January 23, 2022

University of Michigan: Clements Library Receives $10 Million Gift to Name Directorship, Rare Book Room

From Clements Library/University of Michigan:

For nearly 100 years, the University of Michigan William L. Clements Library has housed one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early American History in the world.

Its rise to international prominence is largely due to the guidance and vision put forth by the library’s founding director, Randolph G. Adams, who transformed the personal archive of William Clements into a leading research library specializing in the collection and preservation of primary source materials from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

To celebrate Adams’ legacy and the work of the three directors who succeeded him, The Avenir Foundation has donated $10 million to name the directorship the “Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library” through the establishment of the Adams, Peckham, Dann and Graffagnino Endowment Fund. The named directorship was approved by the U-M Board of Regents at its June 20 meeting.


In addition to the named directorship, the Clements Library’s rare book room also will receive a new name: The Norton Strange Townshend Room.

The Norton Strange Townshend Family Papers, an important collection at Clements Library, include a wealth of primary sources, vividly documenting family relationships and everyday life in the 19th century.


The collection is particularly strong in material relating to the American Revolution—Clements found the descendants of many of the key players in the Revolution (Lord Shelburne, General Sir Henry Clinton, General Nathanael Greene and others), bought their ancestors’ papers and brought them to Ann Arbor.

Other highlights resulting from nearly 100 years of collecting at the Clements include documents relating to the exploration and discovery of North America, Native American history, colonial wars for conquest, the American Civil War and the anti-slavery movement and the move westward.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.