Author Archives: John J. Burns Library

About John J. Burns Library

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 250,000 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.

Where is Chestnut Hill, Anyway?

Boston, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, oh my! For those of you who just rolled your eyes at that exclamation, please feel free to stop reading here. For those out-of-towners who struggle with the ever-present debate of whether to have your family … Continue reading

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Coventry Patmore Collection

The Burns Library owns a significant collection of Coventry Patmore Papers. Patmore (July 23, 1823 – November 26, 1896), a prominent literary figure, was for a short period one of the most widely read poets in England, though as the … Continue reading

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First Edition? The Complicated Bibliographic Record of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

As a student assistant in the Burns Library Reading Room and a graduate student in the English department at Boston College, I occasionally have the privilege of combining my scholarly interest in Victorian literature with my practical responsibilities at the … Continue reading

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George V. Higgins: An Ear for Dialogue

George V. Higgins is one of Boston College’s most notable literary alumni.  Author of over thirty novels and non-fiction works, Higgins began his illustrious writing career as a BC undergraduate student.  Editor of the Stylus literary magazine, writer for The … Continue reading

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Joseph G. Doherty and the Dig at Ksâr ‘Akil

Imagine yourself deep in the heart of the Middle East.  The sun is sweltering, and you are moving from section to section at an archaeological site, watching other workers as they trowel and sift their way through sand and dirt.  … Continue reading

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It Will Take a Lifetime: A New Look at Francis W. Sweeney, S.J.

I became more aware of the work of Reverend Francis W. Sweeney, S.J. when I was preparing the exhibition, “It seems I am working for the Jesuits these days:” The Thomas Merton Collection at Boston College. Father Sweeney corresponded for more than … Continue reading

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Bloomsday: The First Edition of Ulysses

On July 11, 1920 Irish author James Joyce met Sylvia Beach, an American transplant to Paris who had opened a bookshop called Shakespeare and Company a little under a year before. Shakespeare and Company served as the central social, literary, … Continue reading

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