The William L. Clements research library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is a magical place. It houses a mind-boggling collection of books and documents relating to (mostly) early American history, brought to you, on request, by an attentive staff, in a stately wood-paneled reading room:
- The personal papers of British commanders during the revolution;
- Hand-colored maps so big that they cover four tables when they’re fully un-folded;
- A tattered orderly book from West Point, recording the day Arnold’s treason was discovered!
It’s a treasure trove.
On the lower level, near the lockers, there’s even a break room, where visiting scholars are invited to gather for tea every morning at 10am. How civilized is that!? Also, how cool is it to be a ‘visiting scholar’? And, all you have to do is register!
My guide points out the antique corner cabinet, “Made by Lincoln’s father.” It’s that kind of place. And, in the library itself, under a high vaulted ceiling, across from the great oak table from you is some other ‘visiting scholar’ combing through documents to discover other secrets.