Upcoming Events: February 2023

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

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

Thursday, February 23 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: M.A. Students Presentations (University of Notre Dame)

“Anybody here speak English? / Non dovete avere paura, non c’è ragione”:
Dubbing as Translation and Rewriting in Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna,
by Santain Tavella

The Infernal Arno: Mapping the Arno in Dante’s Hell
through the Lens of Purg. XIV,
by Toby Hale

Tuesday, February 28 at 3:30pm | Exhibit Lecture: “The Changing Face of Irish Writing” by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame)


The spring exhibit, Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts, features selected books from the Hesburgh Libraries’ Special Collections that demonstrate the art and craft of the Irish book since 1900. The exhibit, curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, will run through the semester.

The February spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – April 2023) and “That Just Isn’t Fair; Settling for Left-Overs”: African American Women Activists and Athletes in 1970s Feminist Magazines (February – March 2023).


Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed
from 11:30am to 2:00pm on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

New to the Collection: Scrapbook of the Corona Rolling Devils—Pioneering Wheelchair Basketball Team

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

Team photographs of the Corona Rolling Devils. Dr. Gerald Gray, who introduced wheelchair basketball to Corona Naval Hospital, is kneeling on the left.

“Tonight will bring … one of the most unique athletic contests ever witnessed” wrote the Riverside Enterprise newspaper in March 1947 before a wheelchair basketball game between the local Riverside College basketball team and the Rolling Devils from the Corona Naval Hospital in Corona, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. 

This is one of many clippings from a significant new acquisition by the Joyce Sports Research Collection—a scrapbook documenting the short career of the Corona Rolling Devils, one of the first successful and popular wheelchair basketball teams in the country. The 12×15 inch scrapbook features about 20 double-sided leafs and contains newspaper clippings, ephemera, and about 30 original photographs documenting the career of the Rolling Devils during the spring and summer of 1947.

As recounted in the recent book Wheels of Courage by David Davis, wheelchair basketball was originally devised in 1946 by Bob Rynearson, the Assistant Athletic Director at the Birmingham Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Van Nuys, California, to provide recreation and rehabilitation for World War Two veterans who were paralyzed. Due to medical advances during the 1940s, it became increasingly common for soldiers to survive spinal cord injuries, and, in the aftermath of the war, the VA rushed to provide care for an unprecedented number of veterans with paralysis. Rynearson’s adaptation of rules for wheelchair basketball was an immediate hit among veterans at the hospital.

In early 1947, Dr. Gerald Gray, a reconstructive surgeon at the Corona Naval Hospital, visited colleagues at the nearby Birmingham VA hospital and happened to see patients there playing the new wheelchair basketball game. After conferring with Rynearson, Dr. Gray immediately introduced wheelchair basketball at the Corona Naval Hospital and organized a team, who dubbed themselves the “Rolling Devils.”

In February 1947, the wheelchair basketball team from the Birmingham VA traveled to Corona to play the Rolling Devils. The visiting team was victorious in one of the first recorded wheelchair basketball games in American history. The Rolling Devils quickly recovered from this loss, however, and went undefeated for the rest of 1947, garnering significant public attention in the process.

The newly acquired scrapbook documents the Rolling Devils impressive winning streak. Most of their opponents were teams composed of non-disabled players who had to quickly adapt to playing basketball while in a wheelchair. The Rolling Devils’ victories over teams like Riverside College, the La Verne American Legion, the Pomona Veterans, and the Bonita All Stars are documented in newspapers stories, programs, advertisements, and photographs. The Devils also convincingly won a return match with the Birmingham VA hospital 41-10.

Newspaper Advertisement for game between the Rolling Devils and the Bonita All Stars.

As recounted in the scrapbook, in the spring of 1947, the Rolling Devils made two trips to  Northern California. The Devils beat the varsity basketball teams from St. Mary’s College and the University of California. In a game in May sponsored by the Oakland Tribune, the Devils also defeated the semi-pro Oakland Bittners, a top AAU team led by former Stanford star and future Minneapolis Laker Jim Pollard. The Devils even invited California governor Earl Warren to their sold-out game against the Oakland Bittners, but he telegraphed his regrets.

Telegram from California Governor Earl Warren to Dr. Gerald Gray about the Rolling Devils.

Throughout their winning streak, the Rolling Devils received praise for their skill. After beating St. Mary’s, a local reporter enthused, “The veterans, who learned to use the chairs through necessity, scooted around the floor like a bunch of spiders, while the college boys gave the spectators a three-ring circus by running into everything in sight and alternating between falling on their noses and backs.”

Rosters and special rules for the Rolling Devils and University of California game.

Some accounts of the Rolling Devils exploits, though, were tinged with a patronizing sentiment towards the wheelchair athletes. Before the game against the Bittners, for example, Alan Ward, a sports columnist for the Oakland Tribune, melodramatically recounted “the moral courage which prompts 10 young men to perform a collective feat which verges on the impossible.”

In mid-June, the Rolling Devils visited Sacramento for what would prove to be their final hurrah.  They beat a local college all-star team in a fundraising game to record, reportedly, their 22nd consecutive victory. After the game, the Devils visited the California legislature and finally met Governor Earl Warren who presented the players with honorary scrolls. Upon returning home, however, the Rolling Devils abruptly disbanded. As the United States military began discharging or transferring patients out of the Corona Naval Hospital, players on the team went their separate ways.

Members of the Rolling Devils relax in a swimming pool during the trip to northern California.
#1 Jerry Fesenmeyer smiling for the camera

Despite the team’s relatively short existence, the Rolling Devils had been instrumental in popularizing the sport of wheelchair basketball and educating the public about expanded athletic opportunities for people with disabilities. Author David Davis explains in Wheels of Courage that, “Thanks to the publicity generated by events like the Rolling Devils’ groundbreaking road trips, the spread of adaptive sports beyond the VA hospitals was on the horizon.”

The Rolling Devils scrapbook is available to the public in the Joyce Sports Research Collection.

Upcoming Events: December 2022

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

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

Thursday, December 1 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “Fellini, Film, and the Proliferation of Petroculture in Postwar Italy” – Lora Jury (University of Notre Dame).


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 December 16th.

The current spotlight exhibits are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (October – December 2022) and The Ladies Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals (December 2022 – January 2023).

Due to OIT infrastructure work being done in the Hesburgh Library, Special Collections will be closed
on Monday, December 19, 2022.

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Notre Dame’s Christmas and New Year’s Break
(December 23, 2022, through January 2, 2023).

We otherwise remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

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.

“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.

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. 

Original-Format Facsimile of a Medieval Treasure

by Julia A. Schneider, Ph.D, Medieval Studies Librarian

Any questions about the thirteenth-century French artist and architect Villard de Honnecourt and his work must be answered by the one portfolio of sketches and notes he left behind, or not at all: it is the only known example of his work. The original manuscript of the portfolio, which contains more than two hundred drawings on thirty-three leaves of parchment, was produced sometime between 1220-1240.  Although almost all of the notes and drawings appear to have been made by the author, a few have been added or altered by subsequent owners. It came to the library at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés at the beginning of the eighteenth century, surviving a fire there. At the end of 1795 or beginning of 1796, it was taken to the Bibliothèque imperiale (now the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) in Paris, and there it remains under the shelfmark Ms Fr. 19093, entitled Album dessins et croquis (Album of drawings and sketches). 1

The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired an original-format facsimile of this medieval treasure, published in 2018 under the title Cuaderno de Bocetos de Villard de Honnecourt de la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, Ms Fr 19093, by Siloé Arte y Bibliofilia in Burgos, Spain (with an additional commentary volume forthcoming). Several other print facsimiles of this interesting collection of drawings have been made before, but none manage to show the original context of the drawings and artist’s notes in the same way that the original-format facsimile does. Because they provide real context, including the size, feel, and content of the ancient and medieval books that they copy, original-format facsimiles open the contents of books, book production, and intellectual history—the treasures of our past—to students in a new way.

This facsimile is no exception in terms of offering us a glimpse into the world and thoughts of an itinerant artist. The notes within the portfolio, written in the Picardy dialect of Old French, tell us that he has traveled extensively; the included drawings indicate his interest in a wide variety of subjects, from extremely detailed  gothic church architectural elements to mechanical plans, from stylized depictions of the Crucifixion to images of humans in a variety of naturalistic poses, animals, and insects, some with geometric underlay as part of their form. The way that they are put together also gives us an understanding of the life of the owner: the portfolio is made up of  parchment leaves gathered from multiple sources of differing quality and sizes, sewn loosely together and bound in “a pigskin folder… a suitable size for slipping into one’s garments when traveling on horseback.” 2

For more on Villard de Honnecourt and his work, see: 

Barnes, Carl F., Jr and The Bibliothèque National de France. The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt : A New Critical Edition and Color Facsimile (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr 19093) with a Glossary by Stacey L. Hahn. Burlington, VT.: Ashgate, 2009. 

Barnes, Carl F., Villard de Honnecourt—the Artist and his Drawings: a Critical Bibliography. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1982. 


Footnotes

1. Barnes, Carl F. Jr. and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt: a New Critical Edition and Color Facsimile (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr 19093) with a Glossary by Stacey L. Hahn (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009), 3. 

2. Ibid., 3-4. 

A Scholar’s Books: The Luce Collection of Berkeley

by Arpit Kumar, Ph.D. Candidate, Notre Dame’s Department of English

In 1993, Hesburgh Library acquired a part of Arthur Aston Luce’s George Berkeley collection, which contains a lifetime of scholarship centered on Luce’s protagonist, Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753). Luce (1882-1977) unearthed previously neglected or unknown materials that changed the course of Berkeley criticism. Berkeley’s reputation was of an erratic but energetic, insightful but inconsistent thinker but in Luce’s writings he emerges as a precise and disciplined intellect, conversant with a continental philosophical tradition, and committed to forwarding a considered theory of immaterialism. The collection also contains items from Luce’s library including rare early eighteenth-century editions of Berkeley’s works (printed in London and Dublin) as well as later landmark nineteenth-century editions. The Hesburgh Library has added to the collection over a period of time.

Luce’s own extensive work, replete with penciled notes and corrections, is also represented in the collection. This includes two of his hand-written notebooks which served as the basis for his edition of Berkeley’s Philosophical Commentaries. The collection also contains Luce’s celebrated biography of Berkeley. Luce’s annotations are useful for scholars interested in studying the progress of Berkeley’s mind from his early Trinity phase to the truncated Bermuda project and his mature thought. The collection will appeal to those researchers and students who wish to interrogate the unique clubbability of these two men who were clearly allied in spirit even if separated by time.

While the early Dublin edition(s?) of 1709 of New Theory of Vision are not a part of Luce’s collection, a copy of the 1733 London edition of great rarity is present.

Title page opening of the 1733 London edition of New Theory of Vision

For almost a century after Berkeley’s death his readers remained unaware of the edition’s existence. In this work, Berkeley produced what is still considered one of his great contributions to philosophy by examining the dynamics of human vision in the perception of distance and magnitude by the interaction of ideas of sight and touch. Berkeley’s explanation provided an alternative to the prevalent standard account of visual perception which required geometrical calculations. Adam Smith regarded Berkeley’s theory of vision as complete in itself and considered it “…one of the finest examples of philosophical analysis” (qtd. in Keynes, 7).

The collection also contains a copy of The Works (1871) edited by A.C. Fraser which is of interpretive value for Berkeley scholars and contains substantial annotations made by Luce especially in sections pertaining to The Theory of Vision Vindicated (1733).

The copy of Three Dialogues is in a beautiful and seductive modern calf binding of bookbinder Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1814–1886).

This work served Berkeley’s intentions of communicating the sum of his philosophical writings presented in New Theory of Vision and Principles of Human Knowledge in a more accessible and literary form: the dialogue. Luce believed that the dialogues “had a greater success than the Principles, and undoubtedly made an impression.” (qtd. in Keynes 27).

The Dublin and London editions of A Miscellany (1752) will also interest scholars, especially for containing the first printings of Berkeley’s “Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America”. The poem was originally received by Sir John Percival in a letter from Berkeley dated 10 February 1725/6 and some changes of interest are to be found in the printed versions (Keynes 252). Another edition of A Miscellany also contains penciled marginalia from Luce on De Motu, an essay in Latin on ideas of motion composed while Berkeley was visiting France in 1720/1. The Miscellany also contains Berkeley’s work from the period before the Bermuda College Scheme, including a tract titled, “An Essay Towards Preventing the Ruin of Great-Britain”(1721). Written in the aftermath of the South Sea Affair (1720), the tract proclaims Britain’s moral and economic decline while offering modes of redress. Berkeley mounts a scathing attack on the preference for trade over religion arguing that luxury and speculation have gripped the British nation leaving little space for honest industry. The tracts provide useful context for an analysis of Berkeley’s motivations when embarking on the Bermuda project.

 The Hesburgh Library has added gradually to the collection, including the significant arrival in December 2020, of Luce’s own copy of the Philosophical Commentaries published as a limited edition in 1943 as well as two hand-written folio volumes of transcription and notes.

Luce Notebook

The notes were the basis for Philosophical Commentaries, Luce’s version of Berkeley’s Commonplace Book. He styled the work as Philosophical Commentaries with the conviction that Berkeley’s text was less a standalone book of meditations and more a set of commentaries on previous writings. While critical opinion is often divided on Luce’s theorization about the existence of such previous work and on the status of the Commentaries as a text, the editio diplomatica is invaluable for capturing the vitality of Berkeley’s philosophical meditations. Luce held that the almost nine-hundred philosophical notes divided between two Notebooks (A and B) were composed by Berkeley in a short duration in 1707– as a “living and growing thing…a great system of thought in the making” (Preface, vii). The work was undoubtedly a workshop for the mature ideas that found their way into the New Theory of Vision as well as the Principles of Human Knowledge. As a diplomatic edition, it ventures to replicate in typography all essential features of the original Notebooks Berkeley composed as a young, ambitious scholar in his early twenties.

Luce’s Philosophical Commentaries brings alive Berkeley’s process of thinking and composition: giving the reader unparallelled access to his hesitations, doubts, habits of thought, doubts as he set about crafting his case against materialism. For instance, Luce notes the specificity of Berkeley’s use of capital letters in the notebooks: “…Berkeley uses the capital to express anti-thesis, stress, subtle shades of meaning, or turns of thought; one can often see the purport of an entry by a glance at its capitals, and the fairly systematic change of idea into Idea is decisive on certain textual questions.” (Introduction, xv).

Luce’s edition was aimed at the urgent correction of Berkeley’s status in the canons of philosophy: he specifically aimed to correct the notion, cultivated and propagated by A.C. Fraser’s work on Berkeley, that the philosopher was an “…ill-read young man from a semi-barbarous country, who in the ardor of youth hurried into print with an immature argument” (Preface, viii). Luce was determined to persuade readers through the diplomatic edition that Berkeley’s philosophy was carefully considered and systematized, even theorizing the existence of a prior work upon which Berkeley had been commentating in these notebooks. As Luce states of the notebooks, “[they are] systematic and highly particularized, comments focused upon a complex argument for immaterialism which was present in outline in Berkeley’s mind for some time before he began to fill the notebooks” (ix). Luce strove to reform scholarly consensus about the notebooks from impromptu, haphazard utterances into a precise record of an intermediate but pivotal stage of Berkeley’s philosophical progress.

Luce’s editorial work and criticism was instrumental in radically reconstructing the twentieth-century’s view of the Irish philosopher. Luce’s Berkeley collection will appeal to Berkeley scholars as well as all researchers interested in rigorous editorial practices.

Upcoming Events: May and through the summer

No events are scheduled to be hosted this summer in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Please note that beginning in July, our “Upcoming Events” posts will shift from running on the first Monday of the month to running on the last Monday of the preceding month (i.e., the post on July 25 will feature upcoming events in August, etc.).

The spring exhibit The Word throughout Time: The Bible in the Middle Ages and Beyond is now open and will run through June. Tours are available for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences, by request.

The current spotlight exhibit are 100 Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses (January – May 2022) and Fifties Flair and Seventies Feminism Presented by Two Magazines (May 2022).

All exhibits are free and open to the public during business hours.


Rare Books and Special Collections is open
regular hours during the summer —
9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

RBSC will be closed Monday, May 30th, for Memorial Day and Monday, July 4th, for Independence Day.

Spotlight Exhibit: Remembering Early England

The April spotlight exhibit, Remembering Early England, brings together diverse materials that reveal the power of memory. Featuring an eleventh-century coin, a fifteenth-century medieval manuscript, an early printed grammar book, and a Victorian map, this exhibit is a sample of the breadth of the Hesburgh Library’s Special Collections. Each object represents the different ways that each generation has depicted the early English period (ca. 449 – 1066), whether or not their version of history reflected reality.

For 500 years, the area now conceived of as England was inhabited by diverse populations: the Welsh, Picts, Cornish, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Franks, Icelanders, Irish, and Frisians. In fact, England was not considered a unified country until the tenth century when Aethelstan became the first King of the English. However, later inhabitants of England, particularly those in power, portrayed early England as homogenous, stable, and a romantic pre-figuration of themselves and their ideals.

This exhibit was co-curated by Dr. David T. Gura, Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts, and Anne Elise Crafton, PhD Candidate in the Medieval Institute and Graduate Curatorial Assistant, and can be viewed in 102 Hesburgh Library from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays.