Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays

On December 21 at 5:00 pm the Clarke Library will close for the holidays.  We will re-open our doors on January 2 at 8:00 a.m. The Library’s staff and Board of Governors wish each of you a happy holiday season and a prosperous and peaceful new year.

Monday, December 17, 2012


by Frank Boles

During his years as director of the Clarke Library (1961-1982) John Cumming developed a superb collection of pre-1850 Michigan imprints. When we receive sales catalogs today, I am often tempted to not even check any Michigan book printed before 1850 – they are almost always already in the collection. But check we do, and once in a great while we find something that eluded John and his contemporaries.

So it was a few weeks ago when a dealer catalog arrived offering the Acts Passed at the Extra and Second Session of the Sixth Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan, published in Detroit by S. M’Night in 1835. The session was a particularly momentous one. On January 26, 1835 the Territorial Legislature passed “An Act to enable the people of Michigan to form a Constitution and State Government.” Laws leading up to statehood appeared at several points in the session.

However, questions more mundane than statehood also occupied the minds of the Territory’s political leaders. For example, on March 30, 1835 the Legislature passed “An Act to regulate the Weight of Hay.” As of “the first day of April next” …. “a ton of hay shall be two thousand pounds avoirdupois weight, any law or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.” Sometimes political leadership takes a back seat to making sure everybody understands just how much hay is really in a ton of the stuff.

Back in John Cumming’s day finding a pre-1850 Michigan imprint was greeted with a “huzzah.” We don’t say that old-fashioned word very often these days, but to celebrate both our recent acquisition, and all of John’s hard work, please join me in a hearty “HUZZAH!"