The Joseph Regenstein Library

The Joseph Regenstein Library

1100 E. 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

About

The Joseph Regenstein Library is home to over 4.5 million print volumes focusing on subjects in the humanities and social sciences, as well as business, divinity, and area studies.

Regenstein Collections

Regenstein Bookstacks and Reading Room Collections are closed to patrons.

Please use Paging & Pickup to request Library materials via the Library Catalog, and then make an appointment to pick up available items from the outer lobby of Regenstein.

Floor Maps

Limited services by reservation for current UChicago students, faculty, and staff.

5th Floor - closed
4th Floor - Zoom Seating by Reservation (starting Friday, November 13)
3rd Floor - Seating by Reservation
2nd Floor - Seating by Reservation
1st Floor - Special Collections by Appointment
A Level - closed
B Level - closed

History and Information about the Building

The Site

The Joseph Regenstein Library stands on the site of the original Stagg Field, the University's athletic field from 1892 to 1967. The Library is thus on the main north-south axis of the campus and looks south some 500 yards to William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, formerly the central library building. The Enrico Fermi Memorial is situated on the west edge of the 12-acre site of the Library. Henry Moore's bronze "Nuclear Energy" marks the spot where Fermi and other scientists achieved the first controlled, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942.

Configuration

The configuration of the Library offers an interesting response to the problems posed by a complex service facility, a large building size (577,085 gross square feet of floor space), a generally consistent campus plan and style, and the relatively small scale of the other campus buildings. The massiveness of that portion of the building used primarily for books is minimized for the viewer from the west by its division into three "slipped segments." The entire perimeter of the building is broken at regular intervals by projecting bays which further reduce the impression of great size and echo the irregularities of the traditional, gothic University buildings. The exterior walls are formed by deeply grooved, sawn limestone slabs, adding texture, life and movement to the surface.

Joseph Regenstein

The Joseph Regenstein Library honors the memory of Joseph Regenstein (1889-1957), an industrialist, a fourth-generation Chicagoan, and a life-long resident of the city. Interested in research, and himself responsible for many innovations in the paper, plastic and chemical fields, Mr. Regenstein maintained an intense interest in the development of the city and its institutions. To honor him, the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation, on November 9, 1965, gave $10,000,000 toward the new graduate research library.

Architects

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago
Walter Netsch, senior architect.

Structure

Reinforced concrete: B-Level floor, concrete slab; other floors, waffle, pan slab. Exterior walls, Indiana limestone, heavily scored vertically. Module size: 27 feet square.

Size

Area: 577,085 gross square feet. Maximum east-west dimension: 344 feet. Maximum north-south dimension: 411'6". Seven floors plus mechanical penthouse.

Cost

Approximately $20,750,000, including all fees, equipment, furniture, landscaping, site preparation, moving, and other costs. Cost per square foot: $35.96.

Sources of Funds

The Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation, $10,000,000; The Harriett Pullman Schermerhorn Charitable Trust, $500,000; other University gifts and grants; and $3,410,772 under Title II of the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963.

Dates

  • January 6, 1964: Gift from Harriett Pullman Schermerhorn Charitable Trust
  • July 1, 1965: Preliminary plans completed
  • October 22, 1965: Gift from Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation
  • June 9, 1966: Award of grant under Higher Education Facilities Act
  • September 20, 1967: Site work started
  • October 23, 1967: Groundbreaking ceremony
  • November 15, 1968: Laying of Cornerstone
  • October, 1970: Completion and dedication