Welcome Back! Fall 2021 in Special Collections

Rare Books and Special Collections welcomes students, faculty, staff, researchers, and visitors back to campus for Fall ’21! We want to let you know about a variety of things to watch for in the coming semester.

The University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Libraries, Special Collections, and the current COVID situation

Due to the spread of highly contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus, and our inability to verify the vaccination status of those outside our highly vaccinated campus community, masks will be required (except when eating and drinking) of both vaccinated and unvaccinated faculty, staff, students, and visitors in some campus spaces during times when those spaces are generally open to the public. The first two floors of the Hesburgh Library (including Rare Books and Special Collections) are among the spaces where masks are required in public areas, including for those who are fully vaccinated.

Up-to-date information regarding campus policies is provided at covid.nd.edu, and a complete list of these campus spaces will be updated regularly here.

New Leadership at the Hesburgh Libraries

K. Matthew Dames

K. Matthew Dames, previously university librarian at Boston University, has been appointed the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian at the University of Notre Dame by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., effective August 1. Dr. Dames succeeds Diane Parr Walker, who has retired after serving 10 years as librarian.

Read the full press report online.

Fall 2021 exhibit: “Bound up with love …” The extraordinary legacy of Father John Zahm’s Dante Collection

This year, the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, we are celebrating the legacy of the Zahm Dante Collection and the remarkable accumulation of rare Italian material acquired at the University of Notre Dame over the past century. 

Highlights of the exhibition include rare printings of the three crowns of Italian literature – Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio – as well as verse anthologies of poetry and other tools such as grammars and dictionaries that would have assisted 16th century readers of vernacular literature.

Fall 2021 Spotlight exhibit featuring the Ferrell Manuscripts

The Fall Spotlight Exhibit features six medieval manuscripts donated to the University of Notre Dame by James E. and Elizabeth J. Ferrell. The collection features a diverse group of manuscripts from the thirteenth through fifteenth century including a historiated Bible, book of hours, a tarot card, and illuminations. The Ferrell Collection can be discovered digitally.

Monthly rotating spotlight exhibits

Despite the challenges of the last academic year and thanks, in no small part, to the generosity of our donors, Special Collections’ holdings continued to grow. This spotlight exhibit celebrates one recent gift: the three-volume limited edition photo album of the Sistine Chapel. An anonymous donor presented this magnum opus to the Hesburgh Libraries in February 2021.

Drop in every month to see what new surprise awaits you in our monthly feature!

Special Collections’ Classes & Workshops

Throughout the semester, curators will teach sessions related to our holdings to undergraduate and graduate students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College. Curators may also be available to show special collections to visiting classes, from preschool through adults. If you would like to arrange a group visit and class with a curator, please contact Special Collections.

Archival Research Lab I: Locating Materials and Preparing to Go
Wednesday, October 6, 10:00am to 11:15am

Archival Research Lab II: Inside the Archive
Wednesday, October 13, 10:00am to 11:15am

This two-session workshop provides an introduction to advanced archival research. In session one, you will learn strategies for finding and evaluating relevant archival collections and steps you’ll need to consider before you go to an archive. In session two, you will “enter the archive,” completing the registration process and handling and examining different archival materials and formats. This workshop is designed to introduce those who have not previously done archival research to the world of archives and special collections, and also as a refresher and skill-building opportunity for those planning to visit archives again in the post-COVID environment.

Events

Fall 2021 Lecture Series: Dante in America — In commemoration of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, in 2021 the Center for Italian Studies and Devers Family Program in Dante Studies are hosting a series of lectures on the topic “Dante in America.” During the Fall Semester, the lectures are open to the public and will be held in person and streamed via Zoom, with the first lecture Thursday, September 2, 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

Learn more about the series. 

Recent Acquisitions

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

Dante and Women Authors in Sixteenth Century Italy

by Tracy Bergstrom, Curator, Zahm Dante and Early Italian Imprints Collection

Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the largest collections relating to the works of Dante Alighieri in print and, as such, supports research into the utilization of the Divina commedia at various times for a variety of political purposes. One of the rarities of our collection is the small, ephemeral pamphlet printed in 1575 titled Declamatione delle gentildonne di Cesena intorno alle pompe (Declamation of the Gentlewomen of the City of Cesena against Sumptuary Fines…). Eponymously written by a group of ‘Gentildonne’ to push back against recent strict sumptuary laws, the authors utilize quotations from Dante, Petrarch and a panoply of classical authors to argue for the necessity of ornamental clothing as it provides a means of communicating women’s identity.

Title page, Declamatione delle gentildonne di Cesena intorno alle pompe… , printed in Bologna by Alessandro Benacci in 1575.

Mid-16th century Italy saw a flourishing of publications authored by women. The collection of lyric poetry authored by the courtesan Tullia d’Aragona, first printed in Venice in 1547, is a fine example of this phenomenon. The volume includes poems by d’Aragona herself as well as sonnets addressed to her by her male contemporaries. 

Title page, Rime della signora Tullia di Aragona; et di diversi a lei, printed in Venice by Gabriel Giolito in 1547.

The period between 1560-1580, however, marks a time of decline in works published by women in Italy. As vernacular poetry declined in popularity and more academic discourse gained readership, this shift was not particularly conducive to women’s contributions. Thus, if the Declamatione delle gentildonne… was authored by women, as the title and content suggest, it is a rare example of a female polemical prose writing. As such, it is one of many examples within Special Collections’ extraordinary collection of Dante-related holdings with significant research potential for students and scholars alike. 

Upcoming Events: March and early April

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

Tuesday, March 26 at 4:00pm | “An Enchanted Circle Surrounding Me Like Magic: Heidelburg & its literary heritage from the Middle Ages to today,” a talk with Dr. Gertrud Roesch (Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor of German Studies, Notre Dame).

Sponsored by The Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures.

Wednesday, March 27 at 4:00pm | A Conversation with Sandow Birk. Renowned illustrator Sandow Birk will be visiting Notre Dame on March 27 and 28. He will speak about his work, including his illustrations of the Divine Comedy and the Qur’an.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies , the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, and the Program in Liberal Studies.

Thursday, March 28 at 5:00pmThe Italian Research Seminar: “Pasolini Screenwriter for Fellini” by Prof. Claudia Romanelli (Alabama).

Sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies.

Thursday, April 4, 5:00pm | Medieval Institute Byzantine Series Lecture: “The Gospel of John in the Byzantine Tradition” by Fr. John Behr (St. Vladimir’s Seminary)


The spring exhibitAs Printers Printed Long Ago. The Saint Dominic’s Press 1916-1936, curated by Dennis Doordan (Emeritus Professor, Notre Dame School of Architecture), opened in January and runs through the summer. The exhibition features different types of publications and posters produced by Saint Dominic’s Press, setting the story of the press within the larger history of the private press movement in England and examining its artistic as well as literary achievements.

The current spotlight exhibits are: Theresienstadt (Terezín), in remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust, and Creeley/Marisol: Presences (through March 6, 2019). Both spotlight exhibits will be changed in early March to Purchas his Pilgrimes and John Smith (March 2019), and The Work of Our Hands, a multi-venue exhibition organized in conjunction with the Notre Dame Forum 2018-19: “The Catholic Artistic Heritage: Bringing Forth Treasures New and Old” (March – early June 2019).

If you would like to bring a group to Special Collections or schedule a tour of any of our exhibits, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.


Rare Books and Special Collections will be open regular hours, 9am-5pm, during Notre Dame’s Spring Break (March 11-15).

Upcoming Events: November and early December

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

Tuesday, November 6 at 3:00pm | Workshop: Alternate Careers in Rare Books, Special Collections, Archives, and Museums.

Wednesday, November 7 at 3:30pm | Black Catholic History Month: “The Black Catholic Movement: The First 50 Years, 1968–2018” by Fr. Clarence Williams, CPPS, Ph.D. Co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Hesburgh Libraries, and the University Archives.

Thursday, November 8 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Fascist Im/Mobilities: A Decade of Amedeo Nazzari” by Alberto Zambenedetti (Toronto). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Friday, November 9 at 3:00pm | Operation Frankenstein: “Melodramatic Frankenstein: Radical Content in a Reactionary Form” by Jeff Cox (University of Colorado Boulder). Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Indiana Humanities Council.

Tuesday, November 13 at 3:00pm | Workshop: Archival Skills. CANCELED

Thursday, November 15 at 4:30pm |  Iberian & Latin American Studies: “Language and Power: Searching for the Origins of Catalan Linguistic Identity” by Vicente Lledó-Guillem (Hofstra University). Co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.

Thursday, November 29 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Dante’s Florentine Intellectual Formation: From Quodlibets to the Vita nuova” by Lorenzo Dell’Oso (Ph.D. Candidate, Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.


The exhibit In Solzhenitsyn’s Circle: the Writer and his Associates runs through the end of the semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Frankenstein 200 (August – December 2018) and Delamarche’s États-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale: The United States in 1785 (November – December 2018).


RBSC will be closed during Notre Dame’s
Thanksgiving Break (November 22-25, 2018)
.

Upcoming Events: February and early March

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

Thursday, March 1 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar:  MA Presentations — “Alessandro Blasetti’s Cinema and the Fantastic: A Closer Look at the Unmarried Woman” by Genevieve Lyons, and “Representations of Self: Dante’s Use of First Person in the Vita Nova” by Katie Sparrow. Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

 

The spring exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru, officially opens on February 9. The exhibit is curated by Erika Hosselkus and draws on strengths of Rare Books and Special Collections’ José E. Durand Peruvian History collection. Together these items offer diverse perspectives on Peruvian political events and cultural and religious practices and preferences from the colonial era, through the country’s birth in 1825, and beyond the turn of the twentieth century.

The spotlight exhibits during February are Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, curated by Rachel Bohlmann, and Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg.

Upcoming Events: October and early November

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

Thursday, Oct. 6 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Where Do Ideas Come From? Of Critical Method and/or Historical Materialism” — Joseph Francese (Michigan State). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Monday, Oct. 10 at 4:00pm | Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness special event: “Shaping or Shaped by the Land: Native American Ecology” — Dr. Gary Belovsky (Department of Biological Sciences and Gillen Director of the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center).

Thursday, Nov. 10 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “The Dynamic Psyche: Italian Pragmatism and Fascism” — Francesca Bordogna (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The current exhibits during October are:

Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 | What was the nature of sports in the early modern era, before the widespread preoccupation with rules, records, and Reeboks? And what kinds of books did people write about them? “Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800,” addresses precisely these questions. This exhibit of volumes from the Joyce Sports Collection is open to visitors 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

Spotlight Exhibits: Plumb Crazy: Dante and Music and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645

Special Collections will be open regular hours during the Notre Dame fall break.

Spotlight Exhibit: Plumb Crazy—Dante and Music

October 2016

1516i-DanteThis small exhibit highlights selections from the Hesburgh Libraries’ collections of musical adaptations of Dante’s works. On view are historical examples of compositions relating to Dante’s Divina Commedia and Vita Nuova. While Dante witnessed musical adaptations of his texts composed already in his own lifetime, they hit a high point in the mid-19th century when the author’s popularity surged in both Italian and translation readership.

This spotlight exhibit will be visible from October 3-28 in Rare Books & Special Collections on the ground floor of Hesburgh Library. The exhibit is presented in conjunction with Journeying La Divina Commedia: Desert, Discovery, Song, an interdisciplinary musical project, which will be performed at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on October 8-9, 2016.

For more information about the exhibit or collections in this area, please contact Tracy Bergstrom, Curator of the Zahm Dante and Early Italian Imprints Collection.

Upcoming Events: November and December

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

Thursday, November 5th at 3:00pm | “The Meaning of the Troubles” – Ian McBride (King’s Cross London)
Thursday, November 5th at 4:30pm | “The Long War” – Ruán O’Donnell (University of Limerick)

Both of the November 5th events are co-sponsored by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and the Brian J. Logue Fund for Northern Ireland.

Thursday, November 12th at 4:30pm | “Dante’s Other Works” 2015: Eclogues – Jonathan Combs-Schilling (Ohio State) and Fiore andDetto d’Amore – Christopher Kleinhenz (Wisconsin-Madison)

Co-sponsored by the William & Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies and Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

 

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Thanksgiving Break (November 26-27) and for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 24, 2015, through January 3, 2016). We remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

Upcoming Events: October and early November

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

October 8th at 4:30pm | “Dante’s Other Works” 2015: Questio de aqua et terra – Theodore J. Cachey, Jr. (Notre Dame), and Authenticity and the other works – Albert R. Ascoli (Berkeley) — Co-sponsored by the William & Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies and Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

October 29 at 4:30pm | Research Seminar: “Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories” – Alan O’Leary (University of Leeds) — Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

November 5 at 3:00pm | “The Meaning of the Troubles” – Ian McBride (King’s Cross London)
November 5 at 4:30pm | “The Long War” – Ruán O’Donnell (University of Limerick)
Co-sponsored by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and the Brian J. Logue Fund for Northern Ireland.

Spotlight Exhibit: The Sixth Centenary Festival of Dante

Fall 2015

1516i-DanteHappy Birthday, Dante! In May of 1865, the city of Florence honored the 600th birthday of Dante Alighieri with a lavish three-day festival that included public celebrations of the author’s works, concerts, and exhibitions.

Our current spotlight exhibit displays some of the literary and commemorative publications released in conjunction with this important festival. The exhibit runs concurrently to the special lecture series “Dante’s Other Works” 2015: A Celebration of the 750th Anniversary of Dante’s Birth sponsored by the William & Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies and Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The exhibit is curated by Tracy Bergstrom, Curator, Zahm Dante and Early Italian Imprints Collection, and is open to the public 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, through December 18, 2015.