The Newberry houses over 800 Modern Manuscript Collections (post-1700 to the present), primarily American, totaling about 15,000 linear feet. They include single manuscripts, collections of personal papers, corporate records, and collections of printed materials, such as ephemera, organized according to archival methods. The collections include text, audio and video, photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, and digital materials.
The Edward E. Ayer Collection contains over 1,350 single manuscripts and manuscript collections documenting the American Indian dating from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries.
The Everett D. Graff Collection contains 462 single manuscripts and manuscript collections dating mainly from the 19th century and relating to the exploration, settlement, and development of the country west of the Mississippi River.
The Midwest Dance Collection, centered on Chicago, consists of the Ann Barzel Dance Research Collection and the papers and archives of over 80 dancers, journalists, choreographers, dance companies, schools, festivals, and dance advocacy groups.
The Midwest Manuscript Collection contains over 600 collections focusing on Chicago and the Midwest from the early 19th century to the present. Subject strengths include the arts, business, Civil War, clubs and organizations, family papers, journalism, literature, music, politics, railroads, religion, social action, theater, and women.
The Newberry’s own comprehensive archives document the history of this 125-year-old independent research library and its engagement with the city.
The John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing holds nearly 1,000 post-1700 manuscripts, 400 of which are related to calligraphy. The Wing Modern Manuscript Collection includes the papers and archives of over 60 individuals and firms involved with printing and publishing in Chicago and elsewhere.
To discover Modern Manuscript Collections:
- Search or Browse all Modern Manuscript Collection Abstracts (summary descriptions of almost all collections, often with links to more detailed online inventories and collection-level catalog records)
- Search for Modern Manuscripts in the Online Catalog (catalog records describing individual manuscript items or collections, often with links to more detailed online inventories)
- Search across online inventories and digital collections in Chicago-area repositories using Explore Chicago Collections, maintained by the Chicago Collections Consortium.
- Search across the online inventories and catalog records of many Modern Manuscript Collections throughout the United States via ArchiveGrid.
There are approximately 2,000 post-1500 European manuscripts at the Newberry. Lists of post-1500 manuscripts are available in French, Italian, English, and Portuguese. Many more European manuscripts, in these and other languages, are listed in the Online Catalog.
Please call the reference desk at (312) 255-3506 with questions on our holdings, or Contact a Librarian with research questions.