William L. Clements Library Newsletter
No. 7, Fall 2015
We're moving back to campus! The Library's renovation and expansion project is nearing completion. We are now closed to the public in preparation for the move back to campus, and plan to re-open at 909 South University Ave. in January 2016. See below for more information about using the collections this semester. 

Brown Bag Lecture:

Ben Wright, "Religion and American Antislavery: From the Politics of Conversion to the Conversion to Politics."

Thursday, October 8 at 12:00 p.m.
Hatcher Graduate Library
Stephen Clark Library, Second Floor


Fall Lecture Series:

Claire Zimmerman, "Arcades of Detroit: Albert Kahn and the 20th Century." 

Wednesday, November 18, 6:00 p.m.
Hatcher Graduate Library
Gallery Room 100


See the Clements Library events page for details. 

The Arabella Chapman Project brings together students and scholars of African American history and culture to explore the role of visual culture, especially photography, as a critical dimension of the everyday life and politics of black Americans at the end of the nineteenth century.

Read more about this collaboration between Professor Martha S. Jones' class and the Clements Library on the project homepage..
Franciscan preaching to an Amerindian audience with the aid of illustrated screens.

The Book Division is pleased to announce a significant new acquisition, Diego de Valadés' Rhetorica Christiana (1579).  This purchase, courtesy of Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts, fills an important gap in our holdings of early printed Americana. It is "almost certainly the first book written by a native of Mexico to be printed in Europe." The book itself is in excellent condition, bound in contemporary limp vellum and with all illustrations intact. 

Valadés, the son of a native Tlaxcalan woman and a Conquistador, was educated by the Franciscans and later admitted to the Order. A native speaker of Nahuatl, he also learned other indigenous languages such as Otomí and Tarascan and used his language skills to proselytize among Native Americans for twenty years.

New Online Exhibit: The Henry Burbeck Papers.

Graduate students are a vital part of the William L. Clements Library. As work-study employees, interns, grant-funded workers, and volunteers, graduate students help the Library with many different sorts of jobs and projects. They create inventories and indices, conduct research, arrange and describe collections, copy materials for patrons, perform office tasks, and work on special projects. Students benefit from mentorship by the Library's curatorial staff and the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience in a premier library of early Americana. 

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A selection of Cartes de Visite from the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.

A preoccupation with self-image swept across society when a new technology enabled a flood of inexpensive portrait photographs. The enthusiastic gathering of photographs of friends and public figures and the sharing of them in albums became a social norm. This widespread fixation on portraits was commented upon in the print media and blamed for the rise of a superficial, vain populace that lacked appreciation for substantive culture. 

This could be just another day in the age of the selfie, but it happened in the 1860s with the introduction of the carte de visite photograph. 

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Rene Phelipeau's Plan de la plaine of Cap Francois en L'Isle de St. Domingue (Paris, 1786) provides details of property lines, names of planters, and locations of slave quarters on the fertile northern plain of Haiti.


In this issue we introduce the Library's third best-documented region of the Americas-the Caribbean. The West Indian sugar islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles have a long and turbulent history. They were the arrival point of Christopher Columbus in the autumn of 1492. He was followed by other explorers and settlers, who exploited and soon destroyed much of the indigenous population. Needful of labor, the islands became the cradle of the practice of African slavery in the Americas. Politically, they were a cockpit of naval and military conflict from the colonial era through the Napoleonic Wars.

Read More
Welcoming Angela Oonk, our new Director of Development

I am so proud to be working at a world-class historical library where the stories of this country are discovered, preserved, studied, and shared every day. I became Director of Development at the Clements Library in 2015 after working in Stewardship at the Office of University Development since 2010. Through excellent communication and integrity in relationships with volunteers, donors and colleagues, I raise money for and promote awareness of the mission of the Clements Library.

Using the Library This Semester

After more than two years at our temporary location at 1580 East Ellsworth Road, the Clements Library's outstanding collection of primary-source Americana will return to the newly renovated, Albert Kahn-designed building at 909 South University Avenue. To get ready for the move, the Library suspended most reader services at Ellsworth Road on September 1. We anticipate reopening the reading room at 909 South University at the beginning of January 2016.

The move will affect Fall 2015 visits that normally make use of the Clements resources and staff. Despite the turmoil of the transition, however, we will be happy to accommodate U-M faculty and students who have need of our services.

Clements staff will be available to make presentations about the Library's resources, either in your usual classroom or in public program space in the Hatcher Library. We suggest contacting the curator or staff member with whom you normally work to discuss what we can do.

The Clements will accommodate those individual faculty and staff who depend on the collection for research. If you can provide two weeks' notice, we'll make Clements materials available in the Special Collections reading room on the 8th floor of the University Library. Please call the Clements Library (734-764-2347) for further details or to determine what materials will be accessible to U-M faculty, staff, and students.
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