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.

American Civil War Histories

In today’s culture we may be far more preoccupied with Marvel’s Civil War than with our own history. It is easy to forget how relatively recently our country underwent the traumatic internal strife which set brother against brother in a … Continue reading

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Boston Aid Societies Collection

In August 2014, the Burns Library  purchased a large collection of almost one hundred pamphlets, flyers and annual reports from many charitable organizations which served the Boston area in the 1800s and early 1900s. This extensive collection provides a window into Boston life … Continue reading

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Bloomsday at the Burns Library

“In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!” Finnegans Wake, I.5.104 In celebration of Bloomsday, the Burns Library is … Continue reading

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Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is, perhaps, one of the most tantalizing unfinished works of nineteenth-century literature. Then novel began appearing in parts in April 1870, but when Dickens died on June 9, 1870, he had only finished the first … Continue reading

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Lexica Jesuitica: Catechisms and Prayer in a New World

The Jesuits call themselves men on the move, a religious society committed to reaching far places and pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Over the centuries, the society has embraced many collectors of words, missionaries and scholars dedicated to putting previously … Continue reading

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Cherish the Memory: Conservation at the Burns Library

In the final semester of my Boston College career, I have had the good fortune of serving as a Conservation Assistant under Barbara Adams Hebard in the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections conservation lab. As … Continue reading

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Breaking Barriers: The Medical Texts of Nicholas Culpeper

Nicholas Culpeper’s Anatomy of the Body of Man, published in 1653, not only contributed to a great leap forward in medical knowledge but was also positioned at the nexus of religious, political, and scientific upheaval in England. Both Culpeper and … Continue reading

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