University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Previous Exhibits: 2000-2005

1974-2000 | 2000-2005 | 2005-2010 | 2010-2015

Fighting Words: Boxing Literature in England and America, 1720-1960

September 1, 2004 — January 28, 2005

This exhibit presented a selection of British and American books, periodicals, and other printed matter dedicated to the sport of boxing. With one or two exceptions, all items were published between 1720 and 1960.

Among athletic sports, boxing is notable for its long and colorful literary history. The earliest boxing books were printed before 1750, but publications appeared only sporadically until c1790, and the onset of the "golden age" of the English prize ring. The following forty years witnessed the growth of a remarkable body of literature dedicated to the ring and its culture, epitomized by the 5-volume Boxiana of Pierce Egan. The very practice of sports journalism emerged within this cultural context, and several now-familiar genres – the sports magazine, the sports record book, the ghostwritten autobiography of the celebrity-athlete – likewise made their appearance.

American publishers made few original contributions to the boxing literature until late in the 19th century, when Richard Kyle Fox chose prizefighting as a topical focus of his sensational illustrated weekly, The National Police Gazette. American coverage of the sport deepened and diversified after World War I; most notable was the appearance in 1922 of Nat Fleischer's monthly The Ring, which soon became the most influential publication in the sport's history.

All items displayed in the exhibit were selected from the extensive collection of boxing-related materials held in the University Libraries' Department of Special Collections.

George Rugg, Curator in Special Collections, was curator for this exhibit.

G is for Gorey: A Ghastly Exhibit

June 1 — August 15, 2004

This exhibit displayed books by and items relating to Edward Gorey (1925-2000). In addition to cases containing samples of books written, illustrated, and designed by Gorey, there were cases focusing on his love of the ballet, his involvement in the 1978 production of Dracula, and the commercialization of Gorey's distinctive style.

This exhibit was a small representation of the Edward Gorey Collection, more than 400 items held in the University Libraries' Department of Special Collections. The core of the collection was donated to the Libraries by Gorey collectors Suzy Conway and her brother Robert Conway ('66, '05 LL.D). Additional items were purchased through their generosity.

Cheryl Smith, Education and Psychology Reference Librarian, was curator for this exhibit.

Rescued from Time: The Recovery of the Medieval in Britain and Ireland, 1600‑1840

February 1 — May 15, 2004

The books in this exhibit shared the common theme of recording and preserving the past in Great Britain and Ireland. They were published in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries.

While various types of books were included in this exhibit, the majority were antiquarian works that dealt with the material culture of what we now consider the Middle Ages. Arranged chronologically, they revealed the development of the field of archaeology from an amateur pursuit by gentlemen to a profession with stringent rules for accuracy.

Laura Fuderer, Subject Librarian for English and French Literatures, was curator for this exhibit.

Graphic image for "Power and Polics" exhibit, with portrait of Rosas

Power and Politics in the 19th-century River Plate

September 11, 2002 — February 28, 2003

This exhibit used manuscripts, rare books, and official publications from the Southern Cone History Collection at the University of Notre Dame to document the political history of the River Plate region (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), particularly Argentina, between 1810 and 1852.

The documents were arranged into the following themes: "Precursors to Independence," "Early Independence," "Rise of the caudillos," "Juan Facundo Quiroga," "Rule of Rosas," "Critics of Rosas" and "Gaucho: Horseman of the Pampas."

Following independence in 1810, efforts to create a national government failed. Instead, provinces became autonomous political states led by caudillos, political leaders. Paraguay and Uruguay broke away to form separate nations. Civil wars raged in the remaining provinces between those that championed a federalist nation-state those that wanted a strong centralized government based in Buenos Aires.

In 1829, the newly elected governor of the Buenos Aires province, Juan Manuel Rosas, created an alliance among the federalists that defeated the centralists. Through the use of propaganda and violence, Rosas would rule over Argentina until toppled from power in 1852.

Scott Van Jacob, Iberian and Latin American Studies Subject Librarian, curated the exhibit.

For additional information about this exhibit and the political history of the River Plate region between 1810 and 1852, visit the exhibit's Web site.

The Dawn of Celtic Studies: Investigations until 1800

May 7, 2002 — August 28, 2002

This exhibit was curated by Marina Smyth with assistance from Linda Major, both of the Medieval Institue Library, in conjunction with Prof. Aideen O'Leary of the Keough Institute for Irish Studies, which hosted the Celtic Studies Association of North America Annual Conference in May 2002.

Laura Fuderer organized the case within the display on the theme of “Antiquarianism and Nationalism, which was geared to the interests of participants in the Samuel Johnson Society annual meeting, which was also held on campus in May 2002.

"Our future we know nothing about..."
Civil War Manuscripts at the University of Notre Dame

February 1, 2002 — April 23, 2002

This exhibit provided an overview of the Civil War manuscript material held in the Department of Special Collections and in the University Archives.

Selections came from seven wartime letter collections, whose authors range from a New Hampshire private to Major General William T. Sherman. Also included were three soldiers' diaries and a group of manuscripts relating to the trial of Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville.

For additional information about American Civil War Era manuscript material held by the Department of Special Collections, please visit the collection description and digital project at our Web site.

The William T. Sherman Family papers are held by the University Archives — more information about these documents is available from the University Archives Web site.

Medieval Manuscripts at Notre Dame

August 27, 2001 — December 18, 2001

This exhibition featured eighteen of the finest pre-1600 bound manuscripts held by Notre Dame, from the very first given to the University in the 1870s to an early 15th-century Middle English devotional manuscript acquired in 2000.

The exhibit was presented in conjunction with a conference, Medieval Manuscripts at Notre Dame, which was held on campus September 13-15, 2001.

"Rise Up O Lord and Judge Thine Own Cause"
Writings and Images from the Inquisition

March 19, 2001 — August 17, 2001

Banned books and burnings leap to mind at the mention of the Spanish Inquisition. These and other inquisitorial activities were examined in this exhibition which drew on an extensive collection of original printed and manuscript documents from the Inquisition purchased through the generosity of Harley L. McDevitt in 1996.

Included in the exhibit were papal and royal decrees, manuals of instruction used by inquisitors and certificates authorizing their corps of lay assistants (the familiares). Also featured were indices of prohibited books and examples of texts that were expurgated as well as records of inquisitorial trials and contemporary images of autos-da-fé.

Polemical works published by Protestants document the rise of the "Black Legend" and popular perceptions of the Inquisition in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Through the documentary evidence presented, a complex picture emerges of the societal impact of inquisitorial activities in Spanish lands and Portugal as converso Jews, Protestants, witches and inhabitants of the New World all encountered persecution.

For additional information about the Harley L. McDevitt Collection on the Spanish Inquisition and descriptions and images from selected items, please visit the Inquisition Collections Digital Project.

Eric Gill poster with portrait of Gill over dog running with torch in mouth and text, "the appeal of an integrated life".

The Hound, the Cock & the Monk: St Dominic's Press, Golden Cockerel Press & the Career of Eric Gill

November 1, 2000 — March 9, 2001

This exhibit featured selections from the University's extensive collection relating to the life and work of 20th-century British stone carver, wood engraver, typographer and book designer Eric Gill and his association with the St. Dominic's Press and Golden Cockerel Press. Additional items on loan from the University of San Francisco highlighted Gill's contributions to these rather different private presses.

Complementing the Special Collections exhibit, the Snite Museum of Art hosted an exhibition of original sculptural works by Gill on loan from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin, complemented by graphical works from Notre Dame's Gill Collection. The Snite Museum exhibit was open November 12, 2000, through February 4, 2001.

In conjunction with the above exhibitions, an international conference "Eric Gill: The Appeal of an Integrated Life" was held at Notre Dame on November 17-19, 2000.

For more information about the exhibitions and conference please visit the conference's Web site.

Graphic image for "Before the Boom" exhibit.

Before the Boom: The Emergence of the Argentine Literary Vanguard
Selections from the O'Grady Southern Cone Collection

July — October 2000

This exhibit explored the individual careers and some of the collaborative ventures undertaken by Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Cesares, Oliverio Girondo and Silvina Ocampo.

It ascribed their emergence in the early 1920s to both the creative impetus they gained from European contacts and to the inspiration and guidance of native writers like Ricardo Güiraldes, who sought to revitalize contemporary Argentine literature by championing the mythical revival of national folk heroes.

It then followed their struggles and rejection over the next two decades, to the first glimmers of critical and popular acceptance in the 1940s, and to national honors from the late 1950s.

For more information about the O'Grady Southern Cone Collection, please visit our the collection description at our Web site.

Plato's Timaeus as Cultural Icon

January — June 2000

1974-2000 | 2000-2005 | 2005-2010 | 2010-2015