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John Montresor, Plan of Detroit, 1764, Courtesy of the William L. Clements Library.

Detroit before the Automobile: The William L. Clements Library Collection

October 18, 2014 - January 18, 2015

Drawn from the extensive holdings of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan (U-M), this exhibition illustrates the rich history of the city of Detroit through maps, letters, prints, and photographs.

From its beginnings as a French outpost to its emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse based on the automobile at the end of the nineteenth century, the exhibition will focus on the city’s growth, its people, and its legacy.


The exhibition is part of the U-M Collections Collaborations series, co-organized by and presented at UMMA and designed to showcase the renowned and diverse collections at the University of Michigan.

The U-M Collections Collaborations series is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.