Launch of the Newberry Institute for Research and Education | Newberry

Launch of the Newberry Institute for Research and Education

Newberry Library

Newberry Library, Open House Chicago, October 13, 2018

This fall, the Newberry rebranded and refashioned its Division of Research and Academic Programs into the Newberry Institute for Research and Education, with three primary goals in mind. First, the Newberry Institute will nurture communities of scholars through its highly-competitive fellowship program, its focused research centers, and its rich offerings of seminars for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates. Second, the Newberry Institute will foster public engagement with the humanities through public programs, adult seminars, and professional development programs for teachers. Finally, it will collaborate internally and externally to bring the work of scholars to life for the broader public.

The Newberry Institute has recently launched several initiatives. Our new Chicago Studies program replaces the Scholl Center for American History and Culture. Led by Liesl Olson, Chicago Studies is off to a strong start, producing a 2018 NEH Summer Institute on Art and Public Culture in Chicago and as well as public programming on the literary life of this city. Our wide-ranging Scholarly Seminars lineup has expanded this year to 16 separate seminars, with most involving works-in-progress by scholars from across the region. Finally, the new Department of Public Engagement, led by Karen Christianson, has strategically invested in public programming with the goal of reaching new audiences. Formats are more varied, attendance is up, and recordings are now available online.

Existing programs within the Newberry Institute continue to thrive. Our Digital Collections for the Classroom invites scholars to curate online materials from the Newberry’s holdings for curriculum development. A dozen new DCC collections are added each year and have proved highly popular, as measured by website views. Similarly, the Center for Renaissance Studies continues to be a worldwide leader in paleography training (the study of handwriting), an essential skill for the accessibility of archival sources. We offer summer institutes in French, Italian, Spanish, and English paleography and have built extensive websites for the study of French Renaissance paleography, with an Italian site in the works. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has generously funded these efforts.

The Newberry Institute for Research and Education is not a radical shift in the work of the Newberry but instead builds on existing strengths. In announcing the change, Vice President D. Bradford Hunt explained: “We want both scholars and the general public to know the broad range of exciting activity taking place, where we bring the collections to life through scholarship, programs, and learning opportunities. Re-branding as the Newberry Institute will provide greater clarity on what we do, and it will provide opportunities for new collaborative initiatives that can bring together our collective strengths around a focused challenge. I look forward to leading this effort.”

The Newberry Institute for Research and Education includes the following programs, which work collaboratively to support the mission of the Newberry: