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Collection Highlights

The G.K. Chesterton Collection was independently compiled by schoolmaster a bookseller Aidan Mackey, one of the foremost Chesterton experts. His curation of the Collection is a generous gift to Notre Dame and to Chesterton scholars and readers around the world. The Collection spans the majority of Chesterton's life and career, containing, books, personal effects, art and other items related to the life of this renowned 20th-century English Catholic writer, orator, apologist, and provocateur.  

Dorothy Collins' Typewriter

This Corona typewriter belonged to Dorothy Edith Collins, who became both Chesterton’s secretary and a surrogate daughter to Chesterton and his wife Frances. As typewriting was not an area in which the great author excelled, Chesterton would dictate at length to Dorothy.

A truly remarkable thing about Chesterton was his ability to do two mentally different things at the same time. He would often be writing something such as a private letter at the same time as he was dictating an article for, say, ‘The Illustrated London News’.

Chesterton's Hat

The Collection contains Chesterton's own hat. In 1908 Chesterton wrote an essay entitled, 'On Running After One’s Hat’ in which he says, "There is an idea that it is humiliating to run after one’s hat; and when people say it is humiliating they mean that it is comic."

Chesterton's Drawings

Leafing through the pages of Chesterton's school books, you can find some wonderfully intricate doodles and drawings. Aidan Mackey, who founded the collection, warmly describes Chesterton as "a vandal with books.”

Chesterton's Toy Theatre

During childhood, Chesterton's a father introduced him to a toy theatre, a play device he would use for the rest of his life. Well into his adult life, Chesterton would write plays for his toy theatre, creating the illustrated characters and scenery from cardboard. As well as putting on plays for his own pleasure, Chesterton would put on plays for the children of Battersea, and later for the children of Beaconsfield