Ephemera are traces of the everyday—materials, usually printed, designed to be read or consumed in some way and then discarded. From bus tickets to party invitations, dance cards to advertisements, these items form the texture of social and commercial exchange.
As a collection of Americana, the Edward E. Ayer Collection is one of the best in the country and one of the strongest collections on American Indians.
The collections contain extensive materials on the history of Chicago and the Midwest, including its growth, politics, and eclectic inhabitants.
A collection rich in printed and manuscript sources from 1300 to 1800, with strengths in Western Europe and the Americas.
The Newberry’s collection on the history of printing and the book arts is one of the world’s leading collections in its field.
From the Stacks
Dance cards, known as programmes du bal in French or Tanz-karten in German, are small booklets used mainly by women at formal dances to record their dance partners. Popularized in Vienna in the nineteenth century, dance cards continued to be used throughout the early twentieth century.
On June 18th, 1860, Elizabeth Packard was taken from her home in Manteno, Illinois, and placed in an asylum—without trial or a thorough assembly of evidence to support her institutionalization. Packard’s husband was a devout Calvinist who felt threatened by his wife’s outspoken opposition to his religious views. To silence his wife and protect his reputation, he arranged for Elizabeth’s confinement, which lasted three years.