Special Collections Research Center

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions


The Special Collections Research Center is located on the first floor of the Joseph Regenstein Library on the campus of the University of Chicago.  Exhibitions are free and open to the public and can be viewed during the Research Center's regular public service hours. Titles and dates of forthcoming exhibitions are subject to change. For further information about the exhibition program, please contact:

Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Phone: (773) 702-8705

Current Exhibition

Poetic Associations: The Nineteenth-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
September 21, 2015 – 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.

Forthcoming Exhibitions

Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
January 11, 2016 – March 18, 2016

“Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies” will be one of the key events during the academic year 2015-2016 marking two important landmarks in South Asian studies at the University of Chicago: the 50th anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC), and the 60th anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS). These celebrations also coincide with the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University of Chicago. The exhibition in Special Collections will provide an opportunity to explore the influential role of University of Chicago scholars in shaping South Asian studies. It will also be an occasion for displaying significant early books and manuscripts on South Asia, as well as papers from University faculty members including A. K. Ramanujan, original research materials and publications, and examples from collections in contemporary popular culture.

Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
March 28, 2016 – June 17, 2016

Daniel Clowes is a highly regarded cartoonist, comic book artist, and screenwriter. He is best known for his Eightball comic book series (1989-2004), Ghost World (1997), Ice Haven (2005), Wilson (2010), Mister Wonderful (2011), and The Death-Ray (2011). In 2001, Ghost World became the basis for a film of the same name. Despite modern proliferation of computer software for artists and designers, Clowes remains dedicated to simple paper, pencil, and ink – to the “integrity of the page.” The physicality of his craft is a vital component to Clowes’ artistic vision and creative process. In 2015, the Special Collections Research Center acquired the Clowes papers, which include notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts, and more for Ice Haven, Mister Wonderful, and The Death-Ray. The exhibition pieces together this material, tracing the evolution of Clowes' artistic process from conception to production to publication. In an age when composition often occurs on the computer, and one draft is overwritten by the next, "Integrity of the Page" is a rare, tangible look at every step in a working artist’s creative process.