American History and Culture

Le Cours du Missisipi ou de St. Louis, 1718
Nicolas de Fer. Le Cours de Missisipi... 1718. map6F G4042 .M5 1718 .F4.

Every period of American history—from New World encounters to the Civil War to the Chicago literary renaissance and beyond—is well represented in the Newberry’s collections. Over many decades of collection development, the Newberry has built up an extensive array of archival materials, monographs, periodicals, ephemera, and rare, idiosyncratic works. For materials from the mid-eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, see Modern Manuscript Abstracts.

The Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture promotes research in the Newberry’s collections in American History, Literature, and Culture, including its seminar series across an array of disciplinary fields. Additionally, Newberry librarians have compiled Research Guides containing bibliographies, checklists, and other resources to aid in research.

Subject strengths include:

Published descriptions of the Newberry’s collections in American history and culture are listed in American History – Publications about the Newberry Library Collections. Please call the reference desk at (312) 255-3506 with questions on our holdings, or Contact a Librarian with research questions.

Digital Resources

Below is a list of related digital resources.

The “Everywhere West” digital exhibit is based on an exhibition staged at the Newberry August 10 to October 16, 2010. It contains a selection of unique black-and-white photographs portraying the lives of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad workers and the communities spawned by the company’s sprawling rail network.

The Foreign Language Press Survey is a collection of translated newspaper articles that were originally published in Chicago in languages other than English between the 1860s and the 1930s.

This exhibit traces the emigration of French Canadian populations to the Midwest. Following some key French Canadians like Pierre Menard and Father Chiniquy, this project looks at the influence they had over time and how French Canadian settlements developed in the Midwest throughout the Nineteenth century.

By combining image galleries and original scholarship, this exhibit explores how central North America first became known as the “Frontier” and eventually as the “Heartland.”