Recent Acquisition: Cultural Revolution novel

by Hye-jin Juhn, East Asian Studies Librarian

Zhu Jian’s Qing shi bao, a Cultural Revolution novel published in 1976, includes illustrations by Chen Danqing that are examples of Cultural Revolution art, and also of the artist’s works in that time period as an “educated youth” in rural areas. Approximately one year later, Chen completed his famous painting “Writing a Letter to Chairman Mao,” and traveled to Tibet where he got inspired for his Tibet series.



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Ghosts in the Stacks

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Traditional Scottish Prayer

“What do you have in Special Collections?” is a question we are asked quite regularly. While we don’t have any ghosts (that we know of), we do have books that contain ghost stories. Whether a central character intended to frighten the reader or a convenient plot device, ghosts appear in a variety of works of fiction. Listed here are a selection of such stories to be found in our rare books.

One of the earliest recorded ghost stories is that told by Pliny the Younger in his Letters, written in the early 2nd century AD. He repeats a story he has heard told of an Athenian phantom “in the form of an old man . . . with a long beard and bristling hair” [Book 7, Letter 27]. boo_000525765-178_179 boo_000525765-180_181

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” from The sketch book of Geoffrey Crayon, gent, by Washington Irving (London: J. Murray, 1821).

“The Ghost and the Bonesetter” by Sheridan Le Fanu, first published in 1838 in the Dublin University Magazine (Dublin, Ireland: William Curry, Jun., and Co.; and London: Simpkin and Marshall).

A Christmas Carol (London: Chapman & Hall, 1843) and The haunted man and the ghost’s bargain (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848), both by Charles Dickens. Although a tradition that has nearly disappeared, telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve was popular during the Victorian era.

A night in a haunted house: a tale of facts, by Edward Tracy Turnerelli (London: Ward & Lock, 1859).

“The Phantom Coach” by Amelia Edwards, first published December 1864 in the Extra Christmas Number “Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy” issue of All the year Round, a Victorian periodical edited by Charles Dickens (London: Chapman and Hall, 1859-1895). Many 19th century ghost stories were initially published in magazines.boo_000809099-v12-18641201-34_35 boo_000809099-v12-18641201-36_37 boo_000809099-v12-18641201-38_39 boo_000809099-v12-18641201-40_41

Irish wonders: the ghosts, giants, pookas, demons, leprechauns, banshees, fairies, witches, widows, old maids, and other marvels of the Emerald Isle, by David Rice McAnally (London: Ward, Lock, 1888).

Some Chinese ghosts (Boston: Roberts brothers, 1887) and In ghostly Japan (Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1899), both by Lafcadio Hearn.l_hearn-covers

“Tom Daly and the nut-eating ghost” from Tales of the fairies and of the ghost world, collected from the oral tradition in South-west Munster, by Jeremiah Curtin (London: D. Nutt, 1895). boo_001924558-054_055 boo_001924558-056_057

M. R. James’s Ghost stories of an antiquary (London: Penguin Books, 1937) and More ghost stories (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1959). James’s first and second collections of ghost stories, these were originally published in 1904 and 1911, respectively. penguins-mrjames

Gods, goblins and ghosts; the weird legends of the Far East, by Bertha Lum (Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1922). 

Madam Crowl’s ghost: and other tales of mystery, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, edited by M. R James (London: G. Bell and sons, ltd., 1923). 

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

P.S. If you’re curious about ghost stories here on campus, check out Notre Dame Magazine’s article “Haunt thee, Notre Dame?” from the Autumn 2009 issue.

Recent Acquisition: De laude monasticae religionis opusculum

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired the first (and only) edition of  De laude monasticae religionis opusculum (Paris, 1513) by the Flemish theologian Josse Clichtove (1472?-1543). This prolific Catholic apologist of the Reformation era wrote a spirited defense of monasticism. In this work, he attacked the anti-monastic views of the famed Christian humanist, Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), although Erasmus is not mentioned by name in the text. This would be the first of numerous polemical exchanges between the two.

In addition to Notre Dame’s copy, there are only six other North American holdings of this title.


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Spotlight Exhibit: Plumb Crazy—Dante and Music

October 2016

1516i-DanteThis small exhibit highlights selections from the Hesburgh Libraries’ collections of musical adaptations of Dante’s works. On view are historical examples of compositions relating to Dante’s Divina Commedia and Vita Nuova. While Dante witnessed musical adaptations of his texts composed already in his own lifetime, they hit a high point in the mid-19th century when the author’s popularity surged in both Italian and translation readership.

This spotlight exhibit will be visible from October 3-28 in Rare Books & Special Collections on the ground floor of Hesburgh Library. The exhibit is presented in conjunction with Journeying La Divina Commedia: Desert, Discovery, Song, an interdisciplinary musical project, which will be performed at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on October 8-9, 2016.

For more information about the exhibit or collections in this area, please contact Tracy Bergstrom, Curator of the Zahm Dante and Early Italian Imprints Collection.

Color Our Collections: Ingenious Exercises exhibit

Today’s coloring sheet comes from our recently installed exhibit, Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800. The exhibit presents a selection of books on sports and physical culture published in Western Europe in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and is curated by George Rugg (Joyce Sports Collection).

The exhibit is open to the public through December 16, 2016.

What Do You Have in Special Collections? We have Rare Books…

Notre Dame Special Collections holds approximately 132,000 volumes of rare books and periodicals. In the collection, there are really old books and really new books; books that have high monetary value and books that don’t; books with paper covers and books with hard covers; books that look like books and books that look like art. What is a rare book then? Why is one book in the rare book collection and not another? And exactly what kinds of rare books does ND Special Collections have?

The mixture of old and new and varying monetary values and formats points to the fact that it’s hard to define precisely what a rare book is. Perhaps the question isn’t so much, “What is a rare book?” but rather, “What makes a book rare?” Supply and demand play a large role. If there are only a couple of copies of a particular book, it seems logical to believe that that book is rare; however, if no one is interested in acquiring that book, then the book isn’t necessarily rare. If there is greater demand than the number of books available to meet demand, then a book may be said to be rare. High demand, though, is only one part of the equation in determining whether a book is rare.

Above and beyond supply and demand, a book must have some sort of intrinsic value or importance. That is, what importance does a book have in the field of study to which it belongs? More simply put, does the book have research value? For example, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, first published in 1818, is quite popular and readily available whether in your local library or through any of a number of bookstores and online booksellers. But editions of this book are found in special collections. Both the original 1818 edition and the 1831 revised edition published in a single volume by Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley have intrinsic value for literary studies. The first presents Shelley’s ideas in 1818 before she suffered from multiple personal tragedies—the deaths of her son, daughter, and husband, of her friend, George Gordon (Lord Byron), and being betrayed by her friend, Jane Williams. The third edition, considerably revised by the author, reflects the change in her philosophical ideas. After suffering these tragedies Shelley revised the text to exemplify her belief that human events are not decided by free will but by material forces beyond human control.

BOO_003701271_v1-00g-blackA book might be considered rare if it is the first printing, has particular historical importance, or has specific significance to a particular collection, institution, or other setting. The Holy Bible printed by Matthew Carey in 1790 is one example of all three of these considerations. The Carey Bible represents the printing of the first Catholic Bible in the United States, known also as the Douay-Rheims version. The specific copy of this Bible held in ND Special Collections has further significance to the campus. Locally referred to as “The Badin Bible,” the three volumes comprising this copy were given to Father Stephen Badin (1768-1853) by Bishop John Carroll (1735-1815), the first bishop appointed in the U.S. Father Badin founded a school and church for the Potawatomi Indians, the site of which is now part of Notre Dame’s campus. He also purchased land and gifted it to the Diocese of Vincennes; this land was the parcel upon which the Notre Dame campus was built. ND’s copy of this Bible contains a handwritten dedication to Badin and the ex libris bookplate of Stephen T. Badin.

A book that has survived the ravages of time might be a good candidate to be considered rare. For printed books in the western world, a book printed in 1493 and sitting on a shelf today is old—but is it rare? If it has intrinsic importance and if demand outstrips supply, then it most likely is rare. Take RBSC’s copy of the Liber cronicarum by the Nuremberg doctor and scholar, Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514), an incunable—a book printed during the first fifty years of printing in the West (1450-1500)—is a landmark in book design and the history of printing. More commonly known in English as the Nuremberg Chronicle because of its magnificent 2-page woodcut of the city of Nuremberg, this book integrates over 1800 images with the printed text, using the images to explain or clarify the content. The Chronicle also contains woodcuts that provide the first images ever printed of some of Germany’s cities. Though over 1200 copies are known to exist today in libraries throughout the world, the demand for this phenomenal book remains high.

Often, books that are first editions are assumed to be rare books because they are thought to be more valuable. Sometimes that is true, but most books only come out in one edition, making them by default first editions. In the case of books that come out in multiple editions, there are instances when the first edition can add value to the book. For example, Moby Dick by the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891) was published first in October 1851 in London by Richard Bentley as a three-volume set in an edition of 500 copies. 200 copies were bound in spectacular fashion, with seafoam green cloth covers and cream cloth spines adorned with a whale in gilt. Today, locating a copy in this original binding is almost impossible; the supply practically does not exist, yet there is demand for this elegant book. The first American edition was printed a month later by Harper and Brothers. This edition corrected the changes in language and spelling and restored passages that had been excised by Bentley in the London edition, making the first American edition of extreme importance for the history of this book.

An edition of a book—the set of copies of a book printed from the same setting of type—other than the first edition may have important value for researchers as well. In 1580, Discorso sopra il giuoco del calcio fiorentino by the Florentine Giovanni de Bardi (1534-1612) was first published. The text was edited three times with the new editions printed in 1615, 1673, and 1688; the last printing of the text was in 1766. Discorso was the first book that described calcio, an early form of football that originated in sixteenth-century Italy; it detailed the rules, how the game was played, and what players were expected to wear. The first three editions contained no more than one plate; however, a fourth edition appeared in 1688. Retitled Memorie del calcio Fiorentino Tratte da diverse Scrittute, this edition had been published to coincide with the marriage of Ferdinand de Medici and Violante Beatrice of Bavaria. Memorie contains additional engraved plates, the original Discorso, a lengthy essay on calcio’s antecedants, a poem in Greek on the sport, and notices and records of the games played. The second edition also contains a description of the calcio match played at the wedding. Part of the Joyce Sports Research Collection, both the 1615 printing of Discorso and the 1688 Memorie provide researchers with valuable resources for studying the sport, printing history, and cultural history.

Books that are found in special collections might also be part of a collection that, as a whole, has intrinsic value even if some of the books within that collection are quite common. Many special collections libraries will collect the works of a particular author or field of study. ND Special Collections has a number of these including the Edmund Burke Collection, the Zahm Dante Collection, and the Edward Lee Greene Collection. The core of the Burke Collection is comprised of the personal library of William B. Todd, author of the authoritative descriptive bibliography of Burke’s works. Included are early editions of Burke and his contemporaries including Thomas Paine. Addition volumes have been added to the original collection to comprise a substantial research collection.

Similar to the Burke Collection is the Zahm Dante Collection of over 3,500 volumes that include incunables, sixteenth-century editions, and important modern works that demonstrate the popularity and impact Dante had on contemporary culture. Represented in this collection are works of fundamental importance in the Dante bibliography, including the 1481 edition of Cristoforo Landino’s commentary and the 1502 Aldine printing of Dante’s Comedia as well as the modern adaptation of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso by Sandow Birk, which translates the text into contemporary, American English and sets the three works in urban America. The Zahm Dante Collection forms part of the Italian Literature Collection, the most significant Italian literature collection in the United States, containing the works of Petrarch, Boccaccio, Baldassare, Castiglione, Ariosto, Bembo, and Tasso.

Another prominent collection is the Edward Lee Greene Collection related to natural science. This collection is formed from the personal library of Edward Lee Greene (1843-1915), an early botanist who researched and wrote about western American flora. His collection contains significant works from the sixteenth century, including the Herbarum uiuae eicones ad naturae imitationem (1532) by Otto Brunfels (1488-1534), who is regarded as one of the founders of botany. The collection also boasts Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands (1754), a stunning two-volume work with hand-colored plates. This book is of fundamental importance; it is the first publication devoted to the flora and fauna of North America. Along with the Greene Collection, ND Special Collections has holdings of over 4,000 works related to the history of science. Among these works are Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium celestium (1543), Galileo’s Dialogo (1632), and Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687).

ND Special Collections has numerous other important literary and historical works including one of the most complete collections of the Nicaraguan writer, Ruben Dario, as well as extensive holdings of the works of Gabriela Mistral and Jorge Luis Borges. The collection of the American poet Robert Creeley (1926-2005) contains books not widely accessible to the public and the letters, reviews, and other pieces of ephemera the author placed inside his books, providing students and researchers a rare look into the poet’s private life.

In addition to building collections that center around authors and content, ND Special Collections also collects books that are about the book itself. These include books issued from fine presses and books that push the boundaries of our general understanding of a book. The revival of fine press books can be traced to William Morris (1834-1896) and the press he founded, the Kelmscott Press, which printed books from 1890 to 1896. Morris was one of the leaders in the Arts and Craft Movement which developed in Britain and spread internationally between the mid eighteenth century and the early twentieth century. In reaction to the ill effects industrialization and capitalism had on printed  books, Morris set forth to produce books that reclaimed the beauty and craftsmanship associated with the fifteenth century. He used only the finest materials–handmade paper, specially formulated ink, high-quality vellum–and the iron handpress to print limited editions of only a few hundred copies of the finest quality. Of the fifty-three works the press printed, the most celebrated and generally regarded as the finest work printed from a fine press is Morris’ The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Now Newly Imprinted (1896). In addition to this fine work, ND Special Collections holds eleven other works issued from the Kelmscott Press.

Morris inspired others to establish fine presses. This trend spread across Britain, Europe, the United States, and continues today. Established in 1920 by Harold Midgley Taylor and taken over in 1924 by Robert Gibbings, the Golden Cockerel Press produced worked printed to the highest of standards and was noted for its woodcuts designed by notable artists such as Eric Gill. As Morris’ Chaucer was the Kelmscott’s finest work, Eric Gill’s Four Gospels (1931), part of the ND Special Collections Gill Collection, was the Golden Cockerel Press’ finest. In addition to works published by the Kelmscott Press and Golden Cockerell Press, ND Special Collections has collections from other notable fine presses including the Cuala Press, Stanbrook Abbey Press, Overbrook Press, Perishable Press, and St. Dominick’s Press.

Related to fine presses that produced limited editions of printed books using techniques that industrial presses could not produce is the development of artists books. What defines artists books is still in flux. To a large extent, they represent a work that is inspired by the function or structure of a traditional book; in some cases, the works resemble the common book with pages bound together and encased in a cover; in other cases, artists books look more like a sculpture or other work of art with very few characteristics of a traditional book. Artists books is a growing collection area for ND Special Collections. Our most extensive collection are works of the Ediciones Vigía in Matanzas, Cuba, founded in 1985, featuring handcrafted books of writers, musicians, and composers including Gabriela Mistral, Bob Marley, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel García Márquez and designed by artists including Rolando Estévez. Artists books from the Ediciones Vigía are noted for their elaborate constructions with foldouts, jewelry, and shapes. Also in ND Special Collections is a collection of sixty-seven works from the Indiana University School of Fine Arts individual pieces from current books artists including Julie Chen, Karen Hamner, Jean-Pierre Hebert, Bill Kelly, among many others.

Recent Acquisition: An Irish Priest in 19th Century Rome

by Marsha Stevenson, Visual Arts Librarian

The Very Rev. Jeremiah Donovan, D.D., professor of Rhetoric at Maynooth College, travelled to Rome in the 1830s and resided there for nine years. He documented his observations and recounted his impressions in his four-volume Rome, Ancient and Modern and Its Environs, printed privately by Crispino Puccinelli in 1842-44. Enhancing the text are 62 copperplate engravings by Roman artist, Gaetano Cottafavi.


The preface delineates the text’s arrangement as a “rapid historical sketch . . . with notices geological, statistical, political and religious,” followed by an admirably detailed description of the modern city’s “churches, palaces, museums, galleries, charitable institutions, hospitals, prisons, schools, colleges, universities, and other public establishments.” The work continues with “the antiquities ranged for the most part in chronological order” and “conducts the stranger through the environs of Rome” before concluding with a “copious and accurate index.”

Donovan emphasized his “personal observation and methodical description” and does not spare his subjects “unflinching but impartial criticism” even in light of Rome’s “transcendent and peculiar charms.”


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Color Our Collections: Vatican and Piranesi exhibits

Today’s coloring sheets comes from items on display in two of our ongoing exhibits: Vestigia Vaticana and the July spotlight exhibit on a recent acquisition, three works of Piranesi. The Vatican exhibit is open through mid-August, while the Piranesi exhibit closes at the end of this week.

Enjoy, and if you have the time please come in and see the full exhibits!


Download a PDF [1 MB]


Download a PDF [1 MB]

Recent Acquisition: Early Stalin era propaganda set

BOO_004394771-00aThe Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired a seven-volume illustrated set called Industriia Sotsializma (The Industry of Socialism). Designed by the famed El Lissitzky, this monumental work was published on the occasion of the Seventh Congress of Soviets, held in Moscow in February 1935. It represents one of the best examples of the early Stalin propaganda photo book.


Lissitzky utilized contemporaneous state-of-the-art typographical and book design techniques to create and to glorify the official image of the new Soviet state by incorporating photomontage, overlays, peek-a-boo images, photo-collages, accordion foldouts, as well as colorful maps and graphs.

One of a series of image sets in Volume 1 comparing the country before and after industrialization. This set of images highlights the transformation of small rural villages into industrial centers.
An opening from Volume 3 showing the growth and progress of factories during the 1930s, highlighting the success of the five-year plan.

Lissitzky and his team were highly praised for the work, which underscored the triumph of the first five-year plan and the transformation of the old economy into the new industrial Soviet power led by Joseph Stalin.

Three out of a series openings from Volume 6, using peek-a-boo cutouts to maintain images of Stalin and Lenin over many pages.

Color Our Collections

Coloring books are everywhere these days it seems. Books stores. Craft stores. Museums and libraries. Libraries?

Yes, even libraries have been getting in on the current craze. Who are we to miss an opportunity to highlight some of the beautiful illustrations to be found in our collection?

Today’s coloring sheet comes from Jost Amman’s Kunnst- und Lehrbüchlein für die anfahenden Jungen (Book of Art and Instruction for Young People), published by Sigmund Feyerabend in German and Latin in 1578. If you’d like to see more of the illustrations from this book, it is featured in the “Society” showcase of the online exhibit After Gutenberg: Print, Books, and Knowledge in Germany through the Long Sixteenth Century. Or come visit us and ask to see the book in person — the call number is on the coloring page.

Download a PDF [1 MB]