“At the end of the 1520’s and especially in the course of the 1530s, the Italian market offered a wide range of anonymous books in the vernacular that were merely translations, often partial, of Lutheran texts disguised behind seemingly innocent titles… To the complete absence of reaction by controversialists … there had been one significant exception… Giovanni of Fano offered the uneducated reader a Luther skilled in controversy, a violently anti-Roman, systematic theologian and subverter of tradition, presenting, together with a ‘clearer notice’ of the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine, a fully detailed picture of Lutheran errors.”
The first chapter of the work treats the handling of all kinds of heretics. Fano subsequently introduces his lay reader to the usual anti-Lutheran responses found in Latin treatises of the time: on the unity of the Church; St. Peter and the Apostolic Succession; on faith, Confession, the Eucharist, indulgences, Purgatory, idolatry, prayer, and finally on the celibacy of the clergy.
We have located only one other North American institutional holding of this title.
The Henry Grattan Pamphlet Collection, purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries some twenty years ago, deserves to be highlighted in a blogpost.
Henry Grattan (1746-1820), was a prominent Irish politician, closely associated with the Irish parliament so that from 1782 until the Act of Union of 1800, it was known as ‘Grattan’s Parliament.’
The collection of books and pamphlets, bound together in nine volumes, comprise part of his personal library. These nine volumes became separated from the rest of the Grattan Library which was sold at auction in 1888. These volumes were discovered some hundred years later in a country house in Ireland.
The thematically-arranged volumes are handsomely bound with a title on each spine and a list of contents inside, hand-written in ink by Henry Grattan and another person. Many of the publications also have marginal pencil marks and some have annotations.
The volumes are as follows:
1. Ireland. Free Trade & Independence 2. Ireland. 3. Ireland. 1798 4. Ireland. Catholics 5. Ireland. Catholics 6. Ireland. Catholics 7. Ireland. Union 8. Ireland. Union 9. Ireland. Union
The fourth volume shown here has the usual listing of contents written on the inside cover, and this volume also has Henry Grattan’s name inscribed in ink.
Grattan’s careful reading of some of the publications may be inferred from pencil marks in the margins. In this example, the penciled annotations appear to have been cut when the pamphlet was trimmed for binding.
While the individual pamphlets are rare in libraries, digitized copies of various editions are available. Therefore, it is the provenance and the selection and grouping together of these publications that makes them so interesting, as part of the working library of an Irish politician.
The current spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – early May 2023) and Hagadah shel Pesaḥ le-zekher ha-Shoʼah – Pessach Haggadah in memory of the Holocaust (April – May 2023).
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 29th, for Memorial Day and Tuesday, July 4th, for Independence Day.
Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a copy of an important and rare early modern title in Catholic theology with an interesting provenance. Jean Garet (d. 1571) wrote a number of works aimed mainly at exposing the doctrinal errors of Protestantism and illustrating the truth of Catholic teachings; his works were highly esteemed during his lifetime and he was read widely throughout the seventeenth century. This work, De sanctorum invocatione liber (S. Manilius, 1570), deals with the efficacy of the intercession of the saints.
This copy is of particular interest as it was owned by the English Benedictine Priory of St. Edmund King and Martyr in Paris during the seventeenth century and is recorded in their library catalogue of 1702. Benedictine monasticism in England effectively ended when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1540; however, it lived on through the various colleges and religious houses which were established on the continent. St. Edmund’s priory was founded in 1615 when monks from the English Benedictine priory in Lorraine arrived in Paris to establish a house of studies; in 1619, the community joined the revived English Benedictine Congregation which was formally established that year.
After a number of moves, the community settled in the Rue Saint Jacques (1632) where the monks were to remain until the French Revolution. Their library grew in size and importance from that date, given that the monastery was a house of studies. The first complete catalogue of the library is that of Dom Benet Weldon (1674-1713); it was finished in 1702. The catalogue is important for bibliographical research today because the library of St. Edmund’s priory was dispersed during the French Revolution; this work is recorded in Weldon’s catalogue with shelfmark 7 E 7. The entry is written in Weldon’s hand, indicating that it was present in the library in 1702 and was not a later addition.
Only 117 books—out of a total of approximately 5,800—from the library at St. Edmund’s priory have been traced, and until now all of the identified copies are in institutional libraries in Europe or the United Kingdom. Thus, this is the first book from St. Edmund’s (and the first copy of the work itself) to be held by a North American institution.
The exhibition displays materials from Rare Book and Special Collections that place Mike Curato’s novel into social and historical context. The show includes sources about the Boy Scouts, Catholic pamphlets on contemporary devotional practices—including images of the sacred heart, which figure prominently in Flamer—Catholic pamphlets about pastoral care of LGBTQ people, and a selection of LGBTQ documents on sports and humor. Each section explores themes in the novel that may resonate with readers. We hope the show will encourage discussion of this award-winning book.
Tours of the exhibit may be arranged for classes and other groups, and additional curator-led tours are available at 12 noon on the following upcoming Friday: April 21.
The April spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – April 2023) and Hagadah shel Pesaḥ le-zekher ha-Sho’ah – Pessach Haggadah in memory of the Holocaust (April – May 2023).
Museums, special collections, and archives acquire materials in a variety of ways, most commonly through donation and purchase. Hesburgh Libraries is no exception.
Last fall, students in the multi-disciplinary class, Stories of Power and Diversity: Inside Museums, Archives, and Collecting, created acquisition proposals for Hesburgh Libraries. Class members were asked to put themselves in the shoes of curators and select materials that would develop the library’s collection in diverse and inclusive ways. The formats of prospective purchases were left fairly open; students could consider a wide range of types of materials–from books to manuscripts to posters and even artifacts (realia). As an incentive (and as a gesture to how libraries and archives compete for and manage resources), the most deserving proposal (determined by class vote) would be purchased, placed in the library’s collections, and featured on the library’s social media (this blogpost!).
Students searched vendor websites and online catalogs and considered some of the following questions.
How complete is this item or collection? Are there significant gaps or pieces missing?
If a collection of photographs, are they identified or identifiable, in terms of locations, dates, names of people?
If it is a printed item (a book, posters, pamphlet), how rare is it? (Use WorldCat.)
Does HL already own it? (Check the library catalog, ask librarians/instructors.)
If the item is a manuscript (not printed or published), does the library hold related items?
What might be the research value? How might researchers (in different disciplines–history, gender studies, art history, etc.) make use of this item(s)? What perspectives does the item convey? What can we learn from it?
The students presented their proposals in class and discussed some of the challenges and satisfaction they discovered along the way. Timi Griffin, who assembled a small but significant collection of printed materials and realia from different vendors about Civil Rights activist, presidential candidate, and comedian Dick Gregory, won the class’s vote for best proposal. Congratulations Timi!
Timi argued that the library should purchase items relating to Gregory’s 1968 presidential campaign, including a poster, flier, buttons, and fake dollar bills with the candidate’s portrait in place of Washington’s, and a signed copy of his 2000 memoir. Taken together, the items contextualize Gregory’s activism and prominence in the Civil Rights movement and American culture and politics in the last decades of the twentieth century.
The students’ presentations showed that they had taken seriously the assignment’s task of strengthening diversity and inclusion in the collections. Rare Books and Special Collections decided to purchase all of the items they proposed adding to the collections. These are:
–a 1914 photograph of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute Football Team, an African American school in Hampton, Virginia.
–a signed, fine press copy of the first chapter of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin with an original print by Yoko Ono; created to raise funds to fight AIDS in Africa (2008).
–an issue of Black Fire, the newspaper of the Black Students Union at San Francisco State University from 1969.
–a collection of nine mid-century lesbian pulp fiction paperbacks and reprinted novels, and a related work.
–an album of photographs, probably by an American, of the Pacific and South-East Asia, including Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Ceylon, India, and the Himalayas, circa 1905.
–diaries of Thaddeus Hayes of Connecticut, created between 1795 and 1803.
–two photographic essays about Japan by W. Eugene Smith and associates: Japan–a Chapter of Image (1963) and Minamata : Life – Sacred and Profane (1973).
These new acquisitions are welcome additions to the library’s special collections, adding particularly to sources about Southeast and East Asia, and materials created in the last 30 years. The collections need to be strengthened in all of these areas. The newly-purchased materials are currently in the process of being cataloged, organized, and housed so that they can be accessed and used by present and future generations of library users.
The Treaty of 1922 resulted in the formation of the Irish Free State. This tenth anniversary book, published under the Minister for Industry and Commerce and edited by Bulmer Hobson, is intended to show the world how Ireland has developed in all areas, from science and industry to education and art. The book is profusely illustrated.
The cover design by Art O’Murnaghan (1872-1954), is clearly making reference to the style of early Irish illuminated manuscripts. This decorative style, based on the art of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, became very popular during the Celtic Revival of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
An earlier example of the celebration of early Irish art is found in ‘The Cromlech on Howth’, a book that combines the fascination and research into Irish art and literature with a poem by Samuel Ferguson, decoration by Margaret Stokes, and an essay on Irish script by George Petrie.
Shamrocks and harps, however, have been used as emblems of Ireland for centuries, and in America in particular, book bindings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries proclaim the Irish context with a harp, a decoration of shamrocks, or both. In The Days of a Life, by “Norah” (Margaret Dixon McDougall), is a story of Ireland showing the plight of the laborers and the abuse of the landlord class, from the perspective of a young Canadian visitor. The additional images of a round tower and the ruins of a castle or monastery are also typically suggestive of Ireland’s history.
The tiny edition of Thomas Moore’s extraordinarily popular Irish Melodies shown here includes a ‘female harp’ combining the harp, a symbol of Ireland with the female personification of Ireland. Among Moore’s Melodies, ‘The Harp that Once Through Tara’s Hall’ is one of Moore’s many references to the harp.
The harp that once through Tara’s hall The soul of music shed, Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls As if that soul were fled. So sleeps the pride of former days, So glory’s thrill is o’er, And hearts, that once beat high for praise, Now feel that pulse no more.
No more to chiefs and ladies bright The harp of Tara swells: The chord alone that breaks at night, Its tale of ruin tells. Thus freedom now so seldom wakes, The only throb she gives, Is when some heart indignant breaks. To show that still she lives.
A Philadelphia edition of Mrs. S. C. Hall’s stories, Wearing of the Green, or, Sketches of Irish Character, published in 1868, has a winged woman as part of the harp.
This bound set of issues of Duffys Hibernian Magazine, published in Dublin in 1860, bears the bookplate Mathew Dorey of Dublin.
Tours of the exhibit may be arranged for classes and other groups, and additional curator-led tours are available at 12 noon on the upcoming Fridays: March 10 and 31, April 7 and 21.
An exhibit lecture, “The Changing Face of Irish Writing” by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame), will be held this spring in Special Collections, at a date that will be announced later.
The March 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).
“Without the incredible resource of the people in conservation… Rare Books and Special Collections would not be able to exist in the present or in the future. It wouldn’t be able to be a resource for students and for faculty.”
– Heather Hyde Minor, Professor, Art History
Rare books and special collections don’t preserve themselves. The Analog Preservation and Conservation Unit in the Hesburgh Libraries is a dedicated team of people to do just that: care for the University of Notre Dame’s overall collections in the hopes that the items will inspire research, learning, and teaching for generations to come.
Notre Dame Stories recently created this video to highlight this team and the important yet little known work they do to protect and renew some of our most precious items in the Libraries’ collections.