Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus
The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus covers the period from 1630-2003; the bulk of the materials date from 1800-1875. The collection documents the establishment of the Jesuit order, and of the Catholic Church more broadly, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
The Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Maryland Province Archives or MPA, represents a crucial primary source for the study of the Jesuit Order from its arrival in the English colonies in 1634 through its expansion along the eastern seaboard. The MPA also documents the history and development of Georgetown University. Of particular significance is the documentation of the Jesuits’ and Georgetown University’s connection to slavery, most notably the 1838 sale of 272 slaves by the Maryland Province, proceeds of which benefited what was then Georgetown College.
The MPA consists of the organizational records of the Province in its various iterations: the Mission of Maryland (1634-1773), the Mission of the American Federation/Maryland (1814-1832), the Maryland Province (1833-1878, 1943-2020), and the Maryland-New York Province (1879-1943), as well as documentation from the Jesuit Suppression (1773-1814). In addition, the MPA contains records of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen (CRCC) - the legal entity formed in 1783, and chartered by the state of Maryland in 1793 - which is authorized to make property transactions and initiate lawsuits on behalf of the Province. The collection also contains diaries and personal manuscript material from individual priests and prominent Catholic families, published and unpublished histories of the order, and materials formerly part of the Maryland Province Collection. The series arrangement for the bulk of the MPA reflects the organizational structure of the Maryland Province, as established by The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.
The MPA is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Access to the Archives is governed by the Maryland Province. As stewards of the Archives, the Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections is responsible for managing access to the material based on policies set forth by the Maryland Province.
The physical MPA collection has recently been re-processed. Click here to access the new, complete finding aid.
Certain materials in this collection contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant series, subseries, and folders are identified.
NOTE: Most materials dated 1900 and later have not been digitized. Materials dating 1900-1939 are available for research use at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. All materials dated 1940 and later are restricted.