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.

Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Would you rather be knowledgeable on a variety of topics, or an expert on just one topic? Today’s emphasis on academic specialization supports the latter—we rarely encounter someone with multiple PhDs in unrelated fields. Rarely do we go beyond the … Continue reading

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Irish Women Rising: Mollie Gill (1891–1977)

Mollie (or Máire, in Irish) Gill is the first woman featured in our Irish Women Rising blog series who did not come from the well-to-do, Anglo-Irish class. Hailing from an Irish family, Mollie Gill’s life is representative  of thousands of young … Continue reading

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Traditional Music, Old and New: The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music

Irish traditional music followers worldwide can now access hundreds of music tracks in The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, a digital collection produced and published by the Boston College Libraries. This collection of tunes and songs was compiled over fifteen … Continue reading

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Hidden Gems

While working as a student assistant in the conservation lab of the John J. Burns Library was never something I knew I wanted to do, it has become such an informative part of my career at Boston College. Many who … Continue reading

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Irish Women Rising: Constance Markievicz (1868-1927)

“The history of her family – typical of a hundred and one Anglo-Irish families – pointed the way to only three kinds of life: either she became an ornament , at best graceful, of the little social round that divided … Continue reading

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Irish Women Rising: Maud Gonne (1866 – 1953)

In a letter to her suitor, William Butler Yeats, who complained that he was unhappy without her, Maud Gonne wrote “Oh yes, you are, because you make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness and you are happy … Continue reading

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The Red Scare and the Liturgy and Life Pamphlet Collection

The odds are high that, at some point, you have noticed the pamphlets that tend to be offered in the vestibules of churches and other houses of worship. Often cheaply designed and produced, usually free to take or sold for … Continue reading

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