Visit to the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries

by Stephanie Fletcher, E-Resources/Reference Librarian at the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries


The Art Institute of Chicago hosted the MACDG Fall Meeting, and one of the highlights was a visit to the Art Institute’s Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. Douglas Litts and Autumn Mather welcomed our group with an introduction to the Libraries, and Nathaniel Parks shared information about the Ryerson and Burnham Archives.

Library staff set up an array of special materials for us to view. Materials from the Libraries’ collections featured Marcel Duchamp’s RotoreliefsThe Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted from the Kelmscott Press; the Nuremberg Chronicle; and Areaorama: A View in the Regent’s Park. Selections from the Archives included two hand-written pages from Daniel Burnham’s draft of the Plan of Chicago, as well as the final product; Louis Sullivan’s “A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers”; photographs and souvenir books from the World’s Columbian Exposition; and a plan for the Garvey Residence by Bruce Goff.

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We also viewed the library exhibition “There is Hardly a Book That Has Not Seen Hard Use”: Books for Working Artists. This exhibition of materials from the Libraries’ collections presented manuals, treatises, and other publications that revealed the creative processes of artists over the last five centuries.IMG_0683

The trip to the Libraries gave us the opportunity to view some unique materials, discuss cataloging practices in art libraries and archives, and network with our new members. We felt so “at home” and our conversations were so animated that we even got shushed!

Author’s Note: The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:00pm-5:00pm and Thursday 10:30am-8:00pm. Please come visit us!

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