St. Bonaventure University

Rare Books and Manuscripts

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The Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute

The Holy Name Library at Saint Bonaventure University houses the largest old collection of rare books and manuscripts in New York State outside of the New York City area, and is one of the largest repositories of such texts regionally. The collection consists of full manuscripts from the late European middle ages, incunabula and other printed books from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The library contains seven distinct collections, all of which were gathered under the auspices of Franciscan schools and provinces.

Starting with the foundational collection of Saint Bonaventure University gathered in the late 1800’s, there was added the Franciscan Institute rare book collection in the 1940’s, and in the mid-1970’s the collection of Holy Name College (Washington D.C.) was added. From the 1980’s on, rare book collections were included from Duns Scotus College (Detroit, Michigan) and from the Provincialate (Cincinnati, Ohio) of the Province of Saint John the Baptist (OFM), along with the collections from the College of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (OFM) (Burlington, Wisconsin) and from St. Anthony-on-Hudson of the Province of the Immaculate Conception (OFMConv) (Rensselaer, New York). Although the holdings of the Library are diverse, when coupled with the Franciscan Institute circulating library, the core collection of rare books and manuscripts dealing with Saint Francis, Franciscan history and Franciscan thought make it the best such research collection in the Americas. The Library can be seen as an embodiment of the Franciscan educational endeavor over the centuries equaled in this sense by only a few European collections.

 

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