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Burns Library Virtual Exhibits

Web-based exhibits to highlight the holdings of Archives and Special Collections.


Exploring Boston Irish Connections:
Highlights from Manuscript Collections at the John J. Burns Library

(March 2011) This exhibit features select manuscript collections documenting Irish and Irish-Americans in greater Boston during the 19th and 20th centuries. Primary sources in these collections offer insights into careers of such individuals as P.S. Gilmore, “Father of the American Concert Band”; Congressman Tip O’Neill; George D. Cahill, a late 19th century Irish nationalist; Charles Maginnis, designer of early buildings on the Boston College Chestnut Hill campus; and journalist and poet Katherine E. Conway, who in 1883 became the first woman editor of the Boston Pilot. Other highlighted items include trans-Atlantic correspondence of the Prendergast family during the 19th century Irish famine and the sermons (1835-1840) of Irish emigrant Fr. Michael Healy.

A black and white photo of a stage

Somewhere a Voice is Calling
American Irish Musical Interpreters, 1850 - 1975

(Fall 2007) Many types of Irish-influenced music, song, and dance are flourishing in the United States today, from the ancient wire-strung Irish harp tradition to old-time Appalachian fiddling, from ballad singing to Riverdance. These and other examples show the contributions of Irish-born musicians to American culture to be plentiful, heterogeneous, and enduring.

Boston College Mascot/Logo

The Boston College Eagle:
Origins and Development of the University Mascot

(Summer 2005) Though adopted less than a century ago, the eagle was quickly integrated into the University's institutional identity, and has become the paramount public symbol representing Boston College to the outside world. This online exhibit looks at the efforts to establish the eagle as the Boston College mascot. It includes different artistic interpretations, as well as the eagle's continuing role and use in University life.

Father Francis Sweeney

Guests and Friends:
Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, S.J. and His Contributions to Cultural Life at Boston College

(Fall 2004) Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, SJ was a popular faculty member in the English Department and the founder of the Humanities Series (now the Lowell Humanities Series), the well-respected lecture series that continues to this day. This exhibit considers both Sweeney's role as the founder of the Humanities Series and the importance of the lecture series to Boston College.

Free State Art

Free State Art:
Judging Ireland by its Book Covers
(Summer 2004)
The Irish Free State government established An Gúm, the publications branch of the Department of Education (later Oifig an tSoláthair/the State Publishing Agency) in 1925-1926 to supply textbooks and fiction in Irish for the educational and recreation needs of the newly independent Ireland. This exhibit consists of An Gúm covers from the Irish Collection of the Burns Library and from private collections in the Boston area.

Tip O'Neill

Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. and Boston College (Spring 2002; updated, Fall 2004)
Despite Tip O'Neill's many contributions both to Boston College and the nation as a whole, his achievements are in danger of fading from popular memory. Years after his graduation from Boston College, O'Neill remained fond of his alma mater and his alma mater celebrated his achievements. This exhibit hopes to inform and remind people of O'Neill's legacy as a Boston College student and alumnus.

Teams of Destiny

Teams of Destiny:
The First Fifty Years of Boston College Football
(Fall 2001)
This exhibit celebrates four of the greatest squads or "teams of destiny" that played in the first fifty years of the sports program. Profiled are the 1899 team (the strongest team of the nineteenth century), the 1920 and 1928 Eastern Championship teams, and the Sugar Bowl Team of 1940.