Boston College, a Jesuit, Catholic University, was founded in 1863 and graduated its first class in 1872. John J. Burns Library administers Boston College’s special collections, including University Archives, and has achieved international recognition for the strength of its collections, most notably: Irish history, literature, and music, Jesuit Studies, British Catholic authors, Catholic liturgy and life in America, Boston history and politics, the Caribbean, and nursing history, theory, and practice.
Online sources for family history research includes Boston College course catalogs , yearbooks, and a selection of newspapers.
Boston College Bulletin is the annual course catalog. Early issues include lists of students and class assignments. It also lists students who received degrees or prizes at commencement, members of student organizations, and faculty. Some also contain lists of alumni.
Sub Turri, the yearbook of Boston College, has published since 1913. Most, but not all, members of a class are listed. Early volumes include lists of “ex-men” who enlisted in the armed forces or withdrew before graduation. Most faculty members are either listed or depicted. Athletic teams and student organizations are included, but names are not always listed.
Newton College of the Sacred Heart was a women’s college that opened in 1946. In 1974, it merged with Boston College, and its last graduating class was in 1975. Its yearbook was The Well.
Digitized newspapers are available at newspapers.bc.edu and include student publications (Boston College’s Stylus and Heights, and Newton College’s 885) along with others. The Boston Pilot is the longest-running Catholic newspaper in the United States. The “information wanted” advertisements from the Pilot are available as a downloadable dataset, and full issues are being digitized and added to newspapers.bc.edu on an ongoing basis. The entire run of the Sacred Heart Review (1888-1918), a Catholic newspaper covering local, national, and international news, is also available.
The John J. Burns Library at Boston College welcomes all students, faculty, visiting scholars, and members of the general public to consult our holdings for research, teaching, and enjoyment. Burns Library staff are available to answer questions and recommend research strategies for our more than 200,000 volumes and 750+ archival collections. Please send us your questions.