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.
Manuscripts may be consulted by all interested patrons. A portion of the manuscript collections may be accessed through their finding aids, which describe their contents. 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. To inquire about the full extent of manuscript holding in a particular collection, please contact the department.
Special Collections's individual manuscripts and manuscript collections are grouped into the following categories:
- MSE/EM: Early Modern European Manuscripts (ca. 1600-1800)
- MSE/MD: Modern European Manuscripts (ca. 1800 to present)
- 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