A Victorian library fostering a learning environment
Founded in 1887, the Newberry Library is a world-renowned independent research library that “builds, preserves, and makes accessible an extensive collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other material spanning more than six centuries.” Its stunning Victorian architectures make it a breathtaking venue for weddings, private events, and concerts alike!
It may be a 30-minute walk from the city center, but it’s easy to get to by bus and subway. Take the Jackson-Red line to Newberry Library or the route 22 bus. Visit the Newberry soon where you’re sure to discover something new and unexpected.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about The Newberry Library
1. A gift from a businessman and civic leader
The Newberry Library exists thanks to the final wishes of Walter L. Newberry. Leaving a provision in his will for a “free public library” in 1868, Newberry stated his desire without being too specific. As a result, the role of the library and its values were shaped by Newberry staff.
2. Fellowships for advanced research and scholarly conferences
In the 1940s, fellowships for advanced research and scholarly conferences were added to the Newberry’s list of offerings. Four research centers were developed and the fellowships supported about 50 scholars yearly.
3. Collections to be discovered
Collections at the Newberry Library are vast. Before opening in 1887, the Newberry didn’t have a collection as Walter Newberry’s own book collection had been destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Today, the library houses 35,000-item collection of French Revolution-era pamphlets, rare books and manuscripts (including a Shakespeare First Folio and two Grolier bindings), the 17,000-volume collection of language and linguistic material of Louis-Lucien Bonaparte (1901), and so much more.
What can you do at the Newberry Library?
At the Newberry Library, over 600 years of history awaits your arrival. Between the reading rooms, exhibition galleries, classrooms, and event spaces, there is plenty to do at this Chicago treasure. Make the most of free admission and visit the exhibition galleries (open Tuesday to Thursday 10am-7pm and Friday and Saturday, 1oam-5pm).
If you’re 14 or older and have a research interest related to the Newberry Library’s collection, you can get a “reader’s card”. This card is linked to your online reader’s account and allows you to request items from the collection before your arrival.
Candlelight concerts at the Newberry Library made for the perfect date night to calm your mind and indulge your senses. The glow of candlelight against the historic Chicago architecture of the library created a cozy environment perfect for these intimate concerts featuring music from Vivaldi, Beethoven, Schubert and more.
No concert is the same with performances from Chicago’s best string quartets, solo pianists, and more. Although the Candlelight series is no longer being hosted at this venue, it continues to illuminate several spectacular venues across the city.
Feature photo by Chris Monaghan.