The Newberry’s imposingly Victorian building seems as eternal as the lake; it’s easy to forget just what a weird institution it is. An independent research library founded in 1887 by a $2.1 million bequest from developer Walter Loomis Newberry, it graduates no loyal alumni, yet it’s free to all comers. Along with the Chicago Historical Society, it’s parent to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, but the collection also encompasses Native American history, 600-year-old sermons, the Industrial Workers of the World, map puzzles, Renaissance bookmakers, and the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. It does early music and the Beatles. It welcomes thumb-fingered genealogists, independent scholars, and distinguished historians alike. It’s quiet (except during the air show). And while it may be refined, it’s not above throwing a used book sale every year. 60 W. Walton, 312–943–9090, newberry.org. —Harold Henderson
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