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Angling and Conservation in Michigan, the Inheritance from the English Leisure Society

A book tells a story, while a book collection can tell many stories about the owners, content, and history. The Bower-Averbach Collection held at the Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Room is just such a collection, where its value en masse far outweighs any single volume or digital facsimile. The information comes not just from the type on the pages but from the owners, writers, illustrators, and the physical nature of the book itself. The current exhibit, Angling and Conservation in Michigan, the Inheritance from the English Leisure Society, considers the history and origins of water conservation in Michigan and the tradition of fly fishing upon which it is based. The exhibit highlights just some of the material collected by Seymour Bower and J.E. Averbach. Seymour Bower (1855 - 1924), for 25 years the superintendent of fisheries in Michigan, was one of the nation's foremost authorities on fisheries. This collection includes works of scientific as well as antiquarian interest, and many particularly concern Michigan and the Great Lakes area. J.E. Averbach assembled an equally impressive array of titles in the field. The exhibit will be on display from October 14th, 2017 until January 5th 2018. Contributing authors include: a 14th century nun, English royalty, an American President and a judge in the Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti trial. The Martha W. Griffiths Michigan Rare Book Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Library of Michigan.

Case one:
Markers of the Angling Society

Best, Thomas. A Concise Treaties on the Art of Angling: Confirmed by Actual Experience and Minute Observations, with the Proper Methods for Breeding and Feeding Fish and Making Fish-Ponds, Stews, &c., with Several Arcana Never Before Made Public, to Which is Added The Complete Fly-fisher, The Game-laws Relative to Angling and Prognostics of the Weather Independent of the Barometer. (3rd edition). London, England: Printed for B. Crosby, 1794.
Michigan Rare Collection: SH 437 .B4 1794. Bower-Averbach Collection
This book was first published in 1787 with the Library of Michigan’s copy coming from the collection of Richard Wilkes Unett of England. Interestingly enough, Unett is mentioned in the Gentleman’s Magazine, (Vol 76, 1794) as also being the owner of the manuscripts of a Dr. Wilkes. The issue at hand concerned entomology under the caption of, The Garden Insect Enveloped in White Froth, Hamlefs, July.

Cohen, Joshua G., Kost, Michael A., Slaughter, S., and Dennis A. Albert.  Bradford State University Press, 2015. A Field Guide to the Nature Communities of Michigan. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2015.
Michigan Collection: QH 105 .M5 F54 2015

This essential guidebook to the natural communities of Michigan introduces the diverse terrain of a unique state. Small enough to carry in a backpack, this field guide provides a system for dividing the complex natural landscape of Michigan into easily understood and describable components called natural communities. The descriptions are supplemented with distribution maps, photographs, and comprehensive lists of plant species. 

Eastman, John. Michigan. Birds of Lake, Pond and Marsh: Water and Wetland Birds of North America. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stockpole Books, 1999.
Michigan Collection: QL 683 .E27 E375 1999

Everyone loves learning uncommon things about common birds and this read was easy and organized. It doesn't cover every species like a field guide but it has some tidbits written on groups of birds that are very interesting. Recommended for beginners/intermediate birders. See his other titles: Birds of Forest, Yard, and Thicket & Birds of Field and Shore: Grassland and Shoreline Birds of Eastern North America.

Forster, Matt. Back roads & Byways of Michigan: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions. Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 2014.
Michigan Collection: F 564.3 .F67 2014

Whether it’s the Chicago and Territorial Roads, home of a historic and scenic railroad, or the Lower Peninsula’s Chain of Lakes area, Backroads & Byways of Michigan is the shortest route a visitor can take to explore like a local. Now with color maps and photographs, this second edition offers itineraries to scenic and intriguing places, like Michigan’s wine country where you can sample local wines, chocolate truffles, and orchard fruits and Western Michigan, once a mining area, now a winter-recreation wonderland and home of many spectacular waterfalls.

Staff pick!
Holman, Alan J. and Margaret B. Homan, Michigan Roadside Naturalist. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006.
Michigan Collection: QH 105 .M5 H66 2003

This book this a user-friendly guide that offers a Who's Who of the geology, biology, and archaeology of the Great Lakes State, as well as highway adventures along the state's major routes.  It makes it easy to mix learning about science with a beautiful scenic road trip.  The age old adage is that the more you know about something the more fascinating it becomes which is just the case in Michigan.  The book begins with an educational yet accessible tour of important points in Michigan's natural and archaeological history, followed by seven road trips based on commonly traveled state routes, moving from south to north in the Lower Peninsula and east to west in the Upper Peninsula.

Staff pick!
Ingall, David, Michigan Civil War Landmarks. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2015.
Michigan Collection: F 567 .I54 2015

When America faced its greatest internal crisis, Michigan answered the call with over ninety thousand troops. The story of that sacrifice is preserved in the states rich collection of Civil War monuments, markers, forts, cemeteries, reenactments, museums and exhibits. With a foreword by Civil War historian Jack Dempsey, this work is the first of its kind to chronicle the many Civil War landmarks in the Wolverine State.

Johnston, Ruth Mossok, and David McCall Johnston, The Art of Cooking Morels. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2012.
Michigan Collection: TX 804 .J64 2011

Lacking feet morels cannot run away yet somehow they are still able to retain their elusiveness.  As well, other mushroom hunters do have feet and are quite capable in keeping secrets when important.  Should your outings not be fruitful, this book is equally applicable to morels found by others and sold in the spring market.

Michigan Wine Country: Wine & Touring Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Borrello Marketing and Communications, 1997 – 2016. Accessed May 1, 2017,
Michigan Documents: TP 544 .M53 

Logically focused more on the west side of the state where more wine is produced, this periodical tracks wine, vineyards and festivals in the state.  Includes of map of wineries with six new vineyards being added between 2016 and 2017. 

Staff pick!
Tekuela, Stan. Trees of Michigan: Field Guide. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, [2002].
Michigan Collection: QK 167 .T454 2002

With this famous field guide by award-winning author and naturalist Stan Tekiela, you can make tree identification simple, informative and productive. Learn about 105 Michigan trees, organized in the book by leaf type and attachment. Fact-filled information contains the particulars that you want to know, while full-page photos provide the visual detail needed for accurate identification. 

Thompson, Bill, III. Michigan Bird Watching: A Year-Round Guide. Nashville, TN: Cool Springs Press, 2004.
Michigan Collection: QL 684 .M5 T49 2004

The Library of Michigan holds 37 plus titles related to birds and bird watching in Michigan. For a full list use subject heading: Birds -- Michigan.  The oldest dates from 1893, Birds of Michigan by Albert John Book (Michigan Collection: QL 684 .M5 C6 1893).

Weber, Nancy Smith. A Morel Hunter’s Companion: A Guide to the True and False Morels of Michigan. Lansing, MI: TwoPeninsula Press, 1988.
Michigan Collection: QK 623 .M65 W4 1988

We at the Library of Michigan really want you to be successful in your hunt for fungi.  An oldie but goodie, this book should set you are the right bath and in your quest for delectable edibles. 


Beer, Food & Sports

Staff pick!
Abbot, Jim. Imperfect: An Improbable Life. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2012
Michigan Collection: GV 865 .A26 A3 2012

Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott dreamed of someday being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Michigan, by parents who encouraged him to compete, Jim would become an ace pitcher for the University of Michigan. But his journey was only beginning: By twenty-one, he’d won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics and—without spending a day in the minor leagues—cracked the starting rotation of the California Angels. In 1991, he would finish third in the voting for the Cy Young Award. Two years later, he would don Yankee pinstripes and pitch one of the most dramatic no-hitters in major-league history.

Staff pick!
Gostomski, Ted. Island Life: An Isle Royale Nature Guide. Houghton, MI: Isle Royale Natural History Association, [2007].
Michigan Collection: QH 105 .M5 G67 2007

A complete guide to the common flora and fauna of Isle Royale in one easy to use volume. Each species is described in detail and illustrated with a color photo or drawing.

Greenberg, Josh. Rivers of Sand: Fly Fishing Michigan & the Great Lakes RegionGuilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2014.
Michigan Collection SH 509 .G743 2014

An award winning book about the joy of fly fishing in Michigan.  A book of guidance on the more subtle elements of being victorious in fishing.

Two time staff pick!

Hansen, Dennis R., Trail Atlas of Michigan. Okemos, MI: Hansen Pub., 2002.
Michigan Collection: G1411 .E63 H36 2002

The Trail Atlas of Michigan is the only comprehensive guide of non-motorized trails for Michigan. The Atlas covers hiking, cross country skiing, mountain and road biking, in-line skating and nature trails. The Atlas covers trails in every corner of the state from Monroe County near Lake Erie to Keweenaw County in the Upper Peninsula and hundreds of places in between.

Hansen, Eric and Rebecca Pelky, Hiking Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: A Guide to the Area’s Greatest Hikes. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides, [2016].
Michigan Collection: GV 199.42 .M5 U664 2016

Numerous paths less traveled for now.  The Upper Peninsula is gaining in popularity when it comes to outdoor adventures. This work provides detailed maps and trail descriptions make navigating these wonderful trails easy, from family-friend strolls to popular vistas to hillier wooded pathways.

Michigan Beer Directory: Your Guide to the Finest Microbreweries, Brewpubs & Breweries. Lansing, MI: Michigan Brewers Guild, 2005.
Michigan Collection:  TP 572 .M53 2005

Inside you will find: Listings and directions for all the current breweries History and facts about brewing and drinking.  Includes a calendar of beer festivals and listings for brew clubs Signature pages to record your visits. 

Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan the Great Beer State: The Finest Craft Breweries in Michigan. Lansing, MI: 2014.
Michigan Collection: TP 577 .m5 2014

An official publication of the Michigan Brewers Guild who would like you to know every possible way to enjoy the artisan beers produced in Michigan.  Like wine, the craft brewing industry is booming in Michigan and it is a strong motivation for tourism.  For some it is a thing to travel around and sample local cuisine the same holds true for beer.  Does a unique climate change the taste or is all in the local recipe?  Information on brewers and events throughout the state is included along with a map so as to chart your course.   

Snyder, Wayne E., The Golden Age: Fly Fishing in Michigan 1860-1960. MI: Wayne Snyder, [2017].
Michigan Collection SH 456 .S69 2017

A classic book now published in color.  A history of the men and women who shaped fly fishing in Michigan - the fly dressers, rod crafters and guides, the artists, authors and the conservationists. It's about Michigan's indigenous fly patterns and who invented them. It's about the tragic loss of the grayling, change and continuity from the formation of the Michigan Basin to the formation of Trout Unlimited.

Sportsman’s Connection, Fishing Maps Guide Book: Michigan Central Northeast Region. Superior, WI: Sportsman’s Connection, 2016.
Michigan Collection: SH 509 .S64 2016

For the path less traveled, an easy-to-use collection of detailed contour lake maps, fish stocking and survey data, and the best fishing spots and tips from area experts.  Find guides to the other regions of Michigan in the stacks as well.


Staff pick!

Yung, Katherine. Coney Detroit. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, [2012].
Michigan Collection: TX 749 .Y86 2012

Detroit is the world capital of the coney island hot dog-a natural-casing hot dog which was created by Greek immigrants in the early 1900s. Coney Detroit traces the history of the coney island restaurant, which existed in many cities but thrived nowhere as it did in Detroit, and surveys many of the hundreds of independent and chain restaurants in business today.


Fossils, Glass and Water?

Campbell, Robert B. Classic Ships of the Great Lakes, Holt MI: Thunder Bay Press, 2015.
Michigan Collection VM 23.7 .B84 2015

Robert Campbell's Classic Ships of the Great Lakes presents a visually stunning array of historical and present-day inland shipping including passenger ships, whaleback, bulk carriers, self-unloaders, cement carriers, oil tankers, car ferries, super ships, and more.

Edington, Richard F. The Photographers Guide to the Great Lakes Lighthouses. Westfield Center, OH: Four Seasons Photography, 2008.
Michigan Collection: VK 1023.3 .E35 2008

The book will be of interest to those who enjoy beautiful photos of lighthouses and instructional to those photographing lighthouses. It provides guidance and helpful hints for photographing lighthouses in general and 25 central US Great Lakes lighthouses in particular. The chapters for each lighthouse include: distinguishing features, best time of day, suggested compositions, sunset/sunrise, directions, as well as GPS coordinates. There are a total of 128 striking photographs that illustrate the suggestions in the text.

Grover, Frank R., A Brief History of Les Cheneaux Islands: Some new Chapters of Mackinac History. Evanston, IL:  Bowman, 1911.
Michigan Collection: F 572 .L57 g8 1911

The Les Cheneaux area lies east of the Mackinac Bridge along the northern shore of Lake Huron.  Thirty-six islands provide sheltered channels and bays within the Straits of Mackinac.  As they provide easy access to deep water without large waves, the islands have been a hot spot for cottagers since the 19th century with some homes being only assessable by boat.  There is a long tradition of wooden boats in the area which teams with wildlife.

Kelly, Robert W., Guide to Michigan Fossils, Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Conservation, [1959].
Michigan Collection: QE 747 .M5 K45 1959

The basics of identifying the most common fossils found in Michigan.  Of special interest would be the corals as they include the Hexagonaria (Petoskey stone), Halysites (Chain Coral), Syringopora, (Organ pipe) corals.  Brachiopods are explained as well as Trilobites.  An older work but when reading about the Devonian period there is a good level of consistency.             

Holman, Alan J., In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates. East Lansing, MI: Michigan state University Press, 2001.
Michigan Collection: QE 841 .H65 2001

In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates details the Ice Age fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes. Holman's work begins with definitions of concepts and terms for the general audience and a general discussion of how the last ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, affected our physical and biological world. Methods employed and tools used in the collection of vertebrate fossils, as well as ethics and protocol in the maintenance of a useful collection follow, coupled with details of each animal's structure, habits, habitats, and ecological importance.

Manse, Tomas. Know Your Ships. Sault Ste. Marie, MI: T. Manse, 1960 – 2017.
Michigan Collection: HE 565 .U71 K58. 

A time honored book everyone depends upon to identify Great Lakes ships.  Updated every year.  The Library of Michigan holdings start with volume 2, 1960.

Meyer, Robert L., Cruising Northern Michigan’s Inland Waterway. Conway, MI: RLM and Co. 1989.
Michigan Collection: GV 776 .M5 M4 1989

The Inland Waterway is a combination of lakes and rivers that runs from Crooked Lake in Emmet County through Indian River to Lake Huron through Cheboygan County.  Great for boats, canoes and kayakers.

Michigan Limestone, Fossils Found in Limestone at the Calcite Quarry of Michigan Limestone a Division of United States Steel Corp, Rogers City Michigan.  []: United States Steel Corporation, 1960.
Michigan Collection: QE 747 .M5 F6 1960

A brief and assessable explanation on the rarity of the limestone deposits in Michigan and their value with regard to fossil hunting.  The deposits date from the Devonian period 325 million years ago.  The four principal fossil forms found in the limestone deposits are: corals, the brachiopods, the pelecypods and the gastropods.

Midwest Mineralogical & Lapidary Society of Dearborn: Michilogic Time Line. []: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Division, 1994.
Michigan Documents: QE 508 .M53 1994

This publication traces the fossil record in Michigan and explains the geologic timeline as it impacted regions and counties.

Myers Alexis, “Beachcombers' Hunt for Lake Michigan Gems Reveals Beauty on Variety of Levels”, Chicago Tribune, May 27th, 2016, accessed April 17, 2017,

A realistic assessment of the heightened popularity of beach glass searching in the Great Lakes due to the increased rarity.  The competition stems from grater scarcity due fewer drink containers and other glass trash thrown into lakes.

“Odyssey Sea Glass, The Beachcomber’s Complete Guide to Sea Glass and Beaches” Schneider, David and Lin, accessed April 21, 2017,

A multifaceted website that covers many bodies of water including the Great Lakes.  Includes a rarity chart, contests and community forum.

Oleszewski, Wes. Great Lakes Lighthouses, American & Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory. Gwinn MI: Avery Color Studios, 1998.
Michigan Collection: VK 1023.3 .O44 1998

With this book you get to pick and choose those that interest you most.  A good guide describing light locations, attributes and routes to get there.

Staff pick!
Penrose, Laurie, Penrose, Bill T., and Ruth Penrose. A Guide to 199 Michigan Waterfalls. West Branch, MI: 2009.
Michigan Collection: GB 1425 .M P46 2007

A one book guide to the most notable waterfalls in Michigan.  It includes detailed maps of the exact locations along wide of pictures of the falls so that you know what the falls look like before launching your hike.

Woodruff, James C., Across Lower Michigan by Canoe, 1790. Lansing, MI: 2004.
Michigan Collection: F 566 .W662 2004

Through extensive research and testing paddler James Woodruff discerned the 1790 paddle route taken by Hugh Heward across lower Michigan to the Mississippi watershed.  Heward’s detailed day-to-day journal of this trip had been preserved and can be seen in its entirety as part of the John Askin Papers published in 1928 in Vol. 1 of the Burton Historical Records and entitled Journal of a Voyage made by Mr. Hugh Heward to the Illinois Country. Maps included.