Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for scholars, teachers, and the general public. Unless otherwise noted, events are free, and no reservations are required. Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

E.g., 07/22/2018
E.g., 07/22/2018
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Led by Lee Minnerly. 1 session, 10 am - 2 pm.
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
The world’s most mysterious book, the Voynich manuscript, is a fifteenth-century volume by an unknown author consisting of roughly 240 parchment pages of enigmatic botanical, astrological, biological, and pharmacological color illustrations accompanied by…
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Led by Matt Laufer. 1 session, 10 am - 3 pm. (1 hour lunch)
“Citizen is Rankine’s Spoon River Anthology,” a critic wrote, “an epic as large and frightening and beautiful as the country.” Who can resist such an unlikely linkage?
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Led by Julia Bachrach. Three sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Since the early history of Chicago and Illinois, women’s contributions to the city and the state have often been overlooked. We’ll explore the lives and work of significant Chicago women who overcame great obstacles to achieve success with two in-class sessions and a walking tour.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Led by Todd Bauer. Eight sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
The plays of O’Neill, Williams, Odets, Hellman, Wilder, and Miller define American theater. This seminar will combine lecture and discussion to examine the major works of these playwrights, concentrating on theme, structure, and social impact.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Led by Debra Mancoff. Five sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
By now the longest reigning of British monarchs, Queen Elizabeth II has been in the public eye for nearly a century. Yet instead of a flesh-and-blood woman, what we tend to see is a carefully crafted image, representing a concept of modern monarchy…
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Led by Frank Biletz. Ten sessions, 1 - 3 pm (Section A) or 5:45 - 7:45 pm (Section B)
The political, social, and cultural consequences of the First World War continue to shape the world today. Revolutionary movements that emerged in the aftermath of the war and conflicts over new political boundaries in Central and Eastern Europe planted the seeds for future conflict…
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Led by Alexis Culotta. Four sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Accusations of theft. Threats of violence. Schemes to sabotage competitors. Amidst the artistic innovations and advances of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, rivalry reigned supreme. This seminar examines the evolution of this spirit of rivalry, from its roots in discussions of the sixteenth-century paragone to far-flung accusations of copying across disciplines…
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Led by Jeffrey Nigro. Four sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
In observance of the 200th anniversary of their publication, we will read and discuss the two Jane Austen novels that were issued posthumously: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Together, they provide a window onto Regency-era culture and show a celebrated author operating at the height of her powers.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Led by Ginger Frere & Matt Rutherford. Four sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
Think the Fire burned your chance to discover what Chicago was like in its early days? Think again! Come join us as we explore a gold mine of pre-Fire treasures, many drawn from the Newberry’s collections, including maps, diaries, church records, newspapers, and sheet music.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Led by John Nygro. Five sessions, 2 - 4 pm
For over four centuries, Shakespeare’s Richard III has fascinated audiences with its treatment of power, murder, evil, incompetent leadership, and moral integrity…
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Led by Guy Marco. Eight sessions, 2 - 4 pm
From modest beginnings in eighteenth century missions, musical activity in California has grown to distinction in all areas of classical and popular music.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Led by Tom Irvine. Six sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
This course will travel north, to explore the frosty noir of Scandinavian and north European mysteries. Each country in this region has a different take on the genre, and we will read one mystery each week from a different country, discussing how its style reflects the realities of its country of origin.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Led by Stephen Kleiman. Eight sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Johannes Brahms was a pivotal figure in Romantic music. Of all mid-nineteenth century composers, he best represents the ethos of nobility in music, and his symphonies, chamber music, and choral works have maintained their exalted place in the canon alongside masterpieces created by the most renowned classical composers.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Led by Matthew Bird. Six sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
More accessible than novels or plays, short stories provide a ready introduction to the themes and styles that make Irish literature so popular. We will read stories by more than two dozen writers, including Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce….
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Led by Natania Rosenfeld. Six sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
In her diary, Virginia Woolf wrote that it annoyed her when people asked her what the lighthouse in her famous 1927 novel meant: “I meant nothing by [it],” she asserted in response. What, then, is the lighthouse, if not a symbol?
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Frank Biletz. Ten sessions, 10 am - noon
This ten-session seminar will explore Winston Churchill’s military and political endeavors on behalf of the British Empire, tracing his life from his late-Victorian birth through his involvement in the crises of the 1930s…
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Margaret Farr. One session, 9 am - noon
The late 19th century artist Édouard Manet neither adhered to the rules and traditions of the French Academy of Fine Arts nor participated in the Impressionist exhibitions…
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by John Nygro. Three sessions, 1 - 4 pm
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach has been enjoyed around the world since it was first performed over three hundred years ago. We will watch, listen to, and discuss a number of Bach’s musical masterpieces, focusing on their rhythmic vitality, mathematical genius, and emotional expression.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Julia Denne. Nine sessions, 10 am - noon
Nikolai Gogol is one of the most enigmatic and original Russian writers. In this course, we will focus on his Ukrainian and St. Petersburg tales, where witches fly to the moon, noses stroll the streets, overcoats turn into wives, and the devil lurks behind any corner.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Nina Wieda. Eight sessions, 10 am - noon
Often viewed as a vast, inscrutable power, today’s Russia appears less enigmatic when considered in the context of its twentieth-century intellectual history. This eight-session course will help illuminate contemporary Russia by tracing its present-day debates and ideas to their early twentieth-century precursors.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Kevin Kaufmann. Six sessions, 1 - 2:30 pm
From A. G. Spalding and the Chicago White Stockings to Theo Epstein and the current-day Cubs, Chicago baseball has always played a vital role in the city’s cultural imagination. This course examines “the city game” and its place in Chicago, from the nineteenth century until now…
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Jeffrey Nigro. One session, 1 - 4 pm
Napoleon rode to power on the strength of his military exploits, but it was to visual art that he turned when he needed to consolidate his regime…
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by John Raffetto. Two sessions, 10 am - noon
This class will focus on the history of Garfield Park and the Conservatory, as well as its current and future usage. A lecture and behind-the-scenes tour of Garfield Park Conservatory and its surrounding gardens and production greenhouses will be featured.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Kathleen Murphy Skolnik. Five sessions, 1 - 3 pm
This chronological survey will examine highlights of art and architecture from the prehistoric through the late medieval era (30,000 BCE through the late fourteenth century). We will discuss the visual properties of works of art and architecture from this period; the materials and techniques used in their production…
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Led by Katrina Kemble. Four sessions, 1 - 2:30 pm
Decaying antebellum mansions, religious charlatans, and raucous poker parties – Southern literature has it all. This course will take a close look at four prominent Southern writers from the twentieth century: Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Led by Richard Reeder. Six sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
In this course, we will read, analyze, and discuss Philip Roth’s American Trilogy, which includes American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Led by Brooke Heagerty. Eight sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
From Spain to Russia and Flanders to Greece, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people of conscience fought fascism across Europe in the years leading up to World War II. Focusing on their experiences, this eight-session course will examine a turbulent time in world history and the determination of everyday people to build a more just world.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Led by Stephanie Ettelson. Eight sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Chamber music is perceived by some as a stuffy, high-brow, and rarified form of classical music, even while, historically, string quartets were composed for amateurs, to play in the home. Today, professionals perform chamber music in concert halls all over the world, and the genre has long been mainstream…
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Led by Maurice Champagne. Two sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Overshadowed by its many other architectural marvels, Chicago’s contributions to Art Nouveau are often forgotten. This seminar puts the city’s Art Nouveau movement in relief…
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Led by Esther Hershenhorn. Seven sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This workshop focuses on how to create and write a successful children’s picture book that connects with both young readers and today’s ever-changing marketplace. The variety of picture book structures, approaches to the craft, and publishing opportunities will be highlighted.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Led by Tim Lacy. Six sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
Using a single, accessible, and thorough history, this six-session course will explore the distinctively American trait of confusing - and sometimes preferring - fantasy to reality…
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Led by Margaret Farr. Six sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Departing from the rational idealism of Neoclassical art, Romantic painters and sculptors embraced a worldview that opposed the certainties of reason and celebrated the personal, individual, and subjective. This seminar will investigate key features of this early nineteenth-century movement…
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass. One session, 9 am - noon
The Newberry has one of the strongest genealogy research collections in the nation. This one-session course will show you where to begin tracing your family’s history in America…
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass. One session, 1 - 4 pm
Try the Fundamentals of Genealogy®’s “Organizational Challenge!” First, we’ll learn organizational and preservation techniques for your paper & digital research (files, heirlooms, family photos, etc.) from leading genealogical experts and an organizational consultant.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Led by Linda Miller. One session, 9 am - noon
Dialogue in fiction signals a scene the reader can witness. It’s a tool that allows a writer to take seriously the dictum “show, don’t tell.” Used effectively, dialogue engages writer and reader, reveals character, and helps propel a satisfying story…
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Led by Susan Lyons. Four sessions, 2 - 4 pm
This seminar will explore The Second Sex, moving beyond the tome’s most famous line: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Led by Steven Venturino. Seven sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Everyone has heard of Frankenstein, but how many have read it closely? This year marks the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s extraordinary novel, and this seminar will celebrate the occasion with a serial reading of the original 1818 text.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Led by Linda Levine. Eight sessions, 2 - 3:45 pm
Is it a collection of short stories or a novel? Both! This seminar will focus on highly acclaimed narratives that can stand alone as short stories. Yet, they are connected by characters and/or geography so that when read as a group, the stories are enhanced.
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Led by Lee Minnerly. Five sessions, 10 am - noon
Early European celestial cartography includes constellation and cosmological maps, each of which have their own beauty, form, structure, and cultural content. This seminar will explore these artifacts in context, beginning with Medieval manuscript star charts and maps on vellum and paper…
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Led by Diane Dillon. One session, 1 - 5 pm
To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Newberry Library’s 1893 building, this one-day seminar will examine the building in its historical, architectural, and neighborhood contexts.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Led by Susanne Dumbleton. Seven sessions, 2 - 4 pm
The experience of war has inspired artists across human history to record its pains and glories and puzzle out its meaning. As we approach November 11, the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, we will read masterpieces by people who lived through that war…
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Led by Linda Miller. Six sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
This six-week workshop is for writers of all levels who are interested in getting started with short fiction. We will look at literary short stories to understand how they start, progress, and finish.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Led by Dagmar Herrmann. Six sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
In this course, we will undertake the close reading of Kafka’s short stories while conducting a thorough examination of his life and milieu, early twentieth-century Prague.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Led by John Gibbons. Six sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Haydn was the father of both the symphony and the string quartet, and his work in these genres profoundly shaped the evolution of classical music right through the twentieth century. Mozart, whose greatest instrumental genres were the piano concerto and the string quintet, exerted a comparable if not greater impact on music history.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Led by Susanne Dumbleton. One session, 9 am - noon
The beautifully designed, meticulously crafted artifact known as the Bayeux Tapestry is as personally moving as it is culturally significant. Sixty meters long and 50 centimeters high, it records, in careful woolen stitches, the principal people and events of the Battle of Hastings, an event that altered the history of Britain and France.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Led by Lesa Dowd. Four sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
Tackets have been used as functional and structural elements in bookbinding since early times. In this workshop, participants will explore structural tacketing through demonstration and practice and have the unique opportunity to examine historical examples of tacketing in early Newberry bindings.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Led by Jeffrey Nigro & John Nygro. Three sessions, 1 - 4 pm
The Medici of Florence were the first ruling family to realize that their path to immortality lay through the arts. This seminar will focus on the most significant Medici patrons during the family’s Renaissance heyday…
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Led by Diane Dillon. Six sessions, 2 - 4 pm
This seminar will explore the visual culture of the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, in conjunction with the Newberry’s fall 2018 exhibition, “Pictures from an Exposition.” Each seminar session will begin with a classroom discussion and then move into the galleries where we will examine the original objects on display…
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Led by Jim Ackerman. One session, 10 am - 4 pm (lunch from noon - 1:30 pm)
Consider the ways in which cartography has responded to the changing technologies of and motivations for travel in America since the Colonial era. Dr. Jim Akerman will begin the day with an illustrated overview of the Newberry’s world renowned collection of maps, books, and ephemera devoted to the history of travel and exploration…