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“Americana is a Creed” publication now available to order

“Americana is a Creed” publication now available to order

In the spring of 2019, former Clements Library director Kevin Graffagnino proposed the idea of a book project which would be the sequel to the Clements’ 2017 publication The Pioneer Americanists: Early Collectors, Dealers, and Bibliographers. While The Pioneer Americanists consisted of a curated collection of autobiographical and biographical entries of some of the most noteworthy 19th century American librarians, bibliographers, book collectors, and dealers, this next title would focus on...

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United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book Transcriptions

United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book Transcriptions

The William L. Clements Library would like to announce the completion of transcriptions for the United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book, which documents the business proceedings of a mid-19th century organization. A hybrid of an insurance agency and charitable operation, the United Sons bound together members of the African American community of Salem, New Jersey, providing a social network, a financial safety net, and support in the event of illness or death.United Sons of Salem...

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“Framing Identity” exhibition examines Black empowerment, resilience through 19th century photography

“Framing Identity” exhibition examines Black empowerment, resilience through 19th century photography

Frederick Douglass once said: "Poets, prophets, and reformers are all picture-makers—and this ability is the secret of their power and of their achievements. They see what ought to be by the reflection of what is, and endeavor to remove the contradiction."Douglass left ample proof of this belief, using the power of his own image in the fight to abolish slavery. He is often recognized as the most photographed American of the 19th century. It begs the question: What archival evidence...

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New Finding Aids and Subject Guides: January 2021

New Finding Aids and Subject Guides: January 2021

The Clements Library is pleased to announce that the following collections are now described online and two new Subject Guides have been published to our website. Subject Guides highlight selected areas of strength in the collections and advice for researchers.  The Clements is open by appointment only for U-M faculty, students, and staff. (Learn how to make an appointment.) All researchers are invited to schedule a video consultation to discuss possibilities for completing their...

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New Collections Available for Transcription

New Collections Available for Transcription

We welcome new volunteers to join our ongoing transcription project on FromThePage. Three collections have recently been added and are available for transcription. In addition, the German Auxiliaries Muster Rolls are still awaiting further work, for those who like an extra challenge. Follow the links below to join the project: Lydia Maria Child Papers: Personal letters written by Lydia Maria Child, a writer, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist. They concentrate on the period...

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Empire and Encounter at Detroit: Native Nations, Native Labor

Empire and Encounter at Detroit: Native Nations, Native Labor

Guest post by Jonathan Quint, University of Michigan Department of History PhD candidate and Clements Library Intern. This third blog post in a three-part series titled “Empire and Encounter at Detroit” (read part 1 and part 2) uses James Sterling’s letter book to enter the world of early 1760s Detroit, as the British Empire sought to exert power and influence in territories newly won from New France in the Seven Years War. From mundane packing of fur bales to a dramatic narration...

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Student Curators discuss collaborative process developing ‘No, not even for a picture’ online exhibit

Student Curators discuss collaborative process developing ‘No, not even for a picture’ online exhibit

In 2020, University of Michigan students Veronica Cook Williamson and Lindsey Willow Smith worked with Clements Library staff and others—through a pandemic—to produce a new online exhibition examining early photography of Native Americans. In this guest post, Williamson and Smith walk us through the technical and intellectual aspects of developing the project this year. *** The 1864 carte de visite portrait of Wa-Kan-O-Zhan-Zhan is smaller than it looks on a computer...

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New Virtual Exhibition Reexamines Photography of Midwest Native People, Tribes

New Virtual Exhibition Reexamines Photography of Midwest Native People, Tribes

Group portrait of five unidentified Ojibwa Indian men wearing mixtures of western and traditional clothing posing outside tree bark wigwam at White Earth Indian Reservation, Minnesota.  Photography can be a tool of colonialism, as well as a tool of sovereignty and self-identification.With this principle at heart, the student creators of a new online exhibition investigate the complex balance between violation of privacy and the quest for self-identification felt by Native peoples during the...

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Empire and Encounter at Detroit: “Habitants,” Hired Labor, and the Enslaved

Empire and Encounter at Detroit: “Habitants,” Hired Labor, and the Enslaved

Guest post by Jonathan Quint, University of Michigan Department of History PhD candidate and Clements Library Intern. This second blog post in a three-part series titled “Empire and Encounter at Detroit” (read part 1) uses James Sterling’s letter book to enter the world of early 1760s Detroit, as the British Empire sought to exert power and influence in territories newly won from New France in the Seven Years War. From mundane packing of fur bales to a dramatic narration of Detroit’s siege by...

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Virtual discussion: histories of race, gender, and the practice of citizenship

Virtual discussion: histories of race, gender, and the practice of citizenship

What makes someone a citizen of the United States? The Fourteenth Amendment appears to provide a clear answer: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” But until the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the Constitution said very little about citizenship, aside from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, which reserves to Congress the right to establish a “Rule of...

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