Newberry Library

Walter Loomis Newberry was the kind of man who prepared. Before moving to Chicago in 1833 he’d already invested in real estate. The town was barely a town, but Walter went ahead and plunked down some cash for a piece of swamp. As the town became a city, canal fever inspired speculation and quick riches, but Walter took the steady route, which protected him when the panic of 1837 destroyed less methodical men. Who would’ve thought he’d end up in a rum barrel?

It didn’t take long for the Newberry name to gain prominence. Oliver Newberry, Walter’s brother, owned a shipping company out of Detroit and he hired an agent named George Dole to handle his Chicago interests. George opened a slaughterhouse and made the first shipment of beef aboard one of Oliver’s ships. In 1839, Newberry and Dole loaded their brig Osceola with 1,678 bushels of wheat, beginning Chicago’s status as the biggest grain exporter in the country. Walter came at it from the other direction, serving as Galena and Chicago Union Railroad’s first president. He also kept buying and selling land and got into banking, too.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1893
Architect: Henry Ives Cobb
Address: 60 W. Walton St.

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Sources for Newberry Library

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • Annals of Oxford, New York: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Early Pioneers. United States, H.J. Galpin, 1906.
  • Building Broken Arches.” Newberry Library
  • Chicago’s First Half Century, 1833-1883: the City As it Was Fifty Years Ago, And As it Is Today : the Trade, Commerce, Manufactories, Railroads, Banks, Wholesale And Retail Houses, Theaters, Hotels, Churches, And School. Chicago: Inter Ocean Pub. co., 1883.
  • Kent, Allen. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Switzerland, Dekker, 1969.
  • Schroeter, Joan G. “Julia Butler Newberry and Mary Todd Lincoln: Two ‘Merry’ Widows.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1998-), vol. 95, no. 3, 2002, pp. 264–274. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40193436. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.
  • Sharp, Katharine Lucinda. Illinois Libraries. United States, University of Illinois, 1906.
  • Smith, Henry Justin, 1875-1936. Chicago’s Great Century, 1833-1933. Chicago: Consolidated Publishers, 1933.

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