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Document Pandemic History in the COVID-19 Memory Project

Cover page to a set of anonymous Quarantine Diaries from the COVID Memory Project

Isaiah Garrett, Jr., who came to Georgetown College from Louisiana as a 15-year-old student in 1859, wrote 37 letters to his family about life on campus in the earliest days of the U.S. Civil War. It probably did not occur to Isaiah, as he wrote those letters, that they might find their way back to Georgetown over a century later, to be kept for posterity in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. The letters featured in a 2015 exhibition of our most treasured recent acquisitions, and provide a rare glimpse into a perilous time in Georgetown’s history.

Like Isaiah, it may not occur to members of the Georgetown University community that your experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic have historic value.  And like Isaiah’s letters, the stories, reflections, and images of faculty, staff, and students are the truest and best record of this unprecedented time and an indispensable part of campus history.

The Georgetown University Archives, whose mission is to collect and preserve materials that tell the University’s story, has been collecting contributions from the campus community about their experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will keep them as a permanent record of Georgetown’s history. Contributions will also be uploaded to DigitalGeorgetown, Georgetown University's online institutional repository, for all to view.

What have your colleagues contributed? Take a look online at our first digitized group of journal entries, class projects, pandemic-related syllabi, photos of an eerily empty campus, and COVID-related signage across campus. If you would like to add your story, please fill out this Google form. Submissions may be made anonymously.

For more information about the Memory Project, please contact University Archivist Lynn Conway at Lynn.Conway@georgetown.edu or Assistant University Archivist Ann Galloway at amg76@georgetown.edu.