Demon Horses and How to Tame Them

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

This year’s Halloween post brings you tales of the Pooka:

“an avil sper’t that does be always in mischief, but sure it niver does sarious harrum axceptin’ to thim that deserves it, or thim that shpakes av it disrespictful.”

Broadly speaking, the Pooka (also referred to as a púca or puca) is a mischievous creature found in Celtic, English, and Channel Islands folklore—its name is the root of Shakespeare’s Puck in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Although a shapeshifter capable of a variety of appearances, in our story the Pooka takes one of its more common forms, that of a black horse with fiery eyes and blue, flaming breath.

The volume this story comes from is Irish Wonders: the Ghosts, Giants, Pookas, Demons, Leprechauns, Banshees, Fairies, Witches, Widows, Old Maids, and other marvels of the Emerald Isle by D. R. McAnally, Jr. We hold both American and British editions of this text from 1888, both illustrated by H. R. Heaton. The title page describes the book as “Popular Tales as told by the People.” The stories and storytellers are integrated in the narrative, with storytellers represented as local characters. The Hiberno-English, or English as spoken in Ireland, is represented in the spelling and dialogue shown above.

“Taming the Pooka” tells two brief stories of interactions with the spirit before settling in to the longer tale of how King Brian Boru tamed the beast. Click below for a PDF of the entire tale. Enjoy!


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

Halloween 2022: A Halloween Tale: “John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts”
Halloween 2021: A Welsh Witch in the Woods
Halloween 2020: Headless Horsemen in American and Irish
Halloween 2019: A Halloween trip to Mexico
Halloween 2018: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”
Halloween 2017: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider
Halloween 2016: Ghosts in the Stacks

Upcoming Events: November 2023

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

Thursday, November 2 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “The Dilemmas of Friendship in Dante’s Italy” by Elizabeth Coggeshall (Florida State).

Thursday, November 9 at 5:00pm | Book Presentation: La vita dell’altro. Svevo, Joyce: Un’amicizia geniale by Enrico Terrinoni (Affiliate of the Center for Italian Studies). Terrinoni will be joined by Sara Boezio, Charles Leavitt, and Clíona Ní Ríordáin for a roundtable discussion of his book. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

Thursday, November 30 at 4:30pm | Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States: A Panel Discussion.

A tour of Hesburgh Libraries’ Fall 2023 exhibition, Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States, precedes the panel discussion (4:30 – 5:00pm). A reception will follow the panel discussion, in the Hesburgh Libraries Scholar’s Lounge.

Free and open to the public; no tickets required.


The exhibition Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States is now open and will run through the fall semester.

A curator-led tour, open to the public, will be held noon–1:00pm on the following upcoming Friday: November 17. Tours of the exhibit may also be arranged for classes and other groups by contacting Rachel Bohlmann at (574) 631-1575 or Rachel.Bohlmann.2@nd.edu.


The November spotlight exhibits are Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (August – December 2023) and Path to Sainthood: Brother Columba O’Neill (October – November 2023).

RBSC will be closed during the University of Notre Dame’s Thanksgiving Break, November 23 – 24.

National Women’s Football League Collection

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

The 1972 Official Program for the Toledo Troopers football team introduced the squad to readers by reprinting a local newspaper story about two reporters watching a typical practice:

What seemed so incomprehensible about it all was what they were hearing and seeing was no ordinary football team. There were some telltale signs, such as a pigtail here and there, a high-pitched shout or two, maybe a trace of lipstick on a jersey sleeve; and once the helmets came off, there was no mistaking… these were girls, women who at first glance seemed so removed from the kitchen, so totally removed from all the things that the so-called “weaker sex” usually does.

The 1972 Troopers program is part of a small recently acquired National Women’s Football League (NWFL) Collection that documents the history of the NWFL and the history of women’s professional football. The Troopers, one of the earliest—and the most successful—professional women’s tackle football teams in the country, first took the field in 1971 and were a founding member of the National Women’s Football League in 1974.

Women’s football was part of the larger women’s sports revolution of the 1960s and 1970s that both came before and was fueled by Title IX legislation in 1972. Despite the changing social mores, women football players still frequently encountered discrimination, stereotypes, and skepticism—even from sympathetic observers like the reporters in Toledo. Nevertheless, women’s football carved out a following. During the heyday of the National Women’s Football League in the mid-1970s, games attracted thousands of fans.

The new collection documents both the NWFL and an earlier barnstorming period when the best women’s football teams played irregular schedules with few formal league structures. A 1972 New York Fillies vs. Midwest Cowgirls scorecard is representative of the pre-NWFL material.

In 1974, the National Women’s Football League regularized competition between the top women’s football teams and stretched from Ohio to Texas to California. The new league attracted increased attention and provided stability to the sport for several seasons. The NWFL collection contains several game programs and yearbooks from teams like the Toledo Troopers and the Detroit Demons.

Some representations of women’s football players in these publications, like the cartoon below from the 1972 New York Fillies scorecard, relied on stereotypes and sex appeal. But most images in NWFL publications showcased the athletes’ football skills as seen in these pictures of Troopers and Demons players in game action and in practice .

Financial difficulties, long travel distances, and declining attendance, however, forced several of the NWFL’s best teams, including the Toledo Troopers, to go out of business after the 1979 season. By the early 1980s, the National Women’s Football League only had franchises in the states of Michigan and Ohio. The league ceased operations in 1988. 

To read more about the history of women’s football, see: Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League by Britni De La Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo; and We Are the Troopers: The Women of the Winningest Team in Pro Football History, by Stephen Guinan. Both of these titles are available at Hesburgh Libraries.

The National Women’s Football League Collection is open and available to researchers. We also welcome additional donations of material that document the history of women’s professional football.

Converting Irish-speaking Catholics to Protestantism

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Tyrone-born clergyman John Richardson (c. 1669-1747) was a strong advocate of publishing Irish-language religious works as a means of converting Ireland’s Catholics to Protestantism. The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired a copy of his 1711 book of sermons, Seanmora ar na Priom Phoncibh, na Chreideamh or Sermons upon the Principal Points of Religion, Translated into Irish. The book was published in London by Elinor Everingham.

In the same year that he published this book, Richardson presented a petition to the Lord Lieutenant, the duke of Ormond, calling for the publication of testaments, prayer books, catechisms and sermons in Irish, and he also published A Proposal for the Conversion of the Popish Natives of Ireland to the Establish’d Religion. Our book of sermons represents an early part of his campaign to provide printed sermons.

Richardson makes the case for his project in the book’s dedication to the Duke of Ormond.

It is too manifest to be denied that the many dreadful Calamities with which that unfortunate Island hath been miserably Afflicted since the Reformation, are in a great measure owing to the unhappy differences of Religion in it. To prevent them for the time to come, several Laws have been made to weaken, and at last to Extinguish Popery in that Kingdom; and there seems to be only one thing wanting, one thing very becoming the Professours of Christianity, in order to attain this happy End, which is, that proper Methods be used to Instruct the Natives in the true Religion, and to Convert them from their Errours.

Iv-v

The first sermon, by Richardson, is headed with a Bible verse on the necessity of godliness. This is followed by a sermon by John Tillotson, the Bishop of Canterbury, preached in the presence of the King and Queen at Hampton Court in April 1689. The translator of this sermon, Pilib Mac Brádaigh (c.1655-1720), is said to have been a Catholic priest who “embraced the aristocratic religion of the State, for which he handed down his name to posterity as Philip Ministir” (John O’Donovan).

The final texts are three sermons given by Bishop William Beveridge, Bishop of St. Asaph, and are translated to Irish by Seón ó Mulchonri, or Seán Ó Maolconaire. 

The printed text uses many contractions, and these are almost, but not all, listed in the key at the back of the book. The key displays the Irish alphabet of eighteen letters, the symbols for contractions of common letter-combinations, and a display of the lenited consonants, each one with an overhead dot.

We know of six other copies of this book in the U.S.

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

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

An Hispanic Superhero in Southwest Texas

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

This year we share two issues of the comic book, El Gato Negro (The Black Cat), created by American artist Richard Dominguez. The popular series debuted in 1993 and narrates the adventures the Hispanic superhero, El Gato Negro, a vigilante crime fighter in Southwest Texas. Special Collections holds single copies of issues 3 and 4. 

Packed with action and defined by dynamic imagery, this graphic title fits solidly within the comic book genre. It also takes on current events, issues in Mexican, Mexican American, and American history, and popular culture in a whole variety of ways. 

Francisco Guerrero, the man behind the El Gato Negro mask, is a social worker in Southwest Texas whose friend, Mario, a border patrol officer, was murdered by drug traffickers. Guerrero takes on the El Gato Negro identity at night to fight against drug-related violence, even while being targeted by local law enforcement. His name combines the first name of Francisco Madero, a hero of the Mexican Revolution, with “guerrero,” or “warrior.” Across its 4 issues, the comic book series references Hispanic soldiers who fought in the Korean War, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, and lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling). As such, this title speaks to parts of the Mexican American experience in late twentieth-century America in fun and fascinating ways.

Enjoy this selection of images from the comic book and keep an eye out for a possible television adaptation of El Gato Negro in coming months!     

Detail from Issue No. 3

Previous Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Posts:

An Account of Three Jesuits Martyred During the English Civil War

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired the first edition of Ambrose Corbie’s Certamen Triplex (Antuerpiae, 1645), a rare and important contemporary account of the martyrdoms of Thomas Holland (1600-1642), Ralph Corbie (1598-1644) and Henry Morse (1595-1645), who were Jesuit priests executed during the English Civil War while conducting missionary activities in England. The author (1604-1649) was the brother of Ralph Corbie and himself a Jesuit priest.

Holland, Corbie and Morse were captured and executed between 1642 and 1645 by parliamentarians after the English Civil War erupted. Holland was born in Lancashire and after studying at the Jesuit college at St. Omer and the English College, Valladolid, he joined the English mission in London, where he was apprehended in 1642.

Corbie was born, as the Certamen Triplex tells us, “in the vicinity” of Dublin (p. 43) after his parents fled county Durham in the northeast of England in the wake of being persecuted for recusancy. After studying at various Catholic institutions on the continent, he joined the English mission and was based in his ancestral home of county Durham where he was caught in July 1644.

The best known of the three martyrs was Morse, the “priest of the plague”, who ministered to the sick—both Protestant and and Catholic—during the plague epidemic of 1636. His courage, as many of the Protestant clergy fled the city, caught the attention of Charles I’s Catholic wife, Henrietta Maria. After Morse was arrested in 1637, Henrietta Maria interceded on his behalf and saved him from execution. Following a few years as chaplain to the English troops in Flanders, he returned to England in 1643. Morse was subsequently captured and, with his royal protector having fled to France in 1644, was executed in February of 1645 at Tyburn on the original charge from eight years earlier.

As Susannah Brietz Monta explains in her book Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 217-218):

“The martyrs of the 1640s found themselves embroiled in the struggles between Charles I and Parliament. Earlier, in the 1630s, Charles’s reluctance to prosecute priests on charges of treason and his pro-Spanish foreign policy deepened suspicions that he was not fully committed to the Reformation and angered those who felt England should aid continental Protestants in their struggles against Catholic powers. The fear that Charles was betraying the Protestant cause at home and abroad directly affected the fate of Catholic priests. As conflict between king and Parliament flared, Parliament demanded that Elizabethan treason legislation be put into effect and proclaimed that all priests were to leave the country by 7 April 1641 on pain of death. The Irish Catholic rebellion further invigorated prosecution of the Elizabethan statutes.”

We have identified only eight other North American library holdings of this edition.

Upcoming Events: October 2023

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

Thursday, October 5 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “The Archival Turn and Network Approach: Examining Evolving Translation Practices and Discourses in the British Publishing Firm Complex, 1950s-1980s” by Daniela La Penna (University of Reading, UK).

Thursday, October 24 at 5:00pm | McBrien Special Collections Lecture Series: “Chief O’Neill in Ten Tunes” by Dr. Seán Doherty (Dublin City University).

Captain Francis O’Neill’s collection 1001 Gems: The Dance Music of Ireland (1907) is so important to the world of Irish traditional music that it’s sometimes called the Bible or simply, ‘The Book’. Starting as a pandemic project, the Irish composer and musicologist Seán Doherty analyzed all 1001 tunes in this influential collection. In this lecture and performance, Seán will discuss the music along with O’Neill’s biography and will play tunes linked to key moments in Chief O’Neill’s life.

Captain O’Neill donated his personal library to the University of Notre Dame, where it is held at the Hesburgh Library. Dr. Doherty’s research visit is supported by the Keough-Naughton Library Research Award in Irish Studies.


The exhibition Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States is now open and will run through the fall semester.

Curator-led tours, open to the public, will be held noon–1:00pm on the following upcoming Fridays: October 13 and 27 [tour on 10/27 cancelled], and November 17.

Tours of the exhibit may also be arranged for classes and other groups by contacting Rachel Bohlmann at (574) 631-1575 or Rachel.Bohlmann.2@nd.edu.


The October spotlight exhibits are Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (August – December 2023) and Path to Sainthood: Brother Columba O’Neill (October – November 2023).

RBSC will be open regular hours (9:30am – 4:30pm) during the University of Notre Dame’s Fall Break, October 16 – 20.

Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States — RBSC’s Fall Exhibition is open!

Rare Books and Special Collections’ fall exhibition, Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States, is open and will run through December 15th. 

This exhibition explores the fraught, circuitous and unfinished course of emancipation over the nineteenth century in Cuba and the United States. People — enslaved individuals and outside observers, survivors and resistors, and activists and conspirators — made and unmade emancipation, a process that remains unfinished and unrealized. 

Materials from Rare Books and Special Collections’ Latin American and U.S. collections are paired together to reflect on the history of enslavement and freedom beyond national borders. The show features books, manuscripts, maps, and prints, illustrating the array of formats held in RBSC and how they each shed light on historical experience. 

Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States is curated by Rachel Bohlmann, Curator of North Americana and American History Librarian and Erika Hosselkus, Curator of Latin American Studies and Iberian Studies, and Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Services. 

Curator-led tours will be offered at noon on September 22, October 13 and 27 [tour on 10/27 cancelled], and November 17, 2023. They are free and no reservations are required. Exhibition tours may also be arranged for classes and other groups by contacting Rachel Bohlmann at (574) 631-1575 or rbohlman@nd.edu.

Please mark your calendars and join us on Thursday, November 30th at 4:30 pm in 102 Hesburgh Library for a panel program that delves more deeply into questions about enslavement and emancipation raised in the exhibition. The program also speaks to the challenges and opportunities in connecting broad audiences to new scholarly findings in the study of transatlantic slavery. A curators’ tour will precede the program; a reception will follow. 

This exhibition and related programming are generously supported by the Florence and Richard C. McBrien and Richard C. McBrien, Jr. Special Collections Librarian fund.

Two Doctoral Theses by a 17th Century Catholic Theologian and Philosopher

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired extremely rare editions of the two doctoral theses by Francesco Maria Sforza Pallavicino, an important seventeenth-century Catholic theologian and philosopher. These works, De Universa Philosophia (Romae, 1625) and De Universa Theologia (Romae, 1628), were issued only in these imprints.

Sforza Pallavicino (1607-1667) cuts an interesting and versatile figure in the church history of this period. He was an ardent supporter of Galileo and the “new science”, while also well known for his two-volume history of the Council of Trent, Istoria del Concilio di Trento (1656-57), a scathing rebuttal to Paolo Sarpi’s pro-Protestant Istoria del Concilio Tridentino. Over his father’s objections, Sforza Pallavicino entered the Society of Jesus in 1637 and became a staunch opponent of Jansenism and defender of the Jesuit theological tradition. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Alexander VII in 1657.

The author’s philosophy dissertation is a wide-ranging text covering readings from Aristotle, Augustine, Avicenna, and Aquinas to Scotus, Suarez, and Xenophon; De Universa Theologia is similarly broad in scope, specifically treating the following nine subjects: “De Deo Uno, et Trino”; “De Angelis”; “De Actibus Humanis”; “De Gratia”; “De Fide, Spe, et Charitate”; “De Virtutibus Moralibus”; “De Incarnatione”; “De Primis Tribus Sacramentis”, and “De Quatuor Postremis Sacramentis”.

We have found only two North American library holdings for each of these titles.

Souvenirs from the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament

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

A pair of finely crafted, meticulously detailed, and distinctively shaped books—a baseball-glove shaped book and a baseball-shaped book—are among the Joyce Sports Research Collections newest acquisitions. The two unusually-shaped publications are both early-twentieth-century souvenir programs of the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament from 1908 and 1911, respectively. Sponsored each year by the International Typographical Union (ITU), the tournament brought together teams representing the ITU from different cities for several days of sports, camaraderie, and brotherhood. Labor Day seems a fitting time to explore the history of these unique books and to remember the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament.

The first Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament took place in New York City in September of 1908. To mark the festive occasion, the Allied Printing Trades Council of New York lovingly designed and published the First Printers’ National Baseball Tournament Souvenir Program in the shape of a realistic looking catcher’s mitt. The New York printers seemed to relish the opportunity to show off their craft for their visiting colleagues with this elaborate and creatively shaped program.

The 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program describes the origins of the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament. As early as 1883, union printers in New York City had organized the New York Morning Newspaper Baseball League with teams representing different New York and Brooklyn newspapers. In 1906 and 1907, the squad from the New York American and Journal won the championship, and, after the regular season, team manager Harry B. Wood arranged several games against ITU teams representing the Boston Globe and the Pittsburgh Dispatch. The 1908 souvenir program reported that during their road trip to Pittsburgh, “the light of geniality and the warmth of hospitality from the sun of fraternity and good fellowship was ever on the job.”

Photograph of the New York American and Boston Globe Baseball Teams, taken at American League Park, Boston, September 11, 1907.

Following the successful inter-city matches, Wood hatched his grand plan for an ITU national baseball tournament. He formed an organizing committee, helped draft a constitution, and invited union printers from Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington, DC, to come to New York for the event. Each invited city received an informational prospectus that included a framed six-color formal invitation designed by New York artist Harry Goodwin that recipients later described as “a work of art.” The 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program, which Goodwin also took the lead in designing, featured a black-and-white reproduction of the elaborate invitation.

A black-and-white reproduction of the formal invitation New York Union Printers sent to their colleagues around the country to organize the First Printers’ National Baseball Tournament.

All eight cities accepted the offer to compete in the tournament that was held in the stadium of the New York Yankees. Boston beat Pittsburgh 5-1 in the 1908 finals to win the inaugural title. For their victory, Boston received the traveling International Typographical Union Championship Trophy that had been donated to the ITU by Cincinnati Reds Owner August Hermann. The first tournament proved to be a rousing success, and it soon became a highly anticipated ITU annual event.

After Chicago (1909) and Washington, DC (1910), St. Louis was the host city for the fourth annual tournament in 1911. Like their counterparts in New York, the Allied Printing Trades Council of St. Louis and the local union printers league, known as the “St. Louis Typo Athletic Association,” spared little expense in designing and printing a lavish baseball-shaped Souvenir Program for the Union Printers National Baseball League Fourth Annual Tournament. The color cover featured pennants for all participating cities, which had expanded to include Denver and Indianapolis, and an image of the Hermann ITU Championship Trophy.

Teams in the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament were composed of all-star squads representing ITU leagues in each participating city. The New York league, for instance, explained in the 1911 program that the association’s Board of Director’s chose the tournament roster from the pool of eligible athletes: “every player has an equal chance to become a member of the team representing New York in the National Tournament even [if] his team finishes last in the league. This rule causes a good player on a poor team to be satisfied and keeps up interest in the organization.”

Pages from the 1911 Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament featuring the Indianapolis team wearing warm-up sweaters with the ITU (International Typographical Union) logo. The outsides of the round pages are decorated with baseball scenes.

The 1911 souvenir program also emphasized that the participants were both serious athletes and serious union men: “this league differs materially from the great majority [by] the fact that all players must be printers and members of the International Typographical Union, or registered apprentices who have served two and one half years at the trade. From this it will be seen that it is not such an easy matter to get together a representative baseball team to compete in these tournaments.”

International Typographical Union President James M. Lynch also gave his endorsement in the 1911 program, praising the “healthy outdoor recreation” and the “advertising value” of the baseball tournament. He also reminded readers about the ITU’s organizing efforts, which “endeavored to impart dignity to the craft by assisting in the maintenance of just and equitable rights of the individual craftsman and cementing the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that should exist between all men, and especially those of a distinctive craft.”

Most importantly, though, as the 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program had proclaimed a few years earlier, the Union Printers Baseball League National Tournament had the “purpose of promoting good fellowship and pure amateur sport.” Happy Labor Day!


RBSC is closed Monday, September 4th, for Labor Day.