Access to the John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier

John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier

Thanks to the publicity we have received about the recent gift of the John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier, the University of Chicago Library and Special Collections Research Center have been contacted by many interested to see the collection. The archivists are currently working to organize and describe the collection. As soon as this job is complete we will be posting the news to our various outreach and social media platforms. If you are interested in speaking with someone about the collection please feel free to contact universityarchives@lib.uchicago.edu.  

Feature Story UChicago Library receives 2,700 vintage photos by Vivian Maier

Gift creates largest institutional collection of acclaimed photographer’s prints

A person smiling

Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

The University of Chicago Library has received more than 2,700 vintage prints by celebrated photographer Vivian Maier, few of which have ever been published or displayed.

Collector John Maloof made the donation to the UChicago Library, where they will be preserved and made accessible to researchers in the Special Collections Research Center. The gift includes more than 1,200 black-and-white and 1,400 color prints that Maier made, ranging from her travels around the world to her street photography in Chicago that has received widespread critical acclaim. Because Maier chose to make the prints herself, the collection provides a rare glimpse into her creative process and the photos to which she was drawn.

“This exceptional collection will give researchers and students a more complex understanding of Vivian Maier as a unique figure in 20th-century photography,” said Brenda L. Johnson, library director and University librarian. “We are so pleased that, with the receipt of this magnificent gift from John Maloof, the UChicago Library has the largest collection of Maier photographs held by any museum or library—and the only large collection of Maier’s work that is open to all interested researchers.”

Man working on billboard featuring woman

Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

Maloof first discovered the significance of Vivian Maier’s work after purchasing the contents of several storage lockers in 2008 from an auction house, eventually building a collection of more than 100,000 of Maier’s negatives and prints. The Academy Award-nominated documentary Finding Vivian Maier, which Maloof co-wrote and co-directed, depicts his exploration of Maier’s life and work.

Maier was born in New York City in 1926. She spent much of her early life traveling the world before finding a home in 1956 in Chicago, where she worked as a nanny to support her photography. It was only after her death in 2009 that Maier’s work was displayed in museums and galleries to widespread acclaim.

New window into Maier’s creative process

The photo shows a standing man with a cane and another man's face through a window

Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

While six major photography books and two biographies about Maier have been published in recent years, much of her work remains unknown. Whereas most recent prints of her work have been made by collectors, Maloof’s gift offers a more direct and personal glimpse into the photographer’s work.

Capturing everything from landscapes to still lifes to candid shots of actors and actresses, the vintage prints demonstrate a variety of subjects and compositional approaches that show the breadth of Maier’s interests. In addition to the prints—which range in size from 2 by 2.5 inches to 11 by 14 inches—the collection also includes cameras, papers and other personal items.

“The vintage prints John donated to the Library were made by Vivian Maier herself in her own darkroom, or printed for her by photo processors at her direction,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center. “Researchers examining the collection will be able to see some examples of how she evaluated and edited her own work, which images she decided to enlarge or reprint, and which ones she chose to crop.”

The prints will provide researchers an opportunity to consider what makes Maier’s work distinctive, said Prof. Laura Letinsky, a photographer who teaches in UChicago’s Department of Visual Arts and serves as its director of graduate studies. She added the collection provides an opportunity to think in depth both about Maier’s influences and her point of view. For example, her depiction of women was one aspect that immediately stood out to Letinsky: “Street photographer Garry Winogrand’s pictures of women are sexy—Maier’s are not.”

People sitting in front of Tailleur

Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

Seeing a concentrated group of Maier’s works rather than a small curated selection, Letinsky said, will help students better understand the level of commitment required in photography, as well as how the medium has evolved since the mid-20th century.

“I would talk about the difference in the way people see the world in this era versus our Instagram era now,” Letinsky said. “I’d want them to see the physicality of it.”

The archive also includes examples of items Maier collected: seven still cameras and three movie cameras, plus a variety of lenses, attachments and cases; ring binders and plastic display holders filled with newspaper and magazine clippings; luggage, a travel itinerary, postcards, address books and other ephemera.

This is the second gift Maloof has given to the UChicago Library, following his 2017 donation of 500 Maier prints. After seeing the interest those prints generated among scholars, students and the public, Maloof realized that he needed to give more to build an “effective study collection.”

Maier’s work joins collections of a range of female photographers held by the UChicago Library, including photo-secessionist Eva Watson-Schütze, documentary photographer Mildred Mead, anthropologist Joan Eggan and literary photographer Layle Silbert.



The copyrights in the photography contained in this press release are owned by the Estate of Vivian Maier. The Estate grants a limited license to media and press to reproduce the attached images in articles concerning Vivian Maier and/or John Maloof’s donation of vintage prints of Vivian Maier’s work to the University of Chicago.  Hi-resolution versions of images may be used in connection with print versions of articles only.  For electronic and online publications, the reproduced images may not exceed 1500 pixels on the longest side and 72 dpi.  Unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or exhibition could result in liability under the Copyright Act.  Publication of any of these images requires accompanying use of this notice: “Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.”

Media contact: Colleen Mastony, cmastony@uchicago.edu, (773) 702-4254

This story is published on the University of Chicago News site.

Photograph of part of a face (including an eye with glasses) behind part of a stop sign

Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

Exhibits Discovery, Collection, Memory: The Oriental Institute at 100

Exhibition Dates: September 16 – December 13, 2019
Location: Special Collections Research Center Gallery, 1100 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Breasted in his Haskell Office

James Henry Breasted in his Haskell Office, ca. 1926. Courtesy of the Oriental Institute Museum Archives.

The Oriental Institute is one of the world’s premier institutions for the study of the Ancient Middle East. Its roots developed as the University of Chicago was being founded, when President Harper mentored a young scholar named James Henry Breasted to pursue a degree in Egyptology. Breasted went on to direct the Haskell Museum around 1900 and secured funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in May 1919 to begin the Oriental Institute.

This exhibition explores the Oriental Institute’s 100 years of excavation, research, and scholarship. Focusing on the geographical areas of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan, OI scholars have worked rigorously to discover cultural heritage, decipher ancient languages, and to reconstruct the histories of long-lost civilizations. The exhibition remembers the OI’s past through archival fragments, artifacts, and ephemera as it celebrates its centennial.

Curator: Anne Flannery, Head of Museum Archives, Oriental Institute

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. Visitors without a UChicago ID can enter to see the exhibit by obtaining a visitor pass from the ID and Privileges Office in Regenstein Library. 

Exterior of Oriental Institute viewed from street

Oriental Institute, 1931. Courtesy of the Oriental Institute Museum Archives.

Associated Museum

The Oriental Institute
The University of Chicago
1155 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download to 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 and images, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

 

Man at top of ladder and three men near base of ladder near wall

The Epigraphic Survey staff photographing inscriptions. Courtesy of the Oriental Institute Epigraphic Survey.

 

Aerial view of pyramids at Abu Sir

Aerial view taken by James Henry Breasted of the pyramids at Abu Sir. It was taken with a bellows camera in an open-cockpit plane. 1920. Courtesy of the Oriental Institute Museum Archives.

Special Collections closed July 4th and 5th

Photo of celebrating Hyde Parkers from the University of Chicago Photographic Archive (apf2-04047).

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed July 4th and 5th in observance of Independence Day. We will resume regular hours on Monday, July 8th.

People Discovering Chicago’s rare books with Elizabeth Frengel

Elizabeth Frengel holds a rare book

Elizabeth Frengel, curator of rare books (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

In her first year as curator of rare books in the Special Collections Research Center, Elizabeth Frengel has begun discovering the Library’s diverse treasures and identifying opportunities to enhance its holdings. Frengel came to the University of Chicago Library from her position as Head of Research Services at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. At Chicago, she is responsible for building and caring for the collections, as well as engaging faculty, students, and donors with the Special Collections Research Center’s materials, services, and programs.

With 340,000 rare books in Special Collections, Frengel has examined gems of historical importance and surpassing beauty. While delicately turning the pages of one of her favorites, an 1894 Kelmscott edition of The Tale of King Coustans the Emperor, Frengel notes the elegance of its inner design in contrast to the slightly worn condition of its exterior. Acquired with support from the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Rare Book Fund, this particular volume likely functioned as a press room or proof copy, or a remainder held by the press. “Such extra-textual components of the book can inform scholars’ understanding of the production processes of the press,” Frengel explains. Additionally, the work contains a handwritten note by Charles W. Howell on the front free endpaper stating that this copy survived the infamous fire at the Ballantyne Press in 1899. Such a notation further reveals this volume’s history and role as a complex cultural object rather than simply a textual conduit.

A hand points at an Arctic expedition map

A 16th-century Arctic expedition map bequeathed by Eleonora C. Gordon, M.D. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

From handwritten notes to book illustrations, Frengel observes that extra-textual elements in the rare books collections often infuse works with layers of meaning and rich research value. For instance, Frengel was thrilled to see the Library become the new home of two exquisitely illustrated items documenting 16th century polar explorations, bequeathed by Eleonora C. Gordon, M.D.: a map and an Arctic expedition log supplemented with stunningly clean and detailed engravings depicting the crew’s adventures with a sweeping sense of dynamism.

Since arriving at Chicago, Frengel has also had the opportunity to work with Graham School student Robert S. Connors, who generously donated to the Library nearly 400 rare volumes from the 15th to the 20th centuries. According to Frengel, “Acquisitions such as this are important to scholars studying the transmission of classical texts through time and across cultures.” She is especially grateful to have received eleven incunable titles from the earliest period of European printing, including a 1475 edition of Augustine’s Confessions.

Frengel plans to continue learning as much as possible about the immense collections of rare books at Chicago. She envisions helping to build collections through acquisitions in areas such as classical texts in the early modern period, including Homer in print; Judaica; 19th-century literature; African Americana; and works that illustrate the history of the material text.

The Library looks forward to more energetic years of intellectual curiosity and thoughtful curation of rare books in the future.

Hands hold open a book with text in red and black

This 1894 Kelmscott edition of “The Tale of King Coustans the Emperor” was saved from the fire at Ballantyne Press in 1899. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

New guide to papers of historian Maria Elena Martinez

The Maria Elena Martinez Papers are now open for research.

Dr. Martinez (1966-2014) was an historian of colonial Mexico. She received her PhD in History from The University of Chicago in 2002 and taught as an associate professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences until her death from cancer in 2015.

Martinez’s first book, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico was well-reviewed by the academic community upon publication and received numerous accolades. This collection contains her academic and professional work, personal correspondence, and teaching and research notes. Her extensive archive of photocopied probanzas – proofs of the blood lineage of Spaniards in colonial Mexico – from libraries and archives in the United States, Mexico, and Spain may be of particular interest to researchers.

“Photographs from vacation to Mexico, circa 2000,” Maria Elena Martinez Papers, Box 8, Folder 16.

Photocopied probanza from the Archivo General de Indias: Petición (Dispensa) de Don Joseph y Basilio Manuel de Aquillada (Colegio de Abajados) (1814). Maria Elena Martinez Papers, Box 11, Folder 4.

Alumni Weekend donation event on Friday, June 7th

UChicago Alumni Weekend. Preserve your UChicago Story

The University Archives document all aspects of student life. This Alumni Weekend, alumni are invited to bring some of their own UChicago history back to campus to add to the collections. UChicago t-shirts, buttons, posters, programs, flyers, photos, scrapbooks, and more are welcome. Talk with archivists about other student memorabilia you might want to donate and see a special display of student life items from the archives. Read more about what we collect.

When: Friday, June 7th, 2:30-4:00 pm

Where: Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th Street

Special Collections closed for Memorial Day

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 27th. We will resume our regular hours on Tuesday, May 28th.

Memorial plaque dedicated in 1938 in honor of UChicago men who died in World War I. The plaque is in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Image from the University of Chicago Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 3, December 1938.

College Research Week May 13-17

Student browsing the bookstacks.

Develop important research skills by attending College Research Week programs.

2019 College Research Week will take place from May 13-17 in Regenstein Library. College Research Week is a celebration of undergraduate research and creative inquiry at UChicago. This week-long event will include sessions on research skills, resources, and fellowships; undergraduate researcher and graduate student panels; an Undergraduate Research Poster Showcase, and much more!

College Research Week is brought to you by the College Center for Research & Fellowships and The University of Chicago Library. For more information, visit the College Research Week website.

College Research Week Schedule

Monday, May 13: Research Skills and Resources

Session Schedule:

Location: Regenstein, Room 122

10:00-11:30am: Introduction to Research Proposal Design, led by Sandra Zupan, Assistant Director of Fellowships and Research, CCRF
The goal of this session it to build your academic skills in research design, which can help you engage in undergraduate research. First, you will learn about the process of narrowing your interest to a research topic, followed by developing a research question and a literature review. Second, you will learn about the practicalities of data collection and analysis, ethical research practice and presenting the findings of the research.

11:30am-12:30pm: Undergraduate Research Funding, led by Tracy Nyerges, Assistant Director of Research, CCRF
This session will help you navigate the various undergraduate research funding sources available to College students across the disciplines. Whether you are new to research or an advanced undergraduate researcher, we will discuss research grant programs and options to fund academic year and summer research experiences for students in all majors. This session will also offer guidance and resources to assist you in planning for and preparing applications for undergraduate research grants and funding.

Location: Regenstein TechBar Studio Classroom, Room 160

1:00-2:00pm: Sharing and Archiving your Research with Knowledge@UChicago, led by Nora Mattern, Scholarly Communications Librarian, Library
Join the Library for a discussion on the principles of open access, how you can make your research poster or paper available to others, and why you may want to do so. Knowledge@UChicago is a digital repository where University of Chicago faculty and students can share and archive their scholarly work. Bring a laptop or tablet (or borrow one from the TechBar) and spend hands-on time with Knowledge@UChicago.

2:30-3:30pm: Managing Your Data and Files, led by Elizabeth Foster, Social Sciences Data Librarian, Library
Whether your data are digital photos of archival records or spreadsheets, this session will provide you with practical tips for naming, organizing, documenting, storing and preserving your data. Making a plan for managing your data and digital files can save you time and potential headaches in the long-run. In this workshop, we’ll begin creating data management plans for a current project and talk through challenges and lessons you’ve learned about effective strategies for managing your digital files. This session is given Elizabeth Foster, Social Sciences Data Librarian.

4:00-5:00pm: Getting a Head-Start on Your BA, led by Rebecca Starkey, Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach, Library
Are you apprehensive about writing a BA or honors thesis? Don’t worry, there are many resources to support you! Librarian Rebecca Starkey will help you get a head start on your thesis by offering strategies to ease your research and writing. Learn about specialized research tools for your major, methods for locating primary sources at the University and beyond, GIS and data support services, and how to reach the Library experts who can guide you. After the workshop, you’ll be able to take the first steps towards starting this important research project.

Tuesday, May 14: Research Fellowships and Undergraduate Research Scholars

Session Schedule:

Location: Regenstein, Room A-11

10:00-11:00am: International Research through Fulbright, led by Nicholas Morris, Associate Director of Fellowships, CCRF
The Fulbright US Student Program is an opportunity to conduct research, study, or teach English for a year internationally after graduation. Thisinformation session will investigate how you can launch your research interests through a funded, post-graduate grant. In this session, we will review the broad purpose and specific components of the Fulbright Grant, including essays, affiliations, and recommendations. We will identify essential components of previously successful grants and help you envision ways to start approaching the essays.

11:30am-12:30pm: National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, led by Nichole Fazio, Director, CCRF
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) program is one of the most robust and well-recognized national fellowships in support of graduate education (STEM and selective Social Science disciplines). This session will introduce students to the basics of the NSF GRFP, with a focus on the application process and what makes for an especially strong application. Students of any class-standing are invited to attend. We strongly encourage 3rd- and 4th-year students intending to submit applications this coming October to attend. 

Undergraduate Researcher Panels:

2:00-3:00pm: Arts & Humanities College Students
Join for this interative panel featuring UChicago undergraduate researchers and creative sholars in the Arts and Humanities. The participating College students will field your questions, talk about their paths and how undergraduate research and creative scholarship has impacted them. This session will be informative to current and future undergraduate researchers and scholars in a variety of Arts and Humanities majors.

3:00-4:00pm: Social Sciences College Students
Join for this interative panel featuring UChicago undergraduate researchers and creative sholars in the Social Sciences. The participating College students will field your questions, talk about their paths and how undergraduate research and creative scholarship has impacted them. This session will be informative to current and future undergraduate researchers and scholars in a variety of Social Sciences majors.

4:00-5:00pm: STEM College Students
Join for this interative panel featuring UChicago undergraduate researchers and creative sholars in STEM. The participating College students will field your questions, talk about their paths and how undergraduate research and creative scholarship has impacted them. This session will be informative to current and future undergraduate researchers and scholars in a variety of STEM majors.

Wednesday, May 15: Research and Your Future

Session Schedule:

Location: Regenstein A-11

11:30am-1:00pm: Graduate Student Panel and Networking Lunch
Join for this interative panel featuring the five current UChicago graduate students listed below from various fields. These graduate students will field your questions, talk about their paths to graduate school and how undergraduate research impacted their journeys. You will also be able to chat with these graduate students further after the panel during lunch. Lunch will be provided so please RSVP for this session

3:30-4:30pm: Navigating the SBS IRB Process, led by Cheri Pettey, Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences IRB
This session will explore the history of the applicable regulations, explain how to determine whether a project constitutes human subjects research requiring review, define the basic review process/requirements, and provide some helpful tips for navigating the process. There will be time for questions and students who have gone through the process are welcome to share their experiences and suggestions.

Thursday, May 16: Research Mentoring and Toolbox Building

Session Schedule:

Location: Regenstein TechBar Studio Classroom, Room 160

10:00-11:00am: Creating a Digital Portfolio to Share and Present your Research and Creative Scholarship, led by Stacie Williams, Director, Center for Digital Scholarship, Library
Digital portfolios or a personal website can help you to showcase your research, communicate your interests, and develop a professional network. In this session, we’ll explore what makes for an effective digital portfolio and consider decisions when crafting an online identity. This discussion will be followed by a tutorial on using WordPress to create a digital site.

Location: Regenstein A-11

11:30-1:00pm: Research Mentor/Student Pairs and Networking Lunch [lunch provided]
Join us for a lunch-time conversation with student and research mentors across the disciplines to learn more about their work. Students will discuss how they connected with their mentors’ project and together they will talk about the process of undertaking their research together. You will also have the opportunity to hear from faculty and scholars across the university community who pursued unconventional career pathways as a result of their research efforts. 

1:30-3:00pm: Research Proposal Writing, led by Sandra Zupan, Assistant Director of Fellowships and Research, CCRF
The goal of this session is to help you produce a persuasive research proposal, which can be used for successful UChicago and external grants, national fellowships and graduate school applications. First, you will learn about the structure and characteristics of persuasive proposals, as well as common areas of weaknesses in research proposals. Second, you will learn how to develop paragraphs, organize text and write in a clear, detailed, precise manner.

3:30-4:30pm: GRD101: Preparing for the Graduate School Application Process, led by Nichole Fazio, DPhil, Director, CCRF: This information session is designed for current undergraduates considering graduate school as a part of an academic and professional trajectory.  Whether you are certain that you will pursue graduate education or are just beginning to consider the possibility, this session will introduce you to a) the general process of investigating options, b) the application timeline, c) common application components, and d) attempt to demystify the application and admission process. This is a general session and open to all disciplines and years.  Note: this will not cover pre-professional application processes specifically (eg medical or law school), although some of the application components like personal statements, letters of recommendation and CVs will be discussed as universal components to all application processes. 

Friday, May 17: Undergraduate Research Support & Showcase and Reception

Session Schedule:

Location: Regenstein TechBar Studio, Room 160

10:00-11:30am: Zotero Drop-In Support
Drop by the TechBar for one-on-one training and support for Zotero, a free citation manager that allows you to organize, annotate, and cite your sources automatically in standard styles (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.).

Location: Regenstein 122

Research Poster Showcase and Reception

2:00-2:30pm: Opening Remarks
Professor Peggy Mason, Department of Neurobiology
2:30-3:30pm: Poster Showcase
3:30-4:30pm: Reception 

 

‘Augie March’ Panel Discussion

Celebrate the exhibition The Adaptations of Augie March and the production The Adventures of Augie March by joining in conversation with:

The Adaptations of Augie March

  • Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, Court Theatre
  • Nora Titone, Resident Dramaturg, Court Theatre
  • Daniel Meyer, Director of Special Collections and University Archivist

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

5:00 pm — Exhibition Viewing
5:45 pm — Special Remarks and Program
7:00 pm — Reception

The Joseph Regenstein Library
Room 122
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois

RSVP by May 14, 2019

Presented by the University of Chicago Library Society and Court Theatre

 

Exhibits Feature Story The Adaptations of Augie March: A Novel by Saul Bellow, A Play by David Auburn, A Production Directed by Charles Newell, An Exhibition by Special Collections and Court Theatre

Exhibition Dates: April 29 — August 30, 2019
Location: Special Collections Research Center Gallery, 1100 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Rendering of costume for Augie March with blue shirt and blue pants

Sally Dolembo’s costume design for “The Adventures of Augie March,” final rendering of Augie March

Saul Bellow’s 1953 masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March, launched his reputation as a novelist and established the future Nobel Laureate’s literary renown. In 2015, Court Theatre commissioned the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright David Auburn, AB ’91, to adapt Augie March for the stage. This exhibit showcases treasures from Special Collections Research Center’s Saul Bellow Papers in juxtaposition with materials generated by theatre artists working toward Court’s May 2019 world premiere. On display are early handwritten drafts of Bellow’s novel; the original drafts of David Auburn’s stage adaptation; Charles Newell’s artistic notes and plans for building the world of the play; costume designer Sally Dolembo’s sketches; the mind-bending design work of shadow puppetry collective Manual Cinema; and John Culbert’s minimalist, non-literal design for a set capable of evoking disparate places. The exhibit invites visitors to step into the world of Augie March—as Bellow imagined it, Auburn adapted it, and Newell envisioned it on stage. 

Curator: Nora Titone, Dramaturg at the Court Theatre

Photo of David Auburn

David Auburn

 

Associated Production

The Adventures of Augie March
Court Theatre
May 9 — June 9, 2019

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download to 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 and images, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Photo of Saul Bellow with his signature in passport

U.S. Passport, 1951, Saul Bellow Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library

13 scholars awarded Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for research in Special Collections

The University of Chicago Library is pleased to announce the recipients of Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for 2019.  Awards are being made this year to thirteen scholars who will visit the Library and consult collections during the summer from June to September.   A list of the 2019 Fellows appears below along with their academic affiliations and research topics. 

The Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship program was established through a bequest of Professor of Geophysical Sciences George W. Platzman and is named in memory of his brother Robert L. Platzman, Professor of Chemistry and Physics.  The program provides support for visiting researchers outside the Chicago area working on projects that require on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily archives, manuscripts, or printed materials in the Special Collections Research Center.  

A total of 137 Fellowships have been awarded since the program began in 2006.  Further information on the Platzman Fellowships is available on the Special Collections website.


Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships Awarded for Summer 2019

Robert Bell

PhD candidate, History and Middle Eastern Studies, New York University

From Financial Missionaries and Colonial Administrators to Shirt-Sleeve Diplomats and New Deal Developers: American Influence in Iran from 1911 to 1963

 

Michael Bruschi

PhD candidate, Music Theory, Yale University

Hearing the Tonality in Microtonality:  Easley Blackwood’s Microtonal Music

 

John Carranza

PhD candidate, Education, University of Texas at Austin

Explaining Sex:  Sex Education, Normalization, and Disability in the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s

 

Claire Class

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute für Soziologie, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Beyond the Chicago School: Literature, Marginalization, and Sociology in Modern America

 

William Clift

PhD candidate, History, Florida State University

Race in the Prairie State:  Black Laws and African American Activism in Nineteenth Century Illinois

 

Aaron Colston

PhD candidate, History, Duke University

Read the Word, Read the World: Education for Liberation in Cold War U.S. and Brazil

 

Benjamin Daly-Jones

MPhil candidate, Early Modern History, Jesus College, University of Cambridge

Memory, Distortion, and Judicious Thought: Parrhesia and Late 16th- Early 17th-Century Diplomatic Textual Culture

 

Yuval Goldfus

PhD candidate, Philosophy, Hebrew University

Privacy, the Right to be Forgotten, and the Social Self of George Herbert Mead

 

Sören Hammerschmidt

Instructor, English, Arizona State University

Modular Pope: Portraits, Poems, and Recycled Print

 

Michael Kalisch

Post-doctoral scholar, Downing College, University of Cambridge

Glimpse, Encounter, Acquaintance, Friendship: The Literary Life of Richard Stern

 

Taushif Kara

PhD candidate, History, University of Cambridge

Abode of Peace: Islam, Empire, and the Khoja Diaspora, 1866-1972

 

Lena Leson

PhD candidate, Historical Musicology, University of Michigan

Making Balachine an American Modernist: Cold War Narratives and Construction of the Artist

 

Meghna Sapui

PhD candidate, English, University of Florida

British Poetry in/from India: Creating a New Poetic Community

Courses inspire student to collect, donate rare books to UChicago Library

Bob Connors with his books

Bob Connors, a retired tax attorney and Graham School student, recently donated his collection of nearly 600 rare books to the University of Chicago Library. (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

Graham School sparks 70-year-old Bob Connors’ quest to find works dating to 15th century

Bob Connors flips open the heavy leather covers, thumbing past yellowed, worm-holed pages more than five centuries old. A few feet behind him, boxes pile up along the wall.

This collection of rare books started with a simple idea. As a student at the University of Chicago Graham School, Connors was reading texts considered the bedrock of Western Civilization. Why not find the oldest copies he could get his hands on?

An open book

The oldest book in Connors’ collection is a 1475 edition of Augustine’s Confessions, printed in Milan by Johannes Bonus. This incunable title is notable for its unusual text type, light and delicate. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

What began as a hobby for the retired tax attorney grew into a years-long odyssey—one that sent him down a rabbit hole of auctions and book dealers. Inspired by his studies, the collection of nearly 600 books is remarkable in both breadth and depth: rare editions of famous authors like James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald; oversized 15th- and 16th-century volumes with original oak covers and brass clasps; and the oldest of the lot, a 1475 copy of Augustine’s Confessions.

Connors is now 70 years old. Last October, he was diagnosed with cancer. He began to think: Of all his possessions, there was one set in particular worth preserving.

“I had all these books that I collected and I valued,” said Connors, sitting in his suburban Oak Park home. “And I guess part of it is, at this point, I’m into legacy. What will be left behind? And I knew that if I didn’t do something with these books, they would be thrown out. And I couldn’t let that happen.”

He decided to donate them to UChicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center, where they now live as the Robert S. Connors Basic Program Collection.

The name is a nod to the curriculum that nurtured in Connors a fascination with the history of the printed word. Since 1946, the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies has offered the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults to encourage reading and engaging with the “Great Books.” One proponent of this approach was former UChicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins, who argued that it kept one’s “intelligence on the stretch.”

“Great books teach people not only how to read them,” he wrote in 1952, “but also how to read all other books.”

An irreplaceable collection

Elizabeth Frengel, the curator of rare books at the University of Chicago Library, had expected a small collection, perhaps around two dozen books.

The dolphin-and-anchor printer's device in a book held by Connors

Bob Connors holds one of his many Aldines—books printed by Aldus Manutius’ 16th-century press. Known for producing smaller, more accessible books, Manutius adopted a distinctive dolphin-and-anchor printer’s device. (Robert Kozloff for the University of Chicago)

When they first met, Connors brought with him copies of classic British literature such as Thomas Hardy and George Eliot, enough to reveal he had “a good eye as a collector.” Then he and Frengel started talking about the Aldine Press, an early 16th-century publisher that printed smaller, portable books that were more feasible for students and scholars to acquire. The ready accessibility of these books transformed the nature of reading—and, many argue, extended the reach of the Renaissance.

“As a group, it’s irreplaceable,” said Frengel, who oversees the University’s approximately 340,000 volumes dating back to the 15th century. “If we weren’t able to make this collection available to researchers, that would be a sad loss. You couldn’t easily recapture that sort of scholarly value.”

The donation included 11 “incunabula.” Taken from the Latin word for “swaddling clothes,” the term denotes books published in Europe between 1455 and 1501. These works, along with some 16th-century publications, illuminate the history of printing and provide insight into the evolution of the book as a material and technical object.

“The books are not going to be things that sit on a shelf and nobody really uses,” said Fred Beuttler, a Graham School associate dean who was one of the first UChicago employees to see Connors’ collection. “We’re going to make them accessible to faculty and graduate students.”

On April 9, the University will recognize Connors in a ceremony, joined by his family and members of the UChicago community.

‘More fun than golf’

The books’ new home represents a fitting coda to Connors’ journey. While working downtown in the early 1980s, he called the University of Chicago on a whim and asked about part-time course offerings.

“It was the leading university in area,” Connors said. “If I was gonna be taking classes, I might as well take it from the best.”

Whoever picked up the phone pointed him to the Graham School’s Basic Program. On the first day of class, Connors found out that he was entering the first part of a four-year sequence. His relationship with the Graham School would last even longer.

Connors received a certificate from the Basic Program in 1985, but the classes wore on him. A new job had taken him an hour north of downtown Chicago, and the evening commute back into the city left him struggling to stay awake during discussions.

So he took a break, focusing on his career until he approached retirement. He enrolled again in 2006, signing up for a course on the Roman historian Tacitus. The discussion-based nature of the classes, he said, prompted him to read more closely than he ever would on his own. Along the way, he picked up an interest in collecting.

“Something I thought would be more fun than golf, I guess,” he said.

Connors’ love for books has always been clear. Meggie, the younger of his two daughters, still remembers their nightly reading sessions—a few pages of Little House on the Prairie, or a chapter of Little Women. She doesn’t consider herself a history buff, but her father’s occasional spiels about his collection revealed his passion.

“He really latches on to information,” she said. “Especially with these books, he could remember every single detail about them.”

That impulse hasn’t waned. Even now, Connors hopes not only to continue his studies, but to keep searching for books to acquire.

Frengel understands the urge. Many of Connors’ oldest books contain hand-written notes in the margins, unique to each of their previous owners.

A manicule in a book's margin

Drawn in book margins by hand, manicules were popular among Renaissance readers as a way to mark important passages of text. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

“Collecting these kinds of books give you perhaps a more insightful understanding of how culture is transmitted—how our cultural myths, our stories, our histories are passed down to us,” she said. “You can probably access almost all of these texts online for nothing, because they’re not copyrighted. But the material object puts you in touch with that history in an entirely new way.”

Connors has compared his books to an art collection—better shared than hidden away. Though he has read translations of many, there are several that he appreciates simply as historical artifacts. They would serve little purpose locked up in someone’s basement.

“They’ve been around for a long time,” Connors said. “I’m hoping they’ll be around for a good long time further when they’re cared for by the University Library. They really belong there.”

A University of Chicago news story

“Archiving Your Story” panel and workshop sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

Join the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs for a panel and interactive workshop on the importance, history and future of archiving for the multicultural community on campus.

Refreshments will be provided.

The event is Monday, February 18th, 4:00-6:00 PM in the Center for Identity + Inclusion’s Community Lounge at 5710 S. Woodlawn Ave.

If you have any questions or need accommodations contact OMSA at omsa@uchicago.edu or 773.702.5710

Apply now for a 2019 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship

The University of Chicago Library invites applications for short-term research fellowships for the summer of 2019. Any visiting researcher, writer, or artist residing more than 100 miles from Chicago, and whose project requires on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily archives, manuscripts, rare books, or other materials in the Special Collections Research Center, is eligible. Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Applications in the fields of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century physics or physical chemistry, or nineteenth-century classical opera, will receive special consideration.

Awards will be made based on the applicant’s ability to complete the proposed on-site research successfully within the timeframe of the fellowship.  Applicants should explain why the project cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and the extent to which University of Chicago Library collections are central to the research.  Up to $3,000 of support will be awarded to help cover estimated travel, living, and research expenses.  Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged.

The deadline for applications is March 4, 2019.  Notice of awards will be made by March 29, 2019 for use between June 10, 2019 and September 27, 2019.

Applicants must provide the following information:

  • A cover letter (not to exceed one page) including the project title; a brief summary; estimated dates of on-site research; and a budget for travel, living, and research expenses during the period of on-site research
  • A research proposal not to exceed three double-spaced pages. Applicants should include references to specific archival finding aids and catalog records of particular relevance to their proposed project whenever possible.
  • A curriculum vitae of no longer than two pages
  • Two letters of support from academic or other scholars. References may be sent with the application or separately.

Submit application in one electronic file to: scrcfellowship@lib.uchicago.edu

Letters of reference in electronic form are preferred; print letters of reference can be sent to:

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

For additional information contact:
Daniel Meyer, Director, Special Collections Research Center

For additional background on the Platzman Fellowship, and to see a list of last year’s recipients please see our website: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships/

 

People Apply now for 7 new graduate student fellowships at UChicago Library

The University of Chicago Library is offering seven fellowships as part of a new program for UChicago graduate students. The fellowships are designed to give graduate students opportunities to explore alternative scholarly careers and to build skills and knowledge in new areas of scholarship.

Interested graduate students are encouraged to apply by January 15, 2019, for currently posted fellowships. Additional fellowships will be posted as they become available.

Graduate student points to image on screen

A graduate student examines an image that will be added to the Digital South Asia Library. (Photo by John Zich)

Winter Quarter 2019 fellowships include:

  • Digital Scholarship Fellowship (Digital Archival Collections): The fellow will conduct background and biographical research, evaluate and select specific items for scholarly importance, write descriptions and contextual material for items in the collections, and create a digital scholarship project around one or more of the existing digital archival collections.
  • Digital Scholarship Fellowship (Digital Humanities): The fellow will collaborate with Library staff and faculty in the Humanities to develop resources and workshops, and to identify other strategies to support the new MA program and undergraduate concentration in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History. The fellow will learn about and use textual and visual corpora, digital humanities platforms and research methods, and analytic techniques.
  • GIS Fellowship for Historical Chicago Data: The fellow will conduct an environmental scan to identify existing geospatial data of Chicago in the 19th and 20th centuries. Based on the scan, the fellow will georeference important sheet map collections before digitizing data layers and creating metadata. These data layers will be made available via the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal and locally at the university. The fellow will develop content that contextualizes the digitized data within existing resources.
  • Library Research Support Services Fellowship: This fellowship will provide graduate students with hands-on experience supporting researchers in an academic library through in-person and virtual reference services.
  • Metadata Fellowship for the Digital Media Archive (DMA): This fellow will be responsible for enhancing the metadata for the Mesoamerican holdings within the University of Chicago’s Digital Media Archive (DMA).
  • University Archives Fellow: Archives today are a rapidly expanding field with increasingly broad responsibility for preserving and making accessible unique materials in all formats—traditional paper documents, photographs, and analog recordings, as well as a growing array of digital content: email, databases, digital images, audio and video media, and web sites. This fellow will develop skills and expertise in all these areas while contributing to the programs and services of the University of Chicago Archives.
  • Web Exhibits Fellowship: This fellow will use existing digital resources from the Library Digital Repository to develop web exhibits, highlighting significant items from large digitized collections, and providing contextual information about the items and their collections and creators. The fellow will develop skills in conducting original archival research, and in presenting the results of their research to a broad audience in clear, concise, visually-engaging ways.

Winter 2019 fellowships come with a stipend of $3300 per academic quarter.  Fellowships typically involve approximately 15 hours of work per week.

For more information about individual opportunities and how to apply, visit the Library website or contact Andrea Twiss-Brooks at atbrooks@uchicago.edu.

Exhibits Feature Story The Fetus in Utero: From Mystery to Social Media

Exhibition Dates: January 2–April 12, 2019
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

Diagram of fetus in utero

Du Coudray uses diagrams of the fetus in utero to help midwives-in-training see both the anatomical and emotional factors at play during pregnancy. Detail from Du Coudray, Abrégé de l’art des accouchements dans lequel on donne les préceptes nécessaires pour le mettre heureusement en pratique, 1777. RG93.L45 Rare. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Once restricted to the privacy of the doctor’s office, ultrasound images of the fetus are now immediately recognizable in the public arena through advertisements and social media, where posts tagged “baby’s first pic” are commonplace. Such depictions of the fetus in utero have become iconic and are arguably the most easily recognized medical image. How and why did this happen?

To answer this question, viewers are invited to embark on a 500-year visual journey, from Renaissance woodcuts to modern medical images. Along the way, they will encounter three major shifts in graphic representation. First, from 1450 to 1700, the fetus transformed from divine mystery to a topic deemed worthy of study. Second, from 1700 to 1965, the fetus achieved status as a medicalized subject whose visual ‘home’ was the obstetrical textbook. Third, from 1965 to the present, the fetus has achieved status in popular culture while maintaining its traditional medical role.

Through this rich visual culture, images of the fetus in utero have been used in the service of education, research, political agendas, patient-empowered medicine, and finally, entertainment. The images on view offer historical insights and a sweeping look at how the visual culture of the fetus in utero developed.

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.

Curators

Brian Callender, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, The University of Chicago; and Margaret Carlyle, Postdoctoral Researcher and Instructor, Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, The University of Chicago

Life-size female manikin with fetus

This life-size female manikin served as a pedagogical tool for turn-of-the-20th-century medical students. Pilz anatomical manikin [female], [19–?]. New York: American Thermo-Ware Co. ffQM25.P545 19— RCASR. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Related Events

Curators’ Tours

Friday, January 4, 4:30–5 pm
Wednesday, January 23, 1:30–2 pm
Friday, February 8, 4-4:30 pm

1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

Free 30-minute tours by the curators. Please meet in the front lobby of the Regenstein Library at the start time.

Opening Event

Thursday, January 24, 5–7 p.m.
5737 South University Avenue, Chicago, IL
This wine-and-cheese opening reception is hosted by the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge (SIFK).
RSVP required

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download to 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 and images, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

New guide to papers of demographer Donald Bogue

The Donald J. Bogue Papers are now open for research. Donald Bogue (1918-2014) was a demographer and longtime University of Chicago Professor of Sociology. Upon earning his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1949, he joined the faculty at Miami University and then joined the University of Chicago in 1954. He remained at UChicago for the rest of his career. He was affiliated with the National Opinion Research Center and was responsible for founding and leading several population research centers at the University.

Bogue founded Demography, the Journal of the Population Association of America in 1964 and served as its first editor from 1964 to 1969. His interest in family planning made him a major force in the worldwide movement for population control. He directed USAID and Ford Foundation-funded contracts to improve the evaluation of family planning programs’ impact on fertility in low-income countries and also trained demographers and clinicians through international workshops on the use of mass communications in family planning programs. The Donald J. Bogue Papers document his life in Chicago and his international work in Latin American, Asian, and African countries.

Black and white Donald Bogue portrait, undated. Bogue, Donald J. Papers, Box 24, Folder 8, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Front cover of “Relevant Posters for Family Planning,” by B. Berndtson, D.J. Bogue, and G. McVicker, 1975. Bogue, Donald J. Papers, Box 7, Folder 8, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Donald Bogue and Indonesian delegation at a summer workshop at the University of Chicago, 1970. Bogue, Donald J. Papers, Box 23, Folder 3, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Special Collections Hours the Week of December 24, 2018

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25, 2018.

December 26-28, 2018 there will be shortened hours for the public.  The reading room will be open 1-4:45pm.  All requests for materials must be submitted before noon each day.

New guide to papers of physicist Lalitha Chandrasekhar

The Lalitha Chandrasekhar Papers are now open for research. Lalitha Chandrasekhar (1910-2013) was married to Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist and longtime University of Chicago professor Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. She was born in Madras, India and spent much of her childhood there. The Chandrasekhars moved to Williams Bay, Wisconsin in late 1936 when Subrahmanyan accepted a position at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory. They remained there until 1964, when they moved to Chicago. The Lalitha Chandrasekhar Papers document her life in Williams Bay and Chicago and her travels, mostly in India, the United States, and Europe.

Lalitha Chandrasekhar, in glasses. Photograph is unlabeled, but she is likely with her sisters Shantha, Kanthamani, and Radha. Chandrasekhar, Lalitha. Papers, Box 184, scrapbook, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

A letter acknowledging Lalitha Chandrasekhar’s contributions to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She was an active supporter of progressive causes for her entire life. Chandrasekhar, Lalitha. Papers, Box 45, Folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The first page of the Chandrasekhar’s guest book, which was signed by visitors to their home from 1938 until Chandra’s death in 1995. It includes signatures from many notable twentieth century scientists. Chandrasekhar, Lalitha. Papers, Box 206, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

People Digitizing the ‘New World’

An intern discovers and shares the works of early modern mapmakers

Jose Estrada head shot

Jose Estrada, Ph.D. candidate, Romance Languages and Literatures

The encounter in 1492 between Europeans and Amerindians initiated a centuries-long inquisitive and nautical quest by Europeans to know more about the American continent and its inhabitants. How did Europe make sense of these lands and their people? How did it fit within their cosmos?

Although there are many ways to approach these questions, I have come to realize that maps, as representations of space, can provide an understanding of the cartographers’ perspective. Therefore, when Andrea Twiss-Brooks, the Library’s Interim Co-Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, offered me the opportunity to work with early modern maps over the summer, I knew the experience would provide insight about the depiction of the “New World” in this period. As a Graduate Global Impact Pitch Intern, I collaborated with University of Chicago Library staff members to digitize early modern maps of the Americas and make them accessible to the academic community.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu, “Americae nova Tabula” (1635). In Atlantis Appendix.

The project entailed investigating maps in both the Map Collections and Special Collections, researching online databases, scanning selected maps that had not yet been digitized, enhancing the Library Catalog records for the maps, and uploading them to a repository or image server for public access. The different layers of the project require close collaboration with the Library’s experts in preservation, scanning, metadata and GIS mapping technology among others.

My research as a doctoral candidate has provided me with some background in the relationship between Spain and the Americas, but my previous experience was limited to literature and theater. Cartographic research in the Map Collection and Special Collections has allowed me to work with specialists in different areas within the Library and widen my perspective regarding maps. Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s Americae nova Tabula (1635) serves as an example. In addition to considering the political, anthropological, and topographical uses of this map of North and South America, I have come to learn that the careful light color washing not only pleases the beholder’s eye but also highlights the fine detail in the Dutch engraving technique.

While this project provides a new angle for studying the influence of the Americas in European cosmology, scanning and uploading these maps is also a refreshing way to combine the humanities and technology. Once the images are available online they can be displayed and layered in multiple ways, enabling new research endeavors. Acquainting myself with these tools is a skill that will have long-lasting value in my career as a scholar of early modern studies.

A map of the world

Willem Janszoon Blaeu, “Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula” (1635). In Atlantis Appendix.

Archives of two giants of economics

Gifts of the papers of George Stigler and Harry G. Johnson will expand our understanding of economics at Chicago

George Stigler in front of Rosenwald Hall and a headshot of Harry Johnson

George Stigler (left) and Harry G. Johnson (right). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The University of Chicago is world renowned for the “Chicago School of Economics” and the 30 Nobel laureates in economic sciences who have been UChicago faculty members, students, or researchers. Yet, among historians of economics, definitions of the “Chicago School” continue to be debated.  Three recent gifts to the University of Chicago Library—the papers of Nobel laureate George Stigler, PhD’38, the papers of international trade expert Harry G. Johnson, and funding to organize the Johnson papers and create an online finding aid—will expand scholars’ understanding of the many ways Chicago has shaped the field of economics.

The University of Chicago Library is home to collections of more than 30 economists and 21 Nobel laureates, including seven Nobel Prize-winning economists:  Gary Becker, Ronald Coase, Robert Fogel, Milton Friedman, Merton Miller, Theodore Schultz, and George Stigler.   “These three generous new gifts will enable scholars to explore the history of economics in new ways,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.  “They strengthen our University Archives and demonstrate the Library’s ongoing commitment to being a vital center of University of Chicago history and the home of Nobel Prize winners’ research.”

Nobel laureate George Stigler’s papers

Draft of Nobel Prize speech, "The Process and Progress of Economics" with edits

Draft of Nobel Prize speech, with black handwritten edits by George Stigler and red printing by Stephen Stigler, November 29, 1982. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Frequently thought of as one of the leaders of the “Chicago School,” George Stigler came to the University of Chicago as a graduate student in 1933, received his PhD in 1938 and returned to Chicago as a professor from 1958 until his death in 1991.  He was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for his seminal studies of industrial structures, functioning of markets and causes and effects of public regulation” and was hailed by the Journal of Law and Economics as “a towering figure in the history of law and economics” and the first to win a Nobel Prize for work in the field.

Stigler is widely known for developing the “Economic Theory of Regulation,” which argues that political and economic interest groups use the coercive and regulatory powers of government to shape laws and regulations that benefit them.  He also shaped the education of a generation of undergraduates as the author of The Theory of Price, a textbook on free market economics that places its subject in historical context.  He initiated the study of the economics of information as a field, arguing that knowledge is costly to acquire and that consumers and businesses therefore must make decisions about how much information to acquire, as they do with goods and services.

Handwritten letter from Milton Friedman to George Stigler

Letter from Milton Friedman to George Stigler, August 23, 1946. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

George Stigler’s son Stephen M. Stigler also became a faculty member at University of Chicago.  Currently the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Statistics and the College and member of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Stephen donated his father’s papers to the University of Chicago Library, where they are available for research in the Special Collections Research Center.  A long-time supporter of the Library, chair of the faculty Board of the Library from 1986 to 1989, and chair of the University of Chicago Library Society from 2011 to 2014, Stephen said the papers clearly belonged here: “I never had a thought that they’d go anywhere else because the University of Chicago was such an important part of my father’s life.”

The papers include 70 linear feet of research and teaching materials, correspondence with economists such as Milton Friedman, photographs, and ephemera. Stephen Stigler anticipates that scholars may be particularly interested in some of the short, unpublished pieces that explore economic issues and, in some cases, politics.  “He was very interested in politics—not politics as something to push forward, but he thought when people voted a certain way or acted a certain way politically, they were furthering their own interests, and that’s not always obvious from what they did,” Stephen explained.  “People sometimes do what could at first glance look foolish, and you wonder why they did it, but if you study it enough, you can find that there is a rational story you can tell to explain what they’re doing.  You learn a lot about human behavior in the process.”

International trade expert Harry G. Johnson’s papers

Harry Johnson with others seated around a table with plates and cups

Harry G. Johnson (second from left). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

A contemporary of George Stigler’s, Harry G. Johnson came to the University of Chicago in 1959, holding the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professorship in the economics department from 1969 until his death in 1977. He was extraordinarily prolific, writing 19 books and 500 scholarly papers and editing 24 volumes before his early death due to a stroke at age 53.  Focusing primarily on international economics and economic theory, he played a leading role in the development of the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade.  He was known for articulating the connections between the ideas of major postwar economic innovators and, according to biographer D. E. Moggridge, defined the vital issues that “set the profession’s agenda for a generation.”  An influential editor of the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Political Economy, the Manchester School, and Economica, Johnson was considered so important to the field that Nobel laureate James Tobin called the third quarter of the 20th century “the age of Johnson.”

A large group of people standing on a staircase, including Harry G. Johnson

Attendees at the International Economic Association South-East Asia Refresher Course in Economics, Singapore July – September 1956, Nanyang Siang Pau Photo Graphic Department. Harry Johnson (first row, far right). Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Professor Johnson’s papers were donated to the University of Chicago Library by his children, Karen Johnson and Ragnar Johnson.  The 100 linear feet of materials include research and teaching papers, correspondence, and photographs. An additional gift, from David Levy, AM’70, PhD’79, will support the in-depth work of organizing the papers into an archival collection that will be ready for research. Additionally, an online finding aid, or guide, to the organized papers will provide a clear understanding of the contents of the collection.  “The power of the University Archives can’t be fully appreciated without finding aids,” said David Levy, a professor at George Mason University specializing in economics and the history of economic thought.

Professor Levy recalls his UChicago graduate school days enthusiastically. George Stigler served as the chair of his thesis committee, and Johnson acted as an additional reader.  “Every time I would talk to Harry, he would remind me that his first article was on David Ricardo, and my dissertation was on David Ricardo,” he said. Levy was particularly proud when, after a painful meeting with the committee, Johnson showed confidence in him by citing a paper he wrote in The Two-Sector Model of General Equilibrium.

Folded newspaper showing article on "The consequences of Keynes" on top of folder

Harry G. Johnson, “The Consequences of Keynes,” Times Literary Supplement, February 7, 1975. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Levy expects his gift will help future scholars better understand Johnson and his impact.  “Harry is one of the most important teachers at Chicago, but he’s not considered ‘Chicago School,’ which is actually sort of a problem for the history of ideas.  He’s not noted for free market advocacy,” Levy said. “Harry helped make the distinction between Keynes and Keynesians. He would combat myths wherever he saw them.  From my point of view, that’s his greatest contribution.”

A conference on “The Legacy of Chicago Economics” held at the University of Chicago in 2015 made it clear that the common perception of the “so-called Chicago School” has changed over time. At its origins in the 1930s, economics at the University of Chicago was not focused on promoting a single point of view or ideology, but rather about “finding an approach to studying economics.”  The gifts that make the archives of George Stigler and Harry G. Johnson part of the Library’s collections have the potential to change future researchers’ understandings of what the “Chicago School” was and how the University of Chicago—in the broadest sense—influences the future of economics.

Exhibits “Library Adventures in a Digital Age,” a history of medicine pop-up display

Library Adventures in a Digital Age

Join Dr. Mindy Schwartz, Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director for Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, in the Special Collections Research Center for a special pop-up display of rare medical history collections.

Library Adventures in a Digital Age:
Chicago Connections
Friday, October 26, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center
Regenstein Library, 1st floor

View a selection of books and objects from our collections that enhance our understanding of the history of science and medicine, and learn how they can be used for research and teaching. A resource guide will be available.

For more information about the event, contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Exhibits Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption

How have protesters in Chicago occupied space with their bodies, voices, and possessions? What do their strategies reveal about a protest’s purpose and message?

A large group of people with signs protesting

Strikers and sympathizers gather at Republic Steel rally, Chicago, Illinois, June 2, 1937. Source: Chicago History Museum.

Explore fifteen case studies of protest in Chicago spanning nearly 150 years of the city’s history in the Chicago Collections Consortium’s new digital exhibit, Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption, curated by Rachel Boyle, PhD.

From a makeshift bomb hurled into a crowd of police officers and laborers in Haymarket Square to a city-wide boycott of Chicago Public Schools in protest of continued segregation, the exhibit tells the stories of dissent among labor, civil rights, and antiwar protesters through archival images, documents, and oral histories curated from libraries and cultural institutions around Chicago. The interactive exhibit encourages navigation though a timeline of events as well as an interactive map that reveals how local declarations uniquely expressed national tensions and the ways in which memories of protest shape Chicagoans’ responses to urban conflict.

The University of Chicago Library contributed scans of items in its ACT UP Chicago collection to the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 1991 page of the web exhibit, which explores the ways the LGBTQ community asserted its needs outside a convention of medical professionals.

Protesters at Chicago HIlton and Towers, 1991

Nightlines Weekly, July 3, 1991. Source: ACT UP Chicago Records 1969 – 1996, University of Chicago.

About Chicago Collections and the University of Chicago Library

Chicago Collections is a consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions with archives that collaborate to preserve and share the history and culture of the Chicago region.  The University of Chicago is a governing member of the consortium, and the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center has contributed 356 archival finding aids describing collections that document Chicago urban history and 1078 digital images from its collections that depict Chicago urban settings and events in the city.

Exhibits Feature Story Censorship and Information Control

Censorship and Information Control: A Global History from the Inquisition to the Internet

The cover of the "Complete Unabridged" edition of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" with the title and author's name blacked out

In 2002 Penguin released this commemorative edition of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” with the title and Orwell’s name blacked out as if censored, as a tribute to the book’s unique contributions to discourse about censorship. George Orwell. “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” New York: Penguin, 2002. On loan from Ada Palmer.

Exhibition Dates: September 17 – December 14, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Associated website: voices.uchicago.edu/censorship

Why do people censor? For ambition? Religion? Profit? Power? Fear? This global history of attempts to control or silence information, from antiquity’s earliest written records to our new digital world, examines how censorship has worked, thrived, or failed in different times and places, and shows how real censorship movements tend to be very different from the centralized, methodical, top-down censorship depicted in Orwell’s 1984, which so dominates how we imagine censorship today. From indexes of forbidden books, to manuscripts with passages inked out by Church Inquisitors, to comics and pornography, to self-censorship and the subtle censorship of manipulating translations or teaching biased histories, the banned and challenged materials in this exhibit will challenge you to answer: how do you define what is and isn’t censorship?

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.

Curator

Ada Palmer, Associate Professor History, The University of Chicago

Ada Palmer is a historian and novelist, who works on transmission of radical ideas in hostile intellectual environments. She specializes in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but also looks from antiquity to modernity for patterns in the ways societies respond to unwelcome ideas.  Her publications include work on Lucretius and atomism in the Renaissance, on revivals of Platonism, Pythagoreanism, stoicism, and heterodox ideas about the soul and afterlife, and censorship of comic books in Japan after World War II.  She is also the author of the science fiction series Terra Ignota, which imagines censorship’s evolution into the 25th century.

Related Events

A public dialogue series brings together scholars of print revolutions past and present with practitioners working on the frontiers of today’s information revolution.  Eight dialogues will unite historians, editors, novelists, poets, and activists, and will be filmed and shared online, to let the public enjoy and continue the discussions.

Sessions are open to the public, and will take place Fridays from 1:30 to 4:20 pm on the University of Chicago Campus, in Kent Room 107, on October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, and 30.

Visit voices.uchicago.edu/censorship/dialogueseries/ for more information.

 

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download to 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.