Special Collections

The Kelly Library Special Collections chiefly consist of archival, manuscript, and rare books collections.

All items in Special Collections are non-circulating and can only be used in the Special Collections Reading Room. From Monday September 11, 2017, through Wednesday December 20, 2017, the Reading Room is open Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m..

Seating is limited. To ensure that there is a seat for you, please email us for an appointment.

Many items in Special Collections are listed on the Catholic Portal of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.

Using the Special Collections

Rare Books Collections

The Rare Books Collections include most works owned by the Library which were published before 1850 as well as later works which are exceptionally valuable, are numerically scarce, or have significant provenance. The collections are strongest in Catholic history and theology and in French literature.

Collection Highlights

Flickr albums:


Book History Laboratory
The Rare Books Collections function as an effective laboratory for book history courses in the St. Michael’s College Book & Media Studies Program. Students can use items in the collections to learn more about bindings, paper, fonts, illustration formats, and provenance:

Archival and Manuscript Collections

The Archival and Manuscript Collections include the papers of individuals and organizations collected by the Kelly Library for primary source research with particular emphasis on supporting the research and teaching mission of the College programs (Celtic studies, Christianity and Culture, Mediaeval Studies and the Book and Media Studies) and the Faculty of Theology.

Private papers that enrich the research component of the College programs including the papers of Canadian writer Sheila Watson and Marshall McLuhan bibliographer James Feeley, Irish politician Patrick O’Neill, The New Catholic Times Inc. fonds among others. The Collection is particularly strong in the areas of Christianity, Christian spirituality and Catholicism. The archival collections that document the Christian spiritual and faith experience including the Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research collection and records related to Jean Vanier and his communities of l’Arche and Faith and Sharing. The department also houses archival collections that complement the Kelly Library Rare Book Collection including an extensive 19th French theatre collection and a small archives of intellectual and writer G.K. Chesterton.

Archival and Manuscript Collections Highlights

See also: University Archives

for University of St. Michael’s College corporate records