Author Archives: John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College

About John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College

The University’s special collections, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the Honorable John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance. Burns Library staff work with students and faculty to support learning and teaching at Boston College, offering access to unique primary sources through instruction sessions, exhibits, and programming. The Burns Library also serves the research needs of external scholars, hosting researchers from around the globe interested in using the collections. The Burns Library is home to more than 200,000 volumes and over 700 manuscript collections, including holdings of music, photographic materials, art and artifacts, and ephemera. Though its collections cover virtually the entire spectrum of human knowledge, the Burns Library has achieved international recognition in several specific areas of research, most notably: Irish studies; British Catholic authors; Jesuitica; Fine printing; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; the Caribbean, especially Jamaica; Nursing; and Congressional archives.

Possession & Extrapolation: Herman Moll & Charles Wilkes

Herman Moll, Enlightenment Geographer Working as a printer, engraver, and geographer in London, Herman Moll made the acquaintance of some of the leading thinkers of the English Enlightenment, including John Locke, Robert Hooke, and Jonathan Swift. The Dutchman’s contemporaries held … Continue reading

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Accuracy & Extrapolation: Maps of the Caribbean, Ireland and Madagascar

Mapping and Mercantilism in the Caribbean Cartography in Britain, and much of Europe in general, revolved around naval commerce and travel during the early modern period.  Cartographers like Thomas Jefferys (1719 – 1771) created these maps within a competitive economic … Continue reading

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Housekeeping in 19th Century America

As the season changes from Thanksgiving to preparations for holiday festivities, cooking, cleaning and all things of the home are brought to mind.  Four 19th century books in the Burns Library’s General Collection offer fascinating glimpses of middle and upper-class  American … Continue reading

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Mapping and Legitimizing New Spain

The Mapping of New Spain When Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist widely considered one of the brightest scientific minds of his era, set off on a voyage to South America, the Spanish colony of New Spain (modern-day Mexico) was … Continue reading

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Sacred Heart Review

The Sacred Heart Review was a Catholic newspaper published in Cambridge and Boston from 1888 to 1918 devoted to local, national, and international news.  The entire 60-volume run has been digitized and is now available online as part of the Boston College … Continue reading

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Lexica Jesuitica: Missioner Dictionaries of Latin America

The Jesuitica Collection in the Burns Library conserves some of the earliest written records of Amerindian spoken languages. As Jesuits pursued their missionary commitments among the peoples they met, they compiled dictionaries and grammars to help them in their efforts. These … Continue reading

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Prism of Russia: Cornelis de Bruyn and Robert G. Latham

Cornelis de Bruyn’s Russia Often, the images brought back by famous travelers like Cornelis de Bruyn and published in their travel accounts would be the only exposure the average person would have to vast expanses of the globe.  While not … Continue reading

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