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George Corselius, Ann Arbor's pioneer librarian

George Corselius, Ann Arbor's pioneer librarian image

"This volume may be kept ____ days. ____
cents will be charged for each additional day.
"Soiling, tearing, or breaking books is a spe-
cies of Vandalism entirely without excuse. A
fine of from six to fifty cents will be taxed for
every such outrage committed on this volume."

George Corselius was for a time the editor of the first newspaper in Ann Arbor, "The Western Emigrant," which commenced publication in 1829. (The paper was owned by John Allen and Samuel W. Dexter, the founders, respectively, of Ann Arbor and of Dexter Village.) Corselius also has the distinction of being the first Ann Arborite to leave town for the California Gold Rush in 1849 -- a journey he did not live to complete; he got as far as the Isthmus of Panama where, becoming ill, he turned back; but he died aboard ship, and was buried at sea. "Buried in the Atlantic" is the inscription on his memorial -- a tree-stump cenotaph in Ann Arbor's Forest Hill Cemetery. During the twenty years between those dates, Corselius was, among other things, Ann Arbor's first librarian: lending books, for a fee, from his private stock. This is a specimen of the labels that were pasted inside the front covers of his precious volumes.

Corselius' daughter, Cornelia Corselius, was bookish also. An Ann Arbor school teacher, she wrote a book for children, "Financie and Other Stories." Two of the tales are local, and tell of children trudging the roads to Dixboro and Dexter Village.

(The label above was copied from a poor photo in an old eBay listing; if anyone reading this has a better copy of a Corselius label, please post it and let me know.)


Keywords: George Corselius

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Local History