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
“Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic
January 16-August 11, 2017
This exhibition displays examples of American Catholicism expressed through (mostly) printed texts from 1783 through the early 1840s. They include the earliest Catholic bibles published by Mathew Carey, and editions of Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ used and produced in the United States; polemical pamphlets with sexual and political subtexts that flew back and forth across the Atlantic; no-holds-barred dueling sectarian newspapers; books and pamphlets created in reaction to mob violence against the Ursuline convent school near Boston; and official reports that mapped the Church’s growth and growing pains.
Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists' Eyes
December 2016 - January 2017
Both scientists and the general public were captivated by birds during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Seeking to enhance their study of such majestic creatures, naturalists sought birds out in their natural settings, describing them with precision and accuracy. Their work resulted in highly readable books filled with engaging descriptions of birds, but more significantly, they depicted what they saw in elaborate illustrations.
Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists' Eyes offers a view of three remarkable and important texts. Featured are a full-color engraving of a white-bill woodpecker from Mark Catesby's Natural History, a steel engraving of a buzzard from the Comte de Buffon's Histoire naturelle des oiseaux, and the pioneering woodblock engraving of a sparrowhawk from Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds.
The exhibit is curated by Julie Tanaka, Curator, Special Collections.
The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645
This exhibit is dedicated to an important recent acquisition: a journal of sermon notes compiled by the Puritan minister Nathaniel Rogers (1598-1655), before and after his emigration from England to Massachusetts. Rogers graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge and served as rector at Assington, Suffolk before leaving for the Bay Colony in 1636. From 1637/8 until his death he was pastor at First Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, serving as co-minister with the noted Puritan theologian John Norton. Rogers' biography appears in Cotton Mather’s providential history of 17th century New England.
The 400-page journal contains roughly 135 discrete sections of notes in Rogers' hand, most of which reveal the structure and apparatus of the Puritan plain-style sermon. Nineteen of these sections bear attributions to other ministers, and were presumably sermons audited by Rogers. The remainder were written by him. Contents are broadly chronological, with entries extending from ca. 1634 to ca. 1645.
The exhibit is curated by George Rugg.
For information about previous spotlight exhibits, please refer to the History of Spotlight Exhibits page.
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.