Designed for lifelong learners with busy schedules and inquiring minds, the Newberry’s Adult Education Classes dive into the humanities from fresh perspectives. Explore your creative or intellectual pursuits in literature, music, history, philosophy, religion, language, genealogy, or creative writing. Taught by experts in their fields, each class fosters conversation, creativity, and an open exchange of knowledge.

We offer nearly 150 classes annually, ranging in size, duration, cost, and format and held over three terms (Fall, Winter/Spring, and Summer).

 

Adult Education

Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London

Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London

$21.99
More Info

The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented change, and nowhere was this more apparent than London, which, in only a few decades, grew from a compact Regency town into the largest city the world had ever seen. Technology-railways, street-lighting, and sewers-transformed both the city and the experience of city-living.

From the moment Charles Dickens, the century's best-loved novelist and London's greatest observer, arrived in the city in 1822, he obsessively walked its streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities and cruelties. Now, with him, Judith Flanders leads us through the markets, transport systems, rivers, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London, to reveal the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor. From the colorful cries of street-sellers to the uncomfortable reality of travel by omnibus, to the many uses for the body parts of dead horses and the unimaginably grueling working days of hawker children, no detail is too small, or too strange. No one who reads Judith Flanders's meticulously researched, captivatingly written The Victorian City will ever view London in the same light again.

Whose Names Are Unknown

Whose Names Are Unknown

$21.95
More Info
Sanora Babb's long-hidden novel Whose Names Are Unknown tells an intimate story of the High Plains farmers who fled drought dust storms during the Great Depression. Written with empathy for the farmers' plight, this powerful narrative is based upon the author's firsthand experience.

This clear-eyed and unsentimental story centers on the fictional Dunne family as they struggle to survive and endure while never losing faith in themselves. In the Oklahoma Panhandle, Milt, Julia, their two little girls, and Milt's father, Konkie, share a life of cramped circumstances in a one-room dugout with never enough to eat. Yet buried in the drudgery of their everyday life are aspirations, failed dreams, and fleeting moments of hope. The land is their dream.

The Dunne family and the farmers around them fight desperately for the land they love, but the droughts of the thirties force them to abandon their fields. When they join the exodus to the irrigated valleys of California, they discover not the promised land, but an abusive labor system arrayed against destitute immigrants. The system labels all farmers like them as worthless "Okies" and earmarks them for beatings and worse when hardworking men and women, such as Milt and Julia, object to wages so low they can't possibly feed their children. The informal communal relations these dryland farmers knew on the High Plains gradually coalesce into a shared determination to resist. Realizing that a unified community is their best hope for survival, the Dunnes join with their fellow workers and begin the struggle to improve migrant working conditions through democratic organization and collective protest.

Babb wrote Whose Names are Unknown in the 1930s while working with refugee farmers in the Farm Security Administration (FSA) camps of California. Originally from the Oklahoma Panhandle are herself, Babb, who had first come to Los Angeles in 1929 as a journalist, joined FSA camp administrator Tom Collins in 1938 to help the uprooted farmers. As Lawrence R. Rodgers notes in his foreword, Babb submitted the manuscript for this book to Random House for consideration in 1939. Editor Bennett Cerf planned to publish this "exceptionally fine" novel but when John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath swept the nation, Cerf explained that the market could not support two books on the subject.

Babb has since shared her manuscript with interested scholars who have deemed it a classic in its own right. In an era when the country was deeply divided on social legislation issues and millions drifted unemployed and homeless, Babb recorded the stories of the people she greatly respected, those "whose names are unknown." In doing so, she returned to them their identities and dignity, and put a human face on economic disaster and social distress.

Woman Killed with Kindness

Woman Killed with Kindness

$13.95
More Info

A main theme in early modern domestic tragedy was not marital discord
as such but violent - usually unreasonably violent - behaviour on the
husband's part. At a time when husbands were not only allowed but
obliged to rule their families, including their wives, the definition
of 'lawful and reasonable' measures of punishment were opened to
debate. The marriage of John Frankford, a middling country gentleman,
and his wife Anne is comfortable if uneventful, until Wendoll, an
acquaintance of her husband's, confesses his passionate love to her.
Anne yields to him; they are discovered. Instead of killing the two
adulterers on the spot - a vengeance that society would condone -
Frankford banishes his wife from the house and their two children.
Racked by guilt and remorse, Anne starves herself to death; but Heywood
allows a scene of deathbed reconciliation to wife and husband.