Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

Bapst Library


Collection Overview

Collection Overview

The art and architecture collection, housed in the Bapst Library supports the study, teaching and research needs of faculty and students in Art, Art History, and Film and other disciplines, as well as the cultural needs of the university community in general.  The collection covers the areas of the history of art and architecture from prehistoric times to the present along with museum studies, and photography.  Many of these areas overlap with other academic departments, namely English, Philosophy, History, Romance Languages and Literatures, Classical Studies, Communications.

The collection includes both monographs and serials to support the study of fine arts on the advanced undergraduate level.  Special areas of emphasis within the collection are the art and architecture of the renaissance, America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Ireland, Islamic lands, ecclesiastical art and architecture, and photography.  The collection also contains the extensive libraries of the late Art History Professor, Marianne Martin, an expert in the area of futurism and the late Norma Jean Calderwood, former lecturer here in Asian Art and avid collector of Islamic Art. The collection also supports the curatorial work of the McMullen Museum of Art, which is located at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue (Brighton Campus), and is under the auspices of Art, Art History, and Film.

Access is provided to every major art and architecture index in their electronic format.  To further support the study of art history in this electronic age, images of works of art in digital format are also provided.  Boston College was an initial university participant in the AMICO Project and a charter subscriber to ARTstor.  Further access to images is achieved by the selection and organization of well-chosen web sites.  The next area of collection growth in electronic form will be in electronic journals.

Interdisciplinary Elements of Subject Area

The resources of the fine arts collection are relevant for other academic disciplines at Boston College. Works about classical art and architecture are also of interest to and support the research of the Classics Department; works about European art is of interest to and support the research of the Romance Language and Literatures and Germanic Studies Departments; works about art education are also of interest to and support the research of the School of Education; other works in the collection are also of interest to and support the research of the Theology, Philosophy, and Psychology Departments.  Many scholars share a research interest in the area of medieval art and architecture and Islamic art and architecture.  Some courses in Art, Art History, and Film are cross registered with the English, History, Communication, and Irish Studies Departments.

Formats and Types of Materials

The collection consists of monographs, reference works, serials, catalogues raisonnés, exhibition catalogues, and indexes. Each year, more materials become available in electronic format. Textbooks and "how to" books are generally not collected. In the area of architecture, the emphasis is the history of architecture and the works of individual architects as opposed to architectural techniques. The same holds true for photography, as very little is collected in the area of darkroom or photographic techniques. Historical treatments and general surveys in the area of decorative arts are included.


English is the primary language of the collection, followed by works in French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch.

Geographic Area Coverage

For the fine arts collection, Europe and the United States are the areas of primary interest. Asian and Islamic art are given additional emphasis.  African, Latin American, Oceanic, and other traditions are represented by major surveys. There is a particular emphasis on the arts and architecture of Ireland.

Time Periods

The collection is concerned with the time period covered by the rise of civilization in the ancient Mediterranean world to the current day.

Dates of Publication

Emphasis is on currently published materials.  Retrospective acquisition is carried out to support new course offerings and to fill in the holdings of major serials; it will involve reprints or microforms if and only if original materials are no longer available.