Religion | Newberry



The Newberry religion-related collection focuses on original source material and printed editions from Western Europe and the Americas, spanning the late Middle Ages through the early twentieth century.  Religion-related materials can be found in both General and Special Collections, including all formats and named collections.  For more detailed information on the topics within the Religion collection, see the Core Collections Description page.

You can use this guide for information on Searching the Catalog, Modern Manuscripts and Ephemera, Reference Sources, Further Reference Sources, and Digital Resources.

Searching the Catalog

To find primary and secondary sources related to religion in our collection, you can search by Subject in our Primo VE catalog using the “Advanced Search” function to the right of the search bar. Select “Subject” in the drop-down menu of search features in place of “Any field,” then copy-and-paste one of the following subject headings:




Devotional literature

To search for Christian and Jewish Bibles:

Bible. Old Testament.

Bible. New Testament.


Church history - [country]

You can also search for a particular religion, sect, person, type of publication, or event:

Example:  Jainism

Example:  Mormon church

Example:  Jesus Christ

Example:  Prayers

Example:  Inquisition

To search for a particular religious collection acquired by the Newberry, search by the name of the former owner followed by “Collection (Newberry Library)” as an Author search:

                Example: Concordia University (River Forest, Ill.) Collection (Newberry Library)

                Example: Mundelein College Collection (Newberry Library)

If searching by subject does not yield sufficient results, you can also search by keyword or use Boolean (string together multiple keywords with “and”). Results can be filtered by Material Type, Language, Date, Author, Title, etc. prior to searching by using the drop-down menus in the search panel. If your search produces too many options, you can also narrow results using the faceted options on the left-hand side, under the heading “Refine your results.” Clicking on one of these filter terms or the box to their left will limit results to only those that fit this criterion, while clicking on the red box to the right of the term will exclude those results. For more information about searching in our online catalog, please see our Guide to Primo VE.

Modern Manuscripts and Ephemera

To find modern manuscript materials and ephemera related to religion, you can search by keyword or keyword phrase, much like a Google search. 

To browse the modern manuscript collections related to religion, go to the Modern Manuscripts and Archives search page and use the “Browse by Topic” function.

Reference Sources

The Newberry has a wide range of reference sources related to religion.  In the print reference section on the 3rd floor you will find encyclopedias of both a broad and narrow scope, bibliographies and catalogs to help you locate sources both at the Newberry and in other institutions, and books that help provide a context between religion and everyday life, both past and present.

For those items listed as on the 3rd floor Reference shelves, you might also consider looking at the call numbers around those books, since there should be materials dealing with similar topics nearby. All items with a “Ref” call number can be viewed on the open shelves on the 3rd floor. General and Special Collections items must be retrieved by staff.

The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Call Number: Ref DS35.6 .C3.

Encyclopaedia Judaica. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA in association with Keter Pub. House, 2007. Call Number: Ref DS102.8 .E496 2007.

Encyclopedia of Religion. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. Call Number: Ref BL31 .E46 2005.

Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010. Call number: Ref BL2520 .E52 2010 volume 1-4.

Hirschfelder, Arlene B. Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction. New York: Facts on File, 2000. Call Number: Ref E98 .R3 H73 2000.

Further Reference Resources

Recusant Collection:

In 1970, the Newberry purchased a collection of more than 1,400 recusant works (books, pamphlets, literature, and manuscripts written by and about English Catholics between 1559 and 1829) from the antiquarian book dealer Ben Weinreb in London. The Newberry’s Rare Book Cataloger at the time, Bernard E. Wilson, maintained a separate card file of all materials acquired in this purchase, and this is available as a PDF file.

Printed Bibles:

The Newberry Library has a large collection of Printed Bibles from the Early Modern Period, which you can find in three separate lists.  These lists are available as pdf documents.

Printed English Bibles

Printed French Bibles

Printed Latin Bibles

Chicago Church and Synagogue Records:

While not an exhaustive list of churches and synagogues that have ever existed in Chicago, this pdf guide will help locate records and resources in the Newberry’s collection and at other institutions.

Digital Resources

The Newberry offers a number of digital resources, including online exhibitions, classroom resources, and digital collections.  These resources showcase digital images of materials from the Newberry’s collection, as well as provide background information and context for these materials.

Out of Many: Religious Pluralism in America

Including digitized primary sources from the Newberry’s collection, contextual information, and discussion questions, this site features curricular resources to integrate the study of America’s religious diversity into introductory courses across the humanities.

Religious Change, 1450-1700

Religious Change, 1450-1700 is a multidisciplinary project exploring how religion and print challenged authority, upended society, and made the medieval world modern. The project is generously supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Treasures of Faith

In this exhibition you will see a small sample of rare and special books on religion published from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries that the Newberry collected over the last two decades.

Popol Vuh (Wuj) Online (from Ohio State University)

In an effort to make the Popol Vuh more widely available and reduce non-essential handling of the text, the Newberry has worked with Ohio State University to make this invaluable text available through this online resource.