With this exhibition, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries celebrate the Caxton Club’s recent publication, Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications That Shaped the City and Its Image (University of Chicago, 2018). Founded in Chicago in 1895, the Caxton Club is a society of booklovers committed to promoting and supporting the art of the book. Chicago by the Book profiles 101 landmark publications about Chicago that have helped define the city and its image. While these books mainly document the history of the city, several also served as agents of change.
Many of the works featured in Chicago by the Book are held in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries’ extensive 130-year-old collection. From the construction of the museum’s Michigan Avenue building during the 1893 Columbian Exposition to the present day, the Art Institute is both a product of the city’s evolution and a contributor to its history. The selections from the library and archival collections on display in this exhibition highlight defining moments in the city’s growth and illustrate how the museum is deeply entwined in Chicago’s past.