Georgetown Features Civil War Exhibit Including Jesuit Mistaken for John Wilkes Booth
Tags: Civil War, Georgetown University, Jesuit Father John Guida
A photograph of the Georgetown Jesuit who was jailed after being mistaken for John Wilkes Booth is only one of about 80 Civil War items on display at the Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library through the month of June.
The items are from the library’s Special Collections Research Center and from the Woodstock College Archives.
Authorities released John B. Guida, S.J., a philosophy professor, once Booth (who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln) was found.
“On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Special Collections Research Center wanted to tell the story of the war’s impact on Georgetown and its faculty and students,” explained University Archivist Lynn Conway, who put the exhibition together. “It is a story of perseverance and survival.
As the war progressed, the College saw its grounds occupied by Union troops on multiple occasions, according to documents in the exhibition.
The university tried to maintain normal activities throughout the war, according to Georgetown documents.
Faculty melted down silver spoons that belonged to students who had already left campus to make silver medals awarded for academic achievement at the 1862 commencement.
The College had financial difficulties by this point because its enrollment had dropped so much because of the war. Melting down the spoons was the only way the medals could be made.
Following the war the College built a stone wall along what is now 37th street to enclose the campus and stem problems with vagrancy and theft caused by the failing post-war economy. As a show of unity, the crew team adopted the colors blue and gray in 1876 that still represent Georgetown today.