Carrie Estelle and Edward L. Doheny
The Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library was built in 1940, as a gift to St. John’s Seminary from Estelle Doheny, in honor of her late husband. Designed by Wallace Neff, the two-story Spanish colonial building features an entrance façade replicating the baptistery of the Cathedral in Mexico City. Atop the façade is a statue of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, to whom Mrs. Doheny had great devotion.
Until 1987, the second floor of the building housed the Doheny collection of paintings, objets d’art, and rare books (including one of only 48 existing copies of the Gutenberg Bible). In 1987, after years of deliberation and discussion, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles auctioned off most of the collection. Proceeds from the series of auctions, conducted by Christie’s in late 1987 and early 1988 were placed in a trust, the interest from which helps fund the operation of the Seminary.
Library holdings number more than 50,000 volumes, divided between two buildings. The collection is augmented by several thousand e-books. The Philosophy collection is housed in the C.E. Doheny Library on the former college campus. Major subject strengths of the collection include theology, Biblical studies, church history, spirituality, and ethics. A deliberate effort is made to collect Spanish language materials in all subject areas, in support of the Seminary’s mission to prepare priests for service in the south- west U.S.
The combined holdings of both libraries are listed in the online catalog. Author, Title, Subject, Keyword, and other search options are available. A wide variety of electronic databases and reference tools are also available at the library’s web site (library.stjohnsem.edu).
The reference collection includes theological encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc. as well as print and electronic indexes. In addition, the librarian is available for professional reference and research assistance during weekday hours.
The library subscribes to over 230 periodicals, covering a variety of subject areas. Current issues are shelved on the main floor. Bound back issues are shelved in the basement. Periodicals do not circulate.
The Doheny Libraries of St. John’s Seminary participate in OCLC, an international bibliographic network comprised of thousands of libraries, making over one billion additional titles available to students and faculty, via interlibrary loans.
A number of books remaining from the original Doheny collection, along with others identified as particularly rare or valuable, are held in Special Collections on the second floor. These items do not circulate but may be used in the Library.
A collection of several hundred audio tapes, videos, and DVDs are shelved in the Salon on the second floor.
A photocopier is available in the basement. The computer lab, also in the basement, is equipped with 11 PCs and a networked laser printer. All computers are loaded with basic productivity software and have internet access. Wireless routers are located on the first and second floors.
The Salon, Board Room, and Mission Room, all located on the second floor, can be reserved for meetings or used for quiet study.
Use of the library by non-affiliated religious and lay researchers must be requested in writing and approved by the Library Director.
Hours for Theology Library
The C.E. Doheny Library is open on a reduced schedule. Changes in library hours are posted on the web site.