Associated Colleges of the Midwest: Research in the Humanities | Newberry

Associated Colleges of the Midwest: Research in the Humanities

Students have a chance to engage with archival materials hands-on in collection workshops.

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest offers a semester-long fall research seminar to select undergraduates. Taught at the Newberry by visiting faculty from renown liberal arts colleges, the seminar topics change every year but are always drawn from the Newberry’s core collections. Examples of past seminars are: Nature, Culture, and the Metropolis (2017), Going & Knowing: Travelers and Travel Writers in the Modern World (Fall 2018), and One For the Books: Pleasures & Politics of Reading (Fall 2019).

The upcoming Fall 2022 Seminar is Food for Thought: Cooking, Eating, and Drinking in Chicago and will be taught by Rosemary O’Neill and Laurie Finke of Kenyon College. For information on how to apply, please visit the ACM website.

Since 1966, the ACM-Newberry Seminar has connected students with the Newberry’s collections and enabled them to develop their own archival research skills and practices. This work begins with faculty-led seminar conversations and curator-guided collection presentations, and then culminates in the students’ own independent research projects. This immersive archival experience requires the development of an article-length paper and a research presentation. Integrated into the learning experience of this program is an internship program that brings students closer to the Newberry’s scholarly community and the work of the broader institution.


In addition to the seminar, students have the opportunity to work at the Newberry Library. These paid internships not only offer valuable career experience, but are a great chance for students to engage with the library in a professional setting. While internship opportunities vary from year to year, past internships have included placements in the Conservations Lab, Office of Public Engagement, Special Collections Reading Room, Scholarly Seminars Program, and Exhibitions Department. These experiences are an integral part of the learning experience of the Newberry ACM seminar and provide another way in which students learn about non-profit administration, library and archival science, academic research, and public humanities programming.

Student Life

Students live in an apartment in Chicago’s Gold Coast, a vibrant neighborhood a short walk away from the Newberry Library. When they aren’t in the library, ACM students are exploring the diverse city-life Chicago has to offer. You can find them eating the best hand-shaven noodles in Chinatown or catching a late-night show of Improv Shakespeare or taking advantage of the Art Institute’s free admission on Thursday nights or simply spending an afternoon lounging at the beach, admiring the beauty of Lake Michigan. There’s no shortage of things to do outside of the library, and students are encouraged to make the most of their Chicago experience.

How to Apply

For information regarding costs, housing, and application procedures for the Fall 2020 Seminar, see the ACM Newberry Seminar webpage or call the ACM office at (312) 263-5000.

Examples of Past Student Research Projects

  • “‘Justice’ for our ‘Red Children:’ White Perceptions of the Sauk and Meskwaki Nations in Literature and Academia from the Louisiana Purchase to the Present Day” – Thomas Teasdale, Grinnell College (ACM 2018)
  • “Self-Perception in 20th Century American Circus Memoir” – Ellen Ward-Packard, Oberlin College (ACM 2018)
  • “Matchbooks and Mass Culture: Social Messages, Inequalities, and Conflicts in 1940s America” – Herbert Dittersdorf, Kenyon College (ACM 2017)
  • “Where be Dragons? Nature and Medieval Monsters” – Ben Ludgin, Lake Forest College (ACM 2017)
  • “Imagined Savagery: Imperial Perceptions of Native Americans within Late-Victorian British Adventure Fiction” – Jacob Kowall, College of Wooster (ACM 2015)
  • “Theology, Gender, and Heresy in Late Medieval France” – Meredith “Maisie” Iven, Coe College (ACM 2015)
  • “The Bard in Chicago: A Cultural History, 1838-1934” – Theodore R. B. Nollert, Rhodes College (ACM 2015)