William L. Clements Library

Upcoming Exhibits and Events


Upcoming Exhibit: May 3 - October 25, 2019

Niagara River Watercolor

"Things I Like Most About the Clements Library: Brian Leigh Dunnigan Retrospective"

The Clements Library is a treasure house of American history.  During a 23-year career with the Clements, Brian Dunnigan has served as curator of maps, head of research and publications, associate director, and acting director.  Daily contact with the collections has inspired reflections on some of the things that the Clements does very well, driving his exhibit themes around active collecting, conservation, solving mysteries, and more.

Dunnigan’s selections include poignant manuscripts, striking visual imagery and cartography, and some of his favorite materials from the collections, drawing especially from his expertise in the mapping the Great Lakes. This valedictory exhibit in the Clements’s soaring Avenir Foundation Reading Room dwells on seven areas of commitment and illustrates the concepts with some of the Library's most evocative and handsome holdings.

Exhibit hours are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Fridays. Learn more about our Current Exhibits.


All lectures are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. See links below to register.

Lecture – 6:00pm, Tuesday, May 7 – Robertson Auditorium at Ross School of Business

Martha Jones, “Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America”

As former slaves struggled to become citizens, they redefined citizenship for all Americans. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, fulfilling the long-held aspirations of African Americans. Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. Professor Jones holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law. Her most recent book, “Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. Register online.

Contemporary Issues Discussion: New Motherhood - 12:00-1:00pm, Thursday, May 9 - Tisch Hall

Maria Bradford gave birth to her first child in late 1831 and wrote a letter to her mother shortly afterwards describing her childbirth, recovery, and longing for motherly advice. All are welcome to a discussion with historians, medical practitioners, and new mothers to explore how this stirring letter evokes transcending questions about the birthing experience, infancy, and new motherhood. Join in the conversation by sharing your own history and personal reflections with other U-M and local community members over a complimentary lunch. Free, registration is required by May 7 at myumi.ch/Lqoje. Presented by the U-M Clements Library and the U-M Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies.

Lecture – 6:00pm, Thursday, May 23 – Robertson Auditorium at Ross School of Business

S. Max Edelson, “The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence”

A Michigan Map Society Lecture

In the eighteenth century, Britain relied on geographic knowledge to reform its American empire. The schemes of colonial development and control that these maps envisioned, Edelson argues, helped provoke the resistance that led to the American Revolution. Lecture presented in collaboration with the Stephen S. Clark Library. Dr. S. Max Edelson is Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His second book, “The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence” (Harvard University Press, 2017) was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and received the John Lyman Book Award for U.S. Maritime History by the North American Society for Oceanic History. Register online.

Lecture – 6:00pm, Tuesday, June 4 – Robertson Auditorium at Ross School of Business

Patrick Spero, “Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776”

Discover the untold Story of the "Black Boys," a rebellion on the American frontier in 1765. Drawing on largely forgotten manuscript sources from across North America, Spero reveals an often-overlooked truth: the West played a crucial role in igniting the flame of American independence. Patrick Spero is a scholar of early American history, specializing in the era of the American Revolution. He is the Librarian and Director of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia. Dr. Spero holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Register online.

Celebrating Brian L. Dunnigan – Tuesday, June 11

4:30-5:30pm – Special Exhibit Viewing, Clements Library

6:00pm – Reflections & Remarks with Reception to follow, Blau Colloquium at Ross School of Business

Clements Library Associate Director and Curator of Maps Brian Leigh Dunnigan is retiring. Join us as we congratulate him and reflect on his career. The Clements will hold a viewing of Dunnigan's exhibit (4:30-5:30pm) prior to this special event at the Ross School's 5th floor Blau Colloquium, featuring Remarks and a Reception. Register online.