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Pritzker Military Museum & Library

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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 to be a non-partisan institution for the study of "the citizen soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy" by Colonel Jennifer (at the time, James[3]) Pritzker, who had just retired from the Illinois Army National Guard. Originally located in the Streeterville neighborhood at 610 N. Fairbanks Court, the library later moved to 104 S. Michigan Avenue[4] in the Loop. The Museum & Library is supported by donations and membership.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library
Pritzker Military Museum and Library.svg
Pritzker Military Museum & Library 161116-A-HD608-038 (31512836172).jpg
CountryUnited States
Scopemilitary history, military science
Location104 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
Size63,000 volumes, plus other material
Other information
Budget$2.5 million (2010)
DirectorJohn Schwan[2]



The collection of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library comprises over 100,000 items and includes more than 62,000 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. 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 Museum & Library.[5]

Circulating materialsEdit

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).[6][7]

Rare materialsEdit

The library has a non-circulating collection of more than 3,000 rare books and periodicals, including the Famiano Strada's De Bello Belgico (London: 1650) and John Entick's The General History of the Late War: Containing It's Rise, Progress, and Event, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America (London: 1763). The collection also includes unit histories, such as Civil War regimentals, and cruise books, like those from the USS Chicago. These materials must be read in the Rare Book Reading Room.[8]

Named collectionsEdit

The Museum & Library has over ten named 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 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 World War I and World War II Sheet Music and Song Books Collection.

Holt Oral History ProgramEdit

The Museum & Library's Holt Oral History Program has collected stories from 71 US military veterans and posted a downloadable podcast. The full audio interviews and transcriptions are available on the Museum & 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 their experiences in war.[9]


Pritzker Military PresentsEdit

Programs at the Museum & 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,[10] retired military figures such as Gen. Anthony Zinni and NASA Capt. Jim Lovell,[11] as well as military authors such as Doris Kearns Goodwin,[12] Rick Atkinson,[13] and W.E.B. Griffin.[14] Retired CIA agent Sandra Grimes also paid a visit to the Museum & Library and introduced her book Circle of Treason.[15] Programs are webcast live on the library's website and archived for later viewing or listening in streaming media or as podcasts. This website has over 400 of these programs available as episodes of Pritzker Military Presents, or original programming produced by the Museum & Library.[16] 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.

Citizen SoldierEdit

The Museum & Library also produces a television show, entitled Citizen Soldier. Each episode is originally a panel, conversation or interview that takes place at Pritzker Military Museum & Library.[17] It is then edited into a 26-minute episode that is broadcast on Chicago Public TV station, WTTW Channel 11 and WTTW-Prime Channel 11-2.[18] Seasons one and two can be viewed on the Museum & Library's website. As of 2018 the show is in its third season.

The Museum & Library also serves as a community resource, hosting commissioning and citizenship ceremonies.[19]


Pritzker Military Museum & Library seal, commissioned from James Dietz

The Museum & Library has also hosted exhibitions by artists such as Steve Mumford, James Dietz, Don Stivers, and members of the Midwest Air Force Association.[20] Other exhibitions have included Don't Be a Dope!: Training Comics from World War II and Korea[21] and She's a Wow!: Women's Service Organizations in World War II.[22] In May 2014, the Pritzker exhibited photography from Stephanie Freid-Perenchio: her work depicted Navy SEALs in training and during their service in Afghanistan; the exhibit also included independently loaned artifacts from the Navy SEAL Museum such as uniforms and equipment.[23]

Awards programEdit

In 2007, the Museum & Library awarded its first annual Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing to Civil War historian James M. McPherson. The award includes a $100,000 honorarium.[24] It is given in the Museum & Library's name by the Tawani Foundation.[24]

Year Recipient
2007 James M. McPherson
2008 Allan R. Millett[25]
2009 Gerhard L. Weinberg[26]
2010 Rick Atkinson
2011 Carlo D'Este
2012 Sir Max Hastings
2013 Tim O'Brien
2014 Antony Beevor[27]
2015 David Hackett Fischer[28]
2016 Hew Strachan[29]

Critical receptionEdit

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library was named one of 10 recipients of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. 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.[19]

The Museum & Library's 2006 schedule was named an Official Honoree of the 2007 Webby Awards.[30] It was also named an Official Honoree in two categories, Live & Broadcast Events and Podcasts, in the 2008 Webby Awards.[31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Quickview data". GuideStar.
  2. ^ "TAWANI Enterprises, Inc. Names John Schwan Interim President and Chief Executive Officer at Pritzker Military Museum and Library". PRWeb.
  3. ^ Geidner, Chris (August 23, 2013). "Billionaire Backer Of Open Transgender Military Service Comes Out As Transgender". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "New on Michigan Avenue – The Pritzker Military Library". Hamburg Chicago News. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  5. ^ Trawinski, Cathy. "War diaries by Lake Barrington Shores vet make Pritzker Military Library". Barrington Courier Review. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Pritzker Military Museum & Library".
  7. ^ "LVIS listing of members" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Rare Book Room". Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  9. ^ Crowder, Courtney. "Holt Oral History Program helps preserve veterans' memories". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Medal of Honor commit to courage". Medal of Honor with Ed Tracy. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Captain James Lovell". Front & Center. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  12. ^ Johnson, Steve (November 15, 2005). "Hypertext". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Rick Atkinson: The Guns at Last Light". PRITZKER MILITARY PRESENTS. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  14. ^ Maxymuk, John (2007). "Online communities" (PDF). The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances. 20 (1): 54–57. doi:10.1108/08880450710747461. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Museum & Library to Host Author, Former CIA Agent Sandra Grimes" (PDF). Pritzker Military Museum and Library news. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Pritzker Military Presents".
  17. ^ "Veteran Stories, Military Speakers, Discussions, Authors – Pritzker Military Museum & Library – Chicago".
  18. ^ "TV Schedule". Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service" (PDF). Institute of Museum and Library Services. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  20. ^ "Air Force Art Turnover". Midwest Air Force Artists. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  21. ^ "Cartoon Command: The Animation of War". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  22. ^ Reid, Kerry (May 8, 2013). "Pritzker Military Library offers oral histories, speakers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  23. ^ Kogan, Nick (18 April 2014). "World of SEALs revealed in photo exhibit". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  24. ^ a b "James McPherson Wins Pritzker Military Writing Award". Washington Post. July 17, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  25. ^ "Historian Allan R. Millett to Receive 2008 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award". Reuters. June 23, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  26. ^ "Gerhard L. Weinberg wins award for military writing". CBC News. June 22, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  27. ^ "Antony Beevor: 2014 Pritzker Literature Award Winner". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  28. ^ "David Hackett Fischer". Pritzker Military Presents. Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Hew Strachan: 2016 Pritzker Literature Award Winner". Pritzker Military Presents. Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  30. ^ Guy, Sandra (August 1, 2007). "Webby salute for Pritzker library". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  31. ^ "Pritzker Military Library Receives 'Official Honoree' Distinction in Two Categories for the 12th Annual Webby Awards". PR Newswire. April 10, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2013.

External linksEdit