Marie Louise Rosenthal Library

Marie Louise Rosenthal Library

Library Reading Room

The Library and Archives will be closed for the holidays beginning Monday, December 23, and will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

The Marie Louise Rosenthal Library serves Museum staff, visiting scholars and the public. The Main Library is located in a non-public area on the Field Museum's third floor. Researchers with confirmed appointments may visit the Library Reading Room between 1 pm and 4 pm Tuesday through Friday. Appointments are required at least 48 hours in advance. To make an appointment to use the Library's collections, please send an email to:

As the Library's collections do circulate in the museum among staff, it is essential that you check our online catalog and submit a list of titles you wish to view before visiting the Library. Please check our online catalog to begin your research and view the Library's particular holdings. All collections are located in closed stacks. Visitors must submit a request for material to the staff member on duty for retrieval and use in the Reading Room.

For more detailed travel and parking information, see plan your visit. Visitors with appointments must register with Protection Services at the East Entrance and receive a Visitor Pass to visit the Library. Protection Services will notify the Reference Desk (x7887) and a library staff member will escort visitors to the Library. If you are only visiting the library, you do not have to pay admission to the museum.

Contact the Library

The Field Museum Library
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago IL 60605-2496

General Information:
Reference Requests:

Marie Louise Rosenthal Library Collections

Plate showing a Roseate Spoonbill, from John James Audubon's Birds of America.

John James Audubon Collection

John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) is probably the most famous of all bird books. Our copy was the gift of Mary W. Runnells in 1969. This set is consistently rich and brilliant in its coloring. The four volumes are bound in a systematic arrangement -- rather than in the usual plate number order -- that closely follows Audubon's ordering of birds in his Synopsis of the Birds of America (1839). The original owner of our copy was Dr. Benjamin Phillips, a close friend of Audubon and the Audubon's family physician in London.

Archival photo from 1918, showing construction of north facade of the Field Museum building.

Museum Archives Moving Image Collection

The Moving Image Collection documents the Museum’s involvement in scientific explorations, experiences with other cultures, and public education. The Moving Image Collection was generated by the institution's collecting, exhibiting and teaching activities. A significant portion of the Moving Image Collection was created during the 1920's and 30's when the Museum sponsored many expeditions around the world.

A composite of three photographs related to taxidermist Carl Akeley: Akeley standing near a leopard he killed, one scene from the "Four Seasons of the Deer" diorama, and a view of African elephants.

Photo Archives - Carl Akeley Collection

Carl Akeley worked at The Field Museum from 1896 to 1909, collecting and mounting animals for the Museum's exhibitions.  While working at The Field Museum he pioneered a number of advancements in the field of taxidermy.  Among them was a method of sculpting the underlying mannequin that gives all of his work its perfectly lifelike appearance.  Akeley was also ground breaking in posing animals in accurate recreations of their natural habitats.  Akeley's brilliant work can still be seen today in a number of The Field Museum's exhibitions.

In a now de-installed diorama, two cavemen standing on rocks point spears at a wild boar. One man holds three dogs on leashes. A fourth dog stands near the other man.

What happened to the Caveman dioramas?

Many generations of adults remember coming to the Museum and being transported back to a time when people were living in caves.  The first of two Neanderthal family dioramas was installed in 1929, in the Hall of Historical Geology which was located on the Museum's 2nd floor. In 1933, the Hall of Prehistoric Man (located on the Museum's Ground Floor) opened with a series of 8 prehistoric scenes.