Collecting at the Newberry | Newberry

Collecting at the Newberry

Jan van de Velde, Spieghel der schrijfkonste, Amsterdam, 1605 (Wing folio ZW 646 .V544)

The Newberry acquires and preserves a broad array of books, manuscripts, maps, and other materials relating to the civilizations of Europe and the Americas. We focus our collecting on original or primary source materials – such as manuscripts and early editions of printed books and maps – that will be preserved and made available for generations. In doing so, we aspire to enhance the great collection strengths that have been built by curators, librarians, other scholars, and donors throughout the library’s history.

We also selectively acquire secondary literature – scholarly editions of primary sources, reference tools, monographs, journals, and digital resources – in order to facilitate access to and use of our original source materials.

Collection development results from the collaboration of curators, librarians, and other scholars and reflects the continuity and diversity of the collection and its use. We take into account the nature of our existing collection as well as trends in scholarship, the availability of potential gifts, and the marketplaces for library materials.

We build our collection through purchases and gifts, recognizing that each of these modes of adding to the collection has been and will continue to be essential to the Newberry.

If you wish to consult Newberry staff about an area of the collection or are considering a gift of materials to the collection, you are welcome to get in touch with a curator or librarian, listed below by collecting areas. For other questions about Newberry collecting, contact us at

Contacts for Collecting Areas

American Manuscripts and Archival Collections (1700-present)
Martha Briggs
Lloyd Lewis Curator of Modern Manuscripts, (312) 255-3554

Continental European Literature, History, and Culture
Suzanne Karr Schmidt
George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, (312) 255-3645

English History and Literature; History of Printing and the Book Arts
Jill Gage
Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing and Bibliographer of British History and Literature, (312) 255-3635

Alan Leopold
Director of Collection Services, (312) 255-3629

Genealogy and Local History
Matthew Rutherford
Curator of Genealogy and Local History, (312) 255-3671

Maps, Travel, and Exploration
James R. Akerman
Curator of Maps, and Director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, (312) 255-3523

Music, Modern (Post-1700)
Alison Hinderliter
Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, (312) 255-3694

North American History, Literature, and Culture; North and South American Indian and Indigenous Studies; Colonial-era Latin America and the Philippines
Will Hansen
Curator of Americana, and Director of Reader Services, (312) 255-3527

Jo Ellen Dickie
Reference Librarian, (312) 255-3522