Upcoming Events: November 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open during regular hours.

Please join us for the following public event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, November 10 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “Deadly Letters: Plague, Banditry, and Heresy in Early Modern Mail” – Rachel Midura (Virginia Tech).

Thursday, November 11 at 4:00pm | “Ireland’s Lament”: The Story of the Manuscript of a 17th-century Irish Historica Poem in the Hesburgh Library. A panel discussion on the recently-acquired manuscript, Tuireamh na hÉireann (Ireland’s Lament), with the Department of Irish Language and Literature and the Keough-Naughton Institute of Irish Studies.


Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, will run through the end of the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (October – December 2022) and “Rosie the Riveters with a Vengeance” and Other Wartime Contributions by American Women (October – November 2022).

RBSC will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday,
November 24 – 25.

A Halloween Tale: “John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts”

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

This year’s Halloween tale comes to you from Jeremiah Curtin’s Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World (London: D. Nutt, 1895). Curtin, a linguist, translator, and folklorist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Irish immigrant parents, and grew up in Milwaukee county, Wisconsin. With the aid of interpreters, he collected folklore in the Irish-speaking regions in the west of Ireland. Recent scholarship demonstrates that Alma Curtin, his wife, was an important partner in this work.1 He also translated Russian and Polish literature, and spent some years working for the Bureau of Ethnology in Washington, D.C., working with Native American peoples. He published three books of Irish folklore, of which this was the third.

“John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts” tells of bravery rewarded and wickedness punished—and of the special properties of “what belongs to a plough”. Enjoy!


Happy Halloween to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2021: A Welsh Witch in the Woods
Halloween 2020: Headless Horsemen in American and Irish
Halloween 2019: A Halloween trip to Mexico
Halloween 2018: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”
Halloween 2017: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider
Halloween 2016: Ghosts in the Stacks

 

 

[1] Bourke, Angela. “The Myth Business: Jeremiah and Alma Curtin in Ireland, 1887–1893.” Éire-Ireland, vol. 44 no. 3, 2009, p. 140-170. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/eir.0.0043.

“Everyone Has a First Love”: Revisiting the All American Girls Baseball League Collection in the Joyce Sports Research Collection

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist and Curator, Joyce Sports Research Collection

“Action! Glamor! Travel! Thrills!”

A 1948 promotional flier for the All American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL)—which billed itself as “the tops in girls sports”—used these enticements to encourage women to try out for the league. Inside, the pamphlet further described “action-packed… All-American Girls baseball” as a “game of sensational growth and popularity with an equally brilliant future” and promised “a sport unlike any other in existence and one which offers real opportunities to the young girls of every city, village, and hamlet of America.”

1948 Promotional Flier Cover (MSSP 0014-167)

This flier comes from a remarkable All American Girls Baseball League manuscript collection housed in the Joyce Sports Research Collection in Hesburgh Libraries that documents the history of this important pioneering women’s sports league. A League of Their Own, a new Amazon streaming show about the league (that shares a name with the popular 1992 Geena Davis and Tom Hanks movie on the same topic) has re-focused attention on the actual history of the AAGBL and has also brought renewed interest in the unique AAGBL materials in the Joyce Sports Research Collection. Recent visitors and researchers to consult the AAGBL collection include Notre Dame undergraduate students from Professor Annie Coleman’s Sports and American Culture class and attendees at an AAGBL convention and reunion hosted in South Bend this past August.

Letter on AAGBL letterhead from AAGBL President Max Carey to South Bend Blue Sox Board Member Harold T. Dailey, May 17, 1948 (MSSP 0014-21)

Founded in 1943 by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other baseball and civic leaders who worried that World War Two labor demands could threaten the viability of professional men’s baseball, the All American Girls Baseball League provided high-quality women’s sports in (mostly) mid-sized Midwestern cities like South Bend, Indiana; Rockford, Illinois; Racine, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and others. 

Although Wrigley quickly sold his stake in the league when it became apparent that major league baseball would survive during the war, the AAGBL continued for 12 seasons until 1954. In the league’s first seasons, the game was akin to fast-pitch softball, but, in ensuing years, the rules evolved—including overhand pitching and a smaller ball—to more closely resemble men’s baseball.

1947 South Bend Blue Sox yearbook cover (MSSP 0014-59)

The AAGBL manuscript collection consists chiefly of the personal and collected papers of two men involved with the South Bend Blue Sox—one of two franchises (along with the Rockford Peaches) to compete in all 12 league seasons from 1943 to 1954. Harold T. Dailey, a South Bend oral surgeon, was a team administrator for most of the Blue Sox’s existence and served on the team Board of Directors from 1945–1952. Chet Grant managed the Blue Sox in 1946 and 1947. 

Years later in the 1970s, Grant helped oversee the Joyce Sports Research Collection, and he facilitated the donation of these one-of-a-kind materials. The AAGBL collection includes a variety of formats, including correspondence, programs, yearbooks, photographs, financial records, scrapbooks, player questionnaires, clippings and more, all of which help to document the full history of the league.

1954 Harold T. Dailey AAGBL notebook (MSSP 0014-8-B, 46v-47r)

“A High Standard of Conduct”

One important theme of the new Amazon League of Their Own series—and one that is well reflected in the manuscript collection—is the League’s emphasis on conventional ideas of femininity. Perhaps because the players were exceptional athletes, the male owners and administrators always insisted on promoting images of traditional feminine appearance and behavior—from the required uniform skirts to elaborate rules and regulations that (hoped to) govern player conduct. The 1948 promotional flier, for instance, assured fans and prospective players that “All-American girls… are selected for their athletic ability and baseball ability as well as femininity, character, and deportment. A high standard of conduct and behavior is maintained at all times.”

Printed material from the league, too, consistently featured stylized images that emphasized conventional ideals of feminine appearance. A few examples from the AAGBL collection include the 1948 South Bend Blue Sox Yearbook, the 1946 Kenosha Comets Yearbook, and the 1950 Ft. Wayne Daisies Official Program.

Internal correspondence, also, addressed this issue. In a May 17, 1948, letter, for instance, League President Max Carey, a former major league baseball player, wrote Harold Dailey that “some of the girls from the National League [National Women’s Softball League] were out to our game the other night, and they were all dressed in slacks and looked like a bunch of bums, which in itself would not be an inducement to try and break into that league.”

Despite such precautions by the League and despite the AAGBL’s high-level of play and popularity in league cities, some in the public remained skeptical about the propriety of women participating in a traditionally male pastime. This undated clipping from the AAGBL collection, for example, asked “Do Girls Belong in Pro Baseball”?

“Do Girls Belong in Pro Baseball?” clipping (MSSP 0014-168)

The Amazon League of Their Own series also explores its characters’ sexuality and LGBTQ issues. League administrators in the 1940s and 1950s encouraged conventional heterosexual relationships for the players and promoted traditional heterosexual norms in their publicity material. Concerns about player sexuality do not seem to be often overtly mentioned in the surviving league records, but there are still some tantalizing glimpses of the issue.

The AAGBL manuscript collection, for example, includes a fascinating set of 76 promotional questionnaires completed by league athletes in about 1944. The forms solicited information about the players’ backgrounds, experiences, and interests, and instructed the women: “please don’t be bashful” with your answers. One question, though, did require more discretion. In a section about entertainment, the questionnaire invited players to name their “favorite star”—but then quickly stipulated that the answer “must be a man.” League administrators evidently wanted to avoid any suggestion that players might be interested in other women. 

Despite such contemporary gender and sexual politics that constrained the behavior and self-expression of players, more than 600 athletes appeared in the AAGBL during its 12 years of competition. These women excelled on the field, unabashedly exhibited their athletic prowess, demonstrated that there was an audience for high-caliber women’s sports, and, in their own way, helped to challenge and re-shape the very same strict societal gender norms the league sought to enforce. 

The athletes were doubtless aware of the league’s cultural significance. But many players were also simply thrilled to be playing ball and relished the opportunity to test their mettle against some of the best women athletes in the country. Pitcher Jo Kabick probably spoke for many of her league-mates when she wrote enthusiastically on her 1944 publicity questionnaire: “Everyone has a ‘first love’—mine was softball.”


The All American Girls Baseball League Collection is open to the public and available to researchers. Please email rarebook@nd.edu to make an appointment to consult the collection.

Rare Papal Bull in French to Convoke the Council of Trent

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an unusual and extremely rare document in early modern church history, a French-language edition of the bull issued by Pope Paul III to convoke the Council of Trent (1545-1563), La Bulle de nostre sainct Père le Pape Paul troisiesme sur le Concile general qui se celebrera, le quatriesme dimanche de la Caresme prochaine (Lyon, 1544). The Council was originally planned to begin in November 1542, but because of the conflict between King Francis I of France and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, the convocation was delayed. This Council would prove to be a pivotal event in modern church history, essentially launching the Catholic Reformation across a range of important doctrinal issues.

Paul III, whose pontificate spanned the years 1534-1549, also published Latin-language versions in Cologne, Ingolstadt, Magdeburg, Nurnberg, and Rome, while a German edition was issued in Augsburg. In this edition, the bull is preceded by a letter written by the Pope to the Archbishop of Lyon concerning the Council.

We have located only one other copy of this French version among recorded holdings worldwide, in France’s Bibliotheque Nationale.

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

United Farm Workers

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

The United Farm Workers, an organization with deep ties to the Mexican American community, came into existence in 1965, under the leadership of labor leader Cesar Chavez. It merged two existing groups of farm workers, one primarily Mexican and one primarily Filipino. Under Cesar Chavez’s leadership, United Farm Workers became a highly influential, multi-racial labor movement. It orchestrated the most successful consumer boycott in American history, against California grape producers, between 1965 and 1970. By allying with national and local unions and building boycott houses in 10 major cities, the UFW effectively shut down the U.S. market for grapes in protest over treatment of farmworkers. In July of 1970, after a final, failed attempt to offload rotting grapes in Europe, twenty-six grape growers capitulated and signed collective bargaining agreements with the UFW, a major victory for the country’s farm workers.

This post highlights some of Rare Books and Special Collections’ ephemeral material related to the history of the United Farm Workers organization, a beacon of Chicano strength and power.

Andrew Zermeño, a graphic artist who created a number of political cartoons for United Farm Workers, produced this large bilingual poster in 1968. It connects the president-elect, Richard Nixon, to the abusive practices of California grape growers and warns that if “La Raza,” or the Mexican American population, doesn’t stop Nixon, he will stomp, or crush, them.

Portrayed in a grotesque fashion, Nixon waves his characteristic “V” for victory sign and greedily devours grapes. A grape grower is literally in Nixon’s pocket and farmworkers are crushed under his stomping feet. Small signs in Spanish and English refer to the boycott. A man representing La Raza lies inert in a pool of grape juice at the bottom of the poster. 

In 1969, the Scholastic, the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine, recognized the grape boycott. Its editors published the striking emblem of the Delano strike on the cover of the November 7 issue. Inside, the first of two articles on the farmworkers’ actions, authored by Steve Novak, describes the formation of the UFW and the history of the grape boycott. Novak observes that, “the Delano strike has done much for the Mexican-American people of the United States,” making them more visible, uniting them, and bringing their struggles to light. 

This final item is a modest poster promoting a United Farm Workers benefit held in Madison, Wisconsin, at Freedom House, a small venue. Likely also dating to the era of the grape boycott, the poster features the strike emblem and a group of three protestors, one with arm raised and one wearing a farm worker’s hat.         

Together, these items reflect the national impact of the Delano grape strike. It spawned protest posters by Mexican American artists like Zermeño, merited a place on the cover of university student magazine in South Bend, Indiana, and prompted organization of a benefit in Madison, Wisconsin. The impact of this event was widespread and impressive, and it is an important part of the legacy of the U.S.’s Mexican American population. 

Previous Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Posts:

Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame

In 2022, the University of Notre Dame celebrates fifty years of being a coeducational institution. Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame joins the year-long celebrations occurring throughout campus. This exhibit presents a selection of correspondence, articles, documents, and other materials from the Notre Dame Archives that record the journey toward coeducation. 

The transition to fully include women in all aspects of student life was a long, winding, and sometimes bumpy road. Since the 1910s, women have been studying at and earning degrees from Notre Dame. For the most part, their experiences were exclusive to the Summer School Program, which was established in 1918. However, by the 1960s, it was clear that Notre Dame, like its peers, had to pursue coeducation to remain a relevant, top-tier university.

Notre Dame became coeducational in the fall of 1972, but it would take years for women to be fully integrated into undergraduate life. Women struggled for representation in the classrooms, in student organizations, and on the athletic fields. This exhibit takes a look back at the pioneering women who have helped shape Notre Dame for over one hundred years.

This exhibit is curated by Elizabeth Hogan, Senior Archivist for Photographs and Graphic Materials.


2022 Fall Exhibit Open House Tours

  • Friday, October 14, 3:00-4:00pm (Stanford Weekend)
  • Friday, November 4, 3:00-4:00pm (Clemson Weekend)
  • Friday, November 18, 10:30-11:30am (Boston College Weekend)

Stop by Hesburgh Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections exhibit gallery and explore “Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame.” Exhibit curator, Elizabeth Hogan, will be available to walk you through the exhibit and answer questions. No registration is necessary.


All exhibits hosted in Special Collections are free and open to the public during regular business hours.

Please note: the west concourse of the Hesburgh Library is currently under renovation, however, Rare Books & Special Collections is still accessible. 

Upcoming Events: October 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open during regular hours.

Please join us for the following public event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, October 6 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “‘Permettereste a vostro figlio di sposare Lola?’: Latent Fascism, American Culture, and Blackness in Postwar Italy” – Jessica L. Harris (St. John’s University).


Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, will run through the end of the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God (June – early October 2022) and A Day in a Life of the Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs (August – early October 2022). Later in October we will be installing two new spotlight exhibits: an exhibit featuring our William Butler Yeats Collection and discussing Yeats’ connection with Notre Dame (mid-October – December 2022), and an exhibit highlighting some recent acquisitions relating to women in World War II (mid-October – November 2022).

RBSC will be open regular hours, 9:30am – 4:30pm,
during Notre Dame’s Mid-Term Break (October 17 – 21).

A 17th Century Reexamination of a 4th Century Saint’s Legend

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Spine and front cover of binding.

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a fascinating and important early modern work on the story of St. Ursula, a fourth-century British princess who tradition relates was martyred along with her 11,000 female followers by the Huns while on a pilgrimage to Rome. Vita et Martyrium S. Ursulae et Sociarum Undecim Millium Virginum etc. (Coloniae Agrippinae, 1647) by the Jesuit Hermann Crombach is an extensive defense of the legend’s historical veracity, as well as a detailed attempt to identify as many of her virgin companions as possible.

There was a resurgence of St. Ursula’s cult in the seventeenth century that witnessed the publication of a number of titles related to her; this tome “provides the most encyclopedic hagiographic coverage of the cult ever published.” ( Cartwright, The cult of St Ursula and the 11,000 virgins, 2016, p.21-22). This renewal of interest in the saint should probably be seen through the lens of the Catholic Reformation, in which detailed investigations into the authenticity of relics, saints’ legends, etc. were held up as proofs of the church’s reliability in transmitting her traditions.

Beginning of text.

Crombach’s exhaustive approach even included an attempt to identify as many of Ursula’s companions as possible and the inclusion of three finely engraved maps attempting to trace the route of the retinue from southwest England to Rome, before they turned north and were martyred in the defense of Cologne—besieged at the time by the Huns.

The first map, added between pages 270 and 271.

We have identified only five North American library holdings of this work.

Opportunities for Research Visits to Notre Dame’s Special Collections

The Rare Books and Special Collections at Hesburgh Library welcomes visiting scholars whether they wish to consult one book or to spend many days immersed in our collections.

A number of research grants and awards are made available by a variety of institutions which may be of interest to people considering travelling for research visits. These are administered and funded by various groups, and so the information in this blogpost is intended to serve as a signpost to different opportunities, and to encourage readers to follow the links to the relevant grants and awards.

Dante Studies Travel Grants

With the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, the Center for Italian Studies co-sponsors travel grants for faculty and graduate students from other institutions whose research would benefit from on-site access to Notre Dame’s special collections on Dante, the Ambrosiana archive, or other of its Italian holdings. For more information, please contact devers@nd.edu.

The Italian Studies Library Research Award

The Center for Italian Studies and Notre Dame International jointly administer an Italian Studies Library Research Award. This award provides grant funding for scholars to use the collections of the Hesburgh Libraries for research in Italian studies. Research awards are intended to defray the cost of travel and accommodation for research visits of one to three weeks in duration. Applications from international locations are encouraged. Read more about this award and access the application on the Center for Italian Studies’ website.

Keough-Naughton Library Research Award in Irish Studies

The Keough-Naughton Library Research Award provides grant funding to assist scholars who travel to the Notre Dame campus to use the collections of the Hesburgh Libraries for research in all aspects of Irish studies. This award is funded and administered jointly by the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and Notre Dame International. Information and application instructions for this grant may be found on the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies website.

Cushwa Center Research Travel Grants

The Cushwa Center provides research grants for the Study of Catholicism in America. Information on their opportunities for research in the University of Notre Dame Archives and the Hesburgh Libraries may be found on the Cushwa Center’s Research Travel Grants page.

Hibernian Research Awards

Funded by an endowment from the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, these annual awards provide travel funds to support the scholarly study of Irish and Irish American history. This grant is administered by the Cushwa Center of Catholic Studies. Information is available on the Grant Opportunities page of the Cushwa Center’s website.

A Day in a Life of the Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs

by Natasha Lyandres, Head of Special Collections and Curator, Russian and East European Collections

Special Collections recently acquired two World War II era photo albums featuring original photographs from within and outside of the Warsaw Ghetto’s walls.

Although the albums lack dates and inscriptions, they probably belonged to а German soldier who visited Warsaw sometime after the establishment of the Ghetto in November 1940 and before the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April 1943.  At the height of its existence in 1941, the Warsaw Ghetto included more than 500,000 Jews from Warsaw and surrounding towns. They lived in subhuman conditions in a small area segregated from the rest of the city by wire and brick walls. Fueled by years of massive Nazi propaganda, the occupied Warsaw was a popular destination for Wehrmacht soldiers who came here to see for themselves the “authentic” East European Jews and their culture. 

Three men standing in the Warsaw Ghetto. (MSE/REE 0042-1, fol. 4r)

The first album presents a broad spectrum of people and activities taking place inside the Ghetto walls.  It comprises twenty-four photographs probably taken during a single day as the photographer strolled through the streets documenting his encounters with the doomed inhabitants. The images vary from close up portraits of people directly facing the camera to more general depictions of the busy street life, misery, and suffering.

The photographer captured “typical Jewish” men with long beards wearing traditional attire, women with strollers in the park, rickshaws used for transporting people and goods, crowded marketplaces with inhabitants trying to make a living by selling potatoes, warm water, and the obligatory Star of David armbands, uprooted families arriving to the Ghetto from nearby towns, homeless children begging for food, and people collapsing and dying on the sidewalks from hunger and diseases.

The Old town. (MSE/REE 0042-2, fol. 18r)

The second album presents forty-seven photographs depicting mostly street views and buildings on the “Aryan” side of Warsaw, including images of the Ghetto wall (Ulica Graniczna), views of the Old town with its charming narrow streets and alleys, palaces with Nazi flags and German soldiers, and historical monuments, many of which were later destroyed. This album also contains several aerial views of the soon to be destroyed city and bridges over the Vistula river. 

Taken by a perpetrator, these photographs serve as important historical evidence of the Holocaust and Nazi atrocities in Poland.

The albums are currently on display as the September spotlight exhibit in Special Collections. After the exhibit closes, they will be digitized. They will soon be available on the Marble (Museums, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) online platform.

RBSC is closed Monday, September 5th, for Labor Day.