Rare and Wonderful

“I like to get away from the idea that this is a treasure room,” says John Hawk, head librarian, Special Collections & University Archives.

“There are certainly many rare and valuable items in the collection, but we make it accessible. This is an important academic resource, and we want our visitors to use and engage with it, not simply admire it from afar.”

The Donohue Rare Book Room features more than 17,000 items, including books, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, engravings, and other artworks.

It got a facelift last summer, and features new lighting, advanced temperature and humidity controls, increased storage for the growing collection, and improved security. Donations from USF friends and alumni helped to finance the project.

The Book Room is located in Gleeson Library, and students use it to research everything from history and philosophy to art and English literature. The collection was built by William J. Monihan, S.J., who founded Gleeson Library and increased its holdings from 20,000 books to more than 600,000 during the half-century he served USF. 

To visit: The Donahue Rare Book Room is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and all USF alumni are invited to visit. Call John Hawk at (415) 422-2036 or email hawkj@usfca.edu to make an appointment.