Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

A piece of history

Thousands of Michigan students have passed within a few yards of the loveliest room on the campus without ever seeing inside. It’s the exhibition hall of the William L. Clements Library on South University, a hushed, light-filled cavern paneled in oak and lined with tall cases of rare books bound in leather.The library’s early stewards lived in fear of what ordinary people might do in there.”At one time,” Randolph Adams, the library’s first director, wrote in 1930, “two of the handsome chairs, upholstered in light blue silk velvet, were placed inside the silken ropes which separate the Main Room from that part to which visitors are admitted. A lady sought refuge in the Library from a rainstorm and sat down in one of these chairs in a drenching wet raincoat. As long as there are ladies of that sort

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