While the strength of our collections lies mainly in printed materials, our holdings also include significant manuscript items in several areas. The following list attempts to categorize these manuscript holdings according to broad historical and geographical divisions.
- Colonial and Revolutionary America
- Early National and Antebellum America
- American Civil War Era
- Modern American
This category comprises a few examples of early writing including cuneiform, Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek.
This heading serves to group a few copies of the Qu'ran, palm leaf manuscripts and other examples of writing from the Far East.
This category groups together pre-1600 bound manuscripts and leaves, as well as later manuscripts executed in a medieval style. The collection is now searchable and features over 750 images.
This heading covers bound and unbound manuscript items originating from continental Europe and the British Isles from approximately 1600 to 1800. Areas of concentration include certificates, proceedings and other official documents of the Spanish Inquisition, correspondence of Cardinal Lorenzo Magalotti (d.1637), records of a Dominican monastery near Barcelona from 1633-1791, and a collection of French charters and diplomatic correspondence. A listing of some two dozen bound manuscripts from this period, many of which are described in Corbett, is also included.
This heading covers bound and unbound manuscript items originating from continental Europe and the British Isles from approximately 1800 to the present. Principal areas of concentration include correspondence of various English writers and historians, many Catholic, from the 19th and early 20th centuries, several Irish-language miscellanies, and letters of Eric Gill, Hilary Pepler and other figures associated with the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic.
The library of José Durand, acquired in 1995, includes more than 40 literary, historical, financial and ecclesiastical manuscript items from the Spanish colonies in the New World, mainly Peru. The Inquisition Collection contains manuscript documents relating to Inquisitorial activities in Spain; a few items also relate to tribunals in the Americas.
This heading designates materials originating from former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America following their independence in the early part of the 19th century. Thanks to the generosity of Robert (ND '63) and Beverly O'Grady, the department has acquired significant collections of literary and historical manuscripts from the Southern Cone countries of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Literary manuscripts from the Hispanic Caribbean are being acquired through funds provided by José E. Fernández (ND '65).
The Department's Colonial/Revolutionary manuscript classification includes manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America before the year 1788. Materials originating in the Spanish colonies in North America are excluded; these may be found among the Spanish and Spanish Colonial collections.
The Department's Early National/Antebellum manuscript classification includes all manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America in the years 1788 to 1860. The great majority of these items originated in the United States.
The Department's Civil War manuscript classification includes all manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America in the years 1861 to 1865, as well as later groups with content immediately relevant to the war.
The Department's Modern American manuscript classification includes all manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America since the end of the Civil War.
Although the department does not have a formal autograph collection, a special collection of books signed by their authors and presented to University President Emeritus Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., includes works by many notable politicians, writers and celebrities. In addition, a card file was kept for many years of autographs and manuscripts in pre-1800 books (a practiced now continued by including provenance information in the electronic catalog record).