University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Books and Periodicals

The Rare Books component of Special Collections houses more than 175,000 volumes of printed books and periodicals, dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries. These include all Hesburgh Library volumes printed prior to 1830, and tens of thousands of later publications with some claim to rarity. Subject areas of particular strength include Catholic theology and church history, Dante and Italian literature, Irish studies, Latin American studies, and sports and physical culture.

Books and periodicals may be searched in the Hesburgh Libraries catalog. Catalog records with the location designation “Hesburgh Library Special Coll” or “Special Collections” are held in the department, and may be requested for use in our reading room. Because the Rare Book collections are shelved by size, patrons requesting a volume should provide both the call number and the collection/size designation preceding it: for example, “Rare Books Medium PS 2384 .O6 1847.” The inclusion of author, title, and volume numbers, when applicable, facilitates retrieval.

Patrons who wish to limit their search to items in Special Collections should choose the Advanced Search option in the catalog, selecting “Special Collections” in the Search Scope drop-down menu.

For an overview of the Rare Books collections’ topical strengths, please see the Collections pages on the Department’s website.