Programs for the Public | Newberry

Programs for the Public

The Newberry organizes and hosts programs illuminating topics in the humanities, through a variety of formats tailored to the subject at hand: lectures, staged readings, music and dance performances, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Some events are part of ongoing series, such as Conversations at the Newberry, Meet the Author talks, Programs for Genealogists, the weekly Newberry Colloquium, and exhibition-related programming; others are signature annual events, such as the Newberry Book Fair and the Bughouse Square Debates. Additional public programming may be sponsored by the Newberry’s Research Centers.

Most Newberry public programs are free. Seating is limited and registration in advance is required for some events; see the individual listings for details.

Upcoming Public Programs

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Meet the Author
A Meet the Author Program
Free and open to the public; no registration required.
Sharp, resourceful, and with a style all her own, Althea McDowell Altemus embodied the spirit of the independent working woman of the Jazz Age.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration required.
This program highlights indigenous concepts of identity and sexuality that surpass standard contemporary gender binaries.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Other Programs
Colonial History Lecture Series
Free and open to the public; no registration required.
Join Jane Kamensky as she speaks about her book A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley. In this bold new history, Kamensky recovers an unknown American Revolution as seen through the eyes of Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Programs for Genealogists
The Genealogy and Local History staff will introduce visitors to the Newberry and explain how to use its collections at an informal orientation. Aimed at researchers new to the library and/or new to genealogical research, the session will last approximately and hour followed by a short tour of the library.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration required.
To mark the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth on June 8, 1867, John Waters will focus his talk on two important written works by Frank Lloyd Wright, and their connections with his built work. The works are “The Art and Craft of the Machine,” presented to the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society in 1901, and Genius and the Mobocracy, published in 1949.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration required
The Newberry Library and the Washington Square Park Advisory Council invite you to come out to the park for a celebration of music on the first day of summer! Our lineup, which will be posted as soon as it’s available, will feature spirited performances around a piano in the park. Limited seating is available in the park, but feel free to bring a chair to relax and join in on the fun!
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Programs for Genealogists
The Genealogy and Local History staff will introduce visitors to the Newberry and explain how to use its collections at an informal orientation. Aimed at researchers new to the library and/or new to genealogical research, the session will last approximately and hour followed by a short tour of the library.
Thursday, July 27, 2017Sunday, July 30, 2017
Other Programs
Free Admission
Don’t miss our annual Newberry Book Fair, one of the largest used book sales in the country.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration required.
At a time when political polarization is driven by the extremes of digital discourse, the Bughouse Square Debates are a public forum where people can encounter new ideas and share their own—in person!
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Programs for Genealogists
The Genealogy and Local History staff will introduce visitors to the Newberry and explain how to use its collections at an informal orientation. Aimed at researchers new to the library and/or new to genealogical research, the session will last approximately and hour followed by a short tour of the library.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Other Programs
Mischief, Rules, and Lessons
Free and open to the public; no registration necessary
This month, join in a unique interactive melange of music and story activities, from long ago through today, from the Newberry collection, including selections from Why Be a Goop?, Tales for Youth, Madlenka’s Dog, and Angry Aardvark to Zealous Zebra: Curious Creatures ABC. We’ll close with a hands-on Musical Instrument Petting Zoo!
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
This fall the Lyric Opera of Chicago, in collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet, is mounting an exciting new production of the 1774 Paris version of Christoph Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
The massive medieval empires of Byzantium and Arabia generated great literature that lasts to our present day. Despite the frequent animosity between East and West, these two cultures were brought into contact by perhaps the least expected of mediators: Jewish merchants whose business spanned from Gibraltar to India.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Other Programs
Wing Foundation Lecture Series on the History of the Book
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
The year 2017 marks the centenary of the death of John M. Wing, the remarkable and eccentric collector whose bequest founded the Newberry’s John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Other Programs
One World, Seen and Unseen
Free and open to the public
This month, join in a unique interactive melange of music and story activities, from long ago through today, from the Newberry collection, including selections from Down-adown-Derry: A Book of Fairy Poems; Aliguq/Alega, an Inuit Story; Alice in Wonderland; and Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Meet the Author
Meet the Author
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
Americans today have a love/hate relationship with France, but in this illuminating new history, Tom Shachtman shows that without France, there might not be a United States of America.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration necessary.
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts …”
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Meet the Author
A Meet the Author Program
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
This remarkable cultural history celebrates the great Midwestern city of Chicago for its centrality to the modernist movement.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
Theologians, philosophers, and church-leaders discuss Luther's “Protestant” reform as a “churchly” event. But it had (and continues to have) enormous consequences in political, cultural,economic, personal, and social life.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Other Programs
Colonial History Lecture Series
Free and open to the public; registration in advance required
Nathaniel Philbrick will speak about his latest book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, which appeared for seven consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been named a finalist for the New England Independent Booksellers Association 2016 New
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Conversations at the Newberry
Brad Gregory and Mark Noll on the Protestant Reformation and Its Continuing Impact
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
In this installment of “Conversations at the Newberry,” Brad S. Gregory and Mark Noll engage in a conversation about the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and its continued impact on today's world.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Meet the Author
A Meet the Author Program
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
Heralded as America’s most quintessentially modern city, Chicago has attracted the gaze of journalists, novelists, essayists, and scholars as much as any city in the nation. And, yet, few historians have attempted big-picture narratives of the city’s transformation over the twentieth century.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Other Programs
Dolls, Toys, and Winter
Free and open to the public
This month, join in a unique interactive melange of music and story activities, from long ago through today, from the Newberry collection, including selections from Debussy’s La Boite au Joujoux/The Toybox; The Children’s Book of 100 Pictures; and Down-adown-Derry: A Book of Ferry Poems. We’ll close with a hands-on Musical Instrument Petting Zoo!
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; please register in advance
History textbooks, once they get over describing the Jesuits as the shock troops of the Counter Reformation, often mention that Ignatius of Loyola wrote a cook called Spiritual Exercises, and that the order ran a lot of schools. Those two aspects of the Jesuit enterprises will be the subject of Professor O'Malley's lecture.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Meet the Author
A Meet the Author Program
Free and open to the public; please register in advance.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has been a part of Chicago since its founding. In very public expressions of indigeneity, they have refused to hide in plain sight or assimilate.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration necessary
“Let me have war, say I: it exceeds peace as far as day does night: it’s sprightly waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible: a getter of more bastard children than war’s a destroyer of men.”
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration necessary
“Never were finer snares for womens’ honesties Than are devis’d in these days; no spider’s web’s Made of a daintier thread, than are now practis’d To catch love’s flesh-fly by the silver wing”
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Other Programs
Free and open to the public; no registration necessary
“ ‘I can see he’s not in your good books,’ said the messenger. ‘No, and if he were I would burn my library.’” A staged reading by professional actors from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, directed by Peter Garino.