Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), an American naval officer and War of 1812 hero, was born in Sinepuxent, near Berlin, Maryland in 1779. Susan Decatur was born the daughter of Luke Wheeler, who served for a time as mayor of Norfolk, Virginia. She became one of Georgetown College's most important benefactors at a time when the college experienced financial trouble, and lived for a time in a house known as Decatur Cottage, which was located on land adjacent to Georgetown College on a site close to what is now the site of the White-Gravenor building.

Donated to Georgetown College by Susan Decatur, the widow of the War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), the Stephen and Susan Decatur Papers consist of one letter book containing letters dated from 1812 to 1813 written to Commodore Decatur congratulating him on the victory of the U.S.S. "United States" against the H.M.S. "Macedonian," two letters dated 1812 to him from U.S. Navy Secretary Paul Hamilton, and 16 letters to Susan Decatur dated between 1831 and 1845. Contained in one archival box (0.25 linear feet), the Decatur Papers document some interesting facts about these famous Americans.

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