On June 12, the Newberry presented the Newberry Library Award to Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity at the University of Chicago. Since 1987, the Newberry has honored individuals and organizations for their outstanding contribution to the humanities, especially to fields of scholarship relevant to the Newberry’s collection strengths.
Marty is a historian of religion, educator, author, and theologian. Throughout his illustrious career, he has shaped the study of the history of the modern church, in part thanks to his commitment to teaching, public history, and mentorship.
“Marty has been a fierce advocate for the humanities and, in his teaching and scholarship, has embodied the ideals that great humanists aspire to achieve: crossing disciplinary boundaries, he has produced fresh insights regarding humans and their enduring pursuit of meaning,” said Newberry President David Spadafora. “We were honored to present him with this award at such a timely moment; Marty’s work in both Lutheran theology and church history assumes an additional resonance in the 500th anniversary year of Luther’s 95 Theses.”
The Newberry Library Award adds to Marty’s many honors, including the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University of Chicago Alumni Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal of the Association of Theological Schools, the Order of Lincoln Medallion, the National Book Award for Philosophy and Religion, and more than 80 honorary doctorates.
Previous recipients of the Newberry Library Award include The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer; David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author; Hanna H. Gray, President Emerita, University of Chicago; Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University; and Jonathan D. Spence, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University.
Marty was presented with the 2017 Newberry Library Award at the annual award dinner held at the Newberry, which raised funds to support the Newberry’s ongoing mission to promote the humanities through exhibitions, public programs, and a variety of research opportunities.