Daniel Greene Named President and Librarian of the Newberry Library

Greene portrait

The Newberry Library is delighted to announce the appointment of Daniel Greene as its next President and Librarian.

Greene, who has served as Exhibitions Curator and Historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) since 2014 and Adjunct Professor of History at Northwestern University since 2013, will join the Newberry August 19. At that time, he will succeed David Spadafora, who has led the Newberry as President and Librarian since 2005. Spadafora announced his retirement last June, after which the Board of Trustees set in place a rigorous search process for his successor.

"An accomplished scholar devoted to the public humanities, Danny will propel the Newberry forward with both innovative thinking and a commitment to the mission that has sustained us as an institution over the past 132 years,"said David Hilliard, Chair of the Newberry Board of Trustees. "Danny’s profoundly important work with the Holocaust Memorial Museum is consonant with our own institutional priorities, and we look forward to seeing him further the Newberry’s mission to promote the humanities and forge connections among scholars and between scholars and the public.”

In 2018, Greene curated Americans and the Holocaust, a groundbreaking exhibition examining the major cultural forces—isolationism, xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism—that influenced Americans’ responses to Nazism in the 1930s and 40s. Through Greene’s extensive research and vivid storytelling, the exhibition immersed visitors in a harrowing chapter in American history while illuminating the complex and painful reality of widespread ambivalence toward victims of the Holocaust.

Extending the exhibition’s themes beyond the USHMM galleries, Greene has helped develop educational programming, public events, and web resources for various audiences. He is currently curating a traveling version of the show scheduled to visit 50 libraries across the United States between 2020 and 2022, in partnership with the American Library Association. These efforts reflect Greene’s integrative approach to engaging students, teachers, scholars, and lifelong learners across platforms and using history as a lens for understanding the present.

Prior to his arrival at USHMM, Greene spent several years on staff at the Newberry, serving as Director of the library’s Scholl Center for American History and Culture and then as Vice President for Research and Academic Programs. In these previous roles at the Newberry, Greene oversaw its fellowships program, developed digital resources for scholars and teachers, and curated Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North, a major 2013 exhibition in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art.

"It is a privilege to return to the Newberry, a world-renowned institution whose ideals related to truth, access, and historical inquiry align so closely with my own,"said Daniel Greene. "I look forward to building upon the Newberry’s success while seeking to expand its role as a hub of learning and discovery for all.”

Greene is the author of The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism: The Menorah Association and American Diversity, which was awarded the Saul Viener Prize by the American Jewish Historical Society. He is also the co-editor and co-author of Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North, the companion text to the exhibition he curated at the Newberry.

Greene earned his PhD in history from the University of Chicago and his BA from Wesleyan University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Greene will inherit the leadership of an institution that has just completed its second comprehensive fundraising campaign this decade, as well as a major renovation of its first floor.