Last week Martha, one of the volunteers who works at the Green Garage’s library, came in with 2 books she had acquired at an Ann Arbor book sale. The books are both titled History of Detroit and Michigan, and were written by Silas Farmer. Did I mention that the books were written in 1884? And that they are in great condition? Together, the volumes total over 1,200 pages, and can be separated into two categories. Volume 1 focuses on Detroit’s history, including wonderful sketches of various buildings and residences, and Volume 2 deals with ‘famous’ people of Detroit, including full page portraits of these individuals (overwhelmingly white male, with the exception of one woman we spotted). The books are an irreplaceable treasure trove of historic detail, both in text and illustrations.
Here’s an example of a page from Volume 1, with sketches of various homes on Jefferson Avenue.
Below is a page from Volume 2, which dealt with the biographies of various people related to Detroit. In this case, the sketch is of Anthony Wayne (who Wayne County is named after). In reading his short bio, I learned that he was born in Pennsylvania in 1745, attended the Philadelphia Academy, began business as a surveyor, met and became friends with Benjamin Franklin, moved to military work during the Revolutionary War, became a Major-General by Congress, served in the General Assembly in Philadelphia, became commissioner to make treaties with the Indians of the Northwest, and eventually reached Detroit in August of 1796, where his name was used in establishing a new county. I also learned that he was well proportioned, had dark hair, and had a quick intelligence. He was described as having pure morals and refined manners. Thank goodness!
Our copy of The History of Detroit and Michigan isn’t available to check out, but you’re more than welcome to drop by and peruse it in the Green Garage library! And while you’re here, you’re welcome to browse the growing collection of books that you can borrow, most of them focusing on sustainability, Detroit, and small business growth. Check out the full list here.