Guest Author, Stephanie Carbonetti
Just a few blocks west from the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, you can find another magnificent Chicago treasure, The Newberry Library. The Newberry is an independent research library that houses an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed material.
The Library's holdings span the history and culture of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century and the Americas from the time of first contact between Europeans and Native Americans. Its strengths include: European discovery, exploration, and settlement of the Americas; the American West; local history, family history, and genealogy; literature and history of the Midwest, especially the Chicago Renaissance; Native American history and literature; the Renaissance; the French Revolution; Portuguese and Brazilian history; and British literature and history. The collections number 1,500,000 printed titles, five million manuscript pages, and 500,000 historic maps.
The Newberry Library’s genealogy collection is outstanding. Collection highlights include:
- Genealogies – Over 17,000 published genealogies. The collection's coverage of colonial America and New England is particularly strong. Many rare titles covering gentry and noble families of the British Isles are also included.
- Local Histories – The local history collection includes county, city, town, church, and other local histories from all regions of the United States, as well as from Canada and the British Isles. The Newberry holds a comprehensive collection of New England town histories, as well as a strong collection of county histories from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. The collection of local histories from the British Isles is also noteworthy.
- Genealogical Source Material – Published indexes and abstracts or transcriptions of pre-twentieth century records of birth, death, and marriage, as well as probate, deed, court, tax, and cemetery records form an important segment of the Newberry's genealogy collection. These materials are primarily from the area of the Mississippi Valley to the Eastern Seaboard, as well as from Canada and the British Isles.
- Military Records – The Newberry collects roster and pension reference works covering the colonial wars through the Civil War. Some materials on the Spanish American War and World War I are also available. The Newberry's collection of Civil War unit histories is one of the country's best.
The reference and genealogy services staff at the Newberry is exceptional. They are always very helpful and eager to answer your questions. Besides the assistance they provide at the Library they are also very giving to the genealogy community with both their expertise and time.
Plan Your Visit
Location: The Newberry Library is located at 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois, directly across from Chicago’s famed Washington Square Park and just a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue.
Hours: Tuesday through Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm
Exhibits are free and open to the public. Researchers must be 16 years of age or older and present valid photo identification.