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Clarke Historical Library

July 2021

Clarke Fully Open ? In Person Visitors Welcomed

Both the reading room and exhibition gallery are now fully open to receive visitors. Capacity caps and face mask rules still apply, but generally appointments won't be needed for small groups. Researchers are welcome to visit our reading room Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Library continues to provide research assistance via phone and email and the Clarke staff always appreciates appointments for in-person research. Please contact us at or 989-774-3352 to make an appointment or for further information.

Michigan Foodways: Exploring History through Memories of Food

The foodways exhibit continues in the Clarke gallery as well as online. The online component contains a dozen personal food memories as well as more in-depth histories on general topics such as Michigan Agriculture as well as trademarked food products and well-known restaurants. Of special interest are the many examples from Clarke's extensive collection of Michigan community cookbooks, from historical to contemporary.

DigMichNews Update

Work continues on this year's DigMichNews grant winners, the Beaver Beacon and the Monroe Evening News. First the newspapers are microfilmed for preservation, then the microfilm is scanned in order to digitize. Once digitized, the newspapers will appear on the DigMichNews web site. The application period for next year's award will open in the winter. Your community?s papers could be the next to make it on the DigMichNews site! Funding for the award is provided by the Robert and Susan Clarke Endowment with additional funding provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library of Michigan.

John Fierst Retires

John Fierst became the reference librarian in the Clarke Historical Library in 2006. John?s assistance to researchers is legendary, consistently leading them to sources that they had no idea existed and thus broadening the scope and character of their work, whether it be an undergraduate paper or a published scholarly volume.

John has also played an active role in the creation of exhibits within the Clarke Historical Library. His most important contribution was to curate the exhibit ? Aristocracy on the Saginaw Trail: Alexis de Tocqueville in Michigan,? and write the published catalog that accompanied the exhibit. John helped make much better known the fact that the famed Frenchman, during his American tour of 1831 and 1832 travelled to Michigan to experience the frontier, an experience Tocqueville described in the publication, ?Two Weeks in the Wilderness.?

John?s own interests are in the history of the Old Northwest, Great Lakes Native American history, and documentary editing. He received his B.A. in history from Miami University, an MLS from Kent State University, and an M.A. in history from the University of Manitoba. He has long worked on a scholarly edition of The Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner and has served as the treasurer of the Association for Documentary Editing.

We will miss John and wish him well in retirement.