The Rare Book Collection, consisting of some 125,000 volumes, covers a broad spectrum of subjects but the strengths are: Roman Catholic Church history, liturgy, law, and theology; English and American literature; Irish studies; and more generally art, architecture, and science. Imprints range from 1460 to the present.
Personal and Institutional Libraries: Astrik L. Gabriel Collection of Early Printed Books | Olmütz Monastic Libraries | Dominican Convent of St. Raymond de Peñafort | Library of José Durand | Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Collection | Sweetman Family Library
Author-based Collections: George Berkeley Collection | Edmund Burke Collection | G. K. Chesterton Collection | Dante Collection | René Descartes Collection | Eric Gill Collection | Edward Gorey Collection | Primo Levi Collection | James Clarence Mangan Collection
Subject-oriented or Topical Collections: Botany Collection | Fundamentalist and Evangelical Magazines Collection | Hispanic Caribbean Literature Collection | Incunabula | Inquisition Collection | Irish Collections | Latin American, Spanish, and Spanish Colonial Collections | O'Neill Collection of Traditional Irish Music | Pope Paul VI Collection | Southern Cone Literature Collection | Joyce Sports Research Collection
Private Press Collections: Cuala Press | Ediciones Vigía | Golden Cockerel Press | Kelmscott Press | Limited Editions Club | Overbrook Press | Perishable Press | St. Dominic's Press | Stanbrook Abbey Press
While the strength of our collections lies mainly in printed materials, our holdings also include significant manuscript items in several areas:
|| Autographs ||
The department has strong holdings related to the coins and paper currency used in colonial British America. There is also an extensive collection of 17th-19th century world coins as well as collections of Washington tokens, 19th century US Hard Times, Merchant and Civil War tokens, Confederate currency, German and Austrian notgeld, and a fairly complete type set of regular issue US coins. We also have smaller holdings in Spanish-American colonial silver, British Conder tokens, world paper currency, as well as some ancient and medieval coins.
Please follow the links below for further discussion of those collections which are currently represented online:
The department holds two significant collections of maps. The collection of Irish maps and sea charts includes items from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. More recently, the department has acquired a substantial collection of maps of the Great Lakes Region of North America containing maps from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries.
The department holds over two thousand issues of British and American newspapers of historical importance from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, with some extended runs of 18th century British newspapers. The department also has runs of Catholic newspapers that are not otherwise available electronically or in microfilm.
The department has a limited collection of pamphlets and broadsides with particular strengths in American Catholic history and culture.
The department's philatelic holdings include close to 200 volumes of postage stamps, first day covers and related material. Items date from the mid-19th to the late 20th centuries. Most stamp-issuing countries are well represented, with some emphasis on Western, Central, and Southern Europe.
The Department of Special Collections does not own a large collection of prints and drawings; most of the items in this area possessed by the University are housed in the Snite Museum of Art. Nevertheless, prints, original drawings, and other forms of artwork constitute a portion of several rare book and private press collections, including:
Eric Gill and St. Dominic's Press Collection (drawings by Gill, Edgar Holloway and David Jones; proofs of wood-engravings by Gill and Philip Hagreen)
G. K. Chesterton Collection (caricatures and sketches by Chesterton)
Jorge Luis Borges Collection (sketches by and of Borges)
Zahm Dante Collection (engraved portraits of Dante and Beatrice)
In addition, there is a small collection of loose prints, mostly 18th century copperplate engravings reproducing salon paintings and landscape views, for which an inventory is in preparation.