Monday, August 31, 2009

Kerrytown BookFest, September 13, 2009

The 7th Annual Kerrytown BookFest will be held in and around the Farmers’ Market in Ann Arbor on Sunday, September 13, 2009. The theme of this year’s Fest is Culinary History and Culinary Michigan. Clements Curator of American Culinary History Jan Longone will be honored with the KBF’s Community Book Award. The Award will be presented by Ari Weinzweig, Honorary Chair of the 2009 Fest and co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.

Following the Award presentation Jan will moderate a panel on Local Foods in the World and Global Foods in Michigan. Panel members are Ari Weinzweig and Jane and Michael Stern, authors of the the “Roadfood Column” in Gourmet Magazine and on NPR. All serve on the Honorary Committee for the Longone Center for American Culinary Research.

Many other events relating to culinary matters will be available at the Fest, including an Edible Book Contest and the presentation of Awards for the second annual Book Cover Contest winners. This year’s book was a facsimile of the first American cookbook: American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, 1796.

For details and further information, visit the official Kerrytown BookFest website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Clements Library Has a New Sign!

On Friday, August 21, workers installed a blue University of Michigan sign in front of the Clements Library. We hope this will increase our visibility and make it easier for visitors to find us on S. University Avenue.

Visitors are welcome to come in the front door of the library and see the Main Room on Monday through Thursday from 1:00 pm to 4:45 pm, and by special arrangement. Stop by and see the current exhibit, 1759: Britain's Year of Victories.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Five Ways to Use Google Books for Historical Research

The University of Michigan is partnering with Google on the Michigan Digitization Project to scan the print collection of the University Library. Scanned books from the University of Michigan can be searched in the Mirlyn library catalog and on Google Book Search. Google Book Search, which searches the full text of millions of books, will provide snippets of page results from copyrighted works and full text results for materials that are out of copyright.

Although the Clements Library is not currently part of the Google project, here are five ways that Google Book Search can be useful to Clements researchers:

1. Find a starting point for your research. Get an introductory understanding of a historical topic and see what kinds of sources may be relevant for further study. Since Google Books searches the full text of published books and magazines that have been digitized by this project, it will often yield higher-quality information than general search engine results. This can lead you to further books and manuscripts, including Clements Library materials which you can use in person at our library.

2. Find obscure biographical information about an individual through listings in directories, genealogies, and other printed sources in Google Books. For example, the Clements Library has the Fyffe family papers, 1756-1847. One member of the family about whom little was known was David Fyffe of the 46th Regiment of Foot. A search for "David Fyffe 46th" in Google Book Search retrieved information about his family estate, his regimental history and dates of promotion, and an obituary listed in the Gentlemen's Magazine.

3. Track down an unattributed quote by searching for a phrase. For example, an unsigned poem in the Owen Lovejoy papers began with the lines "Once there was a little boy that lived in a cottage by the wood / 'Twas on the edge of the prairie wide his father's cottage stood." Searching some of the main keywords in the poem led to a Google Books result for the title Minstrelsy of Maine: Folk-songs and Ballads of the Woods and the Coast, by Fanny Eckstorm. This book, found in the University of Michigan Library system, contained a different version of the poem with further information about its history.

4. Look for references to Clements Library materials in published secondary sources. Since Google Books searches the full text of books, references in footnotes and bibliographies can be found. For example, the Fyffe family papers from the Clements Library have been cited in several published works that can be found in Google Books, including Domesticating Slavery, by Jeffrey Robert Young; Scotus Americanus, by William Ranulf Brock; and Nation and Province in the First British Empire, by Ned C. Landsman.

5. Read full-text copies of books in the public domain, and get limited views of many copyrighted works. Some books owned by the Clements Library have copies in other libraries that have been digitized, so it's worth checking to see if it's already online. Google Books can also be a source for finding early publications about the Clements Library, such as this full-text book from 1922, A temple of American history: The William L. Clements Library by William Warner Bishop.

Find a book in Google Books and want to know if the Clements Library has it? Click on the link "Find in a library" and look at the owning libraries listed for that book on Enter your zipcode to find the copy nearest you, or look for "University of Michigan, William Clements Library" in the list of libraries to see if we have it.

Like any initiative, the Google Books project has its flaws, as this article from the American Historical Association points out. However, if carefully used it can be an invaluable tool for historical research. Also, remember that anything on Google Books can also be found in a library, as well as much more that is not online. Even in this digital age, the physical library can still be the best place to do research, and here at the Clements Library, we firmly believe in the enduring power of the written word.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Out of the Blue" TV Show Featuring Jan Longone

Watch this video to learn more about the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the Clements Library:

This video segment is from an episode of the Big Ten Network television show "Out of the Blue." Michigan Public Media produces this series that is hosted by Jen White of WFUM, and in this episode Charity Nebbe of WUOM interviews Jan Longone of the Clements Library. It aired on the Big Ten Network on March 19, 2009 and has been replayed several times on Michigan Television and PBS stations. This and other videos are available for download on the University of Michigan on iTunes U. You will need the iTunes program installed on your computer to play them.

Jan Longone says, "Early in 2009 I was contacted by Jay Nelson of Nice Work Productions about a very special new television series being undertaken by the Big Ten Network, WFUM/Michigan Television and PBS. Each member of the Big Ten was to produce an eight half-hour TV series about people on their campus “who are involved in particularly innovative and interesting work.” David Lampe, UM Vice President for Communications, selected the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the Clements Library as one of the segments. Many months of work followed, culminating in a very long day of television taping. The opportunity to “show and tell” a few of the treasures of the Archive was a memorable experience. We were honored to be selected, to open the series, and to share the program with the newly remodeled Museum of Art. In addition, we have been pleased with the feedback and response we have had to the program."

For other views of the Culinary Archive and its holdings and work, see two recent lectures based on the collection: The Old Girl Network: Charity Cookbooks and the Empowerment of Women and 500 Years of American Grapes and Wines: A Remarkable Journey. The exhibits for these and other events can be found on the Culinary Archive exhibits page.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Tradition of Giving: Adopt a Piece of History

During the last 86 years, through the generosity of the University of Michigan and many important donors and leaders, the Clements has come to stand for excellence in the study of America history. But we are now beginning to write the story of the Clements in the 21st Century. We are starting a new program, Adopt a Piece of History, that asks people to fund purchases and conservation at the Clements. There are many books, manuscripts, maps and visual materials that we desire to add to the collection, but we are in need of additional support to do so. Also, some of our collection requires repair because of fragility and age. Consider a gift to the Clements Library to conserve an item or purchase one for our collection so that you can adopt a piece of history. Your contribution will make our internationally recognized collection available to a wider audience for years to come.

In addition to a direct donation, we welcome gifts in honor of a person or a special occasion, in someone’s memory, or to celebrate a special event. Each book will receive a bookplate to honor the donor. All contributions will be recorded in our electronic catalog with the name of the donor. The purchases listed below are recent acquisitions – your support will help to offset the cost of these additions to our library while those in need of conservation have been in our collections for many years.

1. Peter Henry Musty collection, 1862-1865. Recent purchase cost: $5,400

2. 1/6 plate daguerreotype by Glenalvin J. Goodridge. Unknown male sitter. ca.1847-1851. Recent purchase cost: $1,200

3. Original watercolor view of Baltimore, Maryland. Signed: S. Uesirne, 1848. Recent purchase cost: $2,228

4. Army Lists Conservation cost: $300-400 each, depending on extent of treatment needed

5. Ausben W. Dech school book, 1858-1860. Recent purchase cost: $762

6. Christian L. Fisher daybook and recipe book, 1851-1852. Recent purchase cost: $300

7. Memorials presented by the deputies of the Council of Trade in France to the Royal Council in 1701. London, 1736. Conservation cost: $400

8. A Lesson from the Providence of God. A Sermon, … Rev. W. I. Pond. Saratoga Springs, NY, 1863.
Recent purchase cost: $150

9. Cavan, R.L. A new system of military discipline founded upon principle. London, 1773. Conservation cost: $ 300

10. California Big Tree Joint Wine Exhibit, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. Chromolithograph advertising ephemera. Recent purchase: $350.

I hope you’ll consider making a gift that will enable us to build our acquisitions and to better conserve our collection. Thank you for considering this special gift that will benefit the preservation and study of American history at the University of Michigan.

If you would like to support our Adopt a Piece of History effort, please contact Ann Rock by phone at 734-358-9770 or email her at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Recent Culinary Acquisition: Lone Star Cook Book

The Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive has recently acquired the Lone Star Cook Book and Meat Special: From the Slaughter Pen to the Dining Room Table, by A. Fillmore (1929). A. Fillmore, an African American man from Texas whose father was also in the restaurant business, worked for hotels, cafes, and two railroad company dining car services during his thirty-year career. This book contains recipes and menus from Lubbock Hotel, Texas, where he was a chef. He writes, "I was born in Cuero, Texas, March 13, 1888, was reared in Victoria, Texas. I am trying to make cooking a larger success for the young colored man" (p. 90).

African American culinary history is one of the strengths of the culinary collection at the Clements Library, so we are happy to add this scarce title to our holdings.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Clements Library Online Exhibits

In addition to regular exhibits in the Main Room of the library, the Clements also offers a variety of online exhibits through the library website. These are listed on the Exhibits page of the library website, along with the current and past exhibits presented in the library. Online exhibits provide a portal into the collections of the Clements Library, bringing together a variety of manuscripts, prints, photographs, books, and maps on a particular theme. For those who can't come to the library in person to see our exhibits, this can be a great way to get an introduction to our collections. For more information, see the list of our online exhibits below.

Women's Education Evolves, 1790-1890

San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, 1906

Spy Letters of the American Revolution

500 Years of American Grapes and Wines: The Literature of a Remarkable Journey

The Old Girl Network: Charity Cookbooks and the Empowerment of Women

Colonial Photography: Viewfinder on the Past

George Washington: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Image

Benjamin F. Brown and the Circus in America

Summer Paradise: the Role of Railway and Steamboat Lines in Promoting Vacation Travel

Coming soon ... an online exhibit on controversial works from the Clements Library collections, in honor of Banned Books Week, September 26-October 3, 2009.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Introducing the New Library Catalog

The University of Michigan Library has officially launched the new Mirlyn catalog this month. The new catalog is designed to make searching easier and more intuitive.

To search for Clements Library materials in the new catalog, select "William L. Clements Library" from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Books, maps, and some manuscript collections are available through this catalog. To search for more manuscript collections, see the Manuscripts Division finding aids.

In the new Mirlyn, search results are returned in order of relevance, the way they would be in a Google or search. The most relevant results should appear at the top of the page. However, the new catalog will also sometimes return several hundred or thousand results for a search, many of them not what you're looking for. If you have too many results, use the options in the left-hand column to narrow your search. The advanced search feature also provides more ways to specify what you are looking for.

If you prefer the older version of Mirlyn, it is still available as Mirlyn Classic.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Recently published: "Michigan's Bibliomaniac," by J. Kevin Graffagnino

The latest electronic issue of Fine Books & Collections contains a new article written by the Clements Library director, J. Kevin Graffagnino. "Michigan's Bibliomaniac" provides a history of William L. Clements as a collector, from his early years to the founding of the William L. Clements Library in 1923. The great collection he built still forms the core of the Clements Library today, among the best collections of early Americana in the world.