The Newberry Library


The Newberry Library   Scene on a branch of the sacramento

The Newberry Library is an independent research library concentrating in the humanities with an active educational and cultural presence in Chicago. Free and open to the public, it houses an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed material. The Newberry offers exhibits based on its outstanding collections, musical and theatrical performances, lectures and discussions with today's leading humanists, seminars, and teacher programs.

The Newberry acquires and preserves a broad array of special collections research materials relating to the civilizations of Europe and the Americas. It promotes and provides for their effective use, fostering research, teaching, publication, and life-long learning, as well as civic engagement. In service to its diverse community, the Newberry encourages intellectual pursuit in an atmosphere of free inquiry and sustains the highest standards of collection preservation, bibliographic access, and reader services.


The Graff collection

“Newberry Trustee Everett D. Graff (1885-1964), attracted by the Ayer Collection, donated his library of Western Americana to the Newberry Library in 1964. The collection originally comprised some 10,000 books and manuscripts, many of them extremely rare, most dealing with the exploration and settlement of the trans-Mississippi West in the 19th century” –

Major strengths of the Graff Collection:

• Lewis and Clark expedition
• Fur trade
• Mormon treks of 1846 and 1849
• California gold rush
• Narratives of overland travel throughout the 19th century
• Surveys for transcontinental railroads in the 1850s
• Cattle industry
• Early town, county and state history
• Law enforcement, including the various vigilante organizations

For more information about the Graff Collection, see the essays by Ray Allen Billington and Colton Storm.



American West is fully cross-searchable with the American Indian Histories and Cultures resource sourced from the Newberry Library’s prestigious Edward E. Ayer Collection. These collections complement each other brilliantly through related documents, valuable secondary resources and similar thematic content.

American Indian Histories and Cultures

You will find links to expand your search across both collections in the main side bar  and on the main documents list refined by Native American theme.

Please note: If your institution does not have access to the American Indian Histories and Cultures collection content will be restricted. For more information please contact