New Acquisitions

Exploring 125 years of history in the Archives


Janet Rowley in her laboratory. 1980s. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-01134. Copyright 2015, The Chicago Maroon. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Celebration of the University of Chicago’s 125th Anniversary is drawing increased campus attention to the University Archives this year. The mission of the Archives is to preserve and make available materials documenting the history of the University and the work of its faculty, students, trustees, and friends. Archives collections span many formats, from official reports to publications, photographs, media, and physical artifacts. Faculty papers in the Archives include letters, diaries, field notes, manuscripts, and teaching materials. In all, the Archives collections have grown to 60,000 linear feet, or more than 73 million individual items, and digital files comprise more than 20 terabytes of records in the Library’s Digital Repository.


Bon Voyage. From the papers of Julian and Eva Overton Lewis. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Important new collections continue to enhance the Archives. Recent acquisitions include the papers of Janet Rowley, the University’s renowned geneticist and cancer researcher and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Gary Becker’s papers bring manuscripts, notes, and teaching materials of the 1992 Nobel laureate in economics. The papers of Jean Elshtain document her interdisciplinary work in religion, political philosophy, and ethics. And the papers of Julian H. Lewis, the University’s first African American professor, and his wife Eva Overton Lewis, document an influential career in medical research and the lives of a leading Chicago family.

Julian H. Lewis

Julian H. Lewis, the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago. 1917. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Recent classroom teaching drawing on the Archives includes Mark Bradley’s seminar on International History. Tara Zahra brought her History Colloquium on Migration and Displacement in Twentieth- Century Europe. Daniel Webb drew on the Archives for his class on America in World Civilization, while Susan Burns brought her class on Doing History. Kathleen Conzen led classes on Chicago and Chicago’s South Side, and Katherine Taylor’s courses examined the University’s modern campus architecture.

Support for research is also central to the Archives mission. Within the past year, projects of University researchers have drawn on the records of the Robert M. Hutchins administration, the Committee on Social Thought, and the University’s Chaucer Research Project of the 1930s. Visiting researchers have examined the papers of Mircea Eliade; the papers of University administrators and faculty involved in the world government movement of the 1940s and 1950s; the field notes and data collected by Sol Tax and other faculty members of the University’s influential Department of Anthropology; and the papers of Ernest W. Burgess, Louis Wirth, Everett Hughes, and other leaders in Chicago sociology.

Sol Tax

Sol Tax, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. n.d. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08219. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Library’s annual Robert Platzman Memorial Fellowships bring visiting scholars from the national and international scholarly community. This year, one Platzman Fellow from the University of Cambridge is examining the papers of Charles Merriam, Harold Gosnell, and others for a study of attitudes toward American public opinion. Using the papers of Ernest Burgess and Robert Havinghurst, a graduate student from Indiana University is researching a dissertation on the Guatemalan Indigenismo movement. A scholar from the University of Oxford is examining the papers of Louis Brownlow, Leonard White, and other faculty for a study of American political science. And a graduate student from the University of Minnesota is using the papers of faculty member A.K. Ramanujan to examine literary debates in nineteenth-century South India.

Visit the online University of Chicago Photographic Archive at

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen. Mildred Mead, photographer. April 30, 1952. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-09636. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Enabling discovery of the Saul Bellow Papers: A gift from Bob and Carolyn Nelson

2015 marks the centennial of the birth of the late Saul Bellow. The 1976 Nobel laureate in literature, Bellow taught as a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago from 1962 to 1993, immortalizing Hyde Park and the city of Chicago in his novels and making a lasting impression on generations of students. Now, thanks to a generous gift from alumni Bob Nelson and Carolyn Nelson, 2015 is also the year when the processing of the University of Chicago’s Saul Bellow Papers begins.

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow, signing copies of his book “Humboldt’s Gift” in the university bookstore. September 1975. Photographer John Vail. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-00516, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Saul Bellow Papers include 145 linear feet of material dating from roughly 1940 to 2003. The collection is currently divided into 71 parts, reflecting a series of gifts, deposits, and acquisitions that began in 1963. Almost half of the Papers—a total of more than 222,000 pages—are manuscripts, letters, and other materials written by Saul Bellow himself.

Because of the generosity of the Nelsons, the Bellow Papers can now be fully reviewed, systematically rearranged into one unified collection, and described in a comprehensive manner for the first time. The collection will be organized into a single sequence of nine archival series: biographical, correspondence, writings by Saul Bellow, writings by others, honors and awards, photographs, memorabilia, oversize, and restricted private letters. After arrangement and description are completed, a guide to the collection with a comprehensive inventory of all materials will be added to the online Special Collections Finding Aid Database, where it can be searched in the context of related collections and discovered worldwide through all web search engines. The fully organized Saul Bellow Papers will be available for consultation by faculty, students, and visiting researchers and scholars in the Special Collections Research Center Reading Room.

“The Nelsons’ gift will be invaluable to scholars on campus and around the world, who will be able to discover comprehensive descriptions of the archives online,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.

The increased accessibility of the Saul Bellow Papers, and the scholarship such access will enable, are important to the Nelsons. “Bellow is acknowledged as one of the preeminent novelists of his (and our) time,” Bob wrote. “Processing his papers will advance understanding and appreciation of his work.”

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

The Nelsons feel an enthusiasm for the Papers that harkens back to their days as students at UChicago, when they saw Bellow strolling around Hyde Park and enjoyed reading their favorite Bellow novel, Herzog. Graduates of the Humanities Division, Bob, AM’64, and Carolyn, AM’64, PhD’67, are avid collectors of literature who have assembled more than 6,000 books including approximately 300 first editions. Carolyn is a longstanding member of the Visiting Committee to the Library, serving since 2005, and Bob served on the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Social Sciences from 2005 to 2013. Carolyn, whose degrees are in English, is a distinguished bibliographer who worked at Yale University Library updating the foundational Short-Title Catalogue of Books . . . 1641-1700, and launched a groundbreaking companion catalogue, British Newspapers and Periodicals 1641-1700. The Nelsons’ support thus extends Carolyn’s lifelong commitment to enabling the study of literature in English.

Even unprocessed, scholars have begun finding gems in the collection. Benjamin Taylor makes special note of letters from Bellow’s father and John F. Kennedy in our Library’s Bellow Papers in his 2010 volume of Bellow’s selected correspondence. Zachary Leader, author of the 2015 biography The Life of Saul Bellow, relied heavily on our collection for his work. Their initial discoveries speak to the tremendous potential of the Papers as the collection becomes more widely known.

New online resource: IBISWorld

University of Chicago researchers now have access to IBISWorld.

IBISWorldIBISWorld is a database that provides comprehensive industry reports for over 700 industries ranging from biotechnology to pawn shops.  These reports provide strategic insight and analysis which can be used to gain a better understanding of market conditions and forecasts, industry supply chain, and competitive landscape.

The reports include breakdowns of industry performance, outlook, products and markets, major competitors and operation conditions.  In addition to being able to download the complete report, key statistics can be downloaded to excel and specific infographics can be downloaded and inserted into your own reports and presentations.  

Questions? Ask A Librarian.

Library purchases access to Met Opera on Demand

Photograph from Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Abel; Morley, Gerzmava, Rice, Grigolo, Hampson

     The Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883, with its first opera house built on Broadway and 39th Street.  One-hundred-twenty-three years after its formation, the Metropolitan entered the digital world with its 2006 release of The Met: Live in HD.  This digital transmission product now reaches 70 countries with live high definition performances.  Later, in 2008, the Metropolitan released Met Opera on Demand.  This online source, to which the Library now subscribes, includes 550 opera performances, some being varying productions of the same work.  Library users can follow the link for Met Opera on Demand to access the resource.  For the website to function properly, users must be certain their personal computers have the most recent version of Adobe Flash Player installed.

The Spirit of the Nation or the War between the Jews and Sanballat: A Gift to the Jewish Studies Collection

Book cover of The Spirit of the Nation in Hebrew

Book cover of The Spirit of the Nation by Kless

Few voices like that of Menachem Mendel ben Hayim Kless have emerged to shed light on the emotional sentiments of the first Eastern European Jews who left their homes and lives behind to venture to Ottoman Palestine in the 1880s during the First Aliyah, a period that saw the emigration of tens of thousands of Jews. His book Ruah ha-Le’om (Kishinev: Tipografīi︠a︡. A.S. Stepanovoĭ, 1890) is one such voice. Thanks to the generosity of Linda Stern, a descendent of Kless, the University of Chicago Library is now one of only four libraries worldwide that holds a copy. The copy donated by Ms. Stern is in excellent condition and an excellent complement to the Ludwig Rosenberger Collection of Judaica. It is available for viewing through the Special Collections Research Center as well as accessible in digitized form through HathiTrust (title page pictured here).

As a participant in the Hibbat Tsiyon (Love of Zion) movement, Kless composed the work as a plea to its readers imploring them to follow their coreligionists out of a continent that had turned against them upon the ascension of Alexander III of Russia. Throughout this short book, Kless employs the metaphor of the opposition of Sanballat the Horonite to the construction of the Second Temple in Nehemiah’s time (see especially Nehemiah 4). Written entirely as an address to the reader and containing within it references to the Bible and rabbinic literature, the Ruah ha-Le’om reads like a well-crafted sermon – a pietistic rallying cry.

: Receipt for money wired from Bella Greenspan in Israel to her brother Leizar Kless

Receipt for money wired from Bella Greenspan (née Kless) in Israel to her brother Leizar Kless, ca. 1900 (image taken by Linda Stern).

Reading Ruah ha-Le’om serves to compliment the reading of more well-known works by the Hovevei Tsiyon (Lovers of Zion), most notably Leon Pinsker’s famous German language pamphlet Auto-Emancipation (1882) as well as the many works by the famed Hebrew essayist Ahad Ha’am. Reading Kless’s work in light of these two thinkers is of particular interest to those interested in the history of the revival of Hebrew as the official language of Jewish settlements in Palestine and eventually as the national language of Israel. When considering the debate between the rival Hebrew and German factions, we ought to consider a work like Ruah ha-Le’om as an influential factor.

Menachem Mendel Kless (1846-1916) was born and lived much of his life in Poland. He wrote Ruah ha-Le’om while he was still in Europe. After arriving to Palestine in 1902, Kless along with many of the Hovevei Tsiyon took up residence in Rishon le-Tsiyon, one of the first pre-state Jewish settlements, where he was a Hebrew teacher. Menachem’s devotion to Palestine was not uniformly shared by his children. According to family letters held by the donor, Linda Stern, we learn that only two children, Bella and Haim, remained in Palestine. Two children, Keila and Fabi, left for Egypt, though Fabi later returned at the end of his life. Keila’s daughter married a British citizen and moved to England after the Second World War. Menachem’s youngest daughter, Nehama, immigrated first to Berlin and then Riga and likely did not survive World War II. Leizar, later Louis, left Palestine early in his life and eventually settled in New York. He is the great grandfather of the donor, Linda Stern.

New online resource: eMarketer

University of Chicago researchers now have access to eMarketer.

emarketereMarketer is a database that provides digital market research information ranging from digital ad spend in the automotive industry to use statistics of the newest social media platforms, such as Meerkat and Periscope.  This data can be used to benchmark consumer behavior, size markets, and value initiatives.  

This resource includes articles, analysts reports and statistical tables which can be downloaded to Excel for further analysis.  Custom data dashboards can be built using thousands of eMarketer forecasts including ad spending, device and platform usage, retail and ecommerce sales, and time spent with media.  In addition to eMarketer’s own forecast estimate data, it is possible to compare estimates from other research groups and firms.  

Questions? Ask A Librarian.

UChicago Library acquires papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes

The University of Chicago Library has acquired the papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes, Lab’79, giving researchers access to never-before-seen notes and sketches from the acclaimed comic book author.

The materials in the collection—notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts, line art, book dummies and more—reveal the start-to-finish artistic process behind three of Clowes’ award-winning graphic novels: The Death-Ray (2011), Ice Haven (2005) and Mister Wonderful (2011). The collection also includes ephemera related to two major exhibitions of Clowes’ work.

Daniel Clowes at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Daniel Clowes at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“Daniel Clowes’ work is renowned for its sharp satire and compelling characters. This collection offers rare insights into Clowes’ creative process and the challenges and complexities of his art. It will be an exciting resource for scholars at the University of Chicago and beyond,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center, which will house the Daniel Clowes Archive.

Clowes’ first professional work appeared in Cracked magazine in 1985. In 1989, he created the seminal comic book series Eightball, which ran for 23 issues through 2004 and earned him a large following and multiple industry awards.

Eightball generated several graphic novels, including Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Pussey! and Ghost World, his breakthrough hit about the last summer of a teenage friendship. The 2001 film adaptation of Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Ice Haven, an intricate tale of kidnapping and alienation in a small Midwestern town, and The Death-Ray, the unlikely story of a teenage superhero in the 1970s, both appeared in Eightball before their publication in book form. Clowes’ “middle-aged romance” Mister Wonderful began as a serialized comic for The New York Times Magazine was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011. Materials related to Ice Haven, The Death-Ray and Mister Wonderful are featured in the Daniel Clowes Archive.

Clowes’ comics, graphic novels and anthologies have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions. A major retrospective of his work debuted at the Oakland Museum of California in 2012 and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013.

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“I couldn’t be more honored and pleased (and, frankly, astonished) to have my archival materials included in the University’s Special Collection,” Clowes said. “The University of Chicago, both the physical campus and the institution, was central, almost overwhelmingly so, to my formative life, the first 18 years of which were spent three blocks away from this very site, and there could no more appropriate place for these papers to find their home.”

Clowes has longstanding ties to the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Hyde Park, he attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools before moving to New York to study at the Pratt Institute. His grandfather, James Lea Cate, was a scholar of medieval history and historiography and a UChicago professor from 1930 to 1969. His stepmother, Harriet Clowes, worked in development at the University of Chicago Library from 1976 to 1980.

In 2012, Clowes participated in the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference sponsored by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. That event brought together 17 world-renowned cartoonists for three days of public conversation.

Prof. Hillary Chute, the conference organizer and expert on contemporary comics, has included Clowes’ work in her courses and interviewed him for her book Outside the Box.

“Dan Clowes is one of the most important cartoonists working today—and, crucially, he helped to invent the ‘graphic novel’ field as we know it today in his decades of groundbreaking work. His work has been a huge influence on many, many cartoonists—and on me, both as a person and a scholar of comics,” said Chute, associate professor in English and the College. “I could not be more honored and thrilled that the University has acquired an archive by an artist of this caliber.”

The Daniel Clowes Archive adds to the University of Chicago Library’s growing collection of materials related to word and image studies. The Library holds an extensive collection of contemporary comics, including many comics and zines published in Chicago, as well as the Walter C. Dopierala Comic Book Collection, which contains more than 2,000 popular mid-century comic books. The Library plans to add to its comics archive in the years to come.

The Daniel Clowes Archive is open to researchers.

A University of Chicago news release

The Stalin Digital Archive (SDA)

StalinDigitalArchiveThe Library patrons now have access to the Stalin Digital Archive (SDA), a collaborative effort between the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI) and Yale University Press (YUP) to create an electronic database of finding aids, to digitize documents and images, and to publish in different forms and media materials from the recently declassified Stalin archive in the holdings of RGASPI.

J. Arch Getty at UCLA in his introduction to the database writes:

Joseph Stalin’s life (1878–1953) coincided with the most momentous events of the twentieth century: two world wars, several revolutions in Russia and China, the Cold War, and the dawn of the nuclear age. Stalin was influential in the Chinese revolutions and communist victory, the Korean conflict, and the occupation of Eastern Europe. In terms of modern Russian history he played key roles in the revolutionary movement, the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Soviet industrialization, the terror of the 1930s, World War II, and the Cold War.

It is therefore difficult to imagine a more important primary source for these events than Stalin’s personal archive, major portions of which are now declassified and available for study. Although specialists have known and used these documents for some time in the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI) in Moscow, the Stalin Digital Archive (SDA) will now make them available electronically, eliminating the need to travel to Moscow and rendering the documents searchable and printable, actions that are difficult even in the Moscow archive.

Moreover, the SDA will for the first time make these documents accessible to students and specialists in other fields for both research and teaching. The SDA will provide translations of hundreds of selected key documents from Russian into English. These translated documents will be accompanied by scholarly annotations.

The importance of Stalin’s archive might be seen in two ways, external and internal.Stalin Externally, Stalin’s papers provide us with unparalleled information on the development of key historical events from the point of view of a participant. Obviously, because he was a dictator, everything of importance came across his desk. For example, these materials fully document Soviet industrialization and agricultural collectivization from the late 1920s. There is practically a full series of economic reports to and orders from Stalin over many years. Foreign relations, both with Germans and potential allies in the 1930s and with Cold War opponents in the 1940s, received his close attention. It will be possible to rewrite and restudy the histories of such important events of a violent century.

One of the differences between the Nazi and Soviet regimes is the level of sensitive documentation. Although the Nazis were meticulous in keeping some kinds of records, at the top we have practically nothing in writing about many kinds of decisions. We have almost no “smoking gun” documents about the decision to exterminate Jews and others, and not much about the inner politics of Hitler’s court and the bureaucratic empires of his courtiers. In short, Hitler did not write much down, nor was he interested in documenting his decisions.

The Stalinists, on the other hand, were not ashamed of or worried about recording their most sensitive (and evil) decisions. During the Stalinist terror of the 1930s, we have Stalin’s correspondence with his secret police chiefs N. I. Ezhov and L. P. Beria in which he ordered the arrest, torture, and execution of various people. When in 1940 Stalin and the Politburo decided to shoot more than 20,000 captured Polish officers at Katyn, they recorded their decisions in memos and resolutions, complete with justifications. Compared with that of the Nazis, the documentation on Soviet repression is full and rich, and some of the most important elements of it came from Stalin’s desk and trademark blue pencil.

In addition to enhancing our ability to study major events of the twentieth century with new materials, Stalin’s archive also has a fascinating internal, personal component. It shows us the nature and evolution of Stalin’s own thought, opinions, and decision-making process.

Consider, for example, the more than 300 books in his personal library. Stalin once told his lieutenants that if they weren’t reading several hundred pages a week, they were illiterate. The record shows that Stalin was a voracious reader of a wide variety of subjects who made detailed notations in the margins of what he read. His opinions about political, literary, and philosophical works are fascinating and revealing about how he thought.

Similarly, the archive contains hundreds of manuscripts sent to Stalin by others for his corrections and comments. He often answered them in written letters, but just as often he made detailed marginalia that show his reactions. Both types of reactions are preserved in his archives. Similarly, although most of his articles and speeches have been published, the drafts and rewrites of them are in his archive and show the evolution of his thinking as well as his consideration of word choice and discursive strategy.

The archive contains a wealth of Stalin’s correspondence with his lieutenants on important and secret subjects. These letters and telegrams show Stalin’s opinions of Lenin, other Bolshevik leaders, and world figures as well as his reflections on policy choices. When writing to his closest Politburo assistants, he was informal and often quite unguarded.

We have nothing like this level of documentation for Hitler or other twentieth-century dictators, and the scope of SDA documents is comparable with the archival source bases we have for world leaders in more-open societies. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that study of these documents will enrich, if not revolutionize, our understanding of the Soviet Union.


Library publishes ‘Homer in Print’ catalogue

Homer in Print: A Catalogue of the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana at the University of Chicago Library, is now available for consultation or check out at the Library and for purchase from the University of Chicago Press.

Homer in Print cover

Homer in Print cover art. Jacket design by Jerry Kelly, using a roundel by Bruce Rogers from his 1932 edition of the Odyssey.

Homer in Print traces the print transmission and literary reception of the Iliad and the Odyssey from the 15th through the 20th century. Over 175 mini-essays provide new details of each included edition’s textual, intellectual, and publishing history. Three long-form essays contributed by scholars Glenn W. Most and David Wray, and collector M. C. Lang,  place these editions within a wider context, exploring their role in ancient and modern philology, translation studies, and the history of printing. An extensive and strikingly illustrated testament to the power and popularity of Homer over the past 500 years, Homer in Print is an essential text for students and teachers of classics, classical reception, comparative literature, and book history. This volume, a product of new research and sharp scholarship, evidences Homer’s ability to captivate the imaginations of poets, editors, and readers throughout the centuries.

Edited by Glenn W. Most and Alice Schreyer and published by the University of Chicago Library, the Homer in Print catalogue and the collection it documents provide the foundation for the upcoming exhibition Homer in Print: The Transmission and Reception of Homer’s Works, on view at the Special Collections Research Center from January 13 to March 15, 2014.

Online access to The Times of India

Times of India masthead.The University of Chicago Library now provides online access to the historical backfile of The Times of India, one of the Subcontinent’s most important English-language newspapers.  Library users can browse single issues and search all content (articles, editorials, and advertisements) published 1838-2003.

 A link to the resource is available at here.  Coverage includes: Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce (1838-1859), The Bombay Times and Standard (1860-1861), and The Times of India (1861-2003).

This new resource will be of interest across all disciplines.  Social scientists and humanists will value the coverage of events from the late stages of the East India Company through colonial and into post-colonial India.  It is a valuable resource for the study of law, business, economics, the arts, popular culture, international relations, social services, and public policy, as well as the biological and physical sciences.

 Our one-year trial subscription will allow us to assess levels of usage and make the case for a permanent subscription.

 Please contact James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia, or Laura Ring, Assistant Southern Asia Librarian, if you have comments on The Times of India or if you would like assistance.