Proactive collection development is paramount to the Newberry’s mission of serving research in the humanities. Each potential acquisition the library considers is intensely scrutinized with the goal of selecting unusual and evocative books and manuscripts most likely to challenge opinions, expand knowledge, kindle the imagination, and stimulate original research.
Case MS 5326
A sixteenth-century copy of an important work of the greatest female poet of the Middle Ages. In addition to Pisan’s work, the codex contains a miscellany of poetical texts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a number of which have never been edited.
Map 6F G4411 1847 .B7
This printed map is a copy of Mexican General Arista's manuscript map, taken at the battle of Resaca de la Palma. This good luck provided the U.S. with geographic information they had not previously possessed.
Wing ZW 539 .B387
An extremely rare French calligraphic manual, a genre of book for which the Newberry’s collection is of international distinction. No other copy of this work is recorded in an American library. Our copy is currently being studied by a professor from the École des Chartes (Paris).
Midwest MS 38
This manuscript literary journal contains original works and copies of popular fiction. This interesting example of rural literary culture was accompanied by a manuscript diary which was written by a pioneer woman in Wisconsin and Illinois during 1841-1842 who was involved in the production of the Prairie Flower.
Case MS 200
These two manuscript fragments were written in northern Europe (perhaps Switzerland) in the second half of the 10th century. When acquired they formed the outer binding of a 17th century edition of a Jesuit commentary on Exodus, printed in Antwerp and subsequently bound in Berne. Conservation work at the Newberry revealed their highly legible patristic content (visible here), which varies significantly from the standard edition of Augustine's works.
Case MS 5327
An eight-stanza poem submitted for publication in a Baltimore, MD, area newspaper on the liberation from captivity of a certain Hugh Gibson from Indians in Pennsylvania some ten years earlier. An unique addition to the Ayer Collection’s famous holdings of captivity narratives. The events described occurred in 1756-1759.
Determinatio facultatis theologiae in schola Parisiensi super q[uam] plurimis assertionibus D. Erasmi Roterodami.
Wing folio ZP 539 B173
Noel Breda (d. 1536), provost of the Sorbonne, was the author of the document condemning more than 200 propositions drawn from the writings of Erasmus. Erasmus, who closely followed the printing of his works, was an early employer of printed pagination (as opposed to foliation), and Breda in this condemnation accepts this innovation, citing Erasmus’s errors with page references.
VAULT Ruggles 438
Major General Alexander Leslie’s personal copy. Leslie commanded the 63rd and 64th Regiments of British foot soldiers active in North America from before the Boston Tea Party until 1782. This unique artifact is annotated with promotions in rank and by marking certain names “dead,” or “killed,” sometimes including the battle in which they died.