Exhibits New Harry Potter book display and research guide

Harry Potter Book Display

Display of books about the Harry Potter series. Photo by Rebecca Starkey.

Do you need a little bit of magic during reading period and finals week? Take a break from studying by visiting our new display of Harry Potter materials on the 1st floor of Regenstein (near the Dissertation Office). This one-case display highlights just a few of the items available at the University of Chicago Library about the Harry Potter series, including translations, critical studies, and parodies.

For more Potter-related materials in our collections, visit our accompanying Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling Research Guide which includes links to ebooks, reference sources, music, and more.

Remember, if you need help locating research materials on Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, children’s literature, or just need help with your final paper, Ask a Librarian!

“Because that’s what Hermione does,’ said Ron, shrugging. ‘When in doubt, go to the library.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Extended All Night Study hours Mar. 9 – 11

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room (Photo by Jason Smith)

To support students preparing for finals, the Regenstein 1st floor all-night study space will remain open Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 after the building closes at 11 p.m.

The all-night study space will thus be open 24 hours from Monday, March 5 until the end of finals on Friday, March 16.

For a full list of library hours, see http://hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

People Raymond Gadke, AM’66, Reading Room Manager, 1943-2018

Raymond Gadke provided scholarly resources to four decades of researchers and mentorship to generations of College students at the University of Chicago. He died this week at age 74.

Raymond Gadke, 1943-2018. Inspired by a fondness for Elvis Presley’s garb in “Blue Hawaii,” Ray made Hawaiian shirts his regular uniform, and librarians directed patrons needing help with microfilms to find him based on his signature look. (Photo by John Zich)

Ray came to the University of Chicago as a master’s student in the Division of the Humanities with a strong interest in history, conducting research on the Catholic Church, completing his AM in 1966 and joining the Library staff in 1969. His early interests, wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, giving nature, and close relationships with researchers and students were the hallmarks of his life and career at the University of Chicago.

Anyone who has frequented the microforms department in Regenstein Library since it opened in 1971 would recognize Ray, who began by overseeing this collection. Over the years, his responsibilities expanded to include the management of periodicals and, ultimately, all of the Regenstein reading room collections.

“He was an unfailingly friendly, unfailingly helpful face in the Library, known to thousands of people who walked through the doors—a bit of constancy in a sea of change,” said David Bottorff, Head of Collection Management and Circulation.  “He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the microfilm collection that is not replaceable.”

Ray used that knowledge to help researchers find the particular piece of microfilm they were looking for, getting to know the visitors who returned regularly, where they came from, and what they needed. He also became a mentor to scores of students who worked for him over more than 40 years at the Library.  In recognition of the important role he played in their lives, more than 50 UChicago alumni raised $75,000 in 2015 to create the Ray Gadke Internship Fund Established by Friends of Ray to Endow Undergraduate Internships.

Outside the Library, Ray frequently gave tours on campus, sharing his knowledge of the architecture, and he was widely known for his personal collection of religious statues, which started in the 1980s when Catholic priests who knew him from his graduate school research began giving him items from churches that were closing.  The collection rotated, as he gave items from his collection to other Catholic churches and schools as new ones came in.

Within the Library, Ray was known for organizing staff donations to the Hyde Park and Kenwood Hunger Programs, collected at the annual holiday party in December.

He also donated rarely held religious studies materials and funds to the Library.  David Larsen, Director of Access Services and Assessment, recalls a period when Ray would regularly come to the Library with liturgical works relating to obscure monastic communities in the Midwest.

“Ray was a wonderful University and Library citizen,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian. “In memory of his parents, Ray generously established the Elden and Ruth Lauffenburger Gadke Endowment Fund to acquire, preserve, and provide access to books and other scholarly resources in religious studies. The fund will now become a lasting symbol of Ray’s kindness and of his deep commitment to religious studies. His good cheer, deep institutional knowledge, and longstanding commitment to students, researchers, library colleagues, and the greater community will be greatly missed.”

Donations in Ray’s memory may be made to the Annual Fund at the University of Chicago Library, the Hyde Park and Kenwood Hunger Programs, PAWS Chicago, or the Ray Gadke Internship Fund (choose “College: Jeff Metcalf Internships” in the “Area of Support” drop-down and note “in memory of Ray Gadke” in the comment field).

A memorial service will be held at Hyde Park Union Church on Wednesday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m.

People James Nye travels to Nepal as a Fulbright Fellow

James Nye

James Nye

James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia at the University of Chicago Library, has received a 2018 fellowship under the Fulbright Specialist Program. He was matched with the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Lalitpur, Nepal for developing library and archive resources in the Nepali language. Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, founded in 1955, is the world’s largest collection of Nepali books and periodicals.

During his fellowship, Nye will join in a survey of Nepali collections in the Kathmandu Valley, Palpa, and Lumbini, many of which were severely damaged in the 2015 earthquakes and are still out of service. He will also deliver a public lecture on the history of the book in Nepal, conduct a workshop for professionals on metadata for libraries and archives, engage in an academic roundtable discussion on archives in North America and Europe with holdings on Nepali, and assist colleagues at the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya as they develop a collection development statement and plan for their collection.

The University of Chicago Library holds one of the largest collections of Nepali publications in North America with special strengths in publications from 1960 through the present.

Current Exhibits Rhythm and Bombast: In Memory of Willie Pickens (1931-2017)

Willie Pickens at Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park

Willie Pickens at Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, July 2011 (Viewminder, CC BY-NC-ND)

Exhibit Dates: February 19 – April 29, 2018
Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor

“I don’t have big paws like Oscar [Peterson] or a nice, big stretch like Benny Green’s. . . . I have to create illusions, make it sound like I’m doing something I’m not.”
— Willie Pickens (Lloyd Sachs, “Willie Pickens Rides Jazz Machine to Glory,” Chicago Sun Times, March 13, 1994)

Internationally known Jazz pianist and Hyde Park resident, Willie Pickens, passed away on Tuesday, December 12, after practicing for a “Jazz at Lincoln Center” show at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York. Pickens was known for his bombastic style and thunderous sound, paired with a melodic and harmonic ingenuity and versatility. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 18, 1931. One of six children, his mother, Minny Hall, was a pianist who exposed him to music at an early age. Young Willie took to the piano early, practicing for hours at a time as a boy.

He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1955, with a BA in music education, and soon after moved to Chicago. In Chicago, Pickens found his place among the jazz community, in which he would excel as a musician, a teacher, and a mentor. Pickens achieved international acclaim with his piano work on Eddie Harris’ hit recording “Exodus,” from the gold record “Exodus to Jazz,” released by Chicago-based VeeJay records in 1961. He released his recording debut as a trio leader with his 1998 album “It’s About Time” on Southport Records. During his career, he toured with Joe Henderson, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Quincy Jones, Louis Bellson, Bunky Green, and Red Holloway. He appeared regularly at the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Willie Pickens’ debut album, “It’s About Time”

Willie Pickens’ debut album as a trio leader, “It’s About Time” (Southport Records, 1998)

Willie Pickens was a devoted teacher and mentor, including to his daughter, jazz pianist Bethany Pickens. He taught in Chicago high schools from 1966-1997. He launched the music program at Hyde Park’s Kenwood Academy in the 1960s. Bethany Pickens currently teaches in this program. In 1995, he became a founding member of the Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program, and in 1997 joined the faculty of Northern Illinois University’s School of Music.

This exhibit in two cases displays examples of Pickens’ work from the University of Chicago Library’s general collection, as well as materials from the Chicago Jazz Archive.

The social media post announcing the passing of Willie Pickens

The social media post announcing the passing of Willie Pickens, from his daughter, Bethany Pickens (reproduced with permission)

Current Exhibits The Printing Press Comes to Eastern Europe in the Slavic Tongues

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: February 13 – June 1, 2018

Graving with Francysk Skorina 1517

Woodcut of Francysk Skorina 1517


2017 marked the quincentennial of the printing of the first translation of the Bible into the Belarusian language. Francysk Skaryna (1490-1552) is credited with publishing this translation.

From the start, the work reflects the international scope of the world of the printing press. Skorina’s Bible was translated into Belarusian and printed in Prague. From there it was shipped into Belarus to be distributed. The first Bulgarian book was printed in Germany and again shipped and distributed in Bulgaria. Printing presses started, closed and moved to new locations. Presses started throughout the area. Since then scholars have studied the changes brought by these books to language, culture, and other aspects of life. The exhibit reviews the history and study of the printing press in Eastern Europe through various vernacular tongues.

Current Exhibits Science and Conscience: Chicago’s Met Lab and the Manhattan Project

Reunion of atomic scientists on the 4th Anniversary (1946) of the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction, December 2, 1942, pictured in front of Bernard A. Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf3-00232, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Dates: February 19 – April 13, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

On December 2, 1942, scientists at the University of Chicago produced the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction beneath the West Stand of Stagg Field, the University’s athletic stadium. This experiment, crucial to the control of nuclear fission, drove a rapid nationwide expansion of the Manhattan Project, the secret federal research and engineering program charged with producing a nuclear bomb.

Chicago’s role in the Manhattan Project did not end with the successful operation the first nuclear reactor.  Buildings across the University of Chicago campus were converted for use by the code-named Metallurgical Laboratory.  The Met Lab conducted extended research on the structure of uranium, developed the process for separating plutonium from uranium, and investigated nuclear radiation’s biological effects and safety issues.  At the end of World War II, the Metallurgical Laboratory was transformed into the first United States federal laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory.

Chicago’s Met Lab also took the lead in organizing scientists’ political response to the devastation caused by atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Concerned about the future development and use of nuclear weapons, Met Lab veterans created the Atomic Scientists of Chicago and began publishing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  They joined scientists from other Manhattan Project sites across the country and pressed successfully in 1946 for the passage of the Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) and creation of the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.

The Met Lab scientists achieved great technical success in their contribution to the creation of a powerful new military weapon.  Yet the sobering consequences of their work moved them to enter the political arena and make the first critical arguments to control nuclear weapons and turn nuclear energy toward peaceful ends.

Based on archives and manuscripts in the Special Collections Research Center, Science and Conscience presents unique historical documents and artifacts, many not previously exhibited.  Items on display are drawn from records of scientists’ organizations and the papers of those who worked on the Manhattan Project and at Chicago’s Met Lab, including Enrico Fermi, James Franck, Herbert L. Anderson, Samuel K. Allison, Samuel Schwartz, Francis W. Test, Lawrence Lanzl, John H. Balderston, Jr., Albert Wattenberg, Eugene Rabinowitch,  Paul Henshaw, William B. Higinbotham, and Donald MacRae, among others.

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.

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.

MLK Day 2018: Regenstein and Mansueto open; all other libraries closed

On Monday, January 15, Crerar, D’Angelo Law, Eckhart, and SSA libraries will be closed in observance of the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Regenstein and Mansueto will remain open during their regular building hours. The All-Night Study Space on the 1st Floor of Regenstein will also remain open.

Feature Story Explore Mexican indigenous languages in McQuown papers

Norman McQuown

The papers of anthropologist, linguist, and University of Chicago professor Norman A. McQuown are now available to researchers at the Special Collections Research Center. A new guide is also available for the records of the Department of Anthropology’s Chiapas Project, which McQuown was heavily involved in.

Norman McQuown was best known for his efforts to document and study indigenous languages in Mexico and Central America and for his work in the field of non-verbal communication. He studied, conducted field and archival research, taught, and wrote on a wide range of languages, including Huastec, Quiche Maya, Yucatec Maya, Nahuatl, Totonac, Turkish, Russian, and Esperanto. He published in English, Spanish, and German, was comfortable writing and conversing in a large number of additional languages, and wrote frequently on the process of language teaching and learning. His papers document his research, writing, teaching, and administrative work.

The Chiapas Project records document the University of Chicago Department of Anthropology’s research projects in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas from 1956-1964. The projects aimed to investigate the language, culture, environment, and history of local Maya communities. The records contain administrative and financial material, project reports, and photographs. The McQuown Papers contain a significant amount of additional material from the Chiapas Project.

Norman A. McQuown was born in Peoria, Illinois on January 30, 1914. He received his AB in 1935 and MA in 1936, both in German, from the University of Illinois. He earned his PhD in linguistics from Yale University in 1940, where he studied under Edward Sapir and Leonard Bloomfield and wrote his thesis on the Totonac language. From 1939-1942 he taught in Mexico and worked on a Turkish Language project for the American Council of Learned Societies. McQuown continued in this area during World War II, where he served as a Turkish specialist and editorial supervisor for the Language Section of the Army Service Forces.

After teaching briefly at Hunter College in New York City from 1945-1946, McQuown came to the University of Chicago in 1946 and remained there for the rest of his career, spending time as chair of both the anthropology and linguistics departments. Throughout his career, teaching and creating resources to help others learn remained important to him, and he edited, compiled, or translated a significant number of instructional texts for language learning.

McQuown was involved in a wide range of research activities. He made numerous trips to Mexico and Guatemala to conduct field work for the Man in Nature project, Chiapas project, and other work. He conducted archival research at libraries in Europe and the Americas and compiled catalogs of sources available on indigenous languages at various institutions. McQuown was also an early user of computers to document and study languages.

In addition to his work on indigenous languages, McQuown was a core contributor to The Natural History of an Interview, a project in which he and colleagues conducted an in-depth microanalysis of a personal interview and related family interactions, covering both verbal and nonverbal communication. The manuscript was never published in English, but their work in the area of nonverbal communication was considered particularly groundbreaking.

McQuown was dedicated to preserving research and fieldwork, both his own and that of others. He did significant work to organize and provide access to the papers of Manuel Andrade, a professor of anthropology and linguist who passed away unexpectedly shortly before McQuown arrived at Chicago. McQuown was also the Founding Director of the University of Chicago’s Language Laboratory and Archives, now the Digital Media Archive, and established and made numerous contributions to what is now known as the Microfilm Collection of Manuscripts on Cultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library.

Norman McQuown married Dolores Elrine Milleville on November 7, 1942. They had two daughters, Kathryn Ann and Patricia Ellen. Patricia predeceased him. Norman McQuown died in Chicago on September 7, 2005.


Papers of political theorist Jean Bethke Elshtain now open to researchers

The personal papers of political theorist, ethicist, author, and professor, Jean Bethke Elshtain are now available for research in the Special Collections Research Center. The papers primarily document Elshtain’s career in academia and her activities as a public intellectual called upon to address issues related to feminism, war, and political ethics. They reveal the remarkable breadth and depth of her work on subjects as wide-ranging as bioethics and Jane Addams.

Headshot of Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013) grew up in Tinmath, Colorado, a small farming community outside of Fort Collins. At the age of 10, Jean contracted polio and was moved to Denver for treatment. Her mother obtained a job at the hospital in order to be near to her daughter, and eventually Jean was brought home to recuperate and learn to walk again.

Jean went on to earn an A.B. in history at Colorado State University, an M.A. in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a second M.A. in history at the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Brandeis University. Elshtain held teaching positions at Colorado State University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Chicago where she was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School, Political Science, and the Committee on International Relations for 18 years.

In addition to her active teaching career, Elshtain was a prolific writer and public speaker. She authored more than 500 scholarly articles, occasional and opinion pieces, and reviews in a wide range of publications. Elshtain authored more than a dozen books.

She maintained a rigorous public speaking schedule and was invited to lecture or comment upon topics related to feminism, bioethics, political ethics, the place of religion in modern society and in democracy, and war. A devout Christian, Elshtain was unafraid to incorporate theology and the history of religion into her discussions of contemporary events and politics.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, her writings on St. Augustine and the Just War doctrine prompted the George W. Bush administration to include her among a group of scholars and religious figures invited to the White House to meet with the President. The Just War doctrine was later used to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Elshtain was a public supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, Elshtain was appointed to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2006-2013) and to the President’s Council on Bioethics (2008). She also served on the board of the National Humanities Center (1996-2013), the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (2003-2011), and the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress (2001-2013).

Elshtain received many prestigious appointments, fellowships, and awards throughout her lifetime, including nine honorary degrees. She co-directed the PEW Forum on Religious and Public Life (2001-2004), and was on the boards of the Institute for Advanced Study (1994-1996) and the Institute for American Values (1994-2008). She was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), and a Guggenheim Fellow (1991-1992). She held the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library of Congress (2003), and was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (1997-1998). In 2002 Elshtain was given the Frank J. Goodnow Award by the American Political Science Association, the highest honor bestowed by that organization. She delivered the esteemed Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2005-2006, which led to her final major work, Sovereignty: God, State, and Self.

Jean Bethke Elshtain died in Nashville, Tennessee on August 11, 2013.

The Jean Bethke Elshtain Papers were processed and preserved with generous support from the McDonald Agape Foundation.

Extended All Night Study hours Dec. 1 – 3

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room (Photo by Jason Smith)

To support students preparing for finals, the Regenstein 1st floor all-night study space will remain open Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2 after the building closes at 11 p.m.

The all-night study space will thus be open 24 hours from Monday, November 27 until the end of finals on Friday, December 8.

For a full list of library hours, see http://hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

Feature Story People Favorite Library sections of new Social Sciences faculty

Which sections of the library do faculty members enjoy the most? The fall issue of Dialogo, the University of Chicago Social Sciences Division magazine, introduced its new faculty members in interviews that included this question.  The answers give us some insight into their diverse influences and suggest the vital role that the Library plays in faculty research and teaching.

Joel Isaac

Joel Isaac, John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, Associate Professor

Joel Isaac is a historian focused on social and political thought in the United States and how the Cold War shaped political ideologies. His current research examines the revival of 18th-century categories of political and moral thought in the 20th century through more modern idioms: neoclassical economics, analytical philosophy, decision theory, and empirical political science. His first book, Working Knowledge: Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (Harvard, 2012), was awarded the Gladstone Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2012.

Isaac’s favorite section of the Library: “The Special Collections Research Center in the Regenstein Library.  Before I came to Chicago, I made some pilgrimages across the Atlantic (from Cambridge, UK) to use the SCRC.  Now its riches are on tap whenever I need them.  I confess I get a special charge from reading the papers of former UChicago faculty who have deposited their papers in the archives of the SCRC.  It’s a thrill to see the University through their eyes.”

Destin Jenkins

Destin Jenkins, Department of History, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of History (7/1/2018-)

Destin Jenkins’s research as a historian centers on the linkages between the American state, capitalism, racial inequality, and the built environment in the 20th century. His forthcoming book, tentatively titled “Bonded Metropolis: Debt, Redevelopment, and Racial Inequality in Postwar San Francisco,” argues that the practices of municipal debt finance redistributed wealth upwards, reinscribed racial inequality, and became a constraint on democratic state power.

Jenkins’s favorite sections of the Library: “Regenstein Library is phenomenal. My favorite section is arranged by call number, E.185. From small pamphlets proposing solutions to the ills of late 1960s ghetto life to thick volumes dealing with black employment, most of the material in this section deals with the political economy of black life. The most interesting book I’ve found is a 1919-1920 report, “Colored Women as Industrial Workers in Philadelphia.” It’s been especially interesting reading the report alongside W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Philadelphia Negro (1899). When Du Bois wrapped up this comprehensive study, at once sociological and a moral and political reflection on race and human civilization, he concluded that Philadelphia’s black women were largely confined to work as domestic workers. As elsewhere, World War I had thoroughly transformed the labor market. In Philadelphia black women arguably helped to facilitate industrial development, and, as track repair workers, inspectors, and porters, helped to maintain the city’s physical infrastructure. The Consumers League of Eastern Pennsylvania saw these opportunities as creating “a new day” for black women. I am looking forward to discussing this pamphlet and exploring the conditions under which black women toiled with students in my fall course, ‘Histories of Racial Capitalism.’”

Headshot of Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson, Department of Anthropology, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Anthropology (7/1/2019-)

Ryan Jobson is a social scientist and Caribbean cultural critic. His research and teaching engage issues of energy and extractive resource development, technology and infrastructure, states and sovereignty, and histories of racial capitalism in the colonial and postcolonial Americas. His first book manuscript, “Deepwater Futures: Sovereignty at Risk in a Caribbean Petrostate,” is an ethnographic study of fossil fuel industries and postcolonial state building in Trinidad and Tobago. A second research project will comprise a historical ethnography of oil and bauxite development in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Jobson’s favorite sections of the Library: “As a scholar of the Caribbean, I enjoy exploring texts and materials produced in and about the region. I am particularly fascinated by original documents from the 18th and 19th century that I stumble upon in the stacks. On one of my first trips to the Reg, I was surprised to find a collection of late 19th century photographs of the Pitch Lake in Trinidad—the largest global reserve of natural bitumen asphalt. I later discovered that the photographs were donated to the university by the Barber Asphalt Co. on the occasion of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The gift coincided with efforts to structurally improve the roadways throughout the city, many of which were paved with Trinidad Lake Asphalt including Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. In my courses, I draw on anecdotes like this to demonstrate the enduring connections between places like Chicago and the Caribbean. Evidence of these connections often lurks in corners of the library or on the pavement beneath our feet.”

Headshot of Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Alexander Torgovitsky’s research is focused on developing new methods for causal inference and counterfactual analysis with economic data. His recent work has focused on developing tools for detecting and measuring state dependency (“stigma” effects) in unemployment dynamics. Other recent work has provided tools for extrapolating inferences from studies of small research populations to larger groups, with implications for understanding behavior and for policy making.

Torgovitsky’s favorite section of the Library: “I enjoy the student-run coffee shop (Ex Libris). The coffee is great, and I like the way many of the facilities at UChicago are run by students, unlike at many other private universities. It reminds me of my undergraduate institution, and I think it helps foster a strong sense of academic community.”

Alice Goff, Department of History, Assistant Professor

Headshot of Alice Goff

Alice Goff

Alice Goff is a historian of modern German cultural and intellectual life. Her work focuses on the relationships between material objects and political thought in the 18th and 19th centuries. Goff’s current research traces the history of artworks caught up in the looting, iconoclasm, and shifting boundaries of German states during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and the consequences of their displacement for German political, religious, and intellectual practice at the beginning of the 19th century.

Goff’s favorite section of the Library: “For browsing, I most enjoy the folios or oversized sections of the library. No matter the call number, the folio shelves always have something monumental and strange to offer: the most lavish exhibition catalogues, the most beautiful atlases, the most unwieldy information, though unfortunately also the most cumbersome to get back to the office.”

Headshot of Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov, Department of Economics, Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics and the College

Mikhail Golosov is an economist specializing in macroeconomics, public finance and political economy. His research explores economic theories related to wars over resources, tax systems, and strategic communication. He is an associate editor of Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies.

Golov’s favorite sections of the Library: “I like to read social science books that are not directly related to economicssociology, history, philosophy—so I often gravitate towards those sections of the library. Researchers in those disciplines study human society, just like economists do, but often have a very different perspective. I find that I can learn from that a fair bit. Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate was one of the most fascinating books I read recently.”

Headshot of Peter Hull

Peter Hull

Peter Hull, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Economist Peter Hull develops novel statistical techniques to answer policy questions in education and health care. Currently a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research, he will come to the University of Chicago campus as a Becker Friedman Institute Research Fellow in 2018, and will join the Department of Economics faculty in the summer of 2019.

Hull’s favorite genres: “Apart from econometrics textbooks (only somewhat kidding), I’m torn between biography and science fiction. At their best, both genres amaze me in their ability to illustrate a set of foreign ideas, places, and times, all through a strong narrative structure; if only more academic papers had that ability! Recently I’ve been addicted to Robert Caro’s The Power Broker and five-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, while every winter am excited to crack open Gardner Dozois’ most recent Year’s Best Science Fiction short story anthology.”

Read more about new 2017 Social Sciences Division faculty members in Dialogo.

“Gender Revolution” film screening

Gender Revolution Screening FlyerThe Office of LGBTQ Student Life, in partnership with the Joseph Regenstein Library, will host an advanced screening of Gender Revolution, a documentary that explores our ever changing experiences with gender identity.

Along with the screening and discussion, the Library will have a special display of materials from our collections focusing on gender identity and LGBTQ Studies.

Monday, November 20
Regenstein Library, Room 122
Doors open at 5:30 pm.  Showing begins at 6:00 pm.

Questions about the event? Contact: lgbtq@uchicago.edu.

For individuals who need an accommodation to attend the event, please contact rstarkey@uchicago.edu

Watch Dr. Christina von Nolcken discuss a rare Canterbury Tales manuscript in Special Collections

Professor Emerita Christina von Nolcken went live on Facebook on October 31, 2017 to teach viewers about a rare Canterbury Tales manuscript in the Special Collections Research Center. The manuscript, also known as the McCormick manuscript of the Canterbury tales, is one of the 57 relatively complete manuscript copies of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and one of two containing a passage from the “Tale of Melibeus.” Dr. von Nolcken connects the manuscript to the history of the Chaucer Research Project at the University of Chicago. The records of the Chaucer Research Project, as well as other medieval manuscripts acquired for the project, are available for research at the Special Collections Research Center. This video is one in a series of videos of UChicago faculty discussing their favorite items in the Special Collections Research Center. See Dr. Mindy Schwartz describe a 19th-century surgical kit and Dr. Ada Palmer discuss a Renaissance astronomy text.

Dr. Christina von Nolcken speaking about our Canterbury Tales mss and the Chaucer Research Project. #facultyfavorites

Posted by University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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.


Feature Story 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.

People 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.

Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Billings Hospital

Building exterior and signage for Billings Hospital

Exterior view of the Albert Merritt Billings Hospital, part of the University of Chicago Hospitals complex.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-02257], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The University of Chicago History of Medicine Project (UCHOMP) is marking the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Billings Hospital, the predecessor of UChicago Medicine with some special events in the Joseph Regenstein Library.  Join us on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 2pm – 4:30pm for an open house in the Special Collections Research Center featuring “Treasures of Medicine in Chicago.”  The open house will be followed by a lecture given by Mindy A. Schwartz, M.D. “Happy Birthday Billings Hospital- The Library Connection:  A Tale of 3 Billings.”  The lecture will take place from 5pm – 6pm in Regenstein Library Room 122.  The events are open to all University of Chicago faculty, staff and students and to the general public.

Scared of the stacks? A new 30-minute workshop offers tips for students

Person in bookstacks.

Photo by Brad Busenius.

The Halloween season can be scary, but the stacks shouldn’t be! If you have trouble finding books on the shelf, or are just intimidated by Regenstein’s bookstacks, no need to fear. In our new 30-minute program Scared of the Stacks? Tips for Successfully Finding Books in Regenstein”, our librarians will provide an overview of Regenstein’s stacks, and offer advice on finding items in the Library quickly and easily. We’ll also explain some stacks mysteries, including what that little f before the call number means, and what to do if the B Level compact shelving doesn’t move.

We’re sure that after attending this workshop, browsing the stacks will no longer be tricky, but a real treat! Register today!

Programs start in the Techbar (Regenstein, Room 160).

  • Monday, October 30, 10:00 – 10:30 am Register
  • Monday, October 30, 3:00 – 3:30 pm Register
  • Tuesday, October 31, 11:00 – 11:30 am Register
  • Tuesday, October 31, 1:30 – 2:00 pm Register

Exhibits James Baldwin Among the Philosophers

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 25 – December 31, 2017

James Baldwin at Civil Rights March on Washington

James Baldwin at Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., 08/28/1963 via Wikipedia Commons

“Take no one’s word for anything, including mine—but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” James Baldwin wrote these words for his nephew, and namesake, as the open letter “My Dungeon Shook,” originally published in The Progressive and later as an introduction to his book The Fire Next Time (Dial Press, 1963). The book was one of the best sellers of 1963 and earned him the cover of Time Magazine.

James Arthur Baldwin was born in Harlem on August 2, 1924. He became a minister at Fireside Pentecostal Assembly at age 14. During his teenage years, Baldwin started writing seriously. By the end of high school, he had started to question the role of the church in the African-American community, while growing more appreciative of the arts and aware of his queerness. He stopped preaching in 1941 at 17 and by 1944 was living in the artist community of Greenwich Village, with his roommate and lifelong friend Marlon Brando. Baldwin rose to prominence after the publication of his first novel in 1953, Go Tell It on the Mountain, a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood. By the 1960s, Baldwin had become the most recognizable African-American writer in the U.S. and the de facto spokesperson for the Civil Right Movement, a title he opposed. In 1971, Baldwin moved to France. He continued to write and visited the U.S. to teach at Bowling Green University and the University of California, Berkeley. By the time of his death on December 1, 1987, James Baldwin had published over 25 works, including novels, plays, poems and essay collections.

Baldwin’s house in Saint Paul de Vence, France in 2009

The house where James Baldwin lived and died in Saint Paul de Vence, France (image taken July 2009) via Wikipedia Commons

James Baldwin’s work is widely recognized for its religious overtones and influences as well as for its critiques of racism and heterosexual norms. His work is equally important as a contribution to American philosophy. Cornel West dubbed Baldwin a “Black American Socrates” since he “infect[ed] others with the same perplexity he himself felt and grappled with: the perplexity of trying to be a decent human being and thinking person in the face of the pervasive mendacity and hypocrisy of the American empire.” (Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism [New York: Penguin, 2004] 80) This two-case exhibit displays books and essays by James Baldwin, alongside philosophical works that engage his work.

People Deadline extended to apply for the Library Student Advisory Group

Student studying in Mansueto Library

Mansueto Library (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

The University of Chicago Library is looking for student representatives from the following schools and divisions to serve on the Library Student Advisory Group:

  • College (Class of 2021 Only)
  • Biological Sciences Division
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Harris School of Public Policy Studies
  • Institute for Molecular Engineering
  • Physical Sciences Division
  • Pritzker School of Medicine
  • School of Social Service Administration
  • Social Sciences Division

The Library Student Advisory Group (LSAG) serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The LSAG discusses matters related to all six campus libraries, including its collections, spaces, and services, along with the present and future needs of the student community. The Library Student Advisory Group meets two times a quarter and representatives serve two-year terms.

Interested students should complete the online application by Friday, October 20.

For more information about the Library Student Advisory Group, or the application process, please contact:

Rebecca Starkey
Librarian for College Instruction & Outreach
Gender Studies and Library Science

Exhibits 1917: The Russian Revolution: In History… In Memory… In Literature

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 25 – December 31, 2017

The year 1917 imposed next to a flag of the Hammer & Sickle, the emblem of the new Soviet State“The Russian Revolution was, at least in terms of its effects, one of the biggest events in the history of the world. Within a generation of the establishment of Soviet power, one-third of humanity was living under regimes modeled upon it. The revolution of 1917 has defined the shape of the contemporary world.” This statement by Orlando Figes in the introduction to his book A People’s Tragedy: the Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 (New York: Viking, 1996) succinctly states the reasons why the centenary of this event is being commemorated far beyond the borders of Russia, not only by those whose lives and families have been changed by it, for good or ill, but also by those who have studied its meaning and consequences.

It was an almost impossible task to select from among the thousands of books written in dozens of languages on any given aspect of the Russian Revolution. Instead, this two-case exhibit highlights the complexity of the era in three ways: through works of history written in the years immediately after the revolution and civil war, as well those written after the end of the Soviet era (1989) when Soviet archives were at last opened to scholars; through the personal memoirs, diaries and oral histories of those who lived through these events; and through a selection of the literature which the revolution inspired.

Welcome to the Library: orientation for new students

Librarian helps student

A librarian shows a research guide to a student. November 30, 2011. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Welcome to the University of Chicago! As the heart of campus, the Library offers much more than books and a place to study. The Library’s work is to provide comprehensive resources and dynamic services to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of the University community.

Below are just a few ways you can learn about the University of Chicago Library, its resources, and services before classes begin.

Orientation Guide

Designed to give a preview of all the Library has to offer, the Library’s orientation guide helps new members of campus navigate the Library.

In-Person Orientation Programs

Our orientation guide and online tours are no substitute for the variety of on-campus orientation sessions that the Library offers.


Library Boot Camp
Wednesday, September 20 at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm
Thursday, September 21 at 2:30 pm, and 4:00 pm
Joseph Regenstein Library, A Level
Get in shape for college research by attending our 60-minute Library Boot Camp. Strengthen your research skills by learning about search tools and Library services before your first assignment is due. We’ll cover the basics: how to find books and course readings, printing, study spaces, laptop lending, and more. Students who complete Boot Camp will receive their own Library mug!

Science Research: An Introduction to the John Crerar Library
John Crerar Library
Wednesday, September 20 at 11:30 am
Thursday, September 21 and Friday, September 22 at 10:00 am
Are you pre-med or considering a science major? If so, this session at Crerar, the sciences library, is for you! Learn how to find and access articles in e-journals and databases for classes and research projects. During this 60-minute session, you’ll also receive a building tour and learn how to access print materials. Attendees receive a special Crerar giveaway!

ECON 101: An Introduction to Library Resources
Joseph Regenstein Library, Room 122
Friday, September 22 at 11:00 am
If you are majoring in economics, this is a can’t miss orientation. Learn about all the services the Library can provide to aid in your research, from accessing the major relevant newspapers and journals (think The Economist and The Wall Street Journal) to finding economics articles and papers. Get an introduction to some of the best sources for economics data.

Graduate Students

Orientation programs for masters and doctoral students are arranged through your department or program, and are hosted by the subject librarian for that discipline. The Library’s Workshop and Events Calendar lists many of these programs, but if you do not see yours listed, please feel free to contact the Library via our Ask a Librarian service.

Virtual and Self-Guided Tours

Learn about the Joseph Regenstein Library through our short virtual tour.

Go behind-the-scenes of the Joe & Rika Mansueto Library in 360° with a video from the University of Chicago.

Want to explore the Library at your own pace? Download our Self-Guided Tour of the Regenstein and Mansueto Libraries.

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

The Red Press exhibition has been extended.
Exhibition Dates: September 25, 2017 – February 2, 2018
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.