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Stories from the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies

Stories from the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies tells the stories that come out of the research and scholarly activities of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium members at the Newberry. In their own words, consortium faculty and students share the valuable insights they have developed, the experience they have gained, and the new questions and opportunities they have found.


The Newberry collection includes postcards received as part of family papers, business archives; and as collections formed by individuals, focusing for example on travel postcards, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the city. In 2016, the Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection was transferred to the Newberry from the Lake County Discovery Museum, in Wauconda, Illinois, which served as its home since 1982.

Sloan Collection of Photographs Documents Changing Chicago Landscape

Between 1913 and 1941, Percy H. Sloan photographed Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Directing his lens beyond the downtown bustle, Sloan documented a variety of different neighborhoods and the community spaces supporting them: places of worship, schools, libraries, bakeries. The collection of 500 photographs taken and collected by Sloan provides enormous research value to anyone interested in Chicago history or genealogy.

Ephemeral by Design: Organizing the Everyday

Ephemera are traces of the everyday—materials, usually printed, designed to be read or consumed in some way and then discarded. From bus tickets to party invitations, dance cards to advertisements, these items form the texture of social and commercial exchange.

Application Guidelines

Required Application Materials

Fellowship applicants are required to submit the following material:

The Bard Is Born

To mark The Bard’s birthday—April 23—and celebrate his work, the Newberry has partnered with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago to host a small but spectacular exhibition featuring more than 40 items from the three institutions. “The Bard Is Born” will be open April 22 through June 21. It will focus in part on Henry V, the first play performed—on the roof of the Red Lion Pub—by Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the one being performed there April 29 through June 15 of this year.

Mon, 03/24/2014

One Book, 17 Designs

In 1998, Julia Miller began the monumental task of sifting through notes and observations made during her 30-year career as an archivist and book conservator, then sat down to write. The resultant Books Will Speak Plain (The Legacy Press 2010) is a 500-page handbook aimed at conservators, collectors, librarians, and book lovers, for the identification and description of book structures and styles.

Fri, 03/14/2014

A Hidden Collection Comes to Light

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded the Newberry $216,100 to bring 29,800 additional items into the library’s John M. Wing Collection, one of the world’s best collections on book arts and printing history. Backlogged for a decade or more and dating from 1605 to the present, materials in this “hidden collection” include examples of type and printing, ballad sheets, advertising posters, direct mail pieces, and books, both beautiful and homely, of all periods.

Thu, 01/23/2014

Music of the Civil War

During the Civil War, music was everywhere. At public rallies and in family parlors, people heard and sang songs about the conflict. Christian McWhirter, author of Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, will give a talk about what music meant for people who were intimately involved in this bloody and violent war.


This installment of “Conversations at the Newberry” celebrates the Bard’s 450th birthday with Chicago Shakespeare Theater Founder and Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Gail Kern Paster, director emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, discussing Shakespeare as literature, and as performance.