University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Class Instruction in Special Collections

The Department of Special Collections is happy to provide instruction to classes at the request of instructors or teaching assistants. This offers students an excellent opportunity to view and use original source materials discussed in class. A formal introduction to Special Collections can remove some of the students' anxieties about requesting and handling rare materials. Some undergraduate students have subsequently used rare and archival materials for class projects and honors theses.

Instructors may arrange to have curators make presentations to their classes, co-present materials, or reserve the Special Collections classroom and rare materials themselves with minimal involvement from Departmental staff. Such instruction sessions can be simple introductions to the resources available in Special Collections and how to find them or subject specific presentations on materials and their historical contexts.

The strengths of the collections are in Dante, English language literature, European history, and theology, but there are sufficient resources to accommodate class presentations in many areas. Presentations have been given on such disparate topics as Gothic art, the Victorian novel, printing and poetry in Renaissance Lyon, and contemporary book design and at all levels from freshman composition and college seminars to graduate classes.

Instructors should contact the Department, preferably several weeks in advance of the class visit, to discuss with the curator the course and the material available. Contact George Rugg for all inquiries related to the Joyce Sports Research Collection and American manuscripts or Dr. David T. Gura for inquiries concerning all other materials in Special Collections.

Groups not affiliated with Notre Dame are invited to contact us as well for specific presentations or general introductions to the collections.