All posts by Vera Anderson

Pity the Woman Who Works for a Living



Scroll to bottom of article to see links for online digital content of Willcox Collection from the Genesee Historical Archives.



Historical Display, Thompson Library

The Woman Who Works for a Living

Life of the Wilcox Sisters, Early 1800s



For her capstone project in History, Jeanette Routhier’s created a display demonstrating an historical examination of the contents of a box of materials she found in the Genesee County Archives.

The box contained historically educational “primary source materials,” the majority in the form of letters written by the Willcox sisters.

The letters were not originally intended to act as a mirror to the time period, nor to serve as an educational tool for historians.   They were, in fact, private correspondence within a family that became poverty stricken.  The letters detail  the struggle of the women of the family to survive in a male-dominated society which offered them few opportunities to provide for themselves outside of the protection of male members of their family.

These letters were intended to be, and remain, private; letters between family.  They were not created with the express purpose of becoming a first person observation of the times in which these women lived.

As often happens with documents preserved over time,  primary source materials — such as these letters — do just that.   They become an historical record of the world in which the authors lived.  They teach modern historians about daily life of people living during earlier time periods.   They pass along valuable information so that modern students of history can better understand what has happened and how our modern society developed into its current state.

From the letters, beautifully written in the cursive hand taught to all students of that time, we come to know the Wilcox family and follow the course of their lives over time.

Jeanette created the display to lead us through the years along with the sisters, beginning with their father, who was shipped off to Debtor’s Prison in the early 1830s, leaving his daughters destitute.


This was a time when women had few rights.  They were generally the chattel   (property)  of their fathers or husbands.


Single women living alone and depending upon their own efforts to survive had to find work in a world that considered working women a mere step up from slave labor.   Finding work was difficult.  Once obtained, there were no benefits other than a very meager income.     Hours were extremely long.  Conditions in the workplace were poor.  Opportunities for a better future were non-existent.

Our information about the time period and conditions women endured is passed along to us by history teachers.   History teachers learn the history from books.  But where does the information in the books come from?    And how accurate is it?   Does the writer of a book have pre-conceived notions of life in a time period which predates their own?   Does that then appear in the book?

Where can we get an accurate description, one passed down to us through time by people who lived through experiences long before we were born?


We find that information in “primary source” materials — the written record of people who were alive and witnessed events of a time before our own.

Primary source materials include such items as letters, the written descriptions of life and events passed down through time, describing conditions that no longer obtain and that we no longer understand through our own experience.

To know more about the time period and conditions that women experience, Ms Routhier opened a box of primary source materials stored in the University of Michigan-Flint Archive.


Jeanette located Box 1 of the George Willcox Papers.  She opened it, and began reading the contents.

Through letters saved over the centuries, Jeanette was able to piece together the world in which the Willcox sisters lived.   And through her display, Jeanette shared with us what it was like to live as a single woman in early 1800s United States.







Using the Archives and these original documents, which recorded first person observations of the life of these women, Jeanette has given us a small taste of the struggle of women trying to survive on their own in 1800s United States.







This display has now been dismantled.

To see the material upon which this display was based, visit the Genesee Historical Collections Center, or use the links below to view the digitalized contents of the Lyman George Willcox collection stored in the Archives.



From the online digital collection of the

Genesee Historical Collections Center (UM-Flint Archives):


About this collection

(Click above to access entire online collection, or view the individual letters using the links provided below.)

Lyman George Willcox (1831-1918), a native of Rochester, Oakland County, Michigan, was a lawyer, an officer during the Civil War, orator, public servant, and journalist.  His father, Lyman J. Willcox, settled in Michigan during the 1820s.  The son, known as George, graduated from Hamilton College in 1855.  He went to Kansas in 1856 to study the pro- and anti-slavery situation, then went to Omaha the next year.  He returned to Detroit, and in 1861 was appointed captain of Company B, 3rd Michigan Cavalry Regiment.  His company saw action at Corinth and Iuka, Mississippi, and he left the service in 1864 as a major.  From 1865 to 1870, he was in Antrim County and in Traverse City, working as a lawyer and newspaper editor and in 1867 as U.S. Land Office registrar.  From 1871 to 1879, he was a fruit farmer in Centralia, Illinois, in addition to practicing law and regularly speaking as an orator.  He returned to Michigan, and was a law partner with his brother in Pontiac from 1879 to 1885.  He continued his legal and journalistic interests in Bay City, where he lived from 1885 to 1910, at which point he lived with his son George in Saginaw.  His papers include letters to and from his father from relatives in New York; correspondence with his wife during the Civil War; military orders and papers from his service in the Civil War; clippings from his political activities; and various reminiscences and documents from his activity in Civil War veterans’ organizations.



— The Letters of the Willcox Sisters (1830 – 1836) —

(Includes transcribed  text  in  print.)


  • Angeline Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, May 31, 183-


  • Angeline Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, Sep. 22, 183-


  • Harriet Willcox to Lyman J Willcox Sep 6 1830-a


  • Harriet Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, Dec. 26, 1830


  • Harriet Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, Feb. 27, 1833


  • Harriet Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, Dec. 7, 1833


  • Harriet Willcox to Lyman J. Willcox, July 14, 1836


Art in the Library



Information  and   Culture


At  the  Library


Thompson Library opened it’s doors in its new facility in October, 1994.   We have been at our “new” location for 23 years this October.   During that time, the Library has continued to add, slowly and selectively, to our Art Collection, which is on display throughout the building.

While many are unaware the Library has an art collection, it has been on display on our walls and on selected tables since those doors opened.

Some of the pieces in our collection have been gifts, donated by thoughtful and generous patrons of the University of Michigan and of the Library.  We sincerely appreciate our patrons and thank them for sharing their love of the arts with the our university community.

Some of the pieces were purchased by the library, often from UM-Flint student art shows.

Some of the pieces are part of the Genesee Historical Collections Center — known on campus as The Archives.

The subjects of our artwork are as varied as the mediums used to create them.    The majority of our works are in oil, charcoal, or pastels.   But there are also a large number of reprints and photographs. The Art in the Library isn’t limited to framed images hanging on the walls; we have a number of sculptures and items of mixed media as well.   There are works in glass, in fabric, in metal, and in ceramics.   From paintings to sculptures, it’s all in your library, free for anyone to enter, walk around, and enjoy.

We have paintings of people; some famous, some forgotten, some fabricated from the imagination of the artist who created them.  There are images of both well known and obscure local sites, some representing the architecture of a specific era,  landscapes or geographic features.

There are a number of paintings with subjects that are related in some way to the University of Michigan.

Best of all, the majority of our artworks are on public display.  Anyone may visit the Thompson Library to leisurely wander through the building, finding art in both prominent and obscure locations throughout all three floors of our facility.

We invite our readers within the UM-Flint community and visitors to our fair campus to come and enjoy the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of study and contemplation our library offers.

The building itself is — quite literally — a work of art, having won the design firm an award.  The stacks shelving over a quarter of a million volumes are open, accessible and well lit.

There are comfortable chairs as well as hundreds of reading carrels on all three floors.

The first floor Atrium boasts 3 story windows, letting in natural light throughout the vast space, with plenty of tables for readers to sit and enjoy the view, quietly read their favorite tome, or engage in research.

And please, take a moment to just look around at the many fine pieces of art on display.

When you are at the Thompson Library, beauty is all around you.






Below we have included a sample of some of the pieces in our art collection.


Please visit the library soon to view these, and many other, works of art.






— Oil on Canvas — Title: Untitled Artist: Amanda Simons (student, class of 2007) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: Signs (Local, well-known business)


— Colored Pencil Drawing — Title: Weightless Artist: My Tran (student / class of 2010) Location: 1st Floor, Left wall (from stairwell)


— Oil on Canvas — Title: Untitled Artist: Heather Workman (Student — Class of 2014) Subject: City-scape with river and bridges









— Oil on Board —
Title: Untitled
Artist: Jeff Powell, Student – class of 2014
Location: 1st Floor (Left Wall from stairwell)
Subject: Lady with long, black hair in front of UM logo and Citizens Bank Ball / local Flint buildings
— Black & White Photograph — Artist: Louise Parham (Student – Class of 2008) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: New Orleans; Lower 9th Ward, Vacant lot being cleaned up by people










— Etching — Artist: Tim Kranz (Student – Class of 2001) Location: 1st Floor, Left Wall (from stairwell) Subject: University Pavilion – Flint, MI (University Pavilion — UPAV — looking south on Saginaw Street)
— Etching — Enlargement of UPAV etching (See: Artist — Tim Kranz)














— Glass Cast — Title: Map Artist: Sarah Coulter (Student art show – Best of Show winner) 2016 Location: 2nd Floor, across from elevator
Name Plaque Title of artwork: Map Location: 2nd floor See: Artist Sarah Coulter







— Oil on Canvas — Title: Asian Woman Artist: Arla Location: 2nd Floor (across from elevator) Subject: Unknown Asian woman
— Watercolor — Untitled Artist: Heather Calugaru Purchased from the 1996 Student Art Show with a gift from the UM-Flint Annual Fund Subject: Woman, Head and Shoulders








— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Syrian Desert Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Location: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Pencil drawing of Syrian desert
— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Mt Ohaulagipi Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Loction: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Mt. Ohaulagipi in Himalayan range in Nepal sector of India & Asia









— Ball-point Pen, Colored Pencils on Paper — Title: Mt. Thabor Artist: Joseph E. Yoakum Location: 2nd Floor, Outside Writing Center Lab Subject: Mt. Thabor near Nazareth in Galilee – Jordan River between Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea (middle east)
— Print — Title: Library of Michigan Lobby Artist: Unknown Location: 2nd Floor, Column near freight elevator (back wall area) Subject: View from the entrance to the Library of Michigan in Lansing, MI













Portrait of Frances Willson Thompson (1952) at Entrance to the Library. Artist: Edmund Giesbert. Medium: Oil on canvas. Donated by her son, Jack Willson Thompson.
Portrait of Frances Willson Thompson (1952) at Entrance to the Library. Artist: Edmund Giesbert. Medium: Oil on canvas. Donated by her son, Jack Willson Thompson.








The USS Michigan. Artist: James Clary (Remarqued print; nbr 777 of 1776) Gift of Mimi and Will Boroury. Location: 3rd floor near Circulation Desk.
Title: Schoolhouse #6 Artist: Shannon Morden Medium: Watercolor Purchased from the 1994 Student Art Show Location: 3rd Floor













Forever Autum Artist: Tracy Rutherford Donated by Thomas (’91 BA) and Laurie (’91 BA) Medford. Location: 3d Floor
Bust VII, Artist – Mary Murphy, Medium – Clay & Fabric, Purchsed from the 1996 Student Art Show, Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk.








Title: Bust VII, Artist: Mary Murphy, Medium: Clay & Fabric, Purchased from the 1996 Student Art Show, Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk
Plaque accompanying sculpture piece “Bust VII”








Bust, Martin Luthur King, Artist: Michael Florin Dente, Medium: Bronze, Gift to Library by artist (2000), Location: 3rd Floor Reference Desk
Details from bust of Martin Luther King








Details from bust of Martin Luther King
Details from bust of Martin Luther King






Details from bust of Martin Luther King.
Portrait of Martin Luther King. Medium: Oils on Canvas. Location: Genesee County Historical Center (University Archives) — 2nd Floor, Thompson Library Building.










The Harness Maker, Medium: Oils on Canvas, Location: Genesee County Historical Center Archives, 2nd Floor, Thompson Library Building.







Flint Bridge, Artist: Nick Looney, Medium: Oil on Canvas, Purchased at Student Art Show – Artist Voice Award Winner 2015, Location: 3rd Floor






Advances in Printing, Artist: Annette Cremin, Medium: Oil on Canvas, Polytych, ca 1922, Location: 3rd Floor, Thompson Library by Room 320
Advances in Printing – Part of Polytech grouping, ca 1922








Map of Europe. Location: 3rd Floor, Thompson Library, Computer Study Room
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)







Crapo Family Pictures
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)






Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)
Location: Director’s Office (3rd Floor)







Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)
Location: Director’s Office (3rd floor)






Location: 3rd Floor, Directors Office
Location: Director’s Office, 3rd floor






Location: Room 215 (BI Room)
Location: Room 215 (BI Room)











Arial view — Flint, Michigan Location: 2nd Floor (near emergency exit door at SW corner)
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor







Location: Genesee Historical Archive (2nd floor)
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor






Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archives) 2nd floor
Location: Genesee Historical Collection (the Archive) 2nd floor)






Location: Genesee Historical Collection, 2nd floor
Location: Genesee Historical Collection, 2nd floor








Thompson Library has so much more than books in print on our shelves.   We have videos (both VHS and DVDs — even a Blu-Ray or 2), we have ebooks (and yes, many can be downloaded to a tablet for two weeks at a time), we have hundreds of online databases.

But we also have a unique art collection.

The Library — and all it contains — is a part of your academic experience.

Come to the Library and enjoy the experience soon.

Information — and culture — are all there for you, at your library.



MICHIGAN DAILY ARCHIVE Highlights University, State, National, and World History



University of Michigan’s Student Newspaper

Recording History Since the 1800s

by Vanessa Prygoski

Since September of 1890, the Michigan Daily has been the official student newspaper at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Throughout the decades since then, the student staffs of the Daily have chronicled not only the goings on at the University, but also the local and global community more generally.

Until recently, one had to go to the Hatcher Graduate Library in Ann Arbor to look at back issues of the Daily on microfilm.   Now, almost the entire run of the paper is available to anyone with a computer and internet connection, thanks to the Bentley Historical Library on the North Campus in Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Daily Digital Archives is located at:

Current coverage of all back issues is from 1890  to  2014.

The archive landing page has a basic keyword search box.

At the top of all the archive pages there is a blue bar with the familiar Michigan Block M with the Archive and Bentley Library names.

This bar also contains links to other archive features.

The first of these is labeled   Search,  and takes the user to a screen with more search options than the basic keyword search on the landing page.

There is a drop down menu that allows users to limit their search by date of publication.

The default is   any date,   which will search the entire archive for the keywords entered by the user.

Users can choose to limit their search to results before and after a certain publication date, as well as between specified dates.

The left side of the search screen allows users to browse the archive by decadeyearmonth,  and  day.   There are also a few sample searches available to stimulate creative ideas on how best to search.

Next to the   Search  link in the blue bar at the top of the archive pages, is a link marked   Browse.   Clicking here will bring up all of the available issues of the MICHIGAN DAILYstarting with the oldest issue in the archive which is from September 30, 1891.

Again, from here there are drop down menus to limit your search by decade, year, month, and day.

These can be combined, so, for example, you could limit your search to issues of the  DAILY  that were published in July — in all of the years of the decade of the 1960s.

The   Help   link in the blue bar at the top of the archive pages has useful information on search techniques such as Boolean logic, as well as how to use the page viewer feature and how to download pages and entire digital back issues of the Daily.


While the Michigan Daily initially focused mostly on activities on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan, it quickly expanded to cover events across the state, nation, and world.

The November 12, 1918 issue reports on the end of the first World War, while issues from the early 1940s include extensive reporting on World War Two.

An extra issue from November 22, 1963 carried the tragic news of President John F. Kennedy’s death.    Five years later, the Daily would report on two additional assassinations of prominent public figures-Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy’s brother Robert.

The progressive social movements of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond have been extensively covered by the Michigan Daily. 

Tom Hayden, one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, was editor of the paper in the early 1960s.

White Panther/Rainbow People’s Party founder John Sinclair (a 1964 Flint campus graduate) both wrote for the Daily as well as being a frequent subject of articles in the paper.

The African-American civil rights and Black Power movements, second and third wave feminism, countercultures such as the hippies, the LGBTQ+ movement and more have all been written about in the Michigan Daily.

Varsity sports on the Ann Arbor campus have always been well covered by the Daily, from Fielding Yost’s   Point A Minute   football teams of the early 1900s,  through the Bo Schembechler era, and on to today’s teams led by coaches such as Carol Hutchins of the women’s softball team and Jim Harbaugh, current head football coach.

On page three of the February 8, 1955   Daily  is a short news article reporting on the  Board of Regents  vote to “establish a senior college of the University in Flint.”

This, of course, is what evolved into the present day University of Michigan-Flint campus.

News from both the Flint and Dearborn campuses regularly appear in the Daily.

The Michigan Daily Digital Archive is a very valuable historical resource, and is available free for all to use.

by Vanessa Prygoski


No Bones about It — Willson Has Joined the Library!

Sometimes, the resources our patrons — including faculty, staff and students — need to further their research don’t fall under the category of the written word.

Sometimes, those resources need to be a little more <ahem> full-bodied.

For those studying in the health sciences, for instance, sometimes those resources need to be a physical representation of the body parts they are studying.

Enter Willson, the newest member of the Thompson Library.

Willson may be a little thin on conversation, and to be honest, he’s a bit of an air head.  But he’s chock full of valuable learning opportunities.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Willson, added to our collection in April, is a full body, male human, articulating skeleton.

Click on any image to enlarge.

While his bones don’t come apart, he can be moved.



And he is available to be checked out — for use inside the library, only.

The skeleton hangs from a mobile rack and can be moved to any location inside the library, such as near one of the tables in the Atrium, or to a group study room.   His loan period is 4 hours.

Click on any image to enlarge.

As with all library resources, a UMID card is necessary to check out Willson, and he must be returned in good condition.  (Any damage will be charged to the borrower on record.)

Click on any image to enlarge.

So far, the response from patrons has been overwhelmingly positive to our new addition.  So much so, that the library is considering adding other visual study aids in the future.

One day soon, you may be able to check out Willson’s heart, or perhaps a kit to build a visual representation of a water molecule.

Click on any image to enlarge.

But for now, Willson stands behind the Circulation counter, near the 3rd floor entrance to the Library.




Come in and see him soon.

(We’ve discovered he LOVES the attention!)

–Extended Library Hours– Study Days – April 2017

It’s BACK!

STUDY   DAYS    in  the   LIBRARY

Thompson Library open Monday am;  closes Thursday pm


The Frances Willson Thompson Library will open at 8 am on Monday, April 17th and will remain open (24 hours per day for 4 days!) until midnight on Thursday, April 20th this spring (2017).


—->   See below for complete schedule of library hours. <—-


Students needing to study for exams or work on that final paper are welcome to come and take advantage of these special extended hours for this week.


  • Where to Go?
    • Study Rooms and group areas will be available in the library for those that need to study together, while quiet areas will be strictly enforced for those that need peace and quiet to get that studying in and work on final papers before exams begin.


  • Will it be safe in the Library?
    • Department of Public Safety officers will be on hand to ensure the library will be a safe environment for those wishing to stay into the wee hours of the morning — or overnight!


  • Need computers?
    • ITS  lab  inside the library offers over 100   computers (including a few Macs) divided among all 3 floors.       Additionally,  ITS has  3 printer/copier machines  (one on each floor)  inside the library, all connected to the campus print queue.


  • Recharge devices?
    • There are many electrical outlets  (including under each of the carrels along the edge of the room) for powering devices.


  •  Need a laptop?
    • Thompson Library even has laptops available to checkout for use within the library.   (Remember; student id cards — the UMID — also acts as your library card using the barcode on the back of your card.)


  • Need to play videos or CDs?
    • VHS and DVD players are available in each of the Study Rooms.


  • Need headphones?
    • Check out headphones using your UMID at the Circulation Desk (3rd floor near entrance to library).


  • Need study space?
    • Study Rooms can be reserved online (check the UM-Flint Thompson Library website) for study groups.


  • Need help using Library?
    • And as always, our librarians and staff will be here during the entire 88 hours  and will be available to  assist patrons with their research needs.


  • FOOD?!! 
    • Student Government at The University of Michigan-Flint will be providing snacks from 9pm – 1am Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights in the 3rd floor library lobby.


  • Will it be safe walking on campus?
    • University of Michigan-Flint Department of Public Safety will provide escorts on request all around campus, all night, and will be keeping the UPAV lot and Skywalk open all night to further ensure student safety.


  • Stressed?
    • Thompson Library will have:
      • Adult COLORING BOOKS available.
      • AND  … the THERAPY DOGS will again be visiting!
        • Therapy dogs will be in the library on Thursday, April 20th between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm.   Come by and get a little canine cuddling to help steady those exam nerves.



photo (17)photo (18)









Contact Thompson Library for more information at:

Reference Desk:   810 / 762-3408

Circulation Desk:   810 / 762-3400








Beginning Monday, April 18th, Thompson Library will be open during the following hours:


Monday, April 17 :                          Open at 8 am — Open 24 hours

Tuesday, April 18:                             Open 24 hours

Wednesday, April 19:                     Open 24 hours

Thursday, April 20:                           Open 24 hours   —   Close at midnight.

Friday, April 21:                                   8 am to 10 pm  (open extra 2 hours)

          Saturday (22nd):                    10 am to 10 pm   (open extra 2 hours)

          Sunday (23rd):                        12 noon to midnight  (extra 2 hours)

Monday (24th):                                    8 am to 2 am (extra 2 hours)

Tuesday (25th):                                    8 am to 2 am (extra 2 hours)

Wednesday (26th):                            8 am to midnight

Thursday (27th):                                  8 am  to 6 pm

Friday (28th):                                         8 am to 6 pm

        Saturday (29th):                          CLOSED  

        Sunday (30th):                              CLOSED


          Spring hours begin Monday, May 1, 2017

          and run through the end of summer semester.



—     SPRING HOURS    —-


Monday – Thursday:                                            8 am    to  10 pm

Friday:                                                                          8 am    to    6 pm

         Saturday:                                                         12 noon to 6 pm

         Sunday:                                                             12 noon to 8 pm







Mott-Warsh Art Gallery Works Exhibited in Thompson Library

Six new pieces have arrived at Thompson Library — on loan from the Mott-Warsh Art Collection — and now available for viewing.

The new display of lithographs may be seen on the 3rd floor of Thompson Libray along the back wall.  Please stop by soon to see and appreciate these works while they remain with us.

The art collection, owned by The Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh Collection, contains samples of some of the very best late 20th century works by African American artists.

The mission of the Mott-Warsh Collection is to present contemporary fine art to public audiences in non-traditional venues as well as educational and cultural institutions.

University of Michigan-Flint (with its strong historical ties to the Mott family of Flint, Michigan) and the Thompson Library in particular fit perfectly with the mission and vision statements established by Maryanne Mott and her late husband, Herman Warsh.

The collection was established in 2001 by Maryanne Mott and he late husband, Herman Warsh.  The collection features the work of artists of the African diaspora and those who reflect on it.  It comprises over 600 works by more than 185 artists working in varied media and stylistic approaches.

Represented within the collection are works from mid 20th century masters such as Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett to many new and innovative artists of the early 21st century, and includes a broad array of work from the abstract to the representative.

Common to all pieces within the collection is the focus on unique cultural and social experiences of Africans and Americans of African descent living and working in western (American) society.

Maryanne and Herman begun collecting their art with the intent to assemble and preserve rare works of art endemic to the African community and make them available to the wider audience through its lending program with the intent to educate viewers in art appreciation, art making processes, art history, 20th century American history and the history of the African diaspora.

More works from the Mott-Warsh collection are on view at their Galley in downtown Flint on 815 S Saginaw Street (corner of S. Saginaw and E. Court Street).

Gallery hours are 11:00 am through 6:00 pm on Thursday and Friday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday, and 11:00 am – 9:00 pm on the second Friday of each month.   You may call ahead for information at (810) 835-4900, or check their website at

The Gallery and it’s extended collection are supported by the Mott-Warsh research library, which has assembled monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction catalogs and journals with subject concentrations in African American art as well as information on fine arts collection management.

Selected works from the Mott-Warsh Collection are currently on display at several locations around Flint, including the Flint Institute of Music, the Flint Public Library, the Ruth Mott Foundation, Mott Community College, Applewood, Kettering University Innovation Center and other locations.

Nationally, pieces are on loan at such renowned institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University), Walker Art Center, Denver Art Museum, Rudenstine Gallery (W.E.B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University), the Seattle Art Museum, the Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Boston) and many other museums and art galleries around the nation.

Thompson Library is proud to be numbered among such fine institutions in being selected as a location to display pieces from the Mott-Warsh Collection.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Michael Doyle, our Assistant Director, for being instrumental in arranging for Thompson Library to participate as a display site for works from this esteemed, world-renowned collection.

The new lithographs currently on display in the Library are by the artist Elizabeth Catlett (1915 – 2012), and as a series are entitled For My People.

The lithographs were conceived and published as illustrations for a limited edition large folio featuring Margaret Walker’s poem of the same name.   Ms. Walker, a celebrated poet, novelist, essayist, and educator, was Catlett’s roommate when they attended the University of Iowa in 1939/40.

For My People is from a series of poems written by Walker in which she expressed her ambivalence bout the south, where she had spent her childhood.  Many scholars feel her work bridged the gap between the Harlem Renaissance of the 20s and 30s and the black arts movement of the 60s.

Elizabeth Catlett is known for her abstract sculpture in bronze and marble as well as prints and paintings, particularly depicting the female figure.   Ms. Catlett is unique for distilling African American, Native American, and Mexican at in her work.

Born in Washington D.C. and later becoming a Mexican citizen, Catlett received a bachelor of arts degree from Howard University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa, where she studied with the regionalist painter, Grand Wood.  She also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Art Students League in New York City.

Wood’s teaching dictum was, “paint what you know best.”   This set Catlett on the patch to dealing with her own background in her artwork.

In 1940, her painting, “Mother and Child,” depicting African-American figues, won her substantial recognition.

Later in 1946, she traveled to Mexico and became interested in the Mexican working class.  She settled pemanently in Mexico in 1947, and eventually met and married artist Francisco Mora.

From 1958 to 1973 she was head of the deparment and professor of sculpture at the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico.   During this time, she did extensive work in printmaking, which she found an affordable medium for reaching the masses, and produced images of African-American and Mexican working class women.

Ms. Catlett’s art can be found in major museums in the United States and abroad.  She has received countless honors and awards for her work within her lifetime.

Following is the poem, For My People, by Margaret Walker (inspiration for this series of lithographs), which was published in 1942.

For my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly:  their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an unknown god, bending their knees humbling to an unseen power;

For my people lending their strength to the years, to the gone years and the now years and the maybe years, washing ironing cooking scrubbing sewing mending hoeing plowing digging planting pruning patching dragging along never gaining never reaping never knowing and never understanding;

For my playmates in the clay and dust and sand of Alabama backyards playing baptizing and preaching and doctor and jail and soldier and school and mama and cooking and playhouse and concert and store and hair and Miss Choomby and company;

For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn to know the reasons why the answers to and the people who and the places where the days when, in memory of the bitter hous when we discovered we were black and poor and small and different and nobody cared and nobody wondered and nobody understood;

For the boys and girls who grew in spite of these things to be man and woman, to laugh and dance and sing and play and drink their wine and religion and success, to marry their playmates and bear children and then die of consumption and anemia and lynching;

For my people thronging 47h Street in Chicago and Len\ox Avenue in New York and Rampart Street in New Orleans, lost disinherited dispossessed and happy people filling the cabarets and taverns and other people’s pockets needing bead and shoes and milk and land and money and something-something all our own;

For my people walking blindly spreading joy, losing time being lazy, sleeping when hungry, shouting when burdened, drinking when hopeless, tied and shackled and tangled among ourselves by the unseen creatures who tower over us omnisciently and laugh;

For my people blundering and groping and floundering in the dark of churches and schools and clubs and societies, associations and councils and committees and conventions, distressed and disturbed and deceived and devoured by money-hungry glory-craving leeches, preyed on by the facile force of state and fad and novelty, by false prophet and holy believer;

For my people standing trying to fashion a better way from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding, trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people, all the faces, all the dams and eves and their countless generations;

Let a new earth rise.  Let another world be born.  Let a bloody peace be written in the sky.  Let a second generation full of courage issue forth; let a people loving freedom come to growth.  Let a beauty full of healing and strength of final clenching by the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.  Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear.  Let a race of men now rise and take control.

 (Click on any image to enlarge)




Bicentennial of the University of Michigan


200 Years of The Leaders and Best:

University of Michigan Bicentennial




The year was 1817. The United States itself had not existed for very long, and Michigan was not yet a state but still a frontier territory.   Detroit was a long way from being the world class city it would become.

Flint, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor would not be established until somewhat later. Yet, even then, people in Michigan Territory had big ideas about public education.

Governor Lewis Cass, Michigan

On August 26 of 1817, territorial governor Lewis Cass and local judges drew up the initial charter for what was originally called The Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania. “Catholepistemiad” being a word coined by Judge Augustus Woodward, after whom the main north-south road in Metro Detroit is named.

He intended the word to mean “a school of universal science.” The original proposed name was soon simplified to The University of Michigan.

In the early years in Detroit, the U of M was not really what we would now think of as a college or university.   It was something more like an advanced high school or preparatory school.

Fast forward 20 years to 1837.   By then, Michigan had become a state and the population was growing.   Therefore, there was more of a need for public education at all levels.

Among the many towns and cities being established in the state at that time was Ann Arbor, in the county just west of Wayne County where Detroit is.

A forty acre, square shaped plot of land in Ann Arbor was acquired and the first few buildings of what would eventually become a world class university were built.   The Reverend Henry Colclazer was appointed in 1837 as the first University of Michigan Librarian.

In 1841, the first college level students began their studies at the Ann Arbor campus. Four years later, twelve men formed the first graduating class of the University of Michigan.

The School of Literature, Sciences and Arts (LSA) was the first specific U of M college or school to be established.   As the rest of the 1800s progressed, other schools and colleges were added, such as Engineering, Medicine, Law, and of course Library Science.

Samuel Codes Watson

As has unfortunately been the case in American society generally, the University was slow to integrate on the basis of race and gender. Samuel Codes Watson was the first known African-American student at the University in 1853.

First Woman to Graduate From Medical School First woman to graduate from University of Michigan Medical School — Madelon Louisa Stockwell




In 1870, Madelon Stockwell became the first woman student at Michigan.

Image: Available online in Bentley Image Bank and in Ann Arbor, Michigan photograph collection, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor in the 1870s.





By the 1860s, many of the extracurricular activities that are now such a big part of University life had been or were being established. Greek letter societies had existed almost from the beginning of the Ann Arbor campus.

The first of today’s intercollegiate sports teams, the Wolverines baseball team, began play in 1866.

The following year, the familiar University colors of maize and blue were first used.

Michigan Wolverines football team, 1883
Michigan Wolverines Football Team, 1894.

In 1879, the Michigan football team played and won its first game.



At that point, the American version of the game had not yet fully evolved and what was played then was more like today’s game of rugby.

Michigan Wolverines Football Team, 1897.

As history moved forward from the 1800s into the 1900s, the Ann Arbor campus continued to grow and expand far beyond the original 40 acre “Diag” area, taking over larger and larger parts of Ann Arbor.

Michigan Wolverines Football Team, 1902.

Eventually there would be four distinct “campuses” in Ann Arbor, first  being the original campus, another being the Medical Center.

The North Campus first began to be built in the 1950s and has grown over the years.

University of Michigan Stadium, May 2011 Photo by Corey Seeman
Sign at University of Michigan Stadium. Photo by Corey Seeman, 2009.

Finally, there is the South,  or Athletic campus, where the University sports venues including Michigan Stadium (The Big House) are located.


 Photo by Corey Seeman, Director, UM Business Library
University of Michigan Football Stadium. — Photo by Corey Seeman, 2011.

University of Michigan Alumni Field, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan Women’s Softball Coach Carol Huchins.

Another favorite sports venue on the Ann Arbor campus is Alumni Field, where Coach Carol Hutchins leads the top ranked Wolverine women’s softball team.


Wondering  about our campus here in Flint?


As Michigan’s population grew along with the demand for higher education, it was proposed that the University open additional campuses outside of Ann Arbor.

Charles Stewart Mott

Flint businessman, Charles Stewart Mott, offered a large sum of his fortune to the University for the purpose of starting a campus here.

Others joined him in the effort, and in the fall of 1956 the first students arrived to attend classes at what was originally called The University of Michigan-Flint College.

Later, the word “College” was dropped from the name; we were officially the University of Michigan-Flint


The Dearborn campus opened in 1959.

The University still maintains a presence in the city where it originated 200 years ago, in the form of the Detroit Center, located on the street named after one of the University’s founders, Woodward Avenue.

From a dream in the minds of ambitious frontier residents, the University of Michigan has grown over two centuries into one of the leading institutions of higher education in the United States and the world.

The bicentennial motto is a very fitting description of this great University, and it echoes the refrain of the school’s famous fight song:  The University of Michigan…Always Leading, Forever Valiant.


By:   Vanessa Prygoski

Annie Szuch Retires after 40 Years of Library Service

Annie Closes a Door on a Library Era

While she Opens a Door into her Future!

Annie Szuch
Beth Annie Szuch, retirement celebration, January 6, 2017.

For those of whose lives have formed part of the history of the Thompson Library, an era of monumental changes has ended.

Beth Annie Szuch, the last of our librarians who have been here since the 70s, has retired.

Beth Annie Szuch. Librarian, Thompson Library, University of Michigan-Flint.

In a brief ceremony held in the Library on Friday (January 6, 2017), Laura Friesen and Becky Waller recited some of Annie’s accomplishments during her years working in the library.

The talking was followed by the eating, with a fantastic buffet enjoyed by librarians, library staff and several invited guests with close ties to Annie and her work within the Library and the Biology Department.  During the entire event, there was a lot of reminiscing, with plenty of old stories told (some familiar, some new to several), memories shared, happy moments relived, a few tears, and lots of laughter.

Annie was accompanied to the gathering by her husband, Ernie Szuch (professor of Biology, retired).

As the Guest of Honor, Annie had the opportunity to visit with old friends and colleagues, even those no longer working at UM-Flint — such as her former supervisor and friend, Dave Hart (retired), Gary Pace from Biology (retired) along with his wife, Colleen, and Karen Arthur from Human Resources, just to name a few of those that attended.

Annie’s association with the University of Michigan-Flint goes way back.   A native of the area, her father graduated from UM-Flint with a teaching degree.  Years later, Annie followed in her father’s footsteps and graduated from UM-Flint, but with a degree in biology.

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Retirement celebration for Annie Szuch, January 6, 2017.

It was during her undergrad years that Annie met fellow student and biology major, Ernie Szuch. The rest is history.

After they married, Ernie went on to get his graduate degree in biology, eventually returning to teach on our campus, becoming a respected fixture of UM-Flint until his own recent retirement.

Annie chose a different path.   She continued her education by obtaining her master’s degree in Library Science from UM-Ann Arbor.

UM-Flint Libraray in the Mott Memorial Building (1970s).

Annie began working at Thompson Library in 1977, where she was assigned to work with Ingrid in Technical Services.

Working in serials section of Tech Services, Annie processed the incoming journal issues and sent older volumes to the bindery, maintained journals on-shelf and updated the card catalog.

University of Michigan-Flint Library, 5th floor, CROB, mid 1980s.

Over the years, Annie has progressed through the ranks, moving on to handling new book orders, donated books, and maintaining the index of materials owned by the Library through updating the (at that time) new online database, MIRLYN as our cataloger.

Plus, of course, Annie also worked front-and-center as a Reference Librarian, Biology Department Library Liaison, and teaching librarian.

Construction of the Thompson Library, which opened October 1994.
Thompson Library, 3rd floor carrels overlooking the Atrium.
Thompson Library, north side.

Through all those decades of service,  Annie has seen a lot of changes.

From starting out in the UM-Flint library that shared space with Mott College at the Mott Memorial Building, to the vast, open area where the library remained for a couple decades on the 5th floor of the Classroom Office Building (fondly know to one and all as CROB, now dubbed French Hall in honor of our former Chancellor), to the brand new facility made specifically and exclusively to house the Thompson Library, Annie has seen it all.

No other librarian in current service can make that claim.

And thus ends an era.

Though Annie is leaving us, her life will continue to remain full and active.

Smudge Szuch in the rafters at home during the holidays.

She will continue to share her magnificent log cabin home with her husband, Ernie, as well as several family members that happen to have 4 legs, a tail and fur — and purr!


We’ll miss hearing of the exploits of Annie’s cats, both living and living in memory, such as Two-Spot, Smudge, Petunia and Gracie.

Annie at her favorite hobby.

Her cats will be by her side when she enjoys some of her favorite hobbies, such as spinning wool into yarn, then using the yarn she created to knit beautiful and warm items of clothing.


Annie has developed a great deal of expertise in this particular hobby, and has taught both spinning and knitting to others.

Annies Cane
Annie’s cane, uniquely personalized!

Annie2Knowing Annie’s fondness for her knitting projects and anything related to yarn,  her colleagues at the Thompson Library gave Annie a gift certificate to her favorite yarn shop, Heritage Spinning and Weaving of  Lake Orion, where Annie has been known to teach a class or two as well.

Annie tells us she will be using her gift certificate to purchase a new 8-shaft loom to replace her old 4-shaft loom.  The old loom will likely become available if anyone is interested in learning how to use one.  (And of course,  Annie can even teach you HOW to use a loom.  She also teaches knitting, both beginner and advanced, as well.)

Retirement Celebration for Annie Szuch, Thomposon Library, 2017.

Not to be outdone,  Gary Pace (retired UM-Flint associate professor of biology) and his wife, Colleen gifted Annie with a framed photograph of herself and Ernie — underwater, snorkeling in the clear, blue ocean.

It’s an incredible keepsake of just one of the many adventures that Annie and Ernie have shared over the years, including incredible memories of summers spent on expeditions from the Caribbean  to the Smokey Mountains to the great forests of the north.  Now they have a photo that captures an amazing moment of their many  adventures together.

We all enjoyed the party, but it had a bitter-sweet overtone for everyone there, knowing that we were celebrating a life well lived, but that the course of that life would no longer include Annie’s bright and smiling face joining us daily — or boxes of donuts from the Davison bakery.

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Annie Szuch retirement celebration, Thompson Library, 1-6-17.


Annie, we are going to miss you.

But we join together in wishing you all happiness and all possible joy in your retirement.



May the new life you now begin be as  wonderful  —  and as memorable     —    as the one you have left as your legacy.

—– OPEN ALL NIGHT! —– Extended Hours at Thompson Library Start December 12, 2016.

 Finals are approaching.   We’re here to help.

Thompson Library  will be  OPEN  for  90  Consecutive Hours during Study Week!

A reminder from the Library! Help for study stress during the Thompson Library 24 hour study days.
Studying at Thompson LibraryNeed a place to study on campus throughout the day and night?

The Frances Willson Thompson Library will open at 8 am on Monday, December 12th and will remain open  until 2am on Friday, December 16th.

Studying for Final Exams at Thompson Library

That’s right     —-    the library will remain open 24 hours Monday, Tuesday and Wed, not closing again until 2am on Friday, December 16th this year.

Thompson Library Atrium

This winter, in conjunction with and through the assistance of Student Government as well  as the generosity of volunteers within the library staff, Thompson Library will adjust its hours of operation, extending the time we are open.


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There will be several mini-events in the library throughout the 24 hour schedule to support students stressed by preparing for finals.

Student Life hands out breakfast sandwiches, bagels, beverages and more!



Student Government is providing light refreshments early in the evening.

Therapy Dogs visit University of Michigan-Flint campus. (2015)




Therapy Dogs will again be visiting Thompson Library this year to assist students dealing with Finals stress.  Come play with the dogs!  They’ll be here on Thursday (December 15th) from noon to 2 pm.

Detailed coloring books and pencils to help relieve stress.

Coloring books, those charming pages with intricate designs, will be available along with coloring pencils to help take your mind off studying for a few minutes.


Students needing to study for exams, or to work on that final paper,  are welcome during our extended hours at Thompson Library throughout the week.

Come and take advantage of these special extended hours to do all that last-minute cramming and put the final touches on your project this week.

Silent Study Room Now Available

Thompson Library has over 900 chairs at carrels, tables and several study rooms in a quiet atmosphere.

Therapy Dogs visit Thompson Library




Study rooms can be reserved online. From the online list, select your preferred date, time and room, then pick up the key at the Circulation Desk when you arrive.  Reserve online and be guaranteed a group study space!

Reservation form online for Thompson Library study rooms!



Bring your coffee, your books and (if you want) your laptops – whatever you need to do your research and studying in a quiet, serene location conducive to scholarly contemplation.

Therapy Dogs visit Thompson Library


Campus-wide  Wi-Fi and the ITS computer lab machines and printers (on all 3 floors of the Library) are available.

Or check out a laptop using your library card (UMID) for use inside the library.

There are over 70 computers (including a few Macs) in the ITS lab located within the library (divided among all 3 floors).

One of the ITS Lab Papercut Print Queue Printer in Thompson Library

Additionally, ITS supplies the Library with 3 printer/copier machines (one on each floor) plus one color printer (3rd floor) for your convenience.  All printers are connected to the campus-wide print-queue via the Papercut system.

Control screen on the ITS Lab printer in Thompson Library.

Send your document to the printer from any ITS computer lab machine.  The document is saved in your personal print queue; no one else can see or print it.  Then retrieve your document at ANY ITS computer lab printer by sliding your UMID card to pull up YOUR list of items sent to printer.  Select the document you want now, hit print button.  It’s that easy.

You can even send documents to the print queue from your laptop via the campus WiFi system.  (See ITS website for instructions.)

Use the phones (next to printers) in Thompson Library to make free inter-campus calls. Call the ITS HelpDesk for assistance with computers, computer programs or printers. They’ll even help you print from a laptop!

Need technical assistance?   ITS has a telephone on the wall next to the printers with their 5 digit inter-campus number clearly posted.  Give them a call and they can walk you through any computer, software or printer difficulties.

Therapy Dogs visit Thompson Library





Need to charge your electronics?   There are many outlet plugs (including under each of the carrels along the edge of the room) for powering devices.

Be sure NOT to leave electronic devices unattended.  Not all elves have good intentions.  (Some are elves of mischief — and theft.)


Laptops available for checkout! Ask at Circulation Desk. Use your library card (UMIC) to check out a laptop. In-library use, only.
  • Laptops are available to checkout for use within the library.


  • VHS and DVD players are available in each of the Study Rooms.


  • Study Rooms can be reserved online (check the UM-Flint Thompson Library website) for study groups.
Midnight at the oasis — the Reference Desk. Vera Anderson and Vince Prygoski working the post-midnight hours in the Library.

Plus there are Reference Librarians on hand to help you find and use the research materials provided by the library, both in print and online.



DVDs, VHS tapes, Music CDs — plus books and ebooks!







Thompson Library provides access to:

  • Over 250,000 books shelved in our building and an additional 500,000 ebooks online (available to borrow just like the print books, but readable as full text online).
  • A collection of over 4,000 music CDs and videos in DVD format.
  • Over 1,000 databases offering indexes to scholarly journals and data sets, many full text online.

… and so much more!


And — as always  — our librarians and staff will be available to assist students with their research needs.





Through the end of December 2016, Thompson Library will be open during the following hours:


                Monday (12th)  —  Thursday (15th):   Open 24 hours

      Friday (16th) :                                                   Close at 2am.

                Friday (16th) :                                                   8  am     to  10 pm

                Saturday :                                                           10  am    to  10 pm   

      Sunday:                                                                12 noon to 12 midnight

                Monday (19th)  —  Tuesday (20th):     8 am to    2 am

      Wednesday (21st):                                        8 am to 12 midnight

      Thursday (22nd):                                            8 am  to   6 pm

                Friday (23rd):                                                    8 am to    6 pm

                Saturday (24th)  —    Begin  Winter  Intersession —  CLOSED 



Winter Semester Begins  —  January 3, 2017

Winter Hours in Effect for 2017

(See:   Library Hours for calendar of hours through April 2017)

Need some holiday entertainment???


Should you need something enticing, enlightening or stimulating, or just plain FUN to read during this long winter break — remember your library has a large paperback  collection of “good reads,” at the bottom of the stairs on the 1st floor (just beyond the Oversized books), an extensive literature collection (see the call items in call number PS on the 1st floor near the windows) as well as plenty of best sellers and topically or timely fascinating books in our Browsing Collection.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The semester is almost over.

Let’s go to the Library!

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thompson Library Hosts Organ Donor Drive




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There is a desperate need for people to registered as organ donors upon their death to help save  lives of those who through injury, birth defects, or disease are in desperate need of replacement organs.


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Informing the public of the facts of organ donation and getting as many people as possible to register as organ donors is vital.


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Once again, as we have for the past 5 years, University of Michigan-Flint’s Thompson Library hosted an Organ Donor event in October in conjunction with the UM-Flint Student Nurses Association.


Libraries all across the State of Michigan participated in the event, raising awareness and signing up thousands of new donors while simultaneously enlightening thousands more about the need for organ donors.

The results of the 2016 organ donor drive are as follows:

University of Michigan-Flint, Thompson Library

     Hours booth was open:                                                 8

     New Donors registered:                                             43

     Visitors already registered as donors:             288

     People asking for information:                                 83

How does this compare with UM-Flint’s participation in years past?   Here’s how it breaks down:

Year                       New Donors Registered

2016                                       43

2015                                       32

2014                                       42

2013                                       48

2012                                       67

2011                                       77

2010                                       72

Volunteers manning the Thompson Library organ donor registration table.

Numbers may have dropped over earlier years, but overall University of Michigan-Flint continues to have good participation and regularly increases the number of Michigan citizens who are now on the organ donor list.




How do we compare to other libraries over the years?  Here’s the breakdown:

Year             All Libraries       New Flint Donors          Flint Donors%

2010                        5                                    72                                   32.0%

2011                      10                                  77                                    18.6%

2012                      29                                  67                                       9.4%

2013                      38                                  48                                       8.4%

2014                      57                                  42                                       7.9%

2015                      60                                  32                                       7.2%

2016                      74                                  43                                       7.0%


Statewide, there were 154 participating organizations, with 74 staffed organ donor registration tables and 80 organ donor informational displays.


2016 Statistics — State of Michigan

New Donors registered:                                                          597

Visitors already registered as donors:                        2,558

Potential Donors asking for information:                  1,907

Total visitors to booth:                                                         4,872

Hours booth was open:                                                           823

Volunteers manning the Thompson Library organ donor registration table.

In all, UM-Flint contributed about 7% of the total people who registered as organ donors during the one-day drive this year.

Well done, University of Michigan-Flint people!

For more information, see:

Michigan Libraries for Life