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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.

Infernal Imagery

Dante Alighieri

VAULT Wing ZP 535 .A354

Nearly two hundred years after its original publication, Dante’s Divine Comedy was republished in 1502 with Italian Renaissance flair. Unlike many other editions of Divine Comedy, this one does not rely on a multitude of illustrations to depict the agonizing pain that Dante discovers during his travels through the different circles of hell.

Full Dance Card

Des Arts Studio

Wing Ephemera File, Des Arts Studio

Dance cards, known as programmes du bal in French or Tanz-karten in German, are small booklets used mainly by women at formal dances to record their dance partners. Popularized in Vienna in the nineteenth century, dance cards continued to be used throughout the early twentieth century.

Marital Power

Elizabeth Packard

E 5 .P12305

On June 18th, 1860, Elizabeth Packard was taken from her home in Manteno, Illinois, and placed in an asylum—without trial or a thorough assembly of evidence to support her institutionalization. Packard’s husband was a devout Calvinist who felt threatened by his wife’s outspoken opposition to his religious views. To silence his wife and protect his reputation, he arranged for Elizabeth’s confinement, which lasted three years.

Union Do's and Don'ts: Pullman Porters Unite

A. Philip Randolph

Case Pullman 06/01/04, Box 17, Folder 490

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), the first African American labor union in the United States, was established by A. Philip Randolph in August 1925 in New York City. In this document, Randolph threatened, in no uncertain terms, African American Pullman employees who sided against the BSCP.

Be My Vinegar Valentine

Case Wing oversize NC 1866 .V3 M6 Box 8

Valentine’s Day is known as an occasion for exchanging loving sentiments. Whether you send flowers, chocolates, or a handwritten card, these gifts express feelings of adoration for their recipient. But this mode of address has not been immune from more irreverent sensibilities. The Newberry’s newest exhibition, Love on Paper, demonstrates the ways in which the valentine tradition has not always been so saccharine and sweet.

The Art of the Christmas Card

Gleeson White

Wing folio ZC 5 .973

Magazine editor and art critic Gleeson White was already experiencing holiday-card fatigue by the end of the nineteenth century. He estimated that at least 200,000 Christmas-card designs had been published in England alone at that time. “How many thousand patterns have passed under my eye,” he sighed in the introduction to his pamphlet Christmas Cards and Their Chief Designers, “I dare not estimate.”

Pass the Squirrel, Please: Thanksgiving in 1870

VAULT broadside Graff 1275

While many think of Thanksgiving Day as a timeless American tradition, it did not become the federal holiday celebrated on a late November Thursday until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The Newberry's Graff Collection includes the printed menu for the Thanksgiving Day meal served seven years later, on November 24, 1870, at Chicago's Everett House hotel, located at the corner of Clark and Van Buren streets.

The Good Dracula Name

Bram Stoker

Case 3A 2531

The Newberry’s 1899 copy of Dracula was the first American edition of the iconic novel, and the first to depict the Count’s now-notorious castle on its cover. Inside, the pages are uncreased and unmarked—unmarked, that is, save for a letter pasted inside the front cover and written by Bram Stoker himself.