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.

Joe Derrane and his Gaillard Accordion

The Irish Music Archives at John J. Burns Library is delighted to announce the acquisition and display of Joe Derrane’s D/C# Gaillard accordion, a gift to the Library from his children, Joseph P. Derrane, Jr. and Sheila A. Harvey. The … Continue reading

Posted in Archives & Manuscripts, Exhibits & Events, Irish Music Archives, Irish Studies, Recent Acquisitions, Staff Posts | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wifredo Lam and Graham Greene

Over my past three years working as Assistant Conservator at the Burns Library, one project has been a constant: jacketing the Graham Greene collection. On Monday, March 26th, 2018, I finally wrapped the final dust jacket in a sheet of … Continue reading

Posted in Archives & Manuscripts, Art at the Burns Library, British Catholic Authors, Conservation, Student Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Internal Context: A Look Into the Inclusion Files

One of the most rewarding aspects of rare book cataloging is seeing and decoding the various markers of history that make their way into the pages. Most of these markers are permanent – bookplates, sellers’ and binders’ tickets, annotations, and … Continue reading

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The United Fruit Company in the Williams Collection

In the constitution of this small, banana republic was a forgotten section that provided for the maintenance of a navy. –O. Henry, “The Admiral” (147) The unremarkable sentence above, which appeared in O. Henry’s 1904 collection Cabbages and Kings, constitutes … Continue reading

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The many business endeavors of Pamela Colman Smith

You’ve probably encountered the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith before, even if you didn’t realize.  Colman Smith drew the images for the most well-known tarot deck, and these popular images are still commonly reprinted and used on tarot decks today. … Continue reading

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Buried Treasure: A Fresh Look at a Well-loved Collection Unearths Some Rarely-used Gems

The Joseph J. Williams, SJ Ethnological Collection is known for its wealth of material about the Caribbean and Africa, including maps, wills, ship logs, and stories of the folk character Anansi. But even the most well-used archival collections can contain … Continue reading

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