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.

Welcome to Spring 2023 in Rare Books & Special Collections

Upcoming Events: January

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

Thursday, January 26 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “The ‘Literary Canon’ of Early Venetian Humanism (1374-1446) between the Classics and the Moderns “ by Rino Modonutti (University of Padova). Sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies.

Spring Semester Exhibits

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

The current spotlight exhibits for are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (November 2022 – January 2023) and The Ladies Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals (December 2022 – January 2023). Later in the month, we will be installing the spring semester spotlight, which will explore changes in language within select Middle English manuscripts and early printed books from the 15th through 17th century (January – April 2023).

Classes in Special Collections

Throughout the semester, curators teach sessions related to our holdings. If you’re interested in bringing your class or group to work with our curators and materials, please contact Special Collections.

Recent Acquisitions

Special Collections acquires new material throughout the year. Watch our blog for announcements about recent acquisitions.

Happy Holidays from Special Collections!

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

Rare Books and Special Collections is open Tuesday through Thursday this week (December 20-22, 2022). After that, we will be closed from Friday, December 23, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023, in participation with the campus-wide holiday break for all faculty, staff, and students. Special Collections will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

This is the last blog post for 2022.
Happy Holidays to you and yours from
Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections!

A Prayer for Christmas Morning by Henry Van Dyke, donated by American poet Raymond E. F. Larsson (London & New York: Ernest Nister & E. P. Dutton, n.d.).
Special Collections, Rare Books Small BV 45 .V32

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.

Turkey for the People

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

The painting of a wild turkey featured in this Thanksgiving post is also displayed in pride of place in the book in which it was printed: opposite the title page in Audubon’s American Birds, from Plates by J.J. Audubon, published in 1949 in London and New York by a British publisher, Batsford. As the title indicates, this is a book of reproductions of fewer than two dozen of John Audubon’s paintings from his monumental work of natural history and painting, Birds of America, published in London between 1827 and 1838.

Batsford, the publisher that produced this modest, post-war volume, wished to place Audubon’s accomplished paintings within reach of nearly everyone. The publisher asked Sacheverell Sitwell to write the introduction, which makes up (excluding the illustrations’ captions) the book’s text. Sitwell was a poet and a prolific writer, mostly on artistic themes and as an art critic. In this book on Audubon’s birds, Sitwell places Audubon’s work firmly within the history of British and American art.

Sitwell also underscored the publisher’s populist intent. The writer noted that books like Audubon’s original work, which was produced in the largest possible format—elephantine, was the “modern equivalent of the illuminated missals of the middle ages. They were accessible only in the houses of the rich and in public libraries.” (p. 10) Sitwell (who was himself both wealthy and titled) and Batsford made Audubon’s great nineteenth-century achievement accessible to popular audiences in Britain and the United States. Turkey for the people.


RBSC will be closed during Notre Dame’s Thanksgiving Break (November 24-25, 2022). We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2021: The Thanksgiving that Gave Us a Song, a Movie … and a Cookbook!
Thanksgiving 2020: Happy Thanksgiving to All Our Readers
Thanksgiving 2019: “Thanksgiving Greetings” from the Strunsky-Walling Collection
Thanksgiving 2018: Thanksgiving from the Margins
Thanksgiving 2017: Playing Indian, Playing White
Thanksgiving 2016: Thanksgiving Humor by Mark Twain
Thanksgiving 2015: Thanksgiving and football


Due to renovation-related work being done in the department, on November 28-29 Special Collections will be closed to visitors, except for previously scheduled classes.

An Annotated 17th Century Handbook on Excommunications

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an interesting and extremely rare early modern work, Alessandro Ludovisi’s Catalogus Excommunicationum, quae extra Bullam Coenae Domini sunt reservarae Papae, vel Episcopo, vel Nemini, iussu illustrissimi… (Bononiae, 1613). Ludovisi (1554-1623), a native of Bologna who would later become Pope Gregory XV from 1621-1623, compiled what is essentially a handbook that details which types of persons—religious and secular—can be excommunicated, for what reasons, and who has the particular authority to do so.

For example, chapter one concerns the excommunication of prelates (cardinals, bishops, nuncios, etc.) by the Pope himself; chapter two covers lesser clerics, chapter four, nuns and chapter six, Inquisitors. Chapter seven deals with secular lords and nobility, while chapter eight discusses various professions, including magistrates, university rectors, governors, and scholars. Chapter ten concerns all those who can be excommunicated by a bishop alone.

In addition, manuscript annotations add interest to this particular copy, attesting perhaps to various canon law interpretations prevalent during this period.

We have found no other copies of this title held by other North American libraries.

Fall, Fruit, and American History in Edward Lee Greene’s Library

by Jacob Swisher, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Notre Dame

As fall comes to a close and leaves blanket the landscape, there are still apples fit for picking and ideal carving pumpkins throughout much of Michiana. You may not find any such apples or pumpkins rolling around Rare Books and Special Collections this fall, but a journey into the books from Edward Lee Greene’s personal library is certain to furnish you with some fruity history about the connection between fruit and identity in American history. Edward Lee Greene (1843-1915) was an American botanist whose personal library of over 3,000 volumes is held in Rare Books and Special Collections. Though you won’t encounter a botanical history that explains the pumpkin spice latte in the stacks, Greene’s library does contain an intriguing manual that helps us to think about the role of fruit in American history and our daily lives from the perspective of a state well-known for its horticulture: California.

Written by Edward J. Wickson in 1889, The California Fruits and How to Grow Them is a manual that covers nearly every topic a novice California horticulturist would seemingly need to learn to begin cultivating fruit, whether in the late-nineteenth century or today. Wickson’s handbook begins with an overview of California’s climate and soils before moving into descriptions of the range and histories of various wild and introduced plant species, such as the California crabapple, the wild gooseberry, and the California jujube. Those eager to introduce their own varieties of common fruits could find more than enough help in the second half of Wickson’s The California Fruits and How to Grow Them. From recommendations for growing specific plants to guides on how to implement certain cultivation techniques, such furrow irrigation or grafting, an important method for propagating certain species like apple trees, Wickson’s volume contains an array of horticultural tips and tricks to help the aspiring horticulturist to get their backyard orchard up and running.

The California Fruits and How to Grow Them, however, is much more than just a horticultural manual. Wickson’s volume, like many others contained in the Edward L. Greene Collection, reveals much about the intersections between science, human-nature relationships, and American identity in the late-nineteenth-century United States. For Wickson’s readers, the scientific knowledge they gleaned from The California Fruits and How to Grow Them rendered history visible in the form of the very fruit they plucked from the California environment. Crabapple trees and evergreen shrubs such as manzanita became reminders of California’s indigenous histories as Wickson informed readers that these fruit-bearers were “highly esteemed by the Indians.” Other fruits conjured images of Spanish California, including “orange, fig, palm, olive and grape,” all of which, according to Wickson, Jesuit priests established at the Spanish missions that spread across the region in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

In Wickson’s view, however, “these early efforts at improvement of California fruits were but faint forerunners of the zeal and enterprise which followed the great invasion by gold seekers.” For Wickson, specific techniques typified this pioneer “zeal” and ushered California not only into a new historical period but a new era of fruit cultivation, such as grafting. Grafting is a technique of propagating a variety of fruit by inserting a bud of the chosen variety into the trunk of an existing tree (usually of a different species). Though grafting is an old technique for food production, one likely present in California since at least the Spanish colonial period, Wickson omits this detail in text instead associating grafting with other American technical innovations such as the use of railroad transportation to move fresh fruit in and out of the state. Instead, grafting and railroad transportation embodied the ways in which Wickson imagined Californians as ushering in a new and, by implication, better era of fruit cultivation throughout the state. Deploying nineteenth-century notions of progress and improvement to chart the place of American migrants in California’s natural and human histories, Wickson’s book transformed horticultural practices into metaphors that signified how and why California fit into American history, grafting Wickson, other Californians, and their recent possession of the California landscape onto the fruits of the California environment in the process.

Nineteenth-century Californians like Wickson understood fruit as more than simply a thing to cultivate. Fruit trees, vines, and shrubs were also botanical texts through which Californians could read themselves into the history of the state. Much like the apple orchards, pumpkin patches, or corn mazes many Americans will wander through this fall, orange groves and hillsides covered in gooseberries provided nineteenth-century Californians with experiences that may have helped them to anchor themselves in new places, communities, or environments. Fruit, as Wickson’s volume reveals, was central to being Californian–a thing California is not only known for, but through which people have historically come to know themselves and the state. Perhaps, with our autumn strolls through apple orchards or pumpkin patches, Americans today are not so different? Food for thought, I suppose. Happy fall everyone!

 

Further reading:

Sackman, Douglas. Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Nash, Linda. Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Ott, Cindy. Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Object. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012.

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. New York: Random House, 2001.

Bolton Valencius, Conevery. The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land. New York: Basic Books, 2002.

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.

A Halloween Tale: “John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts”

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

This year’s Halloween tale comes to you from Jeremiah Curtin’s Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World (London: D. Nutt, 1895). Curtin, a linguist, translator, and folklorist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Irish immigrant parents, and grew up in Milwaukee county, Wisconsin. With the aid of interpreters, he collected folklore in the Irish-speaking regions in the west of Ireland. Recent scholarship demonstrates that Alma Curtin, his wife, was an important partner in this work.1 He also translated Russian and Polish literature, and spent some years working for the Bureau of Ethnology in Washington, D.C., working with Native American peoples. He published three books of Irish folklore, of which this was the third.

“John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts” tells of bravery rewarded and wickedness punished—and of the special properties of “what belongs to a plough”. Enjoy!


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

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

 

 

[1] Bourke, Angela. “The Myth Business: Jeremiah and Alma Curtin in Ireland, 1887–1893.” Éire-Ireland, vol. 44 no. 3, 2009, p. 140-170. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/eir.0.0043.

Rare Papal Bull in French to Convoke the Council of Trent

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an unusual and extremely rare document in early modern church history, a French-language edition of the bull issued by Pope Paul III to convoke the Council of Trent (1545-1563), La Bulle de nostre sainct Père le Pape Paul troisiesme sur le Concile general qui se celebrera, le quatriesme dimanche de la Caresme prochaine (Lyon, 1544). The Council was originally planned to begin in November 1542, but because of the conflict between King Francis I of France and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, the convocation was delayed. This Council would prove to be a pivotal event in modern church history, essentially launching the Catholic Reformation across a range of important doctrinal issues.

Paul III, whose pontificate spanned the years 1534-1549, also published Latin-language versions in Cologne, Ingolstadt, Magdeburg, Nurnberg, and Rome, while a German edition was issued in Augsburg. In this edition, the bull is preceded by a letter written by the Pope to the Archbishop of Lyon concerning the Council.

We have located only one other copy of this French version among recorded holdings worldwide, in France’s Bibliotheque Nationale.