The Newberry’s collections in American literature are vast and deep. Holdings of printed works begin in the pre-colonial period, are strongest from the colonial period through 1930, and continue through to the present. The library holds very rich collections of printed books, pamphlets, and maps for early America, including slave narratives. Collections of fiction are very strong to 1850. From the nineteenth century, the Newberry holds pre-eminent collections in the printed works of Herman Melville, Indian captivity narratives, and a small collection of dime novels. The Newberry’s collection of children’s books begins in the Middle Ages and continues through the present. Also very strong are the collections of periodicals, ranging from the post-Revolutionary period to the early twentieth century and the age of modernist “little magazines.”
More recent literature is available in the Newberry’s impressive collection of literary manuscripts from Chicago and Midwestern authors, critics, journalists, cultural clubs, and theaters. These include the papers of Sherwood Anderson, the Arts Club, Fanny Butcher, Jack Conroy, Malcolm Cowley, Floyd Dell, the Dill Pickle Club, Henry Blake Fuller, Harry Hansen, and Ben Hecht. The Newberry continues to add to these collections, in recent years acquiring papers and printed works by contemporary local authors such as Sara Paretsky and Harry Mark Petrakis. For further information see Chicago and Midwestern Writers.