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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

Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800

August 29-December 16, 2016

Graphic for the exhibit.

"Ingenious Exercises" presents a selection of books on sports and physical culture published in Western Europe in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Among the concerns of these volumes are the description and evaluation of the sports of classical antiquity; the benefits of different forms of physical activity for human health; and the integration of sports and exercise into children’s school curricula. There are also volumes that perpetuate long, rich bibliographic traditions, like the martial arts manual and the sporting or hunting book. Also present is Bardi’s treatise on Florentine calcio, the first book published on football.

The advent of the printed book stimulated the growth and rationalization of sports by disseminating rules and other standards, anticipating the highly regulated sports culture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

This exhibit is curated by George Rugg (Joyce Sports Collection).

Related Events

Guided Tours:

Every Wednesday at NOON in October and November

Guided tours will be offered regularly by the curator, George Rugg. 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.

Spotlight Exhibit

Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists' Eyes

Detail photograph of display.

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

Detail photograph of the display.

October-December 2016

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.

Upcoming Exhibits

Spring 2017

Catholic Americana

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.