Web Exhibits

Image from Daniel Clowes Archives Digital File

Integrity of the Page:  The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes

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). 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.

Poetic Associations Title Graphic

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

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." 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, on deposit from the Estate of Gerald Wachs at the University of Chicago Library, illuminates the life and works of these enduring poets.


Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies

From the times of Marco Polo to the British Empire to the postcolonial nation, South Asia has been imagined, pictured, explored, and studied. This exhibition introduces the Regenstein Library's extraordinary resources related to South Asia through visual metaphors of imagination, representation, and engagement. How did explorers, missionaries, colonial officials, and scholars view South Asia? What did South Asian self-representations look like? From palm leaf manuscripts to historical maps, and from rare books to digital projects, Envisioning South Asia offers a kaleidoscopic tour through scholarly and popular imaginations in text and image.

Mapping the Young Metropolis Title Graphic

Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915-1940

In 1915, University of Chicago sociology professor Robert E. Park published "The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment", an article that inspired a quarter-century of social research at the University of Chicago and transformed the discipline of sociology. This explosion of scholarship came to be known as the Chicago School of Sociology. Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Sociology adopted Chicago as their urban laboratory and began to study the city intensively, examining distinctive neighborhoods, institutions and social patterns. Archives in the Special Collections Research Center preserve key records of their research methodology: tools, such as questionnaires and life histories, along with analyses, such as statistical tables and city maps. Archival documents reveal the new sociological research process, from proposal through data collection to final report. The exhibition also displays a series of influential books written by Chicago sociologists, many based upon PhD dissertations, among them Louis Wirth's The Ghetto (1928) and Harvey Zorbaugh's The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929).

Photograph of Weddstock 1992

Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago

From woman-centered relationships between early female professors to the beginnings of Gay Liberation on campus, this exhibition will examine the range of experiences lived by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and faculty on the University of Chicago campus. Drawing on the rich holdings of the University Archives -- including the papers of Marion Talbot and Ernest Burgess, administrative records, and a multitude of campus publications – the exhibition will display letters, academic papers, and student newspaper articles, as well as posters, photographs, and other visual documentation. In tracing this complex history, the exhibition will also introduce new materials collected through outreach to alumni along with selections from oral histories of alumni collected by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

I Step Out of Myself Image

"I Step Out of Myself": Portrait Photography in Special Collections

"I Step Out of Myself": Portrait Photography in Special Collections highlights outstanding examples of fine art and photojournalistic portraiture held in the Special Collections Research Center. Displaying selections rarely on public view, the exhibition will draw from the work of a varied group of twentieth-century photographers: Eva Watson Schütze, Carl Van Vechten, Layle Silbert, Mildred Mead, Yousef Karsh, Alice Boughton, Joan Eggan, and Tina Modotti. From the romance of Schütze's portraits of domestic life at the turn of the twentieth century, to the stylized glamour of Van Vechten's celebrity photographs in the 1930s, to the unflinching presentation of raw poverty in Mildred Mead's portraits of residents of Chicago slums in the 1950s, "I Step Out of Myself" will explore the wide range of technique, style, subject matter, and emotion found in modern photographic portraiture.

         En Guerre title graphic

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. Illustrated books, journals, and prints on display will present new perspectives on themes essential to an understanding of France's role in the war: patriotism, nationalism, and the soldier's experience, as well as French home front mobilization encompassing fashion, music, humor, and children's literature. Materials in the exhibition will be drawn from the rare book holdings of the Special Collections Research Center, other public institutions, and private collections including that of exhibition curators Professor Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein.

Researching Mexico title graphic

Researching Mexico: University of Chicago Field Explorations in Mexico, 1896-2014

University of Chicago scholars have traveled to Mexico since the late nineteenth century, pursuing research subjects ranging from archival investigation of revolutionary leaders, to documentation of indigenous communities and languages, to the search for the cause of a deadly strain of typhus. Drawn from the holdings of the Special Collections Research Center, including the papers of Friedrich Katz, Robert Redfield, Norman McQuown, Manning Nash, Howard T. Ricketts, Sol Tax, Frederick Starr, and others, this exhibit presents correspondence, diaries, photographs, sketches, recordings and objects generated and collected by these scholars in the field, as well as holdings from the Rare Books and Manuscripts collections that continue to support study of Mexican history and culture. Presented in conjunction with the University of Chicago's Katz Center for Mexican Studies, this exhibition will mark the meeting in Chicago of the XIV Reunión Internacional de Historiadores de México on September 18-21, 2014.

Homer in Print Title Graphic

Homer in Print: The Transmission and Reception of Homer's Works

For nearly 3,000 years, the Homeric epics have been among the best-known and universally studied texts of Western civilization. Homer in Print illustrates what we can learn when we look beyond the stories to ask what sources went into shaping this particular edition or how the multitude of English translations differ from each other. By addressing such questions the exhibition illustrates the transmission of Homer's texts in the context of printing, publishing, and translation history.

Race and Design Title Graphic

Race and the Design of American Life:  African Americans in Twentieth-Century Commerical Design

Images of African Americans have outfitted myriad mass-produced consumer goods in the twentieth century, from Aunt Jemima's pancakes to the Air Jordan basketball shoe. How has graphic design shaped the relationship between the politics of race and mass consumption? How have African American entrepreneurs and artists used design to shape their own images of "the race"? Drawing from collections of food packaging, print advertisements, children's books, album covers, and toys, this exhibit traces the vexed history of racial design, from stark racist caricature to the productions of black-owned advertising firms. It explores how graphic design capitalized on racist attitudes; it also illustrates how for many corporations, designers, and consumers, graphic design was used to envision and transform the place of African Americans in society. As a market force and aesthetic style, graphic design emerged as a material and often intimate activity that wove race into the fabric of everyday life.

 Souvenir Parasol 1933 Century of Progress Fair

Souvenirs! Get Your Souvenirs! Chicago Mementos and Memorabilia

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.


 ida noyes

Building for a Long Future: The University of Chicago and Its Donors, 1889-1930

This exhibition explores the motivations and purposes of the varied group of donors who supported the University of Chicago from the time of its founding in the late 1880s to the conclusion of the extensive campus building campaign of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Drawing on the holdings of the University of Chicago Archives, this exhibition displays historic letters, documents, photographs, and memorabilia that capture the distinctive personalities and interests of these early donors. The exhibition also examines the wide array of donors who made individual gifts for scholarships and fellowships, student activities, poetry readings, works of art, and embellishments of the University's buildings and campus.

Firmness Commodity Delight Banner

Firmness, Commodity, and Delight: Architecture in Special Collections

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.

         Arthur W. Schultz Bookplate

Reading the Greens: Books on Golf from the Arthur W. Schultz Collection

Few sporting activities have produced a more extensive published literature than the game of golf. "Reading the Greens" examines the rich array of published literature that the game has produced over the past century. Among the topics and genres included are instructional books, the implements of the game and the caddies who have carried them from hole to hole, the skills and achievements of the many women who have played the game, golf for children, the "mental side" of the game, golf in fiction, famous golfers and golf courses. The exhibition is drawn from the Arthur W. Schultz Golf Collection, which includes more than 1,600 books on the history of golf presented to the University of Chicago Library by Arthur W. Schultz, an alumnus and Life Trustee of the University of Chicago.

Cassell -- Image from exhibit Recipes for Domesticity

Recipes for Domesticity: Cookery, Household Management, and the Notion of Expertise

How does one roast a fawn or properly set a dinner table for twelve? For centuries, people have been documenting and decoding the vast array of knowledge associated with domestic life, assembling cooking and household guides to assist with the tasks of daily living. Not merely collections of recipes and how-to instructions, these guides also document cultural patterns and give insight into the development of modern-day kitchen and cooking practices. This exhibition, drawn primarily from the Rare Books Collection, provides a sampling of European and American cookbooks and domestic manuals from court chefs of the 15th century to cooking icons of the 20th century. The exhibition is curated by Julia Gardner, Head of Reader Services, Special Collections Research Center.

My Life is an Open Book

My Life is an Open Book: D.I.Y. Autobiography

A significant form of expression in the punk cultures of the 1980s and 1990s, contemporary zines continue to provide an important platform for authors­–or zinesters– in a distinct genre.  As part of a feminist punk rock subculture known as riot grrrl, women zinesters became prominent in the 1990s; women are an integral voice in the zine community.

Politics, music and autobiography are standard zine topics. Known as 'perzines' (personal + zine), autobiographical zines form an increasingly large percentage of contemporary zine publishing. Drawn from a developing collection within Special Collections, the zines on display are perzines primarily produced by women. Representing the 1990s to the present day, topics range from extremely frank accounts of physical and psychological trauma to playful pictographic series. Additional materials, outside the zine genre, have been selected to provide some historical context to these do-it-yourself autobiographical works.

We Are Chicago T-shirts

We Are Chicago:  Student Life in the Collections of the University of Chicago Archives

Drawn from the historical collections of the University Archives, We Are Chicago highlights student experiences over a span of 120 years. This exhibition features recent donations to the collections along with rarely seen materials. Costumes, photographs, T-shirts, letters, posters, publications, and memorabilia will combine to make this the largest and most inclusive exhibition in the ongoing Special Collections archival series, Discover Hidden Archives Treasures.

Detail from MS343

On the Edge: Medieval Margins and the Margins of Academic Life

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art by University of Chicago art history professor Michael Camille (1958-2002), a work that looks at the playful and parodic images in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. Inspired by Camille's work, this exhibition explores the symmetry between medieval margins and the modern margins of academic life. Camille studied the uncommon: the strange, remarkable, and extraordinary images at the edges of the medieval world, bringing to light the confluence of the serious and the playful, the sacred and the profane. The serious and the playful also converge at the University of Chicago, and "On the Edge" features medieval manuscript marginalia paired with student photographs that capture the margins of campus life. The photographs show what happens outside of the classroom at the University, highlighting quintessential traditions such as the Scavenger Hunt.

Silhouette of Crowd with Shahada

The Graphics of Revolution and War: Iranian Poster Arts

Posters have long acted as effective tools to disseminate various ideological messages during periods of revolution and war. Designed for mass distribution and aimed towards a large public audience, they embed social, political, and religious concerns that frequently are articulated through both text and image. The Graphics of Revolution and War exhibit explores how posters served as powerful modalities for mobilization and communication during the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). This permanent online exhibit was collaboratively produced in conjunction with a loan exhibition of the University of Chicago’s posters on display at the Indiana University Art Museum from October 15 to December 18, 2011 (http://themester.indiana.edu/events/poster.shtml).

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children's Books and Graphic Arts

The Soviet Union was a world in pictures. A vibrant image culture based largely on new media revolutions facilitated its creation following the Russian revolutions and its re-making during Stalin’s Great Leap Forward, World War II, the Thaw, and Perestroika. Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary explores Soviet image culture through two of its most striking manifestations: the children’s book and the poster. Using examples drawn entirely from the University of Chicago Library’s collections, this exhibit plots the development of Soviet image culture alongside the formation of new social and cultural identities, from 1928 to the post-World War II period.

Sun Ra 

Sounds From Tomorrow's World: Sun Ra and the Chicago Years, 1946-1961

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. He was also the architect of a philosophy that informed his music, his life, and the lives of those around him: a synthesis of Black Nationalism, Egyptology, futurism, occultism and Southern Baptist preaching. This Web 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.


Law School Time Capsules Opened

University of Chicago Law School Time Capsules: 1903 & 1958

In August 2009, University stone masons opened the cornerstone of the University of Chicago's Law School building to unveil two time capsules, one from 1903 and one from 1958.The boxes contained items collected for the cornerstone of the original Law School building and items presented when the current building, designed by Eero Saarinen, was built.  The time capsules contained pictures, information about the Law School, and letters from leaders at the time which were put, unopened, into the time capsule for future unveiling.

Darwin conference

The Darwin Centennial Celebration

This Web-only exhibit explores The Darwin Centennial Celebration, which commemorated the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and was held at the University of Chicago from November 24 through November 28, 1959. Planned in conjunction with the Darwin/Chicago 2009 conference held at the University of Chicago, October 29-31, 2009, it also complements the exhibit Chicago Celebrates Darwin held at the John Crerar Library, October 19, 2009-March 26, 2010.

B Heller 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 as a wholesale manufacturer of dry powders used in the preparation of meat products. 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. Over the years, the company expanded into the manufacture of a variety of food ingredients, as well as insecticides, cleaning agents, and a broad range of kitchen and office supplies. The company continues today as Heller Seasonings & Ingredients, a wholesale supplier based in Chicago.

Book use

Book Use, Book Theory: 1500-1700

This exhibition, co-curated by Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazzio, examines the relationship between book use and forms of knowledge production in the early modern period (up through about 1700). By attending both to the ways in which books defined the conditions of their own use and to the ways in which early readers actually used books, the show delineates some of the models of thought (and, thus, of theory) made possible by such forms of textual practice. Drawing its examples from professional disciplines such as law and medicine, from educational texts, and from practical manuals on, for example, gardening, measuring and cookery, the exhibit considers the relations among kinds of book "use" in order, then, to clarify the relation between practice and theory as mediated through the early printed page. The show considers printed and manuscript marginalia, indexes and tables as being among the physical features of books that both determine and document the interaction between books and readers.


East European Jews in the German-Jewish Imagination from the Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica

The symbol of East European Jewry played an important role in German-Jewish self-definition. Were these so-called Ostjuden foreign or family? Did they represent a tradition from which German Jews would have to dissociate in order to secure their civic equality as Germans, or were they fellow members of a single Jewish nation? This exhibition traces the place of East European Jewry in the imagination and experience of German Jews from emancipation in the nineteenth century to the decline of German-Jewish life on the eve of World War II. The various images of the Ostjuden presented in the items on view reflect the complex face of German Jewry itself.

 Family at Prayer

Images of Prayer, Politics and Everyday Life from the Harry and Branka Sondheim Jewish Heritage Collection

Assembled over many years by Harry Sondheim, a University of Chicago alumnus (A.B. 1954, J.D. 1957), the Sondheim collection spans the 16th to the late 20th century and includes early printed books, prints, drawings, 19th- and 20th-century newspaper and magazine illustrations, and ephemeral items such as New Year cards and postcards depicting Jewish life and customs. In 2005, Mr. Sondheim began to present his collection to the University of Chicago in a series of gifts. The exhibition is organized around representations of the events of the Jewish life-cycle—birth, circumcision, naming, bar mitzvah, marriage, and death—and those of the Jewish calendar—the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Simchat Torah, Sukkot, and Passover. Sondheim also collected numerous images of Jews at labor and leisure and pursued his passion for illustrators and artists Ben Shahn, Moritz Oppenheim, Ephraim Lilien, Alfred Szyk, Alphonse Livy and François-Louis Schmied.

 Integrating the Life of the mind

Integrating the Life of the Mind: African Americans at the University of Chicago, 1870-1940

From the late nineteenth century onward, African Americans have pursued studies in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs at the University of Chicago. By 1943 the University of Chicago had awarded no less than forty-five PhDs to African Americans, more than any other university in the world. The intellectual work of these graduates shaped fields as diverse as sociology and cell biology; helped construct new fields such as African American history and literature; provided leadership at institutions including Howard University, Tuskegee Institute, and Morehouse College; and drove important policy changes on issues such as lynching. Based on the historical and archival collections, 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.


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.


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. The Barton Collection was acquired by the Library in 1932 and served for decades as a focus of Lincoln interest in Chicago and the Midwest. Selected items were exhibited at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition, and the collection was later installed in its own museum room in Harper Memorial Library on the University of Chicago campus. Among the notable icons of Barton Collection on display in this exhibition are a handwritten page from the young Lincoln’s “Sum Book”; one of the few surviving letters written by Lincoln to his wife Mary Todd Lincoln; bronze casts of sculptor Leonard Volk’s life mask and hands of Lincoln; a large wool shawl once owned by Lincoln; a little known oil portrait of Lincoln; and a presentation copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln.

 Donnelly building

Printing for the Modern Age: Commerce,Craft, and Culture in the RR Donnelley Archive

From the time of its founding in Chicago in 1864, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company has established a strong reputation as an innovative leader in all fields of the modern commercial printing industry. Books, directories, periodicals, and other printed materials from RR Donnelley's presses have set high standards for efficient production and innovative use of new technologies. The variety of RR Donnelley products over more than 140 years is remarkable -- Sears, Ward's, and Penny's retail catalogs; Daniel Burnham's 1909 folio-sized Plan of Chicago; the elegantly designed, limited-edition "Four American Books" issued in 1930; publications of all types for the 1933-1934 Chicago world's fair, A Century of Progress; many illustrated popular magazines ranging from Time, Life, and Business Week to Sunset and National Geographic; and visually engaging color-printed advertising materials for automobile manufacturers and other corporations, among many printed materials of all kinds.