Skip to main content

Record Group 02: Board of Trustees, 1836-1988, bulk: 1868-1988

 Record Group
Identifier: NL Archives 02

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

In 1887, the Newberry Library was started by Newberry estate trustees E. W. Blatchford and W. H. Bradley. On April 13, 1892, the Library was organized under Illinois law with a governing board of thirteen trustees, who met April 25, 1892, and formally accepted the Charter of Incorporation. The new Board took seriously its role as delineated in the Bylaws to administer the Library and oversee book selection. Originally elected for life, the self perpetuating Board met monthly. As Trustee involvement in daily library administration decreased, the Board met less frequently (quarterly by 1936). During the 1960s and 1970s Bylaws revisions codified the transfer of administrative responsibility from the Board of Trustees to the President and Librarian, increased the number of trustees to twenty five, limited terms to five years (renewable), set retirement ages, and changed the title of the President of the Board of Trustees to Chairman. Presidents and Chairmen of the Board include E. W. Blatchford (1892-1914), E. L. Ryerson (1914-1928), Horace S. Oakley (1928-1929), Alfred E. Hamill, (1929-1953), Everett D. Graff (1953-1964), Hermon Dunlap Smith (1964-1975), Edward F. Blettner (1975-1979), Chalkey J. Hambleton (1979-1982), Harold Byron Smith (1982-1988), Charles C. Haffner, (1988-2012).


  • Creation: 1836-1988
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1868-1988


Conditions Governing Access

The Newberry Library Archives are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Unprocessed records are available by appointment only. Advance notice is necessary, particularly for administrative files, so that files may be screened for personnel records that are removed when records are processed.

Files containing personal or confidential information about individuals (including individual files on members of the Board of Trustees, individual donor files and records reporting the donations of an individual, personnel records, payroll records, and individual accepted fellows files) are closed for 30 years.


112.3 Linear Feet


Organized in four subgroups: Office of the Board of Trustees (02/01), Committees of the Board of Trustees (02/02), Walter L. Newberry Estate (02/09), and Personal Papers (02/15).

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States