Programs for the Public | Newberry

Programs for the Public

The Newberry organizes and hosts programs illuminating topics in the humanities, through a variety of formats tailored to the subject at hand: lectures, staged readings, music and dance performances, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Some events are part of ongoing series, such as Conversations at the Newberry, Meet the Author talks, Programs for Genealogists, the weekly Newberry Colloquium, and exhibition-related programming; others are signature annual events, such as the Newberry Book Fair and the Bughouse Square Debates. Additional public programming may be sponsored by the Newberry’s Research Centers.

Most Newberry public programs are free. Seating is limited and registration in advance is required for many events; see the individual listings for details.

Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

Upcoming Public Programs

Friday, January 18, 2019Saturday, April 6, 2019
The Life, Writings, and Influence of Herman Melville, Author of Moby-Dick
Free and open to the public
“Melville: Finding America at Sea” is a free exhibition at the Newberry Library. The show traces the arc of Herman Melville’s life and afterlife through items such as first editions of Moby Dick, rare copies of Melville’s poetry, and a boatload of modern adaptations of the author’s work.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Newberry Colloquium
A Newberry Colloquium
For the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth, this exhibition highlights the many facets of his work, illustrating how he has been perceived and repurposed over the past 200 years.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Newberry Colloquium
A Newberry Colloquium
In the Schilder-Boeck of 1604, Van Mander introduces yellow and vermilion as the brightest and most splendid of all the colors, both being associated, although in different ways, with gold. Whereas yellow and gold share similarities in appearance, vermilion and gold are (al)chemically related since both are believed to be combinations of sulfur and mercury.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Colonial History Lecture Series: Peter C. Mancall
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In the sixteenth-century Atlantic world, nature and culture swirled in people’s minds to produce fantastic images.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Panel Discussion with Illustrative Arias, Chicago Opera Theater
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Hear from the artists behind this new opera, which had its world premiere just three years ago at Beth Morrison Project’s PROTOTYPE Festival.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Free and open to the public. Registration required. Kissed by Lightning, Directed by Shelley Niro “Kissed by Lightning” is a story of woman trying to keep the stories of her late husband alive while also working through her grief and learning to love again. Run time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Music and Stories for Children, with the Lucky Trikes Storytelling Chamber Band
Free and open to the public; registration recommended
Join us for music and stories about the sea, underwater worlds, and adventurous spirits!
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Tera Agyepong and Elliott Gorn
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join us as authors Tera Eva Agyepong and Elliott Gorn explore the tangled history of black children and America’s criminal justice system.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
This performance will be held at Fourth Presbyterian Church
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Nor hath love’s mind of any judgement taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste. And therefore is love said to be a child Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Adina Hoffman
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In Adina Hoffman’s Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures, Chicago becomes its own character. Hoffman writes in detail about Hecht’s years here and his involvement both with the city’s newspapers and with the Chicago Renaissance.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
Book Party for Emily Talen's Neighborhood
Please join us as we celebrate the publication of Emily Talen’s book Neighborhood, which is a critical evaluation of the idea of neighborhood.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
A gritty realist drama about Irish Americans in one of Chicago’s toughest early 20th-century neighborhoods, in which a cop and a priest collaborate to save a young man at risk.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Brian McCammack
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Situated at the intersection of race and place in American history, Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago traces the contours of a black environmental consciousness that runs throughout the African American experience.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
#stillhere, Directed by Desmond Hessing (Oklahoma Choctaw) Short Video Art piece which challenges traditional representations of Indigenous people as being trapped in the past. Run time: 1 minute 20 seconds Nothing about Moccasins, Directed by Eden Mallina Awashish
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Clarence Darrow Symposium: Nina Barrett
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
The 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, and their defense by Clarence Darrow, raised profound and disturbing questions about social class, criminal psychology, morality, justice, and mercy.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Staged Reading by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
A Shakespearean company puts down their rehearsal sides of Lear and curiously take up those of a new play entitled Moby Dick.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
How Maps Reveal (and Conceal) History
Please join us as we celebrate the publication of Susan Schulten’s book, A History of America in 100 Maps. Across five centuries, America has been defined through maps. Whether handmaidens of diplomacy, tools of statecraft, instruments of reform, or advertisements, maps document particular moments in time but also shape the course of history.
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Music by Rudolph Ganz and Friends
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
To celebrate the musical legacy and contributions of Rudolph Ganz (1877-1972), a series of three concerts will take place in 2019. Each concert will have a different program, different performers, and a different location in order to reach new audiences.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
A Symposium Celebrating Completion of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Editors recall 50 years of work on the 15-volume critical edition, The Writings of Herman Melville, and scholars reflect on its significance for textual editing and on Melville studies today. Schedule 9:30 am Coffee and Continental Breakfast in Rettinger Hall
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Panel Discussion with Illustrative Arias, Chicago Opera Theater
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join the artists of Chicago Opera Theater’s Moby-Dick and the Melville Society in celebrating the 200th birthday of author Herman Melville.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Julia Guarneri and Michael Stamm
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Join us as authors Julia Guarneri and Michael Stamm discuss the rise and fall of the printed newspaper, in Chicago and nationwide.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Our Sisters in Spirit, Directed by Nick Printup (Onondaga & Algonquin) Our Sisters in Spirit explores the question of calling a national public inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women & girls in Canada or whether there may be a better approach. Run time: 35 minutes
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Susan Sleeper-Smith
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, by Susan Sleeper-Smith, recovers the agrarian village world Indian women created in the lush lands of the Ohio Valley.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Colonial History Lecture Series: Alan Shaw Taylor
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
By examining a map made by natives of the Carolina backcountry in 1721, this presentation reveals efforts to understand and adapt to colonial trade and settlement.
Monday, May 6, 2019
The Board of Trustees invites you to join the Newberry in honoring Marilynne Robinson for her outstanding contributions to the humanities. Ms. Robinson is the author of Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2005), Home (2008), and Lila (2014).
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Sara Paretsky’s novels, particularly her V.I. Warshawski series, revolutionized the mystery genre, and paved the way for a good many female writers and characters.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, Directed by Cody Lucich “Standing Rock, 2016: the largest Native American occupation since Wounded Knee, thousands of activists, environmentalists, and militarized police descend on the Dakota Access Pipeline, in a standoff between Big Oil and a new generation of native warriors.”
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to the public; registration recommended.
That disease Of which all old men sicken,—avarice. A theatrical reading by professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, directed by Peter Garino.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Wing Foundation Lecture on the History of the Book: Martin Antonetti
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In this lecture, Martin Antonetti will discuss an emerging genre of artists books: printed objects interpenetrated by digital media. These collaborative ecosystems bring poets, technologists, and readers together in visually arresting narrative environments mediated by technology, harbingers of the transit from the age of literacy to the age of visuality.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Schedule 9 am Coffee and Continental Breakfast 9:30 am Introduction to Dance in the Midwest and in the Newberry Collection Susan Manning, Northwestern University, Dance in Chicago
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Conversations at the Newberry
Carl Bialik and Jerry Muller on the Use and Abuse of Data
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
In this installment of “Conversations at the Newberry,” Carl Bialik and Jerry Muller discuss our society’s increasing obsession with quantifying performance in all walks of life: education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid. Have we moved from measuring performance to fixating on measurement itself?
Thursday, November 7, 2019Saturday, November 9, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
1919 was a year of heightened map production around the world. These maps reflect the instability and the idealistic experimentation of a world attempting to solve the problems that had led to four years of devastating war.