Pritzker Military Museum & Library
|Type||non-profit special library|
|Location||104 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603|
|Size||45,000 volumes, plus other material|
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library (formerly Pritzker Military Library) is a museum and a research library for the study of military history in Chicago, Illinois, US. It was founded in 2003 by Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Ret.), then known as James Pritzker, to be a non-partisan institution for the study of "the citizen soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy". Originally located in the Streeterville neighborhood at 610 N. Fairbanks Court, the library later moved 104 S. Michigan Avenue in the Loop. The library is supported by donations and membership.
The collection of the Pritzker Military Library comprises over 70,000 items and includes more than 45,000 books, as well as periodicals, videos, artwork, posters, rare military ephemera, over 9000 photographs and glass negatives from the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War to the present, letters and journals from American soldiers, and a sizable collection related to Winston Churchill. The library also has on display "a Revolutionary War soldier’s pocket journal, a Medal of Honor, and classic WWI posters." Sam Gevirtz, who was a private first class gunner on board the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) during the Okinawa invasion, donated his two World War II diaries to the Library.
The collection is open to the public, but membership is required to borrow circulating materials. The Library participates in an interlibrary loan program with major public and university libraries in the continental United States. It is a member of several academic consortia, including the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and Libraries Very Interested in Sharing (LVIS).
The library has over 3,000 rare books and additional periodicals that do not circulate. These materials can be used in the Library's rare book reading room by appointment.
The Library has over ten named book collections, which include the Parrish Collection on Soviet History, the Dr. Charles E. Metz Collection (titles on World War II aviation), James Wengert Military Medical Collection, Lt. Col. Robert C. Peithman Collection (titles on the United States Marine Corps), Henry J. Reilly Memorial Library (volumes collected by Brig. Gen. Reilly), the Robert C. Baldridge Collection (volumes collected by Robert Connell Baldridge), Edward Jablonski Collection (books and working papers of historian Edward Jablonski), John V. Farwell Collection (books on the American and British navies), Robert G. Burkhardt Memorial Collection (books on submarines and leadership), and the WWI and WWII Sheet Music and Song Books Collection.
Holt Oral History Program
The library's Holt Oral History Program has collected stories from 71 veterans and posted a downloadable podcast. The full audio interviews and transcriptions are available on the library's website. Kenneth Clarke, president and CEO of the library said one of the Library’s goals is to provide a secure space for veterans to explore all about their experiences in war. The library allows for Veterans to check their chat transcripts and audio files to make changes before they are posted online.
Programs at the library are free with membership and open to the public for a small fee. They have included interviews with Medal of Honor recipients such as Paul William Bucha and Gary L. Littrell, retired military figures such as Gen. Anthony Zinni and NASA Capt. Jim Lovell, as well as military authors such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Rick Atkinson, and W.E.B. Griffin. Retired CIA agent Sandra Grimes also paid a visit to the library and introduced her book Circle of Treason. Programs are webcast live on the library's website and archived for later viewing or listening in streaming media or as podcasts. The programs are downloaded at a rate of 2,000 per month per program. They are also broadcast on Chicago PBS affiliates WYCC Channel 20 and WTTW Channel 11.
The Library also serves as a community resource, hosting commissioning and citizenship ceremonies.
The Library has also hosted exhibitions by artists such as Steve Mumford, James Dietz, Don Stivers, and members of the Midwest Air Force Association. Other exhibitions have included Don't Be a Dope!: Training Comics from World War II and Korea and She's a Wow!: Women's Service Organizations in World War II. In May 2014, the Pritzker exhibited a series of 80 professional photographs of the Navy SEALs in training in and during their service in Afghanistan in addition to loaned artifacts from the Navy SEAL Museum such as uniforms and equipment.
In 2007, the Library awarded its first annual Pritzker Military Library Literature Award to Civil War historian James M. McPherson. The award includes a $100,000 honorarium. It is one of the richest literary prize endowments in the world and is given in the Library's name by the Tawani Foundation.
|2007||James M. McPherson|
|2008||Allan R. Millett|
|2009||Gerhard L. Weinberg|
|2012||Sir Max Hastings|
The Pritzker Military Library was named one of 10 recipients of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries. The annual award, made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) since 1994, recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.
The Library's 2006 schedule was named an Official Honoree of the 2007 Webby Awards. It was also named an Official Honoree in two categories, Live & Broadcast Events and Podcasts, in the 2008 Webby Awards.
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- LVIS listing of members
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