Rare Books and Publications 

A shelf of rare books in the archives collection.

Rare Books and Publications 

The Providence College Archives and Special Collections (ASC) is responsible for the care and access to thousands of rare and non-circulating books and publications. Unlike the books available in the library’s general collection, these cannot be checked out and must be used in the Fogarty Reading Room by appointment.     

Most of these books can be found by searching the library catalog.  

Book Collection Highlights

In addition to the highlighted collections below, the ASC holds thousands of titles that support the teaching and learning across the varied disciplines taught at Providence College. Please use the library catalog to discover these or contact us for more information at pcarchives@providence.edu or 401-865-2377. 

The Reverend William Bonniwell collection 

Father William R. Bonniwell, O.P. was a Dominican priest and scholar. Ordained in 1914, he went on to become the Director of the Preachers’ Institute at Washington, D.C. and was also a Professor of Homiletics at the Dominican House of Studies in Illinois. Bonniwell also spent a considerable amount of time in Italy researching for one of his books, The Life of Blessed Margaret of Castello. This collection comprises his extensive collection of over 1,000 facsimile and original theological and liturgical texts from the 15th through 20th century.  

Facsimiles and Fragments  

The Phillips Memorial Library holds a selection of facsimiles depicting Medieval & Renaissance manuscript books (codices). Facsimiles of medieval manuscripts are created to replicate the size and appearance of medieval manuscripts, making them particularly valuable teaching resources. Scholars can study facsimiles to gain insights which may be difficult to glean from digitized or online versions of the same material. In addition to the complete facsimiles, the ASC also holds a small number of original manuscript fragments.  

Rebecca Ramos Natural History Books collection 

This collection comprising hundreds of natural history books was donated by long-time Providence College staff member, Rebecca “Becky” Ramos. It covers a broad spectrum of natural history research, including botany, zoology, ornithology, etc. Published in the 19th and 20th centuries, many of these volumes include high quality, detailed illustrations. 

The Rhode Island collection 

The Archives and Special Collections (ASC) also maintains a large collection of materials related to the history and culture of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island book collection is comprised of books and pamphlets featuring unpublished and published governmental and community resources. These books cover a range of topics on the state and its inhabitants from the 17th to the 21st century. Most of these works can be discovered via the library catalog, though we also hold uncatalogued archival materials. Please contact the ASC for further information about the Rhode Island collection. 

Poetry Collections

George L. Cochran, O.P. poetry collection 

Father George L. Cochran, O.P. (1928-2013), a Dominican priest and award-winning poet in his own right, established many relationships within the literary world over the course of his life. The sixty-six volumes of poetry which comprise this collection are titles Father Cochran collected by exchanging works with other poets whom he knew personally or by reputation. Each title in this collection, many of which are part of limited-edition series, is signed by the author and often inscribed with a personal note to Father Cochran. The collection features English language poetry from 1934 to 2005, with largest number of works coming from the 1970s. 

Peter M. Johnson prose poems collection 

Spanning almost forty years, Peter Johnson’s prose poetry has been published in numerous literary journals throughout the country. The collection contains many of his early prose poems published in serials now no longer in print. 

Please note that some of our other special collections also contain books and publications; be sure to explore our finding aids for more information.