The Newberry religion-related collection focuses on original source material and printed editions from Western Europe and the Americas, spanning the late Middle Ages through the early twentieth century.
The collection’s special strengths include:
Sermons, devotions, and controversial literature
Including Christian sermons and sermon collections of all periods and language traditions, prayerbooks, and other devotional literature from Europe and the Americas. Religious publishing and censorship are also widely represented.
Church history and canon law
Including serial publications; materials on the Roman, Spanish, and Spanish American Inquisitions; holdings on utopian communities; and family papers.
Theology, doctrine, and liturgy
Including strong holdings of early modern sources for religious learning; medieval and Renaissance manuscripts containing liturgical and paraliturgical texts; and materials on American liberal Protestant thought.
Sacred music (well-represented from the Middle Ages through the nineteenth century)
Including liturgical manuscripts and printed books from Europe and the Americas, and hymnals, songsters, shape-note books, and sheet music.
Scripture and scripture commentaries
Including many rare and significant bibles, in many languages.
Missionary efforts (especially in North America, Latin America, and the Philippines)
Including sources by and about the Jesuits, and books in American Indian languages used for teaching Christianity.
Reform and Reformation
Including religious and political tracts, pamphlets, and pedagogical works in numerous European and non-European languages; both Protestant and Catholic materials, from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.
- Recusancy: Books, pamphlets, literature, and manuscripts written by and about English Catholics between 1559 and 1829.
- Jansenism: Original sources for this heterodox Catholic movement, primarily in French and Italian.
Antislavery and abolition
Including printed holdings on British and American antislavery efforts from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, and materials in the Modern Manuscripts collection.
Hebraica (especially manuscripts and early printing, from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century)
Religion in Chicago
Including the papers of prominent ministers, published sermons, denominational periodicals, annual reports of religiously-inspired reform associations, libraries of a number of Protestant and Catholic seminaries, and records of numerous Chicago churches, cathedrals, synagogues, and other houses of worship.
Rare book collections (from religious institutions in the Chicago region)
In recent years the Newberry has acquired rare books from Mundelein College, the Passionist Monastery of Chicago (Northside), the Divine Word Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary, the Catholic Theological Union, Concordia University, and the Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Albert the Great. These collections are rich in patristics and early modern theological and devotional literature.