Special Collections Research Center

Welcome to Special Collections

The Special Collections Research Center is home to the University of Chicago Library's rare books, archives, and manuscript collections.  Special Collections is a vibrant, interactive place to conduct research, engage in classes using original sources, and view changing exhibitions.


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Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions
Past Exhibitions
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Current Exhibitions

Exhibition installation 

Poetic Associations: The Nineteenth-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs

Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
September 21 - December 31, 2015

In the period between the French Revolution and the start of World War I, often called "the long nineteenth century," English poetry enjoyed enormous popularity and respect. The Romantics and the Victorians, as we know them today, were celebrities and, often, close friends, part of a literary community that influenced their professional and personal lives. Dr. Gerald N. Wachs (1937-2013), working closely with his friend, bookseller Stephen Weissman of Ximenes Rare Books, collected their works, using as their guidebook the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (CBEL), the standard primary bibliography of English literature. They sought the finest copies, whenever possible ones that were presented by the author to other writers, friends, or family members. The resulting collection of nearly 900 titles illuminates the life and works of these enduring poets. After Dr. Wachs's death, and thanks to the great generosity of the Wachs family (Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB'92), more than 600 titles have been donated to the University of Chicago Library.