The Newberry - Chicago's Independent Research Library Since 1887
  • Between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, the manicule was one of the most common symbols produced for and by readers. Hand-drawn manicules populate the margins of old books and manuscripts as traces of the readers who found depth or lunacy in their pages; today, pointing hands are a staple of marketers going for self-consciously ironic kitsch. The Newberry’s collection, embracing manuscript culture as well as centuries of printing and graphic design, is an ideal place to chart the manicule’s evolution. 

  • Through a wide range of documents and images, Civil War to Civil Rights presents stories of African Americans in Chicago between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries as they reconciled the promise of life in the North with the realities of a city riven by race in its own ways.

  • French Renaissance Paleography, a collaborative digital project led by the Newberry, is a website where scholars and students can practice transcribing a carefully curated selection of over 100 manuscripts dating from 1300 - 1700. Honing this skill expands the research potential of historical inquiries, enabling users to glean fresh insights from the handwritten traces of the past that don’t always receive as much attention as they deserve.

  • Registration for the Winter Term of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminar Program is now open! Each term, seminar instructors facilitate lively classroom debate and discussion in a variety of subjects, from literature and theater to philosophy and religion. Expand your horizons this winter with a course on bookbinding, Italian Renaissance art, the mythic sources of The Hobbit, or any number of other fascinating topics.