Friday, October 18, 2019

Clements Library Chronicles is Moving

We are pleased to announce that the Clements Library Chronicles blog is moving to a new home as part of our library website redesign. This is the last post at For future posts, please see the new address

If you have subscribed to this blog by RSS or email, you will need to visit the new address to update your subscription. 

Contact us with any questions at Thank you all for reading!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Announcing the 2020 William L. Clements Library Research Fellowships

Scholars from across the globe visit the William L. Clements Library to work on books, articles, dissertations, creative projects, and more. In 2019 we welcomed 23 fellows. Fellows are encouraged to present a brown bag talk or write a guest blog post related to their research.

After visiting the Clements Library one of our fellows had this to say about the experience:
"The Clements Library not only has an amazing variety of rich collections but also an incredibly helpful, professional staff. During the approximately two and a half months I spent as a Fellow at the William. L. Clements Library I was able to make significant progress on my book manuscript. I made extensive use of the library's rich collections of manuscripts, rare books, maps, and graphic materials. Over the course of ten weeks I was able to review approximately forty individual and manuscript collections, fifty-five rare books, peruse the entire map collection related to the western portion of what would become the United States, and explore a great variety of graphic materials, ranging from family photo albums to railroad and auto tourist brochures."
As we continue to refine our program, we are excited to implement some new changes this year. First, we are providing the details of fellowships available for informational purposes, but applicants are no longer asked to apply for a specific fellowship. The fellowship review committee will consider the parameters of the project and make awards as appropriate.  In addition, we have reduced the distance requirement to 100 miles from Ann Arbor unless otherwise noted. And finally, recognizing the rising cost of travel, stipend amounts for some of our most popular fellowships have been increased.

Perhaps the most exciting change comes as a suggestion of our digital projects librarian, who has spearheaded a new digital fellowship. This non-residential fellowship supports researchers working remotely on any topic that can be supported by digitized library materials. Applications should identify items or small collections to be digitized in full, up to 900 pages or 0.5 linear feet total. Items must be stable enough for standard handling and able to be added to one of our digital collections. Please contact us with any questions about the selection criteria for eligible materials.

Visit our website for more information and instructions on how to apply as well as to view a list of previous fellows and their projects. If appropriate, please consider posting fliers advertising these fellowships to interested researchers. For questions, please email

William L. Clements Library Fellowships for 2020:

Jacob M. Price Visiting Research Fellowships were established to honor Professor Jack Price after his retirement as a distinguished member of the history faculty at the University of Michigan. Since 1995 over 200 early-career historians have received Price Fellowships with many going on to splendid careers of their own such as 1997 Price Fellow Dr. Elizabeth Fenn who recently won the Pulitzer Prize. Graduate students and junior faculty may apply with projects on any topic of American history that is supported by the collections. Grants are for $1,500 and require a minimum visit of one week.

Fellowships for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in American History support research at the Clements Library by affiliates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are undertaking a research project that examines topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion or who demonstrate a commitment to diversity in the field of American History. The award will be based largely on the significance of the Clements’ collection to the applicant’s research. Grants are for $1,500 and require a minimum visit of one week.

Brian Leigh Dunnigan Fellowships in the History of Cartography are funded through donations honoring Brian Leigh Dunnigan’s 23 years of service at the Clements Library as Map Curator and Associate Director. During his tenure, Brian oversaw the fellowship program and mentored many fellows during their stay in Ann Arbor. The fellowship supports research utilizing the Clements Library’s cartographic collections. Grants are for $1,000 and require a minimum visit of one week.

Richard and Mary Jo Marsh Fellowships have been provided by Clements Library Associate Board of Directors member Dick Marsh and his wife Mary Jo to fund any project supported by the Clements collections. Grants are for $1,000 and require a minimum visit of one week.

Mary G. Stange Fellowships, funded by the Mary G. Stange Charitable Trust, offer $1,000 to support research on any topic of American history supported by the collections for a minimum visit of one week. Unique projects are encouraged.

*NEW* Donald F. Melhorn, Jr. Fellowships are available through the generosity of Donald F. Melhorn, Jr. to help young scholars gain their first experience working in a major research library. Open to senior-class undergraduate and first or second year graduate students in any Ohio, Michigan or Indiana college or university. $1,000 awards support research involving at least one week at the Clements, on any topic in American history supported by its collections.

Post-Doctoral Fellowships:

Earhart Fellowships on American History were originally funded through a grant from the Earhart Foundation and now through an estate gift by Vera Wolfe. The Earhart fellowship provides $6,000 for scholarly research on any aspect of American history prior to 1901. Successful applicants are expected to spend a minimum of six weeks at the Clements. This is a post-doctoral fellowship that requires a completed Ph.D. or equivalent qualifications at the time of application.

Howard H. Peckham Fellowships on Revolutionary America were created by longtime Clements Library Associates Board of Governors member, Bill Earle, for three reasons: 1) To honor the second director of the Clements Library, Howard Peckham  2) To memorialize his parents, George and Ruth Earle, who knew and supported Howard Peckham, and  3) To fund research projects on  America from the Revolutionary War to the War of 1812 (1764-1815). Bill encourages other donors to contribute to the Peckham Fund to help provide even more fellowships.

This is a post-doctoral fellowship requiring a completed Ph.D. or equivalent qualifications at the time of application. The long-term Peckham fellowship requires a residence of two months or more with an award of $10,000 and a short-term fellowship which requires a residence of one week or more and provides an award of $1,000.

Reese Fellowships in the Print Culture of the Americas, funded by the William Reese Company, encourage research in the history of the book and other print formats, bibliography, and other aspects of print culture in America, including publishing and marketing, from the sixteenth century to 1900. The Reese Fellowship provides $5,000 to support one month of in-residence study in the Clements Library collections. This is a post-doctoral fellowship requiring a completed Ph.D. or equivalent qualifications at the time of application.

Norton Strange Townshend Fellowships, established by the Avenir Foundation, offer $10,000 in support of scholarly research on diversity, equity and inclusion in American history during the nineteenth century. Successful applicants are expected to spend a minimum of two months at the Clements. This is a post-doctoral fellowship that requires a completed Ph.D. or equivalent qualifications at the time of application.

*NEW* Digital Fellowships:

Digital Fellowships offer a non-residential opportunity to support research by graduate students, faculty, or independent researchers working remotely on any topic that can be supported by digitized library materials. We can consider proposals for items that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Stable enough for standard handling on one of our scanners
  • Being digitized in full (no single pages from books or selected items from manuscript collections)
  • Under 900 pages or 0.5 linear feet total
  • Out of copyright
  • Can be added to one of our digital collections and made freely available after digitization
  • Cannot be added to another institution’s holdings

Applications should identify items or small collections to be digitized in full, up to 900 pages or 0.5 linear feet total. See digitization criteria for details. Questions about eligible materials are encouraged prior to application submission. Grants provide digital files of the materials and $1,000 to support research using them.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Imperial Spanish Symbolism: The Pillars of Hercules

This essay examines three examples of the same Spanish cultural symbolism found in some of the oldest collection items at the Clements Library. 

The Clements Library is fortunate to possess at least three fine examples of illustrations exploiting the Spanish imperial theme of the Pillars of Hercules. The most ornate of these appears in a publication by the Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, dedicated to King Carlos V. Cabeza de Vaca’s prose is spare and utilitarian, as befits his purpose—a straightforward, unembellished account of a journey that began in 1527 with a shipwreck off the coast of what is now Alabama, and became a circuitous, Herculean trek overland from there to Southern California in search of what might be called "The Spanish Mecca": gold. Indeed, so spare is Cabeza de Vaca’s narration, that, nowadays, to begin to grasp the hardships and dangers he experienced, the reader must supply substantial interpolations, in light of what is now known about the harsh and unforgiving types of environment and terrain through which he suffered and persisted for a total of some nine years, until 1536.

La relacion y comentarios del gouernador Aluar Nuñez Cabeca de Vaca, de lo acaescido en las dos jornadas que hizo a las Indias. Con priuilegio. (1555) (First published 1542)

Today we notice first the double-facing Hapsburg eagle, displayed because Carlos V was indeed related to the Hapsburgs. But then we notice the eagle’s talons, each set clutching one of a pair of the "Pillars of Hercules," whose capitals are not traditionally Grecian, but royal crowns. Geographically, the Pillars of Hercules include the Rock of Gibraltar and its Moroccan counterpart across the strait. The Latin motto, "Non Plus Ultra," or, "Nothing Beyond," had, since classical times been used to indicate that there were no lands lying west of the strait. But with Spain’s discovery and colonization of the New World, epitomized by Cabeza de Vaca’s hazardous journey, the royal motto became, and still is, "Plus Ultra," showing how the range of Spanish sovereignty had far superseded that of classical Greece and Rome.

Libro primo de la conqvista del Perv & prouincia del Cuzco de le Indie Occidentali(1535)

In keeping with this self-conception of Spain, from 1535 we find the Italian Libro primo de la conquista del Peru & provincial del Cuzco de la Indie Occidentalia, with another double-facing Hapsburg eagle, pillars, and motto. This title page illustration includes elaborate, jumbled, heraldic quarterings, indicating some of the royal houses with which the Spanish crown was connected: lion of Leon, castle of Castile, striped shield of Aragon, fleur de lis of France. The inscription in the circle below the pillars reads: “Exivit sonus forum in omnem terram,” which comes from the Vulgate Bible, Psalm 18 (or 19 in modern translation). According to U-M’s Professor of Spanish Ryan Szpiech, this means, “Their voice goes out through all the earth.”

Le theatre dv monde ou Novvel atlas contenant les chartes et descriptions de tous les païs de la terre mis en lumiere. (1635)

Another engaging iteration of the Pillars of Hercules theme appears in the map division's 1635 atlas Le theatre dv monde ou Novvel atlas contenant les chartes et descriptions de tous les païs de la terre mis en lumiere by Guillaume et Iean Blaeu. Here, embellishing the map is an image of a lion skin stretched between two elegant fluted columns with Corinthian capitals. It’s an allusion to one of Hercules’ twelve labors, the slaying of the Nemean lion. These labors were imposed on Hercules by Zeus’ wife Hera, because Hercules was the illegitimate progeny of her husband by a mortal woman, and the living evidence of Zeus’ infidelity. In the Spain of recent centuries, however, it has tended to be another of the twelve labors, the slaying of the Cretan bull, that, because of its evocative suggestion of the bullfight, has garnered the most interest—from commentators seeking to cast the bullfight in the context of ancient Mediterranean culture. In the present image of the pillars there appear no eagle and no heraldic shield, yet the reference to royal Spanish sovereignty remains obvious.

Today, the idea of the Pillars of Hercules, with the implied extension of empire, is memorialized monumentally in several southern Spanish cities, most notably in Seville’s huge public park, the stone-paved Alameda de Hercules, and Ronda’s central Plaza del Socorro anchored by a statue of Hercules himself. During the centuries before and after Christ, the man-god was widely worshiped around the Mediterranean, and today the remains of a grand Grecian temple to him can be visited, and even walked through, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Agrigento in southern Sicily.

Together, these three illustrations shed light on several important themes: the image which Spanish royalty has of itself; the role of Andalucía as the historic point of departure for the intrepid Spanish galleons that, during the Renaissance transformed the Atlantic Ocean from a barrier into a thoroughfare; and the persistence into the present of ancient Mediterranean cultural themes.

Derek Brereton, PhD
Clements Library Volunteer

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Underground Railroad Documentation and Other Valuable Resources: More Digitized Manuscripts Collections from the William L. Clements Library

The Clements Library is pleased to announce that an additional five manuscript collections are digitized and freely accessible online. The digital versions are complete and presented in a manner that reflects the collections' physical/intellectual arrangements. This selection includes one example from the Library's Civil War collections and an unpublished English-Odawa dictionary (in the Fort Wayne Indian Agency Collection). We would like to express our appreciation for the University of Michigan's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiative, which partly funded the digitization of the African American History Collection, Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Papers, and Lydia Maria Child Papers.

The Clements Library would like to recognize the many people involved in the manuscripts digitization process and metadata creation. They include, but are not limited to Kelly Powers, Chris Powell and U-M's Digital Content and Collections (DCC), and DEI-funded interns Allie Scholten and Amelia Fuller.

Title page of the digitized version of the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Papers.

Digitized Manuscripts Collections:

African American History Collection, 1729-1966 (bulk 1781-1865), comprised of 252 individual letters, documents, and other manuscript items relating to slavery, abolition movements, and various aspects of African American life, largely dating between 1781 and 1865. Digital collection located at: NOTE: This collection contains only individual items that are not a part of larger bodies of papers. Please also search the Clements Library's finding aids and catalog records for an abundance of additional papers, books, maps, and visual materials pertinent to African American history. 

Lydia Maria Child Papers, 1831-1894, consisting of ninety mostly personal and at times provocative letters. The bulk is letters from Lydia Maria Child to her wealthy Boston abolitionist and philanthropic friends, the Lorings, between 1839 and 1859. They concentrate on the period of Child's distress with the institutional politics of antislavery, her editorship of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, her growing attachment to New York Bohemia, and the publication of "Letters from New York." The correspondence documents her day to day finances, friends, and family. Digital collection located at:

Fort Wayne Indian Agency Collection, 1801-1815, consisting of a letterbook kept by Indian agents John Johnston and Benjamin Franklin Stickney; an English-Odawa dictionary, likely written by Stickney; and a memorandum book kept by Johnston during his time at Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. Digital collection located at: 

Henry James Family Correspondence, 1855-1865 (bulk 1859-1865), made up primarily of incoming correspondence to husband and wife Gilbert and Adeline James of Cherry Creek, New York. Their most prolific correspondent was Gilbert's brother Henry James, who sent 18 letters, most written while serving in Company C of the 7th Michigan Cavalry during the Civil War. Henry James wrote to his family about life at Maple Grove, near Saginaw, Michigan; camp life during training at Camp Kellogg, Grand Rapids; experiences fighting at Gettysburg and elsewhere in Pennsylvania; and his posting at Camp Stoneman, Washington, D.C. Digital collection located at: 

Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society Papers, 1848-1868, consisting of materials collected by the society, including correspondence to and from various members about slavery, fugitive slaves and Underground Railroad activity, the conditions of freemen, and other progressive issues; printed annual reports; and other items. Among the significant correspondents in this collection are Frederick Douglass, Julia A. Wilbur, and Julia Griffiths Crofts. Digital collection located at:

Cheney J. Schopieray
Curator of Manuscripts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

William L. Clements and "The Death of General Wolfe"

The Death of General Wolfe was reinstalled for permanent public display at the William L. Clements Library last month. Over 240 years old and 8 1/2 feet in width, the epic Benjamin West painting once again graces its longtime home after nearly seven years offsite. In this essay, Graphics Curator Clayton Lewis describes how William Clements acquired the painting in 1928.

All collectors know the feeling of being haunted by the one that got away. “Buyer’s remorse” from an expensive impulse purchase can hurt, but the pain of having hesitated and then lost is much worse. This was likely how William L. Clements felt after the Sotheby’s auction of February 10, 1921, where he bid $4,000, a huge sum for the day, on a full-size version by Benjamin West of his masterpiece The Death of General Wolfe—but to no avail.
Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe (1776)
At the time, Clements was steeped in the design of his proposed Library of Americana, which he planned to build on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Michigan. What better statement of purpose and identity could his collection of early American history have than The Death of General Wolfe hanging high on the oak-paneled wall of the Great Hall he envisioned? Clements must have struggled to put the West painting out of his mind as he buried himself in the complications of constructing the library that would bear his name, the first collection of its kind of rare Americana at an American public university.

Fortunately for Clements and for the University of Michigan, Benjamin West painted five full-size versions of his most popular painting. Across the Atlantic, in Germany, the third version was starting on a course destined to end in Ann Arbor. The Prince Regent of Waldeck, Landgreve of Hesse, had commissioned this painting from West after seeing the original on display in London in 1775. Its themes of national unity, imperial power, and martyrdom must have resonated with the Prince, who had just agreed to send troops to help Britain fight the rebelling colonists in North America, the scene of the painting.

The Prince’s version of The Death of General Wolfe became the centerpiece of the collection at Castle Waldeck in Arolsen, which was filled with grandiose portraits and minor masterpieces. The epic sweep and emotion of West’s painting set it apart from the rest of the rather staid Waldeck collection. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), professor of medicine and natural history at Göttingen University, described the painting in a 1777 letter to his father, shortly after its arrival:
The Castle is very modern, built circa 1720, where lives the Prince of the region  and his mother. In a great hall, hung painted portraits of great heroes, statesmen and scholars. What charmed me more than anything was the famous painting by B. West, The Death of the General Wolfe (it cost 600 pounds sterling). The bravery and calm in the dying Wolfe's face, while at the same time learning about the victory from his men, the numbness and grief in the faces of the surrounding officers, the pensiveness of the brave surgeon who, abandoned by his art, kneels next to him, the astonishment of an American native who is in front of him, all that can be seen from every eye and felt from every heart, but certainly can’t be described by a quill.

The color palette is muted, but one is sure that the hand of the master has moved one, not like the French pictures where one is deceived by the paint box. I stood daily and long in front of it, each time with new enjoyment. The Count has the famous original painting by H. Tischbein, Herman after the Victory over Varus, which clashes terribly with West. Full of forced theatrical arrangements, so little nature, such unimportant faces, such a garish color palette. Luckily, it hangs in another room, one should see it first before West’s so it doesn’t lose so much in comparison.

The painting remained at the castle for 150 years until it was shipped to the New York gallery of Berlin dealer Paul Bottenweiser in 1927. Acting as agent for Waldeck, Bottenweiser Galleries offered it privately to the Smithsonian Institution, but the national collection was strapped for cash and declined to purchase it.
The Smithsonian Institution declines to purchase The Death of General Wolfe in this letter of March 4, 1927.

Another Chance

The William L. Clements of 1928 was greatly changed from the man who failed at the auction in 1921. After the dedication of his library in 1923, Clements had written, “I have returned home to a house empty of nearly all books, so it is needless to tell you how totally lost I am.” There were indications that his marriage was not a happy one and with his son James having died of influenza in France in 1918, he showed signs of loneliness and resentment that would surface periodically for the rest of his life. But in the late 1920s, Clements was rebounding and filling his empty bookcases with manuscript collections of major players from the American Revolution—the collections that would jumpstart reconsideration of that event by twentieth- and twenty-first-century historians.

On April 1, 1928, the New York Times reproduced the Waldeck painting in its Sunday supplement with an announcement that it was on display and available for purchase at Paul Bottenwieser Galleries. Clements was in New York on business, staying at the Hotel Belmont on 42nd Street. He wrote to his library Director, Randolph G. Adams, saying he intended to see the painting immediately: “I am interested in seeing the Benj. West picture of the ‘Death of Wolfe’ now on exhibition here and reproduced in today’s (Sunday) Times. It is probably very expensive…. It would be a wonderful hanging for the large room but I must stop my extravagance.”

Clements was deeply moved, however, by the stunning painting and its wonderful condition. Bottenweiser Galleries told Clements that the picture was “never retouched in any way, only washed in clear rainwater and varnished.” The provenance was rock-solid and fascinating in and of itself, especially to a collector of American Revolutionary materials. The significance of this particular painting’s having come from the collection of a provider of Hessian soldiers that fought General Washington was certainly not lost on Clements.

Ever the shrewd businessman, Clements risked making an offer of $7,500—much less than the asking price of $12,500, but considerably more than his failed bid of $4,000 at the Sotheby’s auction. While his offer may seem modest in the extreme compared to today’s overinflated art market, Clements had purchased one of the most famous rare books in his collection, the Rome 1493 edition of Christopher Columbus’s Epistola, for $1,650 a few years earlier and the construction budget for his luxurious library of cut sandstone, carved oak, and polished brass was $175,000. Julius Roedelsheimer wrote to his client in Waldeck for a response to the offer while Clements headed back to his Bay City home to wait.

On April 7, 1928, Paul Bottenwieser Galleries sent Clements a wire to report that there was no news from Waldeck. Six days later, they congratulated him—the price was agreeable and the owner would include with the painting a letter from 1776 that accompanied the original purchase receipt from Benjamin West. Clement asked his trusted advisor, New York City book dealer Lathrop C. Harper, to deliver the check for payment and oversee the crating and shipping of the painting by railway express. The Death of General Wolfe arrived in Ann Arbor by the end of April 1928. Randolph Adams had the frame repaired and re-gilded and ordered a special light fixture to illuminate the painting more effectively. On June 8, 1928, he wrote to Clements to let him know the painting was on the wall in time for University commencement visitors, including Lathrop Harper, who would receive an honorary degree. There is no record of how many visitors came to see Clements’s new purchase, but the Library set up velvet ropes in the Great Room to control crowds.

The telegram announcing the acceptance of William Clements's offer for The Death of General Wolfe.
The cover letter dated September 3, 1776 from C. H. Hinuber to the Prince Regent of Waldeck's secretary that accompanied the original 1776 purchase receipt from Benjamin West. Though promised to William Clements upon his purchase of the painting, it was never delivered. Photostat courtesy of Preussisches Staatsarchiv, Marburg, Germany.

Home at the Clements

Still hanging high on the oak-paneled north wall of the Great Hall, The Death of General Wolfe is breathtaking. Not only does the painting add to the unique aura of the institution, it contextualizes the scope of the collections. It is a highly visible signal that the Americana collection one is entering has an orientation different from the Massachusetts Bay-Jamestown view of early American history offered by many East Coast institutions. The Clements Library collection has a broader perspective that focuses on the swing of power from Native American to French to English, from the Atlantic to the Old Northwest, reflecting both the interests of an early twentieth-century Michigan industrialist and the range of historical scholarship at a great midwestern university.

In spite of the impression that it seems to have made, Clements showed concern that his purchase was not having the effect that he had hoped for. Adams reassured him that
with regard to the degree of appreciation shown the West picture—I would say there is nothing in the library which has excited greater interest among the casual visitors. Among the academic sort of callers, the presence of the West picture has had a rather unexpected and distinctly gratifying effect. More than one has remarked, ‘Now I see why Mr. Clements has given this library.’ This, I take it, means that previously the Library had meant to some of them only a collection of tools—whereas now its more spiritual and less intellectual aspects begin to dawn upon them. 

Since Benjamin West’s theory of “epic representation” in historical depictions gives license to the fictionalizing of historic events in artistic depictions, what does it mean for the Clements Library, an institution that stakes its reputation on authentic primary source documentation, to display a powerful fictional rendition of what historian Fred Anderson has called the “most important event in eighteenth century North America?” It very much depends on whether one is seeking documentation of the facts of the event itself or facts of the event’s larger meaning and influence. As evidence of conventional military history, West has given us a very misleading image. But as evidence of the power of visual culture to shape perceptions of history, the conscription of art to the cause of patriotism, the emergence of an independent American identity, the rise of American influence on European culture, and of European participation in the American Revolution, The Death of General Wolfe is an articulate and convincing “document.”

As for the significance of the event itself, University of Michigan Professor Emeritus of History John Shy has said, “Viewers of this painting have always seemed to sense that this dramatic tableau of mourners grouped around a dying young general signifies a major turning point in modern history. The British victory at Québec came close to deciding the future of North America. With the elimination of the French threat, the American colonists soon grew obstreperous and, before long, were confronting the British government. The line between Wolfe’s victory and Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is not simple or straight, but surely there is a close connection.”

A vital part of the Clements Library’s mission is to provide not just access to information, but the meaningful immersion in historical materials that comes closest to replicating time travel. Its mission is thus as much about inspiration as it is about information. The Death of General Wolfe, “a stupendous piece of drama,” according to Professor Simon Schama of Columbia University,  and “a spectacle presented to raise and warm the mind” according to Benjamin West himself, has often ignited that spark of brilliance in scholars working at the Clements, whether specifically on the painting or on other eighteenth-century subjects.

Since 1928 the Clements Library has collected examples of the theme of the death of General Wolfe in popular culture, such as this circa 1810 Wolverton, England-painted iron tea tray.

Since 1928 Benjamin West’s The Death of General Wolfe has left the Clements only for conservation and repair at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the 1980s, to serve as the gateway piece of the 1993 exhibition Picturing History: American Painting 1770–1930 in New York and Washington DC, and now to anchor the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire. It remains in magnificent condition, and many more have now, like Johann Blumenbach, “stood daily and long in front of it, each time with new enjoyment.”

Clayton A. Lewis
Curator of Graphic Materials

(Reproduced with permission, Carole McNamara with an essay by Clayton A. Lewis, "Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire." UMMA Books, University of Michigan Museum of Art, 2012.)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Latest Quarto: Our Favorites

The Summer-Fall 2019 Quarto is now available. The Quarto is a semi-annual magazine published by the William L. Clements Library and sent to the Clements Library Associates. Terese Austin, Head of Reader Services, has taken the helm as editor with support from outgoing editor Brian Dunnigan. Dunnigan, who retired from the Clements Library this summer, has been named curator emeritus of maps by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

This issue of The Quarto is titled "Our Favorites." Clements curators, catalogers, and other staff were tasked to write about a favorite item, collection, or particular aspect of collecting that stirs their interest and affection.
  1. "A Commonwealth of Beavers," by Mary Pedley, Assistant Curator of Maps. Explores the symbolism of the beaver, used as a cartographic design element, in thinking about early American communities and frontier boundaries. 
  2. "Historical Anomaly: An Elizabethan Ruffian in the American Archive," by Louis Miller, Curatorial Assistant. Places into context a surprising piece of 16th-century correspondence with connections to settlement in New Florida and famous English diarist Samuel Pepys.
  3. "A Russian on the American Front," by Oksana Linda, Rare Book Cataloger. Illuminates the life and military career of Russian immigrant and Civil War hero General John B. Turchin.
  4. "Yeoman Farmers and Princes of Land Jobbers," by J. Kevin Graffagnino, Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library. Explains the significance of a colorful 1780 map in the boundary feud between New York and a group of independent-minded colonials who would eventually form the state of Vermont. 
  5. "Fairy Flowers from Childhood's Garden," by Jayne Ptolemy, Assistant Curator of Manuscripts. Notes the delicate footprints left by children in the historical record, both through the written observations of attentive parents, and the words of the children themselves.
  6. "'Hur Book': Artifacts of Ownership," by Emiko Hastings, Curator of Books. Reveals the quiet but certain presence of women as readers and book owners demonstrated by evidence left in volumes in the Clements collection.
  7. "Sweet Tooth," by Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director & Curator of Maps. Explains the elements of a remarkably detailed map of a sugar plantation in Haiti, including depictions of slave quarters, processing equipment, and various plantation outbuildings.
  8. "'Temperance, Exercise, & Cheerfulness': The Letter Book of John Hughes," by Cheney J. Schopieray, Curator of Manuscripts. Focuses on the ill effects of mental illness and alcohol abuse experienced by John Hughes and his family in a rare first-hand account of an early nineteenth-century life in turmoil.
  9. "Go and Live Among Them," by Jakob Dopp, Graphics Cataloger. Follows artist and explorer George Catlin as he creates his vibrant and evocative depictions of Native American life on the Great Plains in the mid-1800s.
  10. "Developments," by Angela Oonk, Director of Development.
  11. 2019 Fellowships Awarded. Welcomes the twenty-three Clements Library fellows who will visit and research the collections this year.
  12. Celebrating Brian Dunnigan. Honors the life and career of Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Clements Library map curator and valued colleague, with details of his June 11, 2019 farewell event.
  13. Announcements. Clements Library receives $10M gift, Directorship and Rare Book Room Named; Exhibitions, "Things I Like Most About the Clements Library: Brian Leigh Dunnigan Retrospective," May 3 - October 25, 2019; What's in Your Attic?, September 15, 2019.
This issue of The Quarto can now be accessed and read online. Our donors, the Clements Library Associates, receive a high-quality print of the publication by mail. You can support the Clements by making a gift online or by contacting Anne Bennington-Helber at or 734-764-5864.

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 (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.