Featured Collections

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.

Roundup of new guides to archives and manuscripts collections

Archivists in the Special Collections Research Center were hard at work arranging and describing archival collections this past fiscal year. 38 collections comprising 1,064 linear feet of material – that’s the length of more than 3.5 football fields! – are now available for research. 475 linear feet of collections (approximately 1.5 football fields of material) were also reviewed and their online guides updated.

You are invited to explore the following new guides and visit us to see the collections in person. The Special Collections Research Center is open to anyone – students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

Amberg, Alan. Gay History Collection

The materials in this collection were gathered by Alan Amberg as well as his partner, the late Jerry Cohen. Materials cover a wide range of gay and lesbian subject matter, including the beginnings of the Gay Pride Movement in Chicago in the early 1970s.

Bachner, Rudolph. Papers

Rudolph Bachner (1905-1997) was a German-born writer and chemist. The collection contains three typescripts of Bachner’s work, including two novels and an unpublished memoir.

Baily, Walter. Papers

Walter Lewis Baily Jr. (1930-2013) was a mathematician and professor at The University of Chicago. During his career, Baily made numerous contributions to algebraic geometry, the most important of which is known as the Baily-Borel Compactification.

Baptist Divinity House. Records

The Baptist Divinity House assisted with funding, housing, career placement and other means of support for students pursing Baptist ministry at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Bill, Charles A. Collection of Yousuf Karsh. Photographs

This collection contains photographs by Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), collected by Charles Anton Bill. Yousuf Karsh, is best known for his portrait photographs of significant cultural and political figures. This collection contains Karsh’s silver gelatin prints of Winston Churchill, Pope John XXIII, and John F. Kennedy.

Brannen, Noah S. Papers

Noah Samuel Brannen (1924-2013) was an ordained minister, missionary, translator, and professor. The collection contains correspondence, notes, drafts, manuscripts, and publications pertaining to Brannen’s translations of and writings on the works of various Japanese authors, especially Rinzo Shiina.

Braude, Lee. Papers

Lee Braude, sociologist, University of Chicago A.M. 1954, PhD, 1964.

Camp Farr Collection

Camp Farr was a fresh-air children’s summer camp near Chesterton, Indiana, established by the University of Chicago Settlement League.

Chandrasekhar, S. Papers (Addenda)

The Special Collections Research Center’s collection of Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar‘s personal papers has more than doubled in size.

Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Papers

Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013) was a political theorist, ethicist, author, and public intellectual. She was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics with joint appointments at the Divinity School, the Department of Political Science, and the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago.

Hamilton, Alfred Starr. Papers

Alfred Starr Hamilton (1914-2005) poet. The collection contains biographical information, personal belongings, correspondence, , book reviews, newspaper clippings with interviews and biographies, poetry journals and magazines, books, and Hamilton’s unpublished poetry manuscripts.

Historical Manuscripts Collection (Addenda)

The Historical Manuscripts Collections contains correspondence and other brief manuscripts documenting personal, scholarly, business, government, and religious affairs, written by an array of authors, primarily from North America and Western Europe. The manuscripts date from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Irene Tufts Mead, Collection of Alice Boughton. Photographs

Alice Boughton was a member of the Photo-Secession movement. All of the images date to 1904. Subjects include George Herbert Mead, Alice Chipman Dewey, Lucy Dewey, Evelyn Dewey, and Sabino Dewey.

Isaacs, Roger, Collection of Bud Freeman Papers

Lawrence “Bud” Freeman (1906-1991) was a jazz tenor saxophonist from Chicago, Illinois, who lived and played all over the world. Freeman was a leader of the “Chicago style” of jazz.

Kraus, Paul. Papers

Paul Kraus (1904-1944) was a scholar of Semitic languages and medieval Islamic science and philosophy.

Landahl, Karen. Papers

Karen Landahl (1951-2003) was a linguist who taught at the University of Chicago, in the Department of Linguistics, from 1982 to 2003. She was also the Academic Director of the Language Labs and Archives and the Language Faculty Resource Center, and the Associate Dean for Computing and Language Technologies at the University.

Language Laboratories and Archives. Records

The Language Laboratories and Archives at the University of Chicago, and its current iteration, the Center for the Study of Language, provide language learning services and facilities for both faculty and students. This collection contains records of the various iterations of the lab, from 1952 to 2006.

Leites, Nathan. Papers

Nathan Leites (1912-1987) was a political scientist who applied the tools of psychoanalysis to the study of culture and politics, with particular specialization in the Soviet politburo.

Maloof, John. Collection of Vivian Maier

This collection contains photographic prints, ephemera, and artifacts belonging to photographer Vivian Maier. It includes black-and-white and color prints taken by Maier, most of which are street photographs of Chicago and New York City from the 1950s-1970s.

Maser, Edward. Papers

Edward Andrew Maser (1923-1988) was an Art Historian, a museum curator, and an art collector. From 1961 to 1964, he served as the chairman of the University of Chicago’s Department of Art History, and in 1974 he became the inaugural director of the Smart Museum.

Mason, Max. Papers

Charles Max Mason (1877-1961) mathematician, President of the University of Chicago (1925-1928), and President of the Rockefeller Foundation (1929-1936). The collection primarily documents Mason’s work for the National Research Council during World War One, where he developed a submarine detection device that was in regular use on destroyers by the summer of 1918. The device was a precursor to the sonar devices of the 1940s.

McQuown, Norman. Papers

Norman A. McQuown (1914-2005) was an anthropologist and linguist best known for his efforts to document and study indigenous languages in Mexico and Central America and for his work in the field of non-verbal communication.

Mirsky, Marvin. Papers

Marvin Mirsky (1923-1914) was a scholar of literature and longtime faculty member at the University of Chicago.

Moore, Carl R. Papers

Carl Richard Moore (1892-1955) was a Professor of Zoology and endocrinologist. Moore made significant contributions to the field of mammalian endocrinology; he was part of the team of University of Chicago researchers that first isolated testosterone in 1920. With fellow researcher Dorothy Price, he theorized the “push-pull” interactions between the pituitary gland and sex glands, which provided insight into the complexities of fertility in mammals.

Perlberg, Mark. Papers

Mark Perlberg (1929- 2008) was a poet, journalist, editor, and educator. In 1968, he co-founded the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Perrin, Norman. Papers

Norman Horace Perrin (1920-1976) was an associate professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Chicago.

Roman Weil Collection of Boris Artzybasheff

This collection contains illustrations by the Russian-American artist Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965) produced from 1929 to 1965, and collected by Roman Weil. The material in the collection ranges from magazine covers, industrial advertisements, a map, large advertising poster prints, and a woodblock print. The images describe foreign leaders, American political leaders, anthropomorphized machinery, descriptive maps, technological innovations, political satire, and poetic figurations.

Sherer, Albert. Papers

Albert Sherer (1884-1973) was a senior student at the University of Chicago who was shot near campus in 1905. The collection contains a letter from University President William Rainey Harper to Sherer, Sherer’s police reports, newspaper accounts, a record of the 1934 University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees, and the bullets that were extracted from Mr. Sherer.

Silbert, Layle. Papers (Addenda)

Layle Silbert (1913-2003) was a photographer and writer. Noted for her portraits of authors, Silbert also wrote poetry, essays and fiction.

Swerdlow, Noel. Papers

Noel M. Swerdlow (1941-) emeritus professor in the Departments of History and Astronomy and Astrophysics. The collection includes documents collected by Swerdlow related to the non-reappointment of sociology professor Marlene Dixon, and the subsequent student sit-ins in 1969.

Teichmann, Emil. Papers

Emil Teichmann (1845-1924) was a British fur trader sent to investigate possible illicit Russian fur trade in North America in 1868. The collection contains his original journal from 1868, correspondence, sketches, contracts, photographs, notes, and other memorabilia. The papers primarily document his trading negotiations, and photographic and illustrated scenes of landscape and cities like San Francisco and Sitka, Alaska.

University of Chicago. Dept of Anthropology. Chiapas Project. Records

The Department of Anthropology Chiapas Project records document the University of Chicago Department of Anthropology’s research projects in the Mexican state of Chiapas in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The projects aimed to investigate the language, culture, environment, and history of local Maya communities.

University of Chicago. Department of History. Records

This collection contains records from the Department of History at the University of Chicago. The collections contains correspondence, memoranda, minutes, letters of recommendation, examinations, reports, proposals, student lists and student evaluations.

University of Chicago. Department. of Sociology. Records

The Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago was founded in 1892 and was the first academic department of sociology in the United States. This collection contains materials related to the administration of the Department such as meeting minutes, student rosters, examinations, materials relating to the passing of Louis Wirth, and materials relating to the non-reappointment of sociology professor, Marlene Dixon. It also contains programs, brochures, and photographs related to the Centennial Conference, 1892-1992 as well as a map depicting East and West Garfield Park (1924).

University of Chicago. Midway Studios. Records

Midway Studios has been the fine arts studios of the Art Department at the University of Chicago since the mid-1940s, and was founded by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1906. This collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, drawings, photographs, academic journals, notes, brochures, and exhibit signs. Materials document Taft’s work and legacy, and the later history of the studio, particularly the work of Director Harold Haydon.

Worner, Ruby K. Papers

Ruby Kathryn Worner (1900-1995) was a chemist who specialized in the textile industry. Worner studied at the University of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry (1921, 1922, and 1925). Worner worked for the United States Bureau of Home Economics as well as Southern Regional Laboratories, making numerous advancements in textile production.

New guide to papers of Quincy Wright, pioneer in international law and international relations

A new guide to the personal papers of Quincy Wright (1890-1970) is now available online. Wright was a political scientist and University of Chicago professor known for his work on war, international relations, and international law.

Wright joined the political science faculty at the University of Chicago in 1923, and was a professor of international law at the University from 1931 to 1956. He guest lectured at universities all over the world, and consulted for the government of the United States, including the U.S. Navy Department and the Department of State. He was also a technical advisor to the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg in 1945, and a consultant to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 1949. In addition to his teaching and consulting responsibilities, Wright authored dozens of books and hundreds of articles, among them A Study of War (1942) and The Study of International Relations (1955).

The papers document Wright’s interests in war, international law, world organization, and international cooperation, as well as the numerous organizations with which he was associated.

Large addition to papers of Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar now available for research

The Special Collections Research Center’s collection of Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar‘s personal papers has more than doubled in size. Organization of the additional material has recently been completed by archivist Allyson Smally, and a new guide to the collection is available online.

The newly-opened portion of the collection contains writings – including handwritten notes and drafts – personal and professional correspondence, and a significant number of photographs. The additional material is described in the Addenda portion of the online guide.

A notebook from Chandrasekhar’s first year at Cambridge University, later dedicated to his wife Lalitha. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 208, Folder 5, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Chandra and Lalitha, 1940
Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 255, Folder 47, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Congratulatory letter from University of Chicago President Hanna Holborn Gray, 1983. Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan. Papers, Box 194, Folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995) was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for nearly 60 years. He made significant contributions to theoretical astrophysics, and is best known for his mathematical theory of black holes.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar pictured in 1936. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf6-01301, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Explore Mexican indigenous languages in McQuown papers

Norman McQuown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

New website brings 9 decades of University history online

Chicago Little Theatre stage

Designed for the 1916 Cap and Gown by C. Raymond Johnston of the Chicago Little Theatre.

The newly launched University of Chicago Campus Publications website allows researchers to readily explore more than nine decades of University history, from 1892 to 1995.   At launch, the site provides digital access to four periodicals:  Cap and Gown, the College yearbook; the University of Chicago Magazine, the official alumni publication; Quarterly Calendar, an early omnibus publication; and the University Record, its successor By visiting campub.lib.uchicago.edu, members of the UChicago community and researchers around the world can conduct a simultaneous keyword search of all four publications, using an interface built and maintained by the University of Chicago Library.

University of Chicago Magazine, April 1952.


University of Chicago Magazine, April 1952.

The Campus Publications site is an exciting new resource for faculty, students, and alumni of the University and provides a wealth of historical information for other researchers examining the history of the University and its impact on higher education. Genealogists researching University connections may also find the site particularly helpful. For many, research into University history will no longer require careful and laborious browsing of multiple volumes of bound print publications.  For the first time, the complete content of some of the most heavily used University periodicals will be fully accessible online across publications and chronological time periods.

The earliest publication on the site, Quarterly Calendar (1892-1896), includes a wide range of information:  faculty and administrative rosters, course descriptions, official regulations, convocation addresses, directories of administrators and faculty, lists of registered students by academic program, and statistics on student registration.

Adler and Hutchins cartoon

Adler and Hutchins cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1934.

It was superseded by the University Record, published from 1896 to 1908, from 1915 to 1933, and finally, from 1967 to 1981 under the new name University of Chicago Record. The Record published convocation addresses; articles on University buildings, cornerstone layings, and dedications; biographic sketches and memorial tributes; statements and reports by Presidents and other administrators; photographic portraits of faculty, administrators, and convocation speakers; an announcements of campus events.

The Campus Publications site includes all issues of the University of Chicago Magazine that were published from 1908 to 1995.  The Magazine includes articles on campus events; news from classes; alumni activities; articles by faculty members on their research; news and notes on individual alumni; excerpts from recently published faculty books; feature articles on notable alumni and faculty; and photographic essays on the campus and University events.  For a period from 1908 to 1915 when the University Record was not issued as a separate publication, the content of the University Record was published as part of the University of Chicago Magazine.

Sketch of urban renewal at Ridgewood Court on 55th

Violet Fogle Uretz’s sketch of urban renewal at Ridgewood Court on 55th in the November 1957 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine (page 22).

Cap and Gown varied in format from year to year, reflecting the changing student editorial board.  The Campus Publications site includes all issues published from 1895 to 1958.  Cap and Gown included individual photographs of undergraduate students with information on their campus activities; essays on University administrators and faculty members; photographs and records of athletic teams by sport; photographs and lists of members of fraternities, social clubs, and other student organizations; and photographic essays focused on the campus and events of the past year.

Because all four of these publications can now be simultaneously searched by keyword, researchers can rapidly access the distinct voices and perspectives of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and guest lecturers as they engage with the vital issues of the day.  For example, a search on “urban renewal” leads to numerous illustrated stories beginning with an October 1954 piece in the University of Chicago Magazine.  Among many other sources, researchers will find an article on the launch of urban renewal in the 1956 Cap and Gown; a set of sketches of urban renewal sites by Violet Fogle Uretz in the November 1957 University of Chicago Magazine; an Interim Report of the Subcommittee on South Campus on the impact of urban renewal in the March 14, 1969, University Record; and an article in the March 1976 University of Chicago Magazine pointing to changes in student housing options resulting from urban renewal.

Photos and descriptions of alumni members of the military reported killed or missing in action

Part of Chicago’s Roll of Honor in the February 1943 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine (page 16). Featured are alumni members of the military reported killed or missing in action.

Campus attitudes toward war and the military are another longstanding issue that can be researched in Campus Publications.  Among the relevant coverage, one can find a convocation address by Carl Schurz on American imperialism prompted by the Spanish-American War in the January 6, 1899, University Record; a report on the University’s involvement in World War I in the October 1917 University Record; an article on a peace march by University students in the May 1937 University of Chicago Magazine; an essay by Katharine Graham, who later became the publisher of the Washington Post, on student unrest and the media in the July 1969 University of Chicago Magazine; and a discussion of psychological diagnoses of student anti-war protesters by Joseph Schwab in the March 1970 University of Chicago Magazine.

Some subjects that were particularly difficult to research in the past are readily explored using the new online interface.  One is women’s athletics at the University of Chicago, and especially images of women athletes and teams.  A search returns information about women’s intramural basketball games in the 1900 Cap and Gown; the organization of the University’s Women’s Athletic Association in the December 1903 University Record; completion of a women’s athletic field adjacent to Ida Noyes Hall in the July 1923 University of Chicago Magazine; a photograph and description of the activities of the women’s archery team in the 1930 Cap and Gown; a photograph and report on the record of the women’s field hockey team in the 1955 Cap and Gown; and the merger of the separate Departments of Physical Education for Men and for Women in the July 19, 1976, University Record.

Senior Baseball Team, 1915

Senior Baseball Team, 1915, in Cap and Gown, 1916 (page 298).

Searches on well-known topics in University history may yield some surprises.  For example, Enrico Fermi’s name appears for the first time in the February 1946 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine.  But Fermi is not the focus of the news note; it is instead Leona Woods Marshall, his Manhattan Project colleague, who has been named one of Mademoiselle magazine’s ten women of the year.

The Campus Publications site can be used on its own, but it also works well when supplemented by the University of Chicago Photographic Archive, the Library’s searchable database of more than 40,000 digitized documentary images.  The Photographic Archive provides access to photographs of many individuals, buildings, events, student activities, and historic landscapes.  Many other images of University individuals and events, however, appeared only in the official publications, the alumni magazine, or the student yearbook.  Researchers now have the opportunity to use both the Photographic Archive and Campus Publications sites together to locate the widest possible array of documentary photographs of University history.

As additional periodicals are digitized, the Library is looking forward to adding new content to the Campus Publications site, offering a growing and increasingly rich source of information on the University’s distinctive history.

Sexual segregation cartoon

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

The construction of the University of Chicago Campus Publications database and website required the expertise and collaboration of staff across multiple departments of the Library, including archivists, digitization experts, and web and database developers from Special Collections, Preservation, and the Digital Library Development Center.  Kathleen Arthur oversaw the digitization of the content.  Charles Blair and John Jung developed an interface that would enable and optimize the search experience for those interested in University of Chicago history.

The University of Chicago Campus Publications may be used for educational and scholarly purposes, but any such use requires that the University of Chicago Library be credited.   Commercial publication projects require the permission of the Library .

Researchers with questions about the collection may contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Watch Dr. Ada Palmer discuss a Renaissance astronomy text in Special Collections

Dr. Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago, went live on Facebook to teach viewers about a Renaissance astronomy text in the Special Collections Research Center. The book, a 1605 imprint of a work by Giovanni Paolo Gallucci, is a fascinating example of an author navigating the political landscape of his time – should he write openly about his scientific theories, or play it safe and write about the tools used to study astronomy? Dr. Palmer led a team of graduate students curating the Special Collections Research Center’s newest gallery exhibition: Tensions in Renaissance Cities, open March 27-June 9, 2017.

This video is one in a series of videos of UChicago faculty discussing their favorite items in the Special Collections Research Center. See Dr. Mindy Schwartz describe a 19th-century surgical kit.

Dr. Ada Palmer discusses a Renaissance astronomy text in the Special Collections Research Center. #facultyfavorites #bookhistory #astronomy #historyofscience

Posted by University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center on Monday, March 13, 2017

 

Nobel laureate Saul Bellow’s papers open for research

Materials provide look into author’s life, creative process

A carbon copy of a typescript fragment of "The Adventures of Augie March"

A carbon copy of a typescript fragment of “The Adventures of Augie March,” ca. 1952-53, titled “The Life of Augie March Among the Machiavellians.” (Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

The largest collection of Nobel laureate Saul Bellow’s personal papers is now open for research at the University of Chicago Library, documenting his creative process and literary fame, as well as his wide-ranging professional relationships.

Saul Bellow painting

Photo of painting by Filippo Carosi Martinozzi, 1986, courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library

Bellow, X’39, who spent three decades as a professor at UChicago, left a collection that extends 141 linear feet filling 254 boxes. It includes correspondence with writers such as Ralph Ellison and Philip Roth, manuscripts that reveal his writing process including a series of drafts of The Adventures of Augie March, and personal items such as a Rolodex and letters from U.S. presidents.

The opening of the archives is the culmination of an extensive effort by the Library’s Special Collections Research Center to organize the documents and catalogue them in a Guide to the Saul Bellow Papers, 1926-2015. The archival work, which was supported by a gift from Robert Nelson, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, greatly increases scholars’ ability to discover materials in the collection online.

“Opening up the Bellow papers will provide generations of scholars with the materials they need to develop new insights into Saul Bellow and 20th-century American history and culture,” said Brenda Johnson, Library director and University librarian. “We are deeply grateful to Robert Nelson and Carolyn Nelson for their generous support of the processing and preservation of this collection.”

A prolific writer, Bellow’s extensive revision process is manifest in the collection in numerous drafts of each of his best-known novels, including Herzog, Humboldt’s Gift and The Adventures of Augie March. Bellow’s long list of literary accolades include the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts and the National Book Award for Fiction.

Ralph Ellison letter to Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow lived with Ralph Ellison during the late 1950s in an upstate New York fixer-upper. In this May 1959 letter, Ellison writes Bellow about needed repairs to their house as well as praising Bellow’s “Henderson the Rain King,” which Ellison claims ‘threw some real whiskey in the placid water of the literary well.’ (Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

“The Saul Bellow Papers offer a compelling view of modern American literature,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center and University archivist. “The collection offers scholars, students and other researchers fresh perspectives on Bellow’s impact on the 20th-century novel and his distinctive voice in literary criticism and cultural commentary.”

An educator and intellectual with broad ranging interests in art and culture, Bellow found a home for his pursuits at the University of Chicago. He taught in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought from 1962 to 1993, serving as chair from 1970 to 1976, and his experiences in Chicago and at the University are at the heart of much of his writing.

Equally important to the collection is the extraordinary range of his correspondence, which includes thousands of letters Bellow received or sent to fellow writers such as Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller and Joyce Carol Oates. The Special Collections Research Center’s wide array of related materials—from the archives of Bellow’s faculty colleagues to collections documenting 20th-century literary and cultural life in Chicago—also will help scholars to uncover vital connections between Bellow and his contemporaries and his city.

Saul Bellow portrait

Saul Bellow portrait (Photo copyright Jill Krementz, 1976, courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

“Bellow was someone who thought deeply about current events and politics, the state of culture and the arts in the 20th century, and the role of the writer,” said Processing Archivist Ashley Gosselar, who reviewed and organized the collection and created the guide to its contents. “The correspondence demonstrates the way he sought to keep his finger on the pulse of America in the mid-20th century.”

Additional items in the Saul Bellow papers include personal ephemera, writings by others given to or collected by Bellow, writings about Bellow’s life and work, administrative and teaching materials from the University of Chicago and Boston University, awards, photographs and audio recordings, artwork, broadsides and posters. Materials date between 1926 and 2015, with the majority produced between 1940 and 2004.

Press Inquiries and Images

A University of Chicago news release
Press inquiries:
Andrew Bauld, News Officer for Arts and Humanities
News Office
773-702-8378
Reserved for members of the media.

Ronald H. Coase Papers

The Ronald H. Coase papers are ready for use at the Special Collections Research Center. The Nobel Prize winning economist taught at the Law School from 1964 until 1982, where he edited the Journal of Law and Economics. Mr. Coase’s papers on social costs, broadcasting regulation, and the nature of the firm were fundamental to the field of Law and Economics. A detailed finding aid provides access to the papers.