The Quarto, 2001
Clements Library, University of Michigan
John C. Dann
courtesy and copyright of the Clements Library
The library has been saddened in the past few months by the deaths of two stalwart members of the Clements Library Associates Board of Governors: Roy Christiansen of Huntington Woods, Michigan, and Walter Hayes of Shepperton, England.
Both men were eminently successful in their professional careers: Roy was an attorney, judge, and one-time mayor of Huntington Woods; Walter was Editor of the Sunday Dispatch (London) and Associate Editor of the Daily Mail, Vice Chairman of Ford in Europe, Vice President of the Ford Motor Company here, and President of Aston Martin. They each played important roles in numerous charitable and cultural organizations.
It was their unbridled enthusiasm for the Clements Library’s mission and wholehearted support for its efforts and accomplishments that made them such exceptional friends. Both men took the time to get to know the Library intimately- the collections, the staff, what it does, what it does not do, and what it might do- and in their own particular ways, with their unique talents, they brought the place closer to achieving its goals and its promise.
Roy Christiansen attended every meeting, every public lecture and program. He was unceasing in his efforts to introduce the Library to new people “who ought to be involved.” He was one of those individuals who had no time for pettiness- there were too many new and exciting things to learn about- and the sense of excitement that he brought to Board meetings and contacts with staff members was contagious. In Roy’s honour and in respect for his deep affection for the Library and the University of Michigan, his law firm- Kerr, Russell and Weber- has purchased two eighteenth-century books of great rarity and importance, one of which is described in detail in this issue of Quarto.
Walter Hayes’ contributions and impact on the Library could not be overemphasized. The Library Director has provided this personal tribute and reminiscence:
Walter Hayes, A Personal Tribute
It might seem almost inconceivable that, as late as 1980, the Clements Library had neither a photocopy machine nor a computer. Walter Hayes, then Vice President of Ford Motor Company, arranged, unsolicited, for the company to donate serviceable used machines to the Library, and we took our earliest steps towards the modern age of technology. It was typical of his thoughtful generosity. Walter, himself, continued to write with a manual typewriter until the day he died. That was typical of Walter as well.
I was first introduced Walter and Elizabeth Hayes by Professor Kenneth Lockridge, who was their neighbour for the several years they lived in Ann Arbor during the early ‘80s. Elizabeth Hayes soon became a devoted volunteer manuscript cataloguer. Walter, a notable book collector, fell in love with the Clements Library at first sight. He instinctively appreciate the qualities that make its collections exceptional, and he realized that it could benefit greatly from the kind of support and expertise he could provide. As Board member, friend, and critical advisor he can rightly be considered one of the dozen or so individuals who has made the Library what it is today.
What is remarkable is that he played as essential a role in many other seemingly unrelated fields: theatre criticism, support for the arts, auto racing, and historical preservation to name a few. He wrote a delightful children’s book, the finest autobiography of his close friend Henry Ford II, and the wonderful study of Captain Mayhew Folger of Nantucket, the New England ship’s captain who solved the mystery of the mutiny on the Bounty- Walter solved the mysteries of Capt. Folger! The list could go on and on.
At the Clements and in England, he and Elizabeth provided every possible assistance with the publication of the journal of Jacob Nagle. Walter conceived the whole idea for our 101 Teasures book, published to mark the Public Record Office. In everything Walter did, he always gave far more than he received in return. He enjoyed doing so- generosity, kindness, and loyal devotion to friends and family were simply an integral part of his character.
In all the seemingly disparate facets of his career, there actually were common denominators. He possessed remarkable energy and capacity for productivity. He approached life as have the best of journalists and historians – as a bemused and analytical observer rather than a judge. He found almost all things and all people interesting and deserving of respect. He was intensely loyal. He considered petty animosities, resentments, and second-guessing simply a waste of precious time that could better be used taking on new challenges, new ideas, and meeting new and interesting people.
Walter had a brilliant aesthetic sense. The publications of our Library that he had a hand in producing – such as the award-winning Folger volume – are tangible records of this. His personal library was an exquisite mirror of his diverse interests and his appreciation of excellence and beauty. But this artistic sense was more than that – it was part of a general attitude. He maintained a sure sense of proportion in his life, allowing neither career successes nor disappointments to interfere with his love of life and the delight he took in the people he cared about. He made even the smallest and most mundane tasks exciting adventures and opportunities.
Walter Hayes generated enthusiasm and excitement, and the Clements Library benefitted immensely. It will continue to benefit from his involvement in countless ways for years to come.
John C. Dann
The Captain from Nantucket
In 1996 the Clements Library published The Captain from Nantucket and the Mutiny on the Bounty by Walter Hayes. Walter, a member of the Library’s Board, had been a serious student of South Pacific voyages of the eighteenth century for many years. Based in part on materials at the Clements Library and on extensive archival research, this book, for the first time, presented the complete history of Captain Mayhew Folger’s discovery of the fate of the Bounty’s mutinous crew. The book is a delight to read and a work of beauty. It won the most prestigious award given for graphic book design as one of the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ “Fifty Books of the Year.”
The Library published both a “regular” edition and a special, limited edition, boxed and signed by the author.