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British Manuscripts Collections

Clements Library staff examine trunks containing the Thomas Gage Papers upon their arrival in Ann Arbor in the 1930s.

In the 1920s, William L. Clements concentrated his collecting on manuscripts relating to the American Revolution. His interest had begun in 1920, when he bought the papers of William Petty, Lord Shelburne, the British Prime Minister who negotiated the peace ending the Revolutionary War. Between 1925 and 1930, he acquired the papers of British generals Thomas Gage and Sir Henry Clinton, Cabinet Minister Lord George Germain, and the Hessian General von Jungkenn, creating the largest archive in the United States of manuscripts and maps relating to British conduct of the American War. On the American side of the conflict, Clements purchased the papers of Continental Army General Nathanael Greene.