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As a collection of general Americana, the Newberry’s Edward E. Ayer Collection is one of the best in the country and one of the strongest collections on American Indians in the world.
In 1911, Edward E. Ayer (1841-1927) donated more than 17,000 pieces on the early contacts between American Indians and Europeans. Ayer, a member of the first Board of Trustees, was the first donor of a great collection to the Newberry. Since then, the Ayer endowment fund has enabled the library to collect in excess of 130,000 volumes, over 1 million manuscript pages, 2,000 maps, 500 atlases, 11,000 photographs, and 3,500 drawings and paintings on the subject.
Featured here is a selection of several thousand digitized images and texts from the Ayer materials. This digital collection will grow as we continue to make these primary source documents freely available online.
Read more about the Ayer Collection and American Indians and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry. If you have further questions, feel free to contact a Reference Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Library's Reference Desk at (312) 255-3506.