Since Burns Library is a new(ish) member of the Consortium, we thought we would help researchers understand our unique holdings and collecting areas by providing a few exemplars. How better to surface collections highlights than to ask the staff to show you something they love? Below is a sampling of items as varied as the staff, why staff chose them, and search strategies to help you find out more about these items or similar items. As always, for more information or assistance.
I chose the souvenir of a daring adventure that connects to the histories of both Ireland and Boston. Among the papers of John Boyle O’Reilly at the Burns Library is the tooth of a sperm whale. An Irish nationalist, O’Reilly (1844-1890) was arrested and imprisoned by the British, then transported to Australia’s Fremantle Prison, from which he escaped with the assistance of a local Catholic priest in 1869. The Gazelle was the New Bedford whaling vessel that rescued O’Reilly off the coast of Australia. After his escape, he came to the United States and settled in Boston, where he became the editor of the and a well-known author, sportsman, poet, and lecturer.
§ Find more about this collection through an by changing “Anywhere in record” to “Title,” and entering “John Boyle O’Reilly papers
I chose this special edition of because I love dipping into the mythological tales that seem to spring from the mists of the distant past. The tale, which scholars date to the 8th or 9th century, is translated here by the poet Thomas Kinsella and features King Conor, his hero Cuchulainn (the Hound of Ulster), and the invasion of Ulster by Queen Medb of Connaught to capture the brown bull of Cualaigne. I love that the artist, Louis le Brocquy, impressed upon my mind the characters and scenes of fantastic feats, bloody battles, spells, curses, and mythical creatures in unforgettable, stark, black and white brush drawings. Lastly, I love that publisher, Liam Miller of Dolmen Press, fused all of these elements to produce a remarkable book!
§ Find more illustrations similar to an by entering Louis Le Brocquy” in the “Anywhere in record,” then changing the search scope (upper right) from “All BC Libraries” to “Burns Library.”
§ Find more Dolmen Press books at the Burns Library through an by changing “Anywhere in record” to “Local Collection Name,” and entering “dolmen press” as your search term.
Among thousands of letters exchanged by Graham Greene with many interesting and notable people, these 11 letters (box 12, folder 48) between Ray Bradbury and Greene have always thrilled me. Most of these letters are by Bradbury, who begins the correspondence in 1979 exuberantly thanking Greene “for being my companion in writing, my helper, and my introducer to Carol [Reed]” and begs for Greene to write “another novel, please! or, God, more stories!” Their exchange continues pleasantly over years, with each seemingly interested in the other’s writing and whereabouts, but never connecting for a face-to-face visit despite their overlapping worlds of fiction and film. Bradbury’s lively letters are on his unusual stationary and include his large, legible signature; in contrast, Greene’s letters are faint carbon copies that lack personality and make him seem less present. I love the physicality and dichotomy of these letters — each typewritten and corrected, with ink or tape; one set so “real,” and the other a mechanical shadow.
§ Find other Graham Greene correspondents by reading the finding aid
I have loved the 13 unique, screen-printed and wire puppets from this artist’s book since I first discovered them. Not many people realize the strength of the Caribbean related material at Burns, and this piece adds a new dimension to them. Roy Risher’s poetry is based upon another title in the collection: Walter Jekyll’s , 1907. I find it fascinating that this story of a trickster spider moved from West Africa to the Caribbean, then to a Caribbean neighborhood of London, where this fine press just happens to be located.
§ Find more fine print books at the Burns Library through an by changing “Anywhere in record” to “Local Collection Name,” and entering “fine print” as your search term.
§ Find more Caribbean related material through an by changing “Anywhere in record” to “Local Collection Name,” and entering “Williams” as your search term.
I chose a St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing “cupcake” style nursing cap, complete with hatbox. In processing the St. Elizabeth’s records (), I saw much of substance, as well as of charm. The records include a complete run of yearbooks and graduation programs, many course descriptions, faculty committee minutes, and photographs of student life, but, for me, there was something about this little, pleated and starched cap that really evoked the care that the students took in their attire and in their training. The careful preservation of this one cap, with the color of its velvet ribbon showing that its owner had achieved graduate status, made the pride the students felt on completing their rigorous training tangible for me.
§ Find more about the St. E’s School of Nursing through the finding aid
§ Find other Burns Library nursing collections through an by changing “Anywhere in record” to “Local Collection Name,” and entering “nursing” as your search term.