Hatcher North

History of Astronomy

Special Collections Library
Hatcher Graduate Library
913 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 764-9377 (p)

A collection of materials on astronomy dating from the second century through the 'golden age' of celestial cartography

If you simply want to read a historical astronomy text, you may be able to find it online, digitized and translated into English. But to fully experience the physical splendor of the documents, you’ll need to make a visit to the library.

Peggy Daub, curator of the history of astronomy collection, says, “We are one of the few institutions in the world to have all the important early works in astronomy covered, including hundreds of pre-1800 publications.”

The Galileo Manuscript, written 1609-1610, is among the great treasures of the University of Michigan Library. One of the top ten items requested from Special Collections, it is also the most frequently reprinted, appearing in textbooks and on the web, including on the NASA website. The document, written in his own hand, describes and illustrates Galileo’s discovery of the four moons of Jupiter.

Daub says, “The Galileo manuscript is a rare and valuable holding and it gets students excited about the subject. I’m often invited to speak to beginning astronomy students, and the manuscript is part of the talk. Physics classes use it, too, and when Michigan Math and Science Scholars visit, it’s part of our show-and-tell.”

While the greatest strength of the history of astronomy collection is the depth and breadth of its material, the Galileo manuscript is one among its many sparkling gems.

The library owns all of the “big four” star atlases that came out of Europe’s golden age of celestial cartography: the Atlas Coelestis of John Flamsteed, the Uranometria of Johann Bayer (1603), the Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia of Johannes Hevelius (1690) and the Uranographia of Johann Elert Bode (1801) — two of which were fairly recent aquisitions made possible with the support of library endowments.

To look back even further, you can examine an Egyptian papyrus containing an astrological treatise, written in Greek around the second century C.E., that predicts the movement of Mars.

Daub points out that the astronomy collection has significant overlap with the History of Mathematics collection. For example, the library owns a rare first edition by Copernicus (1543) that puts forth his theory that the earth moves around the sun, a theory he supported with mathematics since it couldn’t be proven by observation.

The mathematics collection also includes more than 100 editions of The Elements of Euclid, spanning five centuries and many languages. An edition by Oliver Byrne published in 1847 is one of the first examples of the use of color to elucidate mathematical concepts.

Page maintained by Pablo Alvarez
Last modified: 06/27/2014

Exhibit Preview: Nelson Mandela and the South African Struggle

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela photographed by David Turnley

For Madiba with Love: Photographs of Nelson Mandela and the South African Struggle: 1985 - 2013

This exhibit sponsored by the College of Engineering, Center for African Studies, Residential College, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, and Office of the Provost.

Event Information

January 6th, 2014 through January 14th, 2014
Hatcher Library Gallery, Room 100
Location Information
Event Type

Used Book Sale 2016

brightly colored design books on bookshelves

Book image courtesy of See-ming Lee

The University Library is selling several thousand gently used books, including duplicate or superseded titles and other books not needed for the collection. There's something for everyone at low, low prices.

Event Information

Date & Time
December 12, 2016 - 10:00am to 10:00pm
Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery (Room 100)
Location Information
Event Type
Open House

Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

Special Collections Library
Hatcher Graduate Library
913 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 764-9377 (p)

A collection of American culinary history: cookbooks and other materials from the 16th through the 21st century

We are not just what we eat, but how we eat — not to mention when, where and with whom. Cookbooks, menus, advertisements, manuals of table etiquette and the like may not be written to preserve the history of everyday life, but that’s exactly what they do. And this is what makes the library’s Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive (JBLCA) so valuable. Containing more than 25,000 items including ephemera publications, it paints a rich and unique portrait of American life over the centuries. In the context of the collection, American culinary history is defined broadly to include both influences upon American foodways and the influence of American culinary practices elsewhere. 

Food preparation and consumption offers a doorway to explore how people saw themselves, their neighbors, and their larger communities. Through the culinary archive one can explore changing attitudes towards diet and health, homemaking, commercial dining and the industrialization of food production. It also reveals historical ideas about race, class, and gender. And food continues to be an important part of our culture — contemporary discussions about organic produce, fast food, dietetics and diet fads, concentrated feed lots, vending machines in schools and the merits of vegetarianism all stem from historical contexts chronicled in the archive.

The collection is shaped by the donation of a rich assemblage of cookbooks, menus, and other material collected over many years by Jan Longone, an adjunct curator in the U-M Special Collections Library, and her husband U-M Emeritus Professor Daniel T. Longone.

Not so long ago, even the concept of American culinary history was met with skepticism.

“[Critics] said America had no cuisine or culinary history to speak of; all we ate were hamburgers,” Jan Longone wrote of attitudes at an Oxford University food symposium in the 1980s. Yet today the archive is recognized as a premier collection for the study of American culture as it relates to food and home life.

Writing in the Boston Globe, renowned chef James Beard called an exhibit of works from the collection “an unequaled feat of culinary scholarship.”

“Not all the cookbooks are good cookbooks, but they are all interesting and the authors, mainly women, were an amazing group who did a great deal to influence American history,” Beard wrote in the 1984 column.

And the collection has only continued to grow and evolve since then. Formerly held at U-M’s William L. Clements Library, it was transferred to the U-M Library in 2013 where its potential for teaching and scholarship can be fully realized.

Page maintained by Juli McLoone
Last modified: 06/15/2016

Publish Not Perish: Faculty Advice for New Academic Authors

Stack of books

Are you an undergraduate, graduate student, or faculty member interested in learning more about academic publishing? Please join us for a distinguished panel of faculty members from across the disciplines who will discuss the academic publishing experience for aspiring authors from a variety of viewpoints.

Event Information

Date & Time
March 14, 2013 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Hatcher Library Gallery, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library
Location Information
Event Type
Panel Discussion

Hatcher Library Ask a Librarian Desk

Hours this week:

Sunday1:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Monday09:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Tuesday09:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Wednesday09:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Thursday09:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday09:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Page maintained by Karen A Reiman-Sendi
Last modified: 06/24/2016

Unveiling the Secrets of Greek Manuscripts in American Libraries

End of the Gospel according to John, 13th c. Mich. Ms. 25
End of the Gospel according to John,
13th c. Mich. Ms. 25

Dr. Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann describes her project of cataloging Greek manuscripts in American Libraries and then focuses on the University of Michigan collection and the results of her research to date.

Event Information

Date & Time
March 21, 2013 - 4:00pm to 6:30pm
Event Type

Study Spaces

Open, individual study spaces abound across the library. We also offer a range of group study spaces — many of which may be reserved in advance. 

Shapiro Undergraduate Library and Shapiro Science Library

Hatcher Graduate Library

Page maintained by Denise Marie Foley
Last modified: 11/23/2016


Subscribe to RSS - Hatcher North