Author Archives: The University of Chicago Library

Dialogo: Social sciences faculty members’ favorite sections of the Library

New faculty 2017
Dialogo – Fall 2017/Winter 2018

Launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library

The Changing Nature of Scholarship

The advent of digital technology has opened up new horizons that have inspired scholars to transform the nature of their scholarship. From the rapid analysis of a human genome to the sharing of social science data sets to data mining vast quantities of text—scholars are continually developing new digital approaches to creating, analyzing, and sharing their research.

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

While digital scholarship activity among the University of Chicago faculty is growing, this new kind of scholarship comes with a challenge. Researchers must master a dizzying array of computational tools and techniques, they must think about how to manage their data in ways that can be used by other researchers, and they must find solutions for archiving and sharing their data that meet the increasingly stringent requirements of funding agencies. As faculty and students increasingly incorporate computational and algorithmic methods (e.g., text mining, network analysis, GIS and geo-spatial mapping, image analysis, data analysis) into their research process, they are looking for partners to provide the technical and human resources necessary to support their research activities, foster innovation, and facilitate cross-divisional collaboration.

Digital scholarship encompasses all parts of this new life cycle of digital research, from the changing ways in which scholars collect and analyze data to their increased interest in new techniques for preserving and sharing that data. The Library is a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and the home of a great deal of expertise on archiving and sharing information. Accordingly, we are preparing to enhance our offerings and collaborations with faculty in each segment of this life cycle.

Envisioning a Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library

Faculty tell us that “a substantial barrier to the adoption of computational and digital methods at the University of Chicago has been the isolation of faculty members from colleagues who are experimenting with similar techniques. . . . A physical space designated for such inquiry could help bridge this knowledge gap by providing an environment in which to explore the application of these techniques, receive hands-on training through tutorials or workshops, and benefit from informal collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.”

To meet this need, I am pleased to announce that we are beginning the work of launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library, which will become a new nexus for intellectual energy and growth, providing a space that will support state-of-the-art technologies and services that facilitate the exploration of new methodologies, the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, and the sharing of research results.

Establishing such a transformative center at the Library will require identifying high priority needs and thinking creatively about how to resource those needs. Thanks to the generosity of Robert, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, we will soon be able to hire a Director for the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) who will develop a strategic vision, begin to build services, and coordinate with existing library staff. Our new CDS Director will jumpstart the process and position us to pursue additional funding to support a full suite of services. I am grateful to the Nelsons for their early support of the Library’s digital scholarship initiatives.

We are now beginning a search for this Director and look forward to having this position filled in the coming months. As the Center develops over time, we expect that we will be able to facilitate a wide range of activities. Possibilities fall into three categories.

  • Scholarly Exploration and Collaboration. A combination of intellectual programming (symposia to host international scholars, tutorials, brown-bag presentations, workshops, faculty lectures), services (project consultation, data archiving), and technology (scanning equipment, workstations equipped with GIS and other specialized software) will make the Center a hub that brings faculty, students, and scholars together in ways that spark interactions and facilitate cross-divisional collaborations.­
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Training.  Faculty turn to the Library as a partner to supplement classroom instruction with workshops, targeted training, and onsite training by embedded librarians who can teach the skills necessary for students to succeed. In addition to supporting initiatives across campus to develop courses and programs that integrate new computational methods and theories into a wide range of disciplines, the Library has partnered with UChicagoGrad to provide fundamental digital scholarship skills needed by graduate students to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.
  • OCHRE database screenshot

    The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

    Project Incubation and Execution. The Center for Digital Scholarship will provide services, such as project consultations, data acquisition and conversion, workshops in tools and techniques, and core technical infrastructure.  Researchers would benefit from guidance on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work and from assistance by staff with the experience and networks that can facilitate project components that are new to the researcher. Examples of such projects are the Library’s collaboration with Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck on the location and digitization of 19th-century manufacturing data and with the Oriental Institute’s David Schloen on the OCHRE database system.

I look forward to being joined by the new Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship, who will collaborate with colleagues within the Library and across campus to develop a vision for the Center and plan for the rollout of services critical to digital research and teaching projects of many kinds.

 

Librarians and faculty collaborate on digital scholarship

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty work with Library experts

Professor Hornbeck points to digitized census page during discussion with Kathleen Arthur and Sherry Byrne

Professor Hornbeck (center) discusses the digitization process for the Census of Manufacturers with Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur (right) and Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty across the University of Chicago campus are rapidly adopting and inventing new digital tools and techniques. Whether they seek to analyze 19th-century American manufacturing, the ruins of the ancient walled city of Sam’al, or the transmission history of Hamlet, UChicago scholars and students are employing new digital approaches to gathering, analyzing, preserving and sharing their data and scholarly findings. As they do so, Library staff members with expertise in everything from digitization to GIS to digital data curation and archiving are developing innovative ways to collaborate with faculty to advance digital scholarship.

Gathering and digitizing data from the Census of Manufacturers

The U.S. Census of Manufacturers has the potential to be an internationally recognized resource, Professor of Economics Richard Hornbeck explains—as important for academic research as the census data on individuals available currently through IPUMs and Ancestry.com. Conducted every decade from 1850 to 1900, the Census of Manufacturers gathered firm names, product types, production quantities, and values for every establishment producing more than $500 worth of manufactured goods. Census takers also collected input data on capital stock, raw materials, power source, wages, and employment. If combined into a machine-readable format in one accessible location, the complete census data would become a powerful tool for understanding 19th-century manufacturing across the United States and in specific regions.

And yet, up to this point, the establishment-level data has never been accessible to researchers in one location. The Census Bureau has compiled and published county-level and county-by-industry summaries, but the firm-level data has been scattered across the country in different archives, libraries, and historical societies, in formats ranging from original handwritten records to microfilmed copies. That will change for data from 1850 to 1880, thanks to a collaborative digitization effort now underway, led by Professor Hornbeck, who has enlisted a team of professional and student research assistants, as well as Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian; Kathleen Arthur, Head of Digitization; Emily Treptow, Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction and Outreach; and Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for IT and Digital Scholarship.

The project began in 2016. Early on, Hornbeck approached Treptow, Byrne, and Arthur with questions about how to digitize microfilm, including more than 100 rolls that Vanderbilt Professor Emeritus Jeremy Atack had been storing in his basement and more than 90 rolls located at a dozen archives, libraries, and historical societies across the country from the New Hampshire State Archives to the University of Arkansas and the Center for Research Libraries.

Although Hornbeck and research professional Julius Luettge located most of the microfilm themselves, the trusted relationships that the University of Chicago Library has established with other research institutions enabled Byrne to borrow and oversee the digitization of items that would not have been released to an individual researcher.

The Library’s experts have also advised on numerous matters along the way, such as how to create high-quality scans of manuscript materials and good metadata. “A project of this nature could easily be overwhelming,” Hornbeck said. “It’s great to have library professionals watching over this.”

Other faculty members pursuing complex digitization projects like this one are invited to contact the Library to discuss the possibility of collaborating. “Researchers benefit from guidance from Library staff on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work,” explained Long. “We can facilitate project components that are new to researchers.” Such cooperation has left Professor Hornbeck with more time to focus on analyzing his data. He is currently working with Martin Rotemberg at NYU to examine the substantial growth in American manufacturing from 1850 to 1880 and to estimate how the expanding railroad network impacted manufacturing productivity.

UChicago faculty, students, and staff working on the digitization of the U.S. Census of Manufacturers include, from left, Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne, undergraduate research assistants Anselm Jia and Guozhen (Gordon) Ji, research professional Andrea Cerrato, Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow Richard Hornbeck, research professional Will Cockriel, undergraduate research assistants Gyeom Kim and David Ardila, and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Teaching GIS

Taylor Hixson describes her job as “helping anyone who is new to the field of GIS.” Brought on board as the Resident Librarian for Geographic Information Systems in Fall 2016, she helps faculty and students find data sources and advises faculty on how they can organize, preserve, and share their geographic data with others: for instance, by creating metadata, by depositing data in the University’s digital repository, Knowledge@UChicago; and by making data accessible through the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal at geo.btaa.org.

Hixson maintains office hours in the Maps Collection in Regenstein Library, offers GIS workshops throughout the academic year, and assists individuals by appointment. She also provides customized training for students in particular classes upon faculty request.

Last year, Susan Burns, Associate Professor of Japanese History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, contacted Hixson as she was planning the GIS components of a course on Edo/Tokyo: Society and the City in Japan. Burns’s class attracted everyone from first-year College students to second-year graduate students, who entered with diverse backgrounds in Arc-GIS and historical research methods. Hixson was able to provide training for students at all levels.

After each of four class periods devoted to introducing basic Arc skills, Hixson held review sessions for students who wanted more help. She also worked individually with students on using the Esri Story Map platform for their final projects, mapping everything from schools to bathhouses to public protests. “Many students expressed to me how grateful they were for Taylor’s help, and of course, I am as well,” Burns said.

Hixson’s first year at the Library has proven that there is demand for GIS Services from faculty and students across schools and divisions. The demonstration of this need has confirmed the Library’s decision to hire a GIS and Maps Librarian who will continue to develop the Library’s GIS program.

OCHRE and the Library’s infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services

When archaeologist David Schloen and database specialist Sandra Schloen began working to create OCHRE—the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment at the Oriental Institute—they knew they wanted to design a customized user interface to record, integrate, analyze, publish, and preserve texts from the Ancient Near East, including some of the most difficult ancient languages to model in a database environment. To fulfill their vision, they needed a partner who could provide an infrastructure that would power their project.

Map view of OCHRE interface

The map view interface in OCHRE, showing Tell Keisan excavation locations. (Courtesy of Miller Prosser)

The Schloens turned to Charles Blair, Director of the Digital Library Development Center, and ever since he has led the Library team that hosts OCHRE’s high-performance database system as it has grown to support roughly 30 projects in fields from philology to archaeology to history. Each has its own framework for organizing data that is tailored to the needs of the project. One project currently underway, Critical Editions for Digital Analysis and Research (CEDAR), will provide a single software environment where scholars can trace textual variants and explore the transmission of major literary traditions. Initial test cases will be the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, the Sumerian copies of the Gilgamesh Epic, and the various early printings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Blair and a Library Unix systems administrator, Fred Seaton, maintain the OCHRE database server and advise on archival procedures for the curation of project data. “Deeply rooted in the library tradition, Charles has a watchful eye on the future and is committed to helping the OCHRE Data Service devise and implement strategies to ensure the long-term viability and accessibility of our data,” said David Schloen, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

“Charles and the Library are natural partners for the Schloens on the OCHRE Data Service because we all share a commitment to providing services and features that satisfy the full cycle of data management,” explained Long. Blair had already led the Library team that built an infrastructure to support Library databases such as the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the Special Collections Finding Aids, and other University projects such as the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) and a collection of digital images for teaching, LUNA.

“OCHRE was able to leverage our existing infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services, and we would be happy to provide the same type of service to other University of Chicago faculty and staff who have their own development teams but need an infrastructure for their interface,” explained Blair.

OCHRE database screenshot

The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

New librarians exploring new frontiers

The Library is taking numerous steps to expand its staff expertise and its work in digital scholarship in the coming months and years. Library Director and University Librarian Brenda Johnson recently announced the imminent launch of a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library. In addition to hiring a Director for this new Center and a GIS and Maps Librarian, the Library is preparing to hire a Social Sciences Data Librarian, a Scholarly Communication Librarian, and a Biomedical Data Librarian who will increase the Library’s capacity to provide innovative digital research and teaching services. The Library is also proposing with the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago to bring on board a two-year Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow who would focus on building the understanding and infrastructure necessary for managing data critical to the study of energy, environmental science, and climate change.

One of the services open to UChicago faculty in every field is Knowledge@UChicago, a digital repository that preserves and shares the scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of the University. Faculty are encouraged to deposit their scholarly articles and small data sets at this time, and plans will soon be made to expand the repository’s capacity when the new Scholarly Communication Librarian joins the Library. Visit knowledge.uchicago.edu for more information.

An early taste of legal research launches careers

D’Angelo Law librarians give College and graduate students their first exposure to legal research

For almost 15 years, librarians from the D’Angelo Law Library have been teaching a seminar on legal research for undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in using legal resources or considering law school or other legal careers. D’Angelo Law Library runs the seminar in coordination with the UChicago Careers in Law (UCIL) program and has expanded the course in recent years to include a legal writing component. This past Spring Quarter, 29 students signed up for the six-week seminar, which included units on case law research, statutory and administrative law research, and using secondary sources, in addition to legal writing and oral communication. The research segments were taught by librarians Thomas Drueke and Todd Ito, and legal writing was taught by Bill Chamberlain, Program Director of UCIL.

Students who have participated in the seminar have reported that the classes provided a good preview of what legal research is like in law school and in practice. Kyle Panton, AB’14, JD’17, took part in the seminar in 2013 and said it helped him decide whether to go to law school: “As an undergrad, quality opportunities to learn about what lawyers experience on a day to day basis can be hard to come by.” Panton went on to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School earlier this year and will be starting work at a law firm in New York City this fall. “I would highly recommend the seminar to any students who think that they may be interested in practicing law, or who think they may want to pursue a career where knowledge of how to conduct legal research may be a boon,” Panton added.

Seferina Berch, AB’14, said that, in addition to helping her decide whether to attend law school, “the seminar helped guide research for my BA thesis, which had a historical legal focus, and helped me get a 1L internship on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.” Berch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School this May and starts work as an associate at the law firm Sidley Austin, LLP in New York City this fall.

UChicago students interested in taking this course in Spring 2018 can sign up through the Career Advancement Office.

Digitized campus publications open a century of University history and debate to researchers

The Daily Maroon, October 1, 1902 (page 1)

October 1, 1902, seemed an auspicious day to the staff of the new University of Chicago student newspaper, the Daily Maroon. Its writers took great pride in a number of historic events occurring that day: the launch of their paper; the opening of the new Law School; the start of autumn quarter, featuring the largest attendance in University history to date; and even the prospects for “a successful and satisfactory foot-ball season.”

But in addition to conveying school pride, page 1 also reports on the controversies associated with student life. The founding of the Daily Maroon as “a self-supporting student activity” rather than a university-funded entity is reported to have occurred only after extensive debates among faculty, administration, students, alumni, and the owner of a preexisting literary magazine. And an article on autumn quarter registration reports that a newly segregated registration process—with women in Cobb Hall and men in the Press Building—had become “the subject for conjectures among the students as to whether or not it was a forerunner of separate instruction.”

Sexual segregation cartoon

Sexual segregation cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1903 (page 17).

Digitized copies of the first 20 years of the Daily Maroon have recently been added to the University of Chicago Campus Publications website. Launched in April 2017, the Campus Publications site allows researchers to readily explore history from 1892 to 1995. Beginning at launch, the site provided digital access to four periodicals: Cap and Gown, the College yearbook; the University of Chicago Magazine, the official alumni publication; Quarterly Calendar, an early omnibus publication; and the University Record, its successor.

Other campus publications, such as the Maroon, are being added on an ongoing basis as digitization continues, and additional issues of the Maroon are expected to be added over the coming academic year. Because Maroon student reporters covered campus events of all kinds, even when other press did not, the Maroon’s accounts of lectures by visiting scholars, faculty academic debates, and arts performances are sometimes the only surviving historical record.

Outgoing dean hands "grand master" key to incoming dean

The cover illustration of outgoing Dean Gerhard Casper handing the “Grand Master” key to incoming Dean Geoffrey Stone was drawn by David Rothman, JD’62. The Law School Record, vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1987)

By visiting campub.lib.uchicago.edu, members of the UChicago community and researchers around the world can conduct a simultaneous keyword search of all of the publications on the site, using an interface built and maintained by the University of Chicago Library. As a result, researchers can sometimes rapidly access the distinct voices and perspectives of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and guest lecturers as they engage with the vital issues of the day. One example can illustrate the point: “sex segregation”—as alluded to in the first issue of the Daily Maroon—was a vital subject in the early 20th century, and the University briefly experimented with separate instruction for first and second year male and female undergraduates. A search for the word “segregation” on the site turns up more than 100 citations for the decade 1900-09, often connected with sex segregation. Searches on other topics such as war or urban renewal uncover campus debates and involvement in topics of vital local, national, and international importance.

The Law School’s scholarship repository, Chicago Unbound at chicagounbound.uchicago.edu also serves as a home to many historical publications and other materials of interest to the campus community, alumni, and outside scholars. Developed by the D’Angelo Law Library and the Law School’s Communications Department and launched in 2014, Chicago Unbound includes PDFs of all issues of the school’s alumni magazine, The University of Chicago Law School Record, from its original publication in 1951 to 2017. The site also makes available all issues of the Law School’s Announcements back to 1903-1904. An essential resource on the Law School’s history, the Announcements includes course descriptions and information on the faculty and administration. Chicago Unbound also has video and audio recordings for three notable lecture series: the Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lectureship in Legal History, the Coase Lecture in Law and Economics, and Chicago’s Best Ideas. The D’Angelo Law Library will continue to build Chicago Unbound as a digital repository for researchers to uncover the Law School’s past.

The Law School Record, vol. 35, no. 1 (Spring 1989), cover

Chicago Unbound provides access to some of the innumerable debates that have been central to the life of the Law School throughout its history. In the Fall 1999 issue of the Law School Record, for example, Law School faculty, deans, and alumni are shown to take pride in representing opposing parties in important cases “that unsettle precedent, fire policy debate, and advance new lines of legal analysis” on subjects ranging from anti-gang loitering ordinances to bankruptcy law to the constitutionality of same-sex marriage (Fall 1999, page 8).

UChicago faculty, students, staff, and everyone interested in University of Chicago history are encouraged to visit Campus Publications and Chicago Unbound to explore other campus debates and historic moments.

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium connects researchers, archives, and communities

The BMRC moves to the Library, updates its summer fellowship program, and welcomes a new executive director

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) has settled into its new Library home. Housed at the University of Chicago, the 12-year-old BMRC is a consortium of more than 20 libraries, universities, and other archival institutions that hold materials documenting African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago. In the summer of 2016, the BMRC moved from the Provost’s office to the University of Chicago Library, where shared goals of community engagement and facilitating access to research collections have created a dynamic partnership.

Summer Short-term Fellowship Program

Left to right, first row: Ashlie Sandoval (Fellow), Ruby Mendenhall (Fellow), LaVerne Gray (Fellow), Anita Mechler (BMRC Project Manager/Archivist), Sonja Williams (Fellow); Second row: Steven Adams (BMRC Board Chair), James West (Fellow), Misty De Berry (Fellow), Leroy Kennedy (BMRC Board Trustee Emeritus), Douglas Williams (Fellow). (Photo by Jean Lachat)

The BMRC’s flagship Summer Short-term Fellowship Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, engages doctoral candidates, postdoctoral scholars, artists, writers, and public historians from the United States and Europe to better formulate new historical narratives of Chicago’s African American past based on research collections housed at BMRC member institutions. It offers one-month Chicago-based residential fellowships to scholars chosen through an international competition. Starting in 2015, the BMRC introduced a cohort model, soliciting proposals on a few specific subjects in order to foster a community-focused environment for the Fellows and to increase interaction among those working on related subjects. This year’s focus was Design, Urban Design, and Architecture and drew scholars from institutions as close to home as Northwestern and the University of Chicago and as far away as Berkeley, Howard, and the University of Birmingham. From the evolution of food deserts to the impact of public housing architecture on communities, the BMRC 2017 Summer Fellows delved into Chicago-area archives for insight into the history of Chicago’s African American community.

In addition to creating opportunities for scholars and artists to conduct primary research in Chicago-based archival repositories, the goal of the Summer Short-term Research Fellowship Program is to engage the local Chicago community in the history of their city. Therefore, Fellows are asked to present their preliminary findings at one of several evening events at venues across the city. In 2017, presentation events were hosted at the Chicago History Museum, the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University, the Union League Club of Chicago, and the Stony Island Arts Bank of the Rebuild Foundation. Topics such as “Staging Equity: The Evolution of Carceral Architecture in African American Communities in Chicago” and “Chiseling, Welding, and Painting: A Chicago Landscape’s Casting of a Black Artist” drew audiences of roughly 50 people each and provided an opportunity for lively discussion.

New Executive Director Andrea Jackson

Photograph of Andrea Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium

Andrea Jackson

In September, the Library welcomed Andrea Jackson as the new executive director for the BMRC. Jackson comes from the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, where she received a 2016 Library Leadership Award. She has experience acquiring, preserving, and making accessible the historical legacy and records of African Americans and has experience with a broad range of constituencies that will inform the development of engaging programs. This background will be invaluable as the BMRC undertakes a strategic planning process to map out future goals and initiatives.

Featured gifts to the Library

Art deco print by Edouard Benedictus

Edouard Benedictus. Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches. Gift of Jerome V. Frazel, AB ’83, and Nancy H. Wilder in honor of Joanne K. Frazel and Frank and Margaret “Peg” Hickey

The University of Chicago Library greatly appreciates gifts of books, archives, manuscripts, photography, electronic media, and art that create invaluable research and learning opportunities for our scholarly community. In 2016-17, the Library was honored to receive donations in a wide range of fields that strengthen our collections. In addition to the notable John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier, a selection of these rare and unique items include the following:

  • Edouard Benedictus. Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches.  Paris: Aux Éditions Albert Lévy, Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, [1928].  A set of 20 art deco prints of decorative motifs in the original portfolio.  Two were featured in the summer 2017 exhibition Art in the Stacks: Selections from Special Collections. Gift of Nancy H. Wilder and Jerome V. Frazel, AB ’83, in honor of Joanne K. Frazel and Frank and Margaret “Peg” Hickey
  • More than 100 volumes, mainly 16th- and 17th-century works from a personal research library on Renaissance history and culture. Gift of Michael Murrin, the Raymond and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
  • Sanskrit puranas; 160 volumes of traditional printed books; 18 boxed volumes of books printed in manuscript format, called pohti; 18 books in manuscript format wrapped in fabric, the traditional way of holding unbound texts together. Gift of Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions

    Cyrus Leroy Baldridge. Portrait of Caroline Singer Baldridge, ca. 1952. Oil on canvas. Gift of Michèle and Bronson Hall in memory of Frances and J. Parker Hall, Jr., PhB ’27, University of Chicago Treasurer, 1946-1969

  • The Lawrence Okrent Collection. Approximately 27,000 aerial photographs by Lawrence Okrent of Chicago and the surrounding region, dating from 1985 to 2015; approximately 5,500 (ground level) architectural photographs by Lawrence Okrent of significant sites and buildings in Chicago and the region, dating from 1968 to 2015; approximately 2,200 postcard images of Chicago subjects, dating from about 1910 to 1965; and approximately 700 corner cards: commercial envelopes with imprints of Chicago Business logos (including many with architectural content), dating from about 1880 to 1950. Almost all of the images in the collection are digital in origin, or have been digitized from the original film images. Gift of Lawrence Okrent
  • Historic collection of materials related to the Hall family, including a letter sweater and other student memorabilia of University of Chicago Treasurer James Parker Hall, Jr., PhB’27; historical monographs and fine arts books including La Fontaine and Lemarié, Fables, and Villon and Hubert, Oeuvres; and illustrated books by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge and Caroline Singer with a framed oil portrait of Singer by Baldridge. Gift of Michèle and Bronson Hall in memory of Frances and J. Parker Hall, Jr., PhB ’27, University of Chicago Treasurer, 1946-1969

We thank all of our donors who contributed special gifts last year.

Tableau: ‘Browsing the library stacks led to a book and a career’

Linguistics for laypeople: How browsing the library stacks led to a book and a career
Tableau – Fall 2017

Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago

Exhibition Dates: September 25 – December 15, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Socialist Revolution poster

“Long Live the Worldwide Socialist Revolution,” undated. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Samuel N. Harper, the first American scholar to have devoted a career to the study of Russia, was a first-hand witness to Russia’s revolutions of 1905 and 1917. An avid collector, over four decades, Harper built a unique archive that provides a street-level view of many of the historic events of the period. Broadsides, handbills and pamphlets attest to a long war of ideas—and to a decisive battle for explanatory power in the months leading up to the Revolution.

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the exhibition also draws from other archives in Special Collections, including materials documenting the development of revolutionary print culture in the USSR, the spread of revolutionary ideas and methods from Russia to the Far East and to the streets of Chicago, and anti-revolutionary texts such as the fraudulent, anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Together they allow us to trace visual genealogies from the political satire of the post-1905 period to the mortal derision of Stalinist propaganda in the 1930s and the HUAC hearings of the 1950s.

Curators (from University of Chicago unless otherwise indicated): Robert Bird, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies; Christy Brandly, Ph.D. student in Political Science; Monica Felix, graduate student in Comparative Literature; Erin Hagood, student in the College; Austin Jung, Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature; Zachary King, Ph.D. student in Russian Literature; Zdenko Mandusic, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University; William Nickell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Claire Roosien, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Department of History; and Kaitlyn Tucker, PhD student in Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Related Events

Socialist poster

“Here and There and Everywhere We’re Building Socialism!,” 1930. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition: Revolution Every Day
September 14, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60637

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this exhibition immerses visitors in the distinct textures and speeds of everyday life that arose—and have lingered stubbornly—in the wake of revolutionary upheaval. Revolution Every Day juxtaposes works of Soviet graphic art—primarily posters from the 1920s and 1930s, many by female artists such as Valentina Kulagina—with works on video and film, including excerpts from Dziga Vertov’s documentary films from the 1930s, post-Soviet videos by artists like Olga Chernysheva, as well as a new commission by Cauleen Smith.

Humanities Day—Guided Tour of Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago
October 21, 12–1 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Trace the worldwide spread of revolutionary and anti-revolutionary media and ideas through rare printed sources. Professor and co-curator William Nickel leads a tour of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 as it was waged through broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals, and posters.

Registration: This tour is full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email humanities@uchicago.edu.

Revolutionology Workshop: The Bolshevik Contagion
November 3–4
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

Presenters at this two-day workshop, the first in a series sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium research project Revolutionology: Media and Networks of Intellectual Revolution, will focus on key texts and images emerging directly from the revolutionary struggle in Russia and the early Soviet Union.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Chicago Tonight: Significant trove of photographs by Vivian Maier has home at UChicago Library

500 Vivian Maier photos donated to University of Chicago
Chicago Tonight – July 25, 2017