Collection Development Statement Regarding Rare Books
The Turro Library of Immaculate Conception Seminary has on exhibit incunabula of various sorts in locked display cases in both the foyer of the library or in framed displays on the walls of both the main reading room and the foyer. Among those are such valuable items as signed letters by Cardinal John Henry Newman and Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a coin from the reign of Diocletian and first-century Roman Nails. However, Room 33 in the basement of Lewis Hall of Immaculate Conception Seminary serves as the Rare Book Room of the Turro Library. This room is secure and climate-controlled, that is, always locked and equipped with a de-humidifier. Its contents are non-circulating and for supervised use only for which purpose there is a sign-in register wherein is to be noted the purpose and time of a user’s visit. There are also a desk with chair and lamp for the visitor’s use.
Materials considered for storage in our rare book room are determined by the following criteria.
- Date: all books published before 1820. For example, we have Henricus Gandavensis’ (Henry of Ghent) Quodlibita two volumes (1518) and Tillemont’s Histoire Ecclesiastique in 16 volumes (1711).
- Cost: All books costing or valued at more than $700 per volume.
- Edition: Limited editions of 500 copies or less.
- Association Copies: Items from the libraries of notable ecclesiastics associated with this seminary’s history, for example, we have several books autographed or displaying bookplates indicating their original ownership by archbishops of Newark.
- Inscription Copies: Books or essays signed by the author. For example, we have an entire display cabinet dedicated to autographed works of Catholic novelist Evelyn Waugh.
- Historical Artifacts: items of historical significance regarding the Catholic Church, this seminary and its sponsor, the Archdiocese of Newark. For example, in Room 33 we have a significant collection of Papal Mass Libretti for canonizations or world synods, we also preserve liturgical or theological books with valuable bindings.