Ancient and rare books

The department of ancient and rare books contains some 25,000 volumes printed prior to 1801.  Beside a unique collection of hagiographies, it is rich in works of history (general, regional, ecclesiastic), patristics, theology, spirituality, as well as Greek and Latin classics.  The fund is progressively being inserted in our online catalogue.

Department of Manuscripts

The Library possesses around one thousand manuscripts.  The collection includes:

  • 97 medieval (pre-1500) manuscripts.  A short catalogue is accessible online.  A detailed catalogue of the Latin hagiographic medieval manuscripts was published by H. MORETUS, Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum Latinorum Bibliothecae Bollandianae, in Analecta Bollandiana, 24 (1905), 425-472.
  • 120 volumes of Collectanea Bollandiana: these composite volumes contain 17th- and 18th-century copies of Lives of saints, correspondence, as well as other material gathered in view of the publication of the Acta Sanctorum.  Two detailed card catalogues (by names of saints and by names of correspondents) can be consulted in the Library.
  • Other modern manuscripts (16th-19th century) are briefly described in a thematic card catalogue.

Digital photographs of manuscripts can be provided.  Please send your requests to


The Archive of the Société des Bollandistes relates to the period from 1837 onwards.  It contains the correspondence and other materials of the past bollandists.  Any request should be sent to


The Department of Iconography contains several collections of images of saints (17th-21th century), as well as some 820 copper plates, many of which were used for the publication of the Acta Sanctorum in the 17th and 18th century.  Cataloguing in process.  Information: