April 16, 2016
BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
For those of us who remember library dining as a smuggled doughnut while studying in the stacks, the elegant meal at the Awards Dinner at the Newberry this week would seem like a feast pulled out of the pages of one of the library’s many tomes. Many of Chicago’s most admired civic leaders agreed that this year’s dinner – which ended on a sweet note, with a white chocolate medallion bearing the crest of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a nod to the evening’s honoree – managed to exceed the splendor of years past with its cuisine. But it was not only the meal itself that wowed attendees, it was the glamor created among the rare books. A sea of apricot tulips in silver cachepots awaited guests in the grand room of the research library, built in 1887, housing one of the world’s rarest collection of books, maps, music texts and genealogical materials.
David Spadafora, Newberry President and Librarian, and their beautiful Chair of the Board of Trustees, Victoria Herget, presented this year’s Newberry Library Award to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Earl Lewis, President of The Mellon Foundation, and Danielle Allen, Chair of Trustees (and Harvard professor), were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the foundation. Former colleagues of Danielle’s from the University of Chicago, including faculty members Christine Mehring and Aden Kumler, as well as the evening’s co-chair, Karla Scherer (also head of the Visiting Committee of the Humanities Division), were there to congratulate her. Meg and Mark Hausberg and Harve Ferrill served as the other co-chairs for the evening.Attendees of this magical night included: Janine and Sandy McNally, Jan and John Notz, Celia and David Hilliard, Jack McCord, Liz and Bill Adams, Laura and Steve Rugo, Joyce White and Lester Fisher, Jennifer and Bart Tretheway, Judith and Jim Pierpont, Mary and Richard Gray, and Karen and Tom Howell. Guests hovered around the Art Institute’s Martha Tedeschi, recently named head of the Harvard University Museums. The cocktail reception was a grand sight to see, with so many friends of the Newberry gathered by the grand staircase under the building’s soaring Renaissance ceiling.
Photo credits: Jaclyn Simpson