An Exhibit Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Deering Library

June 19, 2008-September 22, 2008

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of our beautiful Deering Library, we have selected a diverse cross-sectional representation of materials from some of the discrete collections held within the McCormick Library of Special Collections, all of which are united by a common thread: they were published or otherwise created in 1933, the year the Deering Library opened.

Century of Progress

Exhibited items range from material from Chicago’s Century of Progress exposition, which opened in 1933, to books, prints and ephemera from our outstanding collection of 20th century European art movements including French and Czech Surrealist and Italian Futurist pieces.

From our Dublin Gate Theatre Archive we show photographs, production books, a scrapbook, and an original costume sketch by Gate co-founder Micheál Mac Liammóir relating to their 1933 production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Our Graphic Arts and Private Press collections are represented with artists such as Rockwell Kent, and include original layout designs by Bruce Rogers for the title page of a 1933 edition of Aesop’s Fables.

In 1933 the global economic Depression was at its nadir – in the United States 1 in 4 workers was unemployed. This disastrous economic situation paved the way for certain radical political changes, and in January of that year - the same month Deering Library first opened its doors - both Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler assumed command of their respective nations. Materials from our Roosevelt and Political Pamphlet collections, among others, illustrate the political scene.

It was in these troubled times that our purposely anachronistic Collegiate Gothic-style building was created. Indeed it was in part because of the dire economic climate that the skilled craftsmen necessary to carve the oak and stone that grace both the interior and exterior of James Gamble Rogers’s building were available and affordable. The generous gift of the descendents and relations of Charles Deering, after whom the library is named, could not have been better timed. As it was when it opened in 1933, the Deering Library remains a space of serene and inspiring solace, a space which now serves as a frame for items which, sometimes surprisingly, were born in its same year.