Blog in Review Fall 2012

The entrance to the Burns Library is located on the North side of the Bapst building - the side of the building that faces Commonwealth Avenue.

The entrance to the Burns Library is located on the North side of the Bapst building – the side of the building that faces Commonwealth Avenue.

The Fall 2012 semester at the Burns Library has been a busy time of research and study for many scholars, students and professors. The most popular collections in the Reading Room this semester have included the Jane Jacobs Papers, the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Congressional Papers, and large sections of Boston College’s University Archives.  An increased number of researchers seeking the  O’Neill Congressional Papers is largely due to the fact that this year would have been Speaker O’Neill’s 100th birthday.  You can read more about Speaker O’Neill’s papers here at Burns in two blog posts – the first is about O’Neill’s bipartisan friendships and the second discusses his role in helping Soviet Jews obtain visas to emigrate to the United States.

Illustration from the story "the Lassie and Her Godmother", Illustration by Kay Nielsen from East of the Sun and West of the Moon, published by Hodder & Stoughton in London, 1914.

Illustration from the story “the Lassie and Her Godmother”, Illustration by Kay Nielsen from East of the Sun and West of the Moon, published by Hodder & Stoughton in London, 1914, PT8802 .N813 1914 General.

The Burns Library’s blog mirrored researcher activity in the Reading Room by publishing posts on collections, exhibitions, events and updates on newly processed collections – including posts on the Bette Arnold Collection, the Stanbrook Abbey Press Collection, the Howard Belding Gill Papers and the Elizabeth Hayward Collection of Ursuline Academy Materials.   Our exploration of the Humanities Series Director’s Records continued with a post on Susan Sontag.  This semester’s blog posts also highlighted the digitization of the Connolly Book of Hours, the Burns Library exhibition Fine Specimens of the Bibliopegistic Art and events including Tim Barrett’s talk on 15th century European paper and Visiting Irish Scholar Peter Fallon’s poetry reading.  Other posts explored Boston College history, a summer makeover of the Thompson Room and a book of fairy tales beautifully illustrated by Kay Nielsen.

Hayward packed all of her letters and memories about the Ursuline Academy into this small, charming vellum-covered wooden trunk.

Hayward packed all of her letters and memories about the Ursuline Academy into this small, charming vellum-covered wooden trunk.

Each of these posts, like the collections here at the Burns Library, provides researchers with unique insights into the Burns Library’s collections.  Archival research in correspondence and other personal papers allows researchers to understand the breadth of personality from formal letters to publishers and personal hand-written letters to family and friends containing the quotidian details of the subject’s life. This semester’s posts represent just a small fraction of the Burns Library’s holdings.   Since 2009, the John J. Burns Library’s blog has been publishing weekly posts during the academic year so past posts are a good resource to use in starting your own research project or finding out a little bit more about our collections.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Burns Library at 617-552-4861 or burnsref@bc.edu.  Thanks for reading and we will return next semester!

  • Rachel Ernst, Burns Library Reading Room Student Assistant & Ph.D. student in the Department of English
  • Justine Sundaram, Senior Reference Librarian/Bibliographer, John J. Burns Library

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.
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