St. Bonaventure University

Institute & Holy Name Libraries


The Library of the Franciscan Institute, one of the special collections of Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University, holds more than 8,000 volumes, 110 current periodical subscriptions and 470 other periodical titles. The Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute protects the university's collection of rare books, described by the National Endowment for the Humanities as "a unique national asset of great value to American humanistic scholarship."

Franciscan Institute Library


In its coverage of the Franciscan movement, this collection is unique in North and South America and can only be matched by a few European libraries.

The Franciscan Institute Collection supports research on campus and by various scholars worldwide.  The circulating collection is housed in the main library, while the Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute, a 2008 addition to the library, protects the rare materials in the collection.

The collection is rich in its coverage of medieval scholasticism. But along with an emphasis on the Middle Ages, the collection also covers all aspects of Franciscan life from that time to the present day. There is an abundance of material for studying the constitutional history of the Franciscan Order in its various branches, both the male and female congregations, as well as that of the Secular Franciscan Order.

Liturgical books of  the Order are included (i.e. missals, breviaries, psalters, martyrologies, etc.). There is a wealth of material concerning Franciscan spirituality in its theoretical and practical aspects, as well as its concrete application and example in the lives of the Franciscan saints and blesseds. Other materials address Franciscan contributions to evangelization, music, poetry, art and architecture.

The Franciscan Institute Library brings together works not only in English, but in all of the major European languages, with a sampling of materials in other languages as well.

A major aspect of the holdings of the Franciscan Institute is the rare book collection. This collection consists of medieval and modern manuscripts, incunabula and books published from the 16th to the 18th centuries. There is also a large collection of microfilmed manuscripts of various late medieval philosophers and theologians.

The Franciscan Institute Library had its origin in the 1940's at St. Bonaventure University even before the Institute itself was established.  Along with new purchases, materials have been added over the years from many other Franciscan study centers.  The first, and largest, such acquisition was the Franciscana and rare book collections from Holy Name College (Washington, D.C.).  The rare book collections of both Duns Scotus College (Detroit, Michigan) and St. Francis Friary (Burlington, Wisconsin) along with Franciscan materials from Mary Immaculate Capuchin Friary (Garrison, New York) have also been added.