Category Archives: Rare books

Can you spot the difference? Facsimiles in the Burns Library

The Book of Kells is one of the best known medieval manuscripts in the world, due in part to its distinctive insular style and its status as an emblem of Irish national history and identity. Created around 800 AD, the … Continue reading

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The Many Editions of Gulliver’s Travels

One of the things that the Burns Library is known for is our extensive Irish collection and Anglo-Irish author, Jonathan Swift is no exception. Though known widely for his satirical essay, “A Modest Proposal,” undoubtedly his most famous work is … Continue reading

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Rare Score is Music to Our Ears

While Burns Library usually  acquires its rare books and special collections by purchase or donation, the rare and unusual will sometimes turn up at another library within Boston College. This 1805 edition of Masses, vespers, litanies, hymns, psalms, anthems & … Continue reading

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Bloch Publishing Company

The Williams Ethnological Collection is one of our more diverse collections of published materials, assembled by the Jesuit missionary and ethnologist Joseph J. Williams, SJ and largely focused on Africa & the Caribbean. Many of the volumes are White European … Continue reading

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Comic Book Collection Enters Alternate Universe

This past year, staff at Burns Library took the opportunity to recatalog and rehouse one of our most popular collections – The Edward J. Kane Collection of Comics. First received in 2008 from retired Boston College professor Edward J. Kane, … Continue reading

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Learning Mildred: Provenance and Inclusion Materials

One of the more interesting aspects of my job as a cataloger is that I manage and maintain the inclusion files for Burns Library. The inclusion files are just what they sound like: four filing cabinets, stuffed to the brim … Continue reading

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Reconsidering Witchcraft This Halloween

The leaves are changing, the air finally has that crisp New England bite, and Halloween is finally upon us here at Boston College. Even just being in Burns Library makes me feel like I am at Hogwarts with our Gothic … Continue reading

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Puzzling Out Ownership

Most of the books at Burns Library have passed through the hands of many owners before arriving on our shelves. Discerning a book’s sequence of owners, or provenance, is fascinating, and the inevitable comparisons to puzzles and mystery solving are … Continue reading

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The Personalized Library: Links Between People and Books

It’s a near universal rule that you should never write in any library book. However, you can nevertheless find notes in many of our books, remnants of their pasts before being acquired by Burns Library. These marks provide hints about … Continue reading

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DC One Million

In 1998, as many long running DC Comics such as Action Comics and Detective Comics were approaching their 750th issues, the writers at DC speculated what the universe would look like when issue one million was published. This gave birth … Continue reading

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