Pritzker Military Museum & Library

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library (formerly Pritzker Military Library) is a non-profit museum and a research library for the study of military history on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. The institution was founded in 2003, and its specialist collections include material relating to Winston Churchill and war-related sheet music.

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
Coordinates41°52′50″N 87°37′30″W / 41.88056°N 87.62500°W / 41.88056; -87.62500Coordinates: 41°52′50″N 87°37′30″W / 41.88056°N 87.62500°W / 41.88056; -87.62500
Size67,000 volumes, plus other material
Other information
BudgetUS$4,762,922 (2017)[1]
DirectorRob Havers
Staff22 Edit this at Wikidata


The institution was founded in 2003 as the Pritzker Military Library 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[2]) 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[3] in the Loop. The museum & library is a non-profit,[4] supported by donations and membership.

In early 2019, Rob Havers was appointed president and CEO of the museum.[5][6]


The collection of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library comprises over 115,000 items and includes more than 67,000 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 served on board USS Bunker Hill during the Okinawa invasion, donated his two World War II diaries to the Museum & Library.[7]

The collection is open to the public, but membership is required to borrow circulating materials.[8] 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).[9][10]

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 USS Chicago. These materials must be read in the Rare Book Reading Room.[11]

The institution maintains named collections, which include the Parrish Collection on Soviet History,[12] the Dr. Charles E. Metz Collection (titles on World War II aviation),[13] 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),[14] 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), Dr. Charles C. Moskos Collection (books on military sociology, LGBTQ and the military, women and the military),[15] Norman E. Harms Collection (books and papers on aviation, tanks, and ships),[16] Robin D. S. Higham Collection (books on aviation, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II unit histories),[17] and World War I and World War II Sheet Music and Song Books Collection.


The Museum & Library has produced and maintains multiple programs related to military history in the United States.

Pritzker Military PresentsEdit

Pritzker Military Presents is a televised series covering various topics in military history, and features film screenings, author presentations, and panel discussions with military officers and specialists in military history. They have included interviews with Medal of Honor recipients such as Paul William Bucha and Gary L. Littrell,[18] retired military figures such as Gen. Anthony Zinni and NASA Capt. Jim Lovell,[19] as well as military authors such as Doris Kearns Goodwin,[20] Rick Atkinson,[21] and W.E.B. Griffin.[22] Retired CIA agent Sandra Grimes also paid a visit to the Museum & Library and introduced her book Circle of Treason.[23] 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.[24] 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 Citizen Soldier. Each episode is originally a panel, conversation or interview that takes place at Pritzker Military Museum & Library.[25] 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.[26] Seasons one and two can be viewed on the Museum & Library's website. As of 2018 the show is in its third season.

Other programsEdit

The 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 at the time, said one of the Library's goals is to provide a secure space for veterans to explore their experiences in war.[27]

The Museum & Library also serves as a community resource, hosting commissioning and citizenship ceremonies.[28]


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.[29] Other exhibitions have included Don't Be a Dope!: Training Comics from World War II and Korea[30] and She's a Wow!: Women's Service Organizations in World War II.[31] 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.[32] In June 2019, the Museum & Library opened the D-Day+75 exhibition, to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The exhibit featured images, letters and maps from the invasion in Normandy in addition to video and audio recording from D-Day veterans.[33][34]

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.[35] It is given in the Museum & Library's name by the Tawani Foundation.[35]


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.[28]

The Museum & Library's 2006 schedule was named an Official Honoree of the 2007 Webby Awards.[58] It was also named an Official Honoree in two categories, Live & Broadcast Events and Podcasts, in the 2008 Webby Awards.[59]


The museum publishes books, including:

  • Lynch, Allen J. (2019). Zero to Hero: From Bullied Kid to Warrior. ISBN 978-0998968926.[60][61]
  • Robbins, Michael W. (2018). Lest We Forget: The Great War — World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. ISBN 978-0998968902.[62][63]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Colonel Il James N Pritzker Library For The Citizen Soldier - Nonprofit Explorer". ProPublica. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  2. ^ Geidner, Chris (August 23, 2013). "Billionaire Backer Of Open Transgender Military Service Comes Out As Transgender". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  3. ^ "New on Michigan Avenue – The Pritzker Military Library". Hamburg Chicago News. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  4. ^ "Quickview data". GuideStar.
  5. ^ "Meet the new head of the Pritzker Military Museum". Crain's Chicago Business. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Pritzker Military Museum & Library Brings Internationally Recognized Scholar to Chicago". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  7. ^ Trawinski, Cathy. "War diaries by Lake Barrington Shores vet make Pritzker Military Library". Barrington Courier Review. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Library Overview". Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Pritzker Military Museum & Library".
  10. ^ "LVIS listing of members" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Rare Book Room". Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Parrish Collection on Soviet History | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  13. ^ "Dr. Charles E. Metz Collection on World War II Aircraft | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  14. ^ "Brig. Gen. Henry J. Reilly Collection | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  15. ^ "Dr. Charles C. Moskos Collection | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  16. ^ "Norman E. Harms Collection | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  17. ^ "Robin D. S. Higham Collection | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago".
  18. ^ "Medal of Honor commit to courage". Medal of Honor with Ed Tracy. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  19. ^ "Captain James Lovell". Front & Center. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  20. ^ Johnson, Steve (November 15, 2005). "Hypertext". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  21. ^ "Rick Atkinson: The Guns at Last Light". PRITZKER MILITARY PRESENTS. Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  22. ^ Maxymuk, John (2007). "Online communities" (PDF). The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances. 20 (1): 54–57. doi:10.1108/08880450710747461. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Museum & Library to Host Author, Former CIA Agent Sandra Grimes" (PDF). Pritzker Military Museum and Library news. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  24. ^ "Pritzker Military Presents".
  25. ^ "Veteran Stories, Military Speakers, Discussions, Authors – Pritzker Military Museum & Library – Chicago".
  26. ^ "TV Schedule". Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  27. ^ Crowder, Courtney. "Holt Oral History Program helps preserve veterans' memories". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  28. ^ a b "2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service" (PDF). Institute of Museum and Library Services. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  29. ^ "Air Force Art Turnover". Midwest Air Force Artists. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  30. ^ "Cartoon Command: The Animation of War". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  31. ^ Reid, Kerry (May 8, 2013). "Pritzker Military Library offers oral histories, speakers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  32. ^ Kogan, Nick (18 April 2014). "World of SEALs revealed in photo exhibit". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  33. ^ Ackerman, Tom (4 June 2019). "Pritzker Military Museum opens D-Day exhibit on 75th anniversary of invasion". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  34. ^ Odigwe, Mugo (6 June 2019). "D-Day Veterans Help Celebrate Opening Of Pritzker Military Museum's New Exhibit On Normandy Invasion". CBS 2 Chicago. CBS Broadcasting Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  35. ^ a b "James McPherson Wins Pritzker Military Writing Award". Washington Post. July 17, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  36. ^ "Award to be Presented at October 6, 2007 Gala in Chicago". Pritzker Military Library. July 16, 2007. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  37. ^ a b c d Candace Jordan (November 29, 2013). "Military Museum salutes Pritzker winner". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  38. ^ "$100,000 Award to be Presented at October 4, 2008 Gala in Chicago". Pritzker Military Library. June 23, 2008. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  39. ^ 2009 award Archived 2013-07-02 at the Wayback Machine, official website.
  40. ^ 2010 award Archived 2011-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, official website.
  41. ^ Aaron Leitko (June 22, 2010). "Rick Atkinson has won the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award". Washington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  42. ^ Elizabeth Taylor (November 23, 2010). "Atkinson wins Pritzker Military Library Award". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  43. ^ "Award to be Presented at October 22, 2011 Gala in Chicago". Pritzker Military Library. June 21, 2011. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  44. ^ Courtney Crowder (June 21, 2011). "Historian wins $100,000 Pritzker literary prize". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  45. ^ "Britain's Max Hastings wins $100K military writing prize". CBC News. June 19, 2012.
  46. ^ "Max Hastings Receives 2012 Pritzker Military Award". Publishers Weekly. Jun 19, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  47. ^ "Award announcement 2013". Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. 25 June 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  48. ^ "Award announcement 2014". Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. November 8, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  49. ^ "Antony Beevor wins 2014 Pritzker Military Museum Library Literary Award". Penguin Books. June 26, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  50. ^ "David Hackett Fischer".
  51. ^ "Hew Strachan". Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  52. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi (June 21, 2016). "Strachan wins $100k Pritzker Award". The Bookseller. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  53. ^ "Peter Paret". Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  54. ^ "93-year-old author wins $100,000 Pritzker military writing award". Chicago Tribune. June 21, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  55. ^ "Dennis Showalter". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  56. ^ Debbie Kelley (June 26, 2018). "Longtime Colorado Springs professor and military historian wins prestigious lifetime achievement award". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  57. ^ "Pritzker Literature Award - Dr. John Morrow, Jr". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ "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.
  60. ^ "[Zero to Hero]". C-span. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  61. ^ Vickroy, Donna. "'Zero to Hero' author, Medal of Honor recipient, takes his story on the road". Daily Southtown. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  62. ^ Robbins, Michael. "World War I unleashed total war, and the power of mass communication". LA Times. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  63. ^ Huffman, J. Ford (19 March 2018). "Military Times Spring Reading Guide: Grunts, generals, Russians and keyboard warriors top our nonfiction list". Military Times. Retrieved 4 June 2019.

External linksEdit