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Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in Stuff We Like

Pritzker Military Library Celebrates 10th Anniversary

By Media Release

Armchair General received this media release from Pritzker Military Library. We salute them as their 10th anniversary approaches.

Pritzker Military Library Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Ten Years, Ten-Fold Increase in Volumes & Artifacts;
New Prize, New Book, New Oral History Room and Symposium among Plans

CHICAGO, Sept. 18, 2013—On Oct. 23, the Pritzker Military Library marks the end of its first historic decade as a fixture in Chicago and an international repository for works pertaining to the citizen soldier. In celebration, the Library has a fall schedule packed with festive events, including the announcement of a new prize; the publication of a new book; the dedication of a new Oral History Room; the unveiling of two new commissioned paintings; a military history symposium; and, in culmination, its 10th annual Liberty Gala on Nov. 16.


“The Library’s evolving mission is to be a place where citizens and citizen soldiers alike can come together to learn about what is happening in their military,” said Kenneth Clarke, president and CEO of the Pritzker Military Library. “As a non-profit, non-government institution, we are uniquely positioned to be a center of activities focused on the military-civilian connection.”

Since its inception in 2003, the Pritzker Military Library has outgrown its original location, and, in 2011, moved to a state-of-the-art facility on Michigan Ave., equipped with a lecture hall, TV studio, and both permanent and rotating exhibits. The Library’s collection has expanded from 7,500 to more than 75,000 volumes, artifacts and other items. Its oral history program now features more than 60 recordings of veterans’ experiences from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The popular speaker program at the Library has featured guests including Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Atkinson, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, historian and author Sir Max Hastings, and more than 30 Medal of Honor recipients.

“I started this library with a small collection of personal books,” said Library founder J.N. Pritzker, a retired colonel of the Illinois Army National Guard. “Its growth in such a short time speaks to the need for an organization of this kind – a place where scholars, soldiers, and the families of soldiers can make sure that their books, objects, and artifacts are preserved for future generations.”

On Sept. 12, the Pritzker Military Library celebrated the official opening and dedication of its Coleman T. Holt Oral History room, the new home of the “Stories of Service Oral History Project.” A centerpiece of the room, which is dedicated to the memory of World War II veteran and civil rights activist Coleman T. Holt, is a new watercolor painting by Illinois Artist Laureate Kay Smith. The painting, Red Tails Escorting the B17s, is based on her research and interviews with Tuskegee Airmen.

On Oct. 23, exactly ten years after first opening its doors, the Library will announce a new prize commemorating the anniversary.  This prize, to be called the “Pritzker Military Library Founder’s Literary Award,” will honor one of the most acclaimed writers of the last century. It will be presented on the evening of Nov. 16, at the Library’s Liberty Gala.

Also on Oct. 23, a new oil painting will be officially unveiled by renowned military artist James Dietz. The painting, The 132nd at Guadalcanal, was commissioned to document the role of the Illinois National Guard in the pivotal World War I Battle of Guadalcanal. Prints of this painting, along with Smith’s Red Tails, will be available for purchase at the Library.

On Nov. 15, the Library will host a military history symposium. “ON WAR: Exploring 20th Century Conflicts” will feature six of today’s most distinguished military and history writers: Tim O’Brien, the recipient of this year’s Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing; best-selling author Karl Marlantes; Allan Millett, professor of history at the University of New Orleans; and Gerhard Weinberg, Carlo D’Este, and Sir Max Hastings, all past recipients of the Library’s literature award.  These noted historians will engage in discussions about World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

On Nov. 16, the Library’s tenth annual Liberty Gala will be held at the Hilton Chicago at 720 S. Michigan Ave.  Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried and If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, will be awarded the 2013 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, the award includes a medallion, citation, and $100,000 honorarium.

Finally, the Library will publish an anthology of military writing to be released Nov. 23 at the National World War II Museum’s International Conference in New Orleans. ON WAR: The Best Military Histories will feature works by all seven of the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award-Winning Authors.

About the Pritzker Military Library
Part military history and information center, part museum, the Library is open to the public with an extensive collection of books, artifacts and rotating exhibits covering many eras and branches of the military. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Library is a center where citizens and Citizen Soldiers come together to learn from each other, about military history and the role of the Armed Forces in today’s society.