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No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

New Staff Members

Image of staff Kayla Robinson

Kayla Robinson joins the Development Department as the Marketing Coordinator and oversees social media, updates the website, and creates a variety of print and digital marketing pieces.

In a newly created position as a Development Generalist, Helen Harding fosters philanthropy through mailings, provides information and stewardship to donors, and helps plan special Centennial events.

Heather Alphonso lends her experience to the reception staff, greeting researchers and visitors and helping with administrative tasks.

Appointments

In July 2022, Clements Library Director Paul Erickson was officially announced as the president-elect of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the primary scholarly society for historians studying the era between 1787 and 1860. His term will run from July 2023 to July 2024. He will be the first representative of a library or archive to hold the SHEAR presidency.

Welcome!

The Clements family welcomes its youngest member—Lucy Obata Goeman was born on February 23 to Emiko Obata Hastings, Curator of Books, and her husband Bill Goeman. Lucy’s own interest in books, like Lucy herself, is nascent but growing fast!

Clements Library Associates

The Quarto No. 15 in March of 1948 introduced the creation of the Clements Library Associates: “It is the University’s desire that our riches shall be more effectively shared with those who are concerned about American history and tradition. Therefore, the Regents of the University of Michigan, at their meeting of October 24, 1947 established The Clements Library Associates…”.

For the past 75 years, the Associates have fulfilled their original purpose of “increasing the collections and resources of the Clements Library and of broadening the scope, services, and usefulness of the Library.” Associates give of their collections, money, time, and intellect making the Clements the world-renowned library that it is today. Anyone who donates to the Clements Library is a member of the Clements Library Associates. To mark the 75th Anniversary, we celebrated on November 17, 2022, at the Clements Library.

Paul Erickson, Randolph G Adams Director of the Clements Library; Laurie McCauley, Provost; and Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman of the Clements Library Associates Board of Governors.

Debra Schwartz and Howard Brick peruse the pop-up exhibit highlighting acquisitions made possible by the Associates.

Carol Virgne, Randi Kawakita, Tsune Kawakita, and Charlotte Maxson.

Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Santa J. Ono, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Kristin A. Cabral, Candace Dufek, Charles R. Eisendrath, Derek J. Finley, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Troy E. Hollar, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, James E. Laramy, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar, Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Peter Heydon, Chair Emeritus. Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

Published by the Clements Library
University of Michigan
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phone: (734) 764-2347 • fax: (734) 647-0716
Website: http://www.clements.umich.edu

Terese M. Austin, Editor, austintm@umich.edu
Designed by Savitski Design, Ann Arbor

Regents of the University
Jordan B. Acker, Huntington Woods; Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc; Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor; Paul W. Brown, Ann Arbor; Sarah Hubbard, Okemos; Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms; Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor; Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor.
Santa J. Ono, ex officio

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement
The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

On the Cover

Leon Makielski (1885 – 1974) was an artist from southeast Michigan who specialized in landscapes and portraits. He developed an Impressionist style while studying in Paris, and later taught at The University of Michigan School of Art & Design.

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

One of my favorite old saws about the difference between England and the United States goes like this: In England, 100 miles is a long way; in the U.S., 100 years is a long time. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the William L. Clements Library, and in thinking about how to observe the library’s centennial, I have been struck by the fact that to me—a provincial American through and through—100 years really is a long time. How do we tell a century-long story? Where do we start? What should we focus on?

As people who work in a rare book library, my colleagues and I are all by nature completists, which is to say that the most nerve-wracking question on our minds as we contemplate our centennial celebrations is: What if we leave something out? But we can’t tell every story of every research discovery in the library, we can’t show you every picture of every source that we love (not if you want to be able to actually lift this issue of The Quarto). What I can do, though, is point to some highlights in this wonderful issue, and to some events in the coming year, that will show how we are thinking about our centennial—as a celebration of a storied past, but also as a gateway to a new century.

As part of our efforts to expand and balance our collections, and particularly to feature images on our walls that more accurately reflect the histories that our collections tell, we recently acquired this portrait of actor Ira Aldridge (1807–1867) from Hindman Auctions. Aldridge was born to a free Black family in New York City. Ambitious for an acting career, he joined an African American theater company. When their productions were met with racist violence, Aldridge traveled to England to pursue his craft. He achieved fame touring in England and throughout Europe, becoming one of the most famous Black Americans in the Atlantic World before 1840. The painting by an unknown artist depicts Aldridge as the character Mungo in the play The Padlock, one of his most famous roles.
Our commitment to collecting original materials extends in particular to collecting books in their original bindings, in contrast to earlier traditions of rebinding. There is a great deal that researchers can learn from original bindings and wrappers, no matter how flimsy. This recent acquisition’s lurid paper wrappers would have led 19th-century readers to see it as part of the true crime genre, concealing the fact that is is actually an account of the New York Draft Riots of 1863, one of the century’s most violent outbursts of civic unrest.
What you will have noticed first is The Quarto itself. Since its first publication in July 1943, when it bore the motto “Prepared in the Interests of Book Collecting at the University of Michigan,” the Clements Library’s signature publication has appeared in different outfits, changing with the times and with advances in printing technology. Issue No. 19, in October 1949, was the first to mention that The Quarto was being issued for the newly-formed Clements Library Associates. From then until September 1965 The Quarto announced itself as being issued “Occasionally for the Clements Library Associates,” at which point it swapped “Occasionally” for “Quarterly.” After a lapse of 10 years, the second series began in 1994, which brought with it color printing and the general design with which current readers are familiar. With the celebration of the centennial, we thought that it was time to refresh The Quarto’s design. We think that it captures the best elements of what long-time readers have loved about The Quarto while also doing more to attract new readers. We hope that you agree.

 

This centennial issue of The Quarto highlights the traditional strength of the Clements Library—its remarkable collections. But in doing so it points in some of the new directions that our work is headed as we embark on our second century. Two pieces in this issue bring readers back to some of the most familiar, and most treasured, collections in the library, but they ask us to look at them from a different angle. Jayne Ptolemy’s article on the Weld-Grimke Papers, which have been mined by historians of abolition and women’s rights for decades, puts the Grimké sisters and their family back at the center of the collection, and asks how orienting the way we approach that collection around two women rather than around a famous male abolitionist alters the resonance of those materials. Tulin Babbitt, Katrina Shafer, and Michelle Varteresian discuss in their article how their incredibly thorough, hands-on work digitizing the Thomas Gage Papers have brought to light some aspects of history that were not exactly hidden, but have not received the same level of attention as other events described in the Gage Papers. The story of the “Cahoon Affair” and what it tells us about gender, honor, and sex at the edge of the British Empire during the American Revolution is probably not one that you know. In a similar vein, Meg Bossio examines some of the numerous textiles housed on the Clements’ shelves and shares an experience connecting to the past and present through needlework, while Mary Pedley outlines the evolving use of maps to trace the presence of underrepresented populations. 

Other articles in this issue highlight the work that members of the Clements Library staff have done over the previous century. Julia Miller shows how both collectors and scholars have become more interested in examining original bindings—as opposed to embellished re-bindings— of early American books, an area where we have been focusing some of our acquisitions energy. And Angela Oonk describes the crucial role that building connections with donors has made in sustaining the Clements for its first hundred years.

For an institution that is rooted in the personal, physical encounter with books and manuscripts, very few of the images on our walls have represented what happens in the library. This portrait of an unnamed young woman holding a book, probably from the 1830s or 1840s, is part of an effort to better represent the work that researchers do in our building on the walls of the rooms where they study.
Throughout the coming year, you will be hearing about a number of new initiatives we’ll be working on, as well as a number of new collections we’ll be bringing into the building. All of these efforts will require the support of people like you, who understand the contributions that the Clements Library has made to the understanding of our shared past, and who are excited about work we are poised to do in the future. 

Everything that we do at the Clements—and everything that we plan to do—is based on our collections, and on their continued growth. And our commitment to the importance of the in-person encounter with primary sources from the American past is stronger than ever, as we emerge from the past three years where the pandemic made those encounters difficult for many researchers. Technology now permits readers on the other side of the world to see manuscripts, photographs, and books from the Clements collection as clearly as they could in the Avenir Room, and we will continue to broaden this mode of access. We will also work to make the library a more welcoming place for an increasingly diverse group of students, scholars, and other visitors. All of the changes that you see when you visit the library over the coming year are intended to help us better tell our story, to let the community at the university and beyond know what we do and what we stand for. We remain committed to preserving the materials in the Clements collection for future generations, but we are also committed to putting them to use for the generation that’s here right now. It’s going to be an exciting second century.

­— Paul Erickson
Randolph G. Adams Director
William L. Clements Library

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

The Clements Library has been a functioning rare book library for a century. Over the century we’ve had researchers, memories, and overall developments. There’s no way to talk about all of that — but here’s some highlights as we think about our centennial — as a celebration of storied past, but also as a gateway to a new century.

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

The Centennial is a celebration of the William L. Clements Library, but it is also a story of the philanthropy of the people who have bolstered the building, collections, and programs through their generosity. This, of course, starts with Mr. Clements himself. Influenced by U-M Professors Thomas M. Cooley and Moses Coit Tyler, Clements had a love of American history and culture that led to his collection and eventual donation of materials. His vision included the funds to build a magnificent facility to house the collection designed by Albert Kahn. While these gifts were extraordinary, Mr. Clements also participated in a variety of other philanthropic causes, but did not offer an explanation behind his gifts. We lack insight into the reasons behind his philanthropy and what influenced his donations—whether it was part of the culture of the time, a sense of duty, or other personal or moral imperative.

Jens Michelsen Beck, Tilforladelig Kort over Eylandet St. Croix Udi America ([Copenhagen], 1754)

In November we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Clements Library Associates (see sidebar). In addition to a party to mark the celebration, I also hosted 2022 Norton Strange Townshend Fellow Amanda Moniz on the online program Clements Bookworm to discuss her research into philanthropy. One hundred years ago the Clements Library didn’t have any professional fundraising staff let alone research fellows looking for evidence of philanthropy in the archives. The beautiful thing about the archives is that there are innumerable layers of information awaiting new questions to be asked.

As I contemplated the Centennial year and my role within the Clements, I started to think of the Development and Communications Division as a connector of the past, present, and future—perhaps not unlike Mr. Clements. We have modern tools in social media to help highlight stories in the collections for the public and we seek out gifts that ensure that the Clements Library will be here well into the future. One of Dr. Moniz’s research sources was the Divie and Joanna Bethune Collection (1796–1853), but that isn’t the only place we find philanthropy in the archives.

Benjamin Bussey (1757–1842) was a Revolutionary War veteran, excellent businessman, and philanthropist. The Benjamin Bussey Collection at the Clements holds letters from acquaintances, organizations, and even strangers asking Bussey for loans and charity. He responded positively with gifts to a wide range of organizations.

Those seeking to influence public perception have long known that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and the inexpensive availability of trade cards and photos in the 19th Century helped to make them a viable fundraising tool. We have images of social activists Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) and Sojourner Truth (1799–1883) that were sold to advance their work. Some who purchased these cards admired the activists and their causes enough to display their photos in family albums.

Other fundraisers used images to support the institutions where they worked. For example, we see the emergence of a professional fundraiser in Reverend Henry Leonard, the “financial agent” of Heidelberg College (now Heidelberg University) in Tiffin, Ohio, for thirty-two years. Leonard posed for a series of photographs documenting his “fishing trips” to raise money for the University. He was well-known and beloved for his work and his story lives on in the Maxson Ephemera Collection.

Photograph taken in 1872 during Rev. Edward Francis Wilson (1844–1915) and Ojibway Chief Buhkwujjenene’s visit to England while fundraising for Shingwauk Indian Residential School. Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography. Gift of Tyler J. and Megan L. Duncan.

Henry Leonard re-enacted his “fishing trips” for the camera. Maxson Album #14, gift of Jerry and Charlotte Maxson.

A richly illustrated catalog of the floral and musical festival in Detroit, Michigan, records the efforts of the many volunteers who in 1890 enjoyed the camaraderie of planning a community event to raise funds for many causes around the city. We learn that at the 1889 event, nearly 35,000 people attended, garnering $11,000 that was split among twenty-one charities. 

Did you notice that the illustrations provided were also all donations? Philanthropy at the Clements Library has been woven into all we do since the inception of the institution. I hope that I serve this institution in a way that builds our foundation for the next century by valuing your partnership in this endeavor.

­— Angela Oonk
Director of Development

Illustrated Catalogue of the Floral and Musical Charity Festival (Detroit, 1890). Gift of Martha Seger.

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

Manuscripts

The Clements recently acquired the 19-item Crow Creek Agency Collection, focusing on a Native American boarding school in Crow Creek, South Dakota. Included is a program for the 1892 Christmas celebration, which lists songs and recitations performed by the students, providing a glimpse of student life at this boarding school and how American culture was represented and taught.

Drawing by Crow Creek boarding school student John Badger, age 15.

Evocative student work accompanies the collection. There are eight letters from students who shared their experiences at the Christmas celebration. Many of them wrote about the presents they received and highlighted the week spent at home with family over the holidays. The collection also includes geometric drawings and collages, examples of how these children expressed themselves in moments of forced cultural assimilation that demonstrate how art can help us think about trauma and its relationship to heritage.

One of the larger recent acquisitions is a collection of papers of Rufus Degranza Pease, including letters, a diary and writings, printed material and more. Pease was a graduate of Willoughby Medical College in 1845, and became an itinerant lecturer on a variety of topics, including astronomy, geology, health, physiognomy, phrenology, and free thought. Following the Civil War, he lectured for the National Association of Christians Opposed to Secret Societies, focusing on Freemasons, Knights Templar, the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and others. Later in his life he became a doctor of physiognomy in Philadelphia where he resided until his death in 1890.

A selection of draft documents from the papers of Rufus DeGranza Pease.

Much of the correspondence to Pease is from fellow peddlers of educational services and instructive lectures in the Midwest. They collaborated and traded information and advice on travel routes, discussed which communities were receptive to their services, and how much could be charged for lectures and classes.

Other letters written by Pease are filled with fury, directed toward Mormons among others. Pease was an abolitionist and anti-slavery advocate, though he raged at Lincoln for the suspension of habeas corpus in 1863. He also believed that he was being persecuted, seemingly somewhat justified by his imprisonments for “seduction and fornication.” He wrote during one imprisonment in October/ November, 1863: “For my part I have seen the hand of Providence in the matter from the first, and cannot doubt that I am bruised for the benefit of your community. No silly and contemptible malicious charge against me of insanity, even though bolstered up by sap headed drug and quack medicine peddlers of Berlin [Wisconsin] as elsewhere, will avail against the true and right…The charges they had diligently circulated for months about me were fornication, even going so far as to specify a person, and also seduction. But finding they could make no headway in that direction immediately commenced to cuttlefish under a wholesale and cold-blooded charge against me, even to indict me of partial, if not entire insanity.”

During his later years in Philadelphia, Pease earned money by providing phrenological and physiognomical advice. He conducted a mail order business, soliciting letters from clients, which arrived with enclosed photographs, posing questions such as: Will I be a good candidate for the priesthood? What type of career should I pursue? For the exorbitant fee of $10, Pease would provide answers by return mail, presumably based on physical characteristics exhibited in the photographs.

Printed materials include the only issue that Pease ever produced of the Journal of Man, published by Rentoul in Philadelphia in 1872, as well as a variety of lecture and course advertisements, synopses and tickets, flyers, and circulars.

Books

The route book for 1891 features a cover portrait assumed to be Robert Hunting (ca. 1842–1902), “Sole Proprietor and Manager” of Hunting’s New Railroad Shows.

New to the Book Division are three pamphlets related to Hunting’s New Railroad Shows, or Hunting’s New United Monster Railroad Shows, a circus traveling by rail car to locations around the United States. The pamphlets are referred to as route books and contain accounts of the seasons of 1891, 1892, and 1894. Each route book starts out with a list of the performers and support staff who traveled with the circus, including: cooks; musicians and other performers; an advance team that traveled ahead to take care of the advertising and to set up the tents; and caretakers for the animals, among others. The heart of each pamphlet is the “Author’s Diary,” comprised of snapshots of stops on the season’s itinerary, recording the location, the population of the towns, the railroads taken to get there, the weather, and any notable events. The financial success of the show is often noted—“bad business,” “fair business,” “good business,” or “big business” (the maligned Easton, Pa. keeps up its reputation of being a “‘bum show town”). The entries provided vivid accounts of the challenges of managing a traveling circus—wrangling people, equipment and animals; the sometimes gruesome injuries sustained by performers; railroad mishaps; and the revolving-door entrance and exodus of performers along the way.

An example from 1892:
Brewsters, N.Y., May 31.— First real
“circus day” of the season. During
the parade this morning a wild bull
made his appearance and stampeded our lady and gentlemen
riders. Prof. Mohn led the enraged
beast a wild chase down a narrow
alley, and Jeanne Earle created a
sensation by making a daring leap
for life from the back of her fiery
steed to terra firma. Where the beast
came from or where he went is an
unsolved mystery. This is the home
of a great many retired showmen.
Mr. Henry Barnum, who is now
connected with the Forepaugh
Show; Mlle. De Granville (Mrs. Dr.
Knox) and Lew Baker, an old time
boss canvas-man, were visitors.”

One of the acts advertised in the 1891 guide was “Professor” Harry Mohn’s dog circus. Mohn was featured in an entry describing an eventful stop in Pennsylvania: “A Duncannon loafer stole one of Prof. Mohn’s trick dogs after the night show, but Harry succeeded in getting the dog back before he left town. Harry Smith was kicked in the groin by a tough. It will lay him off for several days.”

Two of the pamphlets include a “Showman’s Directory and Guide,” compiled annually. The Directory listed contact information for performers and service providers who might be needed by a traveling show. If you required new balloons, or ran out of circus lights, or were in need of canvas, magic lanterns, or a taxidermist, contact information is available! There are listings for engravers, lithographers, printers, tightrope walkers, clowns, jugglers, and musicians—the panoply of services required to keep the show on the road. The collection reveals the cooperation that existed among similar outfits, who traded information and provided mutual support.

Also recently acquired, A Key to English is a textbook produced by Ceta Ryan to help Japanese immigrants in California learn English. An imprint from 1906 San Francisco is a rarity in itself, given the earthquake and subsequent fire which burned much of the city. But the volume is interesting in several other aspects. The text is printed in both English and Japanese, which was a complicated task for the printing technology of the era. Information inside the back cover indicates that this book was owned by someone who spent time in the internment camp in Poston, Arizona, during World War II, revealing that it had a fairly long life in readers’ hands and somehow wound up in a carceral setting.

Little is known of the author of A Key to English. Census records list a woman named Ceta Ryan (born ca. 1865), a private teacher residing in San Francisco as late as 1940 along with a lodger born in Japan. We have no information about the owners of the volume, or who penciled the inscription on the inside back cover.

Books

Recently arrived in the Graphics Division’s growing collection of ephemera, is a fascinating tiny redware souvenir—measuring 3.5 cm—made to look like a soldier’s canteen and to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg. On one side is affixed a photograph of a woman named Jenny Wade, who lived in Gettysburg with her mother and was killed during the battle on July 2, 1863. Wade and her mother lived in the middle of the town of Gettysburg, and when the fighting started, moved to the home of a relative. One morning while Wade was kneading dough to make bread for Union soldiers, a Confederate unit began firing at the house. A musket ball passed through the door and killed her. Famously, the day after her daughter died, her mother finished baking the bread that her daughter had started when she was shot and killed, and gave it to the Union soldiers to feed them. 

And on the other side of the souvenir is a picture of a man named John Burns, another famous civilian folk hero of Gettysburg. While Burns was almost 70 when the battle began, he was eager to fight with the Union soldiers whom he admired. Burns left his house with an old musket, a top hat, and frock coat and joined in with a Union regiment marching by. He borrowed a rifle from a wounded soldier and fought throughout the Battle of Gettysburg with several different units. Burns was wounded several times, and he achieved fame as a volunteer civilian who pitched in to help the Union cause.

The large amount of iron oxide present in the clay used for redware gives the unglazed earthenware its striking color.

Next is a group of five photographs from the Montana Industrial School for Indians, a boarding school in west central Montana, about an hour or so west of Billings. Unitarian Universalists opened the school in 1886, and it operated for a decade before the federal government discontinued funding and it was forced to close. These evocative images are of the students, who were mostly Crow Indians.

Looking closely at details of these photos, one can spend time noticing the children’s expressions and reflecting on their experiences.

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

Maps have always been an integral part of the library’s collections, starting with Mr. Clements’ early acquisitions prior to his gift to the University. Because maps reflect time, place, and author’s intent, some research themes can prove more elusive for older maps—for instance, the representation of two important communities on maps: Native Americans and enslaved Africans. While Native Americans held priority of geographic place and African Americans arrived via forced immigration, both groups endured forms of displacement within the North American space.

Detail from Guillaume Delisle (1675–1726), Carte du Canada (Paris, 1703). Delisle, a geographer in Paris, compiled this map from many missionary reports and other first hand accounts from the region, populating the area around the Great Lakes with Native American place names and identifiable groups.

The location of Native American groups in North America challenged mapmakers, given the seasonal mobility and fluctuating numbers of many indigenous groups. Yet their very mobility meant that indigenous modes of mapmaking and representation had much to offer early French explorers and missionaries, who often recorded these verbal and sometimes performative maps, although physical maps were rarely replicated. Nonetheless indigenous presence, indicated by the appearance of various group names, are a staple feature of French maps of North America from the 17th century onwards. 

Some British mapmakers who carried out ground surveys in colonial regions similarly included Native American groups, territories, and aboriginal claims. A focused British interest in the location of Native American groups is displayed in this manuscript map. “A Map of the Indian Nations” was probably prepared for the British military administration at the time of the cession of the transAppalachian territory to the British from the French at the end of the Seven Years’ War, more easily visible in a detail of the area around Fort Loudon.

Willem De Brahm, 1717-ca. 1799], “A Map of the Indian Nations in the Southern Department,” 1766.

Such maps emphasized the indigenous American presence in regions where European settlers were expand – ing their own footprint. Farmers and settlers of European descent pushed into these western lands between the Appalachians and the Mississippi, with tragic results for Native Americans. Soon designated as “emigrant Indians” the several groups who spread out in the Southern territory on the De Brahm map were squeezed into a much smaller area in what is now eastern Oklahoma, as shown on the War Department map of 1836 (next page). Colored lines indicated boundaries of lands of 10 displaced Native American groups in the wake of the Indian Removal Act (1830), which authorized the federal government to extinguish all Indian title to the lands in the deep South, and 60,000 souls set out on the Emigrants Walk (or Trail of Tears).

Map Showing the Lands Assigned to Emigrant Indians West of Arkansas & Missouri, produced by the United States War Department ([Washington, D.C.], 1836).

While Native Americans were pushed westwards, forced emigration peopled North America and the Caribbean islands with enslaved individuals. Despite or perhaps because of fears of the growing Black population, the African American presence as forced labor on plantations in the American South or the Caribbean islands was rarely visualized. However, one can discern the size of a plantation and extrapolate the number of slaves required to work in the fields or process sugar (the main export from the islands) from the plantation surveys frequently executed on the islands. A recent research project looked closely at the island of St Croix, a Danish colonial holding, and the depiction of two types of mills used for crushing the sugarcane: wind and animal driven. These mills were built and operated with Black labor, as the cartouche shows. The detail reveals the various sizes of plantations and the number of mills on each, a determining factor in the value of the holdings.

Hidden narratives of race, culture, and space lie under our noses as we study maps. Recent research on one of the Library’s prize atlases has illuminated a link to an annual celebration of historical events In San Pedro Huamelula, Mexico, in which the indigenous Chontal people reenact the invasion of Lan pichilinquis — the Chontal term for “pirates.”

The pirates who invaded Huamelula may be linked to the buccaneer source of the one of the Library’s prize atlases: English chartmaker William Hacke’s atlas of 1698, a volume of 184 manuscript charts of the Pacific coast of America, one of at least 14 editions of this atlas produced in the 1680s and 1690s. The maps in the atlas were based on charts seized by English buccaneers in 1680 from a Spanish ship which were then requisitioned for their own raids on settlements up and down the Pacific coast, from Acapulco to Chile. 

Throughout the Hacke Atlas (officially titled, “From the Original Spanish Manuscripts & our late English Discoveries A Description of all the Ports Bay’s Roads Harbours Rivers Islands Sands Shoald’s Rocks & Dangers in the South Seas of America,” hence the commonly used abbreviated title) are over a dozen brief references to various indigenous groups along the Pacific coast, noting who was friendly or hostile to the Spanish or English. Most of these “ethnographic” details do not appear in the original Spanish chart, as Spanish seafarers could typically rely on safe ports and bays controlled by the Spanish Crown; but competing English sailors were always concerned with the precise location of freshwater sources and isolated bays where ships could replenish and careen.

Jens Michelsen Beck, Tilforladelig Kort over Eylandet St. Croix Udi America ([Copenhagen], 1754)

Folio 27, “From the Original Spanish Manuscripts & our late English Discoveries A Description,” by William Hacke, 1698. Guamalula is present day Huamelula on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

On folio 27 of the Hacke Atlas, the Chontal community is glossed “Port of Guamalula” on the coast, although its location was and is inland; it is termed “Pueblo,” or town, on parallel Spanish atlases. Archaeological surveys have confirmed that this was the Chontal community’s original location, before pirate attacks forced the inhabitants to resettle further inland in the late 17th or early 18th century. This displacement is performed in the choreography of Huamelula’s annual reenactment, in which traditional Black characters may represent runaway enslaved Africans who sided with the Chontal to fight and repel foreign invaders. The roles of the reenactment festival echo historical identities of Chontal, pirates, and slaves—three disenfranchised but numerous groups who operated on the periphery of the Spanish Empire in a network of of competitive alliances, vying for land and trade.

The importance of using the past to understand the present cannot be underestimated. To quote Clements researcher, Danny Zborover, 2020–2021 Mary G. Stange Fellow, who brought the connection between the Hacke Atlas and the indigenous Chontal inhabitants of Huamelula to light and life: “by integrating archival research with interdisciplinary fieldwork and community outreach, the Clements Library’s Hacke Atlas and similar sources open a window into a fascinating yet untold story, one in which the Chontal and other Indigenous people contributed directly to the formation of the early Transpacific Modern World.” To paraphrase the ancient writer Cicero, our lives are woven from the threads of memory of previous times and peoples.

­— Mary Pedley
Assistant Curator of Maps

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

We all love sea serpents, and we all love mysteries. And a recently acquired example of great lithography ticks both of those boxes.

Sea Serpent Polka, composed by Moritz Strakosch (-1887). Louis Xavier Magny and Louis Audibert, lithographers. New Orleans, [1850s].

I was immediately attracted to this item because we have other prints and related stories of sea serpent sightings along the East Coast in the 19th century. This wonderful Sea Serpent Polka was printed in Boston by one of the great lithographers, John H. Bufford (1810– 1870), and was distributed by retailers in both Boston and New Orleans.

The lithographer has given us a nice view of Boston Harbor, with the State House as a backdrop at the top of the hill. But if you look at the head of the serpent, there’s a shadow of what could be another drawing, as if something had been altered in the production of the lithographic stone. And this is something you don’t often see, especially from one of the top lithographers in the business. There had possibly been another head on the sea serpent that had been erased and replaced with the present one. But the erasure hasn’t worked completely, and that intrigued me as an example of the printing process revealed by this sheet music cover.

The dedication at the top is to Miss Rose Kennedy of New Orleans, by Moritz Strakosch, a European composer who worked in America. After a little investigating, I learned that Rose Kennedy was the daughter of John Kennedy, superintendent of the United States Mint in New Orleans. Rose Kennedy’s debutante ball took place in the Mint, one of the great social galas of the year 1850. I have to guess that our composer Mr. Strakosch may have been there and been very impressed by Miss Kennedy, and hence this dedication.

I also found another version of this song. This is unfortunately not from our collection, but from the great Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University. It has a lot in common with the version above, only this was printed in New Orleans. The view of Boston has been replaced with a view of the Crescent City along the Mississippi. You can also see that the typography is different. But what catches your eye is that the serpent now has a human head. Some searching revealed that this bears a striking resemblance to a photographic portrait of the composer Maurice Strakosch. But why is he the serpent? And what exactly is his connection to Rose Kennedy?

Sea Serpent Polka, composed by Moritz Strakosch (-1887). J.H. Bufford, lithographer. Boston and New Orleans, [1850s].

This piece, I think, is a nice example of how the items in the Graphics Division can open up avenues of research as opposed to being the destination or an illustration for your research—it can be the starting point. I have as many questions as I do answers, but it’s been a delightful and fun project to explore.

­— Clayton Lewis
Curator of Graphics Material

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

Years ago I had the honor of volunteering at the Clements to identify and describe historical bindings in the collection—a real delight to do so—every book held some joyful surprise. In 2007 we used the title “Elegant to Eccentric: Bindings from the Main Room of the William L. Clements Library” for a show of binding treasures from the Clements collection, co-curated by myself and rare books cataloger Oksana Linda, with great assistance by Curator of Graphics Clayton Lewis. Conservator Julie Fremuth did an outstanding and expert job of preparing and arranging the diverse exhibit materials.

And what treasures to choose from! The Clements collection is a book collector’s (and binding historian’s)  dream—William L. Clements eventually gathered an immense variety of binding styles, including many “extra” and fine bindings made by the most famous binders of his time and before, some original to the imprint, some as rebindings, including a Jean Grolier-style strapwork binding of great beauty, bindings done in Harleian and Etruscan style, and signed bindings by John Roulstone (1770 or 1771–1839), Christian Kalthoeber (active 1780–1817), W. T. Morrell, Robert Riviere (1808–1882), Sangorski and Sutcliffe, and Francis Bedford (1799–1883), among others. 

Thinking about the exhibit as I write this reminds me of how things have changed with regard to historical bindings. Usually only the rarest, most expensive, and most beautiful bindings were ever seen; more pedestrian items, unless they contained a very important text or important illustrations, tended not to appear in binding exhibits. Today things are very different: there is abundant interest in the entire history of the book, and this includes not just content, but every aspect of a historical exemplar—the materiality of the book has come into its own. All aspects of the physical book, from paper type, writing and printing qualities, sewing and support structures, cover materials and decoration— all of these elements are examined, identified, described, protected—and shown. This revaluing of even ordinary historical bindings, once ignored, adds value to them in both monetary and intellectual ways—and influences the decisions collection managers make about them. Following are some favorites.

­— Julia Miller
Author, Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings, and Meeting by Accident: Selected Historical Bindings.

A Proposal to Determine our Longitude, by Jane Squire (1671?-1743). 2nd ed. London: Printed for the Author . . . , 1743. 

Squire participated in (but was ignored) during the competition to find an accurate way to calculate longitude at sea. She may have failed, but her choice to decorate her book broke a convention long held by binding historians: book decoration did not reflect content before 1800. The black roundel on Squire’s cover, tooled with her invented symbols, did exactly that.

A Declaration of the People’s Natural Right to a Share in the Legislature . . . , by Granville Sharp (1735-1813). London: Printed for B. White, 1774.

A dark pink surface-colored paper binding, tooled in gold. Sharp was well known for his liberalism and anti-slavery beliefs—and his practice of having his arguments printed and bound up in such attractive (and relatively inexpensive) paper bindings—which he gave away.

The Book of Common Prayer . . . . New-York: By Direction of the General Convention, Printed by Hugh Gaine, 1795. 

John Roulstone bound two copies of the Common Prayer, in identical dark-red straight-grained goatskin and signed both in gold inside the lower cover edge. Roulstone’s skill can be seen at once in the craftsmanship and tooling of this magnificent binding; he is arguably the best American binder of his era.

A Libell of Spanish Lies, by Capt. Henry Savile. London: Printed by John Windet, 1596. 

Gold-tooled corner-and-centerpiece design, borrowing the famous Aldine Press centerpiece titling style; the Aldine style of titling became a vogue and is seen on some of Jean Grolier’s bindings. Bound by Rivière and Son, London.

An Theater of Mortality, or, The Illustrious Inscriptions Extant upon the Several Monuments . . . , by Robert Monteith, M.A. Edinburgh: Printed by the heirs . . . , 1704.

A blind-tooled panel binding of sheepskin: a dot-andscallop roll used around the center frame, with an exquisite leaf-shaped fleuron tooled at the corners. The decoration is simple, well-executed and attractive.

Cosmographia Petri Apiani, by Peter Apian (1495–1552). Antwerp: Gregorio Bontio, 1550. 

Gold-tooled Grolier-style strapwork binding, the strapping painted white and black, with small touches of green, red, blue and black; gilt and gauffered edges are by Hagué.

America Painted to the Life, by Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1565?–1647). London: Printed for Nath. Brook, 1658–1659. 

Gold-tooled interlace strapwork design, employing azured tools and colored leather inlays. Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, London.

A Description of the New World, Or, America Islands and Continent, by George Gardyner. London : Printed for Robert Leybourn, 1651. 

Exquisite gold-tooled cornerpiece style, combining quarter-fan corners and intricate panel borders filled with pointillé, by H. Zucker. 

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

The papers of British General Thomas Gage have been the most queried, requested, researched, and otherwise utilized materials at the William L. Clements Library—from their arrival at the Library in 1937 to the present day. A National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to digitize the Gage papers coincides with the Centennial of the William L. Clements Library. In keeping with a central tenet of the Clements Library’s mission statement, to “support and encourage scholarly investigation of our nation’s past . . . and make . . . materials available to students and the broader public,” the digitization of the Thomas Gage Papers will facilitate remote access to this internationally significant collection through freely available online publication.

The Clements Library is pleased to reveal this hitherto unrecorded 2¼” oval miniature portrait of Thomas Gage. He wears the uniform of the 11th Light Dragoons, the regimental coat indicating his colonelcy (held between 1785 and his death in 1787). Almost certainly Gage’s last portrait, his wife Margaret Gage may have worn it at least in the early period after her husband’s death. Painted by artist Jeremiah Meyer (1735–1789) on ivory, rose gold rim, pin back, necklace chain holes, cobalt blue backing, ca. 1785–1787. Discovered by Christopher Bryant and acquired by the Clements Library, 2022, thanks to the generosity of Benjamin and Bonnie Upton, and Margaret Trumbull.

Thomas Gage was a career military officer, who served in America during the Seven Years’ War, as military governor of Montreal (1760–1763), as commander in chief of the British Army in North America (1763–1775), and as governor of Massachusetts Bay (1774– 1775). General Gage’s extensive papers are comprised of over 23,000 letters, documents, intelligence reports, muster rolls, depositions, treaties and proclamations, engineering assessments, financial papers, maps, and broadsides, largely dating from his service in America between 1763 and 1775. As the head of the military in North America, Thomas Gage was also the senior government official in the American colonies. Consequently, his papers are rich with information about the British attempt to gain control over areas taken from the French in the Treaty of Paris (1763), relations with the indigenous populations, and the tumultuous years leading up to the American War of Independence.

Access to the Thomas Gage Papers has increased over the years, with improved tools for navigating the sea of manuscripts. From 1937 to the early 2000s, researchers consulted printed guides, bibliographic entries, a card catalog, name lists, and rudimentary catalog descriptions. In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities provided the Clements Library with funds to create a robust online finding aid and supplementary subject indices to make this voluminous collection accessible to scholars with interests in a range of content. The current digitization project spanning 2021–2024—also funded by the NEH—will result in the online availability of scans of every manuscript, permitting users to connect with the collection whether or not they have the resources to travel to Ann Arbor. The inclusion of metadata and notes will give users a new way to engage with subject matter and personalities. While not part of the NEH digitization grant, the Clements Library is reviewing options for securing transcriptions of the complete Gage collection.

The Thomas Gage Papers are a treasure trove of primary sources on pivotal events leading up to the American Revolution: the Stamp Act of 1765, the Boston Massacre of 1770, and the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, to name a few. Several Stamp Act-related manuscripts include a letter that Thomas Gage wrote to Secretary of State Henry Seymour Conway on September 23, 1765. In it, Gage provided a detailed account of the uproar which greeted the Act in the colonies. He began “Tho’ you will have received accounts from the Governors of the several Provinces, of the Clamor, Tumults, and Riots that the Stamped Act has occasioned in the Colonies; Yet as the Clamor has been so General, it may be expected Sir, that I should likewise transmit you some account of what has passed.” Gage informed Conway of the Virginia Resolves passed by the Assembly of Virginia, which claimed that in accordance with British law, Virginians could only be taxed by an assembly of representative officials they personally elected. Thus, they deemed the Stamp Act to be unlawful. As such, the Assembly of Virginia, “gave the signal for a general outcry over the continent . . . they have been applauded as the protectors and assertors of American liberty.”

 

 Around 50 letters and documents in the Thomas Gage Papers pertain to riotous behavior and other responses to the Stamp Act. Reports came to Gage from as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Florida. This example is a letter from Massachusetts Governor Francis Bernard reporting on riots in Boston and the impending arrival of stamped paper: “The Council have desired me to cause the Stampt paper when it arrives to be lodged in the Castle to prevent its being destroyed : And It is said among the People that the Castle shall not protect the Stampt paper for they are determined to take it from thence” (August 29, 1765)

Gage continued by detailing the successful efforts of rioters across the colonies to pressure Stamp Officers to resign their posts “by menace or by force,” destroy stamped papers, and coerce assemblies into repealing the Stamp Act. In Boston, the populace “took the lead in the Riots and by an assault upon the house of the Stamp Officer, forced him to a Resignation.” Meanwhile, “[t]he little turbulent Colony of Rhode Island raised their Mob likewise” and not only forced a Stamp Act official to resign, but destroyed the homes of prominent loyalists. Gage then noted that the neighboring provinces would have likely seen similar scenes, had there not been an “almost general resignation of the Stamp Officers.” The southern colonies were broadly peaceful, though Maryland saw the house of a stamp officer “pulled down and his effigies burnt.” Eventually, Gage wrote, the people “began to be terrified at the spirit they had raised, to perceive that popular fury was not to be guided and each individual feared that he might be the next victim.” Gage concluded his report by informing Conway that “[e] verything is quiet at present and a calm seems to have succeeded the storm.” Gage noted, however, that as the Stamp Act wasn’t set to take effect until the first of November, “the final issue of this affair will be soon determined.” As the NEH digitization grant progresses, researchers and the general public will have ready access to this letter in its totality and within the context of its creation.

Another flashpoint in British-colonial America was the passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767 and 1768, designed to tax the colonies on imports from Great Britain, such as glass, paper, and tea. On March 5, 1770, Bostonians took to the streets in protest, resulting in the event remembered as the Boston Massacre. Reporting on the protest, Gage informed Secretary at War William Barrington, “Your Lordship will have heard Accounts of the unhappy Quarrell between the People of Boston and the Troops quartered there; in which five of the former were killed” Enclosed with this April 24, 1770, communication is a vivid description of the Boston Massacre titled “A Narrative of what happened at Boston, on the Night of the 5th: March 1770.” A sample of the document includes:

 

[O]n the Night of the 5th: of March . . .
They began by falling upon a few
Soldiers in a Lane, contiguous to
a Barrack of the 29th: Regiment.
The Mob followed, Menacing and
brandishing their Clubs over the
Officers Heads to the Barrack Door . . .
Part of the Mob broke into a
Meeting House and rang the Fire
Bell, which appears to have been
the Alarm concerted for Numerous
Bodys immediately Assembled
in the Streets, Armed some with
Musquets, but most with Clubs,
Bludgeons, and such like Weapons
. . . . Officers . . . were repairing to
their Posts, but Meeting with Mobs
were reviled, attacked, and those who
could not escape, knocked down and
treated with great Inhumanity. One
of the Soldiers recieving a violent
Blow. . . . Captain [Thomas] Preston
turned round to see who fired, and
recieved a Blow upon his Arm,
which was Aimed at his Head.

When the mob of Bostonians did not see any “Execution done,” the crowd “grew more bold, and attacked with greater Violence, continually Striking at the Soldiers and Pelting them . . .”.

Formal narratives like this/these provide details of the violence and ensuing consequences that can only be appreciated through direct reading. These original manuscript sources as they physically appear (via digital surrogate) bring us closer to these familiar people and events in a palpable way.

The breadth of subject matter, geography, data, and perspectives in the Gage papers offers a path to diverse scholarship. Insights into the lives of marginalized individuals and groups may be found throughout these manuscripts. Direct engagement with the sources reveals military, legal, and social aspects of slavery and Africandescended peoples, women and gender-related topics, and more.

One window into these underrepresented lives is a series of letters involving Captain Lieutenant Charles Osborne, the commanding officer of Ticonderoga, and his subordinate, James Cahoon. By letter, Osborne informed Gage that Cahoon’s wife, May (or Mary) Cahoon, applied to him for protection because her husband had been abusing her in ways “not possible to describe.” As a result, Osborne separated James Cahoon from his wife and sent him to his barrack room. Yet Gage also received letters from Lieutenant Colonel John Beckwith at Crown Point relating an alternate version of the story. Beckwith wrote that James Cahoon informed him that Cahoon had “caut his Captain [Charles Osborne] in bed with his wife” and that when Cahoon complained, Osborne imprisoned him for ten days. Beckwith reminded Osborne that May Cahoon’s husband “has a right not only to demand his Wife, but to take her where ever he can find her to live with him if he chooses it and no one has a right to keep her from him without his consent or approbation.” Beckwith proposed that Osborne address the situation by sending May Cahoon away from the military post and to her family, which Osborne refused to do. The men appealed to Gage, the commanding general, for a final decision, and the resulting opinion was that Osborne “commands independently” and that Beckwith should stay out of the situation.

The Cahoon story brings into stark relief the subjugation of women and evidences the ways in which masculinity was weaponized to maintain the male-dominated military hierarchy. Very little has been published citing these letters, and less that is freely available to the public. This episode takes up little space in the grand sweep of military and political events that pervade the Gage Papers, but it was life-changing for May Cahoon. Not hearing her voice amid the arguments and judgments of the men involved, we can only speculate on her thoughts, preferences, and feelings.

Military return documents provide accounting for personnel, property, or supplies. These routine manuscripts often include everyday people not otherwise remembered in the historical record. Following Pontiac’s war against the British, Henry Bouquet treated with Shawnee and Delaware Native American peoples in October 1764. This return documents clothing supplied to captives of Native American tribes who were released “back” into the colonial population. These captives often had integrated into tribal communities and had families there. Peggy, a woman of mixed racial or ethnic descent, was removed back into the hands of the grandson of her late enslaver. Many men, women, and children are all but untraceable without documentation such as this. The digitization of the Thomas Gage Papers will provide a wider opportunity to uncover their stories.

Even with thorough indexing and description, the series of letters on the Cahoons is challenging to locate, especially for novice researchers. Careful consultation with the library’s online volume descriptions includes a single sentence: “Captain Osbourne is accused of detaining and ‘cohabitating with’ James Cahoon’s wife at Fort Ticonderoga.” And even in the library’s own description, May Cahoon lacks a name, agency, and autonomy. A close review of the library’s subject index will identify these letters under entries for “Women,” “Women, adultery,” “Women, violence toward”, and “Infidelity,” all of which are accurate, but learning the entire story requires the time and resources to consult the original materials. The NEH-funded project to digitize the Thomas Gage papers is a game-changing opportunity for researchers to uncover primary sources for experiences like those of May Cahoon, without the pressure of a library closing bell or lack of travel resources. Younger scholars who struggle with cursive handwriting will be able to study the papers without the limited time afforded by the reading room.

The availability of these materials will transform scholarship on the late 18th-century Anglo-American world. Such scholarship would help better understand the United States in global histories of empire. Scholars working in Indigenous Studies will continue to enrich histories of Native American resistance to settler colonialism. The Gage papers have supported decades of publications and dissertations on military and political history, revolutionary people and events, merchants and financial agents, and grand intellectual and ideological discourses that have shaped how we understand American history. New historiographic approaches, analytic tools, and changing subject focuses have and will continue to march on. Alongside its stunning documentation of prominent people and events, we look forward to expanding insights into the everyday—historically underrepresented persons; persons without access to resources or sociopolitical or financial power; family; interpersonal relationships on small scales; sexuality; the environment; and practical challenges of simply being alive in colonial America. Whether for macroor micro-history, the Thomas Gage Papers continue to be read afresh.

Tulin Babbitt, Katrina Shafer, and Michelle Varteresian 
NEH Project Digitization Technicians

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

To pick up a needle and thread requires a great deal of minding. Mind the needle— it’s sharp. Mind the fabric— it shifts. Mind the thread—it tangles.

Oh reader, does it tangle. 

If you have not held that delightfully simple tool in your hands, you may be surprised at the readiness with which your awareness will open to accommodate it. Sewing is a manylayered practice, regardless of the purpose—whether for form or for function, attached is a deeply sensory and emotional element. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that to sew is a tradition that spans centuries, eons, countries, continents—and the collections of the Clements too. 

By now, it should come as no surprise to you that this humble writer is very fond of sewing. Although I will confess to not being the best at understanding directions for a number of things (including needlework), I have recently found delight in patterns for applique designs; even flat on the page, the shapes alone are pleasing to the eye.

So when I came upon a small book titled The Ladies’ Guide in Needlework (Philadelphia, 1850) on the second-floor stacks of the Clements Library, my first instinct was to take the most careful and delicate of peeks into this unassuming volume to see whether it contained any guides or illustrations for applique— and was happily surprised to find exactly what I was looking for.

The Ladies Guide emphasized the virtue of hard work when employed in stitchery—it is, after all, subtitled, A Gift for the Industrious. The author, Almira Seymour (1816–1887), often disguised her identity by the sobriquet “An American Lady”—perhaps published authorship was not as acceptable an occupation as seamstress.
Plucked straight from the care of Mother Nature, the branches of an oak tree are stylized into bold, bright shapes and clean, twisting lines. Squirrel-beloved acorns have their moment of beauty too, and are as delicately rendered as every other piece. What I like about the designs in this particular volume is that they do not offer up one whole, readymade composition; rather, the elements are separated into chewable, adjustable pieces. A small, isolated twig is next to a much more voluminous branch, and curled around them are rounded buntings for further decoration. Each can be combined or manipulated in infinite ways, encouraging the mind of the designer to be inspired and creative in making unique compositions within the bounds of whatever fabric or material they choose to work with. 

I decided to try my hand at drawing those shapes out and stitch-stitchstitching them onto my fabric—a lovely, if not plain, beige color perfect for lush green leaves and nutty-brown acorns— and happily shared my intent with the colleagues at the Clements with whom I have found community and camaraderie, built largely around the craft.

As promised in the preface to The Ladies’ Guide in Needlework, the patterns “have been selected with great care, and will be found exceedingly beautiful when worked in colours;” color and care added by the author.
How can I explain to you how much I value every conversation with those colleagues? The last thing I expected when I started working here was finding a place of safety within the hearts of those kind folk, whose love for history and sewing merge in such beautiful ways. They have shown me how to cut the fabric just so around a curve, ensuring that the integrity of the shape is not compromised—and have helped me cut through my fears about not living up to the weight of the tradition that was passed down to me through my grandmother, and the legacy of her craft. An unexpected blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.

It’s a blessing increasingly recognized by scholars and researchers, too, as the “material turn” over the past several decades in the fields of History and American Studies attends to how physical artifacts can tell us much about the past. How something was made, what it was made of, who was acting in community while it was made, are important questions in their own right. That importance is now recognized and renowned, as we see by Tiya Miles’ recent book All that She Carried (New York, 2021), which centers the sewn object as a way to build out a complicated, embodied history of love and loss, winning the National Book Award and gracing the New York Times bestseller list. So, too, has teaching picked up on the power of the physical object and its creation to help students learn. The growth of “experiential learning,” or hands-on workshops, echo the lessons seen in Material Culture Studies, and in my own experience: we can learn by doing, about the subject at hand as well as ourselves.

Sewing enables all sorts of community. Sixteen-year-old Thirza Parker created this flag for her older brother, Hilon Parker, upon his enlistment in the Civil War, connecting them during the conflict (from the Hilon Parker Papers). University of Michigan students studied the flag during a recent class visit while trying their own hand at sewing, helping them understand and appreciate the labor and meaning behind stitched pieces.
Needless to say, reader, if you make a well-timed visit to the reading room you might just see a blanket adorned with oak branches and acorns on the lap of one humble supervisor—who would be most happy to refer you to the precise book from which those designs emerged.

Meg Bossio
Reference Assistant

No. 57 (Winter/Spring 2023)

Curators and librarians try hard to be as neutral as possible, to approach historical materials as something we’re dedicated to describing, preparing for use, and stewarding. But occasionally, something happens that just makes you plain mad.

The story that always gets my hackles up begins with Sarah Moore Grimké, a leading abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, touring the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. She was largely unimpressed with the gloomy interior, where “scarcely a ray of light penetrates it, & you have to admire it by a sort of dim twilight.” Her highlight came later, when she was invited to take a seat in the Chief Justice’s chair in the Supreme Court’s chamber. It was 1853, women couldn’t vote, they didn’t serve in the judiciary branch in basically any capacity, and the women’s rights movement was still relatively fledgling. But when Sarah sat in that chair, she “involuntarily exclaimed, ‘Who knows but a woman may one day preside here.’” She noted that her companions were “much amused,” and one man in the party, “a jovial naval officer,” kept retelling the tale to everyone they met as they proceeded through the Capitol. I can imagine the reactions. She was left admitting “that the signs of the time were rather portentous” [26 December 1853? or 2 January 1854?].

It’s a remarkable, if infuriating, story, of a prominent (if admittedly imperfect) activist being moved to look into the future and dream of possibilities. For doing so, she faced ridicule, or at the very least skepticism and disregard. The hardest part of this story for me, though, is what comes after, because the Clements Library planted its own obstacles on the far-too-long road to the recognition of Sarah Moore Grimké’s strength and foresight.

Sarah’s tale is part of a collection that originally came to the Clements with a cache of family papers in 1939, shepherded to the library by Dwight Lowell Dumond who was working at the University of Michigan as a history professor and liaised with the family’s descendants to bring the collection here. It proved to be an extraordinary, multifaceted resource that spoke of abolition networks and how families labored together against slavery; women’s activism and the complicated terrain of sex and gender in the mid-nineteenth century; temperance and nutrition movements; interracial friendships and their limitations, and much more. While hundreds of correspondents are represented, three figures really stood at its heart: Sarah Moore Grimké, her sister Angelina Emily Grimké, and Angelina’s husband, Theodore Weld. Some back of the napkin analysis suggests the original donation contained at least 500 pieces written individually or jointly by Sarah and Angelina, and some 200 letters written by Theodore. Yet when the collection was first accessioned in 1939, it was described as “Papers of Theodore Weld and Grimké sisters.” My lips purse a bit at the omission of even Sarah and Angelina’s names, and the frustration grew when reading the 1942 entry for the collection in the Guide to the Manuscript Collections in the William L. Clements Library (Ann Arbor, 1942). It outlines Theodore’s life story and activism in great detail but contains just one short paragraph about Angelina and Sarah, boiling down their work to one sentence, “They wrote and lectured for the antislavery cause and also for women’s rights and peace.” The boxes that housed the collection for decades were labeled simply “Weld Papers.” 

A two-foot-tall stack of boxes in the Manuscripts Division Office bear outdated labels that read only “Weld Papers.”

This quilt is part of the Weld-Grimké collection, presented by students from Eagleswood Academy, a boarding school founded by Sarah Grimké Weld and Theodore Weld. University of Michigan students recently studied this quilt in a classroom session held at the Clements Library, and reflected on the generations of labor, care, and hidden stories it represents.

Several of those boxes still sit in the Manuscripts Division office, right across from my desk. I look at them often, and think about Sarah Moore Grimké’s dream of a female Chief Justice eliciting laughter. I think about how some 90 years later when curators at the Clements were describing the collection that contained Sarah’s story, she was again diminished, this time to a “Grimké sister” and to one short, shared paragraph in a collection description. It’s a sharp and humbling reminder to me that all of us are products of our time. It is no surprise that in 1942 the status quo would be to describe a collection around the dominant male figure, just as it is no surprise that with the rise of feminism and the field of Women and Gender Studies in the 1960s and 1970s, Sarah and Angelina began to receive more recognition. By 2012 when Angelina and Sarah’s descendants generously donated another cache of family papers to the Clements, it was clearer to us at the library that the powerful women in the Weld and Grimké families deserved careful and explicit attention. The richness of the collection means it can tell many stories, but in recent years I have noticed that what tends to get the most attention revolves around women: students look closely at Angelina Grimké’s wedding purse, emblazoned with abolitionist imagery; we share scans written by free black and formerly enslaved women where they speak of their own experiences; scholars puzzle over the family Bibles annotated in Sarah and Angelina’s hands. Much has changed since the collection arrived in 1939— not only in how researchers interpret the sources, but also in how the library spotlights and describes them.

 

As much as we try, curators are not objective. Despite our best efforts, today we are surely missing things, too, and getting something wrong. The Weld-Grimké Family Papers finding aid was updated in 2016 to reflect current understandings of gender, historical agency, and archival best practices, but when I look at it again I can see places that merit revision. It reminds me of a letter I stumbled across in the James G. Birney Papers that was repaired at some point with a piece of cellophane tape, something that always makes library staff crinkle our foreheads. A penciled note appears beside it on the page: “Given the options, tape seemed the best solution regardless of what any persnickety archivist might think. – Ed.” What seems like the “best solution,” or the option that makes sense right now, might prove questionable in the future as our thinking and the historical context evolve. Progress is always incremental and never complete.

On this, our 100th anniversary, the call is for accountability. That we can look back and see where we mis-stepped, that we hold those lessons at the forefront of our thinking, and notice our own blindspots so we can do better for the generations to come. While we still await a woman to sit in that Chief Justice chair, I hope Sarah Moore Grimké would agree that the signs of the times are more promising than portentous and that the Clements is dedicated to accurately and justly describing our holdings. Even if we have to go back and revise as we grow and learn.

Jayne Ptolemy
   Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

Staff News

Lilian Varner has joined the Development and Communications Department as the new Marketing Coordinator. She will oversee social media, update the website, design printed materials, and assist in public outreach and events.

Isaac Burgdorf, an incoming student at the University of Michigan School of Information, has been with us since the winter as a part-time employee, providing invaluable assistance in many areas of the library—reception, reading room, and manuscripts.

During summer 2022 we hosted Reese Westerdale as part of the SummerWorks Internship program. Reese learned about different kinds of public outreach by working in both the Development and Communications Office and with the Librarian for Instruction and Engagement.

We welcome Aleksandra Kole as the George Hacker intern. Alex will physically incorporate a large new addition into the papers of James V. Mansfield, a prominent 19th-century medium and spirit postmaster. Alex is a junior at the University of Michigan, with a major in political science and a minor in philosophy.

 

In memory of Professor Emeritus John W. Shy

Professor Shy was the preeminent American authority on military aspects of the Revolutionary era. He taught at the University of Michigan from 1967 until 1995, and received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 1994. John was a regular researcher at the Clements Library as well as a longtime member of the Committee of Management and the

Clements Library Associates, and an avid participant in lectures and events. To honor his accomplishments and to encourage creative research at the Clements Library, friends and family have established the John W. Shy Fellowship and members of the War Studies Group have funded a John W. Shy Memorial Lecture expected to be held in March 2023.

John W. Shy with a revised 1990 edition of his publication, A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence (New York, 1976), researched in part using the collections of the Clements Library.

Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Mary Sue Coleman, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Kristin A. Cabral, Candace Dufek, William G. Earle, Charles R. Eisendrath, Derek J. Finley, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Troy E. Hollar, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, James E. Laramy, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar, Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Peter Heydon, Chair Emeritus. Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

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Regents of the University
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No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

Lately, I’ve been participating in the Clements crowdsourcing program “Picturing Michigan’s Past,” helping to categorize real photo postcards from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography. Through these images I see how humans were affecting the world around them. The project also sparks my curiosity and desire to find connections to the present day. Does that building still exist? Has the town grown? Do trains still travel along those tracks?

I enjoy knowing that through this endeavor we have created a digital online community (over 1,400 volunteers as I write this!) where people from around the world can interact with our collections and each other. This is one of many projects spearheaded by student interns over the years who have joined us to gain experience in the archives. Claire Danna, 2021–2023 Joyce Bonk Fellow, says this about working on the project: “As a student in the School of Information, I am interested in how technology helps us to present and transform data. It’s exciting to me to know that others will craft great stories and research from these materials.”

A selection of real-photo postcards from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography on display in the Avenir Room at the Clements Library.

A selection of real-photo postcards from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography on display in the Avenir Room at the Clements Library.

Not only have we seen volunteerism increase online, but financial support has also grown. This past year through several online crowdfunding campaigns and other initiatives, we have welcomed over 250 new donors to our community of supporters, the Clements Library Associates. This fall the Associates will celebrate 75 years of camaraderie in supporting the Clements Library. Formally established in 1947 during Howard Peckham’s directorship to raise acquisition funds, CLA members now support a wide range of programs at the Clements Library.

Whether we’re gathering in person or online, donations to the Randolph G. Adams Lecture Fund facilitate lively discussions through events. I am excited to continue hosting the Clements Bookworm, uniting people in a virtual space through Zoom. Tom Wagner joins in the live broadcast of the Bookworm every month and has this to say about the program: “As a non-historian, I continue to learn so much about our complicated American past from the Clements Bookworm. I enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and to see what others have to say in the chat. I am happy to sponsor episodes to keep the program going!”

Our visiting fellowship program continues to expand, as do our efforts to connect our fellows with Clements staff and other researchers. On Zoom, the staff gets to know fellows before they even step foot on campus. This affords the opportunity for researchers to elaborate upon their proposals and for staff to make suggestions for collection materials for them to use when they arrive. This summer we have moved our traditional daily in-person teatime with the fellows outside onto the south portico once a week. Daniel Couch, 2022 Reese Fellow in the Print Culture of the Americas, provided this feedback: “Everyone was super helpful. I love the teas. I think they’re great. The teatime was a perfect balance of not being too disruptive, but something to look forward to.”

Through philanthropy we continue to grow our fellowship offerings. Recently the community came together to establish funds in memory of two beloved university faculty members through the Julius S. Scott III Fellowship in Caribbean and Atlantic History and the John W. Shy Fellowship. In the coming months we will not only celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the CLA, but we will also recognize the centennial of the Clements Library. When William L. Clements graduated from the University of Michigan in 1882 with a degree in engineering, he set out to transform and urbanize physical landscapes by manufacturing steam shovels and cranes. As a U-M Regent he helped to revitalize central campus by working with Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn on many ambitious projects including our own building which opened in 1923.

As I reflect on the creative and innovative work that has been accomplished in the study of history over the last century, I doubt Mr. Clements could have imagined a campus-wide online catalog, digitization of materials, and crowd-sourced transcription and cataloging. I wonder what’s in store during the next 100 years? I am grateful that you have chosen to read this issue of The Quarto and invite you to join us in these celebrations and in shaping the future of this institution.

Angela Oonk
    Director of Development

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

Artists have long striven to replicate visual perception and wrestled with the limits of various image production methods. One of the great historical challenges has been that paintings and photographs are static, while our actual perceptions unfold in time and space. Our eyes and heads are constantly moving from side to side and up and down. Scrolling painted panoramas—such as the Gettysburg Cyclorama (a cylindrical painting of the battle that opened to great acclaim in the 1880s) and table-top toys such as the zoetrope—were visual attempts to represent time and space in the 19th century. The first photographs that appeared before the public were dazzling in their detail. Early reactions to daguerreotypes described them as “frozen mirrors,” commenting on the amazingly fine qualities but also hinting at the inadequacy of the static and narrow field of view. An image from a box camera aimed in a single direction, however vivid in detail, does not represent the human experience of side to side vision as we move through space. Photographers were well aware of this—after all, Daguerre was also a painter of panoramas. Many took steps to better represent an active visual experience with their photographs, and the complexity and human activity of urban environments was a particularly tempting subject.

In the earliest attempts at wide-scale photographs, ambitious daguerreians framed multiple plates side by side to represent a wider field of vision. The 1848 panoramic view of Cincinnati by photographers Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter, now at the Cincinnati Public Library, took eight plates to capture a two-mile span of the riverfront. With the advent of paper photography, a series of prints could be pasted together to make a single sweeping panorama. These came close to replicating what we see as we shift our vision from side to side, but were still broken into segments. Achieving a uniform exposure and hiding the seams was a technical challenge for even the most skilled practitioner.

Flexible roll film began to replace glass and metal plates in the late 19th century and made it possible for a camera to have a curved film holder that maintained a constant focal distance for a very long piece of film. Add a lens that swivels from side to side and the true panoramic camera was born. The first mass-produced American panoramic camera, the Al-Vista, was introduced in 1898. Perhaps the most often used panoramic film camera was the Cirkut camera, patented in 1904. It used large format film, ranging in width from 5″ to 16″ and was capable of producing a 360-degree photograph measuring up to 20 feet long. For the most part, this equipment was used by professional photographers—the cameras were expensive and required unusual darkroom setups for printing the enormous negatives. But amazing things were now possible, such as seamless panoramic views of cities and photographs of very large groups of people.

 The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers paused during the Detroit Labor Day parade of 1916. Each member held a staff with an electric bell on the top end, which appears to be wired to a controller on the lead vehicle. The bells were likely tuned to differing pitches, making this a walking musical instrument, suitable for a panoramic camera portrait. From the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, the majority portion donated by David B. Walters in honor of Harold L. Walters, UM class of 1947 and Marilyn S. Walters, UM class of 1950.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers paused during the Detroit Labor Day parade of 1916. Each member held a staff with an electric bell on the top end, which appears to be wired to a controller on the lead vehicle. The bells were likely tuned to differing pitches, making this a walking musical instrument, suitable for a panoramic camera portrait. From the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, the majority portion donated by David B. Walters in honor of Harold L. Walters, UM class of 1947 and Marilyn S. Walters, UM class of 1950.

One of the obvious effects of panoramic photos in urban environments is that the straight lines of the man-made world appear curved and the perspective looks distorted in ways that don’t seem to match the way we understand our world. Although it looks wrong when viewed as a flat print, these images are in fact similar to the images received by our spherical eyes. What our brain “sees” is processed with other knowledge about the shapes and spaces around us so that we understand that the walls, although perceived in a spherical way, are in fact straight and vertical. The panoramic camera delivers just the image, stripped of any back-end mental processing, and so appears “wrong.”

Among the scarce examples of amateur panoramic photography is this view of the emerging railroad town of Murdo, South Dakota, circa 1906. The town is named for Murdo McKenzie, a Texas rancher who drove masses of longhorn steers north to graze on the grasslands of Standing Rock Reservation of the Lakota and Dakota tribes. Other images from this album suggest that the photographer was the daughter of E.L. Morse of Chamberlain, South Dakota, who owned a dray and teamster business. The temporary shelters and recently unloaded stacks of lumber near the railroad tracks give the impression of a newly born town. The sweep of the panoramic camera expands the sense of endless grasslands. This may be the earliest image of the town of Murdo.

Among the scarce examples of amateur panoramic photography is this view of the emerging railroad town of Murdo, South Dakota, circa 1906. The town is named for Murdo McKenzie, a Texas rancher who drove masses of longhorn steers north to graze on the grasslands of Standing Rock Reservation of the Lakota and Dakota tribes. Other images from this album suggest that the photographer was the daughter of E.L. Morse of Chamberlain, South Dakota, who owned a dray and teamster business. The temporary shelters and recently unloaded stacks of lumber near the railroad tracks give the impression of a newly born town. The sweep of the panoramic camera expands the sense of endless grasslands. This may be the earliest image of the town of Murdo.

We are now in an era whereby we experience our surroundings through digital screens. Taking a panoramic photograph is now quite common as most digital cameras and phones provide this feature. Absent production costs, a digital camera can be a toy for visual experimentation. Digital panoramas of tall buildings taken vertically, and images made while walking or from a moving vehicle, present astonishingly original perspectives. Cities are subjects of such scale and complexity that to this day we are evolving new ways to view and understand them, and photographic pano­ramas continue to inform how we perceive and record our urban environment.

Clayton Lewis
    Curator of Graphics Materials

The devastation after the fall of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, in April of 1865 attracted photographers from across the country. This composite of nine eight-by-ten inch prints from glass plates by an unknown photographer is the earliest photographic panorama in the Clements collection. Numerous photographers took essentially the same photos from this same location within days of each other, making them nearly impossible to distinguish.

The devastation after the fall of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, in April of 1865 attracted photographers from across the country. This composite of nine eight-by-ten inch prints from glass plates by an unknown photographer is the earliest photographic panorama in the Clements collection. Numerous photographers took essentially the same photos from this same location within days of each other, making them nearly impossible to distinguish.

Encompassing 180 degrees, this viewof Campus Martius by The Hughes & Lyday Co. shows Detroit’s old City Hall and the Majestic Building along Woodward Avenue at Cadillac Square, probably taken in the early morning, using a camera with a pivoting lens.<br />
A slight dusting of snow covers the ground, except where streetcar traffic has swept it away. Most of the buildings pictured were demolished in the 1960s, but the 1867 Soldiers and Sailors Monument remains. Donated by Doug Aikenhead

Encompassing 180 degrees, this viewof Campus Martius by The Hughes & Lyday Co. shows Detroit’s old City Hall and the Majestic Building along Woodward Avenue at Cadillac Square, probably taken in the early morning, using a camera with a pivoting lens. A slight dusting of snow covers the ground, except where streetcar traffic has swept it away. Most of the buildings pictured were demolished in the 1960s, but the 1867 Soldiers and Sailors Monument remains. Donated by Doug Aikenhead.

Among the very worst fires in American history was the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 that overwhelmed local firefighters and destroyed much of central Baltimore. Supporting equipment arriving from other cities was unable to be used due to inconsistent and varied hose sizes. This debacle led to federal laws standardizing fire hydrants and hoses. These two views were taken by G.W. Shaefer from the same location on Federal Hill overlooking the Inner Harbor before and shortly after the fire. Among the harbor-side industries on the near side is American Ice Company which supplied the fishing fleet with ice for preserving the fresh catch.
Among the very worst fires in American history was the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 that overwhelmed local firefighters and destroyed much of central Baltimore. Supporting equipment arriving from other cities was unable to be used due to inconsistent and varied hose sizes. This debacle led to federal laws standardizing fire hydrants and hoses. These two views were taken by G.W. Shaefer from the same location on Federal Hill overlooking the Inner Harbor before and shortly after the fire. Among the harbor-side industries on the near side is American Ice Company which supplied the fishing fleet with ice for preserving the fresh catch.

Among the very worst fires in American history was the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 that overwhelmed local firefighters and destroyed much of central Baltimore. Supporting equipment arriving from other cities was unable to be used due to inconsistent and varied hose sizes. This debacle led to federal laws standardizing fire hydrants and hoses. These two views were taken by G.W. Shaefer from the same location on Federal Hill overlooking the Inner Harbor before and shortly after the fire. Among the harbor-side industries on the near side is American Ice Company which supplied the fishing fleet with ice for preserving the fresh catch.

Thomas Sparrow was an Ohio photographer who specialized in panoramas of very large groups. A great deal of time went into the setup of this scene in front of the Saint John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cleveland on May 2, 1915. The front steps were not large enough to hold the full congregation. The risers were assembled across the sidewalk in a measured arc so that the<br />
distance to the camera would be equal. Getting everyone in place and holding still for the time it took to make adjustments challenged the patience of all, no doubt. The result is a fantastic community portrait. Well done, Mr. Sparrow!

Thomas Sparrow was an Ohio photographer who specialized in panoramas of very large groups. A great deal of time went into the setup of this scene in front of the Saint John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cleveland on May 2, 1915. The front steps were not large enough to hold the full congregation. The risers were assembled across the sidewalk in a measured arc so that the distance to the camera would be equal. Getting everyone in place and holding still for the time it took to make adjustments challenged the patience of all, no doubt. The result is a fantastic community portrait. Well done, Mr. Sparrow!

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

I have always envied people who seem to have a secure sense of direction. Myself, I am easily turned around and once got so lost that I had to casually ask someone the way to “downtown” because I didn’t even know which city I was closest to anymore. In an era before smartphones and Google Maps, it was a completely bewildering experience to be adrift and unmoored in space. Where am I?! It’s a question people had to ask themselves much more frequently in the past than we do today.

Nineteenth-century travelers writing of their journeys could be quite frank about losing their way. In 1848 George Turley visited Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and wrote home about his arrival. Staying at a “public house” near the steamboat landing, he admitted, “I have not a chance of traveling about the city much, for I get lost so often. I got lost today and went about a mile out of my way.” Living in an age where our phones can readily pull up our exact longitudinal coordinates and our cities are rife with street and traffic signs, it can be easy to forget just how perplexing it might have been to make your way through an unknown space in earlier times. A wrong turn could take up your entire day, and people grew frustrated trying to navigate new cities. Civil War surgeon George T. Stevens wrote to his wife Hattie on January 12, 1862, about one such mishap while he was stationed in Washington, D.C. “I had gone half a mile before I found I was wrong,” he harrumphed, “and when I was at length convinced of my mistake I could not for a long while realize where I was.” He even drew a sketch of where he went wrong, highlighting the offending intersection.

A perplexing intersection in Washington, D.C., got the better of Civil War surgeon<br />
George T. Stevens in 1862.

A perplexing intersection in Washington, D.C., got the better of Civil War surgeon George T. Stevens in 1862.

Reading through letters, it certainly seems that getting turned around in cities was a frequent affair. When Julia A. Wilbur went to Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War to work with freedmen’s education and relief programs, she wrote extensively back to her colleagues in the Rochester Ladies’ Antislavery Society. In October 1863, she commented on “Grantville,” a quickly growing neighborhood largely populated by freedmen and women. “There are so many houses there now,” she exclaimed, “that I got lost, just as I would in any other city.” More than the organization of streets, access to shops or services, or population density, it was her getting lost that made this evolving space feel urban.

People didn’t just comment on misplacing themselves in the city, but also their belongings. You not only had to keep tabs of where you were, but where your wallet and pocket watch were, too. George Ellington’s The Women of New York, or, The Under-World of the Great City (New York, 1869) laid out just how such things might go missing: “It is a very common and a very old practice for a lady pickpocket to request a gentleman sitting next to her in an omnibus or a car to raise or lower the window. . . . While he is in the act of performing this service, the ‘lady’ relieves him of his watch, and shortly after leaves the stage and is lost in the crowd.” Scanning through 19th-century police reports, notes about petty larceny and pickpocketing pepper the pages. The Clements’ copy of the Buffalo, New York, police docket from 1877 records items stolen from houses, rooms, sleighs, and stores, as well as from right under your nose. George Kearch reported that “there was stolen out of his coat pocket at 700 Washington St about 1030 yesterday AM a 5 Dollar bill.” He suspected two rag pickers, whom he described in great detail, noting their hair, build, clothing, and even the state of their teeth. Whether guilty or just suspected based on social prejudice, there’s no indication the police arrested the two men, suggesting that just like those described in Women of New York, these possible pickpockets melted into the anonymous crowd of the city.

Mingling in crowds meant you had to keep a close eye on your belongings. This warning accompanied an pamphlet about a public execution where pickpockets were hard at work, A True Account of the Confessions, and Contra Confessions of John Johnson (New York, 1824).

Mingling in crowds meant you had to keep a close eye on your belongings. This warning accompanied an pamphlet about a public execution where pickpockets were hard at work, A True Account of the Confessions, and Contra Confessions of John Johnson (New York, 1824).

Faceless masses concerned 19th-century Americans. In an era of rapid social change and urban growth, the city felt especially unmoored and writers warned of the potential hazards lying in wait. “The Emigrant is released from the social inspection and judgment to which he has been subjected at home,” Charles Loring Brace wrote in The Dangerous Classes of New York and Twenty Years’ Work Among Them (New York, 1872). Luckily for the unsuspecting, he continued, “the machinery for protecting and forwarding the newly-arrived immigrants, so that they may escape the dangers and temptations of the city, has been much improved.” Cities would ensnare the unsuspecting, lead astray the desperate, or offer up opportunities for ne’er-do-wells, such books suggested. While sensational printed accounts of crime or poverty underscored broad anxieties about how society functioned in cities, everyday people worried about loved ones moving there on a smaller, more human scale. “On the 7th of Nov. 1863 I parted with my youngest son Henry, a lad 19 years old to go to a greate city and battle the temtations that will be placed before him,” Royal Danforth of Raynham, Massachusetts, fretted in a letter from the Duane Norman Diedrich Collection. “When I think of him and compare his case with others that have fallen, I tremble for his safety.” You could not just get lost physically in the sprawling city, but morally, too.

The orderly scene portrayed in this 1856 lithograph of Broadway by Julius Bien likely masks what was a confusing whirl of activity happening at street level.

The orderly scene portrayed in this 1856 lithograph of Broadway by Julius Bien likely masks what was a confusing whirl of activity happening at street level.

But when you don’t want to be found, getting lost can be a blessing. In his autobiographical recounting of his escape from enslavement, Frederick Douglass remarked, “the chances of success are tenfold greater from the city than from the country.” Having access to transportation options, mingling in crowds, and being in a place where your social connections were more diffuse, could mean you might find an opportunity to slip away. Even those living in freedom could use the city as a protective cloak. In 1813 James Craig was searching for Sophia Elizabeth Feranze, a mixed-race woman living in Philadelphia who owed him money. As he reports in a May 29, 1813, letter in the African American History Collection, he thought her “slippery as an eel,” and despite his efforts to lean on his contacts he could not “obtain any other information than she lives with a Monsr. Longue, or Largee a french man . . . this is all I can learn about her.” Amidst the ebb and flow of residents, visitors, merchants, or sailors, people who did not wish to be found could try to lose themselves and with any luck maybe make themselves anew.

The excitement of an arriving ship increased the chaos of navigating urban streets, depicted by Edward Jump's STEAMER DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO, (San Francisco, 1866).

The excitement of an arriving ship increased the chaos of navigating urban streets, depicted by Edward Jump’s STEAMER DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO, (San Francisco, 1866).

Our cities have grown exponentially over the centuries. Looking at maps, the boundaries through the years expand outward, buildings grow upward, populations boom. But even in the 19th century, cities were disorienting places. While sanitized birds’-eye views tend to paint a rather orderly picture of tidy streets, the truth was often much messier, louder, and crowded. In the hubbub and whirl, you could lose yourself—in a good way, as no one knew you and you could engross yourself in the culture and forget yourself for a while. But the loss could be hard, too—a wrong turn, a stolen wallet, an overindulgence. The experience of getting lost, in its many forms, was entwined deeply with the experience of the city itself. And it makes you wonder, just a bit, in this age with a phone in our pocket whispering which way to turn, what we might lose when we can no longer get lost.

Jayne Ptolemy
    Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

When we think of urbanization in North America, our thoughts generally turn to the cities founded by European colonists in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. We often forget that European adventurers who preceded the colonial settlers encountered the cities of Indigenous inhabitants of North America. Reports and images of these urban sites were published in Europe and constitute some of the earliest descriptions of North American cities.

The Clements Library boasts two of these early Native American city plans. The first is the well known woodcut image of Temixitan (i.e., Tenochtitlán, present day Mexico City), published in La Preclara Narratione de Ferdinando Cortese (Venice, 1524) by Hernán Cortés (1485–1547), and also by the Venetian printer, Giovanni Ramusio (1485–1557) in his translation of navigation and voyages of European travelers throughout the world, Delle Navigationi et Viaggi Raccolto (Venice, 1583). The second plan, less well known and also included in Ramusio’s collection, illustrated a translation of Jacques Cartier’s report of his second voyage to North America, to the region of the Saint Lawrence River. Among the many things Cartier (1491–1557) encountered was the Native American town of Hochelaga, near the river and abutting a mountain christened by the French as Mont Royal, later to be known as Montréal. Of the two images of Native American cities, Hochelaga is less well known and deserves a closer look. Not only does it preserve the early history of a city that loomed large in the fur trade, the Seven Years’ War, and the American Revolution, it also symbolized the imposing presence of the Indigenous groups living in a broad area from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence to the Great Lakes.

The engraving entitled “La Terra de Hochelaga nella Nova Francia” (The Land of Hochelaga in New France) comprises a plan of the town, with enlarged views of the surrounding fortification, as well as vignettes of the encounter between the residents of Hochelaga and their surprise French visitors. The whole was probably laid out and engraved by Giacomo Gastaldi (ca. 1500-ca. 1565), under Giovanni Ramusio’s supervision.

The engraving entitled “La Terra de Hochelaga nella Nova Francia” (The Land of Hochelaga in New France) comprises a plan of the town, with enlarged views of the surrounding fortification, as well as vignettes of the encounter between the residents of Hochelaga and their surprise French visitors. The whole was probably laid out and engraved by Giacomo Gastaldi (ca. 1500-ca. 1565), under Giovanni Ramusio’s supervision.

Cartier, a native of St. Malo in Brittany, France, sailed under the aegis of French King François I (1494–1547) to search for the vaunted Northwest passage to Asia, or, failing that, to find what riches he could in the so-called New World. During his second visit to explore the bay and mouth of the Saint Lawrence River in 1535 and 1536, he and a number of his men traveled up the Saint Lawrence, reaching the site of Hochelaga on the island of what is now Montréal, in October of 1535.

A narrative of this journey was published in Paris in 1545 as Brief Recit, & Succinte Narration, de la Nauigationi Faicte es Ysles de Canada, without illustration. The plan of Hochelaga appearing in Ramusio’s volume includes images that conflate several moments in the narrative into one scene. The text describes the French journey by boat along the Saint Lawrence to Hochelaga where a tumultuous welcome was given by many (Cartier’s narrator says a thousand) men, women, and children, who greeted the strangers with cries of joy and a desire to touch them, followed by gift giving and noisy festivities throughout the night. The next morning Cartier and 25 of his men were led by three residents of Hochelaga through remarkable oak forests along four or five miles of well beaten path to the town, which they found in the midst of ripe grain fields close to a mountain which they named Mont Royal (Monte Real on the Ramusio plan). There, a chief from the town bade them pause to enjoy a fire and more gift giving before entering the town itself. The French remarked on the round layout of the town, surrounded by a wall of wooden pickets in three ranks, two leaned against each other in pyramidal form, and a perpendicular rank that created a defensive platform from which the inhabitants could throw stones to defend the city. Once in the town, they observed the distinct layout of ten streets, regularly arranged around 50 wooden houses, each house having many rooms, a courtyard for a cooking fire, and an attic for storing grain.

Temixitan, from Giovanni Ramusio’s Delle navigation et viaggi . . . (Venice, 1583).

Temixitan, from Giovanni Ramusio’s Delle navigation et viaggi . . . (Venice, 1583).

In the town the French were once again greeted warmly and conducted into the central plaza where a fire was lit. Children and women with babes in arms arrived and gathered round to touch the foreigners, while crying with joy and encouraging the Frenchmen to touch their children. After the women and children withdrew, the men of Hochelaga sat down in a circle around the French; some women returned with skins for the French to sit on as they watched the king or grand seigneur of Hochelaga, Agouhana, a man of about 50 years old wearing a large stag skin and wreath of red hedgehog skins, carried in on the shoulders of nine or ten men. He was seated next to Cartier, who observed that the king was afflicted with palsy. Agouhana asked by gesture that Cartier rub his arms and legs. After Cartier obliged, Agouhana gave him his wreath and desired that many of the town’s blind and very old residents be brought into the presence of the French. Cartier recited the “Incipit” (“In the beginning . . .”) from the Gospel of St John, touched the afflicted, and read from the Passion of Jesus, which silenced the crowd, who imitated the gestures of Cartier as he spoke. The French distributed small gifts and tokens to the residents; then Cartier ordered trumpets and other musical instruments to sound, causing further joy. When the French began to return to their boat, some Hochelagans escorted them the short mile to the top of Mont Royal, from which they could see, about 30 leagues around. After learning what they could via signs and gestures of the surrounding countryside and its resources, the French continued toward the river with an escort of Hochelagans, some of whom carried several fatigued Frenchmen on their backs to the boat.

While Cartier’s Brief Recit only gives the French view of the encounter with Hochelaga, it does provide its European reader with a description of a gracious people, warmly joyous in welcome and caring in their sendoff. It can only be imagined what the inhabitants of Hochelaga made of the curiously dressed Frenchmen or what they understood of their unusual language. The fact that the inhabitants of the land of Hochelaga lived in a town reinforces the meaning of “Canada,” the Iroquois- Huron word for “town, village,” the name ultimately applied by Cartier for this region north of the Saint Lawrence. City living was nothing new to these residents.

Abraham Ortelius’ well known atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (London, 1606) contains this map of the region named La Florida by the Spanish, on which Native American settlements are marked with the city symbol used on European maps.

Abraham Ortelius’ well known atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (London, 1606) contains this map of the region named La Florida by the Spanish, on which Native American settlements are marked with the city symbol used on European maps.

The image of Hochelaga, like the images of Temixitan / Mexico City, should remind us that “cities” are not the preserve of the European colonist but a phenomenon of human beings living together—satisfying the need for family, shelter, communal access to food, and shared participation in cultural practices such as prayer and story-telling. Cities take many forms as they serve to answer these human needs, and Hochelaga takes its place among them.

Mary Sponberg Pedley
     Assistant Curator of Maps

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

While sources describing cities of the past can be found throughout the library collections, another way to view urban history is by looking at predictions of the future. In his self-published Poetical Drifts of Thought, or, Problems of Progress (Detroit, 1884), Lyman E. Stowe (b. 1843) envisioned the city of Detroit in the year 2100. 

It would be difficult to summarize the exuberant and wide-ranging contents of Poetical Drifts of Thought, which includes discussion of “The Mistakes of the Christian Church” and poems on subjects from religious faith to scientific progress, astronomy, evolution, technological innovations, racial equality, and the Civil War. Stowe’s thoughts on future technologies bore a striking resemblance to later science-fiction tropes, including flying machines, the absorption of food in a gaseous form, and even instantaneous travel “on the electric current with the speed of thought.” The final section of the book was devoted to the past, present, and future of Detroit, the “City of the Straits.” It began with six pages of prose about the city’s population and resources, likely drawn from printed sources such as city directories and newspapers. 

The first poem on “Detroit in the Past” gave a brief overview of the city’s history, including the Indigenous people who first lived in the area, the arrival of French and English settlers, and a section covering Pontiac’s siege of Detroit in 1763. The second poem, “Detroit of the Present,” which he noted could be sung to the tune of “Yankee Doodle,” provided an upbeat description of the rapidly-growing city, including bustling businesses and factories, the booming real estate market, parks and riverfront views, and famous landmarks such as the Soldiers’ Monument and the Detroit Opera House. This text was accompanied by a three-foot-long fold-out view of the Detroit riverfront, based on a photograph taken from the balcony of the Crawford House, Windsor. 

Stowe himself was a Detroit businessman, being at various times a subscription book agent, a publisher, and the owner of a shop that sold pictures, frames, and clocks. According to the Detroit city directories from 1880 to 1883, Stowe’s shop was located at 121 Gratiot Avenue, near what is now the Skillman branch of the Detroit Public Library. 

Lyman E. Stowe’s store; Stowe is the tallest figure in the back row. Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.

Lyman E. Stowe’s store; Stowe is the tallest figure in the back row. Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.

In “Detroit of the Future,” Stowe predicted the city’s anticipated wonders, including both technological innovations and great societal changes. He thought the city of Detroit in 2100 would be enclosed, “covered with iron and glass for 20 miles square.” With geothermal heat and electric lights, the residents would experience “perpetual summer day, and tropical fruits and flowers growing the year around.” By that time, the city itself would extend the full length of the river on both sides, with a population of more than 1.5 million people. Factories would have moved outside the city, to which workers would travel through pneumatic tubes or in aerial ships. Stowe’s utopian vision included the end of poverty and hunger, as “superfl’us wealth has had its fall, And equal rights now govern all.” Indigence and crime would be abolished, removing the need for police, lawyers, judges, prisons, and poorhouses. 

Stowe’s ideas about electricity, flying machines, and other advances may have drawn inspiration from his vast and eclectic reading, including poetry, novels, newspapers and magazines, and a vast range of nonfiction books including Alexander Winchell’s Sketches of Creation (New York, 1870), Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (London, 1859), and Orson Squire Fowler’s volumes on phrenology. According to his introduction, he attributed his enjoyment of reading to popular fiction, “that much abused little dime novel.” 

In compensating for a lack of early education, he credited “the great public educators, the daily and weekly papers” for providing him with much information. The breadth of his reading can be seen in the list of sources provided at the end of the book as well as the citations given throughout the text. However, he cautioned that while he would always try to give credit where it was due, he had “read so much that I can hardly say where all of my ideas came from, or what is my own or what I have borrowed from others.” To make up for this, he inserted a pair of large quotation marks in his introduction and asked the “fastidious reader to place them where they belong.” 

“A scene in Detroit in the year 2100, looking down Boulevard ave.—the City covered with iron and glass for 20 miles square.” Lyman E, Stowe, Poetical Drifts of Thought (1884).
“The Flying Machine of the near Future,” Poetical Drifts of Thought (1884).

“A scene in Detroit in the year 2100, looking down Boulevard ave.—the City covered with iron and glass for 20 miles square.” Lyman E, Stowe, Poetical Drifts of Thought (1884).

 

“The Flying Machine of the near Future,” Poetical Drifts of Thought (1884).

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, real-photo postcard by Louis James Pesha, 1911.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, real-photo postcard by Louis James Pesha, 1911.

David V. TInder Collection of Michigan Photography, real-photo postcard, 1910.

David V. TInder Collection of Michigan Photography, real-photo postcard, 1910.

Poetical Drifts of Thought is illustrated throughout with a mixture of original wood engravings and stock illustrations borrowed from other sources. The engravings commissioned by Stowe are signed by “E. A. Young of Detroit.” Stowe did not seem entirely satisfied with the outcome of Young’s work, commenting under one image that “The above cut misrepresents the author’s idea. It is a mistake of the engraver, that we had not time to correct.” The caption for the flying machine notes: “The above cut is not supposed to be an accurate description of the future flying machine. The author of this work [Stowe] has in contemplation a flying machine that he believes will work perfectly, and which he will soon test.” Engraving blocks for many of these illustrations are now at the American Antiquarian Society in the Lyman Stowe Collection of Matrices. 

Stowe was not the only one to envision airships hovering in the skies above Detroit. In the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, there are several examples of 20th century real-photo postcards that depict Detroit with aircraft of various kinds flying low over the city. However, these flying machines have been cut and pasted into the skyline of the city, adding visual interest to the postcard and suggesting a more urbanized and futuristic cityscape. For example, the postcard “Detroit the Airship City” includes an airship as well as an airplane, unintentionally echoing Stowe’s visions of a futuristic Detroit.

Another postcard from Trenton, Michigan, takes a more cynical view of the future of flight, contrary to Stowe’s vision of social equality. This postcard, depicting a pasted-in airplane flying low over a street scene, included a printed poem under the image that forecasted an increasing class divide with the rise of air travel. It read: 

In nineteen hundred and sixteen
We all shall be flying—perhaps!
And racing with sea-gulls and
thunder clouds
In dizzy aerial laps

We’ll go to our business each
       morning then
In speedy aeroplanes,
And move our dirigible baloons
To steeples or weather vanes

Then all will be joy to the chaps who fly,
But days full of fear and dread
For the common people who have
       to dodge
Things dropping from overhead

Stillson wrenches and gasoline cans,
And champagne bottles and corks
Will cover the buildings and fields
and streets
And bury the chap who walks.

Although present-day pedestrians in the “City of the Straits” do not enjoy fantastical views of airships and biplanes overhead, nor need they scramble for shelter from falling debris, perhaps some of Stowe’s other visions will yet come to pass by the year 2100. 

­—Emiko Hastings
    Curator of Books

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

Between 1830 and 1913, the comparatively small state of Massachusetts became the beating heart of American shoe production. Home to numerous engineers and machinists devoted to mechanizing the artisanal shoemaking process, antebellum Massachusetts fostered an environment of invention and unprecedented industrialization. The real turning point came in 1859, when Massachusetts-born engineer Lyman Blake refined a sole-sewing machine that could knit soles to leather uppers at a breathtakingly quick pace while still maintaining the high quality of hand-stitching. In a familiar 19th-century tale, Blake’s machine tolled the death knell for centuries of skilled handiwork. 

By 1869, approximately 60 percent of shoes and boots made in the United States came from increasingly industrialized hotspots in Massachusetts. When it came to urban growth, shoe production enabled massive expansion for cities like Haverhill, once a tiny cluster of settlements on the serpentine Merrimack River. Fueled by the proliferation of puffing shoe factories, Haverhill blossomed from a population of 3,000 (1820) to 30,000 (1892). By 1893, Haverhill’s Board of Trade proclaimed itself “The Largest Shoe and Boot Town In the World.” And by 1913, Haverhill was nicknamed “Queen Slipper City,” in recognition of its production of 1/10th of the nation’s shoes. According to the maps and statistics, Haverhill’s ascent to shoe stardom seems like a straightforward narrative.

A birds-eye view map, Haverhill, Massachusetts, (Boston, 1893) was folded into pocket-size boards and distributed, “Compliments of the Board of Trade.” The crowded promotional item proudly announces Haverhill’s growth by the numbers, proclaiming that in the last year, population had increased by 48% and 205 additional residences and buildings had been erected, some depicted on the map’s border. Digitized copy courtesy of the Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.
In my role as the Librarian for Instruction at the Clements, I spend lots of time thinking about how to utilize our collections to remind students of the messiness, complication, and human cost of powerful change. In reality, Haverhill’s seemingly benign expansion relied upon the eventual “de-skilling” of an entire trade. Shoemakers once trained in careful, slow production for specific clients transitioned to participation in the mass production of factory-made shoes. How did that transition affect the day-to-day lives of those shoemakers? What role did nostalgia, routine, and resistance play in industrial progress?

The Clements Library is lucky to hold answers to some of these questions in the rich diaries of Albert Brown Hale (1869-1947). Hale, a shoemaker from the small town of West Newbury, Massachusetts (population 1,300 in 1890), six miles away from Haverhill, was the son of shoemaker Samuel Hale, and went on to join the family business himself. In his 1894 journal, Hale wrote in exquisite detail about the hands-on practices at the family shoe shop. Each day, Hale recorded precisely how many shoes he made (rarely less than four, never more than eight), of what material (often luxurious textiles like lavender satin or white kid leather), and whom they were for (the customer always identified by name). He tracked the weather with the studied devotion of an amateur meteorologist, particularly when the days were rainy and thus muddy (a true concern for someone invested in the durability of delicate satin shoes). The pace of his work was almost comically relaxed, and the intricate details of this labor-intensive work were noted:

January 4, 1894: Got to work at 8, and didn’t hurry much.

January 15, 1894: Got to work at 8:45, and didn’t hurry much.

January 17, 1894: I went to work about 8:45, and was fooling most of the time with father.

March 27, 1894: 4 prs lavender satin sandals…came fine and looked great. The dongola [a leather made by tanning goatskin, calfskin, or sheepskin to resemble kid leather] had to be worked on 4 & 4 ½ up a size and worked very rough. The linings were sewed to the outside and eyelet holes were worked through the vamp in the form of a diamond.

March 30, 1894: Didn’t hurry but took things very comfortable and the shoes came very fine.

 Diary entries from March 27 and 28, 1894, recorded Albert Hale’s exquisite attention to detail in hand-crafting his shoes, presenting an image of “eyelet holes . . . worked in the vamp in the form of a diamond.”
Diary entries from March 27 and 28, 1894, recorded Albert Hale’s exquisite attention to detail in hand-crafting his shoes, presenting an image of “eyelet holes . . . worked in the vamp in the form of a diamond.”
These early entries evoke a pre-industrial zeitgeist. Rather than describing any awareness of deadlines or attempts to meet a production quota, Hale prioritized an unhurried pace and the creation of handsewn, sumptuously outfitted footwear. To operate this way in 1894, when mechanized shoe assembly had usurped the role of the journeyman and Blake’s sole-sewing machine was doing the work of 80 laborers in one hour, is striking. Hale’s entries give us a glimpse into the life of a family business that clearly resisted the abandonment of a treasured craft, instead clinging to older forms of production and defying the imperative to sew faster, produce more, and use automation to create a standard product. Hale knew his customers in West Newbury by name, indicating that a market still existed for more expensive, handcrafted shoes. Somehow, the Hales had managed to avoid forced modernization for nearly 25 years after the invention of industry-changing machines.

After 1894, Hale’s diaries disappeared for 16 years, not resuming until 1912. If Hale wrote entries during these in-between years, the volumes are not held at the Clements and so far remain untraceable elsewhere. From context in the existing diaries, we know that Hale’s life changed tremendously between 1894 and 1912. He married Minnie May Drew (1877–1970) and they had a son (Hazen, b. 1904). And Hale was at last swept up in the tidal wave of industrialization. Around 1900, he moved to Haverhill, a burgeoning city nearly 23 times the size of West Newbury, where he climbed the ladder to the position of supervising foreman at one of the city’s many bustling shoe factories. This transition meant that Hale no longer made shoes by hand, and the previous lists of shoe numbers and types disappeared from his pages. Instead, he oversaw factory teams and created shoe samples for his teams to replicate en masse. The entries in his 1912-1931 diaries provide a firsthand account of the deskilling wrought by industrialization:

December 6, 1923: Made sample Arthur Moore stitch.

February 1, 1924: I got up 5:30…teams worked. Wood had Chicago Fair shoes to work on. Pike sorry he didn’t get in to clean stitcher.
April 8, 1924: Teams worked; I got right up to the floor and was Johnnie-on-the-spot all day.

May 9, 1924: Got up at 6:15am; teams worked, I got right on the job.

Gone were the days of relaxed conversation and family banter from his small-town shoe shop, replaced by a preoccupation with work ethic, staffing, and productivity required by the factory position. In the larger city of Haverhill, Hale no longer knew his customers. His social sphere consisted of other factory workers, and he spent time rereading his diaries from previous years. His skillset transformed from artisanal handicraft to corporate management.

In The Book of the Feet (New York, 1847), Joseph Hall Sparkes reminisces fondly about the ancient art of shoemaking, tracing its “fascinating history” from the handicraft of ancient Romans to the United States in the 1840s.
For teaching purposes, this sharp contrast between Hale’s life in 1894 and 1912 is invaluable for many reasons. Practically speaking, the diaries enliven the story of Haverhill’s urbanization, represented in government maps and reports, with the first-person voice of someone making the leap from small-town shoemaker to big-city factory supervisor. Hale’s life illustrates that the timeline of mechanization was by no means uniform, cohesive, or linear, and that the appearance of automation did not instantly dispel the demand for luxury craftsmanship. Hale’s journals present exhaustive, mundane, and monotonous detail. But when compiled, those minutiae reveal the staggering socioeconomic shifts and fierce grapplings with modernity at stake in the urbanization of turn-of-the-century America.

What I really love about teaching these diaries, though, is this: students are instantly fascinated not only by what Hale wrote, but by what he left out. Thirteen years of diaries reveal exhaustive data about what Hale did, yet very little about what he felt. As one history student wrote, Hale’s entries left him frustrated with questions about how Hale (whom the student affectionately designated a “total shoe nerd”) actually experienced the seismic cultural change which occurred between 1894 to 1912. “Was factory work truly a miserable, hopeless career?” the student asked. “Did workers and their families ever look back and reminisce on better days before working in factories? Was there anything that brought everyday people sustainable happiness?” Powerful questions, to be sure, but ones that Hale’s diaries do not explicitly answer. Students wrestled with the lack of information about Hale’s feelings, and were particularly concerned about the extent to which his transition to deskilled labor affected his happiness.

The more I think through the Hale diaries, the more I feel that preparing students for the possibility of textual resistance (“There’s no answer!” or, “It’s not the answer I want!”) is a crucial step in teaching them to do research on how an absence or silence exists in any historical text. Hale’s diaries function in the classroom not only as practical historical studies of the jaggedness of industrial progress in turn-of-the-century Massachusetts, but also as evidence for the ability of “exhaustive dailiness” to communicate macro-narratives. They can offer students the opportunity to practice thinking through complicated texts that refuse to confirm pre-established conclusions, and instead teach us what questions to ask. For most University of Michigan students for whom an urban environment is already familiar, Hale’s voice offers the chance to share, in a small way, a pre-industrial mode of living, and to reflect upon the professional and personal experiences of past generations during periods of great change. And for those students undergoing the transition from a small, rural high school to the teeming Ann Arbor metropolis, history reminds them that they are not alone.

Maggie Vanderford
   Librarian for Instruction and Engagement

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

gr-uncat-new york birdseye-crop
John Bachmann arrived in the United States from Germany in 1848, and almost immediately became the country’s finest artist of urban bird’s-eye views. This recently acquired 1849 view of New York, looking south from Union Square, was Bachmann’s first bird’s-eye view of an American city.
Thomas Jefferson only published one book in his lifetime, Notes on the State of Virginia. It contains much of what we now consider to be the core of Jefferson’s thought, including his famous condemnation of cities: “The mobs of great cities, add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.” Jefferson’s elevation of the simple yeoman farmer as the ideal American citizen (even while he himself enslaved more laborers than any other U.S. president) has shaped generations of Americans’ thoughts about our shared past. Our nation’s history, we are told, is above all a quest for independent ownership of land—land to plant crops, raise cattle, dig for gold. Which is to say that our nation’s history is rural.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, one of the most remarkable things about the United States—noted by native-born Americans and foreigners alike—was its pace of urbanization. Perhaps none of the cultural shifts that transformed the United States in the decades before the Civil War were as significant as the growth of large cities. This story of urban expansion is one that the collections at the Clements Library tell remarkably well, both in terms of where items in the collection were produced and what they are about.

An 1843 novel by Thomas Low Nichols titled Ellen Ramsay; or the Adventures of a Greenhorn in Town and Country offers a glimpse at how profoundly different the experience of city life was for many Americans. When the “greenhorn” of the title first arrived in New York, “his ears were dinned with all sorts of uncouth noises. The streets in the distance seemed filled with one tremendous roar, as if the city carried on as part of its immense trade an extensive business in retail thunder.” The sounds, smells, and speed of large antebellum American cities were unlike anything rural Americans had experienced. And while some were repulsed, many more were fascinated. Jayne Ptolemy’s article in this issue on the disorientation produced by the urban environment “captures these combined responses of attraction and fear.

So how fast were American cities growing? The numbers are difficult to believe. The cities of the early United States were compact collections of mostly wooden buildings, of easy walking scale. In 1800, the vast majority of New York’s 60,000 residents lived on the southern tip of Manhattan Island below Canal Street. Similarly in Philadelphia, which was the nation’s largest city, the population was concentrated in what we now call Old City, with some spillover south and north into areas that were then not part of the city proper.

By 1860, Manhattan was home to over 800,000 people, with another 280,000 living in the then-independent city of Brooklyn. Philadelphia had grown from 40,000 in 1800 to over 560,000. What was even more remarkable was the sudden appearance of cities that had been nothing more than tiny clusters of buildings in 1800. Cincinnati grew from under 10,000 residents in 1820 to over 160,000 in 1860. St. Louis was home to only 5,000 people in 1830; three decades later, it had also topped 160,000. More dramatic still were the so-called “mushroom cities” of the West. In the span of 30 years, from 1840 to 1870, Chicago multiplied in size 66 times, from 4,500 to 300,000. San Francisco topped them all. When gold was discovered in California in 1849, there were fewer than 1,000 people living on the peninsula. Three years later, there were 35,000; by 1870, there were 150,000.

bk-pam 1884 ba-baltimore sorrow-cover
True crime narratives like this one were often connected to the city where they took place, bolstering the impression that cities were sites of violence and excitement. This paper-covered book,  The Baltimore Sorrow (Philadelphia, 1879) details a dramatic murder in Baltimore. Lizzie James claimed to have been seduced by Denwood Hinds, a wealthy young man who had served in the military with her brother. Lizzie’s father Isaac was shot and killed after confronting Hinds, who was acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defense.
bk-uncat-spider and the fly-cover
bk-uncat-spider and the fly-titlepage
This advice book, The Spider and the Fly, by Henry William Herbert (New York, 1873) claimed to reveal to readers the many dangers–financial, moral, and otherwise–of life in a large American city. The author’s pseudonym, “One Who Knows,” reinforced the notion that there were some people who truly understood how cities worked, while those from the hinterlands could only marvel.
By 1860, Manhattan was home to over 800,000 people, with another 280,000 living in the then-independent city of Brooklyn. Philadelphia had grown from 40,000 in 1800 to over 560,000. What was even more remarkable was the sudden appearance of cities that had been nothing more than tiny clusters of buildings in 1800. Cincinnati grew from under 10,000 residents in 1820 to over 160,000 in 1860. St. Louis was home to only 5,000 people in 1830; three decades later, it had also topped 160,000. More dramatic still were the so-called “mushroom cities” of the West. In the span of 30 years, from 1840 to 1870, Chicago multiplied in size 66 times, from 4,500 to 300,000. San Francisco topped them all. When gold was discovered in California in 1849, there were fewer than 1,000 people living on the peninsula. Three years later, there were 35,000; by 1870, there were 150,000.

With urban growth came urban problems: crime, prostitution, drunkenness, noise, sewage, poverty, fires, rampant inequality, loneliness, and more. Yet cities also offered economic opportunity, excitement, diversity, popular entertainment, and anonymity, as well as ample opportunities for the exercise of benevolence. It’s also the case that even though countless critics warned against city life because of the challenges it presented to conventional morality, for many Americans those challenges to conventional morality were a big part of
the draw.

The Clements Library’s collections chart this boom in urban growth (and the increasing diversity of urban populations) in countless ways, from prints to maps to diaries to books. This interest in urban expansion starts early, as you will see in Mary Pedley’s article on the 16th century indigenous settlement of Hochelaga, and extends into the future, as Emiko Hastings describes in her piece on an eccentric vision of the future of Detroit. Perhaps no part of the collection is more focused on the phenomenon of urbanization than our holdings of bird’s-eye views, a genre of printmaking that was very nearly exclusive to the 19th-century U.S. (even though some of its finest practitioners, such as John Bachmann, were from overseas). Bird’s-eye views represented cities from an imagined perspective high in the air, and in the process became the perfect medium for charting urban growth over time. This desire in visual culture to be able to see the city whole extended into photography, as Clayton Lewis discusses in his article on photographic panoramas.

Other portions of the collection share this urban focus. The Medler Crime Collection consists of printed works of both fiction and what we would now call “true crime,” genres that were almost entirely situated in cities and were closely connected to the antebellum decades’ outpouring of sensational novels about city life (the “Mysteries and Miseries” of cities from Worcester to New Orleans). Materials we have acquired to support the Medler Collection in recent years chart the rise of other urban institutions—police departments, reform schools, orphan asylums, and prisons—that were created to respond to urban problems.

Many of our manuscript collections describe encounters with the city by writers from all walks of life. Their responses, whether positive or negative, were shaped by what they had been told to expect from the urban environment by the flood of print focused on city life. Maggie Vanderford describes one diarist’s long-term encounter with urban growth, as seen through the lens of his work in the shoe business. Urbanization didn’t only alter the ways people lived and played, it wrought profound changes in how people worked. Whether they read children’s books or saw playbills or read almanacs and novels, American readers in the 18th and 19th centuries would have imbibed the powerful message that cities were where things happened, from important political debates to tawdry circus performances. In this regard it is important to mention newspapers, which were perhaps the signature print form of early American cities. Being sufficiently large and industrious to support at least one daily newspaper was an important milestone for any town that had higher aspirations. The Clements Library’s remarkable collection of 18th- and 19th-century newspapers is not as well known as it should be (we are currently seeking resources to create a checklist of the titles and issues that we hold so we can add them to the online catalog).

Any collection of printed Americana from 1750 to 1900 is by definition an urban collection due to the remarkable concentration of all industries related to communication in American cities (and particularly New York) during this time. As the historian David Henkin noted in his book City Reading (New York, 1998), in the 1850s, New York—which only had two percent of the nation’s population—accounted for 18 percent of the country’s newspaper circulation, processed 22 percent of the country’s mail, and received over 37 percent of its publishing revenue. The urban centralization of the printing trades in the United States happened early, as the new nation began to wean itself from dependence on imported print, but accelerated as the 19th century progressed. By mid-century, Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati combined with New York to entirely dominate the national print market. Thus, both in terms of material production and subject matter, the Clements Library’s collections show—as you’ll see in the rest of this issue—that early American history is urban history.

­— Paul Erickson
Randolph G. Adams Director

bk-c2 1876 li-the quaker city-titlepage
Antebellum American literature saw a tremendous boom in “city mysteries” fiction–novels that claimed to reveal the seedy underside of urban life. George Lippard’s The Quaker City; or, The Monks of Monk-Hall, a sensational exposé of Philadelphia’s hidden structures of class and power, was the first successful American example of the genre. First published in parts in 1844, it was reprinted numerous times, including in this 1876 edition.

No. 56 (Summer/Fall 2022)

The Clements holds many resources that enable the study of American city life in all its variety, including the urban expansion in New York during the 1800s, work ethic and mass production of sole work in Massachusetts, urban panorama photography and even early Native American city plans.

No. 55 (Winter/Spring 2022)

The Clements holds resources that enable the study of American religious experience in all its variety, including the explosion of religious print culture in the 19th century, the theocratic persecution of the Quakers in Massachusetts in the 1660s, and eschatological sectarianism of the Millerites in the 1840s. Also highlighted in this issue are new Clements acquisitions on a variety of topics.

No. 55 (Winter/Spring 2022)

Staff News

The Clements Library welcomes new staff members Meg Bossio and Maggie Vanderford.  As a reading room supervisor, Meg is now part of the team providing services to our onsite researchers. In a newly created position, Maggie joins the Clements as Librarian for Instruction and Engagement. Maggie’s mission is to coordinate the teaching program by working closely with university faculty and staff to integrate our collections into curricula.

New Joyce Bonk Graduate Student Assistant Claire Danna joins the staff for the next two years while she attends the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Claire is currently working to digitize real photo postcards from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography and is participating in a new crowdsourcing program on Zooniverse.

As part of the Clements Library’s grant-funded initiative to digitize the Thomas Gage Papers, we welcome digitization technicians Tulin Babbitt, Katrina Shafer, and Michelle Varteresian. Their skills in scanning and providing metadata will help usher one of our largest and most-used collections into the online environment.

In Memory

Distinguished historian and archivist Philip P. Mason, a member of the Honorary Board of Governors of the Clements Library Associates, passed away on May 6, 2021.

Rare 1761 Manuscript Plan of Detroit Acquired

The Clements Library has recently promoted exciting news of a new acquisition—the “Plan of the Fort at De Troit,” hand-drawn for British officials in 1761. It becomes our earliest original manuscript plan of the fort and an inset is now our earliest pictorial view. Clements staff acted fast to secure this rare resource for its purchase cost of $42,500.

A crowdfunding campaign was quickly launched seeking help from our community and the greater public to fundraise for this important acquisition. In less than 3 weeks, donations exceeded our goal, raising a total of $43,428, fully funding the acquisition. Our sincere appreciation goes out to Tom Andison, Tom and Cheri Jepsen, George Jones, and Jim and Pam Neal for stepping up to match the first $20,000 in donations, leading the way to this important achievement. We are delighted that this plan is now available for study.

An inset illustration labeled “View from the West,” shows rooftops jutting above wooden palisade walls, sited on a gentle rise of land overlooking the river. It vividly captures what the British saw when they approached the fort for the first time to accept the French surrender just months before this map was produced.

Transatlantic Fellowship Partnership Launched

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new research funding program for 2022-2023. In partnership with the American Trust for the British Library, we will offer a Transatlantic Fellowship designed to support at least four weeks of research between the British Library and the Clements Library, with at least one week of research time at each institution. This opportunity will support researchers whose projects will benefit from the use of primary source materials in both libraries, enabling the production of exciting transatlantic scholarship.

The New Julius S. Scott III Fellowship in Caribbean & Atlantic History

In memory of the late Dr. Julius S. Scott, colleagues, friends and family have established a new fellowship to support early-career researchers traveling to use the collections of the Clements Library to conduct research in the fields of Atlantic and Caribbean history, broadly construed. Dr. Scott, who passed away in December 2021, was a Lecturer in Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan and author of the groundbreaking book The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution (London, 2018). The Clements is now fundraising towards a $50,000 goal to sustain the fellowship through endowed funds.

Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Mary Sue Coleman, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Kristin A. Cabral, Candace Dufek, William G. Earle, Charles R. Eisendrath, Derek J. Finley, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Troy E. Hollar, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, James E. Laramy, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar, Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Peter Heydon, Chair Emeritus. Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

Published by the Clements Library
University of Michigan
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phone: (734) 764-2347 • fax: (734) 647-0716
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Terese M. Austin, Editor, austintm@umich.edu
Tracy Payovich, Designer, tgierada@umich.edu

Regents of the University
Jordan B. Acker, Huntington Woods; Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc; Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor; Paul W. Brown, Ann Arbor; Sarah Hubbard, Okemos; Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms; Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor; Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor.
Mary Sue Coleman, ex officio

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement
The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

No. 55 (Winter/Spring 2022)

I entered the meeting space with curiosity and took in the scene before me. Paper worksheets, clipboards, and pencils greeted me on the first table, and there were a dozen books laid out on another three tables. The books varied greatly, but I was drawn first to a thick volume with a worn leather cover. I recognized it as one of the first objects I encountered at the Clements Library, Mamusse Wunnestupanatamwe Up-Biblum God, also known as the Eliot Indian Bible.

Puritan missionary John Eliot produced this Bible in 1663, translating all 66 books into the indigenous Massachusett language. He felt so strongly about his work and the power of the Bible that he developed a written alphabet for the language. Although there is no evidence to suggest that he was successful in his missionary efforts, this record of Massachusett remains a testament to his undertaking.

As I stood pondering the worksheet which asked me to consider the drawing on the pastedown of a Mohawk/Iroquois Bible, Maggie Vanderford, the new Librarian for Instruction and Engagement, walked in. She was about to host drop-in hours for a class called “The Bible as Literature.” Earlier in the week, 55 students had heard a presentation about the materials and this would be their chance to see objects from the collection in person.

Sharing the materials at the Clements is core to our mission and we strive to find a variety of ways to do this, including university classes, in-person research, and digitization. As a staff member hired specifically for outreach, Maggie plays a key role in making the Clements collections available to a wider audience. Sharing, after all, is an action that happens between two or more people.

Maggie Vanderford (standing at right) leads students in a creative engagement exercise.

Acquiring an object is only the first step in the process. Once an item comes to the Clements it needs to be catalogued, assessed for conservation, possibly conserved, housed appropriately, and possibly even digitized.

We are raising money to bolster the staff at the Clements Library. The NEH grant to digitize the Thomas Gage papers provided us with the salaries for three digitization technicians; two for three years and one for two years. Recent grants from the Delmas Foundation and the Upton Foundation supplied seed money for a two-year graphics cataloging position. These are good starting points, but we must do more.

I watched as students began to arrive. Maggie introduced the materials and provided each student with a worksheet and a pencil. They struggled to read Angelina Grimké’s beautiful cursive notations in the margins of her Bible and mused over the tone set by the various religious illustrations. They asked questions, made observations, and discussed how amazing it is that they can look at volumes that are so old.

I felt rejuvenated and remembered exactly why I love my job as a fundraiser: because of the potential to connect people, build community, and inspire learning. In order for the Clements to operate in the welcoming, inclusive, generous way we dream about, we will need a holistic plan to increase our staff levels. The Clements Library needs your help to build a future-thinking course of action. Please reach out to discuss ideas, ask questions, and to offer your philanthropy. I appreciate all that you do to support the Clements Library.

Angela Oonk
Director of Development

Throughout American history, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, and other dangerous naturally-occuring phenomena have randomly delivered unsparing destruction in an instant. Many of those who witnessed such tragic ordeals have found themselves leaning into their spiritual beliefs for comfort and explanation in the aftermath. The Clements Library contains many compelling resources that provide insight into religious interpretations of natural disasters.

On November 18, 1755, a 6.0 to 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in what is still considered the most powerful quake to ever hit New England. While no one died, hundreds of buildings were damaged and people were left terrified. Many looked to religion to try and make sense of what had occurred, including clergyman and physician Charles Chauncey (1705-1787), who delivered a sermon, The Earth Delivered from the Curse to Which it is, at Present, Subjected (Boston, 1756), in which he categorized the quake as a stark warning from God. According to Chauncey, the purpose of natural disasters such as “tempests, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and the like” was “to awaken the attention of a careless world, and call them to the faith, and fear, and service of the great sovereign of the universe; or to put a period to their existence here, if they are incurably turned to infidelity and wickedness . . . these are the great instruments of providence.” Chauncey pointed to the Lisbon earthquake and tsunami of 1755 (which occurred just 17 days prior to the Cape Ann quake and killed tens of thousands in Portugal, Spain, and Northwest Africa) as a possible sign of things to come if iniquity persisted.

However, not everyone was convinced that earthquakes were products of God’s righteous anger. John Winthrop (1714-1779), who at the time of the Cape Ann quake was the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural History at Harvard, experienced the tremors and delivered an address, published as A Lecture on Earthquakes (Boston, 1755), regarding the incident. Approaching the subject through a more scientific lens, Winthrop believed that earthquakes were not directly caused by God’s wrath but were instead “the necessary and inevitable consequences of such laws of nature, and such powers in matter, as our globe could not well subsist without.” Winthrop believed this naturalistic perspective “ought to silence all the complaints of those who suffer either loss or terror by [earthquakes]; as well as all the objections, which men of skeptical minds have been disposed to make, upon this head, to the order of Providence. . . . For, it is plain, they may be beneficial in a thousand other ways, than we, short-sighted mortals, may pretend to guess at.”

Diary entry by Sarah Woolsey Lloyd (1719-1760) of Stamford, Connecticut, on the morning of November 18, 1755, describing the Cape Ann earthquake. At approximately 4 a.m. she was “waked by a Terrible Earthquake. This is the Second time the Lord arose to shake terribly the Earth in little more than two months besides sundry smaller shocks – what is the Lord about to Do – may we humbly Enquire when Wars and Earthquakes go before him. O Let every Heart tremble for fear of thy Judgment – Lord spare people and save thine inheritance for Jesus sake – amen – amen.”

On the evening of August 9, 1878, a tornado touched down in Wallingford, Connecticut, for around ninety seconds. By the time the twister departed, at least 34 people had been killed, over 70 wounded, and numerous structures destroyed. John B. Kendrick was tasked with writing an analysis of the tragedy, which remains the deadliest tornado in Connecticut’s history. Kendrick wrote in his History of the Wallingford Disaster (Hartford, 1878) that “Many felt strangely bewildered, and thought themselves dazed when, instead of homes, they saw utter destruction; and instead of dwellings, a plain sown with torn and twisted timber, and with debris of every kind. Strong men wept. Strewn here and there, in roads and gutters, and across the Plain, or wedged in among the debris of the wreck, were the lifeless and the maimed, helpless, and, in some cases, clothesless.” Kendrick’s survey of the Wallingford tornado’s impact is rife with disturbing details of the specific ways in which people were killed and how survivors processed what had happened. He sympathized with the mindsets of two women he interviewed who said they had been convinced Judgment Day itself had arrived, writing that “This destruction, so sudden, so complete, so fearful in every respect, coming truly like a ‘thief in the night,’ seemed to them as it would have seemed to us—the agony and passion of earth’s last hour.”

When the time came to bury the dead, the Rev. Father Slocum of New Haven delivered a powerful speech in which he implored people to take heed of the catastrophe as irrefutable confirmation of God’s fury. According to Kendrick, Rev. Slocum stated that God had allowed the tornado to wreak its deadly havoc in order to make it crystal clear that “no matter where a man’s lot is cast he must die,” and that anyone who might doubt the severity of God’s mysterious wrath should “Come here and see these corpses, and then say that He is not a terrible God, if you can.” Rather than allow such events to dampen one’s faith, Rev. Slocum instead encouraged his listeners to recognize the fearsome powers at God’s disposal and urged them to continue to “try and live according to the precepts of the divine commands, so that when we are called upon to die we shall go without fear, but with a conscience prepared for His judgement.”

Kendrick also recorded one darkly amusing anecdote that hints at cross-denominational rivalries. Among the 34 people who lost their lives, all but one were of the Catholic faith and predominantly of Irish heritage. A deacon who visited Wallingford the day after the tornado was intrigued by this statistic. After striking up a conversation with an injured survivor named Pat Cline, the deacon smugly asked, “My poor fellow, how do you account for the fact that none but Catholics were killed yesterday?” To which Cline replied, “Sure and it’s aisy enough accountin’ for that; the Catholics are ready to die any minute, but your folks ain’t good enough to go suddint like.”

A wood engraving from John Kendrick’s History of the Wallingford Disaster (Hartford, 1878) shows the ruins of a Catholic church that was leveled by the powerful tornado of 1878.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. With fatalities estimated between 6,000 and 12,000 and nearly $35 million worth of damage, it is nigh impossible to fathom the scale of such suffering. On the night of September 8, 1900, the city of Galveston, Texas, was devoured by the ocean as a Category 4 hurricane brought a storm surge that rapidly inundated the city. Paul Lester’s The True Story of the Galveston Flood (Philadelphia, 1900) described the hellish scenes in extensive detail. According to Lester, dead bodies were found almost everywhere in the following days, including many that were buried under huge piles of debris. One search party even located a man who was found “on his knees, his eyes were uplifted, and his clasped hands were extended as in prayer. It was evident that the man had been praying when he was struck and instantly killed.”

In the days and weeks following the hurricane, there were many reported incidents of traumatized survivors experiencing fits of insanity and attempting suicide. Lester noted that mental health issues began “developing among the sufferers at a terrible rate. It is estimated by the medical authorities that there are 500 deranged men and women who should be in asylums, and the number is increasing. . . . Mentally unbalanced by the suddenness and horror of their losses, men and women meet on the streets and compare their losses and then laugh the laugh of insanity as a newcomer joins the group and tells possibly of a loss greater than that of the others. Their laughter is something to chill the blood in the veins of the strongest men.” Amidst such agonizing chaos it is no surprise that there were many who “in their frenzy blaspheme[d] their God for not preventing such a catastrophe.”

Spiritual leaders shouldered the arduous task of restoring people’s shattered faith. According to Lester, the Rev. Dr. Russell H. Conwell (1843-1925) attributed the disaster to “the working of God’s immutable laws, and declared that the calamity in its end was for the good of all things.” Rev. Conwell readily admitted the annihilation of so many decent God-fearing men, women, and children for seemingly no good reason terrified him, yet still he clung to the belief that “the destruction of that city so suddenly was God’s doing, and consequently it must be for good. It was His doing and what He does is right. The hurricane was the necessary outcome of all the working laws of God. . . . We can not understand that; we sit back in our heart’s darkness and say, ‘God is wrong; He is not governing the universe.’”

As horrific as the Galveston hurricane was, the brutality of the storm was matched in equal measure by the charitable responses of many people and organizations that helped the battered city rebuild. Lester’s account includes quotes from Chicago-based ministers, such as Rev. Samuel Fallows (1835-1922), who felt a strong kinship with Galvestonians after having experienced their own apocalyptic disaster in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Rev. Fallows defiantly proclaimed in one inspiring sermon that the “lesson of self-help which this calamity teaches will not be lost. God intended man to conquer nature, to bind its forces, to ride triumphantly on its seemingly resistless energies. Galveston must not be blotted out. It must rise to newness of life. Like our own Chicago, it must be rebuilt on a higher level. It must rear its structures so that the angriest waves shall not dash them to pieces. Another lesson of American pluck and energy will thus be learned by mankind.”

Jakob Dopp
Graphics Division Cataloger

Book Division

The Death of Abel (New York, 1794), translated by Mary Collyer (d. 1763) from the German.

This newly-acquired volume includes wonderful leaves of publishers’ advertisements in the back of the book. The publisher claims that he has a large collection of books, over 50,000 in stock, on a wide variety of subject matter that are available for purchase, including many scarce and valuable books. He also advertises his paper mill, which is able to supply paper of any quality. In addition, he offers cash for linen, cotton rags, wholesale cloth, and junk. Altogether, this provides an interesting glimpse into the economics of bookselling and papermaking at a particular moment in New York history. “He does bookbinding with neatness and reasonable prices and also job printing of all kinds, executed at moderate rates”—an all-in-one business model. A notable feature of this particular copy is that it is bound in contemporary paper over scale board with a hand-sewn leather overcover. It includes ownership inscriptions from Jacob and Lydia Garretson, and then “a present to Phebe Angeline Walker 1851” in the back of the book, with cloth flowers tucked into the binding, a lovely example of repair and continued use of the book long after it was printed.

The Carrier Dove, a Spiritualist newspaper published in San Francisco and edited by two women, Elizabeth Lowe Watson (1843-1927) and Julia Schlesinger (1847-1929).

A publication with a feminist perspective, the Carrier Dove adds to our growing materials on Spiritualism. It includes articles on topics such as women in journalism, reporting that “Progressive newspaper makers are fast realizing the fact that some of the ablest and most earnest workers in journalism are women. A few years ago, a woman novelist was regarded as something of a curiosity and a woman journalist as little less than a monstrosity. Time has abundantly demonstrated the fact that a woman can earn her living with her pen and still preserve her womanliness and she can put a snap, a go, a delicacy in her work which few men can imitate.” There is more reading to be done in this volume on many Spiritualist and feminist topics. The Clements also recently acquired a volume of biographies of Spiritualists written and edited by Julia Schlesinger.

Manuscripts Division

Le Maire Family Papers, 1785-1854. 339 Manuscripts.

This collection contains upwards of 300 letters and documents pertinent to the Haitian Revolution and will serve as a support and expansion of our representation of the conflict and its aftermath. The Le Maire family of Dunkirk on the northern coastline of France owned a coffee and cocoa plantation near Jérémie, St. Domingue (Haiti), and the collection includes rich correspondence during the two years leading up to the 1791 uprising of enslaved persons, a few letters during the conflict, and letters from France discussing the conclusion of the conflict. These papers are a striking addition to our West Indies collections particularly for the documentation of the Haitian Revolution from a French planter’s perspective. Following the revolution, the French government negotiated to recognize the new Haitian government, but in return demanded that the Haitians pay reparations for lost property, including the property embodied in formerly enslaved persons. Paperwork regarding these reparations forms the core of the Le Maire Family Papers.

The Le Maire papers include this very detailed description of the real and personal property of the Le Maire plantation in 1789.

Cuba Collection, 1830-1893. 68 Manuscripts and growing.

The Cuba Collection consists of recently acquired items merged with several pre-existing items from the Clements holdings. This combined collection represents our efforts toward documenting selected aspects of Cuban history within the parameters of realistic acquisition opportunities, needs of researchers, and teaching methods. We will continue to add new materials to the collection moving forward.

The collection currently relates to aspects of the economic, racial, and political history of the island in the 19th century. It especially documents the indentured servitude of Chinese workers, as well as Cuba’s enslavement and manumission of largely African people. Other items pertain to insurrections and filibusters on the island, including pieces related to the Lopez Expedition and the Cuban independence conflicts of 1868-1878. Also present are examples of passports for the transfer of slaves from one plantation to another, insurance policies on individual enslaved persons, slave auction records, manumission documents, various examples of contracts for Chinese indentured servitude, other Chinese immigration documents and railroad labor paperwork, citizenship and death certificates, and more.

One notable item is a sewn body of 21 letters documenting military actions and plans of Cuban revolutionaries in 1870, particularly the correspondence of revolutionary Miguel de Aldama, a wealthy Cuban aristocrat who became president of the Cuban Junta in New York.

Graphics Division

[Portrait of Long Otter], by Richard Throssel.

A striking portrait of Long Otter (mis-titled Long Otto) has joined the Clements collections. Taken by Richard Throssel (1882-1933), a photographer of Native American descent, the platinum print shows Long Otter of the Crow Indians wearing a headdress topped with what appears to be a golden eagle. This exciting and unusual photograph, where both creator and subject were Native Americans, will be added to the Richard Pohrt, Jr. Collection of Native American Photography.

Haskell Indian School students; Robert Agosa is seated at left.

Also new to the Graphics Division are two cabinet photographs of students who attended the United States Indian Industrial Training School (known as the Haskell Indian School and currently in existence as the Haskell Indian Nations University), a boarding school for Native Americans started in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1884. The only identified individual is Robert Agosa, who was Ojibwe and whose grandfather was a tribal leader. Agosa went on to become a prominent tailor in the Traverse City area.

Map Division

Detail from Guinea propria, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigrorum maxima pars, geographis hodiernis dicta utraq . . . ([Nuremberg], 1743).

Guinea propria, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigrorum maxima pars, geographis hodiernis dicta utraq . . . [Guinea itself as well as Nigritia or the greatest part of the Land of the Blacks as told by today’s geographers…] ([Nuremberg], 1743).

The long full title in Latin and its French equivalent at the top of this highly detailed map tells us much about the sources of this depiction of the coast and interior of the West African region now known as the sub-Sahara. Many notes in Latin populate this map of northwest Africa and its coastline, providing a wealth of detail about trade opportunities, local people, and geographic features. A lettering system of F. H. A. or D. is used to indicate which Europeans (French, Dutch, English, or Danes) held coastal trading posts or factories, used as clearing houses for trade goods and human beings destined for transport in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. At the same time, African kingdoms which controlled the coast and the near interior are also labeled and described. A detailed and evocative illustration in the lower left describes visually the way of life of locals in Cap Mezurado (on the coast of what is now Liberia)—house, kitchen, milling works, meeting house—and the style of dress of the king and queen of Juda, on the Gold Coast in what is now Benin. These sympathetic depictions and the geography are based, according to the title, on the travels of the chevalier Des Marchais (d. 1728) in the region from 1725-27, described and published by Jean Baptise Labat (1663-1738), in Voyage du chevalier Des Marchais en Guinée (Paris, 1730) with maps by the French geographer, J.B.B. d’Anville (1697-1782). The Latin/French map was compiled from these sources by the German geographer, Johann Matthias Hase (1684-1742), who used a new projection of his own devising, and published by the Nuremberg map firm, Homann Heirs, in 1743. Thus the map represents the result of on-site observations and leaves blank what is unknown. The map is an important connection to other Clements material on the centuries-long trade in enslaved people.

Kauai, Hawaiian Islands, by Walter E. Wall, surveyor (Washington, D.C., 1903).

This map of Kauai is one of a set of maps of the Hawaiian Islands recently acquired for the Map Division. Surveys of the Islands were begun by the Hawaiian monarchy in the 1870s. After the United States-backed overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 and annexation of the islands in 1898, new maps were issued based on these surveys, in the time-honored tradition of an imperial power claiming its territory. Published by the United States Department of the Interior, they focus on arable land and the exploitation of natural resources, containing information on pineapple and sugar plantations, forest lands and reserves, grazing lands and wetlands, public lands and homestead settlement plots. Although the Clements collections are not currently strong in Hawaiian material, the acquisition of these beautiful maps may spark reflection and conversation on the commercially-driven land grab that evolved into statehood for Hawaii in 1959. The maps now at the Clements include Niihau, Maui, Lanai, Kauai, and Molokai; the set lacks Oahu and the Big Island, which we continue to seek.

Director’s Choice

Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco (San Francisco, 1884-85).

Paul Erickson has an abiding interest in adding to the Clements Library’s strengths in 19th century crimes and associated material. To broaden the collection, he recently acquired an interesting new item on the subject of local crime. This map of Chinatown in San Francisco from a municipal report of 1884-85 depicts the area as a vice district, marking houses of prostitution, gambling houses, and opium dens. Produced two years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, this is a fascinating cartographic example of criminalizing race, by presenting the densest settlement of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco as the epicenter of criminal activity, even though crime was taking place all over the city. It is a great example of how a majority white community defined crime racially and how it used perceived differences to create boundaries defining communities.

[Belle Gunness farm, La Porte, Indiana, ca. 1908].

Another crime-related addition is a photograph from a notorious serial murder case at the turn of the 20th century. This is a real photo postcard from the investigation taking place on the Indiana farm of Belle Gunness (1859-1908?), a Norwegian immigrant who settled in Illinois and then Indiana. Gunness’ victims included several children who died under mysterious circumstances in addition to at least 14 men lured to her farm in answer to an advertisement for a husband, instead being robbed and bludgeoned.

Trial of A.B. Hillmantle, (Hartman, Arkansas, [ca. 1880]).

Ephemeral items reflect passing cultural obsessions in creative ways, and this broadside uses the trope of crime and punishment to advertise the dry goods store of A.B. Hillmantle, who was “convicted” of selling clothes at low prices. Each juror found him guilty on all counts of providing quality goods at reasonable prices and having the widest selection of clothes available in Hartman, Arkansas. Due to the thinness of the paper, it’s a miracle it has survived, but it now has a safe resting place at the Clements.

No. 55 (Winter/Spring 2022)

Lost, missing, or nonexistent papers have a meaningful impact on the way we understand our histories. We mourn the absence of manuscripts that may have provided us with a more nuanced picture of life in and about the Americas. Many examples come to mind, but one significant loss to history is the first record book of the Massachusetts Bay Court of Assistants, dating from its establishment in 1630 through 1673. This volume contained documentation of the proceedings of the colony’s supreme judicial jurisdiction for civil and criminal cases. According to the Massachusetts Archives, the book remains missing and may well have been destroyed along with other early Massachusetts records during the American Revolution. In a best attempt to piece together this essential record, Clerks of the Massachusetts Supreme Court John Noble (1829-1909) and John Cronin (b. 1872) sought out and compiled original and copied manuscripts (from various other public and private papers) bearing on the activities of the Court of Assistants during these formative years. They were published in Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, volumes II (1904) and III (1928). While not a continuous record of the pre-1673 court, the labors of these clerks are a lasting contribution to the source materials of the colony.

Within the missing record book were court documents produced as part of the state-sanctioned murder of Quakers William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, Mary Dyer, and William Leddra/Ledra between 1659 and 1661. The Clements Library is privileged to hold the only known official manuscript copy of the court proceedings and judgment of any of these Quakers: William Leddra, who was executed in 1661. Part of the Quaker Collection, the document, dating from 1660/1661, was copied for a yet unknown official purpose by court secretary Elisha Cooke circa 1716. The provenance of this manuscript is opaque, except that it was owned in 1924 by William Oliver of Sharon, Massachusetts, who had inherited it from his father. It disappeared once again, only to reappear in a circa 1967-1970 mimeograph listing by a Texas rare bookseller as a generic 17th-century New England document. Future Clements Library Director John C. Dann, then a graduate student at the College of William and Mary, purchased the manuscript before discovering its staggering import. Dr. Dann generously donated it to the Clements Library in 1986.

This March 5, 1660/1 legal record was copied around 1716 by Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature clerk Elisha Cooke (1678-1737). It provides scholars with the only primary source trial and sentencing document known to exist for the Quakers executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659 and 1661.The vermin-eaten edge is a pre-20th century modification.

The story behind this document and these events lies in the push-pull between conservative and radical visions of the English Reformation. In the early 1600s under King Charles I, English Puritans found themselves in increasing opposition to what they perceived to be a resurgent Catholicism within the Church of England. The conservative Anglican Church, they believed, incorporated various religious ceremonies and practices not found within the Hebrew Bible or Christian Testament that came perilously close to Roman Catholicism. The Puritans were not separatists who sought to break away from the Anglican Church, but instead wished to purify the established church to conform to Hebrew and Christian holy writ. Especially after Charles I took the throne in 1625, hostility toward the sect blossomed, prompting many Puritans to leave the country for the freedom to practice their religion elsewhere.

In 1629, the joint-stock Massachusetts Bay Company secured a charter from Charles I to establish an economically productive colony in New England. This decree allowed shareholder colonists to elect their own executives and judiciary, provided that Massachusetts Bay laws conformed to English law; by 1631 the company became the de facto government. The fleeing Puritans were the primary settlers in the new colony and by the early 1640s, the population swelled to over 20,000. While John Winthop (1588-1649), the first governor, described it as the “City upon a Hill” (in an allusion to Matthew 5:14), the new colony did enjoy a certain level of theological freedom, allowing interpretive challenges and discussions in which alternate views might be deliberated for pursuing the Puritanical Truth.

The colony flirted with theocracy, but provided a glimmer of religious liberty to dissenters by balancing laxity and orthodoxy. Although they believed in the separation of ecclesiastical and governmental roles in the community, the Massachusetts Puritans believed the State itself was a religious body, in which their God was the ultimate lawmaker, and his laws were clearly stated in the Hebrew and Christian scripture. Their legislative and judicial mandate then, was to establish and interpret laws bestowed on the Israelites by Moses (selectively stripping out laws related to ceremony and methods of worship), and with guidance from Jesus’ words and example. Heterodox religious views that magistrates believed were disruptive to the Puritan colony were considered a critical threat to both Church and State. Religious freedom extended only to a set of acceptable, malleable boundaries established by the community leaders. And any persons whose beliefs fell outside these squishy parameters had the freedom to leave the colony.

The English colonies in America, especially Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland, had statutes to prosecute religious crimes such as heresy, blasphemy, profanity, slander, the breaking of the Sabbath, and other acts. Punishments included physical, psychological, and symbolic violence. Convicted persons might be publicly shamed in the stocks, beaten, whipped, mutilated, branded, dismembered, exiled, executed, or otherwise injured. These castigations were indeed carried out. However, contrasted with the devastation of contemporary religious wars and executions of Europe, the English American colonies appear to have been more reserved in meting out punishments for these crimes.

The Quakers entered into this environment in 1656. Formed in England in the earliest years of the 1650s, the Quakers followed and follow the teaching of George Fox (1624-1691), who preached that individual persons have the spirit of their God within them—an Inward or Inner Light—and that God can speak through them without clergy as intermediaries. In the beginning, they were also an apocalyptic sect, believing that the return of Jesus Christ and the final judgment were imminent. Desperately seeking to save as many persons as possible before the end of the world, Quaker evangelists reached America with a message that they would carry quickly, loudly, and publicly to the colonies. This first generation of Quaker immigrants and missionaries were not the quietist pacifists that would form later in the 18th century. They were instead aggressively disruptive, storming into Puritan courts and churches during service, and advocating recusancy. They refused to pay legally obligated tithes, published intensely critical texts against the colony’s leadership, and proclaimed the future of the state officials in perdition. The invasion of Quakers into the colony during its formative years was met with horror. This threat was deemed a satanic effort to deceive and to undermine the religious authority that Puritans believed was vital to keeping their recently established colony intact.

In an effort to quell the influx, Puritan administrators passed laws in 1658 forbidding the heretics from landing ships in the colony and demanding that Quakers already present be taken into abusive custody and leave the jurisdiction on threat of death. Those who refused could even be enslaved. Many Quakers departed, but some, armed with their faith, returned to the colony to declare their religious message and a rejection of their persecution. William Robinson, an Englishman who was a “public witness” or missionary in Barbados, traveled to the American colonies to protest these oppressive laws. He met likeminded Londoner Marmaduke Stevenson in Rhode Island and the two traveled to Massachusetts Bay in the late spring of 1659. They were arrested and banished, but they then returned to the colony from exile and found themselves in jail once again. Meanwhile, Rhode Islander and Quaker prophet Mary Dyer, herself having been imprisoned previously in Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay, traveled to Boston to support the imprisoned Robinson and Stevenson. She, too, was arrested and banished, but also returned to minister. The three were sentenced to death on October 27, 1659. On that day, the men were executed and Mary Dyer, after standing at the hanging tree, bound, face covered, with a noose around her neck, received clemency on the condition of another banishment. While in the ensuing months other Quakers tread onto Massachusetts Bay soil, magistrates opted not to implement capital punishment. In the spring of 1660, however, Mary Dyer again followed her conscience to Boston, again received a death sentence, again stood to hang at the tree, and died there on June 1, 1660. To the Puritans, these dissenters were committing suicide by willfully defying the law. To the Quakers, they were listening to their God and pursuing their religious convictions according to their faith, even to death as martyrs.

The last person to be executed for Quaker beliefs in what is now the United States was a Cornish man named William Leddra. Like William Robinson, he followed his convictions to Barbados before sailing for Rhode Island, where he arrived in March 1658. His missionary work and meeting attendance took him to Connecticut, where he was arrested, abused, and banished. Leddra traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, where, according to Essex County Court Records, he was held on June 29, 1658, for being a stranger at “a disorderly meeting of certeyne suspected psons” on the Sabbath. He was imprisoned, starved, beaten, banished, and moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Persistent in his efforts to proselytize and to support other Massachusetts Bay Quakers, Leddra immediately returned to Boston, where he yet again found himself in jail, harmed, and banished. Then, in October 1659, the Plymouth Colony detained him for being a foreign Quaker. He remained there, fighting the “vnjust and Illegall” detention until he departed Plymouth on April 17, 1660. During this detention, he wrote a public letter to “ye Rulers: & others of ye People,” decrying the banishment/execution laws. Acting under “Necessity of conscience,” Leddra again returned to Massachusetts Bay. Magistrates promptly arrested him, locked him in chains, and fastened him to a log of wood “in an open Prison, during a very cold winter.” Finally, he was brought before Governor John Endicott and secretary Edward Rawson at the Court of Assistants in March 1661, “with his Chains and Log at his Heels.”

The Clements Library’s Massachusetts Court of Assistants document provides an account of the ensuing trial and death sentence. The court proclaimed that Leddra, “for not having the fear of God before his Eyes” despite being banished on pain of death, returned to the jurisdiction “in a Rebellious and Seditious Manner contrary to the wholesome Laws” of the colony. The court also noted the purpose of the laws, which were “made for the Preservation of the Peace & wellfare of the same.” Leddra was then challenged to find English laws in opposition to the colonies’ legislation against the Quakers. He countered by expostulating that he would neither accept the Governor as his Judge nor submit to the “wicked Laws of this Jurisdiction.” The Governor asked Leddra about his intrusion on the colonies’ “Concience.” Leddra replied that the court had no knowledge of what constitutes conscience, that those whom the court had put to death were the “Servants of God” and not, as the Puritans claimed, worshippers with a spirit “callest the Divell.” Drawing on scripture to defend himself, Leddra compared the Quakers’ resistance of the Puritans’ laws to Daniel’s (and other Israelites’) resistance to Nebuchadnezzar II—and the King’s ultimate acceptance of the Hebrew God as the highest authority. In a harsh rebuke, Leddra added that the Puritan “Ministers are deluders & yourselves Murderers”, and that he would never turn from his God in order to gain favor from murderers. With unwavering conviction, Leddra assured the court that this promise he would “seale with [his] blood.” The court gave him another opportunity to leave the colony. He refused, saying that he was “willing to dy for it, Saying he spake the truth.” Frustrated, the court (drawing on Titus 3:1) demanded to know why, if he believed scripture to be the word of their God, did he “revile Magistrates & Ministers”? Leddra declared that speaking the truth is not the same as reviling them, and he compared the Quakers’ plight with that of Stephen, who was stoned to death for preaching that Jesus was the Christ, in the Book of Acts. With no further questioning, the indictment was read, the jury convened, and the guilty verdict reached. “The Governour in the Name of the Court Pronounced Sentence agt. him That Is You William Ledra are to goe from hence to the place from when you came & from thence be carried to the place of Execution and there hang till you be dead.”

Later the same year, after William Leddra’s execution, the Massachusetts Puritans recognized the changing tides in English leadership and opinion, and revised their laws to include new tortures (in the “Whip and Cart Act”) and the continued banishment of Quakers, but to remove the death penalty as an option. Sure enough, after the restoration of Charles II as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, he formally forbade executions for Quakerism as the capital punishment did not adhere to English Law. By 1665, King Charles also forbade the torture of Quakers. The ensuing decades saw a decrease in corporal punishment and banishment, marking an end to the legal persecution of Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

During and after the state-sanctioned murder of Quakers for their religious beliefs, Puritans and Quakers published differing explanations and meanings for the persecutions. Writers like Cotton Mather retold the events downplaying the religious aspect and rewriting the history to focus on purely civil motivations for the hangings. Quaker writers focused on the barbarity of Massachusetts laws, the calm martyrdom of those executed, and the hypocrisy of the growing myth that New England was founded with a spirit of religious liberty. Each publication played a hand in creating narratives best suited to the contemporary needs of their religions and societies. The Clements Library holds many of the original 17th-18th century printings of these works.

The missing record book of the Massachusetts Court of Assistants would have provided historians with much-desired data and case studies on the implementation of law in the colony in a court setting. The Clements Library’s document provides details about arguments made in court, the use of specific biblical scripture in the prosecution and defense of William Leddra’s case, and the weight given in court for the combined religious and civil disruption caused by Leddra. What have we lost with the absence of court records for William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, and Mary Dyer? We lost comparative examples of similar trials and sentencing, which would have enlightened us on the similarities and variances of legal argumentation used in the Quaker executions. We certainly lost the words of the first three Quaker martyrs, used for their defense and for criticisms of the legality of the persecutions. We also lost a vital female voice to counterbalance the chorus of male voices in the archives.

William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, Mary Dyer, and William Leddra were not the models of quietism and peaceful martyrdom often portrayed, but they were certainly the victims of a mid-17th-century legal codification of a borderline theocratic state. In current times, the nature of religious freedom continues to foster division. Factions still argue that this freedom should only apply to believers of the same faith or to non-believers who practice in a non-disruptive and quiet manner. Religious authority and the power dynamics it seeks to perpetuate strike figuratively, legally, and violently at those who vocally argue against it. As we continue to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, strive toward genuine religious freedom, and seek to better understand and support one another, the tragedy of William Leddra’s story can be instructive. We might remember where the legal codification of a dominant set of religious beliefs may lead us if we are not ever attentive.

Cheney J. Schopieray
Curator of Manuscripts

No. 55 (Winter/Spring 2022)

The Second Great Awakening swept the country in the 1830s and 1840s, reviving established churches and spawning fringe sects. Millennialism and the anticipated Second Coming of Jesus Christ were some of the main motives for religious conversion. The question of exactly when was answered by Baptist minister, evangelical apocalyptic theologian, and farmer William Miller (1782-1849).

Miller’s study of the books of the Bible, particularly Daniel and the Book of Revelation, led him to believe that “prophetical scripture is very much of it communicated to us by figures and highly and richly adorned metaphors.” He believed his analysis of the chronology of events in the Old and New Testaments could determine the date of the Second Coming of Christ and the “cleansing of the sanctuary” prophesied by Daniel. Miller based his calculation on the number 2300 which he found in Daniel 8:14: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (King James Bible). Miller calculated that “the vision of Daniel begins 457 years before Christ; take from 2300, leaves 1843, after Christ, when the vision must be finished.” Miller presumed that biblical days meant years. From this equation, as well as other numerological combinations from the Bible that yielded 1843, Miller concluded that the Second Coming must occur between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.

Wm. Miller. [Boston, 1841]. Lithograph by Benjamin Thayer (1814-1875), from a painting by William M. Prior (1806-1873).

Riding the wave of the Second Great Awakening, Miller gathered a following with fiery sermons on this topic. He promoted his vision to credulous audiences in churches and meeting houses across the northeast United States.

By 1839, Miller had crossed paths with Boston lithographer, publisher, and social reformer Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805–1895). Himes sat in on several of Miller’s sermons and soon became both a follower and promoter. Himes published the sermons and Millerite newspapers Signs of the Times (Boston) and Midnight Cry (New York), organized Miller’s speaking tours, and boosted Miller’s following to a peak of perhaps 50,000.

Miller’s references to the books of Daniel and Revelation and the calculations essential to Millerite belief were complicated and hard to follow. Visual aids would help explain the premise and hold attention. Himes worked with preachers Charles Fitch and Apollos Hale to design a prophetic chart that would summarize and illustrate Miller’s vision. Himes’ 1842 broadside print, Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel & John was produced from four lithography stones on a large 60 by 45 inch piece of fabric that could be easily folded, transported, and hung at the front of a lecture hall or from the branch of a tree outdoors.

Simultaneous with the Second Great Awakening were rapid advances in visual culture through printing technology and growing literacy. Print media became cheaper, faster, and more persuasive with sophisticated combinations of text and image. Social movements such as abolitionism leveraged this with provocative broadside prints that compelled an emotional response, such as the heart-wrenching kneeling slave image or the dramatic diagrams of slave ship interiors.

Religious pictures are often persuasive through emotional connections of a different sort. Iconic saints and holy family depictions can be deeply reassuring in their humanness. Last Judgment images threaten unending pain. The images associated with Himes’ Millerite banners are altogether something else.

A Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel and John ([Boston]: J. V. Himes, [1843]). Printed on fabric by Benjamin Thayer. A timeline from circa 700 to 1843 runs vertically along the left, with images of mythical beasts from Revelation and calculations based on biblical numerology. Later editions recalculated the final date to 1844, 1850, and 1853, by which time interest had waned.

Joshua Himes’ Millerite broadside combines images, numbers, texts, and timelines to generate a powerful, mysterious manifestation. Representing history from the year 700 to 1843 it addresses the unknowable future with the logic of a mathematical equation and the certainty of advancing measurable time, coupled with strange and compelling mythological metaphorical creatures, biblical figures, and monarchs from pre-history. All this, combined with the impossibility of disproving an event that has not yet occurred, made a powerful, if not fully understandable case.

As Millerites grew in numbers, their opponents grew as well, with refutations such as Abel Tompkins’ self-published Miller Overthrown: Or The False Prophet Confounded. By a Cosmopolite (Boston, 1840). “This is the day of strange things. We have phrenology, animal magnetism, sleeping preaching, political crisises [sic], and the end of the world. . . . science is always followed by her shadow, which some mistake for the substance. The same may be said of religion. Many deceivers have crept under the sacred mantle of religion, and William Miller is one of them.” A defensive Miller struck back. “My opponents have been in the habit too of spreading false reports, in order to destroy the influence of what they cannot refute. They have published my death in public papers . . . that I had altered my calculation of prophetic time a hundred years. . . . that I would not gamble away my little home. . . . that I built a stone-wall instead of a rail-fence on my farm.” Rationalists, Deists and Universalists received Miller’s scorn “In every place that this subject has been judiciously preached, [they] have been made by the power of the Spirit to see and feel their danger. . . . I beg of you to lay aside your prejudice, examine this subject candidly and carefully for yourselves. Your belief or unbelief will not effect the truth.”

Miller’s inconstant predictions provided grist for the satirist’s mill, as in this “Comedy in five acts,” the Millerite Humbug; or the Raising of the Wind!! (Boston, 1845). The pseudonymous author, Asmodeus, was “induced to offer to the public the following piece, from a conviction that many have been deluded and finally ruined by the popular frenzy . . . and if possible, expose the wickedness of those who have imposed upon the credulity and property of their fellow man.”

Miller’s deadline for the apocalypse (shifting several times as it passed) came and went, marking not The End, but the beginning of the phase known now as The Great Disappointment. The disappointment was especially profound for those who had sold their possessions, down to their shoes, in expectation of never walking on Earth again.

Scorn, criticism, and outright violence erupted as Millerite congregations turned against themselves. Many theories came forth as to what happened—the date should have been based on the Karaite Jewish calendar and not the Rabbinic calendar; the appearance of Christ was invisible to mortals; the predicted “cleansing of the sanctuary” was occurring in heaven, not on Earth; and many others. Millerite sects gathered around several main theories and carried on, but in understandably smaller numbers. Miller’s prophecies continue in varying degrees in the Adventist movement and in the theology of the Baháʼí Faith.

The absurdity of setting an exact date for The End is easy to ridicule, but at the core it was driven by ordinary people dealing with legitimate fears during times of stress and social upheaval. The decades of the 1830s and 1840s saw massive societal changes in urbanization, industrialization, financial instability, enslavement, immigration, citizenship, and other social issues in addition to emerging religious movements such as Mormonism. It is no wonder there were questions about destiny and finality. Who wouldn’t want to know when it all will end? Those with answers could draw a crowd. Miller and Himes, with mysterious mathematical formulas and dazzling diagrams, packed the house.

Clayton Lewis
Curator of Graphics Material

Ode I. 11 Horace
Translated by Patrick Whalen

Do not wonder, better not to know, what end the gods hold in mind.
Whatever will become of me and you,
Leuconoe, don’t tempt the Babylonian numerology.
What will be is what we will endure:
Either more winters will follow, or Jupiter says this
Which eats away the cliffs along the Tyrrhenian Sea
Is the final winter. Be wise; strain your wine, trim your long hopes
To a point. Even as we speak envious eternity turns fugitive.
Seize the day. Believe in tomorrow but barely.

In April 1815, a Presbyterian minister named William Dickey who lived in Salem, Kentucky, received an exciting delivery. Salem is located at the confluence of the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers, and had been settled by westering migrants from Salem, North Carolina, only fifteen years before. Located near the border of what was then Illinois Territory, Salem was a tiny backcountry settlement, far removed from any centers of publication. Yet Dickey was waiting for books. A lot of books.

Rev. Dickey and his flock were the beneficiaries of the work of Samuel Mills and of charitable organizations dedicated to the mass production of religious books. Mills was an itinerant minister who toured the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys starting churches and distributing tracts and Bibles on behalf of the American Tract Society and other groups. Rev. Dickey wrote to Mills on his receipt of the bundle of several hundred tracts, saying that he had distributed them to his parishioners: “I directed those who received them, to read them over and over, and then hand them to their neighbors. . . . Religious Tracts have been much desired by us, ever since we heard of Societies of this kind. That so many numbers, and 6,000 of each, should be printed for gratuitous distribution, astonishes our people. They say, It is the Lord’s doing, and marvellous in our eyes.

Mills described this exchange in an account of his travels published later that same year, Report of a Missionary Tour Through that Part of the United States Which Lies West of the Allegany Mountains (Andover, 1815). This encounter, and thousands of others like it, points to a profound transformation in American book history: the achievement by Protestant evangelical groups of the dream of mass communication, of giving everybody in the United States access to the same printed message at the same time, no matter if they lived in Boston or Philadelphia or in a tiny hamlet in far western Kentucky. The consolidation of hundreds of smaller missionary and tract societies into national media monoliths—the American Bible Society, the American Tract Society, the American Sunday School Union, the Methodist Book Concern—would flood the new republic with cheap (if not free) religious books. The legacy of their work can be found in library catalogs across the United States, including that of the Clements Library.

The American Tract Society published different versions of the perennially popular religious allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, in different languages and formats, many for low-cost distribution. This ca. 1849 volume is an exception, printed by the Society but directed toward a more affluent audience. According to an advertisement, it “well deserves the neatest style of typography—the choicest engraving and the richest binding that art can bestow.”

The metaphor of the early United States as being a “religious free market” is by now quite tired, but that does not mean that it’s entirely wrong. Compared to the countries from which most European settlers came, the American colonies and then the United States were characterized by a shocking amount of religious variety. The earliest settler colonies in North America reflected this diversity: Catholic Québec and Mexico bracketing Calvinist Massachusetts, polyglot New Amsterdam/New York, Quaker Pennsylvania, and Anglican Virginia. Alongside these various faith traditions existed the varied belief systems of Native American peoples and the many religions of West and Central Africa (including Islam) that survived the Middle Passage and evolved in multiple ways on American and Caribbean plantations. While elements of state religious requirements existed in certain colonies, as in the case of 17th-century Massachusetts, by the First Great Awakening in the mid-18th century variation and denominational division were the salient characteristics of North American religion, and these trends would only accelerate in the 19th century.

Nothing about the United States struck Alexis de Tocqueville as being quite so uniquely American on his travels in the early 1830s as what he called the “spirit of association.” The freedom to form associations around particular interests or beliefs was universal in the new nation, Tocqueville wrote: “Each new need immediately awakens the idea of association. The art of association then becomes . . . the mother science. Everyone studies it and applies it.” This quality particularly applied in the realm of religion, where small groups of like-minded believers would without restriction break away from churches and denominations to start their own. And especially for religious groups, one of the most important markers of legitimacy was having a publication program. These small printing operations functioned at the opposite end of the media spectrum from the huge cross-denominational publishing houses based in Philadelphia and New York, but they had the same goals: solidifying a body of accepted beliefs and winning converts to it. From Strangite Mormons on an island in northern Lake Michigan to Massachusetts Congregationalist missionaries in Maui to frontier Methodist circuit riders, the production and distribution of religious books and tracts often marked the first appearance of print in newly appropriated parts of the American empire.

These two streams of religious publishing—metropolitan mass media and small-scale local print production—are tributaries to the core holdings of most collections of early Americana in the country. As readers of The Quarto will know, the first book printed in what is now the United States is the 1640 Bay Psalm Book, a book of scripture used in worship services in Puritan Massachusetts. Books, pamphlets, and broadsides containing Scriptural exegesis and doctrinal disputation dominated 17th-century North American publishing, and while other genres (politics, philosophy, fiction, natural history) came into prominence, the significance of religious publishing never diminished. In the 19th-century United States, the federal government is generally considered to be the single largest producer of printed material, but its output would be dwarfed if one were to combine the production of all of the denominational and non-denominational religious publishers, not to mention the countless reform organizations dedicated to causes such as abolition and temperance that had their roots in evangelical Protestantism. As the essays in this issue will show, the Clements holds resources that enable the study of American religious experience in all its variety, from theocratic persecution of Quakers in Massachusetts in the 1660s to the eschatological sectarianism of the Millerites in the 1840s.

Lemuel Kelley Washburn (1846-1927) compiled the Cosmian Hymn Book (Boston, 1888) for the Freethought community, with the goal of keeping it “perfectly free from all sectarianism.” The hymns extol the virtues of nature and of freedom from all dogma with lines such as, “No king-craft is dreaded, no priest-craft is feared, our laws, our own making; our counsels, revered.”

To be a Protestant Christian in early America was to by definition be interested in print, since Protestantism of all varieties relied on the individual believer’s reading of the Bible. Further avenues for research remain to be explored in the faith traditions of people who had different levels of access to print, such as Native Americans and enslaved Africans. All too often their belief systems were targeted for destruction by Christian missionaries who circulated print to combat what they saw as heathenism. But, over time, some of these religious traditions (and their syncretic offspring) also turned to print to bind their communities together. Groups who defined themselves by their non-belief and their lack of institutional ties—agnostics, Freethinkers, and Spiritualists—also turned to print, publishing their own periodicals and, in the case of one recent Clements acquisition, even producing their own hymnal.

These groups will pose a particular challenge for historians of the 21st century. According to a 2019 report from the Pew Research Center, 26% of Americans said their religious affiliation was “nothing in particular.” These “nones” represent the fastest-growing “religious” group in the United States. But how will future scholars learn what they believe (or do not) if they don’t write about it? Agnostics in the 19th-century United States published endlessly about what they thought about religion, perhaps in an effort to push back against the overwhelming tide of religious books and pamphlets. Even in their unbelief, they associated with other unbelievers, and left records for contemporary scholars to study. One hundred years from now we may know far less about our current society’s religious or non-religious beliefs. But the rich holdings of materials at the Clements for the study of the history of American religion—“marvellous in our eyes” in their own way—can help explain how we arrived where we are now.

Paul Erickson
Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors News

M. Haskell Newman served on the board from 2010 until 2017. He passed away on April 12, 2021.

Martha Seger was a long-standing and active member of the board from 1994 until her death on June 30, 2021.

Paul Ganson died on January 2, 2021 after serving on the board since 2005.

Four new board members were elected by a special electronic vote this summer. Derk J. Finley of Brandon, MS; Troy E. Hollar of Tuscon, AZ; James E. Laramy of Ada, MI; and Kristin A. Cabral of McLean, VA.

NEH Grant Awarded for Gage Papers

The William L. Clements Library has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize one of our largest and most utilized collections. The funds will support a three-year-long effort to digitize over 23,000 items related to Thomas Gage, a famed British commander-in-chief in the early days of the American Revolution who was also the governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1774 to 1775.

“Multiplying modes of access to our collections is one of our primary goals,” said Paul Erickson, the Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library. “We will always remain committed to welcoming the many scholars who travel to Ann Arbor from around the world to do research in the Clements Library, but we are also committed to making it possible for people anywhere in the world to study landmark collections like the Gage Papers.”

Audiences can expect to be able to view parts of the digitized collection via the online finding aid as progress is made over the course of the grant. The complete collection is expected to be available by May 2024, with support from the U-M Library’s Digital Content and Collections service.

Library shelves with archival boxes and taller red leather bound volumes

As part of the digitization process, the Gage documents are being removed from the beloved (but slippery) red volumes and transferred to standard archival housing.

Photograph of a smiling baby in Native American cradleboard

The UMMA exhibit will include [Kiowa Infant in Cradleboard], ca. 1889-91, Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography.

Exhibit News

University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) features several photographs from the Clements’ Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography in its ongoing exhibit, Unsettling Histories: Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism.

The Saginaw Art Museum will also include items from the Pohrt Collection in its upcoming exhibition, ‘No, Not Even For a Picture’: Re-examining the Native Midwest and the Tribes’ Relations to the History of Photography, based on the Clements Library’s online exhibit of the same name. The exhibit is scheduled to run from October 27, 2021 to February 26, 2022.

2021-22 Fellows

Long Term Fellowships (3 month)
Howard H. Peckham Fellowship on Revolutionary America
  • Camden Elliott, Harvard University. “Sisyphus in the Wilderness:  Environmental Histories of the French and Indian Wars, 1676-1766.”  
Jacob M. Price Dissertation Fellowship
  • Jessica Fletcher, Vanderbilt University.  “Before the Amistad:  Atlantic Litigants and the Politics of Haiti and Cuba’s Legal Currents in the Early Nineteenth-Century US.”  
Norton Strange Townshend Fellowship
  • Mariah Gruner, Boston University. “Puncturing Femininity: The Construction of Race and Gender in Antislavery Needlework.”
Short Term Fellowships (1 month)
Norton Strange Townshend Fellowship
  • Dr. Richard Bell, University of Maryland. “The First Freedom Riders: Streetcars and Street Fights in Jim Crow New York.”
  • Dr. Greta LaFleur, Yale University. “A Queer History of Sexual Violence.”
  • Phillippa Pitts, Boston University. “Picturing a Medical Democracy: The Art & Visual Culture of American Pharmacopeia, 1800-1860.”
Alfred A. Cave Fellowship
  • Dr. Samantha Davis, The Pennsylvania State University. “In Plain Sight: Negotiating Gender and Race in Yucatán, 1521-1821.”
Reese Fellowship in the Print Culture of the Americas
  • Dr. Daniel Diez Couch, United States Air Force Academy. “Literature, the Subject, and the Act of Erasure.”
  • Dr. Danielle Skeehan, Oberlin College. “Genealogies of the American Quill: Settler Colonialism, Slavery, and the Natural History of Handwriting.”
Howard H. Peckham Fellowship on Revolutionary America
  • Adam McNeil, Rutgers University. “‘I Would No Go With Him’: Black Women, Liberty, and Loyalism in the Revolutionary Era Mid-Atlantic, 1775-1815.”
  • Sarah Pearlman Shapiro, Brown University. “Women’s Communities of Care in Revolutionary New England.”
  • Keely Smith, Princeton University. “Communicating Power and Sovereignty: Creek and Seminole Communication Networks from 1715-1880.”
  • Emily Yankowitz, Yale University. “Documenting Citizenship: How Early Americans Understood the Concept of Citizenship, 1776-1840.”
Week-Long Fellowships
Richard & Mary Jo Marsh Fellowship
  • Dr. Carrie Tirado Bramen, University at Buffalo. “‘The Journey-work of the Stars’: A Cultural History of Astrology in the American Nineteenth Century.”
David B. Kennedy and Earhart Fellowship
  • Dr. Carolyn Eastman, Virginia Commonwealth University. “A Plague in New York City: How the City Confronted—and Survived—Yellow Fever in the Founding Era.”
Norton Strange Townshend Fellowship
  • Dr. Aaron Hall, University of Minnesota. “The Founding Rules: Slavery and the Creation of American Constitutionalism, 1789-1889.”
  • Dr. Amanda Moniz, Smithsonian Institution. “Isabella Graham, Founding Philanthropist.“ Norton Strange Townshend Fellowship.
  • Heather Walser, The Pennsylvania State University. “Amnesty’s Origins: Peace, Federal Power, and the Public Good in the Long Civil War Era.”
Mary G. Stange Fellowship
  • Dr. Nikki Hessell, Victoria University of Wellington. “Lewis Cass and the Poetics of Treaties.”
Howard H. Peckham Fellowship on Revolutionary America
  • Dr. Marcus Nevius, University of Rhode Island. “The Revolution from Below: A Story of Race and Slavery in the Old Dominion, 1760s to the 1790s.”
Forty-three Foundation Fellowship
  • Rachael Schnurr, Eastern Michigan University. “Adapting to Americanization: Mixed Race Families and the Coming of the American State.”
Brian Leigh Dunnigan Fellowship in the History of Cartography
  • Nicole Sintetos, Brown University. “Reclamation: Race, Labor and the Mapping of Settler States.”
Non-Resident Fellowship
Jacob M. Price Digital Fellowship
  • James Rick, College of William & Mary.  “Cultivating Machines:  Capitalism and Technology in Midwestern Agriculture, 1840-1900.” 

 

Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Mark S. Schlissel, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Kristin A. Cabral, Candace Dufek, William G. Earle, Charles R. Eisendrath, Derk J. Finley, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Troy E. Hollar, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, James E. Laramy, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar, Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Peter Heydon, Chair Emeritus
Philip P. Mason, Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

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Terese M. Austin, Editor, austintm@umich.edu
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Regents of the University
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Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio

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When I first heard about childhood as a Quarto topic, my long forgotten love of the Childhood of Famous Americans series came to mind. I remember going to the school library and finding their orange and green covers and enjoying the old smell of the books. As I read them, I thought I, too, could grow up to make a difference in the world like Clara Barton, George Washington Carver, and Benjamin Franklin had.

Two young girls in dresses look at a book together.

Carte-de-visite album, new acquisition.

As I pondered this memory, I realized that even in biographies, we typically prefer a story arc in a protagonist’s life where they overcome an obstacle and emerge successful, victorious, revered, etc. That is all fine and dandy for entertainment purposes, but is that how we want to study history?

On the June episode of our virtual program “The Clements Bookworm,” we hosted Dr. Crystal Lynn Webster for a discussion about her book Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North (2021). Her work shines light on the enslavement of Black children which continued as part of the process of gradual emancipation following the Civil War. This is a difficult topic. It is not the sudden happy ending of freedom that might be written as part of a feel good movie script. Instead, Dr. Webster explores the lives of real children and families caught up in complicated bureaucratic systems that denied them freedom until adulthood and often separated them from their families.

The work of combing through the archives and looking for the various clues about how children were treated is time consuming, but is important for a well-rounded study of history. Through our fellowship program, we can provide support for scholars to travel to Ann Arbor to expand the areas of scholarship explored here at the Clements. All of our fellowships are funded through gifts. If you are interested in making an impact in this ongoing work, please consider adding to one of our fellowship funds or setting up a new fund.

During the pandemic, the staff has been considering the future work of the Clements Library. We all agree that visiting researchers are integral to our mission and funding for the aforementioned fellowships is key in building a robust program. However, we have also seen how we can expand the audiences we serve through digitization and online transcription. We discussed these learnings in our last issue of The Quarto. After all, as George Washington Carver said, “I know of nothing more inspiring than that of making discoveries for ones self.”

Now, with a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize one of our largest and most utilized Revolutionary War collections, the Thomas Gage Papers, we are poised to usher in a new era of access. This can be just the beginning. With your help, we can build upon this momentum. Donors are already making a difference by sponsoring the purchase of equipment through our “Adopt a Piece of History” program and through the Clements Technology Fund. Volunteers are signing up to assist in transcribing handwritten materials to make them fully searchable and easier to study. I invite you to consider getting involved as we embark upon these ambitious projects.

With technology opening up access to our collections and our ongoing support for innovative scholarship, the Clements enables a deeper understanding of childhood and other nuanced topics that can enrich and transform how we understand the past. Perhaps your own connection to the Clements is rooted in the stories you heard as a child. I hope that we can inspire children to learn history, and that as new heroes emerge more books are written. Let’s work together to continue to explore and learn from the archives.

—Angela Oonk
Director of Development

For years, Conservator Julie Fremuth has taken great joy connecting school-aged children with the Clements Library. Using collection items as models for teaching tools, Julie has worked hands-on in the classroom to bring these historical items to life. I recently talked with her about her experiences. Our conversation has been lightly edited for space and clarity.

—Terese Austin
Head of Reader Services

***

Terese Austin (TA): The Clements’ audience has traditionally been college students, faculty, and doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. What interested you in reaching out to school-age children?

Julie Fremuth (JF): At the time, I had my own children, and volunteered in the schools. I always want to share the world with children. The process of making art has been my way to connect with my own thoughts and the world. I wanted to connect to children that way and open up things to them that maybe they weren’t exposed to.

Historical scroll panorama next to a student-made project.

Front: Milton Bradley’s Historiscope Panorama & History of America (Springfield, Mass., ca. 1868). This scrolled, hand-colored, lithographed panorama contains 25 iconic scenes including early American history ending with the Revolutionary War. Back: Modeled on the Historiscope, a painted shoebox provides the frame for a story written by a 21st century 4th grade student, with paper towel tubes used to advance the narrative.

TA: How do you feel your projects connect schoolchildren to themselves and to the past?

JF: What happened 150 years ago we can relate to today, human being to human being. For instance, kids love interactive devices. They love to push buttons and turn flaps and flip open things. The scroll project we did was based on a Milton Bradley item and is made from a shoe box, two paper towel holders, and a long sheet of paper. Who wouldn’t like it? It’s almost like magic, “Wow, I can make this thing move.” They use their hands, but it’s more than using your hands. They learn to measure, problem solve, follow a procedure, and things start to make sense.

Each child got a very basic kit. I would supply the long scroll of paper or poster board but they would have to do the measuring, the scoring, the folding, and then the trimming. It’s really fun to see kids sitting in their groupings, talking while they’re measuring. When somebody says, “I don’t get this,” or, “I need help,” you don’t do it for them, you just ask them, “What’s not working?” And they’ll tell you. “Well, let’s see if we can measure that again. Is that really five inches? Oh, nope, that’s four and a half, that’s why it’s not working, let’s go back and re-measure.” It’s really fun to help them on the journey. To me it’s full of energy and life and connection.

But before all of that, I would sit down with the teacher and say, do you have some kind of curriculum that you need to fulfill. We would talk about different types of content that could be applied to these various structures in a sensible way, and then pair the two. You almost camouflage the writing assignment from the students because they are having so much fun making something. Teachers have always told me that the kids really work hard on the writing piece of the assignment because they made this cool three-dimensional thing that they are proud of and want to keep.

TA: How much do you talk about the collection items that are models for the objects that you bring in – the connection between what the kids are making and the items in our collection or the history of this format?

JF: I had pictures of the items from the collections, and I explained to the students that there were kids 150 years ago that played with that Milton Bradley game. They’re intrigued by the same things, they’re intrigued by the flaps. I said, the same structures were as stimulating to the kids in 1909 as they are now, and some of these things were very colorful. They used fantastic printing, illustration, and ingenious designs.

The Milton Bradley model was for a writing assignment—this was just a format we grabbed from an item which was stimulating. These concepts don’t necessarily have to be used by history students, they can be re-adapted, used by somebody else in areas we couldn’t even anticipate.

Colorful children's book has flaps to change animal heads to different bodies; a student-made flap book is next to it.

Kellogg’s Funny Jungle-Land Moving Pictures (Battle Creek, 1909). Front: Students created their own flap books, using the endlessly fascinating process of swapping out body segments to bring historical figures to life.

TA: What do you feel are the main takeaways from your work in the classroom?

JF: One is exposing the kids to making things with their hands and making deeper connections with their minds, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, learning to follow steps. I realized some kids don’t do any of this at home. It is really about spending time with yourself, your ideas, getting a break from the world, reflecting, and trying to relax. Art work for me became my companion, and I needed it at various points in my life. I hoped kids could give themselves that through this process, and I wanted to help break down some barriers they didn’t know they had about it.

Second, it was a way to share things about history or about any topic, and the stimulation and the inspiration came from items in the collection that I think are beautiful and fanciful and so cool and so simple. All the great ideas come from really simple concepts. They are timeless.

Accordion postcards of Philadelphia are spread out, next to a similar student-made accordion book on Japan.

Fold-out accordion books provide another timeless and entertaining format, either for tourism advertising, as in the series of Philadelphia postcards on the right (Teaching Collection, Clements Conservation Office), or as a template for preparing an illustrated report on the country of Japan.

TA: If you had unlimited time and resources, what kind of programming would you like to do with kids?

JF: I would like to do some outreach with community centers where there might be a need. I would love to either invite people to the Library, or go to a place, to connect kids with a history lesson or a little something they would be interested in with a little takeaway project. They take it home and remember, oh yeah, that was a really fun day, we went to that place or they came to us and we did this project and they showed us some stuff they had and I didn’t even realize that stuff was around!

Going back to your question about history, sometimes kids look at old stuff and they think it is not relatable because it’s not modern and button-pushing. But when they realize, “Wow, I can move this or I’ve got a slide-y thing or a flip book or a flap book that folds into something, that’s kind of cool.” I think it does still appeal even though it’s not “modern.” There has been this joyfulness in childhood that goes on forever and helps you connect with these younger people.

Under normal circumstances, when you are simply living your life in all its chaotic glory, trying to find time to make dinner and fold laundry, it can be easy to forget that you’re a historical actor. This past year, however, as we grappled with a global pandemic, racial injustice, and political turmoil, it was clearer than usual that we were, in fact, in the midst of history. But more than all the dramatic headlines and late night fretting over foreboding public health charts, it was my four-year-old son that made me stop in my tracks and realize the weight of the moment. Walking down our street, he was tiptoeing over the cracks in the road and turned to me to exclaim, “Don’t step on the cracks! They’re full of virus!” And my breath caught, not just because I viscerally saw how his young mind was using play to process the anxiety and fear of this time, but because I knew if I didn’t write that down, it would be lost to history. He’s too young to document his own life, so I share my historical record with him.

Looking at archival collections with a careful eye, pausing to notice how children enter into the documentary record produced by the adults around them, you find evidence of their lives and their impact woven through all different kinds of sources. Which makes sense! In the present, children are everywhere, filling parents’ days with their chatter and imaginative play, challenging their teachers and making them laugh, shining light for all of us to follow. But when they can’t write for themselves or save their own history yet, you have to look to others to help tell their stories. Thinking of my son jumping over “virus cracks” or building a Lego facemask as a way of telling me how he was living in our own historical moment, I was reminded of a letter in our Continental, Confederation, and United States Congress Collection. “I was just informed that the Shot and Kentledge [slabs of iron] which were cast by Messr. Faesh and Company and deposited at Elizabeth Town are wasting daily by Children and others throwing them in the Creek and burying them in the Mud,” an exasperated James McHenry wrote in 1797. As Secretary of War he had been turning his attention to the military supply system, but he may not have been expecting to have to deal with the threat of playful youth who turned to his stores for entertainment. Military and political collections are full of these moments that give glimpses of children, reminding us that histories of pivotal moments or grand strategies can skim over the fact that kids were likely nearby, active in the same spaces, being impacted by these events, and sometimes causing trouble.

Front and back views of a photograph of a girl wearing a dress; handwritten notes on the back.

[Daughter of Thomas Hughes?], carte de visite, 1862.

Even when children were not physically present during tumultuous events, we can still catch sight of them through the records of those who loved and missed them. Thomas Hughes served with the 28th Iowa Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, leaving his wife and at least five children back home. His 11 surviving letters tell of his wartime experience, but most only contain passing references to his children, sending prayers for their safekeeping, kisses, and assurances of his love. His commitment to his family is clear, but the depth and texture of his longing for them is obscured by the limitations of language. How much heartache lies behind the platitude, “Kiss all the dear children for me”? A photograph contained in the collection helps us better understand how Thomas Hughes’ Civil War service was colored by his role as a father. A well-worn carte de visite of a child, possibly his daughter Anna who would have been about 10 when this photograph was taken in 1862, bears the inscription on the back, “Carried by Father thru the War.” Missing his daughter, Thomas Hughes kept this small talisman of home close to him as he served in the Vicksburg and Red River campaigns. Anna Hughes was nowhere near the front lines, but her father carried her with him as he waged war, and this photograph hints at the profound ways parental love and longing shaped soldiers’ wartime experiences. Even in their absence, children were shaping the world around them.

Indeed, visual sources provide powerful glimpses into children’s encounters with the historical drama of the day. Military artist Richard Short produced two sets of views while stationed in Canada in 1759, which were later engraved in London. One set depicted Québec on the heels of the English siege of the city during the French and Indian War. While we can certainly wonder at the artistic liberties Short may have taken, his work suggests a high level of destruction and disruption in Québec during an already turbulent time. Looking closely at the figures populating the scene, you’ll notice a number of children playing amongst the ruins, seemingly using a beam like a seesaw. Short’s view hints at the resilience of the city’s youth during war and uses their everyday playfulness to contrast with the devastation around them. We can’t know for sure whether Short actually witnessed kids cavorting amongst the crumbling buildings, but it’s suggestive about how children have turned to play across the centuries as they confront and live through trauma.

Full black and white print of damaged and ruined buildings; an area of detail is outlined in red.

A careful eye is needed to note the requisitioning of debris for youthful diversions in A View of the Bishop’s House with the Ruins, as they appear in going up the Hill from the Lower, to the Upper Town, by Richard Short (1761).

A group of children uses beams as a seesaw, playing amid ruined buildings.

Sometimes, though, the weight can be too much, and they can’t bring themselves to play. In 1946, 90-year-old Clara E. Paulding wrote about when she learned about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Just nine years old at the time, she recalled seeing her friend’s mother “sobbing bitterly in a rocking chair” before telling them of the tragedy. “[A]fter a while we went to the barn where we had meant to play house. We couldn’t. The sorrow of our nation was ours too.” A powerful reminder to make space in our histories and in our hearts to attend to the emotional impact events have on the youngest among us, Clara Paulding’s remembrance in the John E. Boos Collection sits extra heavily with me. The sorrow, joy, or fear we read about when we learn of grand events belongs not just to the leaders of nations or the adult citizens, but to all of us. Attending to that fact often means looking for children’s voices nestled within other people’s records, and it requires that we tell their stories, not as asides or comic relief or as a way to humanize their parents, but in their own right. In some ways, there are parallels between parenting and doing responsible research. Respecting the children in our own lives often means trying to hear what they’re saying from their perspective, not disregarding something as silly or small because that’s how it may appear to us, but instead trusting it’s important and big to the child experiencing it. That same tenet holds true for how we approach the historical record. And so, I look to accounts of children playing as a profound way to understand historical disruption and trauma, just like how I’m careful to step over the cracks in the sidewalk while I walk alongside my son.

—Jayne Ptolemy
Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

Our time at school as young children typically has enormous influence on who we are as adults. Education was formalized in the 19th century in small school houses and large urban institutions. In the second half of the century, class pictures became an annual tradition. Examples of class photos are rare prior to 1870, but by the turn of the century quite commonplace. The Clements has several hundred examples scattered across the photograph collections, with the critical mass residing in the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography. These views into educational settings can reveal how much a community has invested, how much has changed over time, what remains the same, who is included or absent, and how we celebrate achievement. These pictures are also a great instructional opportunity for close reading of visual images. One can learn to spot the difference between the unusual and the ordinary, as well as identifying the teacher’s pet, class clown, or someone having a very bad day.

20 children and 3 women (likely teachers) in front of a clapboard building; an oval gilded mat surrounds the photo.

Photo Div D.4.1.1.

One of our earliest examples of a class picture is a Daguerreotype dating from circa 1850-55. At this time, the taking of an annual class picture was a new ritual, still in the making. This image was taken at an unknown location, posed outside where there was ample light for the photographer—critically important in early photography. Although they are a modestly dressed group—girls in simple calico dresses, boys in shirts, some without shoes—they may be wearing their best. The carefully combed hair indicates some preparation took place. The subjects all must hold still for five or ten seconds for the exposure. A broad range in ages is represented, which is very typical of rural schools in areas of low population density. In the back are three young women, presumably one or all of them are teachers. Their hands rest on the four girls in front, perhaps holding them still for the camera. As the daguerreotype was a unique image, it is unlikely this was a souvenir possessed by a student—it more likely stayed with the school or the teacher.

Tintype photographs can be difficult to date, as the format was popular for several generations. Taken sometime between 1870 and 1890, this tintype shows a schoolhouse that stood on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Vanatta Road near Okemos, Michigan. This site is now occupied by the Winslow Mobile Home Park. According to an inscription, somewhere in this picture is a girl or young woman named Winslow. We can see some commonplace features: a belfry for the call to start the day, and two doors, one for boys, one for girls. The seating inside was probably divided by gender down the middle of the room. On the right we can see the privy. Indoor plumbing was an uncommon luxury. Heat was likely from a wood stove. It may have been chilly outside during this session—several children have their hands tucked under their arms. Note the two girls on the far right in identical smocks—sisters?

Students stand and sit in front of their school, a field and trees visible beyond.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Ingham County

It is often difficult to identify teachers because they may not be the oldest people in the group, and may not always be present in the picture. More likely than not, they were female. Single female teachers often boarded with a local family in accordance with social norms. In this case, the instructor may be the woman in the center back in front of the door on the right. She may have assistance from the young woman on the left in the dark dress, or the man on the right wearing a hat.

Students and teachers lined up outside the gable end of a small clapboard school

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Ingham County

Taken circa 1880 by “view artist” L. Horric of Leslie, Michigan, this modest schoolhouse lacks the porch, belfry, and double doors of the previous example. The three women in the back left, two with a hand on the shoulder of the next, may be in charge of this group. The carefully aligned students are mostly barefoot. It is likely that some traveled several miles by carriage, mule, or on foot. The schoolyard often served as a pasture for animals during the day. By the 1860s, it became possible that paper photographs like this example could be produced in abundance such that each student could have one as a souvenir.

So what is up with all the hats tossed on the ground? My guess is that after carefully setting up the camera and posing this group in neat orderly rows, the photographer noticed that their hats were casting shadows across their faces and that wouldn’t do. So, dispense with your hats but don’t you dare move!

Part of the fallout from the Nat Turner slave uprising of 1831 was the belief that Turner’s quest for freedom was driven by his literacy. The result was the passing of laws in slave-holding states making it illegal to educate enslaved people. As emancipation came during the Civil War, so did efforts to establish schools for those recently or soon-to-be emancipated. An early effort was the “Port Royal Experiment.” From 1862–1865, northern abolitionists and local people collaborated under the Union Army occupation of the South Carolina Sea Islands to transform a society once dependent upon enslavement into a self-sustaining free community. The first educators to arrive were northern missionaries Laura Towne and Ellen Murray, who founded the Penn School on St. Helena Island, and Charlotte Forten, a talented and well-connected woman from an established Black Philadelphia family.

This carefully staged image from photographers Hubbard & Mix of Beaufort, South Carolina appears in an album associated with the Parrish family of Philadelphia. The image shows Ellen Murray, Gracie Chaplin, and Peg Aiken examining a book. This carte de visite is from a series taken in South Carolina that recorded this historical moment in education history. Unlike other classroom photos, these images were likely aimed at distant audiences in northern cities with fundraising and recruitment in mind.

A seated white woman holding a book, with an African American girl standfing and African American young woman kneeling at her side.

Parrish Family Album

“I never before saw children so eager to learn,” Forten wrote in her diary, excerpts of which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. “Although I had had several years’ experience in New England schools. Coming to school is a constant delight and recreation to them. They come here as other children go to play.”

Hundreds of children are lined up, with the youngest in the front.

Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography

Forced assimilation programs were central to Native American boarding schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Practical trades and service work were emphasized along with Christian teachings. Removed from everything familiar to them and placed into a harsh, militaristic environment, most children experienced trauma. The emotional and physical toll of Native American boarding schools continues in indigenous communities. This photograph was taken by John N. Choate circa 1880 at the first of these programs, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Run by Civil War veteran Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt, it became the model for most others that followed.

Schoolroom with 18 children seated at desks.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Oakland County

Photographic plate sensitivity increased in the late 19th century allowing for class pictures to be taken indoors. This example, taken by Samuel E. Miller of Oxford, Michigan, around 1898 shows an artfully draped flag and hopeful “try, try again” motto, partially hidden by a stovepipe. I suspect this class saw a new teacher arrive shortly after this photo was taken as her image is pasted over the person who was present at the time. If at first you don’t succeed . . .

8 African American children seated on a bench, several holding books, while a woman stands behind holding a book.

Civil War Battlefields Photograph Album

This evocative photograph appears in an album of images that may have been assembled by a Civil War veteran revisiting sites of combat in Virginia. We don’t know the exact location. By the time this image was taken in the 1890s, the schools established across the former Confederate states by the Freedmen’s Bureau were gone. The simple furnishings here include a pulpit and two candleholders—clues that this school doubles as a rural church.

On a 3-story brick school building, students and adults pose standing on the roof, hanging out of windows, and on the ground.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, St. Clair County

Ah! The good old days when students were allowed to discover the laws of physical science through firsthand experience. This impressive facility in Capac, Michigan, was clearly run by a far more relaxed administration than I ever experienced. I am amazed that this was allowed to happen, and that photographic evidence was provided for the school’s insurers.

Students seated at desks, with artwork and alphabet seen on the classroom walls.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Allegan County

It isn’t surprising that a class in Allegan County, Michigan, would be studying Dutch culture and heritage considering the region is known for its significant Dutch population. The girls in this circa 1920 photograph are wearing Dutch bonnets, the artwork on the walls is a combination of children’s creations and commercial prints, most showing rural Low Country scenes with canals, windmills, cows, etc. The iron and wooden lift-top desks are bolted to the floor. The students are having a milk break, drinking from small glass bottles with paper straws. Most are looking at the camera with seriousness, except for a couple of crack-ups in the very back. No wooden shoes visible.

Students of different ages pose lined up outside a brick school building.

There are a surprising number of photos of racially integrated classes in the David V. Tinder Collection. Mostly these are photographs from Southern Michigan urban areas taken in the first half of the 20th century. One has to wonder about the demographics of these same schools in the era of white flight in the 1960s. This picture was taken in 1913 by a photographer in Lenawee County, Michigan, an area that began experiencing Black migration prior to the Civil War. Many school group photographers had contracts to photograph all classes in a given district or county. A child in the front row is holding the photographer’s chalk slate, handy for connecting the image with the correct class. “Rives District No. 8” may refer to Rives Junction. Looks like they all have shoes. Several girls in front are holding hands.

On a sunny day, students waive while lined outside a trolley car, a woman teacher stands at the entrance.

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Oakland County

The Great Depression depleted resources for new infrastructure across the country. Many unused railway cars were converted into storage sheds, chicken coops, and roadside diners. This happy looking school is temporarily established in a converted interurban railcar from the Detroit United Railway. The car still has its headlight intact, along with its DUR number, 7522. This photo was taken in Oakland County, Michigan.

Public education always comes with a cost, as does ignorance. Thomas Jefferson frequently linked the freedoms of democracy to education. In anticipation of objections to the financial burden placed on society he wrote that “the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” “If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” I find reassurance in these photographs that through education, our country can continue to be free.

—Clayton Lewis
Curator of Graphics Material

Anyone who has observed small children at play with each other or even alone will be struck by their sense of space and place. The concepts of “here” and “there” emerge early in their vocabulary, and movement between the two becomes an important component in the simplest of childhood games, whether tossing a ball back and forth or hide and seek or a running game of tag. All involve getting self or something from here to there.

The same concept of “here” and “there” applies in its most essential way to maps. Thus, maps often occupy the space of board games, where the combination of movement from one place to another and the restrictions imposed by chance (the roll of the dice or spin of the teetotum/counter) are major components in playing the game.

One of the simplest and earliest of printed board games is the Game of the Goose, which originated in France as Le Jeu de l’Oie, and became known in English as Snakes and Ladders. A player moves a counter along a circuitous route of outlined and numbered spaces (usually circles or squares). The number of spaces traversed is determined by the roll of a pair of dice or a spin of a simple counter (often called a teetotum). By adding a map or maps to each square, the Jeu du Monde (game of the world), as found in the Clements collection, is born.

A spiral gameboard filled with circles containing geographic localities around the world, with pastel coloring. Four square images of continents line the corners.

One of the earliest and rarest cartographic board games, Le Jeu du Monde was published in Paris in 1645 by Pierre Duval, nephew of the celebrated cartographer Nicolas Sanson. The route takes the player through the least known lands of the Americas, outlined in blue; then through Africa, in red; the lands of Asia, yellow; and finally through the countries of Europe, in green. The four corners of the game board display maps of the four continents, colored appropriately, and a double hemisphere depiction of the world, similarly colored, lies in the center of the board.

In the Jeu du Monde, the player starts at the remotest areas of the world—the North and South Poles (Terres arctiques and Terres antarctiques)—and then moves circle by circle through the lands of the Americas, the regions of Asia, the countries of Africa, and the nations of Europe to reach the goal of circle number 63: La France. The first player to reach France wins.

So far, so simple, and not particularly interesting, except for the youngest players, until we read the rules. Although the Clements copy of this game lacks the printed instructions, the broadsheet entitled Pour l’intelligence du Jeu du Monde (For the understanding of the Game of the World), may be found in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The players are advised that the game will become more interesting if there is a pool of money, comprising an agreed upon amount contributed by each player, deposited in the center of the board, to which players will add or subtract, depending upon which space he or she might land on. The rules provide for certain fines, fees, ransoms, and rewards levied or awarded to players depending on the specific circles. For example, on the Barbary coast (circle 16) one must pay a ransom to move forward; in Peru (circle 10) the player receives a bonus from the mines of Potosí; in Zaara or Libie (Circle 19), the player must wait for another player to reach the circle and pay for the “ride” on the caravan to continue. Thus, the pot of money in the middle of the board expands and contracts with play, heightening player interest. To further increase the tension, a potential winner must reach circle 63, La France, by an exact roll of the dice or spin, or else has to back track by the number of spaces in excess of the number required. In the meantime, all the players are learning a bit of geography and a bit of cultural history while money acts as the medium of reward or punishment.

What worked in 17th-century France—dice and spinners, advancing and retreating along a pre-set geographical path—also worked in the 19th-century United States. The Traveller’s Tour Through the United States, published in New York City by F&R Lockwood in 1822, employs the same basic rules as the Jeu du Monde, using dice or a teetotum to determine the number of spaces traversed along a predetermined route. The playing board displays a map of the young United States, with a route outlined like a zig-zag road network, starting in Washington, D.C., and ending in New Orleans, number 139, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Each number notes a place, usually a town, which is not named on the map. Players may consult the attached reference guide for information about the place, and as they become more proficient, a more advanced form of the game requires a player to name the place and its population or distinguishing feature without consulting the guide in order to move on. By basing the game on memory as well as chance for movement, the game emphasizes basic geography of the United States and its towns and adds some cultural geography (populations, historical landmarks) and physical landforms (Niagara Falls, Michilimackinac), thereby rewarding knowledge rather than luck.

Folding game board with a map of territories and states shown in various colors, with Rules text below.

The Traveller’s Tour (New York, 1822) is the earliest known map game featuring the United States. Possibly because of the identification of dice with gambling, a spinner, or teetotum, was provided for gameplay.

Both Duval’s Jeu du Monde and Lockwood’s Traveller’s Tour use maps as simple game boards; they require no special equipment that would not be readily available or easily made at home: counters, dice, and spinners. A more sophisticated game in its shape and equipment is Norris’ Cyclopaedic Map of the United States of America, (excepting Alaska) Together with Adjacent Portions of the Dominion of Canada and of the United States of Mexico, published in New York by W.R. Norris in 1885. The gameboard is a map of the United States printed on an articulated wooden roll, neatly housed in a wooden box. Also in the box are 96 small wooden pegs, each representing a city or place visited in the game, and an array of pink and black tally tokens. The pegs fit into the square holes on the gameboard map, but the holes are not marked with place names. One simple aspect of the game is that the players must know sufficient geography to place each peg into the correct hole.

Close-up of the wooden map gameboard and square peg pieces; states colored in shades of pink and brown.
Two women face the map board game, one reaches for a peg.

Clements staffers tested their geographic knowledge by matching wooden pegs containing details of commerce and population with locations on the board of the Cyclopaedic Map (New York, 1885), and found it a challenge.

 

No instructions are included with the Clements copy of this game, but the Rules for Playing Games of the Zylo-karta (i.e., wooden map) accompany the game in the copy in the David Rumsey Collection. Norris presents his game as “Prepared for use in schools and in the home circle” and explains that it is called a “cyclopaedic map” because it “is derived from the combination of the map proper with its descriptive blocks representing capital and business centres, and which always accompany it.” The Rules offer four different games that may be played with the board and pieces: Contention, Zykah, Selection, and Siste. All four games are based on knowledge and not on chance (no dice or teetotum are included); each game involves teams or partners and the correct placement of the city/place pegs in the right holes; correct placement is recorded by the red tally counters, wrong answers by the black. The most complex of the four is Siste, which pits two-partner teams against each other: one team attempts to block the route from the other team’s city peg at one end of the country to reach a city peg at the other end of the country, by filling in the intervening places. This has the effect of creating a strategy game rather than a game of chance, as some sense of the opponents’ choice of places and routes must be divined. This form of the game returns us to the “here” to “there” principle that the early Jeu du Monde played upon, but further adds strategy and knowledge to the mix.

The Clements has several other map games and puzzles, all of which could be played by children. But were these games designed primarily for children? Probably not. As with most games, the appeal of play reaches across all generations and the added allure of gambling always adds to the competition. What these board games do for children is provide the experience of movement when outside or inside movement is not possible; they create a geographic world that can be travelled and learned from a board; they encourage sociability and norms of taking one’s turn and following a set of rules. And of course, it’s all about winning.

—Mary Pedley
Assistant Curator of Maps

History—meaning the totality of actual events that happened in the past—does not change. But another definition of history—the study and understanding of our past—is a conversation that is constantly in flux. Scholars, librarians, and archivists discover new sources. Interpretative approaches rise in influence and then are superseded. Researchers reveal hitherto unknown connections between people and places. And, most importantly, who and what historians study and write about changes over time.

A spread showing illustrations of men and women performing different trades, printed but hand-colored.

The Book of Trades (London?, 1806) was published in multiple editions to provide children and their parents with information about future employment options. The Clements Library copy (1806) contains the inscription, “Mary R. Tatnall painted this picture in the ninth year of her age.” It is impossible to know if Mary’s artistic attention to detail translated into success in a future job.

To take just one historiographical example, early histories of the Civil War focused on the political leaders of the United States and the Confederacy and the military strategies their respective generals enacted. This initial focus on political and military elites was augmented by new scholarship that dealt primarily with the everyday experiences of enlisted soldiers. Subsequent historical scholarship addressed the ways that African Americans—both enslaved and free—played a role in and were affected by the war. Other historians focused on women’s experience of the war, whether on the home front, maintaining farms and businesses in the absence of sons, fathers, and husbands, or in theaters of conflict. But what do we know about the experiences of children during the Civil War? (Spoiler alert: not much.) We know that children, along with adults, experienced enslavement and violence and disease and economic uncertainty and political unrest in the early 1860s. How did the exigencies of wartime shape their lives?

Or, to pose the question more broadly, how do we write the history of children in the United States? Children are challenging subjects for historians. Many children in the American past didn’t live very long (close to 50% of children born in the U.S. in 1800 died before the age of five). As was the case for African Americans, Native Americans, and women throughout much of American history, children left fewer legal and historical records that places like the Clements Library would collect than white adult men. And while children were the object of a great deal of print production in early America—from primers to picture books to religious tracts—there are very few sources that were produced by children that reflect their own experiences.

As a result of these evidentiary challenges, the history of childhood as a field has emerged more slowly than other areas of scholarship. One of the best ways to measure the emergence of fields of study is to look at when they become institutionalized in academic life. When do scholarly organizations, journals, and degree-granting departments dedicated to specific disciplines develop?

While countless universities had schools of education and departments of early childhood development throughout the 20th century, the interdisciplinary study of childhood took longer to evolve. The American Sociological Association created a Section on the “Sociology of Children” to focus on contemporary childhood in 1992. But the Society for the History of Children and Youth only formed in 2001, and did not launch a journal until 2008. The United States’ first graduate program in Childhood Studies (at Rutgers University-Camden) admitted its first cohort of students in 2007.

Two carte-de-visite photographs: A group of 5 young African American children by Hughson & Son, St. Joseph, Mich. and A standing portrait of a single African American girl with pigtails.

Children’s appearance in the historical record often leaves us with more questions than answers. Thanks to the David V. Tinder Directory of Early Michigan Photographers, we have biographical information on the producers of these late 19th-century photographs, but not on the subjects.

Although the institutional embodiment of childhood has been slow to emerge, in recent years some of the most exciting Americanist scholarship to be published has dealt with the history of childhood. Steven Mintz’s Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, published in 2004, was the first synthetic overview of American childhood as a distinct phase of life. Mintz wrote that instead of “regarding children simply as passive creatures, who are the objects of socialization and schooling, and consumers of . . . products produced by grownups,” he sought to view “children as active agents in the evolution of their society” and to show that “children have been creators as well as consumers of culture.” A group of scholars working in a range of disciplines have responded to this call, and in particular have worked to highlight the ways in which “childhood” has never been a static category in U.S. history, nor has it ever been a period of idyllic innocence. Rather, this scholarship shows how childhood has been experienced differently at different moments by different groups of children.

Perhaps the most important body of recent Americanist scholarship in childhood studies has focused on the experiences of Black children. Nazera Sadiq Wright’s Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (2016) uses written records left by Black girls to outline the ways in which race and gender shaped the experience of childhood. Anna Mae Duane has contributed several books that outline our understanding of race and childhood, from Suffering Childhood in Early America: Violence, Race, and the Making of the Child Victim (2010) to Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies (edited volume, 2017) to Educated for Freedom: The Incredible Story of Two Fugitive Schoolboys Who Grew Up to Change a Nation (2020). Robin Bernstein’s award-winning 2011 book Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights uses a range of artifacts—books, toys, theatrical props, domestic knickknacks—to show how the notion of childhood “innocence” changed and became racialized over the course of the 19th century. Richard Bell (Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home) and U-M’s own Jonathan Wells (The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War) both have recent books (2019) that focus on the experiences of free Black children in the North who were kidnapped into slavery. And most recently, Crystal Lynn Webster’s Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North (2021) details how Black children navigated the unpredictable forms of Northern unfreedom that were not slavery but were also not liberty.

Two pages of children's doodles side-by-side; "Margaret to Mamma" and a character named "Spizer" with words "written love notes" repeated on it.

The Clements is lucky to hold items by children whose personalities continue to shine through in the archive, charming us centuries later. In these two notes by Margaret June Alexander (Alexander Family Papers) and Willys Peck Kent (Evarts Kent Family Papers), their love for family members is clear, even as the identity of “Spizer” remains a mystery.

Another recent body of scholarship focuses on the experience of children as laborers in the American past. These include Children Bound to Labor: The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America (ed. Ruth Wallis Herndon and John E. Murray, 2009), Sharon Braslaw Sundue’s Industrious in Their Stations: Young People at Work in Urban America, 1720-1810 (2009); and Vincent DiGirolamo’s Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys (2019). Children in the American past performed agricultural, domestic, and industrial labor, but they also worked as soldiers, experiences that have been uncovered by scholars such as Allan Stover in Underage and Under Fire: Accounts of the Youngest Americans in Military Service (2014) and Caroline Cox in Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution (2016). Jon Grinspan has outlined how young people in the 19th century U.S. became actively involved in partisan politics, even before they were old enough to vote, in The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century (2016).

This brief list of scholarship only covers work published in book form. Far more scholarship has emerged in the past 20 years in journal articles, exhibition catalogues, and other formats that combine to push against the notion of childhood as a uniform condition that was experienced in the same way by all children across American history. One other thing that much of this scholarship has in common is that very little of it was researched at the Clements Library. We hope that this issue of The Quarto will help reveal the wealth of material that the Clements holds that is waiting to be examined by students, research fellows, and faculty interested in the history of childhood in America. We’re ready when you are.

—Paul Erickson
Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library

No. 54 (Summer/Fall 2021)

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

David P. Harris

David P. Harris (1925-2019)

Longtime friend and donor to the Clements Library David P. Harris passed away peacefully on August 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C. For over a decade, Dr. Harris shared with us his kindness, conversation, knowledge, wit, and extraordinary manuscript projects. He compiled groups of handwritten letters, documents, logbooks, and other items; meticulously transcribed and annotated them; wrote well-researched introductory essays; and gave them to the Clements. The hundreds of manuscripts comprising the David P. Harris Collection largely focus on the Navy and Army in the early Republic, everyday sailors, and the War of 1812.

Robert N. Gordon (1953-2019)

On December 14, 2019, Clements Library Associates Board Member Robert N. Gordon of New York City passed away. From 2010-2016, Gordon served on the Clements’ Committee of Management and he remained on the Board until his death. Bob enjoyed the special capacity to channel his prodigious memory and gift for financial detail from one rarified world ‒ that of the finance of arbitrage ‒ to the even more rarified world of scientific instruments and maps. His enthusiastic support of the collecting, preserving, and making accessible the scientific contributions of earlier times made him a friend not only of the Clements but of our sister library, the John Carter Brown, where he served as a Trustee, and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, whose valuable collection he also helped to enrich.

Margaret Winkelman (1924-2019)

Margaret “Peggy” Winkelman of West Bloomfield, Michigan, passed away on May 14, 2019, at the age of 95. She served on the Clements Library Associates Board from 1996-2014 and was part of the Honorary Board of Governors until her death. Peggy and her late husband, Stanley J. Winkelman, were collectors of art and supporters of racial integration and equality. They were leaders in the Jewish community and in efforts to improve race relations in Detroit. In addition to her years of service and support, the Clements Library will continue to treasure a 1920s Isfahan rug donated by Winkelman in memory of her late husband and her longtime companion, the late Robert A. Krause.

Exhibitions

The Best of the West: Western Americana at the Clements Library – Exhibition open Fridays at the William L. Clements Library, 10:00am to 4:00pm, through April 24, 2020.

Inspired by the work of scholar and antiquarian book dealer William S. Reese (1955-2018), this exhibition of 45 printed rarities highlights western Americana in the Clements Library collections. Featuring narratives of travel, settlement, and Native American relations, and including works in Spanish, German, and French, the selections represent some of the rarest and most significant 18th- and 19th-century sources on the American West.

Americana Sampler: Selections from the U-M William L. Clements Library – Exhibition open at the Rogel Cancer Center-Gifts of Art Gallery (Connector Alcove, Level 2, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor) Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, through December 31, 2020. 

Collection highlights in facsimile include handsome original artwork, compelling manuscripts, and printed resources with geographical connections spanning from the Caribbean to the Great Lakes.

2019 Faith and Stephen Brown Fellow – David Hsiung

Dr. Hsiung, a U-M History PhD graduate and professor at Juniata College, speaks about his fellowship research project “Environmental History and Military Metabolism in the War of Independence” in October 2019.

Throughout the past year, the Clements hosted lunchtime brown bag talks by some of our visiting research fellows. Eight fellows presented public talks in 2019 and three fellows authored guest posts about their research for the Clements Library Chronicles blog (clements.umich.edu/about/blog).

David Hsiung
Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Mark S. Schlissel, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Candace Dufek, William G. Earle, Charles R. Eisendrath, Paul Ganson, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar,
Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Martha R. Seger, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Thomas Kingsley, Philip P. Mason,
Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

Published by the Clements Library
University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. • Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
phone: (734) 764-2347 • fax: (734) 647-0716
Website: http://www.clements.umich.edu

Terese M. Austin, Editor, austintm@umich.edu
Tracy Payovich, Designer, tgierada@umich.edu

Regents of the University
Jordan B. Acker, Huntington Woods; Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc; Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor; Paul W. Brown, Ann Arbor; Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe; Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms; Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor; Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor.
Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement
The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

As a new year begins, we congratulate our first Randolph G. Adams Director J. Kevin Graffagnino as he embarks on retirement. During his tenure, Graffagnino oversaw a comprehensive renovation and expansion of our 1923 building, shepherded major new collections acquisitions, and more than tripled the endowment funds. Kevin’s leadership and dedication have produced a lasting legacy at the Clements. On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, colleagues, board members, and friends gathered for Kevin’s Valedictory Lecture and Reception at Blau Colloquium in the U-M Ross School of Business.

Kevin is a prolific public speaker and editor or author of 22 books and numerous articles on various aspects of early American history, book collecting, history administration, and related topics. Kevin became director of the Clements Library in November 2008, and in 2019, the U-M Regents honored Graffagnino’s leadership by naming him the Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library.

As a leader and colleague, Kevin was generous with his time, advice, and support. He demonstrated great confidence in the staff of the Clements, and encouraged wide participation in key areas of decision-making, such as acquisitions, digitization, and new outreach programs.  He pushed staff to think ahead and envision the role of the archives in a digitized world, challenging us to come up with “the next big thing.” His door was always open for large questions and small. He showed an active interest in staff career goals and tirelessly promoted opportunities for advancement. And he never gave up hoping that library salaries would rise to the level of the U-M football coaching staff. If these recollections were not enough to endear him in memory, every day we have the great pleasure of working in the beautifully renovated building he worked so hard to bring into being.

We wish Kevin and his wife Leslie joy in their retirement!

Kevin and Leslie

Kevin Graffagnino and his wife Leslie Hasker are pictured with the reception cake ‒ a custom creation that replicated actual rare books dating 1493-1685 from the Clements collections.

Graffagnino Retirement Lecture
America is a Creed Book Editors
Americana is a Creed

Above: Kevin is pictured with co-editors Terese Austin and Sara Quashnie, and designer Mike Savitski, who together produced the Clements’ latest publication Americana is a Creed: Notable Twentieth-Century Collectors, Dealers, and Curators (2019). Guests at the Valedictory Lecture were treated to complimentary copies of the new book.

 

J. Kevin Graffagnino Clements Library Endowed Fund – Contributors to date

Virginia Adams
John Adler
Nick Aretakis
Charles & Shelley Baker
Anne Bennington-Helber
Robert Hunt Berry
John Blew
Judith & Howard Christie
Arthur Cohn
Shneen & Brad Coldiron
Barbara Comai
Joseph Constance
Richard & Deanna Dorner
Brian & Candi Dunnigan
Charles Eisendrath
Steve Finer
David Graffagnino
Margaret Harrington
Dorothy Hurt
Sally Kennedy
Raymond & Cynthia Kepner
Kenneth Kramer
David Lesser
Bruce Lisman
Richard & Mary Jo Marsh
Charlotte Maxson
Robert Mello
Donald Mott
Cindy & Peter Motzenbecker
H. Nicholas Muller
Janet L. Parker
William Parkinson
James & Judy Pizzagalli
Wally & Barbara Prince
Lin & Tucker Repess
Robert Rubin
Irina & Michael Thompson
Ira Unschuld
Michael Vinson
W. Bradley Willard, Jr.
Doug Aikenhead & Tracy Gallup
J. Kevin Graffagnino & Leslie Hasker
Benjamin & Bonnie Upton
Frederick S. Upton Foundation

Other Gifts Made in Kevin’s Honor

William & Cassandra Earle
Martha Jones & Jean Hebrand
Bradley & Karen Thompson
Leonard & Jean Walle

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

With Kevin Graffagnino’s retirement, long-time Clements Library Associates Board member Clarence Wolf has commented that it is, “the end of the era of the bookman.” It is fitting then that for his final exhibit and Quarto, Kevin focused on books. In fact, many Clements Library Associates have enjoyed calling Kevin over the years just to share in the “mad-dog” spirit of collecting.

For many of us, the title “Best of the West” may evoke an image of the classic western movies of the 20th century. Our collective socialization toward these stereotypes actually illustrates how important the Clements Library is for telling the stories of all people. My father, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, once told me that as a child he loved playing “cowboys and indians.” When I asked him which role he played, he said, “the cowboy ‒ because he is the hero.”

As we continue to fill the gaps in our collections to tell a more complete story of the people of America, we are pleased to announce the availability of the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography. The acquisition was made possible through the generosity of Tyler J. and Megan L. Duncan of Minnesota and Richard Pohrt Jr. of Michigan. Processing and cataloging was funded by both the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation of New York and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation of Michigan. You can read more about this acquisition at http://myumi.ch/dOddj.  Our work with this collection will continue as we utilize funding from the Upton Foundation to create a traveling exhibit allowing more people to learn about these historic materials.

As we transition to the leadership of the next Director, I look forward to more collaborative, innovative, and monumental projects. These big ideas are only possible with the support of people like you. We need your enthusiasm for what we do and your financial contributions. I am always happy to grab a cup of coffee and dream with you about what we can accomplish together at the Clements Library!

White Swan by Fred Miller

White Swan, one of six Crow scouts who served the United States under General Custer during the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Note the shadow of photographer Fred E. Miller and his camera in the foreground.

One big project the staff is working on is an ambitious set of new digitization goals. Our ability to present all the heroes, villains, and everyday people to a broader audience enhances the possibilities for new insights and better connections. A first step towards expanding our digital resources was a complete overhaul of the Clements Library website. Please check out the new offerings at clements.umich.edu.

We are delighted to have Director Paul Erickson on board. He and I will be traveling the country during the next few months, because we can’t wait to include you in our plans for the future of the Clements Library and to hear your ideas. If you would be willing to host a small gathering, please contact me at angmo@umich.edu.

Angela Oonk
Director of Development

Examining the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection

Examining the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography, (L-R) Cataloger Jakob Dopp, CLA Board Member/Collector Richard Pohrt, Eric Hemenway and Graphics Curator Clayton Lewis. Hemenway, director of archives and records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, was one of the consultants from indigenous communities that were sought out to advise the Clements Library.

Yuma Man

A photograph by Elias A. Bonine of an unidentified Yuma man with a traditional breechcloth and hairstyle, holding bow and arrows, ca. 1880s. Photos by Scott Soderberg/Michigan Photography.

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

On June 14, 1864, after a week’s journey amid miles of prickly pear and vast plains, Nathaniel P. Hill (1832-1900) sat down and wrote a letter to his wife. Hill was a former Brown University chemistry professor hoping to make his fortune smelting precious metals in the Colorado Territory while his wife, Alice Hale Hill (1840-1908), remained in Providence, Rhode Island, with their two young children, Crawford and Isabel.       

The Hill family’s experience of “going West” was not the narrative typically associated with American western expansion. They did not pack their worldly goods into a covered wagon bound for a homestead claim. Nathaniel Hill was not a miner or railroad worker laboring to forge a fortune from the dirt. Instead, the Hills were an affluent middle-class family from Providence who transplanted their lifestyle from Rhode Island to Colorado following several years of Nathaniel Hill’s business ventures there. Despite the misgivings of his wife, Alice, Hill’s East Coast capital was key to establishing a comfortable standard of living for himself and his family, one that far exceeded his wife’s initial fears. With his scientific education, business connections, and stable financial backing, Nathaniel Hill was in an optimal position to invest in land and innovative technical processes to turn a profit in an industry that destroyed so many dreams. He ultimately succeeded in founding a highly lucrative smelting company and held various public offices in the territory and later state.     

While Nathaniel Hill’s early time in Colorado was far from luxurious ‒ reliable travel within the territory was often only by horseback, diet was comprised of meat and eggs, and accommodations were rustic whether in a building or camping in the open with the mosquitos’ “best representatives” ‒ these were temporary inconveniences. Descriptions in his letters back home of his experiences and the people he met reflected the perspective of a well-off outsider. Hill traveled via railroad, stagecoach, and horseback on his initial journey. During the Nebraska leg of the trip, he and his travel companions encountered several of the vast wagon trains streaming across the territory. As he noted in a letter to Alice, many of the emigrants were fleeing Civil War- inspired guerilla actions in states such as Arkansas for destinations to be decided upon reaching the mountain passes. 

Keeler's Colorado Map

William Keeler’s 1867 National Map of the Territory of the United States included a compilation of data from many governmental sources and was color coded to show the locations of gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, iron, and coal. The yellow markings on this detail of Colorado indicate gold deposits. Keeler’s map has been described as the largest and finest map of the West as it was then known, particularly for its depiction of the post-Civil War railroad system. The map was also issued in a folding pocket-sized edition in 1868. The Clements copy of the smaller map was carried West by a railway contractor and was present in his pocket at the driving of the Golden Spike establishing the transcontinental railroad.

It was stories such as these that fueled the public’s imagination of the “frontier.” Such accounts made their way into newspapers and magazines and subsequently shaped the perceptions of Alice Hill. Separated from her husband by a vast distance, Alice’s knowledge of Colorado was based on published reports and Nathaniel’s firsthand observations. Her mind was preoccupied by the dangers of Native American attacks as touted in newsprint and Nathaniel’s “wild way of living” (though by the time the letter was written where she lamented this fact, Nathaniel had employed a servant). His early letters and information passed on by other acquaintances had a strong influence on her perceptions of life out West. In an October 13, 1867, letter Alice wrote to Nathaniel of the preparations she planned for the family’s eventual move to reunite with him. Much of the letter was devoted to her supply lists and conjecturing about what items would be unavailable in Colorado and how to transport their possessions. Of her everyday purchases, she made particular note of sewing supplies (buttons, elastic, and whalebones) and nonperishable food (corn starch, tapioca, hops, and foreign pickles) to purchase before they left as they would store well and alleviate the need to purchase at exorbitant prices out West. While many families stocked up before moving cross-country, the fact that Alice Hill confidently recommended purchasing multi-year quantities of a variety of food stuffs and dry goods along with her envisioned means of transportation (renting a car, likely a railroad car?) indicated that the Hill family sought as little disruption from their previous mode of life as possible and had the means to make it so.

These logistical details were only part of Alice’s concerns about moving. Leaving family, friends, and the city she had lived in for most of her life would have been extremely difficult in any scenario. The fact that the family was not only completely uprooting but that they were doing so to a remote and largely unsettled region presented a considerable challenge. “I dread it more than tongue can tell,” Alice wrote to her husband, “Of course, only for your sake is the sacrifice possible. To think of exiling ourselves for a long time is dreadful to me. In five years we shall be forgotten by most of our friends here, who are now so dear to me. I don’t think I shall like the people in Col. & I am sure of being a domestic drudge.” This letter in particular, written as the time for the family to join Nathaniel grew ever closer, expressed a litany of Alice’s apprehensions. The correspondence from this period does not include Nathaniel’s replies which Alice referenced. It appears though that his information regarding the living situation in Colorado was inadequate at best. “I am about discouraged by the lack of any real information in any of your letters” she wrote as she pressed for word of their future home, “You can surely tell me as much as this ‒ Is there a house of six or eight rooms where we can live, or shall it be in two?” It seems that Alice Hill was unsure which scenario would be her fate ‒ a smaller scale version of her current home or a frontier hovel more akin to those of the public imagination.

Denver Street View 1869

Denver sprang up in the late 1850s in response to the discovery of gold at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The supply of gold proved limited, but the determination and ambition of early settlers ensured that Denver would avoid the fate of many a boomtown when the mines ran out. Downtown Denver was largely destroyed by fire in 1863, but had been re-built by the time this photograph was taken ca. 1869.

Uncertainty did not sit well with her, especially as she attempted to reconcile her current way of life to the anticipated one in Colorado. As she was unable to find someone in Providence to provide housekeeping in Colorado, she feared her days out West would be filled with menial housework. “All the hardship of housekeeping comes on the woman.  She is responsible ‒ I know the husband furnishes money, but that is an easy matter compared to washing, ironing, cooking, washing dishes, pots & pans all smoked up by pine wood, sweeping, dusting, sewing, mending & yet all the time look neat.” Alice was keenly aware of the often underappreciated labor required to keep a household running efficiently. As the acting head of household in Nathaniel’s absence, she managed a home (with staff assistance), parented their two children, and handled business affairs for Nathaniel in his stead. The autonomy with which Alice acted on household and financial matters was indicative of a deep trust between the two partners. She kept him apprised of her actions and at times sought advice, but it is evident she made decisions with a fair degree of independence and the candor in her letters to Nathaniel further evidenced a close partnership.  

In contrast with many less affluent families, this close relationship combined with sufficient resources gave the Hills the option to remain separated with Alice and the children remaining in Providence and Nathaniel running the Colorado business. Alice may well have chosen to continue such an arrangement if it were not for her deep love for her husband. Time and again, Nathaniel and Alice noted the pain of the other’s absence and their yearning to be reunited. While Alice voiced her many reservations about moving West, she was willing to pay the price. “I am most heartily tired & sick of living away from you, & will pleasantly agree to most anything which will bring us again constantly with each other.” She parted with everything she knew and loved in order to be with him.

Alice Hale Hill ca 1890

By the time these photographs were taken, ca. 1890, the Hills were established Denver citizens. Alice Hale Hill was the daughter of a Providence, Rhode Island, watchmaker. She was a student at the Troy Female Seminary before her marriage to Nathaniel P. Hill on July 26, 1860.

Nathaniel Hill

Nathaniel Peter Hill was president of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company from which he derived much of his fortune. Besides the Clements’ holdings, many of the Hill family’s papers are held at History Colorado.

As it turned out, Alice and Nathaniel Hill did not face the amount of hardship that Alice so feared. Three years after moving West, the Hills resided in a comfortable $30,000 home with Mary Halpin, an Irish woman, working as live-in domestic help. Nathaniel spent his days working in the company offices and Alice managed the family sphere. Although she did at times battle with the dust creeping into the house, there was still time for social calls and visits from friends. They attended dinner parties and partook of a varied diet which included dishes such as oysters, sandwiches, ice cream, and champagne. Strawberries even made an appearance though Alice noted that they were rare. The arrival of the railroad certainly helped increase the availability and variety of goods while it also allowed the Hills to maintain close relationships with loved ones back in Rhode Island. Alice’s sister Bell visited several times, and Crawford and Isabel returned to Providence for schooling, with their parents making regular trips to visit.

In the end, the move to Colorado proved a fruitful one for the Hill family. Nathaniel Hill’s Boston and Colorado Smelting Company attained great financial success after his introduction of Welsh smelting practices to Colorado mining operations. The family lived comfortably in Black Hawk and later Denver with live-in household staff, though the children (a third child, Gertrude, was born in 1869) were sent back East for schooling. Following Hill’s term as mayor of Black Hawk, he continued his political career with a term as United States Senator for Colorado from 1879 to 1885. Alice became a leading figure of Colorado society in her own right, earning a place in Representative Women of Colorado (1911) alongside her two daughters. She continued in charitable work, serving as president of the Denver Free Kindergarten Association and of the YWCA. They regularly traveled back East to see family and friends, made extended trips to Europe, and lived in Washington, D.C., during Nathaniel’s senatorial term. The story of the Hill family and their move West is not that of a “wild way of living” feared by Alice, but rather an extension of their previous life back East and the security and privileges it afforded.

Sara Quashnie
Library Assistant

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

On the great plains of the American West amidst the tension between settlers and decimated tribal communities, one remarkable family represented a range of perspectives on the Native American experience. Connected both to old stock from New England and tribal chiefs from west of the Mississippi, the family included a U.S. Army artist and engineer enforcing Indian removal policies; an author both sympathetic and condescending as she recorded Native lore; and a Native American physician, who endorsed assimilation only to return to Native homelands just as the violence of the Indian Wars exploded in a horrendous final bloodbath. Each sought to record, reflect, educate, advocate, and understand on both a public and a deeply personal level what it meant to be Native American. The Clements Library is lucky to house photographs, original art, and published works relating to the Eastman family.

Seth Eastman (1808-1875) was a skilled artist and topographical engineer from Maine, educated at West Point. His legacy as an artist includes paintings of U.S. military sites on display at the United States Capitol as well as hundreds of illustrations for government publications and books by his second wife, Mary. Seth frequently sketched Native American subjects, scenes, and artifacts while stationed at Fort Snelling near what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time of his first arrival there in 1830, the region was the home of the Santee Dakota Sioux people. 

Shortly after he arrived at Fort Snelling, Seth married a fifteen-year-old Native woman, Wakinajinwin (Stands Sacred, b. ca. 1815). She was the daughter of Mdewakanton Santee chief, Mahpiya Wicasta (Cloud Man, b. 1780), who was among the first of his people to shift towards an agricultural lifestyle and convert to Christianity. In the same year as her marriage to Eastman, Stands Sacred gave birth to a daughter named Winona (First Born Daughter, 1830-58). Winona also became known as Mary Nancy Eastman, and later as Wakantankawin (Holy, or Sacred Woman) following the Sioux tradition of changing and adapting names to reflect life’s events. 

After three years, the U.S. Army reassigned Seth to West Point. He then declared his marriage ended, abandoning his young wife and child, although possibly leaving behind some means for their support. They could not have known that their paths would cross again.     

In 1835, while stationed back at West Point, Seth Eastman married a second time, to Mary Henderson (1818-1887), daughter of a military surgeon. In 1841 Eastman was again assigned to Fort Snelling, this time for an extended tour of duty as commander. He thus returned to the haunts of his first family, bringing his new white wife. Together, Mary Henderson Eastman and Seth would have seven children, some of whom were born during their time in the West.

Fort Pembina, Dakota Territory

Fort Pembina, Dakota Territory, circa 1858. This evocative small watercolor by Seth Eastman shows the virtuosity that ranks him with the greatest artists of the American West. Situated on the northern border with Canada, Fort Pembina was a trading post going back into the 18th century. Eastman was in this vicinity in 1857-58, having been sent back to Fort Snelling to close down operations there.

At Fort Snelling, Mary and Seth Eastman found plenty of opportunities to deepen their fascination with Dakota culture and lore. Their first-hand experiences with the indigenous people of the West, along with Seth Eastman’s advanced artistic skills, would in later years situate him for the editing and illustrating of Henry Schoolcraft’s landmark government report Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States (1851).

Mary, an assertive and inquisitive woman, drew the attention of tribal elders around Fort Snelling, who eventually began to share their stories and legends. These became the basis of several publications by Mary, among them Dahcotah, or Life And Legends Of The Sioux Around Fort Snelling (1849); and Romance of Indian Life: With Other Tales, Selections from the Iris, An Illuminated Souvenir (1853); both of which featured color lithograph illustrations based on her husband’s artwork.

The written works of Mary Eastman have long been considered sympathetic portrayals of Sioux culture. However, by 21st-century standards, they represent a condescending point of view, blurring romantic notions of chivalry and valor together with the very different Native perspective. Sentimentality overwhelms truth, and the veracity of the narrative becomes questionable. Themes of loss, romance, cruelty, jealousy, and vengeance dominate the lives in her stories.

It is not clear at which point Seth Eastman and Stands Sacred’s daughter Winona took the name Wakantankawin (Holy, or Sacred Woman). In 1847, she married Ite Wakandi Ota (Many Lightnings, 1809-1875), who descended from Wahpeton Santee Dakota chiefs. As evidence of familial bonds among this community, the Eastman name was adopted by Many Lightnings and his children after Sacred Woman’s death during the birth of a son in 1858.

Sacred Woman and Many Lightnings’ son Hakada (The Pitiful Last) was destined for an odyssey across lands and cultures. His shifting and self-invented identity would bring new names. His first references the death of his mother during childbirth. At age four, his tribal band won an important lacrosse game and gave him the name Ohiyesa (The Winner). And yet another designation was to come.

Mary Eastman's The Iris

The Iris, a Binghamton, New York, newspaper, was an occasional publisher of Mary Eastman’s stories. Eastman’s own copy of this souvenir edition of selections from the Iris (1852) has been re-bound in leather, hand-painted, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

Ohyiesa’s father, Many Lightnings, embraced assimilation, converted to Christianity, and changed his name to Jacob Eastman. He determined to steer Ohiyesa on a path away from confrontation and toward assimilation. This achieved, Ohiyesa chose the name Charles Alexander Eastman and began an academic career through numerous missionary programs, Indian boarding schools, and colleges, eventually graduating from Dartmouth in 1887. He then entered Boston University, earning a medical degree.

By November 1890, Dr. Charles Eastman had returned to the West as a medical officer at the Pine Ridge Indian Agency in present day South Dakota. At Pine Ridge tensions between the U.S. Army and desperate Lakota followers of the Ghost Dance movement were reaching the point of violence. On December 29, 1890, the Seventh Cavalry (the unit formerly led by George Armstrong Custer) massacred a Miniconjou band of men, women, children, and the infirm at Wounded Knee Creek. Eastman was on the scene, scrambling to provide care for the wounded and traumatized survivors scattered across the frozen prairie.

Itasca Lake

Seth Eastman’s artwork, including “Itasca Lake” (circa 1851), illustrated the publications of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft as well as those of Mary Eastman. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow drew heavily on Schoolcraft’s, and likely Eastman’s, work in imagining scenes for another Native American Romance, The Song of Hiawatha (1855).

Disillusionment and revulsion pushed Dr. Charles Eastman to New York, where he married New England educator Elaine Goodale (1863-1953) in 1891. For the next 20 years Eastman held various positions with the federal government, the Carlisle Indian Boarding School, and numerous other organizations that advanced understanding of Indian cultures. He promoted the YMCA and Boy Scouts of America on western reservations, collected artifacts for the University of Pennsylvania, and wrote and lectured on Native American conditions, becoming one of the most prolific authors and speakers on Sioux ethno-history and American Indian affairs.

Frustration followed achievement throughout Dr. Charles Eastman’s career. His descriptions of the aftermath of Wounded Knee and the effect it had on him made clear that he was questioning “the Christian love and lofty ideals of the white man.” He found that he was an outsider in both worlds ‒ not militant enough for many Native Americans angered by harsh assimilation programs, but far too “Indian” for many of his white colleagues. He endured dismissive criticism. The Springfield Republican commented that his personal experiences offered “little social or educational value.” His efforts to establish a medical career in Minneapolis were frustrated by expectations that he could also prescribe a magical “Indian medicine.” 

Charles Eastman

In the Petoskey, Michigan, region Charles Eastman crossed paths with Grace Chandler Horn (1879-1967), a talented artistic photographer who sold photos of the local Odawa and Ojibwe residents to tourists. Although her staged photographs sometimes misrepresent her Native subjects, her work is aesthetically beautiful (evidenced by this photograph of Charles Eastman, ca. 1920) and in step with the important Photo-Secessionist style of the day.

As he sought ways to reconnect to the values of his indigenous upbringing, he found his way north, back to the traditional Santee homelands of Minnesota and into Ojibwe and Odawa territories. In the 1920s and 1930s Eastman was frequently back and forth between the Lake Huron shore and the Detroit area, where his son Ohiyesa II lived. In From the Deep Woods to Civilization (1916) a revitalized Eastman commented that “Every day it became harder for me to leave the woods.”

Ohiyesa, Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman, died in 1939 of complications from smoke inhalation from a tepee fire. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Detroit. He had witnessed the peak of violence between Native American peoples and the United States, experienced both the timeless traditional lifestyle of Plains Indians, and assimilated into 20th century white society. His perspective across two worlds remains relevant in our current multi-cultural society, challenged by issues of race and sustainability.

Although Charles probably never crossed paths with his grandfather, Seth Eastman, the combined experiences and historical record left by Charles, Mary, and Seth Eastman cover a remarkable portion of the complicated and fraught relations between indigenous Americans and others.

Clayton Lewis
Curator of Graphics

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

The American Dream is nebulous, conjuring up indistinct visions of wealth, opportunity, and freedom in its many forms: freedom from want, freedom from obligation, freedom to do as one chooses. When Mexico ceded California to the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1847 and gold was subsequently discovered in the region, Americans began to map their dreams of success onto those western-most lands. When George Foster’s The Gold Mines of California was printed in 1848, the preface wondered at how “Already in a remote spot in the valley of the Sacrameto  ̶  sprung up as if by magic, at the mere sound of that seductive syllable, GOLD, ̶  last midsummer saw a busy bustling village of four thousand people. . . . Such tales appear like the recital of dreams to the staid, easy-going, sober-paced inhabitants of the old world.” A seemingly miraculous place where dreams took root, cities grew overnight, and prosperity beckoned, California called out to fortune-seekers.

One such dreamer, Alexander Parker Crittenden, hailed from a beleaguered family in Kentucky. As he worked to extract his widowed mother from debt in 1837, he fell hard for the strong-willed Clara Churchill Jones. The Clements Library’s Crittenden Family Papers document their early courtship, when he wrote frequently to Clara, cross-hatching his letters to double the amount of starry-eyed remembrances he could fit into one mailing. “You must, indeed you must,” he implored, “keep that wandering spirit of yours at rest, else I shall be forced to find some charm to quiet it. A kiss every night would be effectual, but how is this to be accomplished when there is such a distance between us. There is but one course  ̶  to appeal to yourself not to appear to me in my dreams. ’Tis such a disappointment when awakening to find it all but a dream.” A young man of 21, Alexander found his mind occupied with love and desperate attempts to secure his financial footing to assure the Churchill family that he could support a wife. His dreams for the future were entangled with his dreams of Clara. He sheepishly admitted that in his pursuit of success, “I must lead an unsettled life, and in all probability soon be compelled to go south or West.”

San Francisco 1848

Californian cities grew at a bewildering pace. Bayard Taylor, sent by Horace Greeley of the New-York Tribune to report on the Gold Rush, noted in his book Eldorado (1850) that “People who have been absent six weeks came back and could scarcely recognize the place.”

In this, he was prescient. Clara did wed him, and in 1839 they removed to Texas where he practiced law. For nearly a decade the couple and their young family struggled with debt and financial instability, far from their relatives back east. Their first meal together in Brazonia, Texas, consisted of handfuls of wild blackberries they had gathered. Determined to build a better future, Alexander uprooted himself again in the spring of 1849 and set his sights on the newly booming California. He left Clara and their six young children behind as he set out to earn his way. He settled in San Francisco by December. “I can hardly give you any description of this region which would convey any idea of it,” he wrote to his wife on Christmas Day. “It is the wonder of the age, a perfect Babel.
The Port is crowded with shipping from every quarter of the world and people of all nations and tongues are streaming through the streets of the city in a tumultuous and never ceasing tide . . . There is hardly a shelter for the heads of the inhabitants, though the hills are whitened with tents . . . It is a scene perfectly bewildering.” Despite this fantastical scene, he made it clear that his purpose was singular: “accumulate a fortune” and secure for Clara the “position to which I have always looked forward.” Finding himself drawn into the whirling speculation that undergirded the young San Francisco, Crittenden made many a financial misstep. Months turned into years, and Clara and the children still did not make it out to California. He kept writing and dreaming about success, about acquiring “property here as the foundation of a fortune,” of returning for Clara a moneyed man ensuring “every one will meet me with smiles and extended hands.”
Early Courtship Letter from Alexander to Clara

In one of his early courtship letters to Clara, Alexander enclosed couplets of love, altering one to include her name.

He tried to remain optimistic, but as time and separation weighed heavily on him, the tone of his letters shifted. He asked Clara to send clippings of the family’s hair so he could make jewelry to remember them by. He asked for daguerreotypes so he could see how his children had grown. By June 1850 he admitted, “I am heart sick at this long separation . . . All the money in California will not tempt me to stay away from you yet a year . . . When the excitement of the day is over  ̶  when my hours of study and preparation for the morrow are over, and long after midnight I close my books  ̶  reflection will come, the wife and children will rise up before me, and the question present itself, shall we ever meet again?” Dreams of fortune now mingled with dreams of family; the pursuit of one caused a rift in the other.
San Francisco 1849
Crittenden wasn’t alone in looking desperately back to those that were left behind. In 1850 Bayard Taylor wrote a two-volume account of his travels in California, Eldorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire. In it he describes the “restless, feverish tide of life” in San Francisco. And yet, for all the bustle and confusion that made it such that “one knows not whether he is awake or in some wonderful dream,” the most action he saw in the city stemmed not from gold or commerce but the arrival of a steamer carrying mail. “The little Post Office, half-way up the hill, was almost hidden from sight by the crowds clustered around it,” he marveled. The postmaster “barred every door and window from the moment of his entrance” to hold the crowds at bay. Crittenden encountered this phenomenon firsthand. Seeing a line of more than 200 people waiting in front of him, he lamented, “There was no chance of getting to the window by waiting even all day.” Desperate for news from business associates or tender words from loved ones, mail drove San Francisco into an utter frenzy.

Human connection was closely prized by those in the western city. When a great fire rushed through San Francisco in May 1851, Alexander described how he went about trying to save his possessions. “I had not much to lose,” he admitted. “The most highly prized of all my goods & chattels were your portraits. They were the first things I thought of. I did not know how to secure them. I tried to put them in my pockets  ̶  but reflecting that they would be injured, perhaps destroyed by the fire and water to which I must be exposed  ̶  I concluded that the trunk was the safest place for them until the moment came when we should be compelled to retreat.” Surrounded by a city engulfed in flame, “a perfect sea of fire roaring and rushing around us with a sound louder than the breaking of the waves on the shore,” Crittenden held on tightest to the daguerreotypes of his family, his connection to those he left behind as he chased visions of success. He was thoughtful about sending Clara pictures of himself as well. One he sent in October 1850 after his plans to visit her were dashed once again by a financial setback, “a blow almost too heavy to bear.” “If I cannot come in person I will send my image. It is the best I can do, but it is a poor substitute. It is deficient in the warm heart beating only for you. It cannot open its lips and tell you how dearly you are loved.” Alexander’s dreams had shifted from earning a great fortune to finding a way to be together again. “I wish we could live upon affection and that that most hateful of all words  ̶  money  ̶  might never be mentioned again.”

Crittenden Children, Laura and Nannie

This photograph of Alexander’s eldest daughters Laura and Nannie Crittenden was likely taken sometime around 1851, posing the alluring possibility that it could have been one of the daguerreotypes he guarded so carefully during his early years in San Francisco.

Clara Jones Crittenden

Clara Jones Crittenden, ca. 1855

Alexander Crittenden

Alexander P. Crittenden, ca. 1863

Laura Fair

Laura D. Fair (1837-1919), ca. 1871

Like many dreams, however, the Crittendens’ proved elusive. After Clara joined Alexander in California, their marriage still struggled. Together bearing fourteen children (eight of whom survived into adulthood), daily expenses weighed heavily, particularly for a family that never quite mastered frugality. Then in 1863, Crittenden, a staunch Confederate sympathizer, settled for a time in Nevada as he dodged swearing the federal oath of allegiance during the Civil War. While once again separated from his wife, he entered into a long-standing affair with his landlady, Laura Fair. For the next eight years, he maintained tumultuous relationships with both women, promising Laura he would procure a divorce in order to marry her but all the while unable to follow through to make it a reality. His letters to Clara reflect a complicated marriage, vacillating between cold irritation and periodic affirmations of love and devotion. Still, they stayed together. In 1870, Alexander appeared to have been more financially comfortable, and while Clara was away visiting family back East he lavishly furnished a new home for her as a surprise. Upon Clara’s return, Alexander met her at the station and accompanied her by ferry back to their house. Laura Fair, furious and jealous by this latest betrayal, was also on that ferry and fatally shot Alexander in the chest. During her murder trial, her defense argued she had suffered from sleeplessness for weeks prior to the shooting, spurred by her “many disappointments and anxiety,” strung along by Crittenden “for these eight years, living and feeding upon nothing but hope deferred.” Fortune and favor slipped away once again, dreams and hopes not quite enough to carry any of them through.

In 1851 British sailor William Shaw published Golden Dreams and Waking Realities: Being the Adventures of a Gold-Seeker in California and the Pacific Islands. Lured by the promise of Californian wealth, Shaw set out for the mines. After a grueling attempt, he abandoned the dream, packing his belongings to seek better prospects. “The wind was blowing hard and the rain pelted heavily down, as giving a last long look at the diggings, I thought of the golden dreams and buoyant hopes which had lured us to them; and turned my back upon a spot where these had been so rudely dispelled by the waking realities of privation and suffering.” Many fortune-seekers were drawn to the promise of California by stories of successful mines, of gold dust blowing in the streets, of cities erupting into being and bustling with newcomers and opportunities. But mining proved difficult, unsteady work, requiring far more financing and luck than most had. And even those who were drawn to the coast not by gold but by the attendant boom it brought to the region, found that life in the new West could be risky. The speculative frenzy that undergirded San Francisco’s growth could tumble even the most optimistic of men. Alexander Crittenden struggled alongside them. Working for years to secure a strong enough footing to bring his family with him to California, his dreams of financial freedom waned in the face of homesickness and separation. And in turn, when his family was reunited, happiness again failed to follow. Love and stability, like his dreams of fortune, were always a step or two ahead of him. San Francisco may have sprouted from Americans’ dreams, but that doesn’t mean they always came true.

Jayne Ptolemy
Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

The vast frontier of the American West has always been a fertile breeding ground for rumors, legends, myths, and tall tales. In particular, there has been no shortage of outrageous stories regarding interactions with America’s indigenous tribes that often strain the limits of credulity. One of the most preposterous rumors of all revolved around the notion that certain tribes west of the Mississippi River were descended from Welsh colonists who first arrived in America during the 12th century.

According to Welsh legend, a royal prince by the name of Madoc supposedly took to the high seas and departed from Wales for new pastures in 1170 after the death of his father led to a bloody power struggle. The tale of Madoc, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, evolved to incorporate the idea that he had actually navigated his way to America and established Welsh colonies, thus conveniently providing a British presence in the New World that predated any and all Spanish claims. In all likelihood, Elizabeth I and her advisors initially deployed the Madoc story strictly as propaganda in order to trump their Spanish rivals. However, the modified Madoc legend ended up taking on a life of its own, especially amongst Welshmen and Welsh-Americans who were exceedingly proud that one of their own might have been the true “discoverer” of the New World.

Over the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, countless rumors were circulated regarding the existence of so-called “Welsh Indians,” descendants of Madoc’s colonists who were believed to have mixed with local Native populations and yet still clung to vestiges of Christian traditions, established fortified European-style towns, and spoke the Welsh language fluently. At first, attention focused on tribes of the Eastern seaboard near locations where Madoc’s colonists were thought to have landed, such as Newfoundland, New England, the Carolinas, and Florida. In John William’s Farther Observations on the Discovery of America, by Prince Madog ab Owen Gwynedd (1791), the famous accounts of Reverend Morgan Jones and Captain Isaac Stewart feature prominently. Jones had claimed to have been captured in 1660 by Indians in Tuscarora country while visiting South Carolina. His imminent execution was prevented only after the Indians heard him praying in the Welsh tongue, which they miraculously understood. Stewart likewise claimed that he was captured around 1766 before being rescued by a Spaniard and a Welshman named John David. During their subsequent adventures, the company crossed “the Mississipi near Rouge or Red River, up which we travelled 700 Miles, when we came to a Nation of Indians remarkably White, and whose Hair was of a reddish Colour.” John David was reportedly astounded to find that these people were also able to speak Welsh.

First and Second Chief of Mandans

Photographer Stanley J. Morrow (1943-1921), active in the Dakota Territory region during the late 1860s and 1870s, alluded to the Welsh-Mandan theory in a caption on the back of this image, which reads, “1st and 2nd Chiefs of the Mandans, descendants of a colony of Welch.” This caption indicates that enough people were familiar with this idea to warrant Morrow using it as a marketing point.

The Welsh Indian hypothesis continued to gain adherents throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Reverend B. F. Bowen’s America Discovered by the Welsh in 1170 A.D. (1876) argued that tribes ranging from the Allegheny Mountains to Florida, from the Gulf of Mexico to the American Southwest and the Great Plains could all potentially be Welsh Indians. The empires of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas in Mexico and South America were also considered to have been founded by Madoc’s Welshmen. According to Bowen and other like-minded individuals, there appeared to be no other logical explanation for how these civilizations reached such heights of almost European-esque sophistication and complexity. Bowen even pointed to the structures left behind by the Mound Builder civilization in Kentucky and Ohio as proof that Madoc’s descendants must have migrated westward while under attack from the Iroquois before eventually escaping up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. This migration theory, of course, also helped explain the conspicuous absence of Welsh Indians east of the Mississippi.

Reverend Bowen also referenced a letter published in the Kentucky Palladium in 1804 by a Mississippi judge, which stated that “No circumstance relating to the history of the Western country probably has excited, at different times, more general attention and anxious curiosity than the opinion that a nation of white men speaking the Welsh language reside high up the Missouri.” In fact, many early explorers of the American West, such as Lewis and Clark (who were instructed by Thomas Jefferson, himself of partial Welsh descent, to be on the lookout for Welsh Indians), considered the discovery of Madoc’s descendants a bonus subplot of their missions.

George Catlin, the famed frontier explorer and artist who lived amongst a number of Plains Indian tribes during the 1830s, was convinced that the Mandan tribe of the Upper Missouri region were the long sought-after Welsh Indians. Catlin spent a considerable amount of time dwelling among the Mandan. In his Illustrations of the Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians (1876), he pointed to the tribe’s engineering feats (including their one-man fishing boats which resembled the Welsh coracle); impressive agricultural infrastructure; curious religious customs (which to Catlin represented a bastardized version of Christianity); relatively light complexions; and apparent corollaries between the Mandan and Welsh languages as evidence of the tribe’s Madocian lineage. Catlin wholeheartedly believed that the Mandan must have “sprung from some other origin than that of the other North American tribes, or that they are an amalgam of natives with some civilized race.” He also claimed that William Clark had “told me, before I started for this place, that I would find the Mandans a strange people and half white.”
Rendering of a Mandan settlement called “Mih-Tutta-Hangkusch"

The works produced by Swiss-French artist Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) during the Weid Expedition of the early 1830s are considered to be some of the most important and accurate visual depictions of indigenous peoples and natural landscapes from the early days of exploration in the American West. In this detail of a rendering of a Mandan settlement called “Mih-Tutta-Hangkusch,” villagers can be seen operating the fishing boats that George Catlin and others so strongly believed to be derived from the Welsh coracle.

The photography of Stanley J. Morrow, a western frontier photographer based in Yankton, Dakota Territory, during the 1870s and 1880s, further perpetuated the Welsh Mandan theory. Two S. J. Morrow stereographs from the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography referred to the Mandan explicitly as being “descendants of a colony of Welch” and “supposed descendants of a Welsh colony.”

Needless to say, all theories regarding the existence of Indian tribes descended from a renegade 12th-century Welsh prince have long proven to be false. English skeptic Thomas Stephens vigorously disputed many of the popular narratives of his day and age that were associated with Madoc and the Welsh Indians in his Madoc; An Essay on the Discovery of America by Madoc ab Owen Gwynedd in the Twelfth Century (1893). Reverend Morgan Jones’ captivity story was shown likely to be nothing more than an elaborate hoax, while Catlin’s comparative linguistic analysis of Welsh and Mandan was demonstrated to be a laughable misrepresentation of the facts. However, Stephens found his efforts at undermining the Madoc legend’s legitimacy surprisingly difficult, particularly with regards to individuals of Welsh extraction who continued to defend it. According to Stephens, “The tales told respecting the Welsh Indians found favour with many persons . . . but in Wales itself they produced a profound and enduring impression.”

Welsh and Mandan Comparison Chart

Comparative analyses of Mandan and Welsh words with supposedly similar phonetics and meanings, such as this table included in Bowen’s America Discovered by the Welsh, were considered by Catlin and others to be irrefutable evidence of the tribe’s Welsh heritage.

It is remarkable to think that a 12th-century Welsh legend coopted by Elizabethan England for political purposes before later evolving into outlandish origin stories about Native American tribes continues to endure to this day. Indeed, despite the abundance of readily accessible evidence to the contrary, Welsh Indian theories (especially the Welsh-Mandan hypothesis) still have plenty of devotees. In 1974 a Welshman named Bernard Thomas crossed the English Channel in a coracle as a publicity stunt to draw attention to the idea that the boats used by the Mandan on the Missouri River could have been derived from similar fishing vessels introduced by Madoc. Just within the past decade a small group of Welsh researchers have tried to establish a genetic linkage between the Welsh and Mandan peoples using modern DNA analysis. Thus, even in this modern Age of Information, some legends carry more weight than the truth.

Jakob Dopp
Cataloger, Graphics Division

Quarto No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

Elizabeth Benton Frémont, known as Lily, became an intrepid traveler from a young age. She was born in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 1842, just days after her father, the explorer John C. Frémont, had returned from his first expedition to the American West. 

Lily’s mother, Jessie Benton Frémont, was the daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. Jessie had been well-educated by a series of tutors and served as her father’s secretary during her teens. Following John Frémont’s three expeditions west in the 1840s, John and Jessie together wrote the expedition reports which followed his trips, sharing his enthusiasm for western exploration with lively prose and useful information for potential emigrants to the Oregon Territory. 

In 1847, John Frémont purchased a large tract of land called Rancho Las Mariposas (renamed Bear Valley), in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills. Although initially regarded as worthless land due to its isolated location, it quickly became highly valuable after the discovery of gold in California in 1848. The Frémonts traveled to California to oversee mining operations and manage his new ranch. 

Lily was six years old when she embarked upon her first voyage in 1849, a difficult cross-country journey from Washington to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Before the creation of the Panama Canal, crossing the Isthmus was a wearisome trek lasting six days. To Lily, this was a trip to be remembered fondly, in which “each hour was filled with thrilling interest and novelty.” Throughout her life, Lily was drawn to flowers, often describing them in her writings. In her first crossing of the Isthmus of Panama, she vividly recalled her first sighting of “the white and scarlet varieties of the passion-flower, as well as other flowers both brilliant and fragrant, for which I know no name.”

Lily Fremont Pressed Flowers

For an adventurous young girl, pressing flowers memorialized in a lasting way the beauty of the landscapes through which she traveled. Writing of her recovery from a dangerous fever, Lily mused, “When life is young . . . and the warm blood courses through the veins, it is not so easy to die. The world was waiting with its arms filled with roses . . . and I was not averse to staying yet a little while, to gather a few of the flowers of life and living.”

Her mother Jessie remembered the voyage differently. As a young, sheltered woman leaving home for the first time, crossing the continent alone with her young daughter presented many challenges. In A Year of American Travel (1878), she wrote: “I had never been obliged to think for or take care of myself, and now I was to be launched literally on an unknown sea, travel towards an unknown country, everything absolutely new and strange about me, and undefined for the future.” About six months after reuniting in California, the Frémonts returned to Washington because John had been elected a California senator. 

Lily soon became an international traveler as well. After John had served as Senator from September 1850 to March 1851, the Frémonts decided to travel abroad for a year. They visited England and then rented a house in Paris for over a year. In 1853, they returned to Washington, and soon after John embarked on his last western expedition. After John Frémont’s failed presidential bid in 1856, the Frémonts returned to Paris for a brief stay before journeying back to California in 1858 to settle on their property in Bear Valley. 

In Recollections of Elizabeth Benton Frémont (1912), Lily wrote: “Nowhere else did the wild flowers ever seem so beautiful as at Bear Valley, and I rode afar into the mountains in search of them. The Indian men often brought me long withes [willow branches] wound round with flowers, from places inaccessible to me, and the white men of the neighborhood were astounded at this attention of the Indians to a mere girl.”

It may have been these gifts of wildflowers that inspired Lily to create a pressed flower album, now housed at the Clements Library. She started the album in 1859 when she was sixteen years old. The first two pages of the album hold drawings depicting the Frémont home in Bear Valley and a small group of buildings and a smokestack, possibly one of the Frémont mines. The rest of the album contains about eighty pressed flowers and other plants, most of them numbered and annotated with descriptions. 

Lily shared her love of flowers with both parents. In published works by all three family members, flowers are often vividly described, even in John’s official expedition reports. In her album, Lily noted two specimens that were her father’s particular favorites, wild heliotrope and another unnamed bloom. Jessie likely taught her daughter how to press the flowers to include in the album. In Far-West Sketches (1890), Jessie recalled that she enclosed “rose-leaves and violets and such-like sweet vouchers” in her letters back home to Washington, which “in their own dear silent way carried messages of comforting and hope.”

Lily Fremont's Home in Bear Valley

Bear Valley, Lily Frémont’s beloved home during the 1850s, from the front of an album holding her pressed flower specimens from 1859.

Lily’s album of pressed flowers began with a buttercup found on January 20th, 1859, and continued through May of that year. Several following pages of specimens are undated, and the final date to appear in the album is January 29th, presumably 1860. The last annotations indicate specimens gathered in San Francisco near the family’s new home at Black Point, to which they moved in early 1860.

As Lily added specimens to her album, she usually noted the date and location, sometimes identified the name of the plant, and often observed its growing conditions, soil, and other notes. She rode far and wide with her father, visiting their mills and mines and gathering plants along the way. Her notes indicate that she gathered specimens in locations as varied as Bear Valley, the Burkhalter hills, Mt. Bullion, Mt. Oso, Lone Mountain, Hell’s Hollow, Mt. Ophir, and Black Point. For specimens she did not personally gather, she recorded whatever information was available. Specimen no. 56 “was given to me so I don’t know about it much. I think it is a bush flower & came from Hell’s Hollow.” No. 75 simply received this brief note: “I remember nothing about.”

A capable horsewoman, Lily favored two horses for these frequent trips with her father. Ayah was a mountain-bred horse; Chiquita was cream-colored with silver mane and tail. Another horse gifted to her by a cattle ranger, the aptly-named Becky Sharp, turned out to be a little too lively for safety and was swiftly retired after she attempted to buck Lily off three times and then stranded her two miles from home. After moving to San Francisco, Lily was unfortunately not able to gather as many flowers, partly due to her horse: “Chiquita was more restive than Ayah, so I did not care to dismount as I used to in Bear Valley, besides there were always herds of Spanish Cattle around. So I missed many lovely flowers.”

While traveling, Lily observed changes in the landscape caused by mining and other human activities. Wild jasmine grew in the “mining holes” and another unnamed plant in the “small stony hollows and washed out placer ditches.” She reported that wild clover had originally covered Bear Valley and far up the mountainsides, “but some teamsters set fire to it ‒ about two years before we came out ‒ & burned most of it so badly that it has only grown again in especially moist places.”

Lily Fremont on Chiquita

Lily Frémont on Chiquita.

Lily recorded second-hand information from her father regarding indigenous use of plants, including the “quinine vine” or wild cucumber (“Father says the Indians use its root as medicine in fevers”), the wild sunflower (“I am told that the Indians use the seed”), and an unidentified leaf “which the Indians use as a salad.”

Livestock interactions with native plants were also of interest, such as the wild larkspur, which was “poisonous to cattle, who do not like to eat even the grass near it.” There were large fields of wild larkspur along one road, and she noted “the cattle avoided these plains from the time it began to flower till it passed.” The wild pea-vine, by contrast, was favored by cattle and horses and “gives good nourishment.”

Lily sometimes commented on her own process of pressing and drying the plants. White mariposas blossoms were “rather hard to press well & almost impossible to glue, for the instant the glue touches them, they roll right up, & then it [is] very hard to unroll them.” She was particularly concerned with the effect of drying on the color of the flowers, which she was anxious to describe accurately. For a number of specimens, she noted the original color of a flower that had “faded in pressing.”

In addition to wildflowers, Lily was interested in the more domesticated plants growing around their house, including a live oak and wild clover inside their enclosure, and an unnamed specimen pulled from just outside the fence. Another “tame flower” came from the neighboring “Italian’s garden.”

After the Frémonts moved from Bear Valley to San Francisco in 1860, Lily’s specimen gathering seems to have slowed and then stopped entirely. On her last page of text, she wrote, “Though we had so many many beautiful flowers at Black Point I had never thought of pressing any, & these are only some I pressed ‒ or rather put in this book, for the geranium leaf had been my book mark for weeks ‒ the day before we left home. The mignonette had grown from seeds of my own planting.”

In 1861, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Jessie and her three children left San Francisco for St. Louis while John served in the Union Army. After the war, Lily remained single and continued to travel and live an adventurous life. She eventually settled in Long Beach in 1905, where she remained until her death in 1919.

Emiko Hastings
Curator of Books

No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

For nearly a century the Clements Library has been mounting exhibitions and issuing publications based on our collections. In the 1920s and ’30s, under first director Randolph G. Adams, we concentrated on publicizing our greatest area of collecting strength, manuscripts relating to the era of the American Revolution. Our scope gradually expanded to other concentrations in our holdings, with 1940s and ’50s exhibits and bulletins on Michigan history, religion in early America, Canadiana, Ohio rarities, maritime history, colonial Mexico, and early American law. During John C. Dann’s three decades as director we highlighted a broad array of subjects and material – Native Americans, women, culinary history, African American history, travel, caricature, Detroit’s tercentenary – while continuing to showcase our printed and manuscript American Revolution treasures. In recent years we’ve offered visitors and readers a varied menu of topics, from the War of 1812 to education, sports to “friends in fur and feathers,” the Civil War to the West Indies. The result, as our Clements Library predecessors and current staff have hoped, has been that friends and supporters of the Library have been able to sample the extraordinary range of primary sources available here on American history from 1492 to the end of the 19th century.

One major area of Americana collecting that we may have slighted in all this activity, despite it being an area of considerable strength here, has been western Americana. Looking back through my files on our exhibitions, issues of The Quarto, and our Occasional Bulletin series, I come away with the impression that we’ve neglected the trans-Mississippi West in telling the world about the Library. In 1946 we published Fifty Texas Rarities, a catalog of an exhibition of books and pamphlets from the remarkable collection of Everett D. Graff of Chicago, no doubt in an attempt to persuade Mr. Graff to donate his library to the Clements (the Graff Collection, alas, went to his hometown Newberry Library). Twenty years later young Clements staffers Albert T. Klyberg and Nathaniel N. Shipton created Frontier Pages and Pistols, an exhibit of Clements books and hand guns on “the beckoning West,” and published the results as Occasional Bulletin 72. Perhaps motivated by that initiative, in 1967 longtime Library supporter James Shearer II donated his western Americana collection to the Clements, and we showcased selections from that gift as a Beyond the Mississippi exhibit and accompanying catalog. Other than those projects, however, we seem to have been silent for the most part on our western holdings, despite ongoing and impressive acquisitions in all of our collecting divisions.

Thomas Moran Grand Canyon

Thomas Moran (1827-1926) joined the Hayden survey expedition to the West in 1871 and produced iconic views of the dramatic landscapes they encountered, such as this lithograph of The Grand Cañon of the Colorado River, drawing Americans’ attention and imagination westward.

In the early days of 2019, when the Library’s senior managers group met to discuss our exhibitions schedule, my colleagues suggested that I organize a valedictory show before my retirement at the end of the year. Casting about for a good subject, I decided to concentrate on western Americana and to dedicate the exhibit to William S. Reese, who passed away in June 2018. I regard Bill – antiquarian book dealer, scholar, generous supporter of the Clements and other American history research institutions – as the outstanding Americanist of our time, and I knew I could use his 2017 book The Best of the West: 250 Classic Works of Western Americana as the basis for a Clements exhibit. I went through The Best of the West for information and inspiration, and was delighted to find that the Clements owns 90% of the pre-1900 titles in it. Selecting the 45 books and pamphlets our 16 exhibit cases could hold was a challenge, but one I embraced as considerably more enjoyable for a last year at the helm than the concentration on personnel, budgets, meetings, and institutional planning that otherwise fills my days in the office.

Visitors to The Best of the West, which will run through April 2020, will appreciate that “the west” has evolved as a geographic descriptor over the years. At the same time that Spanish authors like Miguel Benegas, Francisco Palóu, and Josef Espinosa y Tello were writing about Spain’s settlements in California and Mexico, English and American observers were describing the Mississippi River Valley as the farthest extent of settlement and exploration from the East Coast. The exhibit includes Philip Pittman’s 1770 Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi, Zadock Cramer’s 1802 Ohio and Mississippi Navigator, and the 1814 first edition of the Lewis and Clark report on their expedition to the West Coast and back. The cases for the middle decades of the 19th century feature Hall J. Kelley, John B. Wyeth, Eugène Duflot du Mofras, and Henry James Warre on Oregon, the George Catlin and McKenney and Hall portfolios of Native American portraits, and rare overland narratives by James O. Pattie, Zenas Leonard, Joel Palmer, and Riley Root. The 1851 George W. Kendall and Carl Nebel folio on the Mexican War and Henry Lewis’ 1855-58 Das Illustrirte Mississippithal display in impressive fashion the chromolithographed images through which many Americans first viewed the West. After 1850 the focus of the exhibit shifts to mining, outlaws, encounters with Native Americans, and the settlement of new areas from Arizona to Idaho, with Nelson Lee’s Three Years Among the Camanches (1859), C. M. Clark’s A Trip to Pike’s Peak and Notes by the Way (1861), John L. Campbell’s Idaho: Six Months in the New Gold Diggings (1864), Thomas J. Dimsdale’s The Vigilantes of Montana (1866), and Thomas F. Dawson & F. J. V. Skiff’s The Ute War (1879) among the titles on display. Viewers will note that a majority of the items in the exhibit came to the Clements during the 1953-1977 directorship of Howard H. Peckham, and I am most appreciative of Howard’s acquisition of so many high points in western Americana that have subsequently soared to prices that would challenge our acquisitions endowments if we attempted to buy them today.

No-Way-Ke-Sug-Ga Portrait

This portrait of No-Way-Ke-Sug-Ga (possibly translated as “He Who Strikes Two at Once”) is one of a set included in the Thomas McKenney (1785-1859) and James Hall (1793-1868) publication History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1836-44). These lithographs, mostly the work of Charles Bird King (1785-1862), are among the most colorful portraits of Native Americans produced in the nineteenth or any century. Many of the original oil paintings on which the prints were based perished in the 1865 Smithsonian Institution fire.

Visitors to The Best of the West, which will run through April 2020, will appreciate that “the west” has evolved as a geographic descriptor over the years. At the same time that Spanish authors like Miguel Benegas, Francisco Palóu, and Josef Espinosa y Tello were writing about Spain’s settlements in California and Mexico, English and American observers were describing the Mississippi River Valley as the farthest extent of settlement and exploration from the East Coast. The exhibit includes Philip Pittman’s 1770 Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi, Zadock Cramer’s 1802 Ohio and Mississippi Navigator, and the 1814 first edition of the Lewis and Clark report on their expedition to the West Coast and back. The cases for the middle decades of the 19th century feature Hall J. Kelley, John B. Wyeth, Eugène Duflot du Mofras, and Henry James Warre on Oregon, the George Catlin and McKenney and Hall portfolios of Native American portraits, and rare overland narratives by James O. Pattie, Zenas Leonard, Joel Palmer, and Riley Root. The 1851 George W. Kendall and Carl Nebel folio on the Mexican War and Henry Lewis’ 1855-58 Das Illustrirte Mississippithal display in impressive fashion the chromolithographed images through which many Americans first viewed the West. After 1850 the focus of the exhibit shifts to mining, outlaws, encounters with Native Americans, and the settlement of new areas from Arizona to Idaho, with Nelson Lee’s Three Years Among the Camanches (1859), C. M. Clark’s A Trip to Pike’s Peak and Notes by the Way (1861), John L. Campbell’s Idaho: Six Months in the New Gold Diggings (1864), Thomas J. Dimsdale’s The Vigilantes of Montana (1866), and Thomas F. Dawson & F. J. V. Skiff’s The Ute War (1879) among the titles on display. Viewers will note that a majority of the items in the exhibit came to the Clements during the 1953-1977 directorship of Howard H. Peckham, and I am most appreciative of Howard’s acquisition of so many high points in western Americana that have subsequently soared to prices that would challenge our acquisitions endowments if we attempted to buy them today.

Nelson Lee's Narrative

Texas Ranger Nelson Lee (b. 1807) wrote Three Years Among the Camanches (1859), vividly detailing his experiences in captivity. The widespread popularity of Lee’s tale reflected a growing interest in western Americana.

The Best of the West concentrates on printed books and pamphlets, but readers of this issue of The Quarto will learn that the Library has tremendous strength in western American manuscripts, prints, photographs, and maps as well. Our recent acquisition of some 1,100 Native American photographs in the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection has vaulted the Clements to a high rank among American libraries in that important field. As Jayne Ptolemy outlines, the Crittenden Family Papers that Dr. Thomas Kingsley donated to the Library in 2006-07 are rich in source material on California and Nevada in the late 19th century. Clayton Lewis’ article on the Eastman family and their materials in our Norton Strange Townshend Collection hints at the considerable research potential those papers and daguerreotypes offer. Sara Quashnie, Emi Hastings, and Jakob Dopp contribute pieces on the Hill Family Papers, Lily Frémont, and the myth of Welsh Indians respectively. As these essays and the exhibit indicate, the upshot is that the Clements is a tremendous resource for students and scholars alike on the American West. If we are not yet UCal Berkeley’s Bancroft Library for depth and range of primary sources in western Americana, we unquestionably do hold a remarkable variety of materials on the western half of this country from the 17th through the 19th centuries. So if you like historical books, manuscripts, and images, and if you agree with my favorite 1950s-60s songwriter Tom Lehrer that “The wild west is where I wanna be,” you should come to 909 South University Avenue sometime soon and start discovering what we have here.

J. Kevin Graffagnino
Director, 2008-2019

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors News

At the October 2020 meeting a resolution was passed naming Peter Heydon Honorary Member and Chair Emeritus.

In March 2020 Thomas Kingsley passed away. He served on the board for 30 years before retiring in 2011 and being named an Honorary Member. His wife Sally has made a gift in his memory for acquisitions.

Exhibitions

“No, not even for a picture”: Re-examining the Native Midwest and Tribes’ Relations to the History of Photography – Online Exhibition at clements.umich.edu/pohrt
This exhibition investigates the complex balance between violation of privacy and the quest for self-identification felt by Native peoples during the early era of photography. Photographic styles and practices are examined that recorded the people, activities, stereotypes, and myths of this important time, focusing on the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Framing Identity: Representations of Empowerment and Resilience in the Black Experience – Online Exhibition at clements.umich.edu/framing-identity
Drawing inspiration from Frederick Douglass’ views on picture-making and representation, this exhibition examines how 19th- and 20th- century African American artists and intellectuals expressed identity through portraiture, photography, and literature. A curatorial project developed by 2019-21 Joyce Bonk Fellow Samantha Hill, images were selected from published works and original photographs at the Clements, particularly the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.

Publications

Mary Pedley, Map Division, is pleased to announce the release of Cartography in the European Enlightenment (Chicago, 2020), Volume Four of The History of Cartography series. Edited by Pedley and Matthew H. Edney, this comprehensive reference encyclopedia focuses on the art, craft, science, and techniques of maps and mapping between 1650 and 1800. Volume 4 includes 479 entries containing 751,995 words and 954 full color illustrations, with about 4,988 references, spread over 1,651 pages—supported by a 100+ page index—written by 207 contributors from 26 countries.

The History of Cartography reference books are produced by the History of Cartography Project, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Established in 1981, the Project is a research, editorial, and publishing venture that treats maps as cultural artifacts created from prehistory through the 20th century.

To learn more about the project and the other volumes of the History of Cartography series go to geography.wisc.edu/histcart.

Man and woman sit with elbows on a tall, unbound stack of papers

Matthew Edney and Mary Pedley flank the completed manuscript of Volume Four of The History of Cartography in the spring of 2018, shortly before its delivery to the University of Chicago Press, where it underwent 18 months of copy-editing, indexing, and layout, prior to publication and printing. It was released in April 2020.

Virtual Programming

In March 2020, the Clements Library launched a webinar series in which panelists and featured guests discuss history topics. Join us continuing monthly in 2021, and access recordings of past episodes at clements.umich.edu/bookworm.

Our popular Discover Series has also gone virtual. In 2020, Clements staff presented fabulous sessions on the history of photography, women’s history in the archives, and the treasonous correspondence of Benedict Arnold. Access the recordings at clements.umich.edu/virtual-discover-series.

Staff News

Former Clements Library staff member Louis Miller has accepted a position as Cartography Reference and Teaching Librarian at the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Louie was a knowledgeable, diligent, creative, and enthusiastic member of the Graphics Division and Reference teams at the Clements. He was always eager to share his many talents and his cheerful energy—he is and will be greatly missed! We wish him well on his new adventure.

Clements Library logo

Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library
Paul J. Erickson

Committee of Management
Mark S. Schlissel, Chairman
Gregory E. Dowd, James L. Hilton, David B. Walters.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Board of Governors
Bradley L. Thompson II, Chairman
John R. Axe, John L. Booth II, Candace Dufek, William G. Earle, Charles R. Eisendrath, Paul Ganson, Eliza Finkenstaedt Hillhouse, Martha S. Jones, Sally Kennedy, Joan Knoertzer, Thomas C. Liebman, Richard C. Marsh, Janet Mueller, Drew Peslar,
Richard Pohrt, Catharine Dann Roeber, Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Martha R. Seger, Harold T. Shapiro, Arlene P. Shy, James P. Spica, Edward D. Surovell, Irina Thompson, Benjamin Upton, Leonard A. Walle, David B. Walters, Clarence Wolf.
Paul J. Erickson, Secretary

Clements Library Associates Honorary Board of Governors
Peter Heydon, Chair Emeritus
Philip P. Mason, Joanna Schoff.

Clements Library Associates share an interest in American history and a desire to ensure the continued growth of the Library’s collections. All donors to the Clements Library are welcomed to this group. The contributions collected through the Associates fund are used to purchase historical materials. You can make a gift online at leadersandbest.umich.edu or by calling 734-647-0864.

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Regents of the University
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No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

As I write this article 2020 has come to a close. This is likely a year that will be studied by many future generations as they try to untangle fact from fiction, trace cause and effect, and link the past to the present. This year we have also heard many negative critiques about various aspects of history being “rewritten.” I’ve been thinking a lot about this, because as Director of Development I have been raising money to expand our fellowship program. Our fellows come to the Clements Library to study the primary sources housed within its walls. They come to ask questions and take a critical look at American history. How might their work change our understanding of a well-known narrative?

If you watched our December Discover Series on Benedict Arnold, you heard Curator of Manuscripts Cheney Schopieray discuss how historians have used the Clinton Papers to uncover details about Benedict Arnold’s treason. If we had only relied on previous tellings of Arnold’s activities, we might still believe 19th-century accounts of his childhood. In books like The Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold (Boston, 1835), historian Jared Sparks used unsubstantiated tales to justify writing about Arnold’s pharmacist apprenticeship and his use of the broken glass vials: “. . . he would scatter in the path broken pieces of glass taken from the crates, by which the children would cut their feet in coming from the school.” Benedict Arnold had become a mythical, evil character and it wasn’t until William L. Clements purchased Henry Clinton’s papers during the 20th century that serious scholarship could be undertaken respecting his treasonous interactions with the British. In this sense, yes, we do need to rewrite history. Places like the Clements Library acquire and make available the primary sources that allow historians to carefully research and analyze the actions of even well-known figures in order to understand and even update the impact they have had on both the past and the present.

Another movement around the country this year has been the acknowledgement that unjust policies and institutionalized racism continue to affect the quality of life for many Americans. In June we released an anti-racism statement at the Clements provoking powerful and thoughtful discussions before and after its release.

These conversations have led me to think about and talk about my own family history. I have seen some writers speculate that anti-racist policies also seek to “rewrite history.” Using a segment of my ancestry, I hope to explain what it means to be “anti-racist” or “inclusive” in writing about and discussing our nation’s record. The facts, dates, and people that countless school children have memorized over the years have not changed. They still exist. What we can choose to do now is to fill in the gaps with the people, experiences, and events that were not previously mentioned.

For example, the fact that an Army officer named Richard Pratt founded the first U.S. Training and Industrial School in 1879 at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, has not changed. At the time, Pratt thought that he was doing something good. “A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one,” Pratt said. “In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” Many episodes in history have typically been told by people in positions of power, like Pratt.

Children in uniform, lined up in front of 2-story school buildings

The Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School operated from June 30, 1893 to June 6, 1934 with an average enrollment of 300 students per year.

So, how can we tell this account better? We can discuss that 150 schools opened all over the country and over the course of 125 years 180,000 children were taken from their families. We can acknowledge the experiences of people like my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Shay-Kaw, who was sent to the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School and endured the harsh lessons of assimilation. We can analyze the effects of these schools on the families and tribes.

It is not just scholars who shape how we write about and study American history. You can help by making a gift to the Clements Library to continue the critical work that is being done.

I hope you’ll also agree that historical narrative should include both Richard Pratt and Elizabeth Shay-Kaw. We can’t go back to change history and right the wrongs that happened, but we can choose to be part of a more just and inclusive society where we learn and tell stories about all the people who have walked this land we now call America.

Angela Oonk
Director of Development

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

The concept that the human brain processes information differently when all our senses are engaged is fundamental to the mission of the Clements Library. Vintage leather bound books have a certain smell. Turning pages of old hand-made paper can make a crisp sound or a soft murmur. Books can be thick, thin, light or heavy. Historical documents have weight, texture, smells and sound that we respond to with more than our eyes alone. When in direct contact with rare materials, all of these elements stimulate our senses for a deep-dive immersion into the past that is impossible to replicate digitally. This has much to do with why we believe that the experience of working directly with original primary source materials brings out the best in scholars of history.

When studying historical photographs, there is a growing awareness that considerations of physicality contribute to meaning. It is easy to become so enraptured with the image itself that we can forget that it comes to us on a physical platform. A photo may be on paper, glass, metal, wood, ivory, perhaps in a protective case like a daguerreotype, or in a wooden frame for the wall. There is often a brittleness that commands cautious handling, and physical scale that can be surprising. Additionally, photographs are responsive to lighting conditions. The uniformity of computer screens can hide the fact that that photos can look different at different times of day, that daguerreotypes are highly reflective, but also carry deep contrasts.

The Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography contains a wide variety of physical formats: card-mounted paper photographic prints, unmounted glossy photos, small cartes de visite, large framed panoramic views, tintypes, stereoviews, and photo albums. Some of these photos invite intimate and up-close viewing, others broadcast from across the room.

Experiencing all of this in a rich sensory experience is what we had in mind when we posted internships funded by the Upton Family Foundation in the fall of 2018. The plan was to hire talented students to work directly with the Pohrt Collection materials to produce a traveling poster exhibit. We were delighted to bring on board Dr. Andrew Rutledge, whose qualifications exceeded our expectations. Andrew considered as a theme the dynamic but often troubling role that photography played in Native American history. In the 19th century, there was plenty of hostility between indigenous populations and the incoming settlers, soldiers, and photographers. However the Pohrt Collection also shows us hundreds of images that could not have been taken without cooperation from the Native American subjects. To what extent did these dynamics shape the Pohrt Collection materials? Are there 19th-century examples of Native Americans using photography for themselves?

Andrew researched the material, immersed himself in the history, and proposed a detailed exploration focused on the Great Lakes region and the Anishinaabe people. However, Andrew’s destiny lay elsewhere and he took an irresistible full-time position at the Bentley Library across town where he continues to do exemplary work for the university.

This set-back was also an opportunity to take stock of where we were and to re-set. We reposted the internship position and quickly found ourselves in a pleasant dilemma stemming from a remarkably talented pool of applicants. Fortunately, financial support allowed us to hire two interns, Lindsey Willow Smith and Veronica Cook Williamson.

Lindsey Willow Smith is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, majoring in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She is active within the Indigenous community on campus, serving as Chairman for the Native American Student Association. Lindsey is also researching the use of census data in describing Native populations with Arland Thornton and Linda Young-DeMarco at the Institute for Social Research at U-M.

Veronica Cook Williamson is a graduate student in the department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and in the program of Museum Studies. Her primary research focuses on racial(izing) processes in media and other cultural representations of newcomers in Germany. She graduated with a BA in German Cultural Studies and Film and Media Studies from Dartmouth College in 2017. She has Irish, British, and Choctaw ancestry and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation — chickasha saya.

The new team of Lindsey, Veronica, Graphics Cataloger Jakob Dopp, Reference Librarian Louis Miller, and myself met in the Library on March 3, full of ambition and anticipation. We did not know that this would be our only in-person meeting. On March 11 the University of Michigan closed its campus and remote work began, for what we thought would be a few weeks or months.

As the new reality took hold, it became apparent that the demand for online access and support for remote teaching superseded any of our plans for an “in real life” traveling exhibit. Should the internships continue? Fortunately, Jakob had completed item-level cataloging of the Pohrt Collection and Andrew, Jakob, and Louie had uploaded an extensive and detailed online finding aid for the collection. We had scans of most of the materials, enough that we could shift the project to the creation of an online exhibit. The internships could continue, and had the potential to create a timely and supportive resource.

We met regularly (on Zoom of course). Lindsey and Veronica proposed a rewrite that examined the issues of colonialism, Native sovereignty, self-identification, and cultural appropriation in the photographic representations—ideas that were challenging, but well-grounded in history and frequently downplayed.

Dozens of people standing, tables at center.

The editing of the online exhibit, “No, Not Even for a Picture,” required the removal of some outstanding and important images. They include those pictured here and below. “Taking the Census at Standing Rock, Dakota.” D. F. Barry, 1885, 20 x 25 cm.

Man stands with a cane, coat, hat, surrounded by tables and a crowd

Detail, “Taking the Census at Standing Rock, Dakota.” F. Barry, 1885.

The man with the cane standing by the desk of the census enumerator is likely Lakota Chief Gall, one of Sitting Bull’s most trusted lieutenants at Little Big Horn, later a converted Christian who mediated assimilation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) recorded the census annually during this time.

Nine men in military uniform posed in front of US flag

“L. Troop Mon. [S]Couts” O.S. Goff, 1890, 20 x 25 cm.

Nine unidentified Crow Indian scouts of L. Troop, 1st U.S. Cavalry Regiment, pose with their troop flag and a large American flag, possibly taken at Fort Maginnis, Montana. Many of the Native Americans enlisted in the United States military services were not citizens of the United States. Until the Indian Citizen Act of 1924, becoming a U.S. citizen often required formally leaving your tribe.

The themes and resources of the project were refined with invaluable input from Eric Hemenway, Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and Arland Thornton, Professor of Sociology, Population Studies, and Survey Research at the University of Michigan, as well as from Richard Pohrt.

None of this work came easily. We had disagreements about interpretation and what was appropriate. The early versions had enough content for three exhibits. We were all sick of the isolation. Lindsey later commented that “as a Chippewa woman, the balancing of my views and experiences with those of the Clements was a chore.” She stated that “the inequity of emotional investment” was both wearisome and energizing. But as Veronica stated, “the photographs carried this project forward; they were the life force fighting back against video call malaise and quarantine fatigue.”

Duplicated image on yellow backboard; man, women, and children on and around a raised platform in a cornfield.

“Squaws Guarding Corn from Black-Birds” Adrian Ebell, ca. 1872, 8.5 x 18 cm.

Possibly taken on the very morning that the 1862 Dakota War uprisings began, this stereograph depicts an unidentified Dakota woman and four children sitting on an elevated platform standing watch over crops. This 1872 print from the 1862 negative would have been produced sometime after Charles Zimmerman took over the Whitney Gallery.

Later in the summer, University policies allowed access to the Clements building and the collection. After many months of remote work, Lindsey and Veronica had their first opportunity to view the actual photos at the Library. The power of this materiality is discussed eloquently in Lindsey and Veronica’s blog post for the Clements Library Chronicles.

I am very proud of this project. I am particularly proud that issues were discussed and decided within the team, that the curation and interpretive concept were led by Lindsey and Veronica, and that their voices came to the fore in the final product. In spite of being thrust together as strangers forced to be partners, employed by an institution that neither knew, using unfamiliar work and communication methods, with a pandemic just outside the door, Lindsey and Veronica’s talents and visions meshed. They create a unified, thoughtful, and challenging look at photography and Native American history that will have lasting value as well as serving the immediate need to support remote education. The online exhibit, “No, Not Even For a Picture,” is a remarkable accomplishment under any circumstances. Given what the project team faced, it is all the more so. It is only one of many projects that are waiting to emerge from the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography.

Clayton Lewis
Curator of Graphics Material

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

Lauren Davis

In 2019 the Clements introduced a new Digital Fellowship, where we scan a collection identified by our fellow for them to consult from their home institution. Imagined well before the public health challenges presented to us by the coronavirus, it now stands as a model for how we can still work to support researchers even if they can’t travel to our reading room. Our inaugural Digital Fellow, Lauren Davis, a doctoral candidate at the University of Rochester’s History Department, talked to us about her project and the power of remote historical research. The transcript of our conversation appears below, condensed and edited slightly.

Jayne Ptolemy
Assistant Curator of Manuscripts

Jayne Ptolemy (JP): Tell us about your project and the types of sources you use to uncover your story.

Lauren Davis (LD): My dissertation is entitled “Beyond Institutions: Mental Disorders and the Family in New York, 1830-1900,” and it explores how families cared for relatives with mental illness in the 19th century. I found that nuclear and extended families were taking part in a lot of home caregiving, were helping to make healthcare decisions, and were negotiating patients’ treatment with physicians when they felt like institutionalization was necessary. Despite families directing every stage of mental health treatment, the history of mental health is dominated by a focus on institutions and prominent physicians. My dissertation restores families to the narrative of mental health care, establishes a lay perspective on diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and contributes to the history of gender at the intersection of medicine. It challenges the existing interpretations of American asylums as the first and last resort for mental health care.

There’s a pretty wide variety in the sources that I’m using. I use a lot of family correspondence and diaries, which give me the most qualitative information about a particular caregiving situation. Families are seeking cures for their relatives, and if a cure or improvement doesn’t seem like it’s possible, then they want to provide the best long-range care that they can. Sometimes they choose an institution, but a lot of times they rely on home care. This isn’t necessarily a situation where someone is institutionalized and then stays there for the rest of their lives. A lot of times they’re institutionalized for a period, and then after a few years they determine that they’ve received the most benefit that can be achieved and they will be pulled back out of the institution. They return home and live with their family supporting their care.

(JP): Which Clements collection are you working with, and why did you select it?

(LD): I’m working with the King Family Papers. I’m interested in the declining mental health of William King and his brothers’ efforts to care for him. The King family correspondence includes discussions of his brothers’ direct interventions, consultations with physicians, and their commitment of William to a private insane asylum. I’m interested in seeing why the brothers decided to commit William, how they selected an institution, if they thought he was curable and if that changed over time, and how they negotiated his care with physicians when they thought it was appropriate to consult with them.

This July 31, 1870, letter details Edward King’s struggles to contend with his brother William’s declining mental health. The handwriting itself seems to reveal the agonizing emotional turmoil and the inadequacy of words to describe a family’s calamity.

(JP): How is working from digital surrogates different from researching in-person at a library? What challenges and benefits does it yield?

(LD): I thought about this in two different ways. First, when I’m researching in person, I’m able to browse across multiple collections, and I can see what might be relevant to my project. This is hard to replace without having digital options available for all the same materials. When I have digital images for a whole collection, though, it is an advantage for my research. When I’m working with family papers, the narrative threads run through many of the family letters. The dynamics of relationships within every family are unique, and the outlook a person has on caregiving is not isolated from the rest of these relationships. Having the time to explore the context of surrounding letters in a collection is vital for understanding this.

The other side that I thought about is in terms of reading the text. With high quality images, researchers now can manipulate the image by zooming in or adjusting the contrast. Those are things that make the text clearer in ways that’s not possible with a physical manuscript. It’s also a lot easier to ask about a particularly tricky word if you have a digital image you’re able to share with a colleague. My friends and I send screenshots, asking each other, “What do you think this word is?”

(JP): From a researcher’s perspective, what is the value of digital fellowships that don’t have a residency requirement, even without a global pandemic?

(LD): The pandemic definitely has changed the perspective and outlook on digital fellowships, but one of the largest benefits at any point is being able to process the collection at home, on my own timeline. A visit to an archive provides advantages, but it also requires resources to allow for travel and multiple days spent in a reading room. Any time I travel to an archive I try to be as efficient as I can, so I’m using my time to gather the most helpful information as quickly as possible. That means making a lot of judgments on what’s the most relevant and important. Sometimes these decisions are clear, but sometimes they’re more ambiguous, or new details alter my conclusions. In one case, after I read a few dozen letters, I discovered that a family friend often interacted with an institutionalized relative. By having images of that collection I was able to go back and consult the material again to follow the different paths and clarify points of ambiguity. Being able to consult the images as your research evolves is very helpful.

Sometimes it’s just one line about one person that helps piece together the narrative, and it may not come up until ten years after the specific time period of their care. With family letters, it’s key to have the surrounding context. It takes a long time to process them, so being able to do that digitally is a big benefit for me.

(JP): What main lessons has researching in the age of COVID taught you?

(LD): I think the biggest thing is having to be flexible to navigate the changes the pandemic has brought. I had plans to visit several archives in the spring of 2020. All the facilities closed to visitors, so that’s been impossible. I have had to adjust, use what I have, and be creative about what I’m able to access. Before the pandemic I’d actually never worked with microfilm. I had always had better alternatives, either using the manuscripts or better quality digital images. I had a particular set of volumes, where the reading room was closed and I couldn’t visit that archive. They had microfilm they could send via Interlibrary Loan, so I was able to process it at my university’s library and work my way through the sixteen volume series. It was a new experience for me, but it worked! Flexibility is the biggest thing, having to be creative and rethinking plans about how to get as much information as I can.

 

Much like Lauren, we’ve found that this challenging season has taught us the resounding power of being flexible and harnessing the resources at our disposal. Zoom conversations with fellows, high resolution scans, reference photos taken with cell phones—in ways big and small, we have been using technology and digital surrogates to support innovative research like Lauren’s from a distance. Until we’re once again able to crowd around the tea table with all our fellows to discuss their archival finds of the day, we’ll continue to look to the power of technology to keep us connected and moving forward.

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

Screenshot of FromthePage transcription software

Forrester (“Woody”) Lee of New Haven, Connecticut, spent an extraordinary amount of time carefully transcribing the phonetic spelling of the United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book and helping make this important volume more accessible to readers.

While providing collection scans online is a tremendous help to researchers who are unable to visit the Clements Library either due to the pandemic or to time or financial constraints, providing true searchability of digitized material is the gold standard.

In March 2020, the Clements Library began experimenting with a group transcription process. FromThePage, a software platform, provided the interface for collaborative transcription of online documents. The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers, one of our richest collections related to the Underground Railroad, provided the source material.

Clements staff, recently exiled from in-person contact with collections, seized the opportunity to interact with these papers remotely and at the same time provide an invaluable service to our patrons. Each page of the collection was read, puzzled over, and ultimately transcribed. Staff checked each other’s work, asked for help with difficult words, and did online research to reveal the identities of difficult-to-decipher names of historic figures. The project provided a much-needed distraction and escape from the dislocation, anxiety, and uncertainty in the early days of the pandemic.

After the initial phase of trial-by-staff, the transcription project was opened up to volunteers. Individuals and groups of persons have contributed to the transcription project. The Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) transcribed the Revolutionary War papers of Colonel Jonathan Chase, of the 13th and 15th Regiments of the New Hampshire Militia. This semester, Andrea Smeeton’s 7th grade students at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois, successfully transcribed selections from the letters of 19th-century writer and activist Lydia Maria Child. Many highly dedicated individuals have contributed to the completion of transcriptions for the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers, United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book, Louise Gilman Papers, African American History Collection, Samuel Latham Mitchill Papers, and James Sterling Letter Book. Some of these transcriptions are already live and available to researchers and others are awaiting final review before releasing them to the world.

Our partners in U-M Library Digital Content & Collections have merged the transcriptions with the existing digital collections to make them fully text searchable. Now, a researcher utilizing one of our transcribed collections and looking for a specific mention of a particular subject—fugitive, freedmen— receives immediate search results with the corresponding scanned pages of the original document. Previously, the search could be undertaken only by laboriously scrutinizing each document for the appearance of the word in question.

The Clements Library plans to continue to provide new collections online via FromThePage for those who enjoy the challenge of puzzling out a variety of handwriting styles and taking a closer look at the content of these remarkable resources.

Terese Austin
Head of Reader Services

 

Handwritten letter in cursive

The papers of Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), a writer, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist, were among the digitized collections recently completed. In this letter from Mrs. Child to her friend Anna Loring, July 1, 1871, volunteers transcribed:

“You ask what I think concerning the political enfranchisement of women. I have for many years been decidedly in favor of it. I dont feel interested in it as a right to be claimed, but as the most efficient means of helping the human race onward to the highest and best state of society. A really harmonious structure of society requires complete, unqualified companionship between the sexes. Homes will be nobler, and capable of higher and fuller happiness, when the mothers, wives, and sisters, in families, have an understanding sympathy in the investigations of science, the designs of artists, the experiments of the agriculturist, the enterprises of the merchant, the inventions of the machinist, the labors of the mechanic, the theories of politicians, and the guidance of statesmen. And in order to have an understanding sympathy with these things, they must have part and portion in the performance of them.”

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

COVID-19, with its related State-wide shutdowns, has dramatically increased the need for digitized archival collections. For the Clements Library, reference requests, teaching opportunities, and other services have been limited to what we are able to provide remotely. This demand prompted us to dedicate significantly more staff time to digitizing materials, whether by creating high-resolution digital surrogates for long-term online access or speedier reference snapshots for immediate use. The increased speed with which we have been scanning materials led us to reaffirm and reevaluate our selection process for digitizing archival collections, in order to best serve our teaching activities, remote patrons, and long-term goals. The William L. Clements Library is pleased to report that in these troubling times, its digitization initiatives have amplified and increased, resulting in the scanning of 12 complete archival collections, a modicum of partial collections, and an extraordinary amount of materials for reference purposes.

For the digitization team, the pandemic closure caught us in the midst of a transition. We had just posted the position of digitization technician in January 2020 and completed the interview process a month later. Shortly after Christopher Ridgway accepted the position in early March, the Library closed and everyone shifted to work from home. Fortunately, we had completed the hiring process before a University-wide hiring freeze went into effect, so Chris’ new role with us was secure despite the changing situation. Chris started in April as a remote employee, a real challenge for someone whose work requires hands-on interactions with collections in the Library.

Instead of learning to handle rare items and exploring the Library stacks to become familiar with the collections, Chris spent the summer doing remote training on workflows and technologies, attending webinars and online events related to digitization in cultural institutions, and joining Library staff meetings on Zoom to get to know his new colleagues from a distance. In addition, Chris edited captions for recorded lectures, updated online exhibits, transcribed manuscripts, and designed a logo for our online Bookworm discussion series.

When we were able to re-enter the Library on a limited basis in August, it was wonderful to finally introduce Chris to his workspace and show in person the collections we had been telling him about since April. He quickly picked up the essentials of operating the book scanner and producing scans using our workflow, prepared by his time at home studying the training materials.

Technician adjusts cradle scanner area

Chris Ridgway at long last working hands-on with the Library’s book scanner.

Our building re-entry plan called for one-third occupancy, with each staff member in a dedicated workspace using separate equipment. Focusing on key in-person roles such as conservation, cataloging, reference, and digitization, we agreed that our core tasks for the fall semester were to support remote reference and teaching. With relatively few collections fully digitized and online, most of our reference queries and instruction sessions would require new images, so ramping up digitization became a central part of the plan. Cheney J. Schopieray (Curator of Manuscripts) and Emiko Hastings (Curator of Books) both chose to join the first phase of staff returning to the Library in order to restart the digitization program and act as additional technicians during the first phase. We moved the scanners into separate rooms so that each person could have a dedicated space with their own queue of materials to scan.

The Child Toilers of Boston Streets by Emma E. Brown (Boston, 1878) was included in a selection of Clements Library book material on the theme of 19th-century social reforms recently scanned for the HathiTrust Digital Library. A fictional account of the social conditions of child laborers, it ties in with progressive themes in our manuscript collections, and as a more obscure edition, had not yet been made available through HathiTrust.

With no new scans of material produced since December and many researchers who had to postpone their Library visits, we returned to a pent-up demand for digital access. We opted to split the requests into two queues, one for the reference team to answer with quick, low-resolution photographs and the other for the digitization team to fulfill with high-resolution scans suitable for inclusion in an online collection. In this way, we could more speedily address immediate needs, while balancing the long-term goal to sustainably grow our digital collections for enhanced remote access. Staff working from home completed the process by compiling PDFs for users, creating cover sheets and metadata, and responding to the email reference queue.

The high-resolution scanning workflow is a time-consuming process. It involves slower scanning speeds and the careful production of item-level metadata to help organize the images and facilitate searching and retrieval of items in the collection. Once the images and metadata are complete, the University of Michigan Library’s Digital Content & Collections (DCC) department hosts and maintains the collection, a service for which the Clements Library is deeply grateful.

The competing priorities of high-resolution scans versus low-resolution snapshots brings to mind the question of how the Library decides on which archival collections to assign to which workflow. For which collections do we create high-resolution digital surrogates? After all, the time required to digitize one collection is time we are not spending on another. Holding almost 2,800 manuscripts collections, the Clements Library must determine its digitization priorities carefully. When the Library began to scan archival materials in 2019, we selected collections based on a variety of criteria, with a particular eye toward testing the format and display of the digital versions. The selections therefore included examples of single and multi-series collections, oversize manuscripts, and mixtures of bound and loose-leaf items. Other necessary factors included the condition of the materials, the anticipated use of the collection, and a desire to make lesser-known items of importance available in order to increase their use. The German Auxiliaries Muster Rolls and the Samuel Latham Mitchill Papers we knew had immediate audiences waiting for them. The Humphry and Moses Marshall Papers and the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers are multi-series collections with a selection of loose pages, bound items, and oversize materials. We also selected items that might serve as examples of particular subject matter, anticipating future grant proposals to digitize much larger collections pertaining to similar topics. We digitized, for example, the Elizabeth Camp Journals, thinking of potential funding opportunities to scan our individual women’s diaries, and the Henry James Family Correspondence, considering a future project to digitize our Civil War collections.

Two mast ship and water, framed, all made of colorful stamps

With the Avenir Foundation Reading Room closed, reference staff re-doubled their efforts to provide quick, reference-quality images to researchers unable to wait for the library to re-open, and not in need of the high-resolution images provided by the scanning team. At the request of a patron, PDF images were created of the Harry A. Simmons sketchbook including this depiction of a ship, composed entirely of mailing stamps. Simmons (b. ca. 1826) served in the Union Navy during the Civil War.

 

The COVID-19 workplace introduced additional factors for consideration, based on immediate needs associated with reference queries and teaching. The criteria is currently as follows:

• Can the materials be scanned safely in their current state?
• Will digitization reduce wear on fragile materials?
• Do any legal reasons exist preventing the distribution of the digital collection?
• Are the materials organized and have they been cataloged?
• Will the digitized materials serve current reference and fellowship needs?
• Will the digitized materials be used in forthcoming classes or presentations?
• Does the scanning of the collection serve larger digitization goals of the Library?
• Would the scanning of the collection help highlight items related to historically underrepresented persons?
• Does the collection have a broad audience or high public interest?
• How large is the collection and how long will it take to digitize?
• Do we have the funds and resources to digitize the collection?

 

Shown here scanning a manuscript collection, Samantha Hill, Joyce Bonk Fellow, contributes to the Clements’ online efforts by learning digitization methods and workflows, and participating in the creation of new digital collections and web-based resources.

Over the past nine months, we have created high-resolution scans of the following collections and they are either online or awaiting online deployment:

Maria M. Churchill Journals, 1845-1848. Daily journal entries providing insights into the emotional and intellectual life of a middle-class woman in the mid-1800s.

Loftus Cliffe Papers, 1769-1784. Personal letters largely dating from Cliffe’s service in the British Army during the American Revolution.

Gardner Family Papers, 1776-1789. Documentation of the management of Joseph Gardner’s Jamaica plantation.

Great Britain Indian Department Collection, 1753-1795. Documents, letters, and other manuscripts relating to interactions between government and military officials, Native Americans, and American residents.

William Howe Orderly Book, 1776-1778. Copies of orders for a brigade under British Commander-in-Chief Sir William Howe.

Jacob Aemilius Irving Letter Books, 1809-1816. Letters of a Jamaican sugar planter during the years following the cessation of the British slave trade.

King Family Papers, 1844-1901. Documenting the business activities of the King brothers, three of whom worked as traders with Russell & Company in China in the mid-19th century, and the subsequent institutionalization of William King.

Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography, ca. 1855-1940. Approximately 1,420 photographs pertaining to Native American history from the 1850s into the 1920s.

James Sterling Letter Book, 1761-1765. Outgoing letters of James Sterling, a fur trader at Fort Detroit.

United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book, 1839-1867. Business proceedings of a mid-19th-century African American organization, a hybrid of an insurance agency and charitable operation.

Weld-Grimké Family Papers: Diaries, 1828-1836. Diaries of abolitionists and women’s rights activists Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké.

Charles Winstone Letter Book, 1777-1786. Business correspondence of Winstone, attorney general and planter in Dominica during and after the American Revolution.

Handwritten letter with color target for scanning

The pandemic has allowed the Clements Library to accumulate a backlog of digitized collections waiting to go online. The Great Britain Indian Department Collection is an important body of documents, letters, and manuscripts relating to interactions between government and military officials, Native Americans, and American residents from 1753 to 1795. This manuscript documentation of a council meeting, May 18, 1785, contains eloquent speeches by Lenape/Delaware Chief Captain Wolf and Shawanese Chief Kekewepelethy (“Captain Johnny”) demanding that the Americans prevent Virginians from encroaching on lands west of the Ohio River in accordance with treaties.

While the pandemic temporarily disrupted our digitization process, it also pushed us to increase the capacity and efficiency of our scanning program. Previously, we had relied upon physical access in the reading room as the primary means by which researchers could interact with the collections, with digitization something to be done in addition as time and other projects allowed. With in-person access now strictly limited, we have become more flexible and creative in finding ways to make materials available to researchers across the world, whether through quick reference snapshots, high-resolution scans, or even digitizing old microfilm reels. Many of these efforts will benefit researchers long after the pandemic is over, as we continue to improve our online presence and make collections more widely available outside the confines of the Library building.

Emiko Hastings
Curator of Books and Digital Projects Librarian

Cheney J. Schopieray
Curator of Manuscripts

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

The plan of Jean-Baptiste de La Porte-Lalanne’s Haiti plantation is the sort of document you have to walk around. Produced in 1753, its features demonstrate the organization and efficiency of 18th-century Atlantic trade, and the conditions of those enslaved at its expense. For teachers and students, the document exemplifies the texts and subtexts that can be found in primary sources and historical research.

Leaning in to view the plan, students might notice the vast uniformity of the sugar fields, the intricacy of the main garden, or the blockish imprecision of the slave quarters. Walking around the document, other names hug the borders of La Porte-Lalanne’s land, signs of the many other plantations that extracted lives and commodities at such scale. Perhaps even touching the paper, one might ponder on the many folds that have disrupted its surface, remnants of its past storage and transportation.

We will never see this plantation, so we must cling to every clue we can find. Yet in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, we have been distanced further. Our challenges as historians and teachers are not only temporal, but also material. In the absence of in-person interactions, archives and their documents must be met anew.

This was the challenge when arranging a collaborative session between the William L. Clements Library and the undergraduate students of Michigan’s early American history survey course, investigating the documents and history of the Atlantic slave trade. In past years, students met curators and documents in person, discussing and exploring sources in the Clements’ atmospheric reading room. As an instructor, those visits offered the opportunity to take my students somewhere new, outside of the classroom and beyond the realm of PDFs and laptop screens.

With the shift to online learning, these encounters had to be reimagined.

Screenshot of Perusall markup

A cardinal rule for researching in person at the Clements Library is never to make marks on historical documents. The online setting allows students to highlight and comment on this passage from the Leyland Company records of a slave trade voyage.

Working with Jayne Ptolemy and Clayton Lewis from the Clements staff, we faced the challenge of bringing students to the Clements over Zoom. This meant factoring in the dynamics and difficulties of the digital environment: the default muting of microphones; the distractions of computers and home life; the dreaded lag and spotty wifi.

Our planning focused on maximizing discussion and minimizing the potentially overwhelming array of classroom technologies. We decided to focus on in-depth preparation and the discussion of just two sources: Jean-Baptiste de La Porte-Lalanne’s plantation and an account book of the Thomas Leyland Company, recording a single slave voyage from Liverpool to Angola, and finally Barbados.

With the variety of technologies on offer, we discovered new opportunities for student engagement and discussion. In advance of the session, students were asked to read through the Thomas Leyland account book. Using Perusall, a digital reading tool, students could discuss the source online, posing questions and responding to each other’s comments.

This meant that we were provided with an array of questions and overlapping interests that might otherwise have been missed with individual preparation. Students asked about the goods transported on the ship, and the various systems of measurement. They conversed about the various professional roles on board, and the fact that seamen could be paid in human beings as well as currency. They expressed their shock at the scale of this journey and its place in the trade as a whole: one of 45 such voyages arranged by Thomas Leyland, and a fraction of over 36,000 in the trade overall. Two hundred sixty-six anonymous lives, in a trade that displaced millions.

Armed with these questions and comments, the Clements curators could present the primary sources in a personalized way for each student. Over Zoom, we could explore students’ reactions to the document, without simply calling upon the most vocal. Digital tools, at least on this occasion, democratized involvement and encouraged broad participation. It was no surprise that Perusall was requested by students in subsequent weeks and will continue to be a valuable tool, even after the return to in-person teaching.

Screenshot from Perusall - Bar chart of view times

Using Perusall analytics, an online teaching tool, staff can use data—in this case, how long students spent looking at individual pages of the Thomas Leyland Company Account Books—to better understand student engagement with an eye toward improving remote instruction.

This detail from “Plan de l’Habitation de Monsieur de La Port-Lalanne” shows the main plantation house, formal gardens, and a hint of the surrounding sugar cane fields. This small detail shows less than 10% of the overall plan.

Next up was the plan of La Porte-Lalanne’s plantation. This time, without any prior preparation, we directed the students to its place on the Clements website and asked for their first impressions. With significant squinting and zooming in, the plan’s details began to come to light. Given the document’s size, and the restrictions of their computer screens, students were forced to slowly tour the plantation. They had to scroll methodically through its details, perambulating rather than surveying the document as a whole.

With this unique focus, students noticed the smallest features. The lack of trees and shade by the slave quarters, and their distance from almost every other building. The individual sugar canes, indicating the decorative, as well as practical purposes of the plan.

It is impossible to replace in-person encounters with documents, yet digital tools and discussion revealed elements that might otherwise have been missed by the naked eye. And thanks to the expertise of the Clements curators, each component observed by students could be expanded to the broader history of the slave trade and Atlantic history.

While I am undoubtedly excited by the prospect of bringing students back to the Clements Library, it is important that we do not forget the lessons learned in digital teaching. We must continue to consider the circumstances of our students, beyond computer and wifi access. We must work to incorporate ways of learning and participating that do not prioritize certain voices. We must reflect on new ways of viewing and discussing historical documents. We must lean in and take a closer look.

Alexander Clayton

Alexander Clayton is a Ph.D Student and Graduate Instructor in the University of Michigan History Department. His research and teaching focus on Atlantic History and the History of Science.

 

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

It is perhaps an understatement to say that my first year as Director at the Clements Library has not gone precisely how I had expected. Since the library closed in mid-March, so many people have told me how hard it must be to have stepped into a new job, in a new city, under these circumstances. And it has been hard—for me, and for everyone else on the staff—to not be able to do what the library is set up to do. The Clements exists to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers from around the world to have in-person encounters with physical artifacts from the nation’s past. That mission is what animates the talented staff of the Clements Library, and it is why generous supporters over the past 97 years have donated items to the Clements—so they would be used. Since March, we’ve had to work to find ways to replicate that experience remotely, over Zoom and through digital surrogates of collections materials.

But while these past 11 months have been hard, compared to so many others, I have had this year easy. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated communities across the United States, and has killed over 500,000 of our fellow citizens. It has changed almost everything about how all of us work, and play, and worship, and mourn. Millions of Americans—myself included—have lost family members to COVID-19, and the endless upward progression of terrible numbers has made all of us wonder if 2020 would ever actually end. Even so, I have been reminded every day of how lucky I am, to be working with the marvelous collections of the Clements Library on the campus of a world-class university with a group of dedicated, deeply knowledgeable colleagues. Collaborating with them to build on the library’s great strengths and to discover new ways to introduce our collections to students and scholars under challenging circumstances has been a constant joy.

We do our work in different ways, from different places, and wearing different shoes (if any), but the core work of the Clements Library remains the same. And my colleagues at the Clements have been endlessly inventive and persistent in finding ways for the library to continue offering students and researchers the opportunity to study all aspects of American history and culture before 1900. Of course, the materials in the Clements collections can do more than just tell us about the history of a single nation. The questions that our collections help scholars answer are the great questions that have animated all humanistic inquiry: What constitutes a good life? How do we create meaning out of suffering? What is the right relationship of the individual to the state? What are the responsibilities of those with more power to those with less?

Color parade scene surrounded by vignettes

Despite unusual market constraints, the Clements has still been able to acquire exciting new materials, like this lithograph. Featuring the parade held in Baltimore in 1870 celebrating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, the central image is surrounded by vignettes of African American life and portraits of proponents of emancipation and civil rights.

These questions have been given new salience by the events of the past year, events that have made even clearer how necessary institutions like the Clements Library are for the future of our country. None of the questions that scholars investigate using the library’s materials exist in a vacuum. All bear some relation to our current circumstances, from the terror inspired by the arrival of cholera in the 1830s—the United States’ first experience with a global pandemic—to the long and difficult tradition of state responses to urban protest, from the Boston Massacre to the Haymarket Riot. All of my colleagues at the Clements Library are more committed than ever to helping students and faculty shed light on these connections using the materials on our shelves.

This issue of The Quarto is a bit different than what you’re used to. In many cases, instead of receiving a handsome hard copy in your mailbox, this issue is being delivered to you electronically (although we’ll be glad to create a paper version of this issue if you prefer). And instead of addressing a particular historical topic or a specific set of materials in the collection, this issue will highlight how the Clements has adjusted its work when confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic. My colleagues have developed new ways of reaching out to our supporters—think of the online Clements Bookworm program—and have modified existing practices to suit new realities, as you will see with the discussion of our remote research fellowships.

Another crucial element of the Clements’ work that looks very different now than it did in March is acquisitions. My visit to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair in early March now feels like the last “normal” thing that I did—it was the last time I was in an airport, or in a museum; the last time I rode public transportation or ate in a restaurant; the last time I was indoors with a large group of strangers. The book dealers who are our crucial partners in continuing to build the Clements’ collections have been forced to pivot as well, distributing electronic catalogues and setting up virtual “booths” in online book fairs. And yet, under these altered conditions, we have been able to continue building on the great strengths of the Clements Library’s collections, and have added many exciting new items. I hope that when things are back to whatever will pass for “normal” in the future, you’ll be able to stop by to see some of them in person.

Oval portraits of a man and woman, hand-colored photographs

Additions to the James V. Mansfield Papers include portraits of James V. Mansfield (1817-1899) by George Freeman (1789-1868) and Mary Hopkinson Mansfield (1827-1883) by an unknown artist. Hand-colored photographic prints, reverse-mounted on glass, 1857.

We were fortunate in February 2020 to have been very successful at an auction featuring a wide range of materials related to the prominent mid-19th-century American Spiritualist James Valentine Mansfield (1817-1899). The lots we acquired multiplied our previous collection of Mansfield materials several-fold, and established Spiritualism as a great strength of our manuscript collections. We realized, however, that the Book Division was not as strong in the robust print culture of the Spiritualist movement as it should be in order to support research in Spiritualism across the Library. So we set out to address that gap. Among the many fascinating titles that we added, this one stands out: Andrew Jackson Davis’ The Diakka and their Earthly Victims (New York: Progressive Publishing House, 1873). Davis (1826-1910) was one of the most prominent clairvoyants and spiritualists of the 19th century, and he was a prolific author but The Diakka is one of his more obscure books. According to Davis, a “diakka” was the spirit of someone who in life was wicked or unprincipled. After death, the person’s spirit did not change, and these “diakkas” would return from the spirit realm to plague the living. Davis’ book offers a counterpoint to views of Spiritualism that focused on the benign nature of spirits, and will support research in the Mansfield papers and in other collections.

We’ve been able make some marvelous additions to the Manuscript Division this past year, including the Mansfield collections mentioned above. There is one recent acquisition that is far less glamorous, but that to me offers an invaluable insight into the texture of life in America’s past. Many of you will be familiar with the Astor Place Riot, an incident of urban violence that was rooted in a rivalry between two Shakespearean actors. The American Edwin Forrest was the hero of New York City’s working classes, while the British actor William Macready was known for a more refined style that appealed to elite audiences. The actors were appearing in New York in two competing productions of “Macbeth” in May 1849, when a protest outside the Astor Place Theater where Macready was performing turned violent. The police were unable to control the crowds, and the mayor of New York called out the state militia, who fired into the crowd, killing over 20 New Yorkers, making it one of the bloodiest episodes of urban unrest in the 19th-century U.S. The militia were mobilized for several days, and some troops were barracked in a building belonging to New York University. We were able to acquire a bill for janitorial services for cleaning the building after the troops left, submitted to the City of New York for payment. This undistinguished scrap of paper highlights the fact that the stuff of history is not only the events that make headlines in the newspapers, but also the cleaning up afterwards.

Bill in manuscript cursive

This single manuscript item was presented to the Corporation of New York City for the clean-up following the Astor Place Riot. For custodial services including “shaking carpets,” the $24 bill in 1849 translates to roughly $800 today.

One of the most exciting additions to our map collection is perhaps the smallest. Earlier this fall we were delighted to acquire this quite tiny (3.5 x 6 inches) manuscript map of Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien) in Haiti from 1793. This is one of the only surviving contemporary manuscript maps depicting the Great Fire of Cap-Français of 1793 that virtually destroyed the most important French city in the Americas during the early period of the Haitian Revolution. In June 1793, the French governor of Saint-Domingue tried to raise a revolt of the island’s white residents against the republican commissioners who had arrived in Haiti from France to administer the colony. The commissioners responded by promising freedom to any enslaved people who would fight with them. This pen, ink, and watercolor map shows the aftermath of the siege and burning of Cap-Français by the commissioners’ forces, which had reduced 80 percent of the city to ashes. The Clements holds two contemporary prints of the conflagration, as well as several manuscript accounts of the fire.

Map of a small city with buildings represented

The Cap-Français map adds to the Clements’ strength in West Indies materials. The brown shaded squares indicate buildings destroyed in the 1793 blaze.

All of you are no doubt familiar with the marvelous Pohrt Collection of Native American Photography at the Clements, made possible by the generosity of the collector Richard Pohrt Jr. as well as Tyler J. and Megan L. Duncan. This collection of over 1000 photographs has been an invaluable addition to the Graphics Division, and photographs from the collection have already been used in a marvelous online exhibit on the Native Midwest and the history of photography. But we did not stop adding to the collection, nor did Richard’s generosity come to an end. With his support, we were able to purchase a set of five spectacular albumen print portraits of leaders from Plains tribes who took part in delegations to Washington, D.C., in the 1850s and ’60s and were photographed there. All of these prints were made by Antonion Zeno Shindler, although some of them were from negatives made by other photographers that he was given permission to reproduce. These delegation images were one of the few weak spots in the original collection, and the addition of these portraits helps highlight an important avenue for Native American political agency. The set includes an image of Tshe-ton-wa-ka-wa-ma-ni, or Little Crow, a Dakota chief who was one of the leaders of the Dakota Uprising in Minnesota in the early 1860s. But the most arresting image of the group, at least to me, is this portrait of Psicha Wakinyan, or Jumping Thunder, a Yankton warrior, made in 1858. These images were part of the first museum exhibition of photography in the United States, an 1869 show at the Smithsonian (following its disastrous 1865 fire) entirely of photographs of Native Americans.

Psicha Wakinyan or Jumping Thunder (ca. 1830-1901).

As you will see from this issue, my colleagues at the Clements Library are doing marvelous work under trying conditions to help continue fulfilling the library’s mission of connecting students, faculty, and researchers with original source materials from America’s past. I look forward to seeing you in person at the Clements when the public health situation permits, but in the meantime I am eager to see all of you online under the Virtual Clements banner.

Paul Erickson
Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library

Supplementing the Clements’ collection of satires, these brightly colored cards were intended to entertain through mixing and matching, “by which different combinations of sentences may be made, representing ludicrous utterances of the figures,” according to the patent holder, Walter Strander. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) and clergyman Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902) are two of the six figures included in the set.

No. 53 (Winter/Spring 2021)

No. 52 (Winter/Spring 2020)

“The Best of the West,” reveals the Clements Library’s tremendous strengths in western Americana manuscripts, prints, photographs, and maps as well an extraordinary richness in the book collection.

No. 51 (Summer/Fall 2019)

No. 50 (Winter/Spring 2019)

No. 49 (Summer/Fall 2018)

No. 5 (January 2018)

Ann Arbor, MI: William L. Clements Library, 2017.

No. 48 (Fall/Winter 2017)

No. 47 (Spring/Summer 2017)

No. 4 (January 2017)

No. 46 (Fall/Winter 2016)

No. 45 (Spring/Summer 2016)

No. 44 (Fall/Winter 2015)

No. 43 (Spring/Summer 2015)

No. 3 (October 2014)

No. 42 (Fall/Winter 2014)

No. 2 (June 2014)

No. 41 (Spring/Summer 2014)

By David V. Tinder. Edited by Clayton A. Lewis. Ann Arbor: William L. Clements Library, 2013.

No. 40 (Fall/Winter 2013)

No. 39 (Spring/Summer 2013)

No. 38 (Fall/Winter 2012)

No. 37 (Spring/Summer 2012)

No. 36 (Fall/Winter 2011)

No. 35 (Spring/Summer 2011)

No. 1 (March 2011)

No. 34 (Fall/Winter 2010)

No. 33 (Spring/Summer 2010)

Compiled by Emiko O. Hastings and J. Kevin Graffagnino. Ann Arbor: William L. Clements Library, 2010.

No. 32 (Fall/Winter 2009)

No. 31 (Spring/Summer 2009)

No. 30 (Fall/Winter 2008)

No. 29 (Spring/Summer 2008)

No. 28 (Fall/Winter 2007)

No. 27 (Spring/Summer 2007)

No. 26 (Fall/Winter 2006)

No. 25 (Spring/Summer 2006)

No. 24 (Fall/Winter 2005)

No. 23 (Spring/Summer 2005)

No. 22 (Fall/Winter 2004)

No. 21 (Spring/Summer 2004)

No. 20 (Fall/Winter 2003)

No. 19 (Spring/Summer 2003)

No. 18 (Fall 2002)

No. 17 (Spring 2002)

No. 16 (Fall 2001)

No. 15 (Spring 2001)

No. 14 (Fall 2000)

No. 13 (Spring 2000)

No. 12 (Fall 1999)

No. 11 (Spring 1999)

No. 10 (Fall 1998)

No. 9 (Spring 1998)

No. 8 (Fall 1997)

No. 7 (April 1997)

No. 6 (September 1996)

No. 5 (April 1996)

No. 4 (September 1995)

No. 3 (April 1995)

No. 2 (September 1994)

No. 1 (Spring 1994)

By Isaac W. K. Handy. Edited by Mildred Handy Ritchie and Sarah Rozelle Handy Mallon. Ann Arbor: William L. Clements Library, 1992.

Vol. 4, No. 2 (Autumn/Winter 1988-1989)

Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1988)

Vol. 3, No. 2 (Autumn/Winter 1987-1988)

Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1987)

Vol. 2, No. 2 (Autumn/Winter 1986-1987)

Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1986)

Vol. 1, No. 2 (Autumn/Winter 1985-1986)

Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1985)

No. 140 (Fall 1984)

No. 139 (March 1984)

No. 138 (September 1983)

No. 137 (June 1983)

No. 136 (March 1983)

No. 135 (September 1982)

No. 134 (June 1982)

No. 133 (March 1982)

No. 132 (September 1981)

No. 131 (June 1981)

No. 130 (March 1981)

No. 129 (September 1980)

No. 128 (June 1980)

No. 127 (March 1980)

No. 126 (September 1979)

No. 125 (June 1979)

No. 124 (March 1979)

No. 123 (January 1979)

No. 122 (September 1978)

No. 121 (June 1978)

No. 120 (March 1978)

No. 119 (December 1977)

No. 118 (September 1977)

No. 117 (June 1977)

No. 116 (March 1977)

No. 115 (December 1976)

No. 114 (September 1976)

No. 113 (June 1976)

No. 112 (March 1976)