From the Stacks
“From the Stacks” offers a regular helping of Newberry sustenance for the hungry intellectual. Learn about one of our hidden treasures, meticulous maps, or enduring ephemera, highlighting the resonance between the Newberry’s 125 years of collecting and the timely—and timeless—issues of today. These items, covering a wide range of subject matter and form, are presented here in all their scholarly pathos and quirky splendor.
McCutcheon Box 19, Folder 568
“An obvious flop, Prohibition nonetheless continued to hang on until the onset of the Depression and the election of Franklin Roosevelt,” wrote Chicago Tribune journalist Rick Kogan in an essay for the book Chicago Days. “Its final undoing came at the hands of Utah, which became the 36th state to ratify repeal in the form of the 21st Amendment.”
Passed on December 5, 1933, that amendment contains two short but important sentences:
Folio A5 .392 v. 8
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the third Thursday of November would, for the first time, be a national “day of Thanksgiving and Praise” to honor the “sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” of the Civil War.
Case Y 2275 .E92
Published in 1864, one year after the consecration of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this book includes the full program of events at the consecration ceremony along with a plan for the cemetery. Compiled by orator and politician Edward Everett—who also spoke at the ceremony—the book includes what is believed to be the first appearance of President Abraham Lincoln’s landmark speech, here called a “dedicatory address,” now simply known as the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln delivered the 272-word speech on November 19, 1863.
Vault Case MS 10030, Box 1, Folder 2
This letter by George Deal to his wife, Sarah, is one of more than 100 items on display in “Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North,” the Newberry’s exhibition marking the sesquicentennial of the conflict. It is a part of the George Deal papers, which include 55 letters, photographs of George and Sarah, photocopies of army service reports, confederate bills, and genealogical notes from their grandson.
folio Inc. 526
The Malleus Maleficarum, or “Hammer of Witches,” was a popular medieval handbook for witch hunters, prosecutors, and executioners—and the source of a popular Newberry ghost story.
In 1985 the Chicago Tribune reported that, while part of an exhibition on the Inquisition at the Newberry, the “Hammer of Witches” turned slightly in its cradle everyday. According to the Tribune, the Malleus Maleficarum, in a locked case and untouched by anyone, magically moved 30 degrees over a weekend.
VAULT Ruggles 203
Francis Scott Key penned “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” the poem that would become “The Star-Spangled Banner,” after watching British ships bomb Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, in September of 1814. This birth of the United States’s national anthem is one of the most well-remembered events of the War of 1812, now in its bicentennial.
Map 6F G4104. C6 1871 R3
On the evening of Sunday, October 8, at 9:32 pm, the Great Chicago Fire began. It did not end until about 10 am the following Tuesday morning. According to Richard’s Illustrated and Statistical Map, the fire covered 2,320 of the 22,400 acres that were part of the city of Chicago, with the exact area destroyed marked in red on the map. In the inset, “Statistics of the Fire,” it lists the principal edifices destroyed, including churches, synagogues, banks, hospitals, and schools.
Case Y 155 .A9446
Jane Austen was barely older than her 20-year-old heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, when she attempted to publish her novel, First Impressions, in 1797. After its initial rejection, Austen spent the next 15 years editing the manuscript, eventually re-naming it Pride and Prejudice, a phrase taken from the novel Cecilia by Fanny Burney, an author Austen admired. Despite some success with her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, Austen sold all rights and profits of Pride and Prejudice to publisher Thomas Egerton.