Highlights from the History of the John Crerar Library

John Crerar Library Bookplate

Exhibition curated by Patricia K. Swanson and Richard Meier.

The history of the John Crerar Library is a story of enterprise and industry. The men of Chicago in the late nineteenth century were rugged, brash, optimistic, imaginative entrepreneurs and the history of the John Crerar Library mirrors their spirit. The collections of the John Crerar Library, which joined the University of Chicago Library in 1984, reflected progressive ideas and beliefs in the value of scientific, technical, and useful endeavors. Crerar Library pioneered in offering specialized services to the research community, in indexing the scientific literature, in providing a clearinghouse for unpublished scientific and technical translations, and in publishing bibliographies and indexes. This exhibit presents the history of the John Crerar Library thematically, celebrating the role of the library as an intellectual resource in the city of Chicago, placing the Library within the context of Chicago industrial growth, and highlighting the individuals and institutions that supported, created, and sustained the Library.