Explore five centuries of journeys across the globe, scientific discoveries, the expansion of European colonialism, conflict over territories and trade routes, and decades-long search and rescue attempts in this multi-archive collection dedicated to the history of exploration.
Digital Resources by Type
Explore the Newberry through online collections, exhibitions, and publications.
All Digital Resources
American Indian Histories and Cultures is a deep and wide ranging selection of visual and textual resources related to Native American culture and history. Taken from the Newberry Library’s Edward E Ayer Collection, one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of American Indian history, the resource provides documents, images, context, and insight into American Indian culture and history, the European settlement of the Americas, and the interactions between the two groups. *Access to this subscription database is available on-site through any of the Newberry’s public computers.*
American Indian Newspapers aims to present a diverse and robust collection of print journalism from Indigenous peoples of the U.S. and Canada. Explore over more than 9,000 individual editions from 1828-2016, and discover how events were reported by and for Indigenous communities.
The story of the American West has exerted a powerful influence over the psyche of the modern world, helping to fashion senses of national identity as well as permeating literary and cinematic culture. The Graff collection is a unique resource which will allow scholars to explore all of these subject areas in great detail. *Access to this subscription database is only available on-site through any of the Newberry’s public computers.*
The materials displayed here represent important periods in the intertwined histories of American Indians and the European and American settlers who began to arrive in the region in the late seventeenth century. The archival materials presented reveal a story of change and continuity; a necessary paradox for American Indians.
This exhibition presents an overview of the Mexican Revolution as a historic event in which individuals, groups, and social classes pursued diverse goals to achieve political, economic, and social change. It also highlights several definitive political and military moments during the Revolution, as well as the people who witnessed and shaped it.
The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a reference work designed to provide information about the creation and boundary changes of every county in the United States, from the earliest county creation in the 1600s to 2000.
This virtual exhibition is based on The Aztecs and the Making of Colonial Mexico, a display of original manuscripts, books, and other materials at the Newberry from September 28, 2006 through January 13, 2007. The virtual exhibit includes the complete text from the original gallery exhibit and digitized images of many of the manuscripts and books that were displayed.
This exhibition highlights the ways in which architectural books were developed from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries to display the military and political power of European rulers and states.
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.
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) was one of the largest and most significant railroads in the United States, controlling transportation over much of the nation between the Rockies and the Mississippi River. This gallery features images of materials from the CB&Q Archives - letters, reports, photographs, maps, drawings, posters, and more - relating to these and other subject areas and topics. It is intended to introduce researchers to the collection’s diverse content and to direct them to relevant materials via links to the online inventory. Essentially, the gallery serves as a visual subject index to the records.
ChicagoAncestors is a project of the Genealogy and Local History section of the Newberry. The project is intended to help genealogists and local historians discover and share historical information about Chicago.
The Newberry’s collections contain extensive research materials relating to the history of Chicago and the Midwest, including their settlement, growth, politics, and eclectic inhabitants. Featured here is a selection of digitized items that explore the history of the Windy City and its surrounding area. This digital collection of artworks, books, maps, photos, and other items will grow as we continue to make these primary source materials freely available online.
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.
Building on a strong history of documenting social and political activism in Chicago and the Midwest, the Newberry seeks to collect an enduring record of the many individual expressions of people participating in public demonstrations in Chicago, or Chicagoans participating in such events elsewhere.
This online exhibition honors the memory of James M. Wells, longtime custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library.
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.
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.
Creating Shakespeare explores how Shakespeare–contrary to Ben Jonson’s famous phrase–was both of an age and for all time, through an examination of how he created his works.
The Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection is widely regarded as the largest public collection of postcards and related materials in the United States. When received at the Newberry Library it was estimated at 2.5 million items, and well over a half-million unique postcard images.
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.
In the winter of 1904-1905, Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect and future co-author of the Plan of Chicago, traveled to the Philippines.
Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom are thematic collections of primary source documents selected from the Newberry’s extensive holdings.
This exhibition explores the life and reign of Elizabeth I, examining how her unique personality was forged and why her legend has endured.
From the earliest days of print, authors, artists, and printers looked for new ways to combine words and images together to bring lessons and ideas to a wide range of audiences. One of the most popular innovations in this vein was the emblem book, which began to appear in the second half of the sixteenth century.
Through this online resource, readers of the Encyclopedia of Chicago can navigate a broadly metropolitan place and history.
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.
The “Everywhere West” digital exhibit is based on an exhibition staged at the Newberry August 10 to October 16, 2010. It contains a selection of unique black-and-white photographs portraying the lives of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad workers and the communities spawned by the company’s sprawling rail network.
The Foreign Language Press Survey is a collection of translated newspaper articles that were originally published in Chicago in languages other than English between the 1860s and the 1930s.
This exhibit traces the emigration of French Canadian populations to the Midwest. Following some key French Canadians like Pierre Menard and Father Chiniquy, this project looks at the influence they had over time and how French Canadian settlements developed in the Midwest throughout the Nineteenth century.
The French Renaissance Paleography site is a self-help tool that presents over 100 carefully selected French manuscripts written between 1300 and 1700, with tools for deciphering them and learning about their social, cultural, and institutional settings. Users can practice transcribing the documents, and also page through a dozen historical calligraphy books and view a half-dozen historical maps.
By combining image galleries and original scholarship, this exhibit explores how central North America first became known as the “Frontier” and eventually as the “Heartland.”
Historic photographs by Helen Balfour Morrison from her multiple trips to African American communities in Kentucky during the 1930s and 1940s.
Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms is a resource for teachers and students developed by the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography.
Featuring items from the Newberry and other institutions, this resource presents a multi-national journey through well-known, little-known, and far-flung destinations unlocked for the average traveler between 1850 and the 1980s. *Access to this subscription database is available on-site through any of the Newberry’s public computers.*
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the US Civil War and in conjunction with the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Newberry Library mounted the exhibition, “Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North” in September of 2013. This online exhibit features images of around 100 objects which highlight the enormous toll the war took on civilians.
This digital resource examines the ways books were written, designed, printed, and marketed for schools in Renaissance Italy.
This exhibit displays excerpts from over twenty illuminated manuscripts that span the century 1450 to 1550.
On “Indians of the Midwest,” you can explore important issues, learn how to do further research, and gain an introduction to the research methods that underlie scholars’ findings.
Digital versions of printed material that exemplify the Newberry’s core collection strengths. This growing digital collection is particularly rich in books relating to Chicago genealogy and history and French Revolutionary War era pamphlets.
Explore how devotion, marketing, art, and typography came together to support public religion, in this collection of Italian religious broadsides.
Based on an exhibition originally mounted at the Newberry, this website explores how two histories, that of the United States and that of Indian peoples along the expedition route, came together two hundred years ago and how they remain intertwined today.
In the form of original scholarship and images, this exhibit charts the political and personal course of Lincoln’s views leading up to and during his presidency.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes, spanning the centuries and the globe – especially when expressed on paper.
This web resource critically examines the historical place and impact of Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett’s landmark 1909 Plan of Chicago within the wider development of visions of the American metropolis.
Featuring archival documents and contextual essays on the literature of Chicago in connection with the unique urban, economic, and cultural history of the city, this collection includes items from Arthur Conan Doyle, Kate Chopin, Ben Hecht and many others.
In this exhibit, the Newberry offers a glimpse at its splendid printed sources that relate to the last great queen of France.
This online archive and companion to the study, interpretation, and educational use of American maps of movement features more than 500 images of maps and accompanying text drawn from the extensive collections of the Newberry Library, from the European explorers’ maps to modern aviation cartography.
This exhibit provides an overview of exploration and early European cartography from 1534-1710.
Hometown associations, or clubes de oriundos, are organizations created by migrants and immigrants to assist people in their communities of origin. The Mexican Hometown Associations Oral History Project preserves the work and life of 23 leaders of these associations in the Chicago area.
This digital collection features selections from the Newberry’s Modern Manuscripts, which date from the mid-18th through the 20th centuries.
Uncover everyday life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and turn turn handwritten documents into searchable digital resources available to the public and scholars world-wide!
Including digitized primary sources from the Newberry’s collection, contextual information, and discussion questions, this site features curricular resources to integrate the study of America’s religious diversity into introductory courses across the humanities.
This exhibit is meant to encourage civic engagement with the struggles over democracy and citizenship, which have occupied Chicagoans for the duration of the city’s political history.
Photographing Freetowns: African American Kentucky through the Lens of Helen Balfour Morrison, 1935-1946
Helen Balfour Morrison (1900-1984), a white photographer from Chicago’s North Shore, traveled at least three times over a decade to Kentucky’s Inner Bluegrass region to photograph African Americans of the rural freetowns or hamlets surrounding Lexington.
This exhibition displays French pamphlets published from about 1600 to the French Revolution, they form the foundation for current and future scholarly projects.
This resource introduces the great polyglot Bibles of the early modern period. These editions of the Bible displayed multiple translations side-by-side and are monuments to early modern religious devotion, scholarship, and craftsmanship. Through this resource, you can learn more about their creation and use.
In an effort to make the Popol Vuh more widely available and reduce non-essential handling of the text, the Newberry has worked with Ohio State University to make this invaluable text available through this online resource.
Send an e-greeting to a friend with vintage postcard images from the Newberry’s digital collections.
This online Pullman Collection contains more than 1,600 Pullman Company car drawings, ca. 1870-1969.
This exhibit situates Pullman within a broad narrative, exploring how the neighborhood illuminates the centrality of labor, race, and urban development in the history of industrial America.
This exhibition explores the 125-year evolution of the Newberry, from its first en bloc acquisitions and initial steps in fulfilling Walter L. Newberry’s mandate for a “free public library,” to the renowned research institution and “center for the humanities” that it is today.
Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 explores the intersection of religion and print culture during the early modern period.
This exhibition presents Renaissance editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy from the John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Dante Collection at the University of Notre Dame, together with selected treasures from the Newberry Library.
This exhibit reminds us that the revolution in Haiti may be as powerful a reminder of local organization against unjust political practices as the French Revolution ever was.
To mark The Bard’s birthday—April 23—and celebrate his work, the Newberry partnered with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago to host a small but spectacular exhibition featuring more than 40 items from the three institutions. It focused in part on Henry V, the first play performed—on the roof of the Red Lion Pub—by Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The Bible was at the heart of religious change between 1450 and 1700. Through the images and texts on this interactive map, you can learn about some of the Newberry’s most important Bibles and gain a sense of how the different editions shaped religion, intellectual culture, identity, politics, and language in ways that continue to resonate today.
Giovanni Merlo’s large-scale engraved map displays the rich diversity of religious life in early modern Venice. This interactive site allows you to explore the Venetian landmarks, minority enclaves, churches, convents and monasteries, processions, and printing centers.
This interactive map will help you understand what early modern people called the “Luther Affair” (causa Lutheri). Through publications from the Newberry collection, the debates between Luther and his Catholic opponents come to life again. You can see how these writers used the printing press to share their vision of Christianity with a public that hung on their every word.
Uncover the history of private religion by transcribing and translating early modern religious manuscripts.
Translating French History, 1500-1850, presents a gallery of student translations drawn from the Newberry’s collection of French pamphlets.
In this exhibition you will see a small sample of rare and special books on religion, published from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries that the Newberry collected over the last two decades.
This resource allows users to listen to a range of compositions reflecting the diverse vocal manifestations of early modern music.
The summer of 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Chicago, Europe, and the Great War draws on the Newberry’s collection to tell the story of Chicago’s many and varied connections to the conflict. Chicagoans reported and commented on the war, fought in it, supported it, and protested against it.
The World War I titles in the Driscoll Collection provide a superb cross-section not only of the music industry but of the contributions made by hundreds of “kitchen table” musicians during the war. The covers and contents reflect the public perceptions of and responses to America’s evolving relationship with this international military conflict between 1914 and 1918.
World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions showcases a diverse range of primary source material to represent the origination and planning of fairs, the experience of visiting them, and the physical, cultural, and political legacies they leave behind. *Access to this subscription database is available on-site through any of the Newberry’s public computers.*
This timeline allows users to visualize the process by which European missionaries sought to learn and utilize languages entirely new to them. Featuring a variety of books, pamphlets, and images, Writing the Voices of the Americas reveals the persistence of indigenous languages and the diversity of native religious practices that often became intertwined with Christian rituals.