William L. Clements Library Newsletter
No. 3, Fall 2012



The Geometry of War: Fortification Plans from 18th Century America
October 15, 2012 -- February 15, 2013
Main Room, Clements Library

Proclaiming Emancipation: Slavery and Freedom in the Era of the Civil War
October 15, 2012 -- February 18, 2013
Gallery 100, Hatcher Graduate Library

Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire and
Discovering Eighteenth-Century British America: The William L. Clements Library Collection
September 22, 2012 -- January 13, 2013
University of Michigan Museum of Art

The Archivist Behind the Curtain: Tips for Researchers Approaching the Archive
Kate Silbert, University of Michigan Graduate Student
Thursday, October 18, 4:00 p.m.

Symposium on the Cultural History of Cartography
October 25-26

Proclaiming Emancipation: Conference
October 26

With a Liberal Hand: Intra-continental Refugees and Foundations of Revolutionary Sovereignty, 1774-1786
Matthew Dziennik, Earhart Fellow
Brown Bag Lecture Series
Thursday, November 8, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Benjamin West and the French and Indian War
Martin West
Thursday, November 15, 4:00 p.m.

See the Clements Library Events page for details. 

A pair of recently donated daguerreotype portraits present an opportunity for research at the intersection of Michigan history and early photography. The donors are longtime Clements supporters Leonard and Jean Walle; the subjects are Eber Brock Ward (1811-1875), his wife Mary "Polly" McQueen Ward (1816-1869), and infant son Henry Ward (1842?-1874). Eber Brock Ward's cunning business practices during the 19th century industrial development of the Midwest made him the wealthiest man in Michigan but sharply divided his siblings and cousins.

Ward appears seated with a drawing of a Great Lakes style steamboat that strongly resembles the Huron, built in the late 1830s by his uncle and business partner Samuel Ward at their shipyard in Newport, Michigan. Eber Brock Ward was both Captain and co-owner of the Huron. In a separate daguerreotype plate, it is presumably his wife Mary holding Henry in her arms. 
These two plates (1/6 plate size) are housed in a single case, 4 x 6 inches, with white paper mats typical of the early era of the daguerreian art from 1839 to about 1843. The manufacturer's hallmark embossed on the plates "L.B.B. & Ce. 40" indicates a manufacturing date of 1840 to 1842. 

According to noted collector and historian of Michigan photography David V. Tinder, the earliest evidence of any photographer working in Michigan is a newspaper advertisement in the October 14, 1841 Detroit Daily Advertiser that was placed by an itinerant portrait photographer. Over the next three years, only two additional photographers have been recorded working in the state.

To have one's photograph taken in the 1840s was a significant event for even a prominent person like Ward. It is not implausible that Eber Brock Ward, with his wife Mary and son Henry onboard, piloted his steamboat Huron across Lake St. Clair from their home in Newport, to Detroit, where they had their likenesses captured for the first time by a pioneer of the new optical science of photography. These two early daguerreotypes would have been prized possessions then, and they certainly are now. They are possibly the earliest existing photographic images of a Michigan subject, taken in Michigan, and of an important historical family. They dovetail nicely with other Ward family materials and examples of early American photography at the Clements.

The Clements Library is pleased to offer a new online exhibit, The War of 1812: A Bicentennial Exhibition, curated by Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps. This exhibit was originally on display from February 27 to June 1, 2012, in the Great Room of the Clements Library.

The War of 1812 has sometimes been called a forgotten conflict, one that resolved none of the issues that brought it about. This second confrontation between the United States and Great Britain did, in fact, have a considerable influence on the future development of the country as well as its relations with Canada, Native Americans, and Europe. The bicentennial of the war of 1812 begins this year. To mark the events of 1812-1814, the Clements Library presents an exhibition drawing on the rich array of primary sources about this conflict found in its collections.

A list of all the Clements Library's online exhibits may be found on our website.

In the summer of 1860 Newark, Ohio, surveyor David Wyrick made an astounding discovery.  While digging in a cluster of ancient Indian burial mounds he uncovered a stone inscribed with what appeared to be an ancient Hebrew text.  Wyrick and the "Keystone," as it was called, became an instant sensation and topic of controversy.  Wyrick was initially skeptical of the stone, but could not come up with a reason why someone would want to dupe him.   A popular theory at this time was that people from the Old World had a birthright in America, just as the Native Americans did.  The stone supported this argument, and, in the only letter in the Clements Library collection of Wyrick material, he wrote to the English antiquarian William Brockie, "This may have been a lost relic of the children of Israel - or a lost ornament by some other race who obtained it of them..." (September 1860).  In November of the same year, Wyrick uncovered another stone, this one carved with an abridged version of the Ten Commandments and an image of Moses. This stone was named the "Decalogue" and, together with the Keystone, became known as the Newark Holy Stones.

Map of "ancient works near Newark," from the David Wyrick Collection.

Wyrick was largely self-educated and a serious amateur student of archaeology and natural science.  He corresponded with a number of scientific minds, including Joseph Henry, secretary of the Smithsonian.  He realized the importance of careful documentation as evidenced by the hand drawn maps and diagrams in the Wyrick collection.


Wyrick scholar Peter Dunham from Cleveland State University describes Wyrick as a man with "a sublime mix of naïveté and incisive wit and intelligence."  Wyrick suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis and died of an overdose of laudanum in 1864.  Dunham believes Wyrick was the victim of an elaborate scam conducted by a local Anglican parson, or by a local dentist who disliked Wyrick.   The Newark Holy Stones are on display at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, Ohio.

Illustration of Newark Holy Stones, from the David Wyrick Collection. 

The Clements Library Manuscripts Division reached a milestone in its efforts to create finding aids for the division's uncataloged collections. Over 1,000 finding aids are now available on the Library's EAD web site, thanks to generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). 
The NEH grant (2009-2012) supported project archivists Philip Heslip, Shannon Wait, and Patrick Galligan for the processing of 416 manuscript collections. The recently completed grant was part of the "We the People" project and it allowed the Library to create detailed finding aids for many of the Library's most significant collections. Read more
Detroit Public Broadcasting was the first PBS affiliate to air a just-completed documentary about the War of 1812 in Michigan. The one-half-hour film, produced by Christopher Cook, is titled "Michigan at War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1812-1815" and is a legacy project of the Michigan Commission for the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Funding was provided by the Michigan Humanities Council, DTE Energy, the Monroe County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, and a number of private donors. The Clements Library is also listed among the sponsors.

The Library is further connected to the project by the use of many contemporary graphics from our collection and by the participation of Associate Director Brian Leigh Dunnigan, who co-authored the script with Mr. Cook and appears in the film as an on-screen commentator.

Detroit PBS aired the film on September 10 at 9:00 pm. Other regional PBS stations are expected to show it in the near future, and DVDs should be available later this fall. The one-half hour running time is expected to make the film attractive for classroom use as well. 
Mary Pedley's former Latin students have found new opportunities with cartography. Two of her former students, both classics majors, were seeking summer internships at U of M that would use their talents with ancient languages. Hannah Sorscher studies at the University of Chicago and Henry Upton at Kenyon College. With the encouragement of Brian Dunnigan, Map Curator at the Clements, and Karl Longstreth, map curator in the Clark Library, Mary Pedley proposed to them the collation (identification and indexing) of all the Ortelius atlases in the collections of the Clements Library and the Graduate Library of the University. They worked through most of the summer under the supervision of Pedley, Dunnigan and Longstreth, Using a number of bibliographical tools, printed and on-line, they were able to identify all the maps, their states, and editions of the Ortelius atlases in the University collections. They converted their findings in a useful spreadsheet, allowing the curators to know at a glance what is in the collection.

Atlases are often the last thing to be fully catalogued in any collection; their size and the complexity of the maps they contain often defeat the curator pressed for time in keeping up with other demands of the collections. To have student interns, who are also adept at the language, in this case Latin, was a great help. Hannah and Henry were able to give their Latin a Renaissance workout and their classical interests were further piqued by the maps of the ancient world in Ortelius' Parergon, one of the first thematic collections of printed maps of ancient literature and history.

The Clements Library collects and preserves primary source materials that document the history of the Americas, particularly the northern continent, to the year 1900.  It takes a broad approach to collecting and does not focus on any one state, province, or region.  Many of our individual books, manuscripts, maps, and graphics are, nonetheless, locale-specific.  But, taken together, they are useful sources for understanding the American story through the end of the nineteenth century.  The Library holds many items relating directly to Michigan and its surrounding waters of the Great Lakes, even though collecting on that subject is normally the mandate of the Bentley Historical Library.  The Clements's Michigan and Great Lakes holdings exist because they are elements of broader collections or genres.

Jacques-Nicolas Bellin's Partie occidentale de la Nouvelle France ou Canada (Pars, 1755) incorporated new, more accurate details of Lake Erie but also includes three imaginary islands in Lake Superior.

The Library has much to offer any scholar with an interest in the history of the Great Lakes region.  The Map Division is particularly well endowed with respect to the cartography of the lakes and the states bordering them.  Our comprehensive coverage is due in part to the posthumous, 1968 gift of Renville Wheat (1893-1968), a nephew of Mr. Clements and a serious map collector.  The 166 maps of Wheat's original gift all have Great Lakes content, ranging from representations of the entire drainage system and its place on the continent down to individual lakes, towns, harbors, and transportation features.  Wheat's maps found a good and appreciative home at the Clements, which had already assembled an impressive collection on the subject through gifts and purchases.

Great Lakes maps at the Clements cover a long span of time, through which scholars can follow the developing understanding of the form, extent, and use of these huge bodies of fresh water.  From Samuel de Champlain's first tentative acknowledgement of the presence of a network of vast inland lakes on his 1612 map of Canada, it was a mere sixty years until a pair of Jesuit priests, Claude Allouez (1622-89) and Claude Dablon (1619-97) could produce Lac Superior et autres lieux ou sont les missions, published in the Jesuit Rélations of 1671, a map of the lake so accurate that it was not equaled until the nineteenth century.

As the lakes became better understood, hope faded that they would provide an easy route to China.  By the end of the seventeenth century most of their major tributaries and coastal features had been mapped and named.  Not all was done accurately, however.  By the 1740s most French maps, many by prestigious cartographer Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-72) were displaying a Lake Superior complete with three additional and entirely imaginary islands.  The error had crept into maps during the 1730s, but it would not be until the early part of the next century that it would be fully corrected.


The Clements collection also includes unique manuscript cartography of many places around the lakes.  One, [Map of the Western End of Lake Erie], is undated, but from internal details it appears to have been drawn early in 1813.  It shows many features of northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, which were then important theaters of action at the height of the War of 1812.

Our many later Great Lakes maps depict a peaceful though admittedly less dramatic area shared by the United States and Canada.  Much of the Clements's cartography from the nineteenth century focuses on political details or aids to navigation.  By 1900, the terminal date for collecting by the Clements, maps were accurate, even scientific, and far removed from the crude renderings of a region that was only just going on the map.

An Americana Sampler: Essays on Selections from the William L. Clements Library includes eighteen contributions by Library staff and University of Michigan historians.

The 185-page, cloth-bound book presents examples of collections and topics dating from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. The essays suggest the wealth and variety of the Clements holdings and the opportunities for research they provide. Beautifully designed by Kathy Horn, the volume includes more than 190 full-color photographs of the Library and its collections.

Publication of this book was made possible by the generous support of the McGregor Fund of Detroit. Copies are available from the Clements for $40.00. See the Clements Library Book Store for ordering information or call 734-764-2347 for further details.
The Clements is open to all serious researchers who have a need to consult its collections, including students. No appointment is necessary, but the staff always appreciates advance notification of an intended visit. New readers must complete a registration process and present two pieces of appropriate personal identification, including at least one with a photograph. Curators are available for consultation and are happy to assist readers with initiating their research.


The Clements Library welcomes and encourages class visits for undergraduate and graduate courses that relate to the Library's collections. To request a visit, please contact us at clementsclassrequest@umich.edu or call 734-764-2347 a minimum of three weeks prior to the date you wish to request.
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