Robert A. Holland has made a generous gift to endow the position of Curator of Maps at the Newberry Library. The gift ensures that the Newberry will continue to make its world-class collection of historic maps available to scholars, teachers, students, and members of the public as well as to augment the collection with new acquisitions for years to come. The position will now be known as the “Robert A. Holland Curator of Maps.”
“We are deeply grateful to Bob Holland for his dedication to the Newberry and especially for his support of our Curator of Maps position,” said Newberry President and Librarian Daniel Greene. “With this gift, the Newberry will be able to extend its long-standing commitment to our collection in maps, travel, and exploration, ensuring that all library users can engage with this growing collection as well as with our expert staff.”
Mr. Holland joined the Newberry’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and became Chair in January 2023. Throughout his years of service on the Board, he has promoted the use of maps in the study of history, culture, and society. This gift reflects his deep appreciation for the educational value of maps, as well as his commitment to the long-term success of the Newberry.
"It was maps that first drew me into the library,” noted Mr. Holland. “I soon learned of the Newberry’s other world-class collections and that these holdings support a vibrant institution’s promotion of the humanities. I am honored to contribute to these efforts.”
The Newberry's map collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Hundreds of thousands of maps, atlases, travel ephemera, and other materials document a range of cultural and historical developments, including European exploration; colonization; the westward expansion of the United States; and the impact of the railroad and the automobile on travel, tourism, and American identity.
Users may access this collection for free at the Newberry and online through the library’s growing digital collections. Fellowships for scholars, classes for adult learners, and professional development seminars for teachers provide additional opportunities for engaging with the collection.
“As primary sources, maps tell us so much about how humans have understood their place in the world at different moments in time,” said Robert A. Holland Curator of Maps David Weimer. “At the Newberry, we put maps at the center of a variety of activities designed to enrich our users’ understanding of the past. Mr. Holland’s support is critical for making these activities possible.”