Notre Dame Rare Book Room
posted by: Aaron McNeely
As part of our last week at QuarkNet, Professor Karmgard arranged a tour of the Notre Dame Rare Book Room. I was excited to have this opportunity, and had wanted such a tour for a long time.
Despite the priceless works on display, the tour was very informal. The selections were displayed on foam platforms on a long table, and we were allowed to handle and look through any of the books. The display included first editions of de Revolutionibus of Copernicus, Newton’s Principia, and Galileo’s Dialogue. Other works included Ptolemy’s Almagest, Descartes, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, and some Transactions of the Royal Society. There were some works on chemistry and alchemy present, but of course I was mainly interested in the famous astronomy books.
We were allowed to take photos without flashes.
Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus
Literal image of the Copernican system
Galileo: Dialogue characters
Principia: Diagram of Comet Halley’s orbit
Sketches from Transactions of the Royal Society (sunpots, Saturn)
More Royal Society sketches (eclipse, moon map-labeled Hevelius)
This was a unique experience, one that any book-lover would appreciate. I asked the director about other books: Gutenberg Bible? (no), Shakespeare’s folios (fragments). He also said that the library had some original Greek literature written on papyrus and lots of medieval documents. He said that the library specialized in Dante and had many editions of his works.
Bottom shelf: All Dante