Programs for the Public | Newberry

Programs for the Public

The Newberry organizes and hosts programs illuminating topics in the humanities, through a variety of formats tailored to the subject at hand: lectures, staged readings, music and dance performances, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Some events are part of ongoing series, such as Conversations at the Newberry, Meet the Author talks, Programs for Genealogists, the weekly Newberry Colloquium, and exhibition-related programming; others are signature annual events, such as the Newberry Book Fair and the Bughouse Square Debates. Additional public programming may be sponsored by the Newberry’s Research Centers.

Most Newberry public programs are free. Seating is limited and registration in advance is required for many events; see the individual listings for details.

Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

Upcoming Public Programs

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Meet the Author
This event has been rescheduled for April 25, 2019
This event will NOT be held September 18, 2018.
The Meet the Author event for Susan Sleeper-Smith’s book, Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, has been canceled on this date due to circumstances beyond our control.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
A Symposium Organized by Xóchitl Bada and A. K. Sandoval-Strausz
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Hometown associations, or clubes de oriundos, are organizations created by migrants and immigrants to allow them to assist the people in their communities of origin.
Friday, September 28, 2018Monday, December 31, 2018
Exhibitions
Free and open to the public
As the grandest international spectacle in a great age of spectacles, the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 captured the public’s imagination through a dazzling array of visual images.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
A Discussion with Daniel Greene
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
What did Americans know about Nazism during the 1930s and ’40s? How did the US government and the American people respond?
Thursday, October 4, 2018
A Lecture by Rebecca Graff
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Lasting for only six months before its structures “vanished,” the 1893 World’s Fair’s permanent impact on American consumer culture, city planning, questions around citizenry and foreignness was deeply tied to and reinforced by its ephemerality.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
A Talk by Gordon S. Wood
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
The great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon S. Wood, discusses his majestic new dual biography of two of America’s most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Music and Stories for Children, with the Lucky Trikes Storytelling Chamber Band
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
In 1893, people from all over the world came to Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition—the World’s Fair!
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Tour the Newberry's Newly Renovated Henry Ives Cobb Building
Free and open to the public; no registration required
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Newberry Library’s move to 60 West Walton Street, to the neo-Romanesque building designed by Henry Ives Cobb.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
A Performance with Commentary
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 was celebrated as a key moment in the cultural life of the city and the nation.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
“Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.” A theatrical reading by professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, directed by J. R. Sullivan.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Joan Marie Johnson
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
How did a group of affluent white women from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries advance the status of all women through acts of philanthropy?
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
A Panel with Paul Durica, Celia Hilliard, and Liesl Olson
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Explore the proliferation of clubs and small arts organizations in Chicago from the 1890s through the 1920s to consider what clubs and “club-ability” contributed to Chicago art and design in the first decades after the Great Fire.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
A fundraiser to benefit the Newberry's collection
We hope you will join us for this year’s Booked for the Evening! Booked for the Evening will give you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact with our librarians and curators, learn about the often unseen work they do, and raise important funds to support the growth, processing, and preservation of the Newberry’s world-class collection.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
A Lecture by Debra N. Mancoff
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
When Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert died in 1861, she swathed herself in black and mourned his loss for the rest of her life. But in her household, Albert was never truly gone.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Colonial History Lecture Series: David J. Silverman
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Take a tour of three Thanksgivings, spread across the centuries, that provide windows into why the Wampanoags have hosted a National Day of Mourning for Native America each Thanksgiving holiday since 1970.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
A Lecture by Ruth Slatter
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
“Sixty-two thousand human beings collected under one roof is of itself a rare, grand, and touching show. As you sat on the benches under Dent’s great clock, which goes solemnly moving on like the visible finger of time, and looked down on the ever-stirring, yet ever-stationery sea of life below, you were filled with a sense of inexpressible awe.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
A Lecture, Demonstration, and Interactive Workshop with Meiver de la Cruz and Erika Ochoa
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
The World’s Fair introduced Middle Eastern belly dance (inauthentic as it probably was) to audiences on the Expo’s Midway Plaisance. Join us to explore the history—and try your hand at—Middle Eastern dance forms in the United States.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
The Wildly Magical World's Fair: A Highly Imaginative Art Activity with Laura Montenegro
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
In 1893, people from all over the world came to Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Join in a unique interactive reading and crafting workshop that will bring to life the Fair and the wonderful mix of cultures it fostered.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
A Lecture by Julia Bachrach
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In the late 1860s, when acclaimed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. visited the site for Chicago’s Jackson Park he did not consider it very promising.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Robert Bruegmann
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America explores and celebrates Chicago’s pivotal role in the development of modern American design.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
A Discussion with Paul F. Gehl and Tanner Woodford, and a Holiday Card-Making Workshop
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Explore the aesthetic and technological dimensions of typography and book design in Chicago, with an in-depth look at the Newberry’s collection of type specimens, book designs, and advertising. Discussion
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Travel to the 1893 World’s Fair through a special conversation on The Joffrey Ballet’s 2018 production of The Nutcracker, set during the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
A Lecture and Demonstration by Lisa M. Snyder
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Reclaim the lost experience of navigating through the White City with this digital visual simulation.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
A Theatrical Reading by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public; registration recommended
Join us for a special holiday-themed morning.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
“O, why should nature build so foul a den, Unless the gods delight in tragedies?” A theatrical reading by professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, directed by Michelle Shupe.
Friday, January 18, 2019Saturday, April 6, 2019
The Life, Writings, and Influence of Herman Melville, Author of Moby-Dick
Free and open to the public
Plan your visit to the Newberry to see the exhibition. For the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth, this exhibition will highlight the many facets of his work, illustrating how he has been perceived and repurposed over the past 200 years.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
A Keynote Address by Nathaniel Philbrick
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Why Read Moby-Dick?, explores the timeless relevance of Herman Melville’s masterpiece.
Saturday, January 19, 2019Sunday, January 20, 2019
Live Marathon Reading of Herman Melville's Masterpiece
Free and open to the public
Join us for an hour, an afternoon or morning, or all night long! To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth, the Newberry Library will host a Moby-Dick Read-a-Thon lasting 25 continuous hours. By the end of the marathon reading, a series of readers-performers will have collectively read Moby-Dick (aloud) cover to cover!
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Chicago Opera Theater Presents a Panel and Performance
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Hear from the artists behind this new opera, which had its world premiere just three years ago at Beth Morrison Project’s PROTOTYPE Festival.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Tera Agyepong and Elliott Gorn
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join us as authors Tera Eva Agyepong and Elliott Gorn explore the tangled history of black children and America’s criminal justice system.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
This performance will be held at Fourth Presbyterian Church
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Nor hath love’s mind of any judgement taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste. And therefore is love said to be a child Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Adina Hoffman
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In Adina Hoffman’s Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures, Chicago becomes its own character. Hoffman writes in detail about Hecht’s years here and his involvement both with the city’s newspapers and with the Chicago Renaissance.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
A gritty realist drama about Irish Americans in one of Chicago’s toughest early 20th-century neighborhoods, in which a cop and a priest collaborate to save a young man at risk. Performed by actors from the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, and directed by Peter Garino.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Brian McCammack
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Situated at the intersection of race and place in American history, Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago traces the contours of a black environmental consciousness that runs throughout the African American experience.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Staged Reading by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
A Shakespearean company puts down their rehearsal sides of Lear and curiously take up those of a new play entitled Moby Dick. On the rehearsal stage of platforms, the teasers overhead suddenly become yardarms with sails and a tall ladder becomes a mast.
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Music by Rudolph Ganz and Friends
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
To celebrate the musical legacy and contributions of Rudolph Ganz (1877-1972), a series of three concerts will take place in 2019. Each concert will have a different program, different performers, and a different location in order to reach new audiences.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Chicago Opera Theater Presents a Panel and Performance
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join the artists of Chicago Opera Theater’s Moby-Dick, the Newberry Library, and the Melville Society in celebrating the 200th birthday of author Herman Melville.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Julia Guarneri and Michael Stamm
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join us as authors Julia Guarneri and Michael Stamm discuss the rise and fall of the printed newspaper, in Chicago and nationwide.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Susan Sleeper-Smith
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, by Susan Sleeper-Smith, recovers the agrarian village world Indian women created in the lush lands of the Ohio Valley.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Colonial History Lecture Series: Alan Shaw Taylor
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
By examining a map made by natives of the Carolina backcountry in 1721, this presentation reveals efforts to understand and adapt to colonial trade and settlement. It explores the contrast between settler and native ways of understanding the environment and intercultural diplomacy. This exchange of view helps to restore native peoples and their diplomacy to center place in colonial history.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
That disease Of which all old men sicken,—avarice. A theatrical reading by professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, directed by Peter Garino.