Category Archives: News and Announcements

Digital version of French pamphlets exhibition is online

J'attends la tête de l'assassin Louis XVI (Case Wing DC137.08 .F73 v. 3 no. 5)

The digital version of the Newberry Library‘s recent exhibition, Politics, Piety, and Poison: French Pamphlets, 1600-1800, is available online. This exhibition features four major collections of French pamphlets processed as part of our cataloging project. For those who were unable to see the exhibition during its run at the Library and for those who would like to pay another visit, enjoy the show!


Public program on French history this weekend at the Newberry

Join us at the Newberry this Saturday, February 23, at 1:00 pm for a public program offered in conjunction with the exhibition Politics, Piety, and Poison: French Pamphlets, 1600-1800.  The program and exhibition both highlight the four major French pamphlet collections cataloged through our project.  I will talk about the cataloging project and some highlights of the exhibition.  Joining me will be two Chicago-area scholars of French history, Ellen McClure and Yann Robert, who will discuss their recent scholarship.  We hope to see you there!

Delving into French History from the Sun King to the Revolution

Pamphlet on the execution of Louis XVI
Pamphlet on the execution of Louis XVI
An Exhibition Program
Saturday, February 23, 2013

1 pm

Ruggles Hall

Think contemporary American political debate is vicious? Our experience is mild compared with seventeenth and eighteenth-century French political infighting, a period famous for royal claims to divine right and for regicide. The Newberry holds the best pamphlet collection in North America on French politics and religion, much of which has been cataloged recently, which means that individual pamphlets appear in the library’s online catalog and are more accessible to readers. Join UIC scholars Ellen McClure and Yann Robert, and Newberry librarian Jessica Grzegorski as they discuss some of the most vigorous debates of this period, fought with the seventeenth and eighteenth-century version of twitter: cheap, ubiquitous pamphlets and broadsides.

This program is offered in conjunction with a Newberry exhibition, Politics, Piety, and Poison: French Pamphlets, 1600-1800, which highlights the completion of a major grant-funded project to catalog a majority of the library’s French pamphlet collection.

Ellen McClure is Associate Professor of History and French and Francophone Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She studies seventeenth-century literature, politics, and religion, with a focus on the Sun King, Louis XIV.

Yann Robert is Assistant Professor of French at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He examines the intersection of literature, justice, and politics in eighteenth-century France, with a particular focus on the theater of the French Revolution.

Jessica Grzegorski is Senior Cataloging Projects Librarian at the Newberry and co-curator of the Politics, Piety, and Poison exhibition.

Cost and registration information:

This program is free and no reservations are required.

Spotlight Exhibit on French pamphlets opens!

We are pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition highlighting the French pamphlet collections cataloged as part of our project: the French Revolution Collection (FRC), Louis XVI Trial and Execution Collection, Saint-Sulpice Collection, and Collection of publishers’ prospectuses, catalogs, and other materials.  Politics, Piety, and Poison: French Pamphlets, 1600-1800 is one in a series of Spotlight Exhibits curated by Newberry Library staff that highlight a diverse range of items in the Library’s collection.  The exhibition closes April 13, 2013.  For those who are unable to visit, an online version of the exhibition is in the works.

Politics, Piety, and Poison: French Pamphlets, 1600–1800

Case FRC 16228, La guillotinne
Case FRC 16228, La guillotinne
Monday, January 28, 2013 to Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hermon Dunlap Smith Gallery

This exhibition displays French pamphlets published during the transitional period from the Ancien Régime to the French Revolution. They served as modes of dissemination and diversion, teaching tools and educational models, and the foundation for current and future scholarly projects. The exhibition focuses on the ways in which these pamphlets complement and enhance the Newberry’s other vast collections of primary sources documenting early modern European culture and the history of printing. The Newberry’s outstanding collection of French pamphlets was recently cataloged through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Mixing and matching

Because our work is progressing so swiftly and efficiently on our French pamphlet collections, we have begun to catalog two additional collections at the Newberry, which up to this point had only been cataloged at the collection level.  The special strengths and backgrounds that our project team members bring to the table have allowed us both to maximize the efficiency of the project while maintaining an exceptional level of quality in our catalog records and to begin to process additional collections of scholarly importance that match their skill sets.

As both Jennifer D. and Shawn mentioned in previous posts below, they have begun to catalog the Howard Mayer Brown Libretto Collection (BLC), a collection comprised mostly of Italian and French opera libretti from the 16th to the 20th centuries bequeathed to the Newberry in 1993 by noted musicologist Howard Mayer Brown.  As musicologists, they are the ideal candidates to catalog this collection, which complements the Newberry’s large music collections.  Just as with the French Revolution Collection (FRC) and the Saint-Sulpice Collection, Shawn and Jennifer submit their cataloging work for a peer review.  For BLC, however, they submit their work to each other rather than to other members of the project team.  Because of their music knowledge, they are very familiar with helpful bibliographies and other reference sources and are able to bounce ideas off each other.

Pamphlet from the Pamfletten-Verzameling (not yet cataloged)

Pamphlet from the Pamfletten-Verzameling (not yet cataloged)

The other collection that we recently added to our project is the Pamfletten-Verzameling, a collection of 1,600 primarily Dutch pamphlets published between 1574 and 1849 and bound into 45 volumes.  Most deal with the history of the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia, and especially with the relations between the Netherlands and England in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The pamphlets published during the late 18th century in particular are an essential complement to the French Revolutionary pamphlets in FRC.  Many of these pamphlets–such as the example pictured here, whose title translates in English to Europe Before the Bar of Justice, or, The Triumph of France –were published in French or espoused many of the revolutionary political ideas of the French Revolution.  This collection highlights the interconnectedness of all of European politics through many turbulent centuries.

David is the primary cataloger for this collection.  His facility with languages and adeptness at cataloging “bound-with” volumes are valuable assets.  He honed his skills cataloging bound-withs–volumes in which two or more separately published items have been bound together–with his fine work on cataloging the Saint-Sulpice Collection and assisting with other cataloging projects.  David’s work on collections of cartographic and travel materials have exposed him to plenty of publications in Dutch and German.  In order to ease into the Dutch language, he is cataloging this collection starting with the most recent publications and working back to the earliest.  In this way, he can avoid dealing with difficult Gothic typefaces present on older pamphlets until he has grown more accustomed to the Dutch language.

Stay tuned for more project management insights, cataloging banter, and new discoveries from all of our pamphlet collections.

Center for Renaissance Studies Blog

The Newberry’s Center for Renaissance Studies has posted the first entry on their new blog!

They plan to post every two weeks, with entries on  thoughts about
upcoming or recent Center programs; items in the Newberry collection of special interest to those involved in medieval, Renaissance, or early modern studies; or profiles of scholars coming to the Newberry to present talks or pursue research in those areas of study. More frequently, we will also post announcements of upcoming events, application deadlines, and so forth.

The Center for Renaissance Studies has been a good friend to the CLIR French pamphlet project. They helped to describe the scholarly significance of the collections for our grant; they have publicized our job openings and were key in helping us find some of our wonderful Cataloging Assistants; they have invited us to talk with their French paleography institute; and they will be key in planning a series of lectures and an exhibit highlighting materials discovered in the French pamphlet collections when we are finished cataloging.

Welcome to the world of blogging!


Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography at the Newberry Library

The deadline for applications for the Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography at the Newberry Library is coming up soon!

The Institute is hosted by the Newberry’s Center for Renaissance Studies and will run from Monday, July 2, 2012 to Thursday, July 26, 2012. The course,  directed by Marc Smith, École Nationale des Chartes, Paris, will examine French manuscripts and archival materials from the 13th to the 17th century. Professor Smith will provide a summary outline of the history of handwriting in France, followed by intensive training in reading from facsimiles, both in class and at home. Students will become familiar with the development of handwriting as well as further aspects of written communication in the late-medieval and early-modern period.

In July 2010, the last time the Institute was held, our CLIR staff attended a brown bag lunch to talk about our work and the collections.

Application deadline: March 1, 2012

For more details, visit the Center for Renaissance Studies.



Newberry to Host ACLS Public Fellow!

Earlier this month, the Newberry learned that we were one of the thirteen organizations selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to host a fellow in the second competition of the Public Fellows program.  Congratulations to CLIR for being another!

I am especially excited about the news for two reasons.

First, my experience working with the catalogers on the French pamphlets project has been outstanding. I’ve learned so much from the scholars, recent graduates, MLIS students who have worked with us as Cataloging Assistants. I’m looking forward to meeting the ACLS Public Fellow who wants to come explore the Newberry and working in a library.

Second, the Newberry’s Public Fellow will be hired as the Assistant Director of the newly established Department of Digital Initiatives and Services and I’ve recently been asked to help establish that department and serve as its Interim Director. I’ll be busy very for the next year since I will continue my work work with the CLIR project and with several other cataloging projects already underway. I’m very lucky to have such a talented cataloging team in place to help during the transition and I can’t wait to get an equally indispensable Digital Initiatives team together!

Here are a few details (and links to more information) about the program.

The ACLS Public Fellows program will place 13 recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring. The program, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy.

The Newberry is in the midst of multiple ongoing, technology-based activities, including developing a digital asset management system, determining how to manage and preserve born-digital assets, producing digital publications and online exhibitions for scholarly and general audiences, and more. The ACLS Public Fellow/Assistant Director of Digital Initiatives and Services will be involved with all of these developments and will play an instrumental role in helping to conceive an integrated digital strategy for research and learning in the humanities.

For more information, please visit: and

The application deadline is March 21, 2012 (6pm EDT). Applications should be sent to ACLS, not to the Newberry Library. All questions from candidates must be addressed to ACLS and not to the organization to which they have applied.

The Public Fellows Program is administered by the American Council of Learned Societies and information regarding the application process can be found on their website.  We kindly request that you direct any inquiries to ACLS.

New film on Marie Antoinette to open Berlin film fest

Jacquot’s ‘Queen’ to open Berlinale – Entertainment News, International News, Media – Variety.

New year, new collection

Engraving from Saint-Sulpice Collection (not yet cataloged)

We recently started to catalog the Saint-Sulpice Collection, the fourth and final collection that we will process as part of our French pamphlet cataloging project.  The Newberry Library purchased this collection, comprised of more than 2,500 pamphlets, in 2003.  Compiled and conserved by the Sulpicians of Paris in their seminary library over the course of nearly 200 years, the items in the collection date from the early 16th to the early 19th centuries.

Funeral oration from Saint-Sulpice Collection (not yet cataloged)

Comprised almost entirely of biographical materials, the collection includes funeral orations, epitaphs, death notices, commemorative verses, and éloges, collected as tools for teaching oratory, rhetoric, and other valuable skills to seminarians.  Around 1830, the individual pamphlets were bound into 124 volumes with distinctive green vellum spines and red spine labels.  The pamphlets are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the person described, ranging from princes and statesmen to nuns and abbesses to intellectuals and orators.  Well represented are celebrated orators of the 17th century, such as Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Esprit Fléchier, Louis Maimbourg, Jules Mascaron, and Claude-François Ménestrier.  Equally notable are first editions of short works by Guillaume Budé, Molière, and Blaise Pascal.

Volumes from Saint-Sulpice Collection (not yet cataloged)

While most of the pamphlets are in French and published in Paris or provincial locations in France, several are also in Latin, Italian, or German, and published in other European cities.  Notable among these is a funeral oration for Tycho Brahe.

Perhaps the most fascinating characteristics of the Saint-Sulpice Collection have to do with its provenance.  It is brimming with manuscript material, whether full manuscripts (original texts or copied from published works) or detailed manuscript annotations on published works.  Some controversies and events were meticulously researched.  For example, a series of annotated pamphlets on the decision of the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne to ban Sister María de Agreda’s Mystical City of Godpresents a contemporary and uncommonly rich account of the publishing history of a controversial religious work.  The Saint-Sulpice Collection is sure to enrich many avenues of scholarship in religious studies, literary history, and the history of publishing.

Printed and manuscript material from Saint-Sulpice Collection (not yet cataloged)

Everywhere West

All of us at the CLIR French Pamphlet Project blog are excited to welcome  Everywhere West, the Newberry Library’s most recent blog!  Everywhere West  chronicles the processing progress of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company records and features images and items from the collection. The project is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.