Boston College Fact Book 1996 - 1997


John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections


The University's special collections, including the University's Archives, are housed in the magnificently appointed Honorable John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance. These distinguished and varied collections speak eloquently of the University's commitment to the preservation and dissemination of human knowledge. The Burns Library is home to more than one hundred thousand volumes, some four million manuscripts, and important collections of architectural records, maps, art works, photographs, films, prints, artifacts, and ephemera. These materials are housed in the climate-controlled, secure environment of Burns either because of their rarity or because of their importance as part of a special collection. While treated with special care, these resources are available for use at Burns to all qualified students, faculty, and researchers. Indeed, their use is strongly encouraged, and visitors to Burns are always welcome, either simply to browse or to make use of the collections.

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; Jesuitana; fine print; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; Caribbeana; Balkan Studies and Congressional archives. It has also won acclaim for significant holdings on nursing, detective fiction, Thomas Merton, Japanese prints, Colonial and early Republic Protestantism, and banking.

Some of the significant collections at Burns include:

The Aylesford Press Collection

Banking Archives: Hibernia Savings Bank, Union Warren, The Provident Institution for Savings, the Yankee Bank for Finance and Savings, and the Savings Banks Association of Massachusetts

Samuel Beckett Collection

Hilaire Belloc Collection and Archives, 1870-1953

The Honorable Edward Boland Papers

Bookbuilders of Boston Archives, 1938-

British Catholic Authors

Bruce F. Browning Boston Theater Collection

Burns, Oates and Washbourne Collection, 1847-1954

The Wallace P. Carroll Papers

The Charitable Irish of Boston Collection

Gilbert Keith Chesterton Collection, 1874-1936

Citywide Coordinating Council Archives, 1975-1978

Josephine A. Dolan Collection

Theodore Dreiser Collection

The Reverend Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Papers

East European Collection (Bulgarian and Romanian)

Eire Society of Boston Archives

Fine Print Collection

Eric Gill Collection

Howard B. Gill Papers

Joseph A. Grace's Early Modern English Collection

Graham Greene Library and Archive

Seamus Heaney Collection

The Honorable Margaret Heckler Papers

Irish Collection

Jane Jacobs Collection

Elizabeth Jennings Collection

Jesuitana Collection, 1540-1773

David Jones Collection

Rita Kelleher Collection

Leeming Collection of Irish Literature

Reverend William J. Leonard, S.J. Liturgy and Life Collection, 1925-1975

Peter Levi Collection and Papers, 1931-

Robert and Patricia Lowery's Sean O'Casey Collection

Reverend Robert J. McEwen, S.J. Catholic Social Action as Embodied in the Modern Consumer Movement

McNiff Collection of the Stanbrook Abbey Press

Thomas Merton Collection

Meynell Family Collection

Morrisey Collection of Japanese Prints, 18th-19th centuries

New England Deaconess Hospital Nursing Collection, 1896-1989

Nursing Archives

The Honorable Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Papers

Mary L. Pekarski Nursing Archives

Pope John XXI Collection of Medical Ethics

Salem Divines Collection

Joseph Coolidge Shaw, S.J., 1821-1851, Collection

Francis Stewart Collection

Rex Stout Collection and Archives

Francis Sweeney, S.J. Collection

Francis Thompson Collection, 1859-1907

Typography and Design

University Archives

Sr. Madeleine Clemence Vaillot, O.P. Papers

Nicholas M. Williams Memorial Collection of Caribbeana

William Butler Yeats Collection

The John J. Burns Library is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Library is closed on all University holidays. Visitors are always welcome and are encouraged to view the permanent exhibition areas of the Library. Guided tours are also available upon request. Patrons using the collections must do so in the Burns Reading Room where specialized reference and copy services are provided. Burns sponsors an active exhibits and lecture series program.

Source: University Librarian
Date Posted: February 20, 1997
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