As the only major Roman Catholic seminary on Long Island for many years, the seminary has served in the role of a "memory" institution, curating a rare book collection. Located on the second floor in the Bonaventure Room, our special collection consists of approximately 4,000 books.
Holdings range from a rare 15th century incunabulum, Commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Epistles of St. Paul, to first editions of 20th century authors such as Thomas Merton and Joyce Kilmer. The collection also consists of books depicting the early histories of the church in Brooklyn and New York, early devotional books, and publications such as The Brooklyn Tablet which chronicles the history of Catholicism in America from the turn of the century. A major feature is the collection of Catholic reference works, such as Acta Sanctorum and Minge's Patrologiae Cursus Completus, usually found only at major research institutions. Although a majority of holdings represent 19th century volumes, there are a definitive number of rare published works of church scholars such as Alexander Natalis, Augustine Calmet, and Richard Simon along with many significant canon law volumes dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
Availability and use:
A percentage of the titles in the Special Collection have been entered into our online catalog. The balance have been inventoried. The library does not actively purchase materials for this collection. Scholars or other people with a special interest in these older materials are invited to make an appointment to visit by calling Library Director Elyse Hayes 631-423-0483 ext. 140.