Edward E. Ayer Digital Collection | Newberry

Edward E. Ayer Digital Collection

“Woman on black horse greets man.” Drawing of Apache Indians by Frederick Gokliz, ca. 1894.

As a collection of general Americana, the Newberry’s Edward E. Ayer Collection is one of the best in the country and one of the strongest collections on American Indians in the world.

The Edward E. Ayer Digital Collection features several thousand digitized images and texts selected from the Ayer materials. An expansion of items previously available in the Ayer Art Digital Collection, Great Lakes Digital Collection, and North American Indian Photographs, this digital resource will grow as we continue to make these primary source documents freely available online.

In 1911, Edward E. Ayer (1841-1927) donated more than 17,000 pieces on the early contacts between American Indians and Europeans. Ayer, a member of the Newberry’s first Board of Trustees, was the first donor of a great collection to the library. Since then, the Ayer endowment fund has enabled the Newberry to collect in excess of 130,000 volumes, over 1 million manuscript pages, 2,000 maps, 500 atlases, 11,000 photographs, and 3,500 drawings and paintings on the subject.

Read more about the Ayer Collection and American Indians and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry. For further questions, please contact a Reference Librarian at reference@newberry.org or (312) 255-3506.

The Edward E. Ayer Digital Collection was funded in part by Roger and Julie Baskes, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and an Illinois State Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant.