Collection highlights, news about acquisitions, events and exhibits, and behind-the-scenes looks at the work and services of Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) at Notre Dame.
Rare Books and Special Collections is located on the main floor of the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame in northern Indiana, and is open to students, faculty, visiting researchers, and members of the community Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm (closed weekends and major holidays).
This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, the rebellion that led to the eventual establishment of an Irish Free State. The University of Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute is at the forefront of the impetus to re-examine the events of 1916, with Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada’s three-part documentary, 1916 The Irish Rebellion which will be shown on public television in Ireland, the U.S. and at screenings throughout the world.
In Hesburgh Libraries Rare Books and Special Collections, a special exhibit to mark this centenary is on display from February 12th until April 28th.
The exhibit draws from the Hesburgh Special Collections and includes books written by people involved in the events as well as contemporary accounts of the rebellion. Letters on display include one from Roger Casement. An extremely rare first edition of W. B. Yeats’s poem Easter, 1916 is part of the exhibit.
From the University Archives, a book recording the subscriptions of South Bend residents to an Irish government bond will be on display.
The exhibit is open to the public from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar in order to bring the date for celebrating Easter closer in line with the date the early Church had celebrated it. He removed 10 days, skipping from October 4 to October 15, 1582, established February 29 as the official day to be added during a leap year, revised how leap years were determined, and also set January 1 as the first day of the year.
Although most Catholic countries adopted these reforms after they were enacted in 1582 by the papal bull Inter gravissimas, Protestant and Orthodox countries resisted. England and her colonies did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until almost two centuries later as this excerpt from the 1752 edition of Poor Richard Improved, an almanac published by Benjamin Franklin, explains.
Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired the important Latin works of Saint Fulgentius (468-533) and Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584).
The first is a printed edition of the Latin works of St. Fulgentius, a North African bishop who, in the tradition of St. Augustine, vigorously defended orthodox doctrines on the Trinity and original sin against Arianism and Pelagianism. The volume (Opera B. Fvlgentii Aphri, episcopi Rvspensis . . . item opera Maxentii Iohannis) also includes the works of his lesser known contemporary, Joannes Maxentius, and was printed by the famed German publisher Anton Koberger in 1520. Koberger is best known for publishing the Liber cronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle), a landmark incunable.
In addition, Hesburgh Libraries acquired volumes 1-5 of the first complete critical edition of Saint Charles Borromeo’s homilies, entitled Homiliae (Mediolani, 1747-48) and published as a 6-volume set. Saint Charles Borromeo’s was one of the giants of the Catholic Reformation. As Archbishop of Milan (1564-1584), Saint Charles was a leader in implementing the reforms enacted at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), contributing to the creation of the new Catechism commissioned by the Council (published in 1566) and establishing numerous seminaries, colleges, and communities for the education of those preparing for the priesthood.
Bram Stoker (1847-1912), when he was manager of the renowned English actor Henry Irving, made many trips to the United States. Over the course of these visits and perhaps after meeting the poet Walt Whitman in 1884, he became intrigued by Abraham Lincoln. In the late 1880s and 1890s, Stoker lectured on Lincoln at numerous venues in both the United States and Europe.
In composing his lecture, Stoker drew on many of the standard sources of the day and also quotes Whitman. Stoker emphasizes slavery throughout and Lincoln’s role as emancipator. A long prelude provides background on the “peculiar institution” in the United States and the sectional crisis of the 1850s. Then follows the life of Lincoln proper. Stoker’s attitude toward his subject is reverent in the extreme. Explaining that “the hour had come for the final struggle . . . between slavery and freedom,” Stoker reiterates to the audience in introducing his subject, “The hour had come—and with it . . . came the man—Abraham Lincoln.”
Notre Dame holds the original, working copy of Bram Stoker’s 152-page, unbound manuscript. Approximately half of the Notre Dame manuscript is a single, essentially sustained narrative though deletions, additions, and corrections abound. The rest consists of variations on portions of that narrative inserted, perhaps, to suit a particular audience.
The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired two resources that serve as important scholarly sources for those who study Chinese/Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist art. These resources are the highly-regarded 1970s reprints of original publications from the 1920s:
This Tokyo reprint (1978) was praised by Dr. W. Pachow, a Chinese Buddhist scholar, as a “extraordinary” and “very valuable.” His review that appeared on The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies in 1981 is a worthy introduction to the resource that includes a detailed description of the size and composition of the folio and its contents. Also important to note is Dr. Pachow’s point about a few unintended misinterpretations by Sir Aurel Stein who did not understand Chinese.
There will be three new exhibits opening during the month of February:
Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion | 2016 marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, the rebellion that led to the eventual establishment of an Irish Free State. At the Hesburgh Libraries Rare Books and Special Collections Department, a special exhibit to mark this centenary will be on display from February 12th until April 28th.
Native American Literature Before 1924 | Spring Semester Spotlight Exhibit
Coronelli’s Nouvelle France, 1688 | Febuary Spotlight Exhibit
Please note also that Rare Books and Special Collections will be closing early at 2:00pm on Friday, February 5th, for a departmental event.
The Evgeniia Ginzburg and Antonina Axenova Collection is now open to students and researchers. The collection consists of several parts. The most important part revolves around Evgeniia Ginzburg (1904-1977), who spent 18 years in the Stalin GULAG and who chronicled those years in her memoir translated into English as: Journey into the Whirlwind and Within the Whirlwind. Ginzburg’s classic work is one of the earliest revelations of the Stalin camps and remains one of the most significant. The collection contains arrest documents, letters, some manuscript material, and many original photographs.
Another part of the collection revolves around Antonina Axenova, who was born in the Kolyma camps and who was adopted by Ginzburg in 1949. Axenova became a film and stage actress, and the archive includes her documents, letters, photographs, scripts, programs, playbills, broadsides, and advertisements. Beisdes her career Axenova has also dedicated herself to preserving the legacy of her mother. She visited former KGB archives, made several trips back to the sites of the camps in the Kolyma region, and gathered together all of the material in the archive.
For a description of the collection’s over 700 items, see the finding aid. The collection also includes almost 100 books from the libraries of Ginzburg and Axenova. These books have been cataloged and can be located through the online catalog.
Modern prizefighting is of English origin, and had developed a distinctive culture with a rich and abundant literature by the turn of the nineteenth century. Fighting Words includes many scarce items from this so-called golden age of English pugilism (ca. 1790-1830). It then carries the story forward to the United States, which by the second half of the 19th century had become the fight game’s new center of gravity. Publishers like Richard Kyle Fox (The National Police Gazette) and Nathaniel “Nat” Fleischer (The Ring) were central to prizefighting’s emergence from illegality into the American sporting mainstream. The exhibit concludes with materials from the 1950s, hearkening the erosion of U.S. boxing culture in the second half of the 20th century.
Questions and comments should be directed to George Rugg, the Joyce Collection’s curator.
The posthumous First Folio printing of William Shakespeare’s plays in 1623 represents a landmark development in the history of English drama, rescuing some of the bard’s works that would have been lost forever. The earlier editions that do exist, however, differ markedly from the First Folio, and there is little evidence that Shakespeare oversaw their publication. What, then, is the “real” text?
The Shakespeare we know emerges from hundreds of years of this debate. Current holdings and recent acquisitions in Rare Books and Special Collections shed light on the discussion as it developed into the nineteenth century. Selections from the Second and Third Folio accompany printings by some of Shakespeare’s earliest critical editors, including the famous poet Alexander Pope and the moral censor Thomas Bowdler.