Category Archives: Rare books

New Acquisition: Ioannis Petraloysii Praenestini Missarum Liber Tertius

Among the most eye-catching books acquired recently by Burns Library is this collection of masses by  the prolific and influential Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Printed in 1570, in Rome, this is the first edition of the third collection … Continue reading

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The Young Ladies Instructor

What does it mean to be educated? How much knowledge, in what areas, are you required to have? The question changes drastically depending on time period, geographic location, gender and class. With such variable answers, books that are meant to … Continue reading

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A Rare Vellum Printing

A book may be interesting on the basis of its physical features, its intellectual content, or its history of ownership. Here we have the trifecta: a book of unusual, even beautiful, material construction, containing a text of scholarly interest, and … Continue reading

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Swift, Satire, and BC Students

Does Swift’s searing satire lose its keen edge as the story is re-represented over time, country and culture?  This was a question that arose last spring as students in Colleen Taylor’s English Literature class, Satire and Society, explored editions of … Continue reading

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Dreams of Art & Glory: Book Craft by the Roycrofters

One of the many advantages of working in a special collections library is the opportunity to browse in the stacks. I regularly browse while checking the climate control monitors throughout the building. During one such walk-through, a suede binding resembling … Continue reading

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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 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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Medicine in the Middle Ages: Rare Books in the Burns Library

While working in the library catalog, I set to searching one of my favorite topics, the Medieval period. Trying to narrow the search results, I added the term medicine to see what would come up. There were a number of … Continue reading

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Boston in the Early Republic

The John J. Burns Library’s Boston collection houses approximately 4,500 works about the city and its neighboring municipalities. While the majority of this collection encompasses material from the 19th and 20th centuries, as a result of the remarkable growth in … Continue reading

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A Roycroft Book, the Perfect Gift for a Jesuit Professor

The John J. Burns Library has many interesting and historic books that are also noteworthy for their bindings. One such book is the Essays of Elia, by Charles Lamb (1775-1834), an English writer and essayist. This particular edition of Lamb’s … Continue reading

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