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Home » About » Blog » New Manuscripts Finding Aids: Spring 2021

The Clements Library is pleased to announce that the following collections are now described online and may be requested for use in the reading room. (The Clements Library is currently open by appointment only for U-M faculty, students and staff.) Before planning your research visit, please verify in advance if our normal open hours for researchers have resumed. For all researchers, we are happy to schedule a video consultation instead of a visit to the library. Please email us at to set up a consultation.

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Alfred Bixby diary (1818-1819) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
Alfred Bixby, teacher and superintendent at the Stratford Academy in Stratford, Connecticut, kept this volume between November 9, 1818, and February 22, 1819. The primary subject matter of the diary is his aggressive and unsuccessful pursuit of a young woman’s hand in marriage. She is identified only by initials C.M.B. He also provided thoughts about law school (at Litchfield Law School), his future occupations, church politics, attendance at sermons, his character, the pursuit of wisdom, reading, students, a multitude of visits, troubles with his landlady, parties and balls, and other social matters.

Henry Taber account book (1826-1870) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
The Henry Taber account book spans March 25, 1826, to September 17, 1870, and documents the New Bedford merchant’s sales and payments. The volume shows the outfitting of the Sloop Experiment in the 1820s and the Sloop Helen in the 1830s, and records sales and transportation of flour, whale oil, sallow, wages, truss hoops, a brass compass, corks, pears, apples, raisins, books (1837, 1842, 1845, and 1852), beef, boards, freight, and cartage. From 1835-1860s, many of the accounts are payments of wages to women. The front pastedown bears a printed advertisement for “A. Shearman, Jr. & Co. Booksellers & Stationers, New-Bedford,” with a list of various papers, blank books, writing utensils, bibles, schoolbooks, and nautical equipment.

Portland & White Mountains Stage Coach records (1836-1838) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This volume contains records for riders of the Portland & White Mountains stagecoach, which ran in the area of Portland, Maine, northwest to Conway, New Hampshire. Kept haphazardly, with writing often overlapping other writing, the driver documented the location where he picked up passengers, the number of seats they occupied, and occasionally their names. Pick up locations were often at hotels and taverns, such as the Cumberland House and American House in Portland.

A spread from the Portland & White Mountains Stage Coach records (1836-1838)

Abraham Heiny account book (1834-1843) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This volume is made up of the accounts of Jackson, Indiana, blacksmith Abraham Heiny between 1834 and 1843. Heiny’s accounts include extensive records related to making horseshoes, but also making and sharpening ploughs, shovels, and scythes; making chains and nails; mending wagons and tires; and many other tasks.

Windsor (Vt.) barter records (1846-1848) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This volume is made up of barter records kept by “G.W.” for a store in the Windsor, Vermont, area. The writer recorded the names of people, the goods they received from the store, and the goods they used to trade for them. The store sold dishes, looking glasses, foodstuffs (molasses, salt, sugar, tea, ginger, crackers, fish, rum, rice, candy, saleratus, raisins, etc.), opium, cloth, clothing, tobacco, snuff, oil, combs, ink, writing utensils, paper, and other goods. In return, customers traded butter, eggs, rags, wood, corn, apples, chickens, cheese, maple sugar, oats, and other items.

State of Indiana v. Luther A. Donnell collection (1848-1849) — Processed by Sara Quashnie.
This collection consists of 24 manuscript items related to State of Indiana v. Luther A. Donnell, tried in the Decatur County Circuit Court in 1849. Luther A. Donnell, an Indiana farmer, was prosecuted for providing assistance to the Beach family during their escape from enslavement in Trimble County, Kentucky. The documents consist of 20 witness summons, the witness testimony of Robert Hamilton and Woodson Clark in the context of the court’s proceedings, a summation of the trial proceedings (including the witness testimony of Robert Hamilton), an 1848 grand jury indictment, and one verdict slip.

Southworth Manufacturing Company collection (1849-1851) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This collection is made up of 38 incoming letters and one postal cover to paper manufacturer Southworth Manufacturing Company in West Springfield, Massachusetts, between 1849 and 1851. The writers were largely clients, covering significant geography from Massachusetts and central New York State to South Carolina and Mississippi. The letters largely pertain to paper orders, money due, issues with paper received, potential employees, and more. The company dealt in a variety of types and sizes of paper, such as blue, white, business, lined, flat cap, double cap, and foolscap. The collection includes multiple letters written on Southworth paper.

Minna R. Harris family diary, account book, and scrapbook (1847-1884) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This volume contains 12 pages of accounts for the rental of oxen, labor, textiles, and tobacco, 1847-1851; 11 pages of diary entries by Minna R. Harris of Gilford, New Hampshire, November 13, 1880-May 19, [1881?]; 38 pages of pasted-in newspaper clippings and ephemeral items (poetry, visiting cards, rewards of merit, etc.); and miscellaneous notes respecting the Groveland Mills Card Room (Groveland, Mass.) and genealogy, 1884 and undated.

Harriet Hodges commonplace book ([19th century]) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
The Harriet Hodges commonplace book, created at an unknown location sometime in the 19th century, contains 25 pages of copied poetry, apparently from serial publications, including multiple entries titled “For an Album” and “From an Album.” Other poems include “The Daughter’s Dream,” “Wee Willie,” “The Legend of the Crossbill,” “Address to Columbus dying,” “Death of Napoleon,” “The Bridal Day,” and several fragments. Flipping the volume over, Harriet wrote eight pages of a story titled “Imogene Howard, or Self Conceit.” The commonplace book is bound with a plaid cover.

Joseph Savage account book (1859-1872) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
Joseph Savage of Syracuse, New York, kept this account book to keep track of credits and debts, largely associated with his farm, real estate, and ice business. The agricultural accounts relate to growing potatoes and other crops. Other entries regard taking in rent from tenants. The ice business prompted accounting for “repairing ice house,” “days work packing ice,” “work on lake,” “drawing ice,” “packing ice,” and other such labor.

James P. Kimball diaries (1860-1865) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
The James P. Kimball diaries are made up of five pre-printed pocket diaries filled with daily entries, largely written by Congregationalist Reverend Kimball while he lived in Falmouth, Massachusetts, with his wife Mary B. Dickerson Kimball. The brief entries document his travels to nearby congregations (Marlborough, etc.), letters written and received, sermon preparations, visits (to persons, Sunday Schools, Young Men’s Church Associations, et al.), remarks on his own sermons, attendance at temperance and lecture meetings, the births of his children, newspapers and books he was reading, Civil War news, the weather, gardening and leisure activities, occasional notes on his feelings, and much more. The volumes conclude with monthly cash accounts, lists of persons interested in religion, and lists of subscriptions.

The Literary Society of Rochester Institute constitution and by-laws (1872-1877) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This volume contains the 1872 constitution and by-laws of The Literary Society of Rochester Institute, a school located in Rochester, Racine County, Wisconsin (pages 1-9). The volume also contains a list of elected officers, names of members, and the topic for their first meeting, “That Intemperence is a greater evil than War” (pages 10-13). Following the literary society content are agricultural accounts for an unidentified individual in Rochester, Wisconsin, 1873-1877 (pages 16-31).

Examples from the Flora F. Lowe letters

Flora F. Lowe letters (1877-1908) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
This collection is largely comprised of letters from Flora F. Lowe to her friend Annie Wood, while working as a teacher for the Fairlawn School (for African Americans) in Savannah, Georgia, 1877-1880; for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1888; and for the newly formed Oakland Institute for Presbyterian Learning in Asheville, North Carolina, 1890.

J. H. Lawson collection (1893-1896) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
The J. H. Lawson collection is made up of two diaries, one notebook, and one cabinet card photograph portrait marked “J. M. Lawson.” The first diary dates from September 30, 1893, to October 8, 1893, and documents schoolteacher J. H. Lawson’s trip to the Chicago World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition). He was a detailed observer, writing about his train travel from Dayton, Pennsylvania, to Chicago; he provided impressions, details, and figures for the exhibits he visited, sometimes writing while standing at the exhibit itself. He described concession stands, logistics of navigating the fair, the city, architecture, and more. The diary concludes with a 2-page description of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The second diary contains very brief entries from 1894 and 1896 respecting cutting oats and teaching at “the academy,” with several pages dedicated to a list of members and dues for the “L.L.S.”, of which Lawson served as treasurer. The notebook contains J. H. Lawson’s notes on The Iliad.

Ralph L. McElderry papers (1942-1945) — Processed by Cheney J. Schopieray.
The Ralph L. McElderry papers are made up largely of the outgoing correspondence of Sgt. McElderry during his World War II service in the 3226th Ordnance Depot Company and 421st Ordnance Evacuation Company. His stateside training, work as a stock clerk and typist, and service as a Supply Noncommissioned Officer in Europe are reflected in his letters as well as supporting documents.