Featured Collections

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.

 

Robert Maynard Hutchins Papers available for research

A youthful Robert M. Hutchins in 1929

A youthful Robert M. Hutchins in 1929

The Robert Maynard Hutchins Papers are now available for research.

This collection is distinct from the Office of the President, Hutchins Administration Records, and includes material pertaining to Hutchins’ research, writing, and speaking; material relevant to his professional activities; correspondence; subject files; personal ephemera; honors and awards; annotated books; and photographs and audio recordings. The  bulk of the material dates between 1921 and 1977.

The correspondence series represents the largest portion of the collection. Hutchins corresponded with an impressive number of 20th-century luminaries including Saul Alinsky, Steve Allen, Pearl S. Buck, Albert Einstein, T. S. Eliot, Hubert Humphrey, Oscar Hammerstein II, Aldous and Laura Huxley, Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Benjamin E. Mays, Thurgood Marshall, Edward R. Murrow, Paul Newman, the Rockefeller family, Earl Warren, Frank Lloyd Wright, William O. Douglas, Adlai Stevenson, Thornton Wilder, and many more.

Committee to Frame a World Constitution Records Re-housed

Committee to Frame a World Constitution PosterContinuing our collections news, one of our more frequently used collections, The Committee to Frame a World Constitution Records, has been re-housed into new, more usable containers.  This collection, which documents efforts to formulate a world constitution in the post-War era, includes correspondence, administrative and financial records, manuscripts submitted to Common Cause, and drafts of the World Constitution itself.  Robert Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, Robert Redfield, Richard McKeon, and other University of Chicago faculty and administrators were involved in the effort. The re-housed records also incorporate additional materials not included in the original finding aid.

Stephen A. Douglas Papers available for research

Stephen A. Douglas

Stephen A. Douglas

The Stephen A. Douglas Papers are once again available for research.   The collection has been reprocessed to incorporate additional materials. Most of these additions were to Series II: Political, Series III: Personal, and Series IV: Oversize. There are also new Lincoln items within the collection. 

Contest Closed: mystery script identified in rare edition of Homer’s Odyssey

File_2382A researcher has identified the script used for annotations in the 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey held by University of Chicago Library. We will announce the results in a few days.

Thanks to all the linguists, classicists, and other amateur detectives who responded to our call for assistance. We hope you enjoyed working on the puzzle.

Identify mystery text, win $1000

Example of Mystery Text

Example of Mystery Text

Calling all historians of cryptography and stenography, Sherlockians (see “The Dancing Men”), and other amateur detectives!  The collection of Homer editions in the Special Collections Research Center – the  Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana(BHL) – includes a copy of the rare 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey that contains, in Book 11 (narrating Odysseus’s journey into Hades) handwritten annotations in a strange and as-yet unidentified script.  This marginalia appears only in the pages of Book 11 of the Odyssey; nowhere else in the volume.  Although the donor of the BHL is suspicious that this odd script is a form of 19th-century shorthand (likely French), he acknowledges that this hypothesis remains unsupported by any evidence offered to date.

The donor of the BHL is offering a prize of $1,000 to the first person who identifies the script, provides evidence to support the conclusion, and executes a translation of selected portions of the mysterious marginalia.  In addition to the photographs in this post, the volume is available to consult in person in the Special Collections reading room.  Please visit the Special Collections website for information about requesting items to get started. The contest is open to all, regardless of University of Chicago affiliation. Please direct submissions to the contest, or questions, to Alice Schreyer, Assistant University Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences and Rare Books Curator, or Catherine Uecker, Rare Books Librarian.

Mystery Text

Mystery Text

Homer. Odysseia. Venice: Aldus, 1504. PA4018.A2 1504 vol. 2