University Library Acquires 1851 Columbian Press from Howard Iron Works
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — April 21, 2016 — On April 11, 2016, after two and a half years and an over $17 million renovation, the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan (U-M) has re-opened. Besides the extensive 80,000 books and 30,000 maps, Clements now has another piece of history that is as rare as some of the treasures on the shelves. An 1851 George Clymer "Columbian" printing press — one of the most beautiful machines ever invented — sits proudly in the magnificent Avenir Foundation Room. For good reason, it’s possible that even some of the books held could have been printed on such a press.
Howard Iron Works and Howard Graphic Equipment teamed up with Clements Library’s Director J. Kevin Graffagnino in the fall of 2015. It was Graffagnino's dream to have a restored printing press in the newly revamped facility, and he was very specific about that press being a Columbian.
Liana Howard comments, “We are so very proud to supply one of our restored printing presses to Clements. It’s an absolute honor to be able to assist Kevin in his dream to showcase the unique and breathtaking qualities of the restored William L. Clements Library. Our restorative skills could not find a more appropriate partner."
Designed by Michigan architect Albert Kahn, the Clements Library, located next door to the President’s house, is a landmark on U-M’s central campus that houses one of the most comprehensive collections of early American history in the world.
Its name comes from the building’s benefactor, William L. Clements, an Ann Arbor native, U-M alumnus (1882) and former regent of the University who made his fortune supplying equipment for the construction of the Panama Canal and other major engineering projects at the turn of the century.
As his personal wealth grew, so did his passion for history. Clements began collecting the rare books and manuscripts that make up the heart of the existing collection.
Since then the library, which remained open in an off-campus facility on Ellsworth Rd. while renovations took place, has continued to specialize in preserving and collecting original primary source documents, maps, manuscripts, correspondence, books, prints and early photography from 1492 to 1900.
The collection is particularly strong in material relating to the American Revolution. Mr. 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 more than 90 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.
Click here or on the YouTube video below to watch a video about the University of Michigan's Clements Library and the new 1851 George Clymer "Columbian" printing press:
Click here to watch a slideshow of photos of the installation of the press.
About Howard Iron Works Printing Museum and Restoration
Howard Iron Works Printing Museum and Restoration is a museum of printing history with a focus on machinery from 1800 to early 20th century. HIW offers restoration work for clients, as well as supplies antique equipment to other museums and libraries around the world. HIW is run and managed by Howard Graphic Equipment.
About Howard Graphic Equipment
Howard Graphic Equipment is a major supplier and seller of pre-owned printing and allied machinery to over 74 countries around the world, established in 1967 and based in Mississauga, Ontario.
Source: Howard Graphic Equipment.