Coming Soon!



Carta Monstruosa: Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Maps and Travel Ephemera - April 25, 2019


From their earliest iterations, maps have illustrated far more than simple physical boundaries of land and water. How a culture orients itself within the cosmos gives great insight into how they view their place in the world. From the fearsome sea-monsters lurking at the corners of Renaissance maps to the wholesome kitsch of 20th century American travel guides, these fascinating cultural documents reveal the journeys, large and small, of people and nations.

Atlas Obscura and Next Chapter are teaming up to bring you a special event exploring treasures and oddities from the farthest edges of the Newberry’s world-famous collection of maps and travel ephemera. Jim Akerman, Director of the Newberry’s Smith Center and Curator of Maps, will be your travel guide and select items from the collection will be on display for you to peruse. Enjoy snacks and drinks and learn more about the borders of the world in which you live.


Forbidden Newberry: Volume 2 - December 11, 2018


While the winter winds howl outside, we once again gather to share spooky and scandalous items from the Newberry collections at Forbidden Newberry: Volume 2. This year, we've gone even further into the dark recesses of our vaults to find more terrifying and twisted treasures to make you shiver with fear and delight.

From Victorian treatises on summoning spirits to salacious Ancien Regime pop-up books concealing blasphemy and sex to a first edition of Oscar Wilde's drippingly decadent Salome with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, our curators have unearthed a whole new assortment of forbidden and fascinating collection items to share with you.

Join us at this special Next Chapter event as we eat, drink, and unveil a secret and surprising side of the Newberry Library.


Ink & Drink: Calligraphy without Tears - August 14, 2018


“Calligraphy is an art form that uses ink and a brush to express the very souls of words on paper.”
―Kaoru Akagawa

Does the idea of doing calligraphy frighten you? It shouldn’t! The word “calligraphy” literally means beautiful writing in Greek (kallos graphein). So if you write something and think it’s beautiful, then it’s calligraphy!

Join us at this special, hands-on Next Chapter event and learn some of the fundamentals of this ancient art. We’ll provide all the supplies (plus beer, cider, and snacks). No previous calligraphic experience necessary. We’ll demonstrate some techniques, do some practice exercises, and then you can fancily write whatever your heart desires, be it exquisite poetry or eccentric memes.

Examples from the Newberry’s extensive calligraphic collection will also be on display to inspire your creativity.


Food of the Gods: Perspectives on Chocolate - June 7, 2018


Health food. Instrument of seduction. Garbage fit only for pigs. The perfect gift for Mom. Community menace. Divine offering. Immoral vice.

Throughout history, few foods have held as many diverse and contradictory identities as chocolate. The cacao plant’s Latin name, Theobroma, means “food of the gods” but attitudes toward chocolate have long shifted between desire and renunciation.

At this special Next Chapter event, join an assorted group of Newberry scholars and staff as we examine some of the complex cultural ideas about chocolate from early indigenous America to the modern day. Unique Newberry collection items related to chocolate will be on display. Drinks and snacks will be served and a variety of chocolate treats will be available to sample (for research purposes only, of course).


Preserving Protest - February 22, 2018


From the 1886 Haymarket Affair to the volatile 1968 Democratic National Convention to the 2017 Women’s March, the Newberry has consistently gathered evidence of turbulent times. By collecting various social action ephemera including signs, pamphlets, clothing, images, buttons, and more, the Newberry documents these fleeting but highly visible moments as they happen for the benefit of future generations.

Join Newberry staff at a special Next Chapter event as we share the stories of how and why these items went from the streets to the library vaults. You can also learn how to donate your own protest objects to contribute to the ongoing American narrative in the Newberry’s Chicago Protest Collection.


Forbidden Newberry: Spooky & Scandalous Treasures from the Newberry Vaults - October 25, 2017


  • An X-rated, pre-Revolutionary pamphlet imagining the scandalous private life of Marie Antoinette titled L’Orgie Royale
  • A 1484 edition of the witch-hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum, which caused the death of thousands
  • A joyously illustrated, early 20th century German sex guide for men and women
  • An 1884 edition of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe with darkly exquisite engravings by Gustave Doré

These are just a few of the secret treasures from the dark corners of the Newberry vaults, where supernatural texts on magic and demonology dwell with salacious volumes of sex and subversion.


See these objects and more at “Forbidden Newberry,” a special event for the next generation of Newberry supporters age 21-45. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers while getting to know a side of the library you never knew existed.


Journey of the Popol Vuh - May 11, 2017


ARE V XE OHER Tzih varal Quiche vbi.

ESTE ES EL PRINCIPIO DE LAS Antiguas historias aqui en el quiche.

THIS IS THE BEGINNING of the old traditions of this place called Quiché.


-- the opening line of the Popol Vuh, in K’iche, Spanish, and English.

The Popol Vuh records the scared creation mythology of the K'iche people who live in what is now western Guatemala. It is an epic narrative which includes the exploits of hero twins Hunahpú and Xbalanqué, also known as Hunter and Jaguar deer, and spans the realms of the living and the dead before culminating in a genealogy of rulers that goes up to the Spanish conquest. Among the Newberry Library’s collection is the earliest written record of these oral traditions and every year, scholars and people of Mayan descent journey from all over to world to visit this rare book.

Join Newberry librarian Dr. Seonaid Valiant at a special program for the next generation of Newberry supporters where we will discuss the long route this manuscript has taken, from the pre-creation emptiness of sea and sky that begins the mythological narrative all the way to the vaults of the Newberry Library. It is a thrilling account of cultural change and shifting fortunes that spans centuries and continents.

Following a reception with light refreshments, you will view items from the Newberry collection related to the talk, including the original manuscript of the Popol Vuh itself, and learn about their journey from Mesoamerica to Chicago.


Happy Hour Tour of Photographing Freetowns - March 16, 2017

Join us for a special evening tour of the Newberry's latest exhibit, "Photographing Freetowns." This event is geared toward the next generation of Newberry supporters (including, but not limited to, young professionals). The evening will begin with a reception featuring light refreshments before a special guided tour of the exhibit with curator Catherine Grandgeorge.

Many of the original prints in "Photographing Freetowns" are being displayed publicly for the first time. They showcase the work of white American photographer Helen Balfour Morrison, who traveled to Kentucky during the 1930s and 40s to document daily life in the state's African American communities known as "freetowns."

Though she is largely unknown today, Morrison created works that preserve fleeting moments of joy and struggle even as they hint at the complex racial dynamics within both American culture and the very act of her photography.