The Newberry has been shaped by many people over the years. From donors, scholars, fellows, and volunteers to our renowned librarians, curators, and program staff—each has contributed to making the Newberry a uniquely special institution. These are stories of just a handful of the people who have made a commitment to keeping the Newberry a thriving and dynamic place, free and open to all who possess an interest in the humanities.
The late Ruth Hooper believed the Newberry to be the finest genealogical resource in the region, and family history to be an underutilized source of connecting to history and correcting misperceptions of the past.
Jeanne Colette Collester
"My parents believed deeply in music. I have so much gratitude for what they instilled in me, and this gift is a way to say 'thank you' to them." A generous bequest from Jeanne Colette Collester will allow the Newberry to propel its music collections to the front ranks of American independent research libraries for music scholarship.
"The late Robert Coale was a man who loved art, beauty, and learning, and enjoyed sharing these things with others," says Leone McDermott, long-time friend and the executor of his estate.
Norma Rubovits is a vital force in the world of marbled papers and fine binding. Since 1991, she has donated items to the Newberry, including marbled papers, fine bindings, and books on technique dating back to the eighteenth century.
Newberry Trustee Cindy Mitchell tells the story of how her son's family history project for school brought her closer to the Newberry and to her ancestors.
Peggy Sullivan approaches collecting as a librarian. "When I started collecting, I would weed out my collection regularly. But books go out of print or you can't get them again for some reason, so I realized I needed to keep them."
"There aren't that many research libraries in the world," says Tom Swanstrom, who with Nancy, his wife of 25 years, is a long-standing donor to the Newberry's Annual Fund. "The Newberry fills an important role, and we believe in supporting that.".
As a former Newberry staff member, Jim Wells serves a special role as an ambassador to the past. At the same time, by establishing a personal legacy at the Newberry, he also plays an important role in its future.