On the Retirement of Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements

by Erika Hosselkus, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Services

Aedin Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Aedín Clements joined Hesburgh Libraries in 2005 as the organization’s first dedicated Irish Studies Librarian. During her tenure, Aedín has developed world class research and special collections in Irish literature, history, and adjacent fields. These include the near-comprehensive Irish Fiction Collection, the Jonathan Swift collection, a large Irish broadside ballads collection, and the Captain Francis O’Neill Irish music collection, among many others. A native speaker of Irish, Aedín has also envisioned and developed Hesburgh Libraries’ substantial Irish-language holdings. 

Along with her collection development activities, Aedin has worked extensively to support students, faculty, and visiting researchers and dignitaries interested in Irish Studies and Irish Language and Literature. As part of her broad outreach, Aedin has curated exhibitions on the writings of the Irish diaspora, Irish children’s literature, the Easter Rising of 1916, and Irish book arts. In 2018, she developed the Keough-Naughton Library Research Award, a partnership between Hesburgh Libraries, the Keough-Naughton Institute, and Notre Dame International offering research fellowships that enable external scholars to utilize the Libraries’ rare Irish collections. Most recently, Aedín collaborated with Hesburgh Libraries’ and Irish Studies colleagues to develop an app-based tour of Dublin featuring connections to materials in our Irish collections.

Aedín has built Hesburgh Libraries’ Irish collections and forged critical connections with campus partners and a global network of researchers. In anticipation of her retirement, we asked colleagues to reflect on her impact and the importance of her work at Notre Dame.

Sarah E. McKibben (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame):

Aedín was a simply marvelous colleague and we will miss her so much! She was so responsive and helpful whenever I located a text I thought we should acquire. She was always full of ideas for my own or my students’ research. She was eager to show my students around the library or teach a research methods session with them, or to help them find the perfect text for their final presentations. In fact, she was so enthusiastic, creative and inspiring that I know she helped many students fall in love with their topics and even pursue further work in Irish Studies.

Since she retired just a week ago, I keep thinking “oh I must email Aedín about this”…I must say, I’m a bit lost without her. She was one of the best hires ND has ever made in Irish Studies.

Aedín receiving a tune written for her by Seán Doherty, a lecturer Dublin City University and one of the recipients of the Keough-Naughton Library Research Award in Irish Studies in 2023.

Natasha Lyandres (Curator, Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library, University of Notre Dame):

Almost a year ago, Aedín Clements, our dear colleague, started an epic countdown to her retirement. At the end of October she left the Hesburgh Libraries after serving as Irish Studies Librarian for almost twenty years. Aedín has had an incredibly successful career at Notre Dame. It’s been a real honor to work with her over the past ten years in Rare Books and Special Collections. 

Aedín contributed to the significant growth of Irish Collections by bringing major acquisitions and expanding the reach and impact of her collections through fruitful collaborations with the Keough-Naughton Institute, Notre Dame International, and with the Department of Irish Language and Literature. From teaching numerous classes and supporting graduate and undergraduate students, to installing exhibits and writing blog posts, to launching the Library Research Award in Irish Studies, to welcoming numerous visitors, to assisting scholars from all over the world with their research on campus, Aedín has been the driving force behind the Rare Books and Special Collections’ success and wide international recognition of our Irish collections.

We will miss Aedín’s infectious enthusiasm for Irish Studies, her cheerful personality, her dedication to the Libraries and the University, and also the beautiful sound of the Irish language echoing through the department. Congratulations, dear Aedín, on your retirement. You will always hold a very special place in our hearts.

We thank Aedín for her service, contributions, and collegiality and wish her the best in retirement.

On the Retirement of Joseph T. Ross

A guest essay by Lou Jordan, Associate University Librarian

Joe Ross and his wife, Nancy, examining a manuscript bible.

As we wish you a celebratory Independence Day, we also mark the retirement of longtime rare books cataloger, Joe Ross. We thank Lou Jordan. Associate University Librarian, who was for many years the Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, for contributing an essay on Joe’s career.

As an undergraduate Joe pursued an interest in theology. He was awarded a BA in religion in 1973 from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA, and went on to obtain a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Joe also studied the history of science, spending the 1975-76 academic year as a research assistant at the Institut für die Geschichte der Medizin, Tübingen.

Joe took his first library job in 1979 as a library assistant at Emory University. In 1981, Joe was hired at Notre Dame by Maureen Gleason as a library technical assistant to work with the collection development librarian Joe Huebner. His workspace was centrally located, close to the circulation desk in the room where the current shipment of new books from our North American approval plan were displayed for decisioning. Also located in that room were the 3×5 book slips for our approval plan from German publishers. Consequently, most subject librarians and many Arts and Letters faculty stopped by the room on a regular basis to peruse the latest publications and at the same time also got to know Joe. Joe quickly gained a reputation as a linguist and a scholar, assisting a wide array of librarians and teaching faculty procure needed titles. During this time Joe renewed his interested in the history of science, taking one course at a time and finally in 1991 completing an MA in the History of Science program at Notre Dame, focusing his study on Hegel.

In 1992, Joe resigned his staff position in order to pursue a Masters of Library Science degree full-time at Indiana University in Bloomington. Following his MLS, Joe accepted a library faculty position at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C as the Bibliographer for Philosophy, Theology, and Humanities. In 1996 Notre Dame advertised for a rare books cataloger; Joe applied for this position and was hired at the rank of a staff librarian as the first full time Rare Books Cataloger at Hesburgh Library. In 1997 he took on the added duties as liaison to the program in the History and Philosophy of Science and in 1999 was promoted to Assistant Librarian.

Joe is a master linguist, fluent in German and with a command of Greek, Latin, most major Western European languages, as well as Arabic and even Sanskrit. His language ability and meticulous scholarship are his signature traits. Joe surrounded himself with rare books and the reference works needed to catalog these texts. There was hardly any open space in his office—even the chair he reserved for visitors was often filled with the past month’s copies of The New York Times.

Joe consistently produced high level original cataloging for rare materials no matter what language they were in. He was especially diligent with complex works that most catalogers would put aside. He accurately described each individual text in our numerous neo-scholastic theological anthologies that has come from various Olmütz monastic libraries. Similarly, he clearly distinguished the numerous lectures, poems and dissertations collected in our 17th century German university miscellanies. Joe also meticulously documented provenance information, tracing down handwritten signatures and ex-libris annotations as well as identifying many hitherto unrecorded early book stamps and labels. 

During his 25 years as a rare book cataloger Joe provided thousands of original catalog records for early imprints unlocking the content of these important resources for the Notre Dame community and for scholars around the world.

Best wishes in your well-deserved retirement Joe, we shall miss you.

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed on Monday, July 5th, in observance of Independence Day. For research visits to Special Collections, please make an appointment by contacting us at rarebook@nd.edu.

Wishing you and yours a happy Canada Day (July 1)
and a festive Fourth of July!

Five Years of RBSC Blog Posts

Since July 2015, when RBSC head Natasha Lyandres welcomed readers to the Rare Books and Special Collections blog, we have enjoyed using this forum to tell readers about new and recently acquired items, as well as using it to describe well known materials and hidden gems. We published posts to help you, our audience, better know who we are and what we do, and we have provided regular updates on exhibits and other events hosted by RBSC.

To mark the five-year anniversary of our blog, we have selected a few of the 246 posts we have published so far, written by a variety of curators, librarians and guest writers. Scroll down to find some interesting snippets from our first five years.

Recent Acquisitions

All of our Recent Acquisition posts can be browsed by clicking on the “Recent Acquisition” tag at left.

Irish Studies

All of our Irish Studies posts can be browsed by clicking on “Irish Studies” in the Categories menu at left.

Who’s Who and What’s What

The tags “who’s who” and “what’s what” gather posts relating, respectively, to the people who work in and with Notre Dame’s Special Collections, and both the materials to be found and the work happening within the department. Included in the latter category are posts related to the Category “Instruction and Class Visits“, some of which are shown here.

US History & Culture

All of our US History & Culture posts can be browsed by clicking on “US History & Culture” in the Categories menu at left.

Exhibits and Events

Latin American Studies

All of our Latin American Studies posts can be browsed by clicking on “Latin American Studies” in the Categories menu at left.

Holidays and Just for Fun

Who’s Who in RBSC: Julie Tanaka

“It is with bittersweet feeling I write to announce that Julie Tanaka accepted a position as Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Arizona State University. Julie is excited about the opportunities in the new position and I am very happy for her.” —Natasha Lyandres, Head of Special Collections

Julie Tanaka achieved so much that it’s difficult to believe that she arrived here less than eight years ago. Along with her role as Curator of Special Collections and as subject liaison for Western European History, Julie took on many more responsibilities in Special Collections and in the Hesburgh Libraries.

Julie’s impact on the role and visibility of the Rare Books and Special Collections has been appreciated throughout campus and beyond. In her willingness to partner with professors of History, English, Design, and other disciplines to plan excellent programs for research, she has set high standards for her fellow curators. In fact, she initiated and designed many programs that are now an integral part of RBSC.

Julie approaches the library world not as a gate-keeper but in the generous spirit of an educator who wishes everyone to learn and to benefit from the collection. Her outreach to professors who had not considered integrating rare books and other library materials in their courses has had great results. Julie applies the same high standards of planning, teaching and performance from tours for the children of Notre Dame’s Early Childhood Development Center to a research methods class for graduate students.

Julie’s commitment to outreach helped ensure that Rare Books & Special Collections was a welcoming place for students and faculty. But it wasn’t just members of the Notre Dame community who benefited from Julie’s vision.

Everyone who came in, from visiting researchers, who gained access to far more research materials than they originally anticipated, to football fans who happened to wander in on a rainy Football Friday just curious about what goes on behind the smoky glass walls on the first floor of the Hesburgh Library, left fascinated by the items housed in our department—all thanks to Julie. One notable visitor was a ten year old boy from Albania. Julie had noticed the young man and his English-language tutor visiting our exhibit room weekly. They liked to look at the books in the glass cases and study the English letters on the exhibit cards. Julie introduced herself and asked if, on their next visit, they would like to see some more items from Special Collections … outside the glass. Julie carefully choreographed a display for the young man. He left in awe of what he had seen,  with a personalized Special Collections coloring book in hand, full of English letters and wonderful pictures to aid him in his studies. For the remainder of the semester he would come in to say hello and happily test out the new English words he had learned.

The current exhibit, Paws, Hooves, Fins & Feathers, co-curated with Erika Hosselkus, was planned with the greater community in mind. Julie and Erika curated an exhibit that highlights our remarkable natural history collection, with a well-planned outreach to local schools integrated into the plan. In light of the closure, they have transformed the physical exhibit in a digital one, Paws, Hooves, Fins, and Feathers Digital.

As a historian, Julie has been proactive in ensuring that Notre Dame’s students receive a good grounding in library and archival research, and her work over the years with library colleagues and with faculty from various departments, has resulted in the development of a series of classes and workshops carried out in the Special Collections.

Despite Julie’s dislike for our Midwestern winters, she was invariably the first person to arrive every morning. We expect her to send us regular notes about the warm temperatures in Arizona. And in return, we will send Julie pictures of any innovations we develop in the design of our reading room, because Julie taught us that there is an optimal way to arrange the classroom furniture for every class.

We wish Julie the very best in her new endeavor.

Who’s Who in RBSC: Erika Hosselkus

The periodical press claimed to civilize Peru. The first, official news periodical, Gazeta de Lima, described itself as something that quickly disseminated “a brief accounting of occurrences.” Then, in less than two centuries the literary magazine, Prisma, appeared. On the front cover of the September 1906 issue is a photograph depicting the civilizing power the press could have—two boys from among an aristocratic elite in Peru are attired in velvet suits with lace collars and leather shoes reading an issue of Prisma. It seemed that the periodical press accomplished what it claimed to do. Yet, at the same time, other periodicals argued that Peru was the exact opposite—uncivilized. This became the subject of articles filling the pages of periodical after periodical. What exactly did it mean to be civilized?

Photograph of Erika Hosselkus, taken outside the Hesburgh Library, with the golden dome of the Notre Dame administration building visible in the background.Moving from being a source of general news to a resource that generated thought, discussion, and public discourse, Peruvian periodical literature—newspapers, magazines, circulars, and other similar types of imprints—was used to show how Peru could become a civilized nation. This development of the periodical press in Peru is examined in Special Collections’ current exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Peru curated by Erika Hosselkus (Curator of Latin American Collections).

Featured in this exhibit are materials from Rare Books and Special Collections’ José E. Durand Peruvian History Collection. Durand (1925-90), a native of Lima Peru, professor of Spanish literature, writer, and bibliophile, amassed an impressive research library. His library reconstructed the type of library the important 16th-century Peruvian writer Garcilaso Inca de la Vega possessed. In addition, Durand built a significant collection of early printed books and literary, historical, economic, and ecclesiastical manuscripts. Distinguishing this collection are numerous unique items, including the only existing copy of a 17th-century play, Tragicomedia de la Ystoria de Joseph, and a dialogue between two friends discussing conditions in colonial Peru. Another important part of the Durand collection is his personal collection of rare literary and historical journals pertaining to late Colonial and 19th-century Peru. Noteworthy is Peru’s first newspaper, Gazeta de Lima—more than fifteen of the Gazeta issues in the Durand collection are held only at Notre Dame.

Selections of these materials document both the history of periodical literature in Peru and the wealth of research opportunities in the Durand collection. Hard-to-find circulars from the Independence period provide a window into political interests of the time while rare cancioneros (popular song and verse imprints) featuring polkas, waltzes, and Latin American music show how cultures were intersecting and what people were interested in buying. Lithographs in periodicals and books show the advances in technology beginning in the 1860s. The development in types of illustrations used in official periodicals—lithographs, engravings of city scenes, portraits of important Peruvian leaders and other figures—culminates around the turn of the century with the introduction of color lithographs and photographs.

In a Civilized Nation features only a small portion of the materials held in the José E. Durand Peruvian History Collection. Erika lamented how difficult it was to select materials because there were so many items that could and should be on display. Her dilemma speaks to the breadth of this collection.

“I extend my thanks to David  for introducing me to the Durand collection and for his always thoughtful and enthusiastic collaboration. He is missed in so many ways.” -EH

In memoriam
David Dressing (1964-2017)
Latin American and Iberian Studies Librarian

Erika would also like to extend special appreciation to Sara Weber for her visual design work.

In a Civilized Nation runs through August 2018. The exhibit is free and open to the public, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. An expanded digital exhibit is forthcoming in late spring.

Weekly exhibit tours are offered Tuesdays at noon through the end of April. Special tours can also be arranged for classes or other visiting groups, including K-12 audiences. To schedule a group tour, please contact Erika Hosselkus.

Who’s Who in RBSC: Tracy Bergstrom

“We are in fact convinced that no human experience is without meaning or unworthy of analysis, and that the fundamental values, even if they are not positive, can be deduced from the particular world which we are describing.”
–Primo Levi, If This is a Man

In Se questo è un uomo (If This is a Man), Primo Levi articulates that all experience informs our thinking and understanding about what it means to be human. Levi’s own experience as a chemist and a human subjected to extreme suffering in Auschwitz resonates throughout his works on display here.

Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, the current exhibit in Special Collections to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Levi’s death, is curated by Tracy Bergstrom with assistance from Vittorio Montemaggi (Lecturer, Religion and the Arts, King’s College London) and Valentina Geri (PhD candidate, Italian). Tracy is the Program Director for the Specialized Collection Services Program and the curator of the Zahm Dante and early Italian imprints collection at Notre Dame. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies and Art History from Smith College, a Master of Arts in Archaeological Studies from Yale University, and a Master of Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University.

The exhibit invites viewers to engage with the works on display to explore Levi’s life and work. Tracing the development of Levi’s writings and their reception, Elements of Humanity demonstrates how they are interconnected. The books on display challenge viewers to reflect on what they see, on how art and history are related, on the connections between truth and fiction, on the relationship between scientific and humanistic knowledge.

Elucidating this synthesis is Levi’s Il sistema periodico (The Periodic Table). His scientific knowledge and analysis are woven with his literary skills, illuminating his experiences—personal, social, and political. In the series of short stories, each bears the name of an element which Levi uses as a metaphor for particular experiences from his life. On display, set in front of stunning images created by the Japanese artist, Yosuke Taki, is the opening of “Carbon” in which Levi traces the journey of a single carbon atom across time and space, a journey reflecting the experiences of the writer himself.

Most of the books in this exhibit are part of the Primo Levi Collection in Special Collections. Beginning in 2009, Hesburgh Libraries and Italian Studies partnered to develop this as a new collection that deepened the Italian holdings’ reach to include contemporary Italian literature. At the launch for this collection in Fall 2011, Father Hesburgh spoke about the importance of Notre Dame holding such a collection to use for teaching and research. The Levi Collection now includes all first editions of Levi’s works printed in Italy during his lifetime and of notable translations, especially in German and English, and adaptations that document Levi’s importance outside of Italy.

The Primo Levi Collection in addition to the Zahm Dante Collection and the other Italian literature collections held by the Libraries continue to support teaching and research for the campus and international visitors, and it also provides an invaluable resource for a new PhD program in Italian. These collections are heavily used by undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at Notre Dame and by visiting scholars. Over the past few years, Italian Studies has made increasing use of these materials for the seminars it holds related to Italian Holocaust Studies. Of note, in 2012, Robert Gordon (Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge) examined the collection, gave a talk titled “Outrageous Fortune: Luck and the Holocaust,” and met with graduate students.

Works from the Italian literature collections have been exhibited on numerous occasions. Between 2008 and 2011, rotating exhibit cases featured topical exhibits: “Petrarch in 16th-Century Translation” and “Dante for Children.” A spotlight exhibit, “Plumb Crazy: Dante and Music,” ran October 3-28, 2016. “The Sixth Centenary Festival of Dante” was on display in Fall 2015, displaying works to commemorate the 600th anniversary in 1865 of Dante’s birth. Italian collections were also featured in All Roads Lead to Rome: New Acquisitions Relating to the Eternal City (Fall 2011).

Elements of Humanity opened on September 5, 2017 with remarks by Tracy Bergstrom, Vittorio Montemaggi, and Valentina Geri. The exhibit will remain on display through December 15, 2017. The exhibit is free and open to the public, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Public Tours

• Tuesdays, noon
• Wednesdays, 3pm

Tours for classes or other groups, including K-12 requests, are available. Please contact Tracy Bergstrom at tbergstr@nd.edu or (574) 632-1763 to schedule a class or tour.

Suggested Resources

Further Reading (pdf)

ETA: Tracy Bergstrom left the university in the spring of 2023.

Through the Students’ Eyes – Working in Special Collections

by Shannon Gaylord, RBSC Student Employee

When people enter the Hesburgh Library, they may walk right by the Rare Books and Special Collections department without glancing inside. They may have never heard of this department or do not know what is inside. This department is what I tell people is the “hidden gem” of the library. The people who do walk through the large doors enter what I think is one of the most beautiful rooms on campus. They stand in a room of large wooden shelves and glass cases that are full of histories and stories. The weathered books along the wall invite visitors to think about time. People who find their way to Rare Books will be amazed at the extensive collections as well as the knowledge and dedication of the excellent staff. There are several students who work in this department during the summer as well as the school year. They have unique backgrounds, jobs, and perspectives about this lovely department.

My name is Shannon Gaylord and I have been working at Rare Books and Special Collections for the last four years. I just recently graduated from Notre Dame where I majored in Psychology and minored in Education, Schooling, and Society. I am a student worker in the department, but I like to call myself the “Executive Book Manager” because it is a fun title and I primarily work directly with the books in the various collections. I have done a large variety of tasks during my time here such as assisting with stacks management which includes reshelving books, pulling materials, and shifting collections. I enjoy getting the chance to come in contact with so many ancient texts in all of the work that I do. I have worked with many of the department’s materials such as the American Colonial Currency collection and the Lohmann collection. I have assisted with the preparations for many of the classes and lectures that occur in the department. I also work at the department’s front desk where I assist patrons with materials and book scans as well as monitor those who are using the reading room.

While the collections at Rare Books are wonderful, my favorite part about working here is the group of people that make up this department. These people work together to create an incredibly welcoming environment that promotes curiosity and learning. They have so much knowledge that they willingly share with patrons and students. I am very thankful to have had a chance to work alongside and learn from each of these staff members over the last couple of years. I find it hard to believe that I had never heard about Rare Books until I walked into the department for a job interview during my freshmen year. Now when I walk into the department, I feel at home because of the people here who welcomed me into the Rare Books family. I am so happy that I could continue working at Rare Books this summer and look forward to using the skills and knowledge from this job in the future. This fall, I will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for my Masters in Social Work.

This summer, I’ve also had the pleasure to work with RBSC’s crew of summer student employees. Most of them are either undergraduate or graduate students at Notre Dame, but there are a few visitors. I’ve talked to them about what the work they are doing in RBSC. Here’s a look at all the things happening this summer.

Laura Weis is a PhD Candidate in History and Peace Studies at Notre Dame. Laura says that “working in Special Collections has provided a unique opportunity to sharpen my skill set as an aspiring historian, as well as a chance to explore topics and time periods outside of my usual area of research.” Laura has been working on several collections this summer, including the Bellamy-Smart family papers and the Price family papers. She says that the Bellamy-Smart family papers offer a glimpse into early 19th century courtship rituals and plantation life and the Price family papers “opened my eyes to the northern anti-abolitionist and ‘Copperhead’ political sentiments that threatened, for a time, to derail the Union war effort, in general, and emancipation, in particular.” Laura is currently working on the Mary Taussig Hall papers/Taussig family papers which are a large collection of personal and professional correspondence among the Taussig family members. She says that “the collection includes exchanges with Jane Addams, as well as additional materials concerning 20th century peace and justice advocacy.” Laura says, “Going forward, I know I will point to my experience working in Special Collections this summer as one that has been both personally and professionally fulfilling.”

Hannah Benchik is a rising sophomore at Saint Mary’s College where she is studying Business with a minor in German. This summer, Hannah has been working at the front desk of the department. She explains that her job is much more complex than merely sitting at the front desk. Hannah says, “While the specific work that I do daily depends on the department’s specific needs for that day, my tasks can range from stamping books, answering phone calls, and assisting patrons in the reading room. I also monitor the reading room to make sure that the rare materials are handled correctly, shift books in the basement, and scan documents for ILL requests or for specific patrons.” Hannah enjoys the organizational aspect of this job, which is crucial for her work. Her favorite part of the job has been having the opportunities to examine priceless and rare books such as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Bible and Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremburg Chronicle. Hannah says that “it has been so amazing to see important and famous works of literature that most students my age have not been exposed to before.”

Samantha Awad is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she graduated in English with Distinction. During her time there, she worked at the Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. This fall, she will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she will study Library Science and Public Administration. This summer, she is responsible for photographing rare books and manuscripts as well as digitizing her work. Amanda says that she has “worked with German children’s literature from the world wars that is being exhibited at the library, books in the Petrarch collection, and a medieval manuscript that contained sheet music for a class this fall.”

Augusto Rocha Ramirez is a PhD candidate in History. He is currently working at Rare Books under the supervision of Erika Hosselkus, Curator of Latin American collections. He is arranging materials into series and ensuring that they are filed properly for future retrieval. These materials include Uruguayan political ephemera from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Liam Maher is working with Aedín Clements, the Irish Studies Librarian. He has assisted with archiving several special collections within the Irish Studies Collection. The first was a small collection of papers, letters, and books on peacemaking & reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland between the Presbyterian and Catholic Churches. The materials date from the mid 1970s through the early 2000s. The majority of his work, however, has been focused on another collection. Arlen House, an historic feminist publishing house in Ireland, recently sent their documents to Hesburgh Library. He has been leafing through boxes of their papers and sorting them into archival categories: manuscripts, proofs, correspondence, brochures, photographs, business documents, etc. In Liam’s own words, “It is fun to piece together the story of Arlen House as I work through all of their materials!”

Sara Quashnie graduated from Notre Dame in 2015 with a BA in History. She is back this summer completing a practicum for her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Though she is not officially on RBSC’s payroll, she is doing some work in the department. She co-curated a spotlight exhibit, “War as Child’s Play: German Children’s Literature from the World Wars,” is describing a collection of original drawings tipped into an album created by British civilians held prisoner in a German internment camp during the First World War and creating a finding aid for it, and will be authoring a blog post about that collection.

Sae Rome Choi, a junior Chemical Engineering major, has worked for the department for three years. She assists one of our rare book catalogers, Bo Karol, processing rare and medium rare books. Sae Rome adds copy specific notes to the bibliographic records and also prints the flags for the books so that they can be shelved in their proper locations.

Thank you for taking a look at the Rare Books and Special Collections department through the eyes of its student workers. If you have not visited this department yet, we encourage you to stop by! This “hidden gem” is waiting just behind the doors.

Congratulations to Our Seniors

Both images: MSE/EM 110-1B, Diploma, University of Padua, 1690

Special Collections thanks our six graduating seniors for the work they have done for us processing collections, assisting visitors, reshelving books, shifting collections, scanning documents, and assisting our rare book catalogers.

Rob Browne, American Studies

Brendan Coyne, Classics

Shannon Gaylord, Psychology

Hannah Herbst, History

Gabrielle Rogoff, Anthropology

Zach Trewitt, Mathematics

Who’s Who in RBSC: Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus

The two fencers in Domenico Angelo’s L’Ecole des armes saluted, closing Ingenious Exercises, and welcomed Matthew Carey and the transatlantic story narrated in “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic. The new Spring exhibit features printed books, newspapers, and pamphlets that document the flow of ideas about Catholicism between the United States and Europe.

Bringing coherence to the flurry of ideas represented by the diverse artifacts on display are Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus. Rachel and Jean (U.S. History & American Studies librarian and Catholic Studies librarian, respectively) teamed up to explore what our collections held on Catholic America. As they began this seemingly daunting task, they soon realized they first needed to address what exactly Catholic literature in America was and what it meant to be a Catholic in America.

For Jean, these questions stemmed from Notre Dame’s 2014 acquisition of the The Holy Bible printed in 1790 in Philadelphia by Matthew Carey, more commonly referred to here [on campus? at Notre Dame?] as the Badin Bible. This bible is a copy of the first authorized Catholic bible in English and was translated from the Latin Vulgate  in 1568 by members of the English College, a Catholic seminary in Douai in northern France. Its publisher, Matthew Carey, was an Irish Catholic who emigrated to Philadelphia. Known for standing against the British Parliament in defense of Irish nationalism and Catholic emancipation, Carey became a successful Catholic publisher in the U.S. Jean questioned what it meant to  be a publisher who was Catholic and, more broadly, what it meant to be Catholic in America.

For Rachel, a common theme that emerged among these sources was their transatlantic identity. As she and Jean chose particular stories to tell, each story connected to Britain or Europe, often in multiple ways. These ties could be in the form of refugees as in the case of Stephen Badin who fled Revolutionary France or ideas such as the pamphlets that circulated between the US, Europe, and Britain and, sometimes, the ties involved both refugees and ideas.

Turning to the principal Catholic Studies reference book, Wilfrid Parson’s Early Catholic Americana, they compared Special Collections’ holdings to the works listed in Parson and selected most of the items on exhibit based upon their inclusion in this work. Their selections represent American Catholicism defined by early printed works that include books, pamphlets, newspapers, official reports, and maps. What emerges is a six-chapter, multinational story beginning in the 1780s and running through the 1840s of early Catholicism in America and its ties to European Catholicism.

The exhibit runs January 16 – August 11, 2017. Weekly tours led by Rachel and Jean on Thursdays begin at 12:30 and will be offered through the end of March. Class tour are also available. Please contact Rachel to schedule a tour.

Upcoming Exhibit Events

“Saint Elizabeth Seton: A Reading Life”
Catherine O’Donnell, Professor of History, Arizona State University
March 22, 2017, 4:00 pm, Special Collections

Historian and former Cushwa Center Fellow Catherine O’Donnell’s talk explores Elizabeth Ann Seton’s spiritual journey as it intersected with Catholic history during the early American Republic. O’Donnell is the author of “John Carroll and the Origins of an American Catholic Church, 1783-1815” and Men of Letters in the Early Republic: Cultivating Forums of Citizenship (2008). She is currently completing her second book, Elizabeth Seton: a Life.

“21st Century Digital Approaches to Rethinking 19th Century Catholic Print”

Kyle Roberts, Professor of Public History & New Media and Director of the Center for Textual Studies & Digital Humanities, Loyola University Chicago
June 1, 2017, 2:00 pm, Special Collections

This talk explores the ways in which new digital humanities projects, such as the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, have allowed us to recover the central importance of print to American Catholics. Roberts is also the author of Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 (2016).

Who’s Who in RBSC: George Rugg

The double-sided banner outside of Special Collections invites passersby to pop in and check out the new exhibit, Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800. For the curious who take a moment to stop, they find Domenico Angelo’s L’Ecole des armes (School of Fencing) opened to two fencers demonstrating the proper form to parry against an outside thrust under the wrist, known as a quinte thrust. Angelo’s book is accompanied by other early editions from the Joyce Sports Collection, highlighting various aspects of sports and physical culture including swimming, hunting, wrestling, and football.

Image of George Rugg

Behind the design of Ingenious Exercises is George Rugg, the curator for Americana and the Joyce Sports collections. As curator, George is responsible for the acquisition, care, and interpretation of collections related to the history and cultural heritage of the United States as well as sports and physical culture. He identifies and acquires materials available on the market or from private collectors that relate to existing collection strengths in Special Collections. Once these materials arrive, George ensures that all of the documentation is complete for the library to take physical and intellectual control of the materials. He assesses the condition and works with Hesburgh Library’s conservation staff to determine if treatment is needed to prevent deterioration and to address any special needs to protect the materials. George also researches and interprets the collections in order to help students and visitors understand the significance of the materials, show relationships between them, or contextualize them within our cultural heritage. The main ways he shares this knowledge with students and the public are through teaching classes and by designing exhibits.

Since becoming a curator, George has designed numerous exhibits that feature significant works from the collections. These exhibits cover a range of topics including Civil War manuscripts, Abraham Lincoln, American diaries from the 18th and 19th centuries, baseball literature prior to 1900, boxing literature, and cover art of college football programs. He has also created spotlight exhibits that highlighted the lithographs of the Scottish painter David Roberts (1796-1864), a historical map of the Great Lakes region by the renowned Italian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718), and the manuscript business records of the Birmingham Black Barons, the elite black professional baseball team.

Also on current display is a spotlight exhibit featuring an important journal George recently acquired that enhances the Colonial Manuscript collection. The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook contains the sermon notes of Nathaniel Rogers (1598-1655), a Puritan minister who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1636. George offers visitors an opportunity to view this rare work while sharing his research on and curatorial concerns for the book. He includes Cotton Mather’s providential history of 17th century New England, the Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), opened to the beginning of Mather’s eulogy of Rogers which provides what little information is known about the minister’s life. George also describes the original condition of the sermon book and the treatments performed by Hesburgh Libraries Preservation to stabilize the notebook so that researchers may safely use it.

For each of these exhibits, George selects materials from Special Collections’ holdings that not only have significance but also capture the imagination. Selected items might represent important works in a bibliographic tradition such as Nicolaes Petter’s Klare Onderrichtinge der voortreffelijcke Worstel-konst (1674). This work is an illustrated self-defense manual that represents one of the finest examples in the tradition of illustrated martial arts manuals, a tradition traceable to a German fencing manual from the 1320s. In the case of the business records of the Birmingham Black Barons, the records provide a look into the history of American baseball in the era of segregation. They document financial transactions between the team and its players during the years when the Black Barons were full members of the Negro National League and before financial pressures generated by the Great Depression forced the team to return to the Negro Southern League in 1931.

George’s current exhibits, Ingenious Exercises and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Book, will be on display through December 2016. He will also be giving public tours of Ingenious Exercises on Wednesdays at noon during October and November.

ETA: George Rugg retired from Special Collection in the summer of 2019.