Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

English Literature


Burns Library, Rare Books, & Archives

Special Collections

Located in the original Bapst Library building on Boston College's Chestnut Hill campus, the University’s special collections, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the John J. Burns Library.


Burns Library offers students, scholars, and the general public opportunities to engage with rare books, special collections, and archives.

Major Collection Areas

Irish studies; British Catholic authors; Jesuitica; Fine printing; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; the Caribbean, especially Jamaica; Nursing; and Congressional archives.

These materials are available for use in the Burns Library Reading Room.

Finding Archival Material @ BC

In advanced search:

Limit Your Search

  • by Search Scope "Burns Library"
  • by Material Type "Archives & Manuscripts"

Use Local Collection Names (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Local collection")

Use Subject Keywords for Form/Genre (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Subject")

  • Letters
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs

Try Keywords in Title (Change "Anywhere in record" to "Title")

  • "Papers"
  • "Collection"
  • "Records"

Finding & Using Finding Aids @ BC

To find archival materials, you will need a Finding Aid, which is a document (often a pdf) that describes the contents of a collection, arranged by box. You will need to request materials by box number.

Finding Catalog Records for All Collections with Finding Aids Online:

Search within Finding Aids

  • Finding aids available online are PDFs or HTML pages
  • Use CTRL+F to search within a single finding aid

Finding Other Archives

There are many special collections and archives in the Boston area. These databases can help you find locations of particular materials in Boston (and of course all over the world):