University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Anglo, Irish, and American Journalism Collections

The RBSC holds small but growing, Anglo, Irish, and American journalism collections, mostly of printed works. In addition to reportage, they include works by and about journalists and journalism. Important collections include the complete works of Ambrose Bierce, an American Civil War veteran whose sharp political reportage and editorials distinguished him during the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. The Red Smith Collection, which holds the printed works of the famous sportswriter as part of the Joyce Sports Research Collection, is another important collection.

Other noteworthy printed holdings include the John Bennett Shaw Collection on G. K. Chesterton. It includes early to mid-century British periodicals and magazines on politics and public affairs, as well as commentary on journalism by contemporaries. RBSC also holds works by the British journalist and politician William Cobbett (1763-1835), who also published in the United States. Cobbett created the monthly Porcupine’s Political Censor in the mid-1790s in Philadelphia, and later, the Political Register, a weekly newspaper in Britain, among many other political publications.

Part of the library’s Anglo-Irish collection is the Michael Foot Collection on Jonathan Swift. It includes a short run of The Examiner (1710-1714), a newspaper that Swift edited for a time, early editions of his political satire and commentary, and works by contemporary political writers. Another part of the library’s fine Irish Studies collection includes a short run of the Dublin paper, The Public Register, or Freeman’s Journal (1765-1769, 1770-1771), as well as works by and about journalists in Ireland.

The journalism collection also intersects with the libraries’ collections in English literature. RBSC holds works of fiction by Irish and Irish American, English, and American journalists. Ambrose Bierce is probably the best example of a journalist who also created literature. His dark, brutal stories about warfare, based in his Civil War battlefield experiences, created, in aggregate, some of the finest anti-war literature.

Finally, the RBSC holds a small and growing collection of manuscript materials on and about American journalism. Examples include the Deborah Green collection, which holds a 1965 manuscript report by a young civil rights worker in Mississippi on voter registration work in a rural county; correspondence by a Progressive Era American journalist, in which he discussed his work as a reporter for a number of city newspapers; an unpublished manuscript of an extended biography of the nineteenth century journalist, Charles Eliot Norton; and (forthcoming) a large collection of papers of the American political journalist and writer (and ND alum), William Pfaff (d. 2015). In addition to writing many books on US foreign affairs, Pfaff was a columnist for the International Herald-Tribune, and his works appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and Commonweal, the liberal Catholic magazine.