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

Robert Creeley's Library:
The Poet's Books as Art Museum and Network of Communications

February 3 to July 25, 2014

Graphic for the Cleeley exhibit.

Robert Creeley (1926-2005) was one of the most influential and beloved American poets of the twentieth century. Grouped initially as one of the Black Mountain poets (with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, and Edward Dorn), Creeley brought forward after World War II the legacy of the American modernists, especially William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. His spare, vernacular poetry is known for its concision, its rhythmic subtlety (often drawing on the syncopations of jazz), and its linguistic playfulness.

With support from John J. and Terrie Bollman, the Howard and Evangeline Phalin Collection in English and American Literature, and the President's Circle, the Hesburgh Library acquired in 2011 nearly all of the books from Robert Creeley's personal library. This includes his copies of his own books (often in limited or special editions), the beautiful artist books in which he collaborated (many of museum quality), and thousands of books by other writers with whom he associated. As an archive, these books contain many treasures, for Creeley used them as folders to house related materials: letters, photographs, reviews, brochures, notices of poetry readings, and the miscellaneous evidence of travel (plane tickets, hotel receipts, etc.).

This exhibition of select materials from Robert Creeley's library demonstrates the vital and remarkably extensive range of his network of communications and ultimately makes evident his centrality to the literary and visual arts of his time.


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

This exhibit is curated by Stephen Fredman (Department of English).

The Robert Creeley Symposium was held Friday, February 7, 2014, in Rare Books and Special Collections and was open to the public. It brought together the poet's wife, Penelope Creeley; the publisher of Granary Books, Steve Clay, who assembled the collection; Kaplan Harris, Associate Professor of English, St. Bonaventure University; and a roundtable of Notre Dame graduate students who have cataloged the collection. The symposium celebrated this exhibition and also the publication of The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley, edited by Rod Smith, Peter Baker, and Kaplan Harris (University of California Press, 2014). {download a PDF of the flyer advertising the symposium}

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

Spotlight Exhibit

A Twelfth-Century Bible Fragment & Modern-Day Forgery

Illustration of the Pyramids at Giza, from David Roberts' Egypt and the Holy Land.

July 2014

The Spotlight Exhibit of July features a leaf from a twelfth-century Italian Giant Bible. These large format Bibles were produced in Italy from the mid-eleventh through twelfth century. This particular page also contains a modern forgery painted in the left margin to drive up the price for an unsuspecting collector.

For more information about similar holdings in RBSC, please see our Medieval Manuscripts page.


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

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2014

American manuscript diaries & journals

Fall 2015

Early Modern Germany

Spring 2016

Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

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.