WILLIAM L. CLEMENTS LIBRARY
Since 1953 the Clements Library has broadened its coverage of American history from 1493 down to the 1850s and acquired some notable manuscripts and maps as well as some remarkable rare books. Although 16th-and 17th-century books on the New World rapidly grew scarcer in the last two decades, the Library made a determined effort to pick up all those that could be afforded, but the total was only 265. Eighteenth-century books were eagerly acquired on a selective basis as offered (1,850 altogether) but not surprisingly it was in the first half of the 19th century that most opportunities for purchases occurred: some 4,800 titles.
Significant additions were made to the period of discovery and settlement, Indian affairs, and the growth of the colonies in the West Indies, Canada, and the modern United States. The Library's impressive American Revolution collection was enlarged, as well as the collections on the Old Northwest and the Southwest after the Revolution. The Library filled out its War of 1812 holdings, then greatly expanded its materials on the various reform movements that burgeoned after 1815 — antislavery, women's rights, prison reform, pacifism, and temperance. Associate James Shearer II ('08e) of Chicago made possible the acquisition of many overland and Gold Rush narratives of the 1830s, '40s, and '50s. The Director developed the Library's holdings of short-lived periodicals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, sought more early novels and plays, formed a collection of early architecture and furniture design books, pushed the addition of music material, and initiated collections on four indigenous religious sects: the Shakers, Mormons, Adventists, and Spiritualists.
To combat the inflation in prices of such materials in the 1950s and '60s, University support was slowly increased, a large bequest has given timely support, and the Clements Library Associates have outdone themselves in raising funds. The dispersal at auction, 1966-69, of the Americana library of Thomas W. Streeter of New Jersey rallied the Associates into a tremendous campaign that coincided with the University's Sesquicentennial observance. The Associates were able to raise a total of Page 283$206,000 for use at the seven auctions. The Library added part of its annual appropriations, with the result that it was able to garner 130 Streeter rarities for a total expenditure of $253,000. It was an opportunity of the half century, boldly seized.
Annually from 350 to 400 books were added to the Library in the last two decades. By 1971 it held 41,000 books, including bibliographies and reference works. Most of them were listed in the Author/Title Catalog of Americana, 1493-1860, in the William L. Clements Library, published by G. K. Hall Co. of Boston, 1970, in seven volumes. Not only did this publication safeguard the card catalogue, it made the Library's holdings known to various other libraries and their patrons.
In manuscript material, new collections were found in England as well as in this country. Substantial additions were made to the papers of Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, Gen. Nathanael Greene, Viscount Melville, and John Wilson Croker, while a gift from Roscoe O. Bonisteel greatly enlarged the Lewis Cass collection. After the unfortunate dispersal at a 1944 auction of the correspondence of James McHenry, secretary of war under President John Adams, the Library managed to pick up enough pieces to reassemble about one-third of the lot. James Schoff ('22) gave the Library a quantity of selected Revolutionary War letters and diaries, including several George Washington letters. Gen. Anthony Wayne's post-Revolutionary correspondence, when he was first in the South and then military commander in the Old Northwest, was bought from a family descendant with help from the Associates. The papers of two War of 1812 generals were found: Thomas Flournoy and Jacob Brown. The previously unknown papers of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry were located and purchased.
Out of England also came the papers of William Henry Lyttelton, governor of South Carolina and of Jamaica during the French and Indian War, letterbooks and correspondence of Admiral Sir James Douglas, who was active from 1740 to 1777 in two colonial wars and the American Revolution, and the diplomatic exchanges of the fourth Duke of Manchester, ambassador to France during the final peace settlement of 1783.
Different types of manuscript material were provided by acquisition of the letters and compositions of Andrew Law, the first American professional musician, 700 letters to Justice Joseph Story of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Page 284papers of Elizabeth Comstock, Quaker abolitionist and reformer, and the business archives of the Forman family, whose commerce followed the currents of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in the first half of the 19th century.
The Division of Maps grew more slowly, with the addition of 16 atlases, about 125 manuscript maps, and more than 300 printed separate maps. Renville Wheat ('16l), Detroit collector and member of the Library's Committee of Management, bequeathed his choice collection of 170 maps of the Great Lakes, dating from 1550 to 1850. These additions put the Library in the front rank of those institutions having maps of this region. Ten of the manuscript maps acquired were military drawings made for Major General Sir Jeffery Amherst during the French and Indian War.
The appearance in 1959 of Christian Brun's Guide to the Manuscript Maps in the Library revealed a total of 906 at that time, since increased. Maps and Charts Published in America Before 1800, a bibliography begun here by the late James Clements Wheat, was revised and completed by Mr. Brun and appeared in 1969; it contains all the Library's maps that qualify for inclusion.
Newspapers were added to this division in 1970. Although runs of early papers are notoriously difficult to find, the Library managed to add about 100 volumes. Further, in an exchange with the University Library, all pre-Civil War papers were transferred to the Clements, and all post-Civil War papers were moved to the University Library. The Clements now has more than 4,000 volumes of early newspapers. Some interesting prints have been added, and two oil paintings of the naval action between the Constitution and Java, 1812, were given.
A new type of source material was obtained from the gift, starting in 1964, of more than 15,000 pieces of American sheet music printed in the 19th century. Associates Mr. and Mrs. Bly Corning of Flint intend to continue enlarging this holding, labeled the Corning Music Collection.
Integration of the various collections in the Clements Library is remarkable, as each new book or map or manuscript series relates to and extends other items on the shelves, illuminating all. Concentration and selective acquisitions insure the growth of significant depth for research purposes. Increasingly the material Page 285reflects all aspects of American life, and the quality remains unusually high. Great care continues to be lavished on all these source materials. Use of the collections has increased gradually despite a fashionable interest in recent history; usually a dozen books a year are published based on research here. Four or five exhibitions annually are prepared, and the most important one is accompanied by a descriptive bulletin.
Mrs. Georgia C. Haugh has continued as head of the Division of Printed Books. Her colleague and cataloguer since 1956 has been Mrs. Joyce Bonk (A.B. Minnesota '47, A.B.L.S. East Texas '51). William S. Ewing continued as head of the Division of Manuscripts until he took early retirement in 1970. Christian Brun served as parttime and fulltime head of the Division of Maps until 1963. He was succeeded for five years by Nathaniel Shipton (A.B. Clark '63, M.A. '64). At the beginning of 1970 Douglas Marshall (A.B. Denison '65, M.A. Michigan '67) became head of the Division of Maps and Newspapers. Mrs. Agnes Pope, secretary, commenced her period of service in 1954.
Inevitably changes have also occurred in the governing Committee of Management. President Hatcher was succeeded as chairman by President Robben W. Fleming in 1968. Upon Verner Crane's retirement in 1961, he was followed by Dwight L. Dumond, and Jack C. Greene, and in 1968 by John Shy. When Dr. Lawrence Reynolds of Detroit died in 1961, William Gossett of Detroit served for four years, and was succeeded by James Schoff of New York in 1965. Similarly, after the death of Renville Wheat in 1968, Roscoe O. Bonisteel of Ann Arbor was named to replace him. Frederick Wagman (A.B. Amherst '33, Ph.D. Columbia '42), Director of the University Library, has continued since 1953.
The Clements Library Associates has remained on a plateau of about 500 members year after year. Minimum annual contributions were raised from $5 to $10 in 1966. In 1970 a second category of membership at $100 was instituted, acceptors to be designated as Clements Library Fellows. Altogether, over a period of twenty-four years, the Associates have raised and spent for Library acquisitions a remarkable total of $312,765 by the end of 1970. The organization has also stimulated the presentation of numerous items as gifts. It is now laying plans for suitable observance of the Library's 50th anniversary in 1973. Renville Wheat served as chairman of the Board of Page 286Governors from 1951 to 1966, followed by James Schoff since that date.
It was the Associates who established the Randolph G. Adams Memorial Lectures, given annually at the Library from 1952 to 1962. They were climaxed by publication of A Bibliography of Randolph G. Adams, prepared by Mrs. Haugh, in 1962. Mrs. Adams set up a Directors Fund as an endowment, interest on which may be spent for rare books. Several other modest endowment funds, from bequests and gifts, provide income for acquisitions, much the largest being the Mabel and Lathrop C. Harper Fund received in 1955.
From 1960 to 1965 summer research fellowships were provided for a dozen investigators who wished to use the Library, the funds coming from a grant made by Lilly Endowment, Inc. The same foundation made another grant in 1971 for a Revolutionary War Bicentennial project proposed by the Library. McGregor Fund has been another loyal supporter of the Library.
In the early 1950s the Library was used repeatedly by the University as a place to honor visiting heads of foreign states by awarding them honorary degrees. Scholarly societies of small membership have held meetings at the Library. In the 1960s the building was rewired, repiped, and air-conditioned by the University. New lighting was provided, and new rugs were laid in the main room in 1969, replacing the original rugs of 1923. Exterior lighting for protection was vastly increased, and interior fire detectors were ordered.
The director of the Library since 1953, Howard H. Peckham, has taught courses, served on doctoral and University committees, made University television series, written the Sesquicentennial history of the University as well as other histories, and served as treasurer of the University Research Club. A recording he devised, called, Voices of the American Revolution, brought to the Library an Award of Merit in 1960 from the American Association for State and Local History.