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On the cover:

Trans World Airlines Menu, 1978, from the Robert M. Behr Collection, Transportation Library.

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In This Issue

Funny alumni, ChatGPT, and new services.

From the dean

Read a message from Dean of Libraries Xuemao Wang to Libraries supporters.

A human wrote this story

Experts at Northwestern Libraries aren’t panicking yet about ChatGPT and other AI tools. Instead, they are focusing on opportunities.

Donor spotlight: John and Megan Anderson

University archivist Kevin Leonard swears that the most loyal, enthusiastic, and engaged alumni in his constituency are former members of the Northwestern University Marching Band.

Megan and John Anderson
Megan and John Anderson

So it was only a matter of time before a NUMBALUM— in this case, a pair of them—received the Libraries’ highest honor, the Deering Family Award.

John ’76, ’77 MBA and Megan ’76 Anderson played in NUMB while Megan’s father, the legendary John P. Paynter, was director of bands. Megan played alto horn, and John, a pianist, carried a flag in the band’s color guard. In 2017 she joined the Libraries’ board, and more recently the couple made a gift to digitize a trove of marching band films and videotapes from the John P. Paynter Collection.

“After I joined the Libraries Board of Governors, I saw more clearly how the library serves every walk of life at Northwestern,” Megan said. “It’s an incredible resource that brings so many things together in one place. Too often, the library is taken for granted, yet it is so critical to the strength and success of our institution.”

The Libraries hold a special place in the Andersons’ giving plans because of the potential to reach a wide swath of the Northwestern community. “We get excited about donating to places where our gift can have a broader reach and impact,” said John, who was a Libraries student employee as an undergraduate. “We’re very pleased and so proud to be loyal to the library’s work.”

Now that Megan’s board service has given them a deeper look at how modern librarianship affects an academic community, the Andersons are excited to serve as ambassadors for Northwestern Libraries, spreading their excitement about all the good work going on. As John said, “We’ve gotten the bug.”

How Crate & Barrel made it big

A paper by Dana Lamparello, head of access services for the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections and University Archives, resulted in two presentations and a poster display about retail housewares giant Crate & Barrel.

“Stack It High, Pile It Up, Sell It Low: The Founding Years of Crate & Barrel” drew on University Archives’ collection of the company’s business records, donated by founders Gordon and Carole Browe Segal (both ’60). Lamparello pursued her research as the 2022–23 recipient of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities library fellowship, which affords scholars time to pursue an independent research project.

The paper and a related Homecoming weekend lecture explored how Crate & Barrel strategically shifted the retail model in postwar America with design decisions—densely stocked shelves and a distinctive warehouse aesthetic—and a self-service philosophy. Lamparello presented her paper at the 2023 Design History Society conference in Portugal and curated a poster display on Deering Library’s third floor that will remain on view through spring quarter.

Interior of the first Crate & Barrel store
Interior of the first Crate & Barrel store in Chicago’s OId Town, circa 1962.