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.

Acquiring Moosewood Cookbooks to Support Student Research

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

As we approach the end of the term, when research projects materialize like spring flowers, Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) highlights some recent acquisitions that emerged from a student’s research interests.

Last fall a history major inquired about sources RBSC held about new thinking about food during the latter part of the twentieth century. We began talking about alternative cooking and restaurants and the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York came up. RBSC didn’t hold any of the famous cookbooks (of the same name) that emerged from that 1970s collective, so we purchased three editions (1977, 1992, and 2000).

Cover of the 1977 edition

Mollie Katzen, one of the founders of the Moosewood collective, compiled, wrote, illustrated, and self-published the original book of recipes in 1974. That first edition (with several reissues) circulated in a spiral-bound notebook format and in limited numbers.

Three years later, in 1977, a small, independent publishing house in Berkeley, California, Ten Speed Press, published the cookbook. (The press also produced What Color Is Your Parachute? (1970).) In this first commercial publication, Katzen described herself as the volume’s compiler and editor and she listed all of “The Moosewood People” who contributed to the book’s content. The book’s multiple sources is one of its central themes. Recipes come from different cooks as well as a variety of food cultures.

1977 edition

Commitment to a plant-based diet is another main focus. In the 1977 edition Katzen included a quotation by William Blake that announces the book’s vegetarianism, and her illustrations reinforce the idea throughout (see the speaking duck above the recipe for Chinese duck sauce).

Page 70 of the 1977 edition
1992 edition

Katzen retained important visual aspects of the 1974 book in later editions. Her original drawings, page layouts and cartouches, as well as her hand lettering, were translated into the commercialized editions and provide some of the book’s most identifiable characteristics over its long publication history. 

For all its warm, visual familiarity, The Moosewood Cookbook has also changed over time. Katzen has revised its content, layout, and format. In 1992 she added “A Personal History of This Book” section, which has appeared in all later editions, and photos of the Moosewood Restaurant were removed. The 2000 edition includes glossy, professionally staged photographs.

2000 edition

Each edition presents the reader with differences (in format, content, and flavor). Holding multiple editions, a researcher gains side-by-side access for comparative analysis. Libraries and special collections often acquire complete or near complete runs of editions to support research questions that such comparisons can spark.

Black History Month 2022

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist

For several years, I’ve been on the hunt for Claude Monroe Paris, a largely unheralded African American basketball pioneer from the early twentieth century whose name does not appear in the standard books about the history of African Americans in basketball. A native of Waupaca, Wisconsin, Paris excelled on the court and was one of the few African Americans to compete on high-level integrated basketball teams in the early 1900s. Usually playing at forward or center, he received wide praise for his abilities, and his teams competed in national amateur basketball tournaments in Chicago.

Basketball was in its infancy and—compared to sports like baseball or college football—often received less coverage. So, it has sometimes been difficult to uncover information about early basketball players like Claude Paris. Fortunately, in my new position as the Sports Archivist at Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library, I can use the incomparable resources of the Joyce Sports Research Collection to better document Claude Paris’s trailblazing athletic career.

After starring at Waupaca High School, Paris joined the region’s top amateur team sponsored by the nearby Stevens Point Athletic Club in 1901. He quickly gained local fame, with one reporter describing him as “a well known colored basket ball player.” The state press routinely praised him as a “crack forward,” and one sportswriter said simply that Paris “is said by players of experience to have been the best forward in the state.”

The Stevens Point Athletics were one of the top teams in Wisconsin, and in 1901, they were invited to Chicago to compete in an eight-team basketball tournament billed as the “National Amateur Championship.” Other teams in the field included Kenton, Ohio; Chicago’s West Side YMCA; the University of Nebraska, and the Silent Five of Brooklyn, New York, a team composed of deaf players.

Before the tournament, the Chicago Chronicle, wrote that Stevens Point “has this year made a very enviable reputation and has an undisputed right to be classed among the best teams in the country.” The Chronicle singled out Paris for “the star playing of the team” and noted that “Paris, who is an unusually small man for the position he fills, is an excellent player and is looked upon as one of the strongest of the team.” 

Paris played well in Chicago, but the tournament ended without a clear champion as Stevens Point and Kenton, Ohio, both finished with records of 3-1.

Over the years, I have tracked Claude Paris and the Stevens Point Athletics “championship” team through newspaper stories, but the Joyce Sports Research Collection—namely, its nearly complete run of Spalding’s Official Basket Ball Guide—has now let me put a picture to these words. Spalding Guides routinely featured hundreds of team photographs from every level of competition, and these images are a fantastic resource for researchers to study and to document the development of sports.

The Joyce Collection’s 1901–02 Spalding’s Official Basket Ball Guide includes on page 60 a team photograph of the “Stevens Point A.C. Basket Ball Team.” Claude Paris (identified as number 7) sits on the left side of the first row, providing a visual record—seen around the country in the popular Spalding Guide—of this early integrated basketball team and graphically documenting Claude Paris’s participation at the highest levels of amateur basketball.

After Stevens Point, Paris attended and continued his basketball career at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, for two years. But his career after Lawrence is not well documented. Further investigation in the Joyce Collection, though, has led to more information. I discovered that the 1905­–06 Spalding’s Official Basket Ball Guide pictured Claude Paris (identified as number 6) with the 1905 Menasha (Wisconsin) Young Men’s Social Club Basketball team—providing additional evidence of Paris’s trailblazing career as an African American basketball player on predominantly white teams. 

Unfortunately, little information has survived about the specifics of Claude Paris’s experiences against white competitors, but visual evidence of his participation on integrated teams is an important addition to our knowledge about the history of African American athletes in this era.

Some contemporary observers also noticed the significance of Claude Paris. In April 1903, the Milwaukee Sentinel published a lengthy article about Paris, then a student at Lawrence. The Sentinel described him as “studious and industrious” and “of quiet manner and engaging personality.” 

The article also noted that “Paris finds time to devote considerable attention to athletics… [and] he has an excellent record. Before he came to Lawrence he played on the Stevens Point basket ball team which tied the team of Kenton, O., for the national championship in 1901.”

The Milwaukee Sentinel ultimately used Claude Paris to make an overtly political point. In an era that witnessed increasing legal segregation and racial violence and growing restrictions on African American rights, the Sentinel held up Paris’s example as a direct refutation of the racist philosophy of segregationists exemplified by notorious South Carolina Senator “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman:

“Claude M. Paris of Waupaca… in every detail of his personality and every incident of his career gives the lie to Senator Ben Tillman’s dictum that the negro is and must always remain… inferior.”

I am grateful that the Joyce Sports Research Collection has helped me to further document and honor the life of Claude Monroe Paris, an unsung African American athletic pioneer.

The Pageant of the Celt

by William Shortall, Visiting Faculty Fellow, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies

The program of the 1934 Pageant of the Celt is found in very few library collections. Printed programs tend to be quite ephemeral, but when they survive they give a great glimpse into an occasion. Visiting art historian Dr. William Shortall has provided an essay on the Pageant, contextualizing this interesting publication.

When the Irish government was invited to take part in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, also known as the Century of Progress International Exposition, they were initially reticent. Tariffs and trade barriers meant there was little prospect of any financial gain. Eventually they decided to participate because ‘considerations such as those connected with national publicity and prestige might outweigh the more tangible considerations of trading advantage’. Essentially they sought a soft power and cultural diplomatic benefit from their presence at the event and sent a cultural and industrial display that was housed in the monumental Travel and Transport building. When the Fair organizers decided to run the event again in 1934, numerous countries—including the Irish Free State—did not participate and their places were taken by private concessions. However, there were a number of events that the Irish State did participate in during the second manifestation, the most prominent was an open air theatrical pageant representing Irish history, The Pageant of the Celt. Irish Consul General in Chicago, Daniel J. McGrath, was on the executive committee of the production.

The Pageant took place on the 28th and 29th August, 1934, at Chicago’s main sports stadium, Soldier’s Field, in front of large ‘marvellous’ crowds. Although the pageant is credited to Irish-American attorney John V. Ryan, it was most likely co-developed with its narrator Micheál MacLiammóir, to whose work it bears similarities. Some contemporary reports credit it solely to MacLiammóir. The Pageant was produced by Hilton Edwards and covered the period of Irish history from pre-Christian times to the Easter Rising of 1916 and it had almost two thousand participants. The imperfect resolution to the War of Independence with Britain in 1921 and the subsequent Civil War were still fresh in people’s memory and, as in the earlier MacLiammóir pageants, were avoided. Almost ninety years later, the upcoming centenary decade faces similar problems on how to commemorate these divisive events.

The Program describes the scenes of Irish history presented in pageant, starting from ancient mythical beginnings with the Battle of Tailté; to the emergence of a Catholic Nation and the ‘coming of [Saint] Patrick’; followed by ‘The Golden Age of Ireland’; a nation defended from Viking invaders by Brian Boru; followed by the country’s ultimate subjection by Britain, beginning with the marriage of ‘Eva and Strongbow’ followed by the ‘rise of republicanism’ and culminating in ‘Easter Week 1916 [when] Phoenix-like, the Irish nation rises from the fires of defeat to wage anew the centuried struggle for liberty’. The Pageant’s finale was a mass singing of ‘The Soldier’s Song, Irish National Anthem’. The elaborate Program published the anthem’s lyrics, it also featured 17 chapters relating to Irish cultural endeavours, including Irish music, the Harvard Irish Archaeological mission, and the Celtic Revival; and it contained messages of goodwill to Ireland from other Celtic peoples.

Rare Books Large GR 153.4 .I75 1934

The program itself has a richly decorated cover and small illustrations and decorated capitals throughout by Irish-American artist Vincent Louis O’Connor (c.1884-1974). The cover contrasts Celtic Ireland with modern Chicago. Round towers are juxtapositioned with skyscrapers, separated by clouds, both icons of their time and the spirit of their respective ages. A man and a woman in distinctive ancient Irish dress festooned with a Tara brooch, stand on Ireland’s green shore facing the Atlantic. These and Saint Brendan’s ship anchored, trademarked with a Celtic cross, signifying the Irish-American connection. This was an Irish pageant suitable for diaspora consumption, with its mix of the mythical and ancient, cultured and catholic, distinctive and unique, oppressed but not beaten, leading to phoenix-like revolution and rebuilding.

The artist O’Connor was born in Kerry and immigrated to Chicago in 1914. An art teacher, he began teaching in Ireland in 1904. In America he taught in the University of Notre Dame from 1915 to 1922 and contributed sketches to the university yearbook as well as an architectural rendering of Notre Dame’s proposed 50-year building plan. O’Connor held several exhibitions of his work which frequently featured prominent Irish personalities or landscapes. This Program connects Ireland, America and Notre Dame University and speaks to ongoing difficulties in reconciling Ireland’s turbulent past and how the events of 1922 can be commemorated a hundred years later.

Special Collections Summer 2021 Visitors Policy

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

We are excited to announce that Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections will once again be open to researchers from both on and off campus during the period May 23 to August 20, 2021. We will continue to operate our reading room by appointment only, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday to Friday. To schedule an appointment, please email RBSC staff.

Patrons are encouraged to send their requests at least two business days in advance so that materials will be ready upon arrival. All visitors must wear a face covering and comply with the University’s health and safety protocols.

Find more information about access and services at the Hesburgh Libraries Service Continuity page.

Teaching During COVID

Last week, a group of librarians participated in a large history class on Global Catholicism taught by Professor John McGreevy. Ideally, the fifty-five students would have visited the Special Collections and seen artifacts relating to different aspects of Catholic history throughout the world.

This year, students assembled on Zoom, and our preparation for the class included making digital images or identifying online digital surrogates. We also organized our selection of artifacts in an online library guide so that students could explore at their own pace. Each student is expected to write about one of these items.

Some items in our selection were already available digitally in different platforms.

For examile, our digital exhibition, “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic, allows readers to explore American Catholic history.

“Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic. Digital Exhibition, Hesburgh Libraries.

In the case of the Chinese Catholic posters, Hye-jin Juhn complemented the digital exhibit of our own collection with a link to a digital collection at another library.

In some cases, we identified another copy on a platform such as Hathi Trust or the Internet Archive.

In presenting to the class, we assembled on zoom and each shared a screen and introduced our selections to an attentive class. While students missed the opportunity to see the physical items, as compensation, all fifty-five students could simultaneously view each item without peering over one another’s shoulders.

In other adventures in the online world, Rachel Bohlmann and  Erika Hosselkus offered a workshop for students working on primary source-based projects through the Nanovic Institute. Five of the six people who registered were graduate students. This is one indication of an increased interest among our young scholars in finding primary sources online.

Teaching during COVID has meant an understandable and practical focus on finding primary sources online. I’ve appreciated having to double down on primary source databases and realize that we’ve all probably taken them for granted more than a little. Still, while this is in general a fine reminder of how far online primary source databases have come in the last decades, I miss using physical collections in my library classes, and getting students excited about examining a source right in front of them. 

 One theme I’ve noticed is that I think students and faculty are certainly more interested in hearing about online resources. I feel a slight shift toward more attention, especially to hearing about how to do more than just basic keyword searches. 

– Rachel Bohlmann, American History and American Studies Librarian

Besides our adventures in screen-sharing, Monica Moore bravely taught an online class where she staged a selection of rare French books in our seminar room, speaking, showing books and turning pages beneath an overhead camera, all on Zoom — a kind of double-level filmed class. This was the closest simulation we have tried so far of a physical class in which students and librarian interact with the materials.

Frank Duff. Edel Quinn. This is an example of a Catholic pamhlet in our collection of Irish Pamphlets, where we identified a surrogate on the Internet Archive.

From our experiences, we have learned that once we understand what a professor hopes to gain by introducing students to our special collections, we can work together to develop a successful, and dare we say stimulating, class.


Sharing from our Blog: Ethics and Responsible Use

Image from blog post ‘A Halloween trip to Mexico’, RBSC @ ND, October 28, 2019.

A recent request for information on publishing an image from our blog prompted us to consider how our blog interacts with other ways of sharing our resources.

If a teacher in Mexico or Ireland saw a picture in a recent post and wished to use it for teaching, or perhaps to share in a publication for colleagues, can she or he do this?

The usual answer is, yes, and this should be clear from the Creative Commons license in the blog’s left side-bar.

Our preferred way of acknowledging that the image is from our collection is as follows:

Reproduced from the original held by the Department of Special Collections of the Hesburgh Libraries of the University of Notre Dame.

However, it would be good to let your readers know where they can find the image online, and so you might also want to reference the blogpost.

Screen capture of Creative Commons license as it appears on this blog. "Unless otherwise indicated on an individual post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.[link] 

RBSC abides by the Hesburgh Library Copyright and Takedown Policy[link]."

Five years ago, when we first began to share information about our collections and our work through this blog, we hoped that people would use it freely, and so we decided to use a Creative Commons license. We opted for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This allows readers to copy and redistribute content from our blog as long as there is attribution, or as long as appropriate credit is given. On occasions when a blogpost has restrictions, this is stated at the bottom of the post. 

The Creative Commons website provides all the information on this license, which includes the condition of attribution, that is, making sure readers are informed in an appropriate manner where the material has come from.

Let’s imagine that I thought the Juneteenth blogpost by Rachel Bohlmann would be a great contribution to my local newsletter. According to the license, I would be free to take the whole post and publish it, or adapt it for my purposes. The Creative Commons license requires that I give appropriate credit. In any case, it’s just good manners to acknowledge the source of the text, and this is also helpful for my readers.

So I incorporate text from Rachel’s blogpost into my newsletter article, omitting some parts, and I help my readers with more information, at the same time satisfying the requirements of the CC license, with the following statement:

Adapted from the following: Rachel Bohlmann: ‘Juneteenth, Black Lives Matter, and Archival Collections’ RBSC @ ND, June 15, 2020. Hesburgh Libraries of the University of Notre Dame. https://sites.nd.edu/rbsc/juneteenth-black-lives-matter-and-archival-collections/

The most attractive items on our blogpost, however, and the most valuable, are the images from the Special Collections. Here, there is some ambiguity between the Creative Commons License of the blog and our normal procedure for providing images on request. The best way to sort through this ambiguity is to look at the different ways of obtaining images and their different uses.

Readers are welcome to request images from our collections, which we are happy to provide if possible. If they wish to include those images in a publication, this is usually straightforward as long as the item is in the public domain, that is, old enough so that copyright restrictions do not apply. Otherwise, readers may need to obtain permission from the owner of those rights. Discovering who owns those rights is not always straightforward, and may be a significant research project.

When we supply an image, which we can provide in a higher-resolution format than that on our blog, we also provide an agreement, signed by us and by the requestor. This agreement includes the required statement to be included in the publication, as follows:

Reproduced from the original held by the Department of Special Collections of the Hesburgh Libraries of the University of Notre Dame.

Image from blog post ‘Art in an Irish Country Home: The Edgeworth Family Album’, RBSC @ ND, August 19, 2019.

Let’s imagine you are writing about the famous Edgeworth family of Ireland and you happened upon our blogpost describing the family’s album of drawings. You might take an image from our blogpost and cite the blog appropriately, thus satisfying the conditions of the CC license.

But you might also contact us, discuss the publication with the curator, and discover that another image from the book is even more appropriate for the intended publication, or that the image in the blog is a cropped version of a larger image that is available. We could then provide you with high-resolution images as well as the Agreement for Publication of Reproductions from Materials held by the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

For more information, see our page on Reproduction Policies, Fees, and Forms.

Newly Joined Reading Room: Special Collections and University Archives

Over the summer Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives began combining patron services by launching our joint reading room. All researchers wishing to use materials from either collection should now come to Rare Books & Special Collections (Hesburgh Library 102) located on the ground floor of the Hesburgh Library near the West entrance. For researchers who have used University Archives in the past (located on the 6th floor of Hesburgh Library), please come to the Special Collections front desk to inquire about and to consult University Archives’ materials.

If you are looking for materials from either collection, there are numerous ways to search Special Collections and Archives holdings:

NDCatalog contains all cataloged books, pamphlets, periodicals, broadsides, prints, posters, published materials, single manuscript volumes, and small archival collections held by RBSC.

To find large archival collections for both Special Collections and University Archives, you can search NDArchiveSpace.  While most of these collections are also discoverable in the catalog, NDArchivesSpace goes much deeper, allowing researchers to discover many more names, dates, and content types than are included in the catalog record.

“Collections and Formats” on the RBSC website.

“About Our Collections” on the University Archives website.

In addition, both Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives hold other materials that are not currently discoverable in the library catalog, NDArchivesSpace, or on their respective websites. Because of this, researchers may also want to contact staff directly about their research projects to see if there are other materials that may be of use.


Reading Room hours for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

Monday – Friday       9am – 5pm*
Saturday – Sunday    Closed
Major holidays          Closed

Check for the most up-to-date hours

*Please note: materials in the reading room will be collected from researchers at 4:45pm

Sharing our Collections

Robert Boyle. Some considerations touching the usefulness of experimental naturall philosophy: propos’d in familiar discourses to a friend, by way of invitation to the study of it. Oxford, 1663. Rare Books Medium Q 155 .B68 1663

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Digitizing our books is one way to share our collections with a wider readership. An area where we have begun this digitization is our early print collection in Irish studies. The collection includes books on Ireland and Irish affairs, often from an English perspective, and also books by Irish authors on science, theology and other subjects. The core of the collection was acquired in 2007, and as many of the books are rare and particularly difficult to find in America, we are enthusiastic about sharing the digital images.

In addition to having copies stored in our own CurateND, the digital collection is made available on the Internet Archive and we have plans to share also on Hathi Trust. While Hathi Trust is limited to member libraries, the Internet Archive is freely available to all, and allows readers a number of ways to view the books, including ‘turning pages’ by clicking on a page.

Our collection is easy to find on the Internet Archive by searching on the www.archive.org page for  ‘Hesburgh Libraries’, to find a page that displays the collection.

The account of the trial of Saint Oliver Plunket, executed in 1681, is one of the thirty-three books digitized.  Use this link to view the book page by page: https://archive.org/details/nd828590865/page/n3

The tryal and condemnation of Dr. Oliver Plunket Titular Primate of Ireland, for high-treason, at the Barr of the Court of King’s Bench, at Westminster, in Trinity Term, 1681. Dublin, 1681. Rare Books Medium DA 448 .P586 1681

This book is an example of the kind of primary document that makes a great impression on a student who can visit and see the physical book — printed shortly after the trial and execution, the book provides a tangible link to the events of the time.

Service Animals in Special Collections

by Julie Tanaka, Curator, Special Collections

Special Collections has had the pleasure to work with students and their service animals on multiple occasions during the past year.

Our first visit occurred last fall. A faculty member inquired about her class’s upcoming visit to Special Collections. She had a student with a service dog and inquired if this would be an issue and what needed to be done. We told her that there was absolutely no problem and that we were excited to work with the student and her service dog. We did inform her, though, that this was the department’s first experience so we were not sure what to expect and would do whatever we needed to ensure the student and service dog had no issues navigating the room.

photo of service dog named PaddyA student in the Honors College and her service dog, St. Patrick (aka Paddy), visited with her class. Paddy assists the student with general mobility, as the student described in an article for Notre Dame’s student magazine, Scholastic. With Paddy at her side, they navigated the tables, making their way through all of the materials with ease. Paddy was even excited to make a return trip to pose in front of her namesake.

Photo of service dog named Snowbird and student

We then had another student and her service dog come with two different classes, one last spring and another last week. Again, the visits went smoothly. Maddie and Snowbird (right) navigated the tables with the class.

Madeline Link is a junior at Notre Dame, double majoring in History and Theology and minoring in Philosophy, Religion, and Literature. She graciously agreed to answer a few questions about how she and Snowbird were paired and what it is like to work together. Here is what she has to say:

Snowbird and I have worked together for a little over six years. The pairing process was quite comprehensive. For the first week of our month-long program, the trainers learned everything they could about us, asking us questions about our habits, walking speeds, and even posing as dogs so that we could practice holding the harness and appropriately instructing the dog. After that, they selected 2 to 3 dogs that seem to match our personalities, and on the first Friday of the program, my six classmates and I had to guess which dog we would be matched with. All seven of us guessed correctly.

Photo of service dog and student in class in special collections

I have visited Special Collections with two of my classes here at Notre Dame. It’s been an incredible and enriching opportunity! Snowbird typically lies beneath the table in my classes, and I exam in the books and maps pertaining to the subject we are studying. A wonderful aspect of visiting Special Collections at Notre Dame is that I have the opportunity to touch some of the manuscripts and examine them up close.

For me, Snowbird is my eyes. Though he unfortunately cannot read the manuscripts to me, he enables me to travel confidently and independently. Guiding the blind is far from the only thing that service dogs can do. They make day-to-day life possible for people with a wide range of physical and emotional challenges, and their presence allows many students like myself to thrive at this great university.

Thank you Maddie and Snowbird for sharing your experiences with us. It’s been a pleasure having both of you visit Special Collections.

Behind the timing of this post is a question that arose this summer. I participated  in a class on teaching with rare materials at California Rare Book School at the University of California, Los Angeles. A curator from another institution asked whether anyone had experience working with service animals in Special Collections. To my surprise, no one else in the room of fifteen participants representing departments located in both the US and Canada had experience with service animals accompanying students during classes in Special Collections. Given their interest, all of us in Special Collections at Notre Dame would like share our experiences with the community.


Service Animals

A service animal, according to the US Department of Justice’s 2010 revised requirements for service animals, applies only to dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.

Service animals are allowed in all areas of public facilities where the public, customers, clients, program participants, or invited guests are permitted.

More information about service animals can be found on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) National Network website.