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History 1800 to 1849 History

The Catholepistemiad, a public institution and the predecessor of the University of Michigan, was created in Detroit. One of its main purposes was the provision of education from the grammar school to the university level. [10]

Audubon's Birds of America
1838: Audubon's Birds of America

1837 The Michigan Legislature created the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Even in these early days, the importance library resources was recognized. Funding was allocated for library needs and the Reverend Henry Colclazer was appointed to the position of librarian by the board of regents.[10]

In February of 1838 the Library’s first purchase was made when the Regents approved $970 for John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The original copy of this book is still in existence and is held in the Special Collections Library. [10]

Asa Gray was appointed as Professor of Botany and Zoology and charged with purchasing books for the library. Over the next couple of years, with a $5,000 budget and the assistance of London bookseller George P. Putnam, over 3,400 volumes were purchased. [10]
1840s This was a period of slow growth for the Library. Students needed faculty approval to borrow library books and, even with such approval, they could borrow a maximum of two books at a time. [10]
1844 George Pray spent the afternoon reading in the University Library and wrote in his diary: "It is discouraging to an ambitious and ardent-minded student to enter a large library and see how much there is to be learned and how impossible it is to learn all things." [11]
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