The Eloise G. ReQua Papers, 1887-1989
Eloise Gallup ReQua was born on December 1, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the only child of Susan Eloise Gallup and William Bruyn ReQua. William ReQua and his brother Charles founded ReQua Brothers in 1886, and were grain merchants and members of the Chicago Board of Trade. Susan Eloise Gallup was the daughter of Delia Susanna Hulburd and Benjamin Ela Gallup, a Chicago lawyer.
Eloise attended the Chicago Latin School for Girls, the Mary C. Wheeler School, a boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island, and later Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She led an active social life, and was a debutante in 1924. Particularly uninterested in the life of a debutante, Eloise continued to seek out learning opportunities, returning to Bryn Mawr for graduate work in 1935 and attending the University of Geneva. She was active in many Chicago social clubs and associations, and surrounded herself with a variety of interesting people, from Chicago socialites to foreign consuls and heads of state, to film producers and writers, performers, and politicians.
Eloise and her family traveled extensively, spending time both in the United States and abroad. During a tour of Europe and Asia from 1927-1929, Eloise became interested in foreign service, which her parents discouraged. She continued to seek ways to be involved in foreign affairs from home, and found her calling when she was first asked to catalogue pamphlets for a League of Nations Association meeting, and then asked to start a small library for the group. She did so in a room at the Crerar Library in 1932. The Library of International Relations was the only library of its kind in the United States, free and open to the public to answer reference questions about the rest of the world, with a collection of foreign materials that were not readily available anywhere else. After four years, the library disavowed itself from the League of Nations Association in order to present a view free of any possible bias. During its most active years, the library was the site of speeches, debates, and presentations on foreign topics and issues of the day. In 1933 and 1934, the library hosted a reading room for children, The Story Cove, on the Enchanted Island at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. The library collection moved several times, before finally settling at Chicago-Kent College of Law Library as a permanent part of the collection in 1983.
Eloise remained involved in the Library of International Relations for the rest of her life, and died in Chicago on September 26, 1989.
Related collection(s): Records of the Library of International Relations
Whipple, Jona, "Guide to MC002 - The Eloise G. ReQua Papers" (2016). Finding Aids. 29.