William L. Clements Library

About the Library

The William L. Clements Library is a University of Michigan library that houses original resources for the study of American history and culture from the fifteenth through the nineteenth century. Its 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.

The Library is comprised of four Divisions: Books, Graphics, Manuscripts, Maps, and is the former location of the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive, now housed in the Special Collections Library on the University of Michigan campus.


The Clements Library collects primary source materials in all formats relating to early American history. Its collections of rare books, pamphlets, maps, prints, photographs, and manuscripts shed light on North American history from Columbus through the 19th century, offering researchers a wealth of unique resources. On almost any aspect of the early American experience – military history, politics and government, religion, gender and ethnicity, the creative arts, travel and exploration – the holdings at the Clements Library are among the best in the world. Notable strengths of the Library include early exploration and settlement of North America, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War.

Collection Development Plan (pdf)


The Library was founded in 1923 by William L. Clements, a Regent of the University of Michigan. View the Library History slideshow to learn more about Mr. Clements and the history of the Clements Library.


The Library is open to all serious researchers. For more information about how to become a Clements Library reader, see Doing Research at the Clements and the Research Tutorial. The Clements Library also offers several fellowships to provide support for scholars visiting the Library in pursuit of research on significant projects.

Public Programs

Exhibits in the Main Room of the Clements Library are open to the public. See Current Exhibit for more information. To find out about public events offered by the Library, see Upcoming Exhibits and Events. To arrange a group visit to the Library, see Plan a Guided Visit or Request a Class or Presentation

News and Information

The Clements Library Chronicles is a blog of news and information about the Library, updated weekly with events, exhibits, links to news articles about the Library, and features on items from the collections.

The Quarto, the Library newsletter published each spring and fall, is mailed to Clements Library Associates.