About the Newberry 125

The Newberry 125th: Stories of Our Collection

The Newberry 125th: Stories of Our Collection

Welcome to the online edition of The Newberry 125, a gallery exhibition created in 2012 for the library's 125th anniversary. The exhibition highlights some of the most significant sources held in the Newberry’s vast collections.  

In conjunction with the anniversary the Newberry created a 125th anniversary book, with the very similar title of The Newberry 125th: Stories of Our Collection. The book contains the same objects as the exhibition but differs from it, and this online exhibition, by offering extended essays on each object, written by staff and friends of the Newberry with specialized knowledge of the item or items. The print version includes an interpretive essay about history of the Newberry, which has been included in this online exhibition. The other difference between the book and this online edition is organizational. The print edition groups items into nine subject categories that correspond to the library's contemporary areas of collection strength. This online edition, in contrast, organized the sources into five categories (families, politics and commerce, arts and letters, religions, and travel), chosen to emphasize unusual pairings and groupings that cross chronological, disciplinary, and genre boundaries.

Selecting 125 sources for their significance out of the Newberry's 1.5 million books, 15,000 linear feet of manuscripts, half a million maps, and more, required the staff members who nominated items to employ a very capacious definition of "significance." The sources range from invaluable, one-of-a-kind, fourteenth-century Florentine manuscript books to invaluable, mass-produced, twentieth-century baseball cards, and countless objects in between.

We hope this online resource will invite you to explore the humanities at the Newberry.