The Clements Library website includes events, exhibits, subject guides, newsletter issues, library staff, and more.

Celebrating Kevin Graffagnino

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