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Archives and Archival Resources

Information about locating and conducting research in archives.

What's the difference between holdings in Special Collections and Archives

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and University Archives are units of the Hesburgh Libraries where collections of unique and rare materials at the University of Notre Dame are held.


Rare Books and Special Collections' holdings 

  • Books and periodicals dating from the 15th to 21st centuries.
  • Manuscripts from Europe, the U.S. Latin America, and Asia.
  • Maps, newspapers, numismatics, philatelic items, prints, posters, broadsides, and printed ephemera from around the world.

Archives' holdings include

  • Official records of the University of Notre Dame that document the administrative and academic responsibilities of the University and the experiences of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and benefactors.

  • Records, papers, photographs, printed material, and audio-visual material documenting the life of the Catholic Church and its people in the American context. The oldest documents held are in the Records of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas and are dated 1576 and 1633. There are also significant collections for the period from 1708 to 1783, with the bulk pertaining to the period from 1786 to 1803.

Rare Books and Special Collections

Location and Hours
  • 102 Hesburgh Library (near west entrance)
  • Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
    • No materials will be paged after 4:00 pm.
    • Materials being used will be collected beginning at 4:15 pm.
Contact Information
Finding Aids

A Finding Aid is a type of guide that provides information about items in a collection of records. It gives information such as the acquisition and processing of the materials, their provenance, the size of the collection and types of materials in it, the organization and arrangement of the materials, and an inventory of the series and folders of the collection.

Inventories and Catalogs
Library Catalog
  • ND Catalog – Select “Special Collections” from the “Search Scope” drop-down menu
Requesting Materials

Contact the curator (see below) for the type of material you want to see preferably 1-2 days in advance.

For manuscripts, please have the name of the collection and identifying number. This number generally begins with MS followed by another letter designating the geographical area, then a slash, then 2 or 3 letters generally representing the time period, followed by a number. For example: MSN/CW 1009 is Manuscript North American / Civil War 1009. “INQ” is used for the Inquisition collection.

For books, look the title up in the library catalog. Write down the entire call number (in bold below). The words “Vault,” “XSmall,” “Small,” “Medium,” “(MR) Medium,” “Large,” “XLarge,” and “Oversize” are very important to include. This identifies the location of the item in our storage facilities. For example:

  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. Vault (D 17 .Sch22L)
  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. Rare Books Medium (B 1873 .B535 1937)
  • Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library Special Coll. (MR) Medium (PS 3505 .R43 C66 1968) **The (MR) is very important to write down – it tells us the book is in a different location so we can go there directly and not keep you waiting.**
Whom to Contact to Use the Material
  • General Inquiries: Special Collections, 574-631-0290,
  • Ancient and Medieval Collections, Dave Gura, 574-631-6489,
  • North American Manuscripts: Rachel Bohlmann, 574-631-1575,
  • Rare Books and Early Modern European Collections, Julie Tanaka, 574-631-7845,
  • Russian and Modern European Collections, Natasha Lyandres, 574-631-3009,
  • Latin American Collections, Erika Hosselkus, 574-631-8676, 
  • Sports Collections, Currently no curator. Send inquiries to General Inquiries.


How Much Time to Allow to Get Access to the Materials
  • Most items can be accessed the same day they are requested. It is possible to walk in and request materials, but you may have to wait depending on their location and the time of day.
  • To save yourself time, please try to request materials at least 1 day in advance.

University Archives

Reading Room Location and Hours
  • 607 Hesburgh Library
  • Monday-Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Contact Information

Contact Archives ahead of time to use materials. Many collections are stored off-site and may take 1-2 days to retrieve.

Access to Records Information