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News and events from DePaul University Libraries

Engendered: Seen + Heard

by Michelle McCoy 3/5/2014 10:48:00 AM

Digital exhibit graphicImagine dressing like a man in the mid-19th century in order to find sustainable employment only to be drafted into the Union Army during the American Civil War. Or imagine that after a lifetime of avoiding publication for the sake of female decency that it would be the political insights you penned in prison while awaiting the guillotine in revolutionary France that reach the public at large. The life stories of Sara Emma Edmonds and Jean-Marie Phlipon Roland are among the many diverse scenarios that women faced in previous centuries and decades.

Special Collections and Archives has begun a series of exhibits to honor the actions and words of women who have written about their experiences and whose works we hold in our collections. Women and War is the first installment and is currently viewable on the 3rd floor of the John T. Richardson Library or online at: With a focus on the French Revolution, the American Civil War, and World War I, the women in this exhibit represent a wide range of sentiments on the role of women in society. The political acumens of women like Madame Roland or Madame de Staël were honed through their engagement in Parisian Enlightenment salon culture. It was the promise of universal rights that drew such radical thinkers as Mary Wollstonecraft and Helen Maria Williams from England to France during the Revolution and eventually put them both in grave danger. Williams was even imprisoned for a time during the Reign of Terror. Other women, such as Mary Livermore, only came to advocate for women’s suffrage after witnessing the inequities placed upon women during the time of the Civil War. Meanwhile, the sisters in Catholic charitable orders demonstrated the importance of professionally trained nurses through their frontline responses on both Civil War and WWI battlefields. By WWI, as Harriot Stanton Blatch would chronicle, women contributed to the war effort by effectively performing a wide range of manufacturing jobs that were previously only open to men.

Michigan Bridget from Mary Livermore's memoir, My Story of the WarWhether they set out to take an active role in the war effort or simply found themselves in the midst of the action and captured their observations, the involvement of all of these women bring to life alternative voices and perspectives of war activities outside of the official state narrative.

The Special Collections and Archives department strives to acquire and highlight historical resources that capture many points of view. For more information about our titles written by women or about the roles of women over time, please contact us at:

Artists' Books Exhibit

by Michael Donovan 1/21/2014 9:00:00 AM

Please stop by the Information Commons in the John T. Richardson Library to view our latest exhibit:

Artist's Books: a Selection from Special Collections and Archives, DePaul Univerity Library

Artist’s books are, quite simply, books made or conceived by artists. They can be made by hand or commercially printed, bound in a traditional codex form or constructed more like a sculptural object. Self-published or produced by small presses, the books can be printed in a limited edition or exist as unique objects. Techniques involved in making them are varied, drawing on multiple modes of art-making including letterpress, printmaking, photography, and computer-generated imagery. The almost limitless possibilities have drawn artists to the genre for decades.

The artist’s books collection in Special Collections and Archives at DePaul University Library began in the late 1990s with the acquisition of a number of artist-made books published in Cuba by Ediciones Vigí. Building on this initial purchase, the department has actively collected artist’s books, often selecting books that complement the subject areas in which the library currently collects.  This exhibit is a sampling of some of the artist’s books available to library patrons.

The books in this exhibit are divided into four sections: religion, women and gender, social justice, and books that challenge or engage with the notion of a book’s structure. Many of these books require interaction on the part of the reader to create meaning. Some tell a story, but lack a traditional linear narrative, while others seem to focus solely on design. As these artists work with various modes of production and styles, they produce new ways interacting with their work and engaging viewers with content-specific forms.

For more information about this collection, and these books, please contact or visit Special Collections and Archives in the John T. Richardson Library, Room 314.

Everyday ReaderStreet of Booksellers

Exploring Vincent's Mediterranean - Opening Reception

by Andrew Rea 11/6/2013 8:53:00 AM
Please join us at the John T. Richardson Library for the opening of Exploring Vincent’s Mediterranean: Western Europe and the Barbary Coast, 1580-1760, a joint exhibit from DePaul University’s Special Collections and Archives and The Society of Vincent de Paul Professors.

Hand-colored illustration of a galley ship from the Encyclopedie, 1751-1772.During the lifetime of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), and the century following his death, the Mediterranean Sea operated as a theater of conflict, commerce, and cultural intercourse. As European states expanded their powers in the Western Mediterranean Sea, interactions with the Ottoman-controlled North African Barbary regencies increased, and  long-simmering tensions intensified. It is in this world that Vincent de Paul developed his mission and his paradigm of charity and public assistance. The conflicts and cultural communication of this time and place helped shape both Vincent and his legacy, which in turn shaped the larger Christian and Mediterranean worlds. It is our hope that the exhibition reveals the richness of this time period, and of materials held within DePaul University’s Special Collections and Archives.

The exhibit includes Vincentian texts, a variety of books that speak to the relationship between Europe and the Barbary Coast, a collection of coins that represent the scope of financial and commercial relations in the Mediterranean region, and maps and urban plans that allows us to reflect on the geographies of the period at different scales of engagement. These materials can enliven our sense of the engagement between Vincent, the Congregation of the Mission and the peoples and cultures of the western Mediterranean. A digital exhibit is planned for Winter Quarter.
The opening reception will be held from 3PM-6PM on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the DePaul's Special Collections and Archives Department, John T. Richardson Library (2350 N Kenmore Ave), room 314. During this time, the Special Collections reading room will be closed to researchers. For more information contact: or call 773-325-7864.

Special Collections' Digital Exhibit: The Way of Wisdom

by Michael Donovan 7/2/2013 2:13:00 PM

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the building of the John T. Richardson Library, the DePaul University Special Collections and Archives has produced a digital exhibit entitled, The Way of Wisdom: Building DePaul University's Libraries. In addition to marking this major anniversary, the exhibit looks back at the various libraries housed in buildings across campus since the founding of the University and anticipates the renovation of the Richardson Library building and the establishment of the Information Commons. 

The original photographs and items featured in the digital exhibit were on display on the first floor of the John T. Richardson Library during the Winter and Spring quarters of 2013.

For more information about the collection, please email or visit us in room 314 of the John T. Richardson Library. For information about the renovation taking place in the library, visit us here.

The Enduring Legacy of Rare Gifts

by Michelle McCoy 2/20/2013 10:06:00 AM

Front cover, The Fox's ProphecyEver wondered how DePaul came to possess a prodigious 4500 books related to Napoleon Bonaparte or why there are approximately 900 titles on 19th-century fox hunting, horse racing and other gentlemen’s leisurely pursuits? A new exhibit in Special Collections & Archives called, The Enduring Legacy of Rare Gifts, chronicles DePaul’s acquisition of significant book collections and highlights the contributions made by notable donors over the last 90 years.

The first major donation to the DePaul libraries dates to the 1927 when the Illinois Chapter of the American-Irish Historical Society no longer had enough space to house their Irish-related titles. Diverse riches were added over the ensuing decades including the Napoleonic book collection of Otto A. Lempke, the Sporting Collection of Stuyvesant Peabody, the African American collections born from the foresight of Professor Gilbert Sims Derr and the Charles Dickens collection of Samuel Bradford.
Gay's Fables, donated by Abel Berland.
By 1975, DePaul University Libraries owned approximately 7,000 volumes that were considered “special” by virtue of their rareness, value or format. The result of both judicious purchases and of gifts from individuals who often had deep associations with the university, these titles formed the basis of the rare book collections at DePaul. With support and encouragement from alumnus, DePaul board trustee, noted Chicago rare book collector and donor, Abel E. Berland, the first Department of Special Collections was born on the fourth floor of the Schmitt Academic Center to organize these rare volumes, improve awareness and accessibility to these volumes and foster better long-term preservation. With the completion of the new John T. Richardson Library in 1992, Special Collections & Archives had its own department designed with climate-controlled stacks and a reading room, named in honor of donor and longtime champion of Special Collections, Abel E. Berland.

Throughout the years, there have been more contributions by individuals than can possibly be named in one exhibit. Of significance are the many faculty members, alumni, staff members and other DePaul affiliated groups that continue to offer generous gifts in support of the academic mission of the university. Each contribution continues to serve current and future generations of students and researchers and form an enduring legacy.

Today, Special Collections contains almost 17,000 volumes of rare books. This exhibit highlights a selection of core collections and contributors, many of which have been made by those closest to the academic mission of the university that have shaped DePaul’s Special Collections.

This exhibit is hosted in conjunction with the Richardson Library’s exhibit, The Way of Wisdom: Building DePaul University Libraries, to highlight the history and future of its mission and will run through spring quarter.

For additional information, please contact Special Collections at:

Juried Student Art Exhibition Opens 2/20

by Alexis Burson 2/20/2013 9:20:00 AM

Join us for a Juried Student Art Exhibition opening February 20.

When: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5:30pm-6:30pm Opening Reception

February 20-March 7 Exhibition Showing

Where: Richardson Library Haber Lounge, 1st floor


New Exhibit Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The John T. Richardson Library

by Andrew Rea 2/8/2013 9:17:00 AM

Stop by our newest exhibit on the first floor of the John T. Richardson Library, The Way of Wisdom: Building DePaul University Libraries opening February 8, 2013. 

The Way of Wisdom: building DePaul University LibrariesSeptember, 2012, marked the twentieth anniversary of DePaul University’s John T. Richardson Library. Opened in 1992, the Richardson Library was built to address the changing role of the library on a university campus. This summer, the next phase of an extensive renovation to respond to the academic needs of twenty-first-century library users will begin. As we look forward to the future of the Richardson Library, we would also like to look back at the history of the library at DePaul University in all of its iterations.

The John T. Richardson Library is the first building designed expressly as a library at DePaul. Prior to 1992, DePaul’s libraries have always existed inside other campus buildings. When St. Vincent’s College opened in 1898, it featured a single reading room, but it wasn’t until the building now known as Byrne Hall was built in 1907 that DePaul University opened its first library. In 1929, a fire gutted the Lyceum, allowing the university library to move there. Schmitt Academic Center opened in 1967 and with it a new library for the university. For the next quarter century DePaul’s main library resided in SAC, until plans for a new space began in the late 1980s.

There had been plans in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1960s for a university library to be built, but each time the dream was deferred. The John T. Richardson Library was successfully completed with the understanding that it would function as DePaul’s main library for many years, and therefore a certain amount of modularity was included in its initial design. It is this modularity that will allow the ongoing renovation of the Richardson Library to proceed smoothly. The next stage of the renovation will transform the library’s first floor into an Information Commons. The Commons is designed to support and enhance learning by providing state-of-the-art technology in a variety of collaborative and individual workspaces, as well as providing library users with a shared social space where they can gather to access and share information. Another important addition will be the Learning Center, a centralized location for tutoring that will facilitate the partnership between the Library and other student support services.

From a small room in the corner of the DePaul’s first academic building to a 21st century research and information center, DePaul University’s libraries have all shared one characteristic: reflecting the needs of its users. As those needs have changed, so too have the libraries that have been designed to meet them. From a humble beginning to a bright and shining future, the DePaul University Library’s goal remains the same: to show the way of wisdom.


For more history of the John T. Richardson Library read our blog post, Bygone DePaul: John T. Richardson Library

50 Years Later: The Impact of Vatican II on the Catholic Church and the Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission

by Jillian Lohndorf 10/9/2012 11:42:00 AM

50 years ago, on October 11th, 1962, clergy and lay leaders from all over the world met to discuss the social fabric of the Catholic Church.  Stretching until December 8th, 1965, the four council sessions, collectively known as Vatican II, openly addressed how to better meet the needs of the laity.   The outcomes were varied: Mass itself changed, switching from Latin to English and incorporating mainstream musical instruments, such as the guitar; priests’ clothes relaxed from a full-length robe, called a cassock, and hat-like berretta to a clerical collar and black short sleeve shirt; the laity became more involved, from offering Communion at Mass to women teaching in seminaries.  Still felt today, these visual changes signaled deeper changes in how the church wanted to be seen, both by those in the ministry and the laity.  

Vincentian Seminarians at St. Mary's of the Barrens, c1960s.

At home, the Vincentians approached the changes with care and sometimes confusion, with various communities implementing the principles differently.  Surveys, letters and meeting minutes from this time show that most seminaries involved all levels in their decision-making, breaking down barriers between priests and seminarians. New-found liberties, such as the freedom to smoke, drink, drive, and listen to their own music, as well as an emphasis on community engagement, challenged the previously held notions of authority.  

The DeAndries Seminary in Lemont, IL (1964-1984), was a direct result of aggiornamento, or renewal, and embodied the rich spirit of Vatican II.  There, students worked in communities as part of their academic program, recording books for the blind, teaching catechism in parish churches, and running nun’s retreats.  A series of student essays also  highlights one of the more extreme examples of community engagement; during “the Plunge,” seminarians spent three days on their own in Chicago with only $5, in an attempt to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes.’  These activities were meant to reinforce a greater personal responsibility and overall connection with the larger lay communities where they worked.  

The 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and how it revolutionized the Catholic Church and Vincentian lives is celebrated with an exhibit of photographs, artwork, a diary, and other materials from the DeAndreis-Rosati Memorial Archives, on the 3rd floor of the Richardson Library.  

Happy 100th!

by Andrea Bainbridge 10/3/2012 9:19:00 AM
Happy 100th!
DePaul’s School of Music is one of several celebrating its 100th anniversary this academic year. To mark the occasion, they have partnered with University Archives in creating a new exhibit: A Day in the Life of the Music School…Through the Years.
A student advertises his clarinet recital, 1964.

From masterclasses to Glee Club and learning the technology of sound recording, the exhibit features photographs and memorabilia that highlight the student experience in the School of Music. This history will be celebrated throughout the year with a variety of programs and events. Stay on top of the celebrations, and other Music School happenings, by visiting the School’s News & Events site.
Madrigal singers, 1974.

See the exhibit
Where: 1st floor of the John T. Richardson Library, 2350 N Kenmore; Chicago, IL 60614
When: Through Spring 2013.  

With Telescopes and Microscopes - DePaul's Scientific Past and Future

by Andrea Bainbridge 2/8/2012 9:54:00 AM
DePaul's University Archives has unveiled a fresh exhibit to celebrate the opening of the new College of Science and Health. From Halley's Comet to the Bottom of the World highlights the fun, the strange, and the remarkable events and people in DePaul's scientific past.

Did you know that the first women to spend an entire winter in Antarctica were from DePaul? DePaul alumna and faculty member Mary Alice McWhinnie was internationally renowned for her work with krill, a tinyMary Alice McWhinnie - front row, second from right – in her freshman class photo for the 1942 DePaulian yearbook crustacean that flourishes in the Antarctic waters. She and her research assistant, Sister Mary Odile Cahoon, spent much of 1974 at an isolated research station on McMurdo Sound, studying the life cycle of krill. Professor McWhinnie left behind a rich record of her experience there, beyond her scientific publications, in the lengthy letters she wrote to friends and family during that 1974 trip.

Dr. McWhinnie in the late 1960s, after several decades as a member of the DePaul faculty.The new exhibit features excerpts from these detailed and often humorous letters, as well as photos of McWhinnie's time in Antarctica. You'll also see a scientific paper she co-authored with some of her DePaul colleagues, including one who would attain his own distinction as DePaul's 8th president. The Very Reverend John T. Cortelyou C.M. was a member of the faculty and chair of the Biology Department before taking the top office. Father Cortelyou remains the only DePaul president to have received an advanced degree in the sciences, although he is not the only notable priest-scientist in DePaul history.

The Reverend Daniel McHugh, C.M., who taught astronomy and other sciences at DePaul, gained national attention for claiming to be the first person in Chicago to observe Halley's Comet in November of 1909. The sighting, made from the observatory atop Byrne Hall, incited controversy, and Fr. McHugh received many letters disputing the possibility of his claim. Despite the controversy, Fr. McHugh spoke widely on the Comet in Chicago, in part to put people at ease about the strange and infrequent sight in the sky.

See letters from some of Fr. McHugh's doubters alongside artifacts documenting Father Cortleyou's and Dr. McWhinnie's contributions to science at DePaul, and don't miss the exhibit's timeline of milestones and quirky mom
ents in science at DePaul.
Students perform a dissection, 1937.

Where and When: See the exhibit on the 1st floor of Richardson Library; on display during Winter and Spring Quarters 2012.

For more information about the science or scientists featured in the exhibit:  Email us or stop by Richardson 314. Browse McWhinnie and Cortelyou's scientific papers, and see the original letters challenging Fr. McHugh's claim to the Halley's Comet sighting.

Can't make the exhibit?  Watch this Two-Minute Tour and see other unique resources in the Special Collections and Archives Department!   



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