' Rare Books & Special Collections // Hesburgh Libraries // University of Notre Dame

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Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Physical Exhibits in Special Collections

Rare Books and Special Collections regularly presents exhibits of materials from its holdings in our Exhibit Room (102 Hesburgh Library, at the west end of the 1st floor concourse) and on our Web site.

All exhibits are free and open to the public during our regular hours.

Currently on Display

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion

Graphic for the exhibit.

February 12- April 28, 2016

The Easter Rising of 1916 was one of the most important events in Irish history. Though the rebellion lasted only six days, it led to the formation of an independent Irish State.

When most of the leaders were executed, sympathy for the rebellion spread throughout the world. The poem by W. B. Yeats, Easter, 1916, written in the aftermath, describes how a military failure carried out by unlikely people became transformative.

The Hesburgh Libraries Rare Books and Special Collections includes a rare copy of this poem, in addition to documents and books by and about the leaders of the Rising. The exhibit features items from our Easter Rising Ephemera collection, from our Irish Manuscript collection, and from our book and newspaper collections. In addition, material from the Notre Dame Archives helps us to see the international aspect of the Easter Rising.

This exhibit is curated by Aedín Clements (Irish Studies Librarian).

Related Events

Guided Tours:

Every Wednesday at NOON

Every other Thursday at 5 pm (February 25, March 10 and 24, April 7 and 21)

Special Tours Dates for Irish Studies Events:
Thursday, February 18, at NOON, and Thursday, March 3, at 2 pm

Guided tours will be offered regularly by the Hesburgh Librarian Irish Studies Librarian, Aedín Clements. Tours will meet by the entrance to the Rare Books and Special Collections Department (102 Hesburgh Library, first floor). Reservations are not necessary. If you are planning to bring a group or would like to schedule a special tour, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.


2016 National Meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS)
March 30-April 3, 2016

"The Worlding of Irish Studies" provides a theme for the 2016 American Conference for Irish Studies' annual gathering. With Irish Studies increasingly seen through multinational eyes, this meeting will address the current placement of Ireland and Irish Studies.

Is Ireland transnational? With seventy million people of Irish extraction all over the world, the diaspora was more wildly successful—and more demographically complex—than scholars have yet imagined. This reexamination will weigh whether Ireland might be most productively understood as a post-colonial nation or a fully integrated European country. [More... ]

Spotlight Exhibit

Ryosuke Cohen's Brain Cell 261: Mail Art from the Vagrich and Irene Bakhchanyan Collections

Detail photograph of the items on display.

April 2016

This spotlight exhibit showcases a piece of mail art sent by Ryosuke Cohen to the Soviet émigré artist and poet Vagrich Bakhchanyan (1938-2009). It is drawn from the substantial collection of mail art in the Vagrich and Irene Bakhchanyan Collections, acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2013.

The exhibit is curated by Chris Holdaway, Department of English graduate student.



Native American Literature before 1924

Portrait under glass of Dante Alighieri in red robe.

Spring 2016

"We are red men still, even though we have plucked the feathers from our war bonnets and are using them for pens. The battle scene has shifted and the contest becomes one of brain and wit."

—Arthur C. Parker (Seneca)

Native American writers such as Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene), Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), and Notre Dame alumna Kimberly Blaeser (Anishinaabe) are widely recognized as prominent authors and recipients of national book awards. Their work represents a small fraction of the published work—fiction, poetry, and nonfiction prose—which for two centuries has challenged stereotypes of Native people, corrected historical and anthropological narratives of cultural conflict and change, and perhaps most importantly, promoted specific identities, political sovereignties, and rights of self-determination.

To honor this legacy, this exhibit presents a small sampling of the literature produced before 1924, when passage of the Indian Citizenship Act granted citizenship to all Native Americans.

The exhibit is curated by Robert Walls, Teaching Professor of Native American Studies and Laura Dassow Walls, Professor, English Department.


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

Upcoming Exhibits

Summer 2016

An exhibit of papal documents, in conjuction with The Promise of the Vatican Library Notre Dame conference and Snite exhibit.

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.