Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brown Bag Lecture by Patricia Majher, "Getting Published in Michigan History Magazine," February 11, 2013

The William L. Clements Library
Brown Bag Lecture Series

Lecture by Patricia Majher, Editor of Michigan History magazine
"Getting Published in Michigan History Magazine" 

Monday, February 11, 2013, 12:00 p.m.
Main Room, Clements Library

Michigan History is the most-read state history magazine in the country, with a circulation of 25,000. Please join Patricia as she discusses what it takes to get an article published in Michigan History.

Please bring lunch. Beverages will be served.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lecture by Richard Rabinowitz, "Curating the Silence," February 7, 2013

Lecture by Richard Rabinowitz
Founder and President of the American History Workshop
"Curating the Silence" 

Thursday, February 7, 4:00 p.m.
Main Room, Clements Library

Awarded the 2012 Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions to public history by the American Historical Association, Dr. Rabinowitz will explore how historians, and particularly public historians, confront the dilemma that evidences of African American lives, voices, and perspectives are seldom available in the documentary records.

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Today in History: Remember the Raisin

January 18 and 22 mark the bicentennial of a pair of battles of the War of 1812 that deeply affected the American population of Ohio, Kentucky, and the Michigan Territory. The battles were fought in Frenchtown or River Raisin (today Monroe, Michigan), and they were a costly blunder and setback for United States forces attempting to regain Detroit and drive British forces from the region.

The fall of Detroit on August 16, 1812, included the loss of Brigadier General William Hull’s entire Northwestern Army. Michigan Territory was lost, and the northern frontiers of Ohio and Indiana Territory were exposed to attack by the British and their Native American allies. New US forces were rapidly raised in the fall of 1812, and the situation was soon stabilized. Brigadier General William Henry Harrison established a post at the rapids of the Maumee River as a base for advancing against Detroit when the time was right. The place was later named Fort Meigs (Perrysburg, Ohio).

In January, during Harrison’s absence, Brigadier General James Winchester received word that a force of Canadian militia and Native Americans had occupied Frenchtown. Winchester sent a force of 650 Kentucky militia to attack them. This was successfully accomplished on January 18, 1813. Learning of this minor victory, Winchester led some 300 US regulars to reinforce them. The Americans established a lightly fortified position in case the British and Indians counterattacked.

The attack came on January 22, when British regulars, Canadian militia, and Native American warriors approached the US position. Fighting raged for six hours with the regular soldiers suffering heavy casualties—at least 400 of the total US force were killed or missing. With their position deteriorating and fearing that his men would be cut off and at the mercy of the Indians, Winchester surrendered to British Colonel Henry Procter. Nearly the entire American force had been killed or captured. Procter, fearing the approach of Harrison with additional US troops, withdrew to his base at Amherstburg taking his prisoners but leaving a number of wounded at Frenchtown without protection.

Next day, the American wounded and their attendants were attacked by Native American warriors who had remained behind. About twenty were killed. The incident inflamed American popular opinion and provided an effective propaganda tool against the British. “Remember the Raisin” became a battle cry heard at several western battles during the remainder of the war.

The Clements Library holds a pair of hand-colored prints relating to the Battle of the River Raisin; one is rather comic and the other tragic. The first lampoons General Winchester being paraded before Colonel Procter by his Native American captors. The other depicts the gruesome details of the attack on the wounded. Its provenance and purpose are unknown, and the Clements has the only known copy. Details in the print strongly imply British responsibility for the incident: the British royal cypher “GR” on the blade of a scalping knife and an empty British camp where there should have been guards. They are both a part of the Clements’s rich collections documenting the War of 1812.

Visit the Clements’s online exhibit about the War of 1812 at: The War of 1812: A Bicentennial Exhibition.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Orphaned Manuscript Volumes and NHPRC Processing Grant Update

Many if not all of us have seen orphaned tomes and incomplete sets of multi-volume works in used book stores, in library sales, and on private bookshelves. Similarly, manuscript collections are rarely complete, as letters, diaries, and documents are often divided, discarded, or selectively preserved by their owners.

In 2011, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) awarded the Manuscripts Division a basic processing grant to create finding aids for over 1,600 collections. Since beginning work on the grant, we have identified several instances of a particularly vexing sort of incomplete collection: Multi-volume manuscript books that lack the first volume. Without first volumes, these works must be described without an author and sometimes without the author's title. Two examples include the History of the Four Quarters of the Globe, 1791-1793; and The History of the Reign of George III, 1820-1823. The locations of the first volumes of these works are currently unknown.

History of the Four Quarters of the Globe, 1791-1793.
Volume three of this 3-volume work contains detailed geographical, historical, and other descriptive accounts of Western Europe and the Americas, as well as a history of astronomy and a timeline of world history, with a focus on Biblical events and European affairs. The title on the cover is "Manuscript Account from Germany to Turkey in Europe with a Description of America Finishing with a Copious Explanation of the Terrestrial & Celestial Globes," though the author's concluding remarks refer to it as a "History of the Four Quarters of the Globe," begun around November 1789. We currently know nothing about its author "I. C. Junr."

The History of the Reign of George III, King of Great Britain, 1820-1823.
The Clements Library owns volumes II, III, and IV of this 4-volume work by "K. H." The author intended the book as a continuation of Tobias Smollet's The History of England. Our three volumes span 1,323 pages, covering the period between 1770 and the King's death in 1820. Its contents include the conflicts in North America during the American Revolutionary era and the War of 1812.

Among other recently available NHPRC-funded finding aids are:
  • Lydia Haskell papers, 1820-1857. Journals, correspondence, and other materials pertaining to Haskell's spiritual life and involvement with the Methodist Episcopal Church in Maine.
  • Famous Boxers manuscript, [ca. 1830s]. 546-page manuscript containing detailed descriptions of boxing matches, biographical information about prominent boxers, and related poetry, portraits, and illustrations, primarily concerning the sport's history in England during the early 1800s. English and American boxers are represented, including some African Americans.
  • Mathewson family collection, 1796-1840. Papers related to the Mathewson family of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, including content about their involvement in the early Shaker community of New Lebanon, New York, in the 1780s and 1790s.
  • Richard Howe Signal and Instruction Book, [ca. 1776]. Signals, instructions, and explanatory information pertaining to the Royal Navy's operations under Vice Admiral Richard Howe around the time of the American Revolution.
  • Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais papers, 1766-1832. Correspondence of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, playwright and supporter of the American Revolution; his wife, Marie-Thérèse-Emilie Willer-Mawlar; and his daughter, Eugénie Beaumarchais Delarue. 
  • Bert C. Whitney diary, 1918-1919. Diary written while serving in the 304th Sanitary Train in France during World War I. Whitney described his transatlantic voyages, his experiences near the front line at Verdun in late 1918, and his travels around France after the armistice.
Researchers may view the Clements Library's finding aids associated with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission by searching the Clements Library Manuscripts Division EAD website for "NHPRC."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Current Exhibit: "Making Their Own Way: African Americans in the Culinary World"

Now on display in the center cases of the Main Room:

Making Their Own Way: African Americans in the Culinary World 

With a selection of the Longone Archive’s African American–authored works from the early 19th to the late 20th century, this exhibit presents the voices of household employees, restaurateurs, chefs, caterers, teachers, ministers, and other unsung heroes who shared their expertise in print. These stand in for the countless cooks and other accomplished individuals whose experience has not come down to us (or come only indirectly), but who have been an essential part of the American culinary experience since Colonial times. What they have to tell us, whether forthrightly and in so many words, or cautiously and between the lines, unfolds the integration of food into African American lives as art, livelihood, sustenance, pleasure, celebration, community, religious expression, and identity. Each voice is unique, and yet together they build a story, just as each cook’s dishes are unique, but together they constitute a cuisine.