brigade in an assault on the center of the Union line as part of Pickett’s Charge. The brigade penetrated the Union lines more deeply than any other Confederate unit, an event now known as the High Water Mark of the Confederacy, but was quickly overwhelmed by a Union counterattack. Armistead was shot three times in the counterattack, and died at a Union field hospital two days later.
Of the eight people convicted in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln, three were Georgetown alumni: David Herold, Samuel Arnold, and Dr. Samuel Mudd. Herold was one of four conspirators hanged.
On April 14, 1865, David Herold guided Lewis Payne to Secretary of State William Seward's house, where Herold waited outside with Payne’s horse while Payne attempted to stab Seward to death. The same night, Herold helped the injured John Wilkes Booth to escape after Booth shot Lincoln, going with Booth to the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd so that Booth’s injured leg could be treated. Booth and Herold were caught together at Garrett's Farm in northern Virginia in the early morning of April 26.
Samuel Arnold was born in Georgetown, although his family later moved to Baltimore. He enrolled in the College when he was ten years old and later attended St. Timothy's Military Academy in Catonsville, Maryland, where he was a classmate of John Wilkes Booth. After Lincoln’s assassination, Arnold was arrested on suspicion of complicity. He admitted to involvement in plans with Herold and Booth to kidnap Lincoln and exchange him for Confederate prisoners, but denied any part in the assassination. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was pardoned by U.S. President Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Dr. Samuel Mudd was born in Charles County, Maryland. After attending Georgetown, he enrolled at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, graduating in 1856. Hours after President Lincoln’s shooting, John Wilkes Booth and David Herold arrived at Mudd’s Maryland home, seeking treatment for Booth's injured leg. Mudd was subsequently linked to the assassination conspiracy and arrested. Although he denied any involvement, arguing that he did not recognize Booth whom he had previously met, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, avoiding the death penalty by a single vote of the military commission conducting his trial. President Johnson pardoned him, as he had Arnold, in 1869. Mudd returned to Maryland, where he lived until his death in 1883.
15th. The news of the assassination of President Lincoln and the attempt on the life of Sec Seward reached us here early this morning. The bell in Trinity Church is tolling with the others of the different churches in Town and city. Black crape was hung over the porches of N[orth] and S[outh] Buildings and also over the town gate.
16th. The old star spangled flag was hoisted today at half mast on one of the towers of the college as a mark of grief for the death of President Lincoln.
Items in the Archives, at times, provide information about on-campus reaction to off-campus events, as these diary entries illustrate. House diaries are customarily maintained at Jesuit institutions. Entries in them, made by a member of the Jesuit Community, provide almost daily information about events on campus. These entries were made before the involvement of former Georgetown students in President Lincoln's assassination was known on campus.
Edward Douglass White entered Georgetown College in 1857; however, the Civil War would keep him from finishing his studies. Following service in the War, White pursued a successful legal and political career in Louisiana and was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1894. He was named Chief Justice in 1910 and served in that capacity until his death in 1921.
White’s middle name can be found rendered both as Douglass and Douglas. Official records at Georgetown generally use the version with the double s, as did White’s successor as Chief Justice William H. Taft in his tribute. The editors of Ye Domesday Book opted for the alternative spelling.
In 1909, the Society of Alumni decided at its annual meeting to put up a statue to honor the purpose of the university’s founder whose achievements as a scholar, patriot and prelate are a source of pride not only to the sons of Georgetown, but to every American citizen. Chief Justice White delivered the presentation address on behalf of the Society at the statue’s unveiling on May 4, 1912.
John Barrymore, the brother of actors Lionel and Ethel Barrymore and grandfather of actor, director and producer Drew Barrymore, became famous as a stage and screen actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his Shakespearean roles. Programs from student plays staged in Gaston Hall in the late 1890s include his name in their cast lists.
. . . a priest took me through the buildings. I paused in the gymnasium to swing on the parallel bars and as I turned over there fell out of my pockets a razor, a dime novel, and half a pint of whiskey. The mishap gave the priest more information than I could have supplied in 80 confessions. They were very kind to me at Georgetown and although they eventually expelled me, they did it in a nice way.
Dennis Dowd of Sea Cliff, Long Island is believed to have been the first American to travel to Europe to enlist after the outbreak of World War I. He sailed for France two weeks after the War began. He was killed on August 11, 1916, flying with the famous Lafayette Escadrille, a French Air Service squadron composed largely of American volunteer pilots.
A few days before Den left home he read every word of war news and told us he was going to get into it, as his sympathies were with France.
He left home Aug. 10, 1914
He sailed Aug. 11, 1914.
He enlisted with French Aug. 24. . .
Two U.S. Presidents have attended Georgetown: Bill Clinton, who graduated from the Foreign Service School in 1968, and Lyndon Baines Johnson of Johnson City, Texas, who was a student in the Law School in the fall of 1934. He then moved back to Texas. His name is seen third from the bottom.
The 1963 John Carroll Awards Dinner was held in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The Awards were established by the Alumni Association in 1951 to honor alumni whose achievements exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown University and its founder, John Carroll. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association. Six weeks after this photograph was taken, Johnson would assume the Presidency after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Comedian, writer, producer and director Carl Reiner was a student at Georgetown between August 1943 and March 1944. He was not a regular student but was on campus as part of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). In 1943, the War Department designated the University as one of a select number around the country to house this program. Its object was to train soldiers for specific Army needs (in fields such as medicine, engineering, science, and languages), using the faculties and facilities of colleges and universities and an accelerated curriculum.
On October 24, 2012 Georgetown awarded Reiner an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Sadako Ogata, then Sadako Nakamura, graduated from Georgetown with an M.A. in international relations. The title of her thesis was Social Background of Japanese Foreign Policy, 1868-1900. She went on to work in a variety of roles that focused on human rights and human security, beginning in the 1970s when she was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. She served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1991 to 2000.
Bill Clinton (F’1968) is pictured to the right in the fall of his freshman year. On the opposite page is a photograph of Gloria Macapagal, later Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who like Clinton would become a head of state. She served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 until 2010.
Bill Clinton was elected class president in his freshman and sophomore years. In March 1967, he was defeated in the campaign for Student Council President by Terry Modglin, losing by 147 votes. Among the planks in his platform were greater visibility and financial support for the Student Council, improvement of student advising,and a cost-efficient food service.
On June 17, 1972, several men were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee office at The Watergate complex. At first, this was viewed as simply a minor burglary. Over time, however, connections to President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign and to the President himself were discovered and, after two years of investigative reporting, judicial proceedings and Congressional hearings, President Nixon resigned. The lives of a number of Georgetown alumni and faculty, including those pictured here, were impacted by the fallout from Watergate scandal.
John Dean graduated from the Law School in 1965. By 1970, he was counsel to President Nixon. After the break-in, he was called in by White House assistants John Erlichman and H.R. Haldeman to coordinate a cover-up, and White House officials later tried to implicate him as the mastermind behind the conspiracy. In April 1973, Dean issued a statement saying that he would not be a Watergate “scapegoat”, and ten days later he was fired. Probably more so than anyone else, Dean became identified with the unraveling of the scandal. His week-long testimony in front of the Senate Select Committee provided the core evidence linking President Nixon to the cover-up.
After graduating from Georgetown in 1926, John J. Sirica worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, as a lawyer with the D.C. firm of Hogan and Hartson, and as counsel to the House Select Committee investigating the Federal Communications Commission. President Eisenhower appointed him to the U.S. District Court in 1957 and he became Chief Judge in 1971. He garnered national attention during the Watergate scandal when he ordered President Nixon to turn over recordings of White House conversations. Named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1973, he stepped down as Chief Judge on March 19, 1974, which was his 70th birthday.
On May 4, 1973, three days after the resignation of H. R. Haldeman as White House Chief of Staff, General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., was named interim Chief of Staff by President Nixon. Haig had first joined the White House staff in 1969 as a senior military advisor to Henry Kissinger, leaving in January 1973 to become Army Vice Chief of Staff. In June 1973, he announced that he would retire from active military duty to become permanent assistant to President Nixon. Haig was credited with restoring some order to the beleaguered Nixon White House and preparing a smooth transition to the Ford Administration when President Nixon resigned.
While a member of the Law Center faculty, Samuel Dash served as chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities.
Montoya was a member of one of New Mexico’s oldest families. He graduated from the Law Center in 1938. Two years earlier, he had been elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives, making him, at 21, the youngest lawmaker in state history.
As a Member of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, Montoya, the senior Senator from New Mexico, played an important role in the Watergate investigations.
Two Georgetown graduates, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Lawrence J. Hogan, a Republican from Maryland, served on the 38-member House Judiciary Committee which passed three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in July 1974.
Father Drinan, elected to Congress in 1970, was the first Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of that institution. In July 1973, he introduced the first resolution for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. He resigned his seat in 1980 and became a Professor at the Law Center. He died in 2007.
Singer, actress, humorist and humanitarian Pearl Mae Bailey was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1918, the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher in whose church she began singing at an early age. She moved to Washington, D.C., with her family when she was three. As a teenager, she sang in night clubs on U Street. She later toured with USO troupes during World War II. Named best newcomer on Broadway for her 1946 New York theater debut in St. Louis Woman, she won a Tony Award for an acclaimed performance as Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly in 1968. Among her best known film roles were Maria in Porgy and Bess and Frankie in Carmen Jones.
She accumulated more than a dozen honorary degrees during her career, including one from Georgetown in 1977. After receiving that degree, she returned to campus the following year as a freshman and earned a B.A. degree in 1985. At the age of 67, Pearl was the oldest member of the Class of 1985 which also included basketball star Patrick Ewing.
It took Pearl longer than the typical four years to graduate because she had to juggle studies with working and charitable commitments, such as one with former President and Mrs. Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 13, 1983
Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actor Bradley Cooper transferred to Georgetown after a year of study at Villanova University. He majored in English and graduated with honors in 1997. While a student, he acted in campus productions.