Creches of the Marian Library

Simple Beginnings

The Nativity tradition of the University of Dayton begins with the year 1997 when the Marian Library began to exhibit little crèches on top of book cases and in between rows of books. Some of these nativity sets were gifts and came from Europe, others were purchased in some of the many antique malls and shops of Dayton, Springfield, and Waynesville. As Connie Breen, one of the originators of the collection, once put it: “I saw those darling nativity sets hidden between books and thought, they have to come down and need to be properly exhibited.”

Those little crèches on top of book cases have grown into an impressive international collection, a year-round display in our Crèche Museum, as well as our annual gift to the community – At the Manger: World Nativity Traditions – which showcases hundreds of our nativity sets for the entire Christmas season.

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