History

Lights, Camera, Austen: the screen adaptations of Jane Austen

U-M graduate student instructor Anne Mecklenburg will discuss the many, many adaptations of Jane Austen's work. Have you seen every Jane Austen miniseries multiple times? Remain devoted to the Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier Pride and Prejudice? Really liked that one with the zombies? Loved Clueless? No matter your favorite, this event is a chance to learn more about the history and context of Jane Austen novels on film. Naturally, we'll be watching a lot of clips!

This event is part of a partnership with the University of Michigan Jane Austen 1817-2017: A Bicentennial Exhibit.

Kit Homes of Ann Arbor: a Historical Tour

Join kit house researchers Andrew and Wendy Mutch and learn about the fascinating history of catalog and kit homes, including Michigan's role in the kit house industry.

The presentation explores the steps of buying and building a catalog house through the story of one Ann Arbor family's home. Attendees will also be taken on a photographic tour of some of the more than 200 catalog and kit houses located in and around Ann Arbor.

Andrew and Wendy Mutch are kit house enthusiasts, researchers and owners of a 1926 Sears Roebuck “Hamilton” kit house in Novi.

African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County Living Oral History

Find out more about our community’s history as the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County unveils their “Living History” exhibit.

This panel exhibition is part of a collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library and the Living Oral History Project, a collection of interviews illustrating what local African-Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today.

The project covered such topics as race; gender; education; equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure. Each topic provided a spectrum of perspectives relevant to the issues and concerns of the African-American community in the history of 20th century Washtenaw County.

The panel exhibit, made possible with funding from The Michigan Humanities Council, features a selection of AACHM participants from the AACHM Living Oral History interviews along with additional interviews that will include residents from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

A public reception for the exhibit opening will take place from 3–5 pm on Sunday, March 26. The reception will also be an opportunity for a participatory experience for visitors through examination of the exhibit and sharing stories. The event includes refreshments and is cosponsored by the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County.

Rotary Club of Ann Arbor: Celebrating 100 Years

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor invites you to celebrate their 100th anniversary through this Downtown Library exhibit.

Founded in 1916, the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor (RCAA) has played a significant role in the life and activities of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and the world. Often identified as a town and gown club, the original group of 15 Charter members was comprised of citizens from the town and the University of Michigan. Currently, RCAA has 320 members, the largest Rotary Club in the state of Michigan. This current exhibit showcases its activities over the years, its growth of programs and membership, and highlights the universal access playground to be built in Gallup Park in 2017—a gift to the city of Ann Arbor in honor of RCAA’s 100-year celebration.

Author Tom Stanton Discusses His New York Times Bestseller: “Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit”

Join us for an evening with author Tom Stanton as he discusses his New York Times-bestseller Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-Era Detroit. The evening includes a book signing and books will be for sale, courtesy of Nicola's Books.

Award-winning author Tom Stanton weaves a stunning tale of history, crime, and sports. Richly portraying 1930s America, "Terror in the City of Champions" features a pageant of colorful figures: iconic athletes, sanctimonious criminals, scheming industrial titans, a bigoted radio priest, a love-smitten celebrity couple, J. Edgar Hoover, and two future presidents, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. It is a rollicking true story set at the confluence of hard luck, hope, victory, and violence.

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens—even, possibly, a beloved athlete.

The book opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression’s hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey—all while Joe Louis chased boxing’s heavyweight crown.

Amidst such glory, the Legion’s dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged “suicides,” bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean’s involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey Cochrane’s reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s brutal union buster.

Tom Stanton’s other books include the critically acclaimed Tiger Stadium memoir "The Final Season" and the Quill Award finalist Ty and The Babe. A professor of journalism at the University of Detroit Mercy, he is a former Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

CANCELLED: Ypsilanti as an African-American City with Local Historian Matt Siegfried

Due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been cancelled.

We hope to reschedule at a future date, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Women's History Month Event: Great Girls in Michigan History

A dancer, a pilot, a writer, and an Ann Arbor wrestler—these are among the girls you'll meet when author Patricia Majher leads this fascinating look at famous women, Michigan, and her new book, Great Girls in Michigan History.

The easy-to-read short biographies in her book, named a 2016 Michigan Notable Book, uncover the stories of 20 girls from Michigan’s past who did amazing things before they turned 20 years old. From lesser-known leaders and writers to more well-known figures, the girls in her book come from a variety of personal backgrounds and interests, locations across the state, and historical time periods.

Patricia Majher is the editor of Michigan History magazine (published by the Historical Society of Michigan) and the author of Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

Do not miss this look at Michigan's past through the lens of its most famous women! A book signing will follow and books will be for sale.

Building Matters: Kahn Arbor

Albert Kahn is one of the most famous and prolific architects ever to be based out of Detroit.

Known internationally for his radically modernizing approach to industrial architecture, Kahn’s Ann Arbor buildings continue to define the city almost a century after they were built.

Learn about some of his well-known (and not so well-known) Ann Arbor buildings. If you’re already a Kahn fan, feel free to bring up your own.

Jessica A.S. Letaw enjoys working on, thinking over, and telling stories about architecture. Her past day jobs included design/build and construction firms. She lives in Ann Arbor with her rescue hound, Henry, and keeps herself out of trouble by volunteering for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and other local events. She enjoys reading, gardening, and well-made White Russians.

Always Lost: A Meditation on War

In 2008, Western Nevada College (WNC) sociology Professor Don Carlson was stopped in his tracks by The New York Times’ Roster of the Dead. “Four thousand faces of American military who had perished in Iraq stared at me,” he said, “and I realized that this war has been perhaps one of the most impersonal wars the U.S. has ever fought.” Carlson and English Professor Marilee Swirczek envisioned a literary and visual arts exhibition to personalize Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Kevin Burns, Major, USMC (Ret.) titled the exhibition Always Lost: A Meditation on War from an observation by American writer Gertrude Stein: “War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost.”

The heart of Always Lost is the Wall of the Dead: individual photographs with names of the more than 6,870 U.S. military war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. The Always Lost project team is committed to keeping the Wall of the Dead current in honor of those who gave their lives and those who made it home.

Included in the exhibition, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News, is the 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of Iraq War combat photographs (Breaking News Photography) by photojournalists David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, embedded with Marine units in Iraq in 2003. Accompanying each combat photograph is original literary work by WNC creative writers, veterans and their family members, and others from the Nevada writing community. Observations about the nature of war, from ancient philosophers to modern-day generals, offer thought-provoking meditations about the effects of war on each of us and our obligations to those who serve in harm’s way on our behalf. Interviews of WNC student veterans, representing service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, remind us of the hidden wounds of war. Army SPC Noah C. Pierce, who took his life after two combat tours in Iraq, represents the tragedy of military suicides through his personal story and original poetry.

The exhibition has evolved into a powerful meditation on the effect of war on each of us. It has become a sacred space in which to contemplate the personal costs and collective sacrifice of these particular conflicts, and consequently, of all wars. Always Lost: A Meditation on War is dedicated to those who gave their lives and those who made it home.

This exhibit contains graphic images and depictions of war that some viewers may find disturbing. It is not recommended for unsupervised children and viewer discretion is advised.

Always Lost is made possible through the generosity of The National Endowment of the Arts, The Dallas Morning News, Pfizer VIP: Veterans In Pfizer, Western Nevada College, Art Works and many more.

Image Credit: Photo (left): Courtesy of The Dallas Morning News/David Leeson

Cuba: An Opening Door

This exhibit includes 51 photos taken during Sandy Schopbach’s recent trip to Cuba.

Some are landscapes: the harbor and streets of Havana, the bay of Cienfuegos, the church and cobbled streets of Trinidad (the Cuban city, not the country), and the countryside in between. Others are snapshots of daily life: the vendors in the covered market of Cienfuegos, people watching the streets below from their balconies, students in uniform enjoying the end of the school day. Still others are portraits: the young singer in a restaurant, or the proud veteran with his many medals, or the woman-with-cigar posing for photos to earn extra money.

Cuba reminds Sandy of the America of the fifties. It’s a country perched on the precipice of the great changes that will come, now that relations have been re-established. A few young people are already walking around with their ears glued to a cell phone. And until mid-summer the U.S. Embassy in Havana flew no flag and was only a “U.S. Interests Office." Things are changing and perhaps they will change fast.

Still, she hopes that much will remain of the Cuba she saw during this magic visit to an island that has remained a Never-Never-Land for so many years.

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