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Collection Highlights

Archives and Special Collections contains over 2,500 linear feet of university archives and manuscript collections, more than 4,000 rare books dating from the 15th century to the present, and a small but growing map collection. Our holdings cover a broad range of topics, time periods, and formats. We continue to develop our collections, placing special emphasis on more fully incorporating the voices and works of historically marginalized communities so often underrepresented in archives and special collections. On this page we highlight some of our collection strengths.

University ArchivesWomen in the Notre Dame class of 1911

The library is home to the university archives of Loyola University Maryland and Notre Dame of Maryland University, which document the history of each school from its founding to the present. The library also holds the archives of Mount Saint Agnes College, which merged with Loyola in 1971. Materials in the collections include scrapbooks, photographs, oral histories, ephemera, university publications, records of departments, administrators, presidents, and the Board of Trustees, and more. 

The Saint John's BibleImage from the Gospel according to Matthew in the Saint John's Bible

The library is proud to share its Heritage edition of the Saint John's Bible, a fine art edition of the original Saint John's Bible. Completed in 2011, it was the first completely hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible produced by a Benedictine abbey since the invention of the printing press around 1450. Our edition is on permanent display on the first floor of the library, with a new page displayed every week. We welcome visits from classes and community groups to learn about and interact with this incredible work that unites ancient Benedictine tradition with modern technology and knowledge.

Religious Books and ManuscriptsManuscript bible leaf with illustrations

As part of a library serving two Catholic universities, Archives and Special Collections holds a rich collection of rare books and manuscripts relating to Christianity, Catholicism, and the Jesuit order. Notable holdings include two complete Books of Hours (c. 15th century), medieval manuscript and early printed leaves of bibles and religious texts, and a collection of works by Baltimore Catholic printers and publishers.

Fore-edge Painted Books and Other Artists' BooksFore-edge painted book with image of a castle

The library is home to one of the largest collections of fore-edge painted books in the United States, most of which were donated by Henry J. Knott when the library opened in 1973. Our collection of more than 300 volumes dates from the 16th–20th century, with the bulk of the collection dating to the 19th century. The library also holds a growing collection of artists' books, with a focus on themes of religion and literature that complement our existing collection strengths. Together, these collections offer a powerful and evocative window into the history of book arts and examples of exploring intellectual themes through art.

Literature and TheatrePlaybill cover of In The Heights

19th and 20th century British and American literature are well-represented in our rare book collections. Coverage is broad and includes many notable authors, with significant collections of first editions and noteworthy publications by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh, Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell, Flannery O'Connor, and Henry James.

The library is also home to several collections of American theatre playbills and programs that together form a fascinating look at 20th and 21st century theatre history. These collections mainly document the history of Broadway theatre, but coverage also includes off-Broadway and regional theatre (especially in the Maryland-DC area).

Maryland and Baltimore HistoryPlan of Baltimore map

The history of Maryland and Baltimore City is a topic relevant to many academic disciplines. Archives and Special Collections holds a collection of diverse material documenting the city and state we call home, including a map collection, city travel guides and directories, and books on city and state history. Our manuscript collections include everything from the correspondence of a former governor to oral histories conducted by students with Latin American immigrants in Baltimore.


Visit Archives and Special Collections

Open to the public, Archives and Special Collections welcomes all students, staff, faculty, researchers, and visitors. We encourage individual and small group research visits as well as class visits.

Third floor of the library

Monday-Friday, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. We recommend that you make an appointment in advance of your visit by calling 410-617-6870 or emailing to ensure staff availability to assist you.