American History and Culture

Le Cours du Missisipi ou de St. Louis, 1718
Nicolas de Fer. Le Cours de Missisipi... 1718. map6F G4042 .M5 1718 .F4.

Every period of American history—from New World encounters to the Civil War to the Chicago literary renaissance and beyond—is well represented in the Newberry’s collections. Over many decades of collection development, the Newberry has built up an extensive array of archival materials, monographs, periodicals, ephemera, and rare, idiosyncratic works. For materials from the mid-eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, see Modern Manuscript Abstracts.

The Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture promotes research in the Newberry’s collections in American History, Literature, and Culture, including its seminar series across an array of disciplinary fields. Additionally, Newberry librarians have compiled Research Guides containing bibliographies, checklists, and other resources to aid in research.

Subject strengths include:

Published descriptions of the Newberry’s collections in American history and culture are listed in American History – Publications about the Newberry Library Collections. Please call the reference desk at (312) 255-3506 with questions on our holdings, or Contact a Librarian with research questions.

Digital Resources

Below is a list of related digital resources.

In text and images, this exhibit explores the inner workings of daily life for circus performers under the Big Top.

Today most Americans remember the War of 1812 for inspiring Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.” Many of the conflict’s most familiar events—the battle of New Orleans, impressment of American sailors into the British Navy, and the British assault on Washington.

In partnership with the Chicago Genealogical Society, the Newberry has provided full-text searchable PDFs of volumes 1-39 (1969-2007) of the Chicago Genealogist.

This project aims to provide a more complete understanding of the complex nexus of issues, events, and people that contributed to the causes and effects of the Civil War.