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Special Collections

Before You Visit

Review the Special Collections Access and Use Policy.

  • Browsing the Special Collections Room is not permitted, but materials can be made available upon request for in-library use. Items requested before 5pm will be available the next business day by 9am, excluding Mondays. To request a record from Special Collections, please contact the library.
  • Requested books may be considered for reserve for repeated use. A designated reading area is available for Special Collections materials. The reading area is equipped with outlets for laptop use, and (no-flash) photography is allowed for most materials.

Autographed Collection

The Autographed Collection consists of books autographed by the author, editor, or compiler. It also consists of signed documents from historic figures that do not fall into other collections such as Napoleonic or North Carolina. 

The Autographed Collection is non-circulating, and is located in the Rare Books Room, in the lower level of the library. 

Benedictine and Benedictine Rare Collections

The Benedictine Collection contains literary works on any subject by Benedictines as authors, editors, compilers, translators, illustrators and joint authors, together with literary works dealing with books, pamphlets, theses, etc. on Benedictine topics written by anyone, and Benedictine serials. 

The Benedictine Collection is located in the Benedictine Room. The Benedictine Collection is circulating, but the room itself is locked due to valuable artifacts and the condition of some of the books. Please ask a staff member to unlock the room, or fill out a retrieval request form and we will pull the book for you. 

Benedictine Rare are materials that fall within the above scope, but their condition or content make their worth valuable. These titles are non-circulating, and are located in the Rare Books Room.

Chesterton-Belloc Collection

The Chesterton-Belloc Collection contains books and papers written by or about G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. 

The collection is non-circulating, and is located in the Rare Books Room of the library.

Father Abram J. Ryan Archive

The Fr. Abram J. Ryan Archive is the most substantial and significant grouping of papers relating to Abram J. Ryan, who was popularly referred to as “The Poet-Priest of the South”. The archive contains Fr. Ryan’s correspondence and original poetry, as well as transcriptions of lectures and conversations by Fr. Ryan. The archive also includes important research concerning Fr. Ryan by the twentieth-century archivist and historian, Fr. Joseph McKey of Niagara University (NY).

More information about the Father Abram J. Ryan Archive, as well as an online exhibit of the archive, is available at this link

Napoleon Collection

The Napoleonic Collection contains books on military history, the family of Napoleon, and historical fiction. Signed documents are also included in this collection. 

The collection circulates. Most titles are located at the end of the main stacks, in the lower level of the library. Several titles and artifacts, because of condition and value, are located in the Rare Books Room.

North Carolina Collection

The North Carolina Collection consists of volumes dealing with the history of North and South Carolina from Colonial times until the present. The collection also includes fiction and essays about the Carolinas and by Carolina writers. The collection contains many county histories, as well as a strong section on the history of religion, especially the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to print volumes, the collection includes oral histories from textile mill workers in Gaston County. 

The collection is located in the Rare Books Room, in the lower level of the library. The collection is non-circulating; some NCC fiction titles can also be found in our general collection. 

Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection is the largest and most substantial of all Special Collections. The collection contains over 14,000 books and manuscripts, with a notable collection of early printing techniques, including incunabula dating back to 1474. The collection includes books on theology, scripture, history, and literature, as well as Catholicism in the American South. The Rare Book Collection uniquely reflects the growth and development of Catholicism in the southeast from its 17th century beginnings in Charleston, S.C. and early outposts in Maryland and Virginia, through its first period of prominence during the Antebellum period, through the travails of Civil War and Reconstruction, and into the new period of southern Catholic growth that began in the mid-20th century. 

The Rare Book Collection is non-circulating, and is located in the Rare Books Room.

Rare Periodicals Collection

Rare Periodicals consists of pre-1930 serials, and is heavily focused on Catholic and Benedictine subjects. Many of the publications are in German, French and Latin. 

The Rare Periodicals Collection is non-circulating, and is located in the Rare Books Room.

Digital collections

Some Special Collections materials are available in our Digital Collections.