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News and events from DePaul University Libraries

Summer Reading Recommendations

by Alexis Burson 7/8/2014 6:01:00 PM

Finally have time to read a good book but aren't sure which to choose?   Don't despair, our library team is here to help you out.  Staff from Special Collections and Archives, Access Services, Reference, Document Delivery, Web Services and Acquisitions have briefly set aside processing, cataloging, building archival collections, checking out books, reshelving, managing student workers, processing interlibrary loan requests, updating the website and offering research assistance to help you find an interesting book this summer!  Visit our Summer Reading Recommendations exhibit on display all summer at the 1st floor of the John T. Richardson Library.   Whether you like fiction, non-fiction, young adult lit or graphic novels, there's something for nearly every interest. 

If you can't make it in this summer, visit our Summer Reading Recommendation board on Pinterest.  


Lincoln Park: Then & Now

by Michelle McCoy 5/7/2014 9:09:00 AM

Historypin's Explore Chicago: The Lincoln Park Neighborhoods

Have you ever strolled through a neighborhood past rows of stately greystones only to come across an incongruous structure or parking lot and wondered what might have been there before?

Using a combination of historic images and advertisements taken from postcards, photographs, and publications held in the Special Collections and Archives, Rev. Edward R. Udovic, C.M., Ph.D, has “pinned” these to their current GPS street view in the interactive website called, Historypin. Within the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Fr. Udovic has created twelve walks designed to highlight the evolving character of the city blocks anchored by the longtime residency of DePaul University’s campus and the parish of St. Vincent’s Church. Each walk corresponds to different types of establishments and provides a glimpse into past entertainments, residences, industry, and such community services as schools and hospitals as they were then, now, or are no longer. 

Lincoln Park Hall, 1729 Wells Street, 1910
The exhibit case outside of Special Collections and Archives in Room 314 of the John T. Richardson Library showcases a selection of artifacts from our collections paired with a screen snapshot that relocates these within Historypin’s map. We encourage you to stop by this exhibit between now and the end of the summer or to take a walk, virtual or actual, using the site as a guide:!photos/list/

In conjunction with the Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative, Rev. Edward Udovic will discuss the creation of this site and its historic tours on Thursday, May 8th at 6:30 in McGowan South. Admission is free. 

Language of the Heart - an Exhibit on the Art of Hula

by Michael Donovan 5/5/2014 12:15:00 PM

King David KalakauaHula is the Language of the Heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian People --King David Kalakaua

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the DePaul Humanities Center has convened a conference celebrating indigenous Hawaiian people, nature, art, history, and culture. In conjunction with this conference, the DePaul University Library is pleased to present Language of the Heart, an exhibit on Hula, the indigenous dance from of Polynesians in Hawai'i.

The expression of the modern hula uses both ancient and modern music and instruments, some of which are displayed in this exhibition. The hula art form is passed down through a traditional teaching lineage: from Kumu (master teacher of the hula) to student. The curator's hula teacher, Kumu June Kaililani Tanoue and her teacher, Kumu Michael Pili Pang, are part of a lineage that can be traced to the first early modern hula practitioners. 

Hula has a somewhat tumultuous history. Early missionaries opposed the practice and, with the help of the queen regent, Ka'ahumanu, successfully banned all public performances. Despite such opposition, however, hula did not disappear and continued to be privately performed and supported. It wasn't until the reign of King David Kalakaua (1874-1891) that the custom was able to flourish again in public with a renewed cultural pride.

Hula continues to thrive, most noticably through the Merrie Monarch Festival. The festival continues the cultural celebration reignited by King Kalakaua with a week-long festival of cultural music, crafts, art, demonstrations, and hula competitions.

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



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