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.

When Chicago steel magnate Everett D. Graff walked into Wright Howes’ bookshop on Michigan Avenue in the 1920s he sparked one of the most important friendships in the book world.

Thousands of striking photographs were commissioned for Granger Country: A Pictorial Social History of the Burlington Railroad (1949), published in honor of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s centennial. Only a small portion of the photos made it into the book; the rest languished in unpublished obscurity until their discovery, decades later, in the Newberry’s unprocessed twentieth-century CB&Q archives.

Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom are thematic collections of primary source documents selected from the Newberry’s extensive holdings.

Through this online resource, readers of the Encyclopedia of Chicago can navigate a broadly metropolitan place and history.