Monday, May 30, 2011

From the Stacks: 1870 Memorial Day Oration

Memorial Day began after the American Civil War as a commemoration to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. In 1868, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation to observe it nationwide on the last Monday in May.

In the Book Division of the Clements Library, a Memorial Day oration by General I.F. Shepard from 1870 provides an example of the type of commemorative speech often delivered on this national holiday. General Shepard reflected on the recent Civil War and soldiers' sacrifices for the nation, providing a narrative of nobility and ultimate victory that gave meaning to the painful memories of his listeners. He closed with a poem, "Memorial Day" by Judge R.E. Rombauer. Excerpts from the text below:

Memorial Day, May 30, 1870 : Oration by Gen. I.F. Shepard, Adjutant-General of Missouri, at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis : Missouri Democrat Book and Job Printing House, 1870.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow-Citizens and Surviving Comrades: Another year has brought us to these consecrated grounds, again to pay our tributes of love and reverence to departed heroes who sleep peacefully about us beneath these mounds and monuments.
. . .
It is fitting, then, that we make our annual pilgrimage to their graves to recall the teachings of the grand drama, to rehearse their deeds and their virtues, and to embalm their memories with all the tender rites of affection and of honor."

"Spirits of the noble dead! Ethereal host of undying heroes! Bend above us in fraternal greetings, and accept our tokens of love! Help us to bear our part in all duties, till, once again united, we stand in serried ranks of most glorious victory, where flowers spring eternal beside the still waters of life in the better land!"

Memorial Day
By Judge R.E. Rombauer

When freedom once from East to West,
Sent forth her battle-cry,
Nine hundred thousand warriors rose,
To conquer or to die.

Nine hundred thousand warriors armed,
And marched to martial strains;
But ah! full many thousand went
That never came again.

On Souther plains--on Southern hills--
In brake and mountain dell,
They fought that freedom still might live--
That she might live, they fell.

And when her bright day dawned again--
Dawned after years of dread--
A thankful nation mournful went
To seek its hero dead!

It sought for them, in places all
Swept by the battle tide;
It built for them a garden home,
And laid them side by side.

* * * * * * * *
And years of war brought years of peace;
Then came another day;
When, after winter storms and frowns,
The roses blushed in May.

And lo! men, women, children come
From places near and far--
An army grand, yet unadorned
By panoplies of war.

They come adorned with flowery wreaths
Through the quiet shades to roam.
Where their brave brothers sleeping lie,
In their still garden home.

To deck their couch with fragrant leaves,
To pray with fervent mien
Their fame might be forever bright,
Their memory ever green.

* * * * * * * *
Oh! brothers all! and sisters all,
Of every race and age;
Who from all places near and far
Join in this pilgrimage;

Whose steps by powers of love are led
And guided all above,
Let us forget the days of hate
On this great day of love.

Let us forget the slaying hand,
Forgive the erring will;
Thanks to our fallen brothers brave,
We are one nation still.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Reminder: Clements Library Summer Hours Begin May 31

On May 31, the Clements Library starts the summer schedule. Note that the library will be open for research on weekdays until 5:45 pm, except for Fridays. (Thursday evening research hours will resume in the fall.) Public exhibits will be open in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday.

Monday: 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 11:45 am

Great Hall exhibits:
Monday – Thursday: 1:00 pm – 4:45 pm

You can always find complete information about the Library's hours on our website under Hours & Directions. If you have any questions, please call the Library at (734) 764-2347.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the News: Interactive Tour of "Opening Guns"

The LSA Wire, the online complement to U-M's LSAmagazine, has recently published an interactive online tour of the Clements Library's current exhibit, "Opening Guns: The First Year of the Civil War." The online version includes items featured in the exhibit as well as additional Civil War materials from the Library's collections.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reception for New Publication: An Americana Sampler

Essays on Selections from
 the William L. Clements Library
Thursday, June 2, 2011
4:00—6:00 p.m. 

Please join us to celebrate our newest publication and hear our curators talk about a few of the articles from An Americana Sampler: Essays on Selections from the William L. Clements Library. Eighteen contributions by Library staff and University of Michigan historians are highlighted in this most recent publication from the Library.  This important book, with more than 190 illustrations from the building and the collections, highlights the scope of the Library’s materials and looks at  topics dating from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. 

Free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Library at (734) 764-2347 or visit our website:

William L. Clements Library
909 S. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recently Published: An Americana Sampler: Essays on Selections from the William L. Clements Library

New Publication Highlights Scope of Library’s Collection

The Clements Library is proud to introduce its latest publication. An Americana Sampler: Essays on Selections from the William L. Clements Library includes eighteen contributions by Library staff and University of Michigan historians.

The 185-page, cloth-bound book presents examples of collections and topics dating from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. The essays suggest the wealth and variety of the Clements holdings and the opportunities for research they provide. Beautifully designed by Kathy Horn, the volume includes more than 190 full-color photographs of the Library and its collections.

Publication of this book was made possible by the generous support of the McGregor Fund of Detroit. Copies are available from the Clements for $40.00 (ISBN 978-0-615-46683-5). See the Clements Library Book Store for ordering information or call 734-764-2347 for further details.