Rare Books Collection


Rare Books Collection


The Rare Book Collection consists of over 17,000 volumes ranging from the earliest days of printing through the twentieth century, as well as several manuscripts. The collection offers a rich resource for the study of: Systematic Theology (particularly Patristics), Canon Law, and Church History (particularly the history of the Church in the United States, with a significant amount of anti-Catholic material). There are smaller holdings in Sacred Scripture, Classics, and early American History.

Collection Items

Canonization Letter of Bishop John Neumann
The decretal letter signed by Pope Paul VI which announced the canonization of Bishop John Neumann as a saint in 1977.

La Strenna (The Gift)
La Strenna (The Gift) is a catechism used for the natively speaking Italian population in Philadelphia. Printed in 1884, during the largest influx of European immigration into the United States, this book is also a part of Ryan Library’s Catechism…

German-English Reader
Published in 1910, this German-English Reader was used in Catholic schools to teach the German Script to students. The front piece is of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron saint of teenagers, who received his First Holy Communion from Saint Charles…

Spanish Language Instruction Book
This Spanish language instruction to priests was published in 1746, and is part of the Ryan Rare Book Collection.
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