Online Events: Learning from Premodern Plagues

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library is pleased to announce the latest episode in our series "Learning from Premodern Plagues," a new series of videos exploring peoples' experiences of plagues from the sixth through the eighteenth century. Each short (3-5 minutes) video focuses on one object that tells the story of a particular moment in plague history, and are ideal for the classroom. Many of the books and manuscripts presented here form part of the Newberry Library’s collections. Each episode is hosted by a scholar affiliated with the Center who is passionate about researching the past to help to enlighten us about today.

The latest episode available, "Plague Broadsides: Or, How a Dog Saved 17th-c. Rome" (YouTube), reminds us that even in a pandemic, a dog is still man's best friend. Suzanne Karr Schmidt, George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Newberry Library, talks about a curious broadside poem from 1666 written in honor of the dog of Saint Roche. Recently acquired for the Newberry as part of an album of ephemeral Italian devotional printings, the sheet expresses civic gratitude that the dangerous outbreaks, which decimated Milan in 1629-33, Naples in 1656-57, and London in 1665-66, have not afflicted Rome.

Please stay tuned to this playlist for more videos. If you have any questions about the videos or how to use them in classes, please send an email to