William L. Clements Library


To be announced.

Section Break


Due to the Clements Library’s renovation, the Clements Library 2014 Events and Lecture series will be held at the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery Room 100.

All lectures are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Please email clementsevents@umich.edu or phone 734-647-0864.

"New Stories of Old Times: Restoring Detroit’s Early History, One Image at a Time"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
4:00 p.m.

Karen Marrero
Wayne State University Assistant Professor of Colonial North American History

There are many nineteenth-century images of Detroit’s earlier history that were painted on canvases now hanging on the walls of local libraries, or carved into stone on buildings now destroyed or abandoned.  The creators of these images sought to capture the past life of the city as truthfully and faithfully as possible, basing their work on published histories and memoirs of the time.  Their work was part of a movement in the nineteenth-century to use local history in the construction of a marvelous origin story of Detroit. Today, it is apparent that these romanticized works of art are inaccurate depictions of an earlier era, and merely remind us how little we know of Detroit’s early history.  Despite this realization, however, these problematic representations are still the dominant motif for learning the history of the City, and they masque a much more complex and provocative past.

How can we now turn these images inside-out and use them to guide us to fresh insights that better reflect Detroit’s early status as a central political, economic, and cultural meeting ground for European and indigenous communities?  Karen Marrero will explore these questions by considering two works of art created in the 19th century to depict two moments viewed as pivotal in Detroit’s history.

"Winds, Settlers, and Farmsteads in the 19th Century"

Brown Bag Lecture
Stephen S. Clark Library, 2nd Floor, Hatcher Library
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

James E. Davis
Professor Emeritus of History and Geography, Illinois College

Although many 19th-Century settlers in the Midwest did not have much formal education, they were intelligent, rational, and eager to learn.  In constructing farmsteads and related farm features, they relied upon past experience and upon learning from each other.  They took into account such factors as topography, winds, sunlight, existing technology, and the nature of their crops and livestock.  They created farmsteads and related features that reflected rational guiding principles and that were remarkably logical and functional. Dr. Davis will discuss a theoretical approach to the geography of the farmsteads and will provide a working knowledge of the Wind Rose and the ability to apply it everywhere on earth.

"Crossing the Gulf: Cuba, Louisiana, and the Diaspora of Saint-Domingue/Haiti"

Founder's Day
Thursday, April 2, 2015

4:00 p.m.

Rebecca Scott
University of Michigan Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law

Despite its famous storms, the Gulf of Mexico has often served as a pathway for the exchange of people and ideas among the colonies and nations on its shores, including the idea that persons could not be held as property, and that all persons are entitled to the protection of the law. Rebecca Scott, co-author with Jean Hébrard of Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation, will explore the itinerary of one woman – Adélaide Métayer/Durand – whose journey in the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution illuminates the thin line between slavery and freedom. As she moved from one jurisdiction to another, Adélaïde’s status crossed and re-crossed that thin line, amidst great dangers for the children whose status was contingent upon hers.

"The Body in the Library: Lord Lansdowne and his Nursery for Reform"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
4:00 p.m.

David Hancock
University of Michigan Professor of History

Historians know about the importance of private libraries to the early Enlightenment and by extension the entire age, but they know little about exactly what happened to them after 1750 and how what existed connected to collectors, collections, the constructed environment encasing them, and consumers.  Professor Hancock will talk about the important private collection of books and manuscripts assembled by William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and 1st Marquis of Lansdowne (1737-1805), Britain’s first Irish-born prime minister, and housed at his palace in London.  He will examine the design, decoration and furnishing of a space to house them in, their acquisition, use and disposition between 1761 and 1805, and the tastes and thoughts they reflected.  A large private library informed by universal principles like Lansdowne's was one of the prime movers of the late Enlightenment, domesticating and rendering practical that movement and, at the same time, playing an ambiguous, yet undeniably critical role as an instrument of incipient Revolution.