The Department of Special Collections is the Hesburgh Libraries' repository for manuscript materials. Manuscripts are typically handwritten or typewritten texts, grouped into collections showing unity of provenance (i. e., some common point of origin). Collections vary greatly in size, from one item to many thousands. Some manuscript collections include printed matter, photographs, realia, and other non-manuscript items. The Department's manuscript holdings range from medieval codices (handwritten books) to collections dating from the late twentieth century.
The Department's manuscript collections may be consulted by all interested patrons. Manuscript collections are typically accessed through finding aids, which describe their contents in greater or lesser detail. Each finding aid will provide a collection's title and a unique identifying number, which patrons should use when inquiring about materials. For example, the Abel Blanchard Family Correspondence has the identifying number MSN/EA 5031.
The Department's individual manuscripts and manuscript collections are grouped into the following categories, for ease of access. Patrons should follow the links below to learn of the collections within these areas, and available finding aids. Also accessible is a composite list of finding aids, cutting across the categories below.
- MSE/EM: Early Modern European Manuscripts (ca. 1600-1800)
- MSE/MD: Modern European Manuscripts (ca. 1800 to date)
- MSE/REE: Russian and East European Manuscripts
- MSE/IR: Irish Manuscripts
- MSN/COL: Manuscripts of Colonial and Revolutionary America (to ca. 1788)
- MSN/EA: Manuscripts of Early National and Antebellum America (ca. 1788-1860)
- MSN/CW: Manuscripts of the American Civil War (ca. 1861-1865)
- MSN/MN: Manuscripts of Modern America (ca. 1866 to date)
- MSSP: The Joyce Sports Research Collection: Manuscripts
Latin American Manuscripts
- MSH/LAT: Latin American Manuscripts
- MSH/SCH: Southern Cone History
- MSH/SCL: Southern Cone Literature