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Round Table sketchbooks

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Wyers

Scope and Content of the Collection

Two sketchbook volumes, 1931-1933, created by Round Table members and kept by Renier Otto Wyers. Both sketchbooks contain cartoons, clippings, collages, poems, puns, and other material relating to local and national affairs during the early 1930's. Many of the entries are comic drawings of the club's individual members. There is also a great deal of anti-Hoover material, particularly relating to the 1932 Presidential campaign, several sketches regarding the Chicago World's Fair controversy in 1932, Samuel Insull, and the negative treatment of Native Americans.


  • Creation: 1931-1933



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Round Table sketchbooks are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Round Table sketchbooks are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of the Round Table and Biography of Renier Otto Wyers

Small informal club of Chicago poets, writers, and businessmen who met weekly to discuss social and political issues affecting Chicago and the nation.

According to a note in the beginning of the first volume, the Round Table was "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created unequal, and what the Hell can you do about it? And furthermore - that this nation, under Hoover, and under cover, shall perish from the earth, unless us Democrats do something damn quick!" Throughout its existence the Round Table lunched at the Press Club of Chicago and Café de Alex. Members of the Round Table included: James A. Barnes, Finney Briggs, William L. Griffin, Henry Hammer, Edmond Hayes, Eugene Murdock, Edwin Prehm, Kurt Stein, Lowell H. Truettner, and E. C. Woodward.

Little biographical information is available concerning the life of Renier Otto Wyers, who kept the volumes. In 1930 Wyers lived with his family in a modest home on Siegel Street in Chicago, Illinois. He worked as an advertising manager and gained recognition as a short-story writer. Several Wyers stories were published in Weird Tales, an American science fiction and horror pulp magazine that featured works by such authors as Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith. Between the years of 1931 and 1936 Wyers published "The Finishing Touches", "This Side of the Curtain", "Attorney for the Damned", and "Kharu Knows All".


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Two manuscript sketchbooks created by artists, commentators, poets, newspapermen, and other writers who were members of a small and informal Chicago club, the Round Table, documenting the social and political climates in Chicago and the United States during the Great Depression. In addition to Renier Wyers, club members included James A. Barnes, Finney Briggs, William L. Griffin, Henry Hammer, Edmond Hayes, Eugene Murdock, Edwin Prehm, Kurt Stein, Lowell H. Truettner, and E. C. Woodward.


The sketchbooks are arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 37 7


Gift of Alice W. von Neumann and Frances Wyers, 2004.

Processed by

Leigh Ann Ripley, 2005.

Inventory of the Round Table sketchbooks, 1931-1933
Leigh Ann Ripley
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States