The Old University of Chicago was incorporated in 1856. The first classes were held on September 9, 1858. In their annual catalogue for 1859-60, the University reports their Library has 2,000 volumes. (1) Over the next twenty-seven years, the University grew its collection to approximately 7,000 volumes. When the original University closed in 1886, trustee John A. Reichelt purchased the entire collection with the intention of gifting it back to the University once reincorporated. In the interim, the books were held by the Baptist Union Theological Seminary. These 7,000 volumes formed the basis of the library of the University when it was reestablished in Hyde Park in 1890. They represent a physical connection between the Old University of Chicago in Bronzeville and the “New” University of Chicago that exists today.




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