University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Physical Exhibits in Special Collections

The Department of Special Collections regularly presents thematic exhibits of materials from its holdings in the Special Collections Exhibit Room, 102 Hesburgh Library, and on our Web site. Please follow the links in the menu at left for more information about our exhibits and exhibition schedule.

Currently on Display

Sacred Music at Notre Dame: the Voice of the Text

February 27 - July 31, 2015

Graphic for the exhibit.

This exhibition highlights the variety of medieval liturgical manuscripts and fragments housed in the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library which contain music. The manuscripts featured date from the eleventh through fifteenth century, and originate from various regions in France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Some examples represent specific uses such as Carthusian monks or Dominican nuns. Other manuscripts in this exhibit were recovered from book bindings, and serve as examples of older practices which may no longer exist in complete manuscripts.


Rare Books & Special Collections
102 Hesburgh Library,
at the west end of the 1st Floor Concourse

Open to the public:

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

The exhibit is curated by Dr. David T. Gura (RBSC Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts, Early Imprints & the History of the Book).


RBSC at The Snite

Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War, 1914

January 31 through March 22, 2015

Graphic for the exhibit.

This exhibition presents a dramatic portfolio of fourteen lithographs by the Russian avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962) from the Hesburgh Libraries Collection. Published in the fall of 1914, the lithographs represent one of the earliest and most profound artistic responses to the outbreak of the Great War. They tell an epic and "mystical" story about the eternal struggle between good and evil, destruction and redemption, in which national, traditional, religious, apocalyptic, and contemporary images are intertwined.


Scholz Family Works on Paper Gallery
Snite Museum of Art

Co-sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, Snite Museum of Art, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and organized by Russian and East European Studies Librarian Natasha Lyandres, the presentation is part of a series of lectures, courses, performances, exhibitions, and other events commemorating the First World War.

The Snite Museum of Art is open to the public (hours).

For information on other exhibits currently on display eslewhere in the University Libraries, please refer to the Libraries exhibits page.

Spotlight Exhibits

Recent Acquisitions: Quaestiones by Giles of Rome

Photograph of the display.

March 2015

The subject of this Spotlight Exhibit is a late medieval manuscript acquired in October 2015, Notre Dame Frag. I. 31. It is a set of five scholastic questions attributed to Giles of Rome (1243/7-1316), Master of Theology at Paris, Prior General of the Augustinian Hermits, and Bishop of Bourges. The manuscript is unique because it exists in the form in which it was circulated, two gatherings of seven folios total; it has never been bound with another collection of manuscripts.

At least two of the questions do not appear in any modern edition. The manuscript is displayed open to fols. 4v-5r, including one of the unpublished questions on charity. Stephen Dumont, Professor of Philosophy, began studying the contents of this manuscript almost as soon as it arrived. His work will help ascertain the authorship and provide more secure dating of the text.


G. K. Chesteron Collection

Photograph of the display.

Spring Semester 2015

This exhibit provides a sampling of the G. K. Chesterton collection here at Notre Dame. The bulk of the collection consists of approximately 1500 books and serials. Among the books are some rare first editions. The collection also includes manuscripts, letters, drawings, and photographs.

Much of the collection was acquired in 1965 from Notre Dame alumnus, John Bennett Shaw ('37). Over the years other items have been added to the original Shaw collection.



For information about previous spotlight exhibits, please refer to the History of Spotlight Exhibits page.

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2015

Early Modern Germany

Spring 2016

Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

Also in 2016: Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night. These celebrated plays and 15 others by Shakespeare would probably have been lost to us today without the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. We have been selected as a host site for the Folger Shakespeare Library's national tour of the First Folio in 2016, so you'll have an opportunity to see this famous book up close. (Dates to be announced.)

Suggest an Exhibit

Many of the exhibits presented by the Department of Special Collections are produced in collaboration with members of the Notre Dame teaching and research faculty and are scheduled to coincide with significant academic conferences at the University. If you have a suggestion for a future exhibit and/or would like to assist in producing one, please contact Special Collections at 631-0290 or by e-mail.