Collections & Exhibits

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Exhibit Thumbnail Title Locations Subjects
Exhibits
Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children's Books and Graphic Art
Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary examines both the intensive and extensive dimensions of Soviet posters and children books.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Aug. 22 — Dec. 30, 2011
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Subjects
Slavic/Eastern Europe/Eurasia
Art
Art in the Stacks Art in the Stacks
The Special Collections Research Center is known for being the University of Chicago Library’s center for rare books, manuscripts, and university archives. Nestled within these materials, there is a lesser known aspect of our collections—art. Art in the Stacks highlights these holdings with a selection of original paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in addition to artists’ books and other works on paper produced in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
June 19 — Sept. 15, 2017
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Subjects
Art
manifestazione femminista 8 marzo 1977 Artivism: Italy and Social Justice
Art activism in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s
Locations
Regenstein 3rd Floor Reading Room
June 11 — Dec. 15, 2018
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Subjects
Music
Art
Italian Literature
B. Heller & Co. Collection The B. Heller & Co. Collection
Founded by Benjamin Heller, whose family practiced sausage-making for generations, Chicago-based B. Heller & Co. began in 1893. Eager to take advantage of new developments in food science and chemistry as well as his skills as a salesman, Benjamin Heller was the quintessential American entrepreneur.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
March 1 — June 30, 2009
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Subjects
Advertising
Chicago and Illinois
BMRC exhibit thumbnail The Black Metropolis Research Consortium: Fifteen Years of Preserving and Documenting Black History and Culture in Chicago
The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) is a Chicago-based membership association that aids in expanding broad access to its members’ holdings of materials that document African American and African diasporic history, politics and culture, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago. Our members include universities, libraries, museums, community, arts-based and government archives. It is the mission of the BMRC to connect all who seek to document, share, understand and preserve Black experiences. In 2021, the BMRC celebrates its 15th anniversary. This exhibit documents the origins of the BMRC, its efforts to aid discoverability and access to Black historical collections, and the consortium’s flagship Summer Short-term Fellowship and Archie Motley Archival Internship programs.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
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Subjects
History
African-American Studies
American History
Chicago Celebrates Darwin Chicago Celebrates Darwin
The John Crerar Library presents Chicago Celebrates Darwin, an exhibit which revisits the Darwin Centennial Celebration hosted by the University in 1959. We look back at the original letters, pictures, and documents from that conference to get a sense of the atmosphere and the importance of the events, including the effect of Darwin’s theories on the research and popular opinion of the day.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
Oct. 19 — March 26, 2010
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Subjects
University of Chicago
Ecology & Evolution
Organismal Biology
Biological Sciences
Chicago and Illinois
Closeted/Out in the Quadragles feature image Closeted/OUT in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago
Historical view of LGBT faculty, student, and staff life at the University of Chicago.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
March 30 — June 12, 2015
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Subjects
LGBTQIA Studies
University of Chicago
enguerre_cover.jpg En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I
En Guerre will offer a fresh examination of World War I through the lens of French graphic illustration of the period.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Oct. 14 — Jan. 2, 2015
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Subjects
European History
Art
Envisioning Earth Envisioning Earth
This exhibit points to historical references to conservation and the environment; the approach is one that is multidisciplinary, accomplished through music, literature, and cartography.
Locations
Regenstein 3rd Floor Reading Room
May 1 — Sept. 4, 2017
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Subjects
Maps
Literature
Music
Firmness Commodity Delight thumbnail Firmness Commodity and Delight
Firmness, Commodity, and Delight was the inaugural exhibition in the new Special Collections gallery, running from May through July 2011. The exhibition celebrated the opening of the new SCRC exhibition gallery and the completion of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library with a display of books, manuscripts, and archival drawings and photographs representing our collections in architecture. The exhibition also had two items provided by the architectural firms who designed the Mansueto and Special Collections spaces – one drawing each from Murphy/Jahn (Helmut Jahn) and Booth Hansen. The exhibition was presented in conjunction with "500 Years of the Illustrated Architecture Book," a city-wide festival marking the publication of the first illustrated book on architecture, the Fra Giocondo edition of Vitruvius's De architectura libri decem.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
May 9 — July 29, 2011
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Subjects
Architecture
Mattys hot dog stand From Sausage to Hot Dog: the Evolution of an Icon
The hot dog is an American creation, and Chicago even has its own style. But where did this popular food come from and how did it develop? This exhibit looks to the hot dog's origins in sausage-making practices brought by European immigrants to the Midwest. We consider techniques used in neighborhood butcher shops and the rise of industrial meat production. Homemade recipes and artisanal makers past and present are also examined.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
Oct. 29 — Dec. 31, 2013
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Subjects
History of Science
History
American History
Chicago and Illinois
Silhouette of Crowd with Shahada The Graphics of Revolution and War: Iranian Poster Arts
Designed for mass distribution and aimed towards a large public audience, posters embed social, political, and religious concerns that frequently are articulated through both text and image. Perhaps more so than at any other moment in recent history, posters served as powerful modalities for mobilization and communication during the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Oct. 15 — Dec. 18, 2011
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Subjects
Art
Middle East
I Step Out of Myself thumbnail I Step Out of Myself: Portrait Photography in Special Collections
An exhibition of portrait photography collections in the University Archives.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Jan. 12 — March 20, 2015
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Subjects
Art
Photography
University of Chicago
The Life of the Mind Integrating the Life of the Mind: African Americans at the University of Chicago, 1870-1940
This exhibit presents original manuscripts, rarely seen portraits and photographs, African American publications, books by African American graduates of the University of Chicago, and other documents that trace the interlocking strands of academic and gradual social integration through the mid-twentieth century.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Sept. 1 — Feb. 28, 2009
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Subjects
African-American Studies
University of Chicago
James Baldwin with Statues James Baldwin Among The Philosophers
James Baldwin’s work is widely recognized for its religious overtones and influences as well as for its critiques of racism and heterosexual norms. His work is equally important as a contribution to American philosophy.
Locations
Regenstein 4th Floor Reading Room
Sept. 25 — Dec. 31, 2017
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Subjects
African-American Studies
Religion
Exhibit Sign The Late Sketches and Autographs of Beethoven
The books in which Beethoven carried out his sketching can be identified as falling into one of three categories: collections of loose leaves, large sketchbooks, and pocket books. The first of these, loose leaves, were used by Beethoven early in his life (from around 1786 to 1799) to draft compositions, as well as to write out compositional exercises, often for the keyboard. These loose leaves were later collected, sorted, and sewn together into book format by the composer himself.
Locations
Regenstein 3rd Floor Reading Room
June 21 — Dec. 14, 2019
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Subjects
Music
Mapping the Young Metropolis Mapping the Young Metropolis
Between 1915 and 1940, a small faculty in the University of Chicago Department of Sociology, working with dozens of talented graduate students, intensively studied the city of Chicago . They aspired to use the approaches of social science in developing a new field of research, and they took the city as their laboratory.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
June 22 — Sept. 11, 2015
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Subjects
Sociology
Chicago and Illinois
Wilson & Co. pork sausage advertisement featuring Edward Foss Wilson, circa 1920-1927 Meatpacking in the Midwest: The Thomas E. Wilson Family Collection
From the Civil War through the 1930s, Chicago was the center of the meatpacking industry in the United States. The Thomas E. Wilson Family Collection provides a snapshot of one family-owned meatpacking business in Chicago during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection captures the meatpacking industry in the Midwest through the lens of one family's experience at the top.
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Special Collections
Chicago and Illinois
Business
On Equal Terms Exhibit On Equal Terms: Educating Women at the University of Chicago
Since the University welcomed its first students in the fall of 1892, women have had very different stories to tell about the experiments in co-education and faculty diversification; the experience of the classroom, the laboratory, the dorm, and the streets of Hyde Park; the issues of mentorship, intellectual community, and career advancement; and the opportunities for political action and community involvement, for friendship, romance, and sexual experimentation.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
March 1 — July 31, 2009
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Subjects
Women's Studies
University of Chicago Library
Hours of Gladness On Reading Spring
"On Reading Spring" is divided into six thematic sections, each offering a discreet meditation on the unfolding of the season through experiences commonly ascribed to spring: Refreshment, Vulnerability, Epiphany, Restoration, Tenderness, and Joy. By pairing a selection of the Special Collections Research Center’s rare and unusual published works with archival letters, diaries, photographs, musical manuscripts and early drafts of poems composed between March and June, "On Reading Spring" considers the ways in which diverse works reveal a sympathetic vernal experience across disciplines, cultures, and time periods.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
April 6 — June 30, 2020
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Subjects
Music
Art
Literature
Photography
OntheEdge On the Edge: Medieval Margins and the Margins of Academic Life
This exhibition explores the symmetry between medieval margins and the modern margins of academic life.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
May 19 — Sept. 10, 2012
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Subjects
Art
European History
History of Print
Lincoln Our Lincoln: Bicentennial Icons from the Barton Collection of Lincolniana
Marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, this exhibition presents a selection of documents and artifacts from the University of Chicago Library's William E. Barton Collection of Lincolniana.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Jan. 1 — Feb. 28, 2009
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Subjects
Chicago and Illinois
American History
Printing for the Modern Age Exhibit Printing for the Modern Age: Commerce, Craft, and Culture in the RR Donnelley Archive
The R. R. Donnelley Archive preserves a fascinating array of historical materials dating from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century, offering research potential in modern social and cultural history, the history of printing and the graphic arts, the history of advertising and mass consumption, economic and labor history, Chicago urban and community history, and modern cultural studies, among many other fields.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Sept. 1 — Feb. 28, 2007
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Subjects
History of Print
Chicago and Illinois
American History
Race and the Design of Everyday Life Race and the Design of American Life: African Americans in Twentieth-Century Commercial Art
Drawing from collections of food packaging, advertisements, children's books, album covers, and other household goods, this exhibit traces the vexed history of African Americans in commercial art—as images and as makers of their own image—and their vital role in shaping the rise and establishment of our modern consumer society.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Oct. 14 — Jan. 4, 2014
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Subjects
African-American Studies
Art
Green Roof on Searle The Science of Sustainability
This exhibit takes a close look at some aspects of sustainable building design and how they can produce greener buildings.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
April 5 — Oct. 1, 2010
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Subjects
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies
Organismal Biology
Chicago and Illinois
University of Chicago
Something's Brewing: The Art, Science and Technology of Beer Brewing Something's Brewing: The Art, Science and Technology of Beer Brewing
The Crerar Library exhibit, Something's Brewing: The Art, Science and Technology of Brewing, explores the development of brewing, from the ancient Sumerians' rice-based beverages to the rise and fall of the Chicago brewing industry.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
Jan. 8 — March 31, 2007
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Subjects
Chicago and Illinois
Materials Science
History of Science
Technology
Sun Ra Sounds from Tomorrow's World: Sun Ra and the Chicago Years, 1946-1961
This exhibit explores Sun Ra’s Chicago years through images and sound recordings of his poetry and music, vinyl records and album artwork, promotional materials and early controversial broadsheets. While living in Chicago, Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount became Sun Ra—the leader of the Arkestra and a composer and arranger of some of the most avant-garde jazz of the time.
Locations
Regenstein 3rd Floor Reading Room
Dec. 1 — Aug. 20, 2010
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Subjects
Music
Chicago and Illinois
Souvenirs thumbnail Souvenirs! Get Your Souvenirs!
Souvenirs can come in all shapes and sizes; they can be simple or complex, tasteful or tacky. This exhibition presents various souvenirs created for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition, and the City of Chicago. It draws on collections throughout the Special Collections Research Center, catalyzed by the Ian Mueller Collection of Chicago Memorabilia.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
July 22 — Oct. 4, 2013
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Subjects
Special Collections
American History
Chicago and Illinois
Super Metroid Super Metroid: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective
This exhibit celebrates the art of the videogame as seen in one of its early classics. Additionally, this exhibit explores the creative activity that lies beyond the game itself, from concept art and promotional materials to the fan art the game still inspires twenty years later.
Locations
The Joseph Regenstein Library
Jan. 28 — March 22, 2014
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Subjects
Arts
Cracker Jack advertisement Sweet Home Chicago: Chocolate and Confectionery Production and Technology in the Windy City
Drawing from items in the substantial cookery collection at the John Crerar Library, this exhibit explores the history of chocolate and confectioners in the city and the science and technology of the candy making process.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
Oct. 10 — June 11, 2011
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Subjects
Advertising
Chicago and Illinois
Technology
Brooker Prize Symbol T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting
The Brooker Prize is awarded annually to second- and fourth year students with outstanding book collections. This exhibit provides an opportunity for award winners to share selections from their collections with a wider audience.
Locations
Regenstein 1st Floor Reading Room
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Subjects
Latin American Studies
Medieval Studies
Gender Studies
Arts
art and astronomy They Saw Stars: Art and Astronomy
This John Crerar Library exhibit highlights works of art and literature influenced by astronomy, either through scientific study, a fascination with the night sky, or as an inspiration for the literary imagination. Both contemporary and historical works are included.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
June 2 — Nov. 1, 2005
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Subjects
History of Science
Art
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Main exhibit poster Under Your Feet, Chicago's Water, Freight, Subway and Storm Tunnels
Under Your Feet explores the system—from the first water tunnels completed in 1867, to the now defunct freight tunnels of the early 1900's, to the subway system we use today, to the Deep Tunnel project and storm tunnels of the future.
Locations
Crerar Library, 1st Floor
Feb. 14 — March 31, 2006
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Subjects
Technology
Art
Chicago and Illinois
Ida B. Wells A Voice for Justice: The Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells
This web exhibit showcases the achievements of civil rights activist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) and documents her lifelong campaign for the rights and lives of African Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth-century United States of America.
Locations
The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
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Subjects
Chicago and Illinois
American History
African-American Studies