Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Clements Library Travels to Philadelphia & Delaware in September!

Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, Print:  AUTUMN by B. Plen, 1790-1810, Philadelphia, PA, Ink, Watercolor, Laid paper, Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1957-0590-003
Mr. Clements began his Americana collection focused on exploration and he enjoyed the camaraderie and knowledge of other collectors and libraries around the country.  Clements Library staff continue to forge such alliances and to offer opportunities for continued learning.  Curator of Graphics Clayton Lewis is a member of the American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) and is currently serving as the Regional Activities Chair.

Out of this collaboration, we developed  “A Day at Winterthur - Friday, September 27, 2019.”  Participants will be hosted by Clements Library Associates Board of Governors member Catharine Dann Roeber who is the Brock W. Jobe Associate Professor of Decorative Arts and Material Culture and AHPCS member Stephanie Delamaire who is the Associate Curator of Fine Arts.  They have helped us plan an exclusive program at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware featuring a behind-the-scenes look at Winterthur's renowned collections with curators and expert staff, print-focused museum tours, and customized experiences in the conservation labs, library, and gardens. After a group lunch, guests can browse in the gift shops or choose to explore the gardens and galleries exhibitions including a special print display and Costuming THE CROWN, featuring 40 iconic costumes from the beloved Netflix show.  Tickets are $65 and you can register online here.

Guests are responsible for booking their own travel to Winterthur and overnight lodging.  A block of rooms at a rate of $199 per night is available at Hotel Du Pont until Aug. 29. Book online or by calling 800-441-9019 and refer to CLEMENTS group. The Hotel Du Pont can provide transportation to and from the train station with advance notice. Long-time Associates might be interested to know that former director John Dann worked at the Hotel Du Pont as a young man.  He has some delightful stories about his time there including meeting Vincent Price who was selling art!  Apparently Price worked as an art consultant for Sears-Roebuck from 1962 to 1971 offering the "Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art", selling about 50,000 fine art prints to the general public.

Additional opportunities to gather

  • We will be flying in to Philadelphia on Wednesday, September 25 and at 5:30pm Clements Director Kevin Graffagnino will present “The Pioneer Americanists: Early Collectors, Dealers, and Bibliographers” at the The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street.  If you are in Philadelphia on Wednesday and want to join a group for a meal, you can indicate your interest in lunch at the City Tavern, 138 South 2nd St at Walnut St, or dinner after Kevin’s talk at a location to be determined.
  • On Thursday, September 26 Clements Library Associate Board of Governors member Clarence Wolf invites guests to visit the rare bookstore George S. MacManus Company, at 12 Water Street in nearby Bryn Mawr, PA.  Come to learn more about rare book collecting or add to your own collection.
  • Our friends at the U-M Club of Philadelphia invite all to stay on Saturday, September 28 to join them for a football watch party at Fox & Hound, 1501 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines as we take on Rutgers in football. 

We look forward to meeting many old and new friends at Winterthur and enjoying the early autumn season on the east coast. Please feel free to spread the invitation to anyone who may like to join us!



Monday, August 5, 2019

New Graphics Finding Aids: March - June 2019

The Clements Library is pleased to announce that the following graphics collections are now described online and may be requested for use in the reading room.

Andrews' Raid scrapbook and telegraph ledger, 1885-1888 - Processed by Louie Miller
The Andrews' Raid scrapbook and telegraph ledger contains newspaper clippings dating from 1887 that recount the story of Andrews' Raid written by William Pittenger. Other clippings, almost all of which focus on the United States Army, are also included in the scrapbook. The majority of these clippings are glued onto the page, but some are loose. This scrapbook, whose compiler is unknown, was originally used as a telegraph ledger book for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and more than half of the volume still has these records visible.

New York State oil paintings album, ca. 1850 - Processed by Erin Berger
This collection of small paintings is housed in an embossed leather carte-de-visite album with a single metal clasp. Within are 12 landscape oil paintings of Lake Champlain, Lake George, and the Glens Falls area. Each image includes a caption denoting location.


From the Howard F. Barnum WWI photograph album

Howard F. Barnum World War I photograph album, 1905-1919 - Processed by Erin Berger
The Howard F. Barnum World War I photograph album contains 216 items relating to Barnum's service during the war. A majority of the collection are personal photo-postcards of his time overseas and postcards from his travels with the Army of Occupation in France, Germany, and Luxembourg. Also included are photographs, letters, a print, and ephemera.

Pennsylvania National Guard album, ca. 1916-1918 - Processed by Erin Berger
The Pennsylvania National Guard album contains approximately 250 images pertaining to an unidentified man’s service with the Pennsylvania National Guard Cavalry and his civilian life from circa 1916 to 1918. The vast majority of the photographs are snapshots primarily taken in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Mexico.

United States Signal Corps photographic collection, 1918-1919 - Processed by Erin Berger
The United States Signal Corps Photographic Collection contains approximately 1,630 photographs of the American Expeditionary Forces taken by the Signal Corps during WWI throughout the Western Front. The collection is divided into three volumes and one box, all loosely arranged by topic. General topics include destruction, battlefields and trenches, artillery, monuments, and postwar celebrations.

Missouri and Ohio River sketches, ca. 1870s - Processed by Erin Berger
This collection contains 11 pencil sketches of the Missouri and Ohio Rivers and their surrounding cities. The sketches depict cityscapes, scenic and street views.

Harry Peter Boot photograph album, ca. 1903-1907 - Processed by Erin Berger
The Harry Peter Boot photograph album contains 16 photographs from Harry Boot's time as a missionary with the Reformed Church in Xiamen, China from ca. 1903 to 1907.

Edward H. Suydam Detroit drawings, ca. 1940 - Processed by Erin Berger
This collection comprises of two volumes of original graphite pencil on paper illustrations by Edward H. Suydam for Arthur Pound's Detroit: Dynamic City. The 35 illustrations (37 x 29.5 cm) detail various monuments, parks, streets, and squares throughout Detroit circa 1940.

John Sunnocks account book and Newbold Hough Trotter sketches, 1792-1801, ca. 1880 - Processed by Erin Berger
This collection consists one bound volume including both financial receipts and sketches. The first part the volume contains 38 pages of receipts of payments from John Sunnocks to various people he had transacted business with in the late 18th century. The rest of the volume contains sketches circa 1880, attributed to Newbold Hough Trotter, an American artist known for his work illustrating natural landscapes and animals.

J.M.S. Civil War sketches, ca. 1861-1863 - Processed by Erin Berger
This collection consists of six pages of pencil and ink sketches dated from 1861 to 1863 and signed J.M.S. The sketches depict various scenes of the American Civil War from the Union perspective including barracks, soldiers, and steamships related to the blockade of the Confederacy.

Monday, July 22, 2019

An Empire of Free Ports

Almost immediately after English men and women began to inhabit pockets of the Americas in the early seventeenth century, Parliament debated how best to control the trade that would flow from England to these newly-established colonies. Beginning with the stipulations of the first “Navigation Act” of 1651, English overseas commerce was to be tightly-regulated to benefit the “metropole’s” (England) interests over colonial concerns. All trade to and from English America had to be conducted on English ships; English colonists had to send certain “enumerated” goods (such as tobacco and sugar) directly to England; and foreign ships were forbidden to enter English colonial harbors to trade in foreign goods. These regulations, later British politicians would remark, were meant to benefit “British Shipping, the employment of British sailors, and the exportation of British manufactures.”[1]

In 1766, however, the British Parliament passed the lesser-known Free Port Act. This legislation decreed that colonial merchants could exchange certain, regulated goods as well as slaves with foreign merchants in specified British colonial ports in the West Indies (four in Jamaica and two in Dominica) after paying a small tax.[2] The policy marked an important divergence from the “letter” of British commercial regulations—now foreigners could conduct trade with British colonists, albeit in certain ports and under specific restrictions.

West Indies, 1767. (London, 1767) Clements Library Image Bank.
I came to the William L. Clements Library, with the generous support of the Richard & Mary Jo Marsh Fellowship, to better understand why British policy-makers opted to enact this commercial reform at this particular moment. To my welcome surprise, I found that the Clements Library holds perhaps as many or more relevant documents to answer this research question than did the archives I had visited in Britain. I found a wealth of correspondence from colonial officials to members of the British government in London, petitions by merchants to King George II regarding free ports, and letters between British policy-makers discussing trade. The majority of these sources are housed in the Charles Townshend Papers since Townshend was a prominent member of Parliament at the time and an outspoken free-port advocate. After combing through these resources, I confirmed my theory that the Free Port Act, unlike many scholars have posited, was not a conciliatory, magnanimous reform meant to help British colonists increase their wealth by trading with foreigners. Far from it. Parliament may have diverged from the “letter” of the Navigation Acts, but they established free ports while keeping in mind the same “spirit” and goals of long-standing commercial regulations—promoting British shipping/ merchants, sailors, and exportation of British manufactured goods (especially textiles).

Charles Townshend (1725-1767) by J. Cook, after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Frontispiece: Percy Fitzgerald, Charles Townshend, Wit and Statesman (London, 1866).
The British policy-makers who crafted the Free Port Act succumbed to British merchant and manufacturing lobby pressure. These special interests believed that strategically opening up foreign trade could increase British mercantile activity and create further markets for British manufactures. Such inter-imperial trade thus would serve as a means of extending Britain’s “commercial empire” to foreign realms. Foreign colonies could become sources of raw materials as well as markets for British finished goods, much of which British merchants would carry on British ships. For instance, the member of Parliament Rose Fuller welcomed the possibility of regaining not only dependent foreign export markets of the Spanish colonies and French sugar islands, but also a source for reliable imports of foreign raw materials such as cotton, indigo, and dyewoods.[3] Another member of Parliament, John Huske argued that a multitude of British free ports would increase Britain’s beneficial commercial interactions with especially French and Spanish domains and make them commercial (and less expensive) “colonies.” Huske asked the rhetorical question, “does not the supplying foreign Colonies with what they want, and taking from them what they produce, so far as this extends, make them the Colonies of Gr. Britain, and this too without the expence [sic] of supporting or defending them?”[4] 

John Huske, “Observations on the Trade of Great Britain to her American Colonies . . .” delivered to Secretary Conway. November 1, 1765. Charles Townshend Papers.
And finally, one anonymous piece in the Charles Townshend papers argued that before restrictions on inter-imperial trade were enforced, “the Danish Islands of Saint Croix and Saint Thomas . . . have been almost as usefull [sic] to the British Commerce as if they actually belonged to the British Government” especially since they purchased “great Quantities of English manufactures,” for high-quality rum which merchants could exchange for slaves on the West African coast.[5] Extending Britain’s manufactures, mercantile activity, and imperial control lay at the heart of the Free Port Act. 

The Townshend Papers and the other relevant collections I employed at the Clements Library make evident that British free ports are not as they first may appear. Far from a “liberal,” “progressive” movement of freeing trade to benefit all, the Free Port Act favored a small group of influential mercantile and manufacturing interests in Britain and sought to augment Britain’s commercial dominion over foreign realms. What was once thought of as a unique conciliatory measure to appease Anglo-North American merchants in the wake of controversial legislation such as the Stamp Act was yet another method by which Parliamentary members and special interests hoped to address their concerns. From 1763 to 1775, London never really prioritized colonial interests. The Clements Library and the Charles Townshend Papers are a fantastic source to observe this reality and will enrich my forthcoming article as well as my future dissertation.  


Grant Kleiser
Doctoral Student, Department of History, Columbia University
Clements Library 2019 Marsh Fellow

* * *

[1] “Proposals to Board of the Treasury,” 1765, British Library (BL), Add. Ms. 33,030, ff. 311-316. 

[2] See Frances Armytage, The Free Port System in the British West Indies; A Study in Commercial Policy, 1766-1822 (New York, 1953), 36-40.

[3] “Considerations on Manchester manufactures,” ca. 1765, Charles Townshend Papers (CTP)/8/34/2a, fol. 4, William L. Clements Library (WLCL); Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (London), 21 April 1766, issue 11, 578, in Newspaper Archive https://access-newspaperarchive-com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/uk/middlesex/london/gazetteer-and-new-daily-advertiser/1766/04-21 (accessed 21 June 2019). 

[4] “(John Huske’s) Scheme for Free Ports in America” to Secretary Conway, in CTP/8/34/21, WLCL. 

[5] “Answers to Questions About America,” CTP/8/34/34, fol. 1, WLCL. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Recent Acquisition: The Wilson Globes, ca. 1811

That look of surprise and joy on a map curator’s face can only mean one thing: something fine has just landed in his division. And what better acquisition for the Clements Library than a pair–and not just any pair–of Wilson globes.
The Wilson Globes and Map Curator Brian Leigh Dunnigan at his retirement celebration, June 11, 2019. Eric Bronson Photo.
And what, we hear you ask, are Wilson globes? These two globes–terrestrial and celestial–were produced by Vermont farmer and blacksmith turned globemaker, James Wilson (1763-1855) in the first half of the nineteenth century, giving him the (exaggerated) moniker of “America’s first globemaker.”[1]
Austin Thomason Photo.
As they are dated 1811 (terrestrial) and 1812 (celestial), they are among the earliest globes that Wilson produced; his earliest are dated 1810. The 1811 globe is particularly noteworthy in that it bears the amended title: “A new American terrestrial globe.”
Austin Thomason Photo.
By calling them “American” Wilson insured that his globes were in a category different from all others on the market. American made and meant for American consumption, they were available in three handy sizes–13, 9, and 3 inches in diameter–at affordable prices (a broadsheet from 1832 advertises them at $55 for the most expensive stand to $3 for the 3-inch globe on fancy mounting. See a mini at the Library of Congress). The fact that he did not produce large globes of 24 or 36 or 48 inches, more typical for a gentleman’s library or an institution, demonstrates his awareness of his clientele’s pocketbook and available space for storage and display. Wilson’s goal was to allow the many, rather than the few, to have access to a beautiful piece of furniture that encompasses a world of knowledge.

Like many a map and globe maker before him, Wilson did not train to become a globemaker. He followed a fancy that turned into a dream that became a reality after intensive self-education, sweat application, and market "perspication." Wilson was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and farmed 100 acres nearby, living in the log cabin he had built, until moving north to Bradford on the Connecticut River in 1796. As Bradford was only a mile north of Hanover, he took the opportunity to visit a friend at Dartmouth College where he saw (perhaps for the first time?) two globes. Fascinated by these three dimensional models of the earth and sky, he was determined to create a pair himself. Lacking much formal education, but possessing a prodigious appetite for reading, he bought the 18-volume third edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica with savings of $130 (perhaps around $2600 in buying power today) and by reading carefully the articles on "Geography" and "Globe," taught himself the rudiments of globe production.[2]

The article on “Globe” showed him how to smooth and shape the ball of papier-mâché layers and plaster overcoat on which globe gores would be pasted. But to make globes to sell required learning how to engrave and print from copperplates, the best means of graphic reproduction available in the early years of the nineteenth century. To acquire this skill, he walked the 200 miles from Bradford, down the Connecticut River valley to New Haven, Connecticut, where another self-taught engraver and mapmaker, Amos Doolittle, had established a far-reaching reputation. Doolittle had engraved the maps in Jedediah Morse’s Geography Made Easy (1784), the first geography book published in the United States and a significant contribution in weaning American culture from British dominance.

After much trial and error (family lore claims it took him nearly a year), Wilson succeeded in engraving his globe gores on a large copperplate, although he had difficulty getting his meridian (longitude) lines proportional enough to fit the round ball of the sphere. To resolve this, he set out to visit the Reverend Morse in Charlestown, Massachusetts, whose disappointing advice was to start over again. Wilson persevered, and by January 1810 he had not only created a terrestrial globe but had even had sold two of them. Later in the year he recorded the sale of seventeen more. At least one of the pairs had sold for fifty dollars, helping to recoup his expense for buying the Encyclopedia Britannica.

By 1811, Wilson had renamed his globes “A new American Terrestrial/Celestial Globe,” and soon opened a shop to manufacture globes on a commercial basis, aided by his sons Samuel, John, and David. Benefitting from the absence of European competition during the War of 1812, Wilson and his sons expanded their line to three sizes and several styles of stands. They built another factory in Albany, New York, in 1815 and by 1817 had opened another shop to meet the increasing demand for their globes, “equal, and in many respects, superior, to those manufactured in Europe.”

Wilson had not only found a niche market for quality globes at affordable prices, he also capitalized on the need for globes in the burgeoning number of classrooms filling the growing American educational system. Academies and schools, whether public or private, required books, maps, and globes for teaching geography and history. Jedidiah Morse declared independence from British geographies by writing Geography Made Easy and American Geography, which integrated the history of the fledgling United States with its geography. Morse, along with Noah Webster, the creator of spellers and grammars that trained school children in “American” English, were both convinced that teaching with American-authored texts was “a precondition to loyalty and civic identity.”[3] Using the economical Wilson globes in the classroom meant that no child would be deprived of an opportunity of “seeing the world.” Pioneer educator Emma Willard described one of the essentials of the Female Seminary or boarding school as “A library, containing books on the various subjects in which the pupils were to receive instruction; musical instruments, some good paintings, to form the taste and serve as models for the execution of those who were to be instructed in that art; maps, globes, and a small collection of philosophical [i.e., scientific] apparatus.”[4]

The Wilson globes are fitting additions to the Clements Library collections, which can already boast the 18-volume Encyclopedia Britannica of 1797, the texts of Morse and Webster, as well as the seminal American history atlases by Emma Willard. Taken together, they represent both the democratization of education and the access to knowledge that marked the society and culture of the early United States. Not made for the elite, Wilson globes were meant to be used, studied, and appreciated by all. In the Clements Library, they certainly will be!

The Wilson Globes, to remain on display in the Avenir Foundation Room, were acquired through the generous support of John C. Dann, Charles R. Eisendrath, J. Kevin Graffagnino, George M. Jones III, Donald F. Melhorn, Jr., Drew Peslar, Richard A. Pohrt, Jr., Bradley L. Thompson II, and J. Thomas Touchton.   

The Wilson globes were acquired with the help of several donors whose contributions allowed their purchase and installation in a specially built case. Their acquisition was made in honor of the retiring map curator, Brian Leigh Dunnigan, who completed 23 years of service to the Clements and to the map history profession, in June 2019. It is fervently hoped that Brian will return as a researcher to the library to have a closer look and study of these two fine globes.


Mary Pedley
Adjunct Assistant Curator of Maps

* * *

[1] The honor of being “first” American globemaker probably belongs to another resourceful craftsman: the shoemaker and tanner Samuel Lane (1718-1806), from Stratham, Massachusetts, whose pine terrestrial globe from the mid-1700s is now in the New Hampshire Historical Society collection.

[2] The Bennington (Vermont) History Museum houses Wilson’s desk built especially for his copy of the EB. See David Jaffee’s blog post in the American Antiquarian Society’s Commonplace.

[3] Susan Schulten, Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth Century America, Chicago, 2012, 17.

[4] Emma Willard, An Address to the Public…A Plan for Improving Female Education, Middlebury, 1819, 17. Emphasis added.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Clements Library receives $10M gift to name directorship, rare book room

For nearly 100 years, the University of Michigan William L. Clements Library has housed one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early American History in the world.

Its rise to international prominence is largely due to the guidance and vision put forth by the library's founding director, Randolph G. Adams, who transformed the personal archive of William Clements into a leading research library specializing in the collection and preservation of primary source materials from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

To celebrate Adams' legacy and the work of the three directors who succeeded him, The Avenir Foundation has donated $10 million to name the directorship the "Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library" through the establishment of the Adams, Peckham, Dann and Graffagnino Endowment Fund. The named directorship was approved by the U-M Board of Regents at its June 20 meeting.

Randolph G. Adams
Adams led the Clements Library for 28 years—from its opening in 1923 until his untimely death in 1951. Also a professor of history at U-M, he was a well-known scholar and advocate of rare book libraries. He worked with U-M's administration and William Clements, a former regent and the library's benefactor, to shape its policies and procedures, while also setting out to strengthen the collection—tripling its size during his tenure.

The endowment fund, which was named for the four men who have served as director since the library's opening, includes Adams, as well as Howard H. Peckham (1952-77), John C. Dann (1977-2007) and current director J. Kevin Graffagnino.

"As only the fourth director in the library's 96 years, I know I stand on the shoulders of my predecessors in overseeing all aspects of the library's activities, programs and initiatives," Graffagnino said. "As I close out a 40-year career as an Americana curator, scholar and administrator, nothing could make me more proud than to be a part of the Clements story, and its continued tradition of collecting, access and service in early American history that these former directors established here."

Graffagnino, who announced that he will retire in December 2019, recently oversaw a 2.5-year, $17 million renovation and expansion of the library from 2014 to 2016. The project also was funded in part by The Avenir Foundation, which has been an ardent supporter of the Clements since 1998.

The Avenir Foundation's gift will allow the Clements staff to plan and execute new projects, to acquire and conserve primary source materials, and to create programming that makes the collections more accessible through digitization, lectures and fellowships.

Honoring Norton Strange Townshend

In addition to the named directorship, the Clements Library's rare book room also will receive a new name: The Norton Strange Townshend Room.
The Norton Strange Townshend Room

The Norton Strange Townshend Family Papers, an important collection at Clements Library, include a wealth of primary sources, vividly documenting family relationships and everyday life in the 19th century.

"Scholars and curatorial staff regularly utilize the extensive papers of Townshend and his family in exhibitions, in the classroom and in the Avenir Foundation Room," Graffagnino said. "The materials in their papers are relevant to some of the social justice struggles still happening today."

Townshend (1815-95) had a long and multifaceted career in politics, medicine, social reform and agricultural education. His accomplishments included antislavery activism, political involvement at the local level and in the U.S. House of Representatives, work on the Underground Railroad, a role as a medical inspector in the Civil War and advocate of scientific training for farmers. The latter earned him the nickname "the father of agricultural education in the United States" and allowed him to shape Ohio State University as a co-founder and its first professor of agriculture.

He, along with his wife, Margaret Bailey Townshend, also participated in the women's suffrage movement. She contributed significant manuscripts and objects to the family papers, and her antebellum teaching materials find frequent use in U-M classes on education, women and gender studies. 

The William L. Clements Library: 96 years of collecting

Designed by Michigan architect Albert Kahn, the Clements Library—located next door to the president's house—is a landmark on U-M's central campus that houses one of the most comprehensive collections of early American history in the world.

The Avenir Foundation Room
Its name comes from the building's benefactor, William L. Clements, an Ann Arbor native, U-M alumnus (1882) and former regent of the university who made his fortune supplying equipment for the construction of the Panama Canal and other major engineering projects at the turn of the century.

As his personal wealth grew, so did his passion for history. Clements began collecting the rare books and manuscripts that make up the heart of the existing collection.

Since then, the library has continued to specialize in preserving and collecting original primary source documents—maps, manuscripts, correspondence, books, prints and early photography—from 1492 to 1900.

The collection is particularly strong in material relating to the American Revolution—Clements found the descendants of many of the key players in the Revolution (Lord Shelburne, General Sir Henry Clinton, General Nathanael Greene and others), bought their ancestors' papers and brought them to Ann Arbor.

Other highlights resulting from nearly 100 years of collecting at the Clements include documents relating to the exploration and discovery of North America, Native American history, colonial wars for conquest, the American Civil War and the anti-slavery movement and the move westward.

U-M William. L Clements Library
Randolph G. Adams
Norton Strange Townshend

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New Manuscripts Finding Aids: February – May 2019


The Clements Library is pleased to announce that the following manuscript collections are now described online and may be requested for use in the reading room.

This collection contains handwritten minutes, many with revisions and excisions, for 49 meetings of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions between 1848 and 1892. Written by multiple clerks, the minutes contain information on attendance, votes, resolutions, current and future missions, letters received, appointees, offers of service, reports from the field, salaries, grants, funding distribution, and other subjects.

Levi Aldrich scrapbook, 1841-1849 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This "Scrapbook bound by L. A." contains handwritten final drafts of editorial pieces written by Dr. Levi Aldrich of Shrewsbury, Vermont, as well as several clippings and copies of poems by other authors. The writings occupy 57 of 59 numbered pages in a lengthier blank book. The majority are final drafts of written pieces for The Universalist Watchman (Montpelier, Vermont) and The Rutland Herald (Rutland, Vermont), and other publications. He contributed obituaries, essays on faith, articles on medicine, and editorials on society and technology.

William Case Clark Notebook, 1779-1788 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This 30-page notebook by William Case Clark of South Kingston, Rhode Island, contains very brief notes on the 1776 British attack on Newport, Rhode Island, a copy of the numbers of soldiers of different ranks killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill, financial accounts for the purchase of foodstuffs in the 1780s, and a weather journal spanning January to May 1775. Clark also copied extracts from the poems "The Ballad of Chevy Chase" and "A New Song Called the Gaspee."

Creigmus v. Youngs Collection, 1893 - Processed by Cari Griffin
This collection consists of seven documents and handwritten notes related to a slander suit filed with the New York Supreme Court in Montgomery County, February 1893. The complaint, filed by Elisabeth B. "Lizzie" Creigmus's attorneys, alleges that defendant Michael Youngs publically accused Creigmus of canine castration and bestiality.

Edward B. Hartshorn Journal, 1858-1873 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This volume contains the journal of Edward B. Hartshorn from January 1858 to September 1863, anonymous writings regarding a possible trip to locations in the Mediterranean and Europe (including Palestine, Syria, Greece, Constantinople, London, France, and Rome), financial accounts for 1872 to 1873, arithmetic exercises, and a short poem on death.

Nehemiah S. Hayden Journal and Account Book, 1858 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This 93-page journal and account book chronicles a year in the life of Nehemiah S. Hayden, a sailor and shipbuilder from Essex, Connecticut, including voyages aboard the John H. Elliott to Antwerp, Belgium, and the clipper ship Frederick Gebhard to Savannah, Georgia. On 80 pages of journal entries, Hayden recounted the weather, shipboard tasks, and movement of other vessels, and offered brief glimpses of his personal life on and off ship. Five scattered pages of accounts entries detail Hayden's expenses for clothing, sundries, and services for 1858. Completing the volume is an anonymous 8-page work of prose (including the date January 15, 1858), telling the story of a young woman's heartbreak over the loss of her sailor love and his return to her after his rescue by an English ship. The front and back pastedowns bear sketches of a three-masted, square rigged ship (apparently the Frederick Gebhard ) and a two-masted, gaff rigged vessel.

Hart Hosley Exercise and Commonplace Book, 1835-1839 - Processed by Jayne Ptolemy
Between 1835 and 1839, Hart Hosley produced an exercise and commonplace book while attending the Canton Academy in Canton, New York, and while later living in Boston, Massachusetts. The bulk of the volume consists of a translation from French into English of François Fenelon's The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses. Selections of poetry, proverbs, songs, and mathematics problems comprise the rest of the volume. Pressed leaves appear throughout. The covers feature printed decorative paper (possibly wallpaper) of a woman playing a lute beside a dancing cherub.

Mary Greenhow Lee Collection, 1861-1907 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This collection is made up of letters, notes, and ephemera of Mary Greenhow Lee of Winchester, Virginia, who was a staunch supporter of the Confederate States of America. Included are travel passes, a contraband search memorandum, and an anonymous captured letter providing intelligence on "that little widow" Lee and "her gang of old maids" and other secessionists on Market Street. Bessie Elizabeth Johnston Gresham (Mrs. Thomas Baxter Gresham) acquired most of the pieces in this collection directly from her friend Mary Lee.

Point Lookout Prison Camp Collection, 1863-1865 - Processed by Robert S. Cox and Mary Parsons
The Point Lookout Prison Camp collection includes official correspondence, prisoners' letters, sutlers' receipts, and other documents relating to Confederate prisoners of war held at the Point Lookout Military Prison, Maryland, largely between the summers of 1863 and 1864.

Demas Lindley Sears Papers, 1916-1983 - Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray
This collection is made up of 158 letters, 8 speeches and writings, 36 documents, 25 ephemeral items and currency, 5 pamphlets or booklets, 43 newspaper clippings, 26 lithographs, and 99 photographs by or related to Lieutenant Colonel Demas Lindley Sears. The bulk of the collection pertains to his service as a mid-level intelligence officer in the U.S. Army's 37th Infantry Division during World War II. A small portion of the collection reflects his service in the 8th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Punitive Expedition of 1916 and in the First U.S. Cavalry during World War I.

James E. Taylor Letters, [ca. 1880-1897] - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This collection is comprised of three letters by James E. Taylor, an artist famous for his work in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, to Colonel George Meade, son of General George Meade. The letters respect the sale and trade of photographs of deceased Civil War officers. The letters are accompanied by a list of photographs owned by Taylor depicting officers who died in the Civil War.

William Anthony Notebook, 1851-1855 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This 111-page pocket notebook documents the studies and travels of William Anthony, a student at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1851 to 1855. The bulk of the entries are medical notes regarding patients Anthony encountered during his time at Jefferson.

John Thomas Batt Papers, 1772-1808 - Processed by Corey Schmidt
This collection is made up of 49 letters and 11 documents and other items, consisting primarily of the incoming correspondence of barrister John Thomas Batt from English and Irish aristocrats, politicians, and state figures. The letters pertain to the end of the American Revolution, the Franco-American alliance, political turmoil in Ireland from the 1780s through the early 1800s, and matters relating to English politics.

Herman Beck Language Practice Book, 1852 - Processed by Theresa Dowker
Herman Beck created this book of German-English language practice exercises on ethics, business administration, letter writing, bookkeeping, and other subjects. The volume includes some teacher corrections as well as printed, colored illustrations and a map of Europe.

Samuel Blodget Collection, 1802-1803 - Processed by Cari Griffin
This collection is made up of four letters, a bill, and a receipt, providing information about merchant, economist, and amateur architect Samuel Blodget, Jr.'s proposal for a National University and a monument to George Washington, to be erected in Washington, D.C.

William Rawle Brooke Diary, 1863-1865 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This diary chronicles William Rawle Brooke's service with the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War (he later changed his name to William Brooke Rawle). It begins with Brooke's initial Army commission in May 1863 and concludes in August 1865, shortly before his discharge. Brooke described daily army life, provided detailed accounts of battles, and other events of note.

Du Bois Medicinal Recipe Book, [ca. 1895] - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This notebook (241 pages) contains medicinal recipes as well as instructions for making other health, beauty, and household products. It contains several newspaper clippings and paper inserts, including one letter by Pierre Du Bois.

Kate G. Geary Autograph Album, 1877-1884 - Processed by Jayne Ptolemy
The Kate G. Geary Autograph Album contains signatures, poems, proverbs, and other contributions of Geary's male and female acquaintances in Michigan from 1877 to 1884.

Richard B. and Agnes Irwin Family Correspondence, [1796]-1894 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This collection is comprised of 76 letters written and received by members of the Irwin family (direct descendants of Benjamin Franklin). The majority of the collection consists of letters written by educator Agnes Irwin, Richard Biddle Irwin, who served as George McClellan's aide-de-camp, and their mother Sophia Bache Irwin during the first half of the Civil War.

Manuscript Recipe Book Collection, 1793-1959 - Processed by Sara Quashnie
This collection comprises thirty American manuscript recipe books dated from 1793 to 1959 with the bulk dating from the nineteenth century. Two of the books contain portions in German, while the rest are in English. Most regions of the United States are present, with the Northeast and Southern States best represented. Desserts represent the bulk of the recipes, cakes being the most popular. Some recipes include attributes to friends, family, or cookbooks, and some contain notes on quality of the dish. Directions for making medicinal remedies and practical household needs (such as cleaning product recipes or advice on fabric care) may also be included. Many volumes contain handwritten or printed inserts.

New York and Canada Line Account Book, 1869-1921 - Processed by Cari Griffin
The first section of this volume contains 73 pages of accounting records for the New York and Canada Line, which shipped cargo on the Northeast Atlantic seaboard and along the St. Lawrence Seaway. The entries date from 1869 to 1873. A second section of the volume contains accounting and inventory records for an unidentified slate company, between 1889 and 1910. The final page contains a single entry by an unknown party for a lumber purchase in 1921.

Petit Family Land Documents, 1840-1902 - Processed by Cari Griffin
This collection consists of 87 legal documents pertinent to land transactions conducted by Edward Petit (1812-1875) and his family in the Port Huron area of St. Clair County, Michigan, 1840-1902.

Leslie W. Quirk and Walker H. Mills Correspondence, 1926-1931 - Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray
This collection contains eight typed letters by author Leslie W. Quirk to his friend, fellow World War I veteran Walker H. Mills, and retained copies of Mills's nine responses to Quirk. Mills and Quirk served together in the American Field Service on the Western Front, Réserve Mallet, Motor Transport Company 839. Quirk struck up the correspondence in 1926 as he began writing a juvenile novel about the war, which he eventually published as Jimmy Goes to War (1931). They discussed the potential contents of the book, what parts of the story it would leave out or keep in, and descriptive details (such as insignia colors, the text of French signs, and other minutia). An inscribed copy of Jimmy Goes to War to Walker Mills accompanies the letters. The volume contains manuscript notations that appear to be an effort to identify the real names of fictionalized characters in the story.

Reading (Mass.) Documents, 1666-1731 - Processed by Cari Griffin
This collection consists of 17 manuscript documents respecting local affairs in Reading, Massachusetts, between 1666 and 1731. The documents address property, indigent persons, town meetings (calls to meet and issues addressed), and financial matters.

Charles S. Thomas and Jerome M. Snook Collection, 1868-1872 - Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray
This collection is made up of 14 letters by (or on behalf of) Charles Spalding Thomas to his friend Jerome M. Snook, while Thomas lived in Prairieville and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Denver, Colorado. In 1868 and 1869, Thomas sent requests to Snook, who worked as a clerk at the Beebe & Scott clothing store in Kalamazoo, asking him to clean his coat and secure him a pair of ladies' skates. Thomas wrote his letters of 1870 and early 1871 from Ann Arbor, where he studied law at the University of Michigan. Following his graduation in 1871, he corresponded from his home state of Georgia. Thomas sent his final letters from Denver, Colorado, where he settled to practice law. The correspondence pertains to acquaintances, the weather, women, lecturers, advice about Snook's upcoming attendance at the University of Michigan, and the 1872 presidential election.

William W. Winters Biography, [1853?] - Processed by Cari Griffin
This manuscript is a 141-page biography of William W. Winters (1826-1895), a one-time medical student from Ohio, cabinetmaker, daguerreotypist, and Methodist Minister, among other professions. The biography and subsequent pasted-in documents draw heavily from Winters's own diary entries and trace the events of his life from 1826 to 1853, including his divorce from his wife, who he accused of adultery.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Contemporary Issues Discussion Debut: "New Motherhood"

Earlier this year, I was spitballing some ideas with my colleague Louie Miller in the Reference Division office, and we chatted about how interesting it would be to bring together a historical item from our collection with the modern-day perspectives of people currently working on related topics. With the help of our supportive Development team, we were able to bring this idea to fruition, and we hosted our first Contemporary Issues Discussion event on May 9, 2019, in collaboration with the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. The spirit of this type of event is twofold. First, we want to provide an opportunity to consider how an issue that is relevant to us in our modern lives played out in the past and to reflect on how our personal experiences relate to that history. The second goal is more community-minded, as we celebrate the ways we're connected through these stories and welcome the chance to learn more about those who join us in conversation.


Our discussion on May 9th focused on the topic of new motherhood, using a letter from our Bradford Family Papers to center the conversation. Maria Bradford had married a schoolteacher, Claudius, in 1830, and the following year the young couple moved westwards from Massachusetts to Cincinnati. She got pregnant shortly after their move and the letter we considered was written by Maria to her mother back home, relating the story of her recent labor, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. Maria described who was in the room while she labored, how she burst into laughter upon first hearing her child cry, and how the doctor admonished her that doing so "would disturb her whole system." She told of conflicting advice coming from her female nurse and male doctor, hinted at common breastfeeding woes and her relief that she escaped them, and signaled towards a network of female friends and a nurse who were present to support her. Her husband resumed teaching two days after the birth of the child, and Maria admitted that her "nerves were weak," that she cried during the long nights and longed for her mother's advice. "My time is so entirely occupied," she lamented, "that it seems as if I had no time to do anything." This letter is striking in how it gives us a glimpse into childbirth and healthcare norms as well as the emotional, interior life of a new mother in the 1830s.

A detail of Maria Bradford's letter. Download and read the letter.

On its own, the letter is fascinating. But the conversation it spurred was even more so. We were fortunate enough to have three invited guests open our discussion -- Dr. Lisa Harris, an ObGyn at the University of Michigan; Jodi Long, a practicing doula and herbalist; and Barbara Robertson, a certified lactation consultant and owner and director of the Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor. They offered insights into the medical experience of labor, the power of one's birth story, breastfeeding challenges, and the complicated and powerful relationships with mothers-- all themes that we confront in Maria's letter that also resonate with their daily work. We had a full room, including many new mothers who were just starting their own journeys in parenthood. Much of our time was spent hearing about the group's personal stories and how they compare to Maria's account written some 188 years earlier. We mused on all that has changed, all the medical advances and social shifts that make our moment so different from Maria's. But we also reveled in all that still felt so present and familiar-- who else cried and felt overwhelmed when facing those early sleepless nights with a newborn, who else longed for their mother's advice.

Here at the Clements we are invigorated and inspired to continue this type of discussion, to explore what we can learn about our collections as well as our community when we put them in more immediate conversation. What do we gain when we see a historical document as an entry-point to engage, celebrate, and interrogate the stories of the past as well as the present? I don't have a clear answer yet, but it feels important, pressing, and empowering. We hope you'll join us as we hold more of these Contemporary Issues Discussions, learn more about American history and how it relates to our own personal ones, and try to figure this out, together.

Jayne Ptolemy
Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Last Colonial Governors in Revolutionary America

Over the course of 1774 and 1775, letters from distressed governors flooded General Thomas Gage’s headquarters in Boston. Colonial officials all across British North America were watching imperial government collapse around them and scrambling to maintain their power. They wrote to Gage – Commander in Chief of the British Army in North America and Governor of Massachusetts – looking for a solution. They wanted the money, men, ammunition, and information that only Gage could quickly provide.

In one exemplary call for aid, the governor of South Carolina insisted that the South was just as rebellious as New England. Governor William Campbell claimed that South Carolinians were equal to New Englanders in “the violence of their measures, & contempt of all Legal Authority.” Campbell felt impotent, writing how “absolutely [we are] under the command of [extralegal] Councils & Committees.”[1]  General Gage responded to Campbell’s letter with sympathy but not the hoped-for solution: “[I] am sorry to hear South Carolina is in such Confusion,” he wrote, “but Congresses and Committees seem to have the Rule of every Province.”[2]  In other words, you’re on your own.

General Thomas Gage (1721-1787)

I came to the William L. Clements Library – with the help of a Jacob M. Price Research Fellowship – to research the committees that so troubled these two men. To my delight, I found that the Clements Library has almost as many letters written by committeemen as they have letters written by colonial governors complaining about committees. The latter are surprisingly emotional and engaging. The Thomas Gage Papers at the Clements Library contains hundreds of letters from this period; after having read through most of them, I can tell you that the 1770s look very different when seen through the eyes of the last colonial governors.

The southern governors particularly resented having to fend for themselves against committees. Feeling abandoned by Gage, they turned to each other to shore up royal power in their region.[3]  This largely consisted of creating a communication network tying them to each other and to the military headquarters in Boston. The southern governors wanted to have timely and reliable information in the increasingly tense environment following the Battles of Lexington and Concord. They needed reports on battles and political skirmishes from Gage in order to combat damaging reports from rebel sources.[4]  They also needed an easy way to call for reinforcements if circumstances escalated and fighting broke out within their colonies. In light of this, the governors of Georgia and the Carolinas attempted to use a warship to ferry mail between the southern capitals and Boston.[5]

"A View of the Town of Boston with Several Ships of War in the Harbour," (1774).
Engraving by Paul Revere.
The southern governors chose the sea route because committeemen were notorious snoops. Committees in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and South Carolina regularly stopped and inspected mail sent between colonial officials. The governors were understandably terrified of their letters being intercepted and used against them by the committees. In addition to finding alternate ways to send their mail, a couple of governors suggested using cyphers to keep their correspondence secret.[6]  The Thomas Gage Papers show that governors started worrying about the security of mail routes as early as 1774 – well before war began!

Paranoia among colonial officials reached a high point in the summer and fall of 1775. Governors throughout the colonies spoke of a rebel plot to imprison and possibly execute all of the governors; this would apparently leave space for committees to rule the colonies without competition.[7]  Indeed, five governors were so afraid for their lives that they absconded to British warships waiting in their harbors.[8]  While it seems unlikely that rebel committees concocted an intercolonial plan to simultaneously seize the governors, committeemen were certainly not sad to see their governors go. By 1776, committeemen had made it impossible for governors to rule without Gage's soldiers and weapons; for the rest of the American Revolution, colonial governors could only maintain authority in areas where they had a strong military presence.

Treesh at work in the Avenir Foundation Reading Room, October 2018.

As I worked my way through Gage’s correspondence at the Clements Library, it was hard to not be overwhelmed by a sense of impending doom. Between 1765 and 1776, Gage corresponded with governors in every British North American colony as well as the Superintendents of Indian Affairs for both the North and the South. The Gage Papers give researchers a rare wide-lens view of colonial governance in its last years. Taken as a whole, these letters show the emotional and political turmoil of the imperial crisis spreading throughout the continent. 

Collections like the Thomas Gage Papers force us to recognize the messiness and contingency of the 1760s and 1770s, a period that we often think of as a linear, steady progression toward American unity and revolution. With such a geographically-broad collection we can see that dynamic political change happened at varying rates throughout the colonies, but almost always in fits and starts. Little about the movement toward revolution was “linear” or “steady”. Governors fought back against the committees and congresses, and were at times able to stem the rising tide of rebellion, though not stop it altogether. The story of American politics from 1765 to 1776 is about the decline of governmental authority as much as it is about the growth of rebel legitimacy. The Thomas Gage Papers are an especially good source for observing both sides of the story; I know that my dissertation is richer for having studied them.

Catherine Treesh
Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, Yale University
Clements Library 2018 Price Fellow

* * *

[1] A reference to the rebellious "committees of correspondence" and the colony-wide conventions that they generated - the first efforts to organize and carry out Patriot self-governance.  William Campbell to Thomas Gage, 1 July 1775, American Series, Vol. 131, Thomas Gage Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.

[2] Thomas Gage to William Campbell, 9 August 1775, American Series, Vol. 133, Thomas Gage Papers.

[3] The southern governors weren’t entirely wrong when they obliquely accused Gage of ignoring them. Gage was getting instructions from the Earl of Dartmouth to keep an eye on the South but to focus his attention and resources on New England, where the threat was deemed greatest. See Earl of Dartmouth to Thomas Gage, 15 April 1775, English Series, Vol. 28, Thomas Gage Papers.

[4] William Campbell to Thomas Gage, 1 July 1775, American Series Vol. 131, Thomas Gage Papers; Josiah Martin to Thomas Gage, 6 July 1775, American Series, Vol. 131, Thomas Gage Papers; Earl of Dunmore to Thomas Gage, 17 June 1775, American Series, Vol. 130, Thomas Gage Papers.

[5] William Campbell to Thomas Gage, 1 July 1775, American Series, Vol. 131, Thomas Gage Papers.

[6] Guy Carlton to Thomas Gage, 4 February 1775, American Series, Vol. 125, Thomas Gage Papers; Cadwallader Colden to Thomas Gage, 6 May 1775, American Series, Vol. 128, Thomas Gage Papers.

[7] William Franklin to Thomas Gage, 20 June 1775, American Series, Vol. 130, Thomas Gage Papers; Josiah Martin to Thomas Gage, 26 May 1775, American Series, Vol. 129, Thomas Gage Papers.

[8] The royal governors of New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

National Winston Churchill Day

Thanks to the contributions of Dr. Duane Norman Diedrich (1935-2018), the Clements Library holds selected original documents from Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the great Prime Minister who led Britain during World War II (see the Churchill Collection Finding Aid). A Professor of Speech, Dr. Diedrich collected and utilized historical manuscripts in his teaching. He used documents such as original speech drafts, podium notes, and printed versions of speeches to illustrate concepts and engage students. Churchill, one of the most powerful orators of the 20th century, was a fitting subject for his acquisitions.

Excerpt of podium notes and a photograph of Winston Churchill on February 26, 1946 at University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. Winston Churchill Collection, 1889-1965. Dr. Duane Norman Diedrich Collection. (Photograph: AP Wirephoto, 1946.)
It may seem strange to have Churchill documents in a library devoted to Americana.  However, on reflection, Sir Winston Churchill is also part of our country’s heritage.  Winston was half American by birth since his mother was the beautiful Jennie Jerome from Brooklyn, New York.  He was also made an honorary U.S. citizen on April 9, 1963.  Today is the 56th anniversary of that event.

Congress passed an “Act to Proclaim Sir Winston Churchill Honorary Citizen of the United States of America” (88th Congress, H.R. 4374).  A ceremony was held at the White House on April 9, 1963.  Churchill was too old and infirm to attend so he was represented by his son Randolph and grandson Winston. President John F. Kennedy addressed 250 guests at the ceremony and said:  “In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone - and most men save Englishmen despaired of England’s life - he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.  The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen.”  Randolph read from a letter sent by his father:  “In this century of storm and tragedy I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples.  Our comradeship and brotherhood in war were unexampled.  We stood together, and because of that fact the free world now stands.”

Sir Winston S. Churchill, Honorary Citizen of the United States of America. Worcester, Massachusetts: Achille St. Onge (1963).  A Miniature Book from the private Churchill Collection of Richard C. Marsh.
The origin of Winston’s honorary citizenship goes back to the 1950s with Kay Halle, a Cleveland department store heiress and Washington socialite.  She was a friend of both the Churchills and Kennedys.  She had first met Randolph Churchill in 1932 when, as a 21 year old, he was on a U.S. speaking tour.  After knowing Kay for only a few weeks, Randolph impetuously asked Kay to marry him.  She wisely refused this marriage proposal from Winston’s wayward and alcoholic son.

Kay Halle first brought up the idea of honorary citizenship for Winston with President Eisenhower.  However, Winston decided that the timing was not right because of the Suez Crisis, which strained U.S./British relations and resulted in the end of Anthony Eden’s premiership.  However, after John Kennedy was elected President in 1960, the timing was much better.  JFK enthusiastically supported Kay’s idea since Winston was JFK’s hero and he sought to emulate Winston’s oratorical skills.

As a young Harvard undergraduate, JFK had prepared a thesis entitled “Appeasement at Munich” which was highly critical of the Chamberlain appeasers and which focused on Winston’s 1936 speech regarding the “locust years”-- Britain’s period of indifference and appeasement while Nazi Germany built up its war machine.  Ever the promoter of the political careers of his sons, Joe Kennedy hired Arthur Krock, a New York Times columnist, to rewrite the thesis and find a publisher.  Krock suggested a new title “Why England Slept,” which was an unabashed reference to Winston’s book of his 1930s speeches which had been issued in the U.S. under the title “While England Slept.”  At age 23, “Why England Slept” established JFK’s writing credentials and subtly distanced himself from his father’s isolationist and defeatist views held when he was Ambassador to Great Britain during 1938-40.

JFK never had the opportunity to meet Winston during the years of his father’s ambassadorship.  He met Winston face to face on only one occasion in 1958 when JFK was a young U.S. senator with presidential ambitions.  Winston was vacationing on Aristotle Onassis’ yacht along the French Riviera.  JFK and his wife Jackie were invited to dinner on the yacht with other guests including Gianni Agnelli, the Italian auto magnate, and William Douglas Home, a British aristocrat and friend of JFK.  JFK was excited about the opportunity to meet his hero but the evening was a disappointment.  The years were taking their toll on Winston; he tired easily and was often distracted.  He paid very little attention to JFK and there were no memorable conversations which JFK had hoped for.  After the dinner, at which JFK had worn a white dinner jacket, Jackie attempted to make light of the situation and ease her husband’s disappointment by remarking “Maybe he thought you were the waiter, Jack.”  I am sure that those words did not console JFK.
         
Richard C. Marsh
Clements Associates Board of Governors

Monday, April 1, 2019

Reading a Manuscript, Which Reposes a Thousand Miles Away: Digitized Manuscripts Collections from the William L. Clements Library

The William L. Clements Library is pleased to announce that five of its manuscripts collections are digitized and accessible online.  These collections mark the beginning of the Library's efforts to provide free and open digital access to its collections of handwritten early Americana.  The digital versions are complete and presented in a manner that reflects their physical/intellectual arrangement. 
Screenshot of a July 4, 1782, muster roll from the Clements Library's German Auxiliaries Muster Rolls collection.
At the Clements Library, our mission is to collect and preserve primary source materials, to make them available for research, and to create an environment that supports and encourages scholarly investigation of our nation's past.  We acquire, preserve, and provide access to original historical materials and we believe very strongly in the educational and emotional value of interacting directly with them.  Notwithstanding, the digital versions of our holdings provide an especially important service to scholars and other researchers who are unable to travel to Ann Arbor or who may not have the time to complete their research in our Avenir Foundation Reading Room.

The Clements Library's manuscripts holdings are extensive and our priority lists for digitization projects are varied.  We selected these first five collections based on a variety of criteria, with a particular eye toward testing the format and display of the digital versions.  The selections therefore include examples of single and multi-series collections, oversize manuscripts, and a mixture of bound and loose-leaf items.  We also took into consideration patron use, size (the initial collections are all small), and digitization funding.  The digitization of the Samson Adams Papers, for example, is thanks to funding from the University of Michigan's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative.

The five selected collections will serve as proofs of concept for future grant proposals for larger, time- and labor-intensive projects, such as the digitization of our American Revolutionary War collections, women's diaries, Civil War collections, or others.

Digitized Manuscripts Collections:

German Auxiliaries Muster Rolls, 1776-1786 (bulk 1781-1783), comprised of 70 muster rolls and 15 additional letters and documents of the German regiments employed by the British to fight in the American Revolutionary War.  Digital collection located at:  https://quod.lib.umich.edu/g/germanaux/

Jonathan Chase Papers, 1775-1797, made up of letters and documents relating to the services of Colonel Jonathan Chase, of the 13th and 15th New Hampshire Militia regiments, during the Revolutionary War.  Digital collection located at:  https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/chase/

Samson Adams Papers, 1767-1794, comprising the estate and business documents of Adams, a free man of African descent living and working in Trenton, New Jersey, in the late 18th century.  Adams worked as a carpenter and laborer, and produced and traded in a variety of items, including soap, milk, corn, and construction materials.  Digital collection located at:  https://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/adams/

Samuel Latham Mitchill Papers, 1801-1829 (bulk 1801-1813), made up of over 500 letters from the U.S. Congressman to Catharine Mitchill, his wife.  These important letters touch on a wide variety of topics, including domestic politics and foreign affairs; relations with European powers; the Barbary Wars and other naval matters; the Aaron Burr conspiracy; Washington, D. C., society; Mitchill's scientific endeavors and sample collection; and his family life and travel plans.  Digital collection located at:  https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mitchill/

Elizabeth Camp Journals, 1819-1825, documenting her time spent with the Mahicans at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, as a schoolteacher and unofficial Congregationalist missionary.  Digital collection located at:  https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/campe/
This image of Clements Library Director Randolph Adams making use of a microfilm projector in 1938 poignantly illustrates the value of distributable facsimiles of primary source materials.  The Michigan Alumnus 54, no. 13 (January 29, 1938): 234. 

These online manuscripts collections are a new addition to the Clements Library's digitization program, which also includes the addition of printed materials to HathiTrust and of individual images to the Clements Library's Image Bank.  The Clements Library would like to express its appreciation to the many people involved in the manuscripts digitization process and metadata creation.  They include, but are not limited to, Chris Powell and the University's Digital Library Platform & Services (DLPS), DEI-funded interns Allie Scholten and Amelia Fuller, Joyce Bonk Assistant Corey Schmidt, Garrett Morton, and others.

Cheney J. Schopieray
Curator of Manuscripts