Monday, October 5, 2015

From the Stacks: Preserving a Dried Strawberry

We recently received a Twitter query related to the strangest items in archival collections. Meg Hixon, who did extraordinary work at the Clements Library as a Project Archivist, recalled that we have a dried strawberry in our James Caswell Knox Papers. This small berry was enclosed in a letter written by Catharine Knox on June 18, 1865, to her husband who was serving in Virginia with the 147th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. While carefully wrapped in a scrap of newspaper, she made no direct mention of the fruit in her letter, so her intentions remain obscure.

The strawberry appears here in its original newspaper wrapper.

Its enclosure in the letter and its careful preservation over the centuries signal its importance. Did it represent the comfort of familiar summer-time fruits growing at home to a soldier experiencing the horrors of war?

We preserve all materials enclosed in our manuscripts, whether they be newspaper clippings, hair, dried flowers and plant life, teeth, dirt, pounce, or any other item. These objects can provide any number of insights about the writer, their environment, or the processes they used in the creation of the manuscript. Researchers who make use of our collections can help parse out their meanings, and in the meantime we are charged with the task of preserving these special items. We handle these conservation challenges on a case-by-case basis, trying to determine what provides the best care for these fragile enclosures. For this particular strawberry, our conservator created a custom housing made from cotton, acid-free paper, with a special pocket to prevent the brittle berry from becoming damaged by movement, which was then placed in a separate envelope. The strawberry's newspaper wrapper received a similar treatment. Using cotton paper, rather than Mylar, lets this fibrous berry to breathe and helps prevent the appearance of mold.

The strawberry's new housing protects the fragile fruit and helps prevent mold issues.

The collections at the William L. Clements Library contain rich information about the past, and these enclosures, sometimes whimsical but often revealing, add unique details to that body of evidence. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Recent Acquisition: Rare Early Work by Native American Author

Post by Emiko Hastings, Curator of Books

The Book Division is pleased to announce a significant new acquisition, Diego de Valadés' Rhetorica Christiana (1579).  This purchase, courtesy of Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts, fills an important gap in our holdings of early printed Americana. It is "almost certainly the first book written by a native of Mexico to be printed in Europe." The book itself is in excellent condition, bound in contemporary limp vellum and with all illustrations intact.

Mexica city with Aztec temple at center.

Valadés, the son of a native Tlaxcalan woman and a Conquistador, was educated by the Franciscans and later admitted to the Order. A native speaker of Nahuatl, he also learned other indigenous languages such as Otomí and Tarascan and used his language skills to proselytize among Native Americans for twenty years. In 1571, he was invited to Europe, and in 1575 named procurator general of the Franciscan Order at Rome. He wrote this work in order to teach missionary preachers the rhetorical skills necessary to compose and deliver sermons specifically to an Amerindian audience. It includes biographical information about Valadés, descriptions of Amerindian culture, a brief history of Mesoamerica, and an account of Franciscan missionary activities in the New World.

Depiction of the Franciscan method of evangelization in the New World. Within a stylized "memory palace," the Franciscans are shown preaching to, educating, and ministering to the Amerindians. 

The book contains twenty-seven remarkable engravings, designed by Valadés himself, which illustrate and expand upon his rhetorical teaching method. They include depictions of the Franciscans preaching to and educating the Native Americans, two mnemonic alphabets to aid in memorization, an Aztec calendar wheel superimposed with the Julian calendar, and a striking bird's-eye view of a Mexica city.

Franciscan preaching to an Amerindian audience with the aid of illustrated screens.

Valadés' theory of memory emphasized the use of images to communicate across cultural barriers. Visual images could be used as mnemonic keys to aid memorization and recall of various ideas. Preachers could employ large, illustrated screens as backdrops to their sermons, as shown above. Valadés encouraged the use of oratorical skills to provide more lively, compelling sermons, and recommended that preachers use descriptions of New World culture and environment to help connect the Native American audience to new concepts. For example, his first mnemonic alphabet shows correspondences between letterforms and the shapes of common objects, while the second alphabet shows the connections between letters and sounds. Many of the objects and symbols he employed refer to indigenous objects and concepts.

Mnemonic alphabet using New World imagery.

This acquisition is a significant addition to our rare book collection, and one that will provide multiple research opportunities for the campus community. Its text and images may be useful for the study of Native American history, Franciscan missionary activities in the Americas, the development of rhetorical and visual teaching methods, and much more. We hope that faculty and students will be able to make use of this material in any related courses or research projects. 

Images and catalogue description courtesy of Paul Dowling, Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts.

Further Reading:

  • Linda Báez Rubí, Mnemosine Novohispánica: Retórica e Imágenes en el Siglo XVI (México: Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005). 
  • Francisco de la Maza, "Fray Diego Valadés, escritor y grabador franciscano del siglo XVI," Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, 13 (1945): p. 15-44. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Palm Trees, Sugar, Slavery, and More

Post by Brian L. Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps

The Clements Library is known to historians and scholars of other disciplines as a primary source repository of “Americana” dating between 1492 and 1900. For all too many members of the history and the University of Michigan communities, however, that word suggests collections documenting mainland, English-speaking North America, particularly the territory that became the United States. Admittedly, that is the part of the Americas most heavily represented in the Clements Library’s books, manuscripts, maps, and graphics. However, Canada, both French and British, is nearly as well documented and, as noted in our last electronic newsletter, it remains a priority area for collecting.

South and Central America, with their primarily Native/Hispanic colonial cultures, are best represented in the Library by printed works from the age of European exploration and their colonial history. The collection is not as strong in books and manuscript materials from later periods in South and Central America, but we do have numerous maps and a respectable sampling of graphic items. We also hold concentrations of titles published during times of crisis—the South American wars for independence and the Mexican-American War for example.

Rene Phelipeau's Plan de la plaine of Cap Francois en L'Isle de St. Domingue (Paris, 1786) provides details of property lines, names of planters, and locations of slave quarters on the fertile northern plain of Haiti.

In this issue we introduce the Library’s third best-documented region of the Americas—the Caribbean. The West Indian sugar islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles have a long and turbulent history. They were the arrival point of Christopher Columbus in the autumn of 1492. He was followed by other explorers and settlers, who exploited and soon destroyed much of the indigenous population. Needful of labor, the islands became the cradle of the practice of African slavery in the Americas. Politically, they were a cockpit of naval and military conflict from the colonial era through the Napoleonic Wars.

Documentation of the West Indies is to be found across the Library’s divisions, and the subject is an area of active acquisition by both gift and purchase. Much of our holdings relate to sugar production, trade, military and naval activities, and slavery. A fine example is Nicolas Ponce’s Recueil de Vues des lieux principaux de la colonie françoise de Saint-Domingue,which provides a visual overview of France’s richest American colony. The book includes maps and highly detailed plans and views of the towns and countryside. Foreground figures in the views provide animation and details of daily life as they undertake activities ranging from surveying to dancing. Published in Paris in 1791, Ponce’s book of images depicts the colony as it was on the eve of the great slave uprisings of 1791 that would devastate the colony and turn the French planters’ way of life upside down. The turmoil would also lead to independence for Haiti, of course. Other published histories recount Haiti’s struggles and preserve accounts of observers, participants, and refugees (many of whom made their way to Philadelphia). Manuscript collections, such as the papers of Anne-Louis de Tousard, provide further useful documentation on this particular event in Caribbean history.

A French cartographer named Warin drew this manuscript map illustrating the progress of a French landing force that wrested the island of Grenada from the British in July 1779.

Evidence of slavery may be found in almost every part of our West Indies holdings. The manuscript letters of the Tousard Papers contain correspondence describing the treatment of slaves on Haiti, while the Tailyour Family correspondence records the activities of a Scottish merchant family, whose business ventures in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries included large holdings of land and slaves on Jamaica. All in all, a cursory search of Clements Library manuscript finding aids turns up 99 collections with substantial West Indian content.

The Library’s Graphics Division is also strong in images of the Caribbean, both photographic and pre-photographic, Most revolve around the production of sugar or the frequent outbreaks of warfare between European colonial powers that inevitably involved their American possessions. Fighting was particularly widespread during the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, and the wars that followed the French Revolution. The Graphics Division holds visual material as diverse as a series of colorful prints from the 1830s showing the steps of sugar production on the island of Antigua to a group of five watercolor views of St. Lucia drawn by British Lieutenant Charles Forrest in 1780 and '81.

British engineer Henry Mercier carefully drew a plan of the British bombardment of Havana in 1762.

A particularly significant event late in the Seven Years’ War was the British siege and capture of Havana in 1762. British engravers produced celebratory portfolios of views of the campaign, notably Elias Durnford’s Six Views of the City, Harbour, and Country of Havana (London, 1764, later reproduced as part of the Scenographia Americana of 1768) and Philip Orsbridge’s Britannia’s Triumph (London, 1764).

The Clements collection is also rich in atlases—Dutch, German, French, and British—that contain printed maps depicting the Caribbean islands. The last three years has also seen a successful effort to expand our holdings of separate maps of the West Indian islands, both printed and manuscript. Recent additions include Daniel Paterson’s 1780 map of Grenada that reveals much detail on crops and mills as well as a French manuscript map showing how their forces captured the island from the British in 1779. Other new maps include a French manuscript of the chief harbor of St. Lucia at the time of its reoccupation by French forces in 1784; a 1753 manuscript plan (including slave quarters) of the Fleuriau plantation on Haiti; a 1793 plan of Cartagena, Colombia by a French engineer; and published plans of St. Domingue and Puerto Rico. 

This finely detailed plan shows the plantation of Aime-Benjamin Fleuriau as it was in 1753. The important production buildings and residence appear at center. At the bottom are two parallel rows of penciled rectangles -- quarters for Fleuriau's slaves.

The hunt for documentation continues, sometimes with surprising results. While in England in July, our manuscripts curator purchased a pair of letters dated 1762 and signed by “Alexander White Lieut. of York troops.” At a glance the letters seemed to be a plea by a British officer for assignment to America—promising additions to our Seven Years' War collection. But, as so often is the case, there proved to be much more of a story to these two brief letters.

One of the documents is dated (10th Octor, 1762); the other is undated but clearly part of the same exchange of correspondence. The dated letter was written from “ye Cap”—then known to the French as “Le Cap” (today Cap Hatien). From context, it is clear that Lieutenant White was an officer of the New York provincial battalion assigned to the British expedition against Spanish Havana. But why was he in St. Domingue (Haiti), a French possession? The answer, after limited research, seems to be that White’s transport, along with several others, had been captured at sea by the French frigate Opale. Soon after, the warship was wrecked on the north coast of Haiti and the prisoners apparently taken to Le Cap. White, in his letter, was actually pleading with a French official to be allowed to give his parole and return to his home in New York, where he could be with his wife and three small children rather than be transported to a prison in France. We have not yet discovered the result of White’s request.

The Clements Library collection holds much of interest for scholars studying the Caribbean. We encourage you and your students to make use of these resources following the reopening of the renovated Library building in January 2016.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Graduate Student Workers and New Finding Aids

Post by Cheney Schopieray, Curator of Manuscripts

Graduate students are a vital part of the William L. Clements Library. As work-study employees, interns, grant-funded workers, and volunteers, graduate students help the Library with many different sorts of jobs and projects. They create inventories and indices, conduct research, arrange and describe collections, copy materials for patrons, perform office tasks, and work on special projects. Students benefit from mentorship by the Library's curatorial staff and the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience in a premier library of early Americana.

One type of project often assigned to graduate students is the creation of finding aids, documents that provide researchers with information about collections of archival materials. As part of the process, students are able to expand and apply their knowledge of descriptive standards for archival materials. They either gain an introduction to or additional experience with the creation and revision of XML-formatted documents and the creation/revision of machine-readable cataloging (MARC) records.

The following examples highlight finding aids for new or previously uncataloged collections, created by graduate students at the William L. Clements Library.

Finding Aid: Green-Mitchell Family Papers, bulk 1780-1812, 1831-1862. This collection complements the Library's fine collection of school papers of Rhode Island College (now Brown University) students Timothy and William Green (finding aid: Timothy and William Green Papers, David P. Harris Collection, 1784-1798).

In the winter semester of 2015, UM School of Information student Hannah Brookhart arranged, described, and completed a finding aid and supplementary index for the Green-Mitchell Family Papers (acquired 2013). This collection of over 1,500 letters and documents reflects the activities of the Green and Mitchell families of Massachusetts and New York. Of particular importance are approximately 400 letters to New York lawyer Timothy Green between 1780 and 1812, respecting the mercantile and land speculation activities of his brothers and business partners in South Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Jamaica, and the Western United States.

Figure 1: Ephraim Kirby ALS to Timothy Green; December 25, 1795. Kirby requests information on the current cost of approximately 20-30,000 acres of the land ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Greenville.

Finding Aid: Henry Burbeck Papers, 1775-1866.

Online Exhibit: The Henry Burbeck Papers.

The Clements Library received a generous grant from the Gladys K. Delmas Foundation to hire a project archivist for the processing of the Library's Henry Burbeck Papers (acquired 2014). Brigadier General Henry Burbeck was a career artillery officer in the United States Army (1775-1784, 1786-1815), serving as Chief of Artillery from 1802 to 1815. The Library hired UM School of Information student Louis "Louie" Miller to arrange, describe, and create a finding aid and supplementary indices for the collection. Louie also worked with the Curator of Manuscripts to create a mini online exhibit to further advertise the acquisition of the collection: The Henry Burbeck Papers.


Finding Aid: HMS Levant and HMS Arethusa Log Book, 1775-1777.

As a summer intern, Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science student Nicole Sobota wrote finding aids for three of the library's "small collections" - important groups of manuscripts not belonging to larger bodies of papers. Nicole described a recently donated volume, containing the logs of two British ships operating in the English Channel and the Mediterranean during the American Revolution: the frigates HMS Levant and HMS Arethusa.

Figure 2: Title page of the HMS Levant and HMS Arethusa Log Book.

Finding Aid: Joseph Hooker Collection, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, 1862-1865.

The Civil War collections of the Clements Library continue to expand. However, many of the important donations of James S. Schoff in the 1970s - particularly "artificial collections" of miscellaneous individual letters and documents - require new and more detailed descriptions. Nicole Sobota wrote an item-level description of the 22 letters of the Joseph Hooker Collection, touching on Hooker's involvement in the Peninsula Campaign and the Western Theater, his leave from the army in Watertown, New York (September 1864), and his administrative duties in Cincinnati, Ohio (1864-1865).
Figure 3: Joseph Hooker ALS to B. N. Stevens; September 1, 1864, pp. 6-7.

Finding Aid: Perkinsville (Vt.) School District Documents, 1818-1851.

While the Clements Library is recognized for its exceptional and magnificent collections of prominent individuals' papers, it continually acquires important groups of materials related to the lives of lesser-known and unknown persons and institutions. In 2013, the Library acquired 46 receipts, committee meeting reports, meeting requests, and tax documents related to the operation of the 1st school district in the village of Perkinsville, Vermont. These manuscripts provide a detailed view of issues associated with running a district school in a mill town in the early 19th century. They reveal information about teachers' wages and local townspersons' coverage of the costs of firewood, boarding for educators, furniture construction, necessary supplies, maintenance, and other expenditures. The collection joins the Library's many holdings related to education in the early decades of the United States.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Carte de Visite Phenomenon

Post by Clayton Lewis, Curator of Graphics

A preoccupation with self-image swept across society when a new technology enabled a flood of inexpensive portrait photographs. The enthusiastic gathering of photographs of friends and public figures and the sharing of them in albums became a social norm. This widespread fixation on portraits was commented upon in the print media and blamed for the rise of a superficial, vain populace that lacked appreciation for substantive culture.

A selection of Cartes de Visite from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.
This could be just another day in the age of the selfie, but it happened in the 1860s with the introduction of the carte de visite photograph. With origins in France and the social tradition of calling card etiquette, the carte de visite was essentially a small card mounted portrait photo. It was cheap, easily available, portable, and could be mass-produced. Following the heavy, jewel-cased Daguerreotype, the carte de visite seemed sleek and modern. It is estimated that the number of cartes de visite produced in the United States was between 300 and 400 million per year during the 1860s, easily ten times the nation’s total population.

Its influence during its heyday was acknowledged by no less a figure than Abraham Lincoln. His statement that “Brady and the Cooper Institute made me President” was a reference to the Mathew Brady photo of Lincoln disseminated in massive quantities in carte de visite format prior to the election of 1860.

If the importance of the carte de visite is partly due to its industrial sized production and massive circulation, then it follows that any serious study of this format needs a critical mass as its foundation. At the Clements, that mass has undergone a significant expansion this summer with the addition of approximately 12,000 cartes de visite donated to the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography. This donation comes from Clements Library Associate David B. Walters, in honor of his parents, Harold L. Walters, University of Michigan class of 1947, Engineering, and Marilyn S. Walters, University of Michigan class of 1950, LSA.

The collector, Dave Tinder, has a great interest in the photographers themselves, and an eye for outstanding and unusual examples. A view of the broad social spectrum that visited 19th century photo studios emerges from the collection. Included are figures from the Michigan state legislature, universities, and colleges, to the scruff and scrum from northern lumber camps and barrooms. The elderly and the newly born, athletes and the infirm are here as well as African Americans, Native Americans, visitors from faraway lands, and those from just around the corner. A strong sense of middle-class mimicking of upper-class behavior is present, people proud of their occupations, examples of high and low fashion, and mysterious and surprising clues to relationships. The Tinder carte de visite collection gives us a sense of what is typical and what is exceptional within 19th century visual culture.

The processing and cataloging of these will take time but we expect that the collection will be at least partially open for research when the Library reopens on campus in 2016.

Related story in Michigan Today: Great Lakes, Even Greater Photography

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mapping the American Revolution

Guest post by Allison K. Lange, assistant professor of history at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. She helped curate the Leventhal Map Center’s “We Are One” exhibition.

Cantonment of the Forces in North America 1766. 1766. Manuscript, pen and ink and watercolor, 20.5 x 24.5 inches.

The nearly decade-long French and Indian War ended with a British victory and the acquisition of new land in North America. The aftermath of the war, however, actually paved the way for the uprisings that led to the American Revolution. A 1766 map in the Clements Library’s collection gives us insight into the reasons behind the colonists’ rebellion.

Drawn by hand after the end of the war, the Cantonment of the Forces in North America 1766 depicts the placement of British military garrisons. Each red rectangle represents a group of soldiers—a regiment, company, or half company depending on the rectangle’s size—stationed to defend the colonies, about 7,500 soldiers in total. This map reveals that most soldiers were on the borders of New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and southeast Canada. Troops manned these areas to protect them from Native American tribes and other foreign powers. They also aimed to establish British authority among populations who had previously identified as French or Spanish.

The author of the map created it so that the government and military knew the placement of their troops. They monitored the movement of soldiers to ensure British control of the original colonies and newly won land. The map simplifies geographical features so that this information stands out. Unlike engraved and printed maps for mass circulation, this manuscript map was unique and intended for smaller audiences of elite government administrators.

The high costs of these garrisons and their soldiers were a significant reason for the American rebellion. The French and Indian War and the continued defense of the colonies required additional funding from the colonists. The government levied taxes to pay for the troops featured on this map. The 1765 Quartering Act required local governments to house and provide soldiers with provisions. Although the placement of the garrisons in the borderlands meant that the act affected few inhabitants, colonists resented the additional expenses. The Quartering Act along with the other infamous taxes of the 1760s—the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and Townshend Act—led to rebellions throughout the colonies to challenge the British government.

The Cantonment map also features the Proclamation Line along the Appalachian Mountains. Although Britain gained new western land from the French after the war, the Proclamation of 1763 declared that colonists could not settle west of this line. Western lands were set aside for Native Americans. The mapmaker calls attention to this area by labeling it “LAND RESERVED FOR THE INDIANS.” The Proclamation Line infuriated colonists. Many ignored it, settled west of the boundary, and demanded British protection anyway.

British officials commissioned maps like this one to visualize their efforts to control the colonies. The Cantonment map is one of five similar maps drawn between October 11, 1765 and the summer of 1767 for the Quartermaster General. Together they show the movement of garrisons in North America. The Clements Library has one, and the Library of Congress and British Library house the remaining maps. The earliest two maps, including the copy owned by the Clements Library, are unsigned, but Ensign Daniel Paterson signed the latter maps. The similarities in the styles suggest that he likely drew the Clements Library’s version as well. Paterson used existing maps (possibly Thomas Kitchin’s 1763 map), rather than a new survey of his own to document the garrisons. He drew the maps in London and may have used correspondence from General Thomas Gage to document the location of the troops.

Paterson and the officials who used his map could not have envisioned the Revolutionary War a decade later, but, for modern viewers, this map features important details that highlight some of the major causes of the American Revolution. Colonists believed the government levied taxes without their consent and restricted their freedoms. Though he did not realize it at the time, Paterson documented the seeds of discontent on his map.

The Clements Library’s Cantonment map is currently on display at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center’s exhibition at the Boston Public Library. The exhibition, We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence, uses maps to explore the events that led thirteen colonies to forge a new nation. We Are One demonstrates that maps, from the Cantonment map to early European maps of the new nation, were central to the revolutionary process. The exhibition features maps as well as prints, paintings, and objects from the Leventhal Map Center’s own collection and those of twenty partners, including the British Library and Library of Congress. Visit to explore geo-referenced maps from the exhibition.

The exhibition will be on display at the Boston Public Library through November 29, 2015. We Are One then travels to Colonial Williamsburg from February 2016 through January 2017 and to the New-York Historical Society from November 2017 through March 2018.

The Leventhal Map Center also hosts the NEH-funded American Revolution Portal database. Researchers can access maps from the British Library, Library of Congress, and other institutions in one search. Users can download images for research and classroom use. Access these resources and learn more about We Are One at

For more on this map, see Brian Leigh Dunnigan, "Mapping an Army in North America," in An Americana Sampler: Essays on Selections from the William L. Clements Library (Ann Arbor: William L. Clements Library, 2011).

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From the Stacks: Student Maps

Post by Jayne Ptolemy, Manuscripts Curatorial Assistant

As a new semester begins at the University of Michigan, here at the Clements Library we're highlighting some student maps to celebrate the academic year. The educational benefit of studying geography and copying maps has made them classroom staples, and the pride students feel upon successfully completing a map spans the centuries, too. In 1815, Sarah Butler wrote to her sister about her schoolwork, including "two large Charts… one of America and the other of Europe and my dear preceptress thinks that they are wrote well enough to be framed and I feel much pleased to think that she thinks that it is done so well."[1]  Evidence of children's investment in geographical studies can be found in surprising places, like this ca. 1825 book, The Elements of Geography Made Easy. Earl Evans inscribed the book twice, and while not an unusual practice, after one he included a revealing addendum: "Eirl Evens is a Bright Boy." Mastering the arts of geography, much like the children shown in the book's illustrations, may have helped Earl to feel particularly bright… even if he did happen to misspell his name.

From The Elements of Geography Made Easy: Embellished with neat coloured copperplate engravings. Designed to render a general knowledge of the elements of geography and maps, so plain and easy, as to come witin [sic] the capacity of our most juvenile readers (Philadelphia: Morgan & Yeager, ca. 1825).

The student creations in the Map Division are made with care, but sometimes they contain mistakes. Take this ca. 1853 hand-drawn map of Michigan and Wisconsin made by H. L. Hobart.

H. L. Hobart, "Map of Michigan & Wiscosin," ca. 1853. This map was recently adopted by our generous supporter David Kennedy. To learn more about our adopt-a-piece-of-history program, click here.

We can all empathize with the feeling of frustration Hobart may have felt when he realized he left the "n" out of Wisconsin as he finished his map. Regardless, his work was treasured and preserved through the years, and the error only adds to our emotional connection with the piece. The shared experience of making mistakes and learning from them helps us understand the students that produced these maps.

Sometimes the misspellings on maps are not the students' fault. For example, this recently acquired map from the 1820s features the state of "Tennasee."

While we may assume this is a student's phonetic spelling of the state name, it actually appears in this form in widely printed maps that teachers may have had their pupils copying. This spelling can be seen in the map of the United States in the 1801 edition of Carey's American Pocket Atlas, while the written description of the state uses the typical "Tennessee."

Detail from The United States of America, in Mathew Carey, Carey's American Pocket Atlas (Philadelphia: H. Sweiter, 1801).

Apparent typos are not the only way we see the students' direct influence in the maps they made. Sometimes we gain a glimpse of how students dealt with distraction or boredom. Laid into our copy of Harper's School Geography are a series of hand-drawn state maps made by Henry De Blond in 1884. A whimsical doodle is sketched on the back of his map of Michigan.

This map of Michigan, and its accompanying doodle, can be found in the [Henry De Blond state maps], which are laid into the 1882 edition of Harper's School Geography, donated by James E. Laramy.

Other drawings can be found in our School Atlas to Accompany Woodbridge's Rudiments of Geography. Illustrations of men and women appear throughout the volume on blank pages. This particular one, drawn on the back of a map of the United States during Christmas 1838, gives us a glimpse into how this book was used.

Whether or not the children were actively studying geography on Christmas night, they certainly had the book out and were using it for their own purposes. These drawings speak to the tendency of young minds to wander while performing school work.

Of course, not all geographic exercises come in the form of copying maps or studying books. The Clements also has examples of educational games. This 1885 game has a map of the United States printed on a wooden board that can roll up. It includes small pegs for American state "capitals and business centres" with details about the places printed on them to be placed in their correct locations. Intended for "use in schools and in the home circle," the Norris' Cyclopaedic Map incorporated play into geographic study.

Detail from Norris' Cyclopaedic Map of the United States of America, (excepting Alaska) together with adjacent portions of the Dominion of Canada and of the United States of Mexico (New York: W. R. Norris, 1885).

Hopefully looking at these examples of young people's engagement with maps has put you in the back-to-school spirit. And students, if you make mistakes or get distracted, remember you are certainly not alone… but also beware that the evidence can be long lasting!

1.Sarah B[utler] Davis ALS to Eliza Eldredge, 1815 November 11, Sarah B. Davis Letters, Duane Norman Diedrich Collection.