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Series 04: William B. Greenlee papers, 1872-1953, bulk: 1890-1953

Identifier: NL Archives 02/15/04

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, documents, diaries, scrapbooks, research matter, and photographs. The papers include correspondence, financial, and legal documents of William B. Greenlee and focus on Greenlee's Portuguese collecting activities and scholarly work.


  • Creation: 1872-1953
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1890-1953


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.

Biography of William Brooks Greenlee

Chicago manufacturer, collector of early Portuguese books, Luzo Brazilian scholar, and Newberry Library Trustee. Greenlee developed his interest in Portuguese history while studying under Professor Henry M. Stephen at Cornell University in the mid-1890's. Before returning to Chicago to join the family manufacturing firm, Greenlee Brothers & Co., Greenlee travelled extensively around the world and began his Portuguese collection and in 1937 Greenlee presented the collection to the Newberry Library. Besides continuing to build the collection in the 1930's and 1940's, Greenlee studied the history of the 16th century discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese which culminated in the 1938 Hakluyt Society publication of his The Voyage of Pedro Alvares Cabral to Brazil and India.


12.5 Linear Feet (26 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Organized in five subseries: Early Years (02/15/04/01), Personal Affairs (02/15/04/02), Newberry Library Trustee Papers (02/15/04/03), William B. Greenlee Collection and Related Materials (02/15/04/04), and Greenlee Family Papers (02/15/04/05).


Notebooks, photograph album, account book, and journals willed to the Newberry upon the death of Mrs. William Brooks Greenlee. Scrapbooks purchased from Vivian Peters, 1979. Diaries, maps, and translations donated by Mary O'Leary, 1986.

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States