Showing posts from September, 2012

Auckland Heritage Festival 2012: Sir John Logan Campbell & Historypin

From 29 September to 14 October 2012, Auckland Libraries will be taking part in and celebrating the annual Auckland Heritage Festival. One of the festival themes this year is Sir John Logan Campbell (1817-1912), an influential figure in New Zealand history with a long association with Auckland.

As promised in an earlier post (6 July 2012 for those of you who want to look back!), work has been going on behind the scenes to create something new and different using the innovative tools available on the Historypin website  ....  So, from the start of the festival (and beyond) you will be able to access a special online tour depicting the heritage sites and places associated with Campbell.

Sydney Sidetracks

Explore the Sydney Sidetracks website and mobile app to find out more about Sydney's past - its buildings, people and events.

Sydney Sidetracks makes great use of ABC archival collections (film, photographs, oral history) and other archival collections inlcuding the Powerhouse MuseumNational Film and Sound Archive, Museum of Contemporary Art, City of Sydney and State Library NSW. Sidetracks stories can also be downloaded as audio and video files.

Search for tapa cloth books from Captain Cook's voyages

Dr. Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Otago has taken on the task of tracking down all known copies of the tapa cloth books from Captain Cook's three voyages. Some of you may remember the post on 1 June 2012, which discussed this book and the specimen in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Central City Library.

The full title of the book is as follows: 'A catalogue of the different specimens of cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook, to the Southern Hemisphere: with a particular account of the manner of the manufacturing the same in various Islands of the South Seas; partly extracted from Mr. Anderson and Reinhold Forster's observations, and the verbal account of some of the most knowing of the navigators: with some anecdotes that happened to them among the natives'. London: Arranged and printed for Alexander Shaw, 1787.

The beginnings of state housing in NZ

This September celebrates the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s first state house – number 12 Fife Lane, Mirimar, Wellington.

The decision to build government-owned housing developed after the decline in construction following the Depression. That decline, combined with a belief that a decent home was a fundamental right of all Kiwis, set in motion the state housing project by the then Labour Government.

The opening of the first house in 1937 was attended by Prime Minister Michael Savage, along with hundreds of curious folk who traipsed through the brand new home for a look. The tenants were the family of council tram conductor, David McGregor, who had 'won' the home via a ballot system. That system did not, however, last. It was the subject of claims that it was unfair, and was later dropped in favour of a merit system. 
The McGregor family eventually purchased the house and following Mr McGregor’s death, sold it back to the government. It was recognised by The New Zealan…

Council archives combined

Archives from five councils within the Horizons Region will now be accessible in one central location, following the opening of the new Archives Central building in early October.

This is a new initiative in local government archiving, resulting in the combination over 130 years of history from Manawatu, Horowhenua, Tararua, Rangitikei and Horizons Regional councils. The new archives will be located in the Coach House Museum in Bowen Street, Feilding.

Archives from these councils as well as Wanganui, Palmerston North and Ruapehu are also being listed with a brief description online. This is part of a collaborative project led by Manawatu-Wanganui Local Authority Shared Services Ltd (MW LASS). Find out more.

Anne Frank exhibition with NZ perspective

'Anne Frank: A History for Today' is the latest exhibition at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This touring exhibition runs until 22 October, after which time it will go to Australia.

Exhibits include photographs of the Anne Frank and her  family and the other occupants of the secret annex, that they occupied for two years before being betrayed and discovered by the Nazis.

New content has also been developed by the Auckland War Memorial Museum to accompany the touring pieces. This including a diary from the Jewish German-born Egon Schoenberger, who settled in New Zealand just as WWII was beginning. Schoenberger was one of only 100 Jews that were allowed to settle in New Zealand. The diary and other papers were donated to the museum by the Schoenberger family a few years ago.

The newly translated diary and letters from the museum’s archives tell the personal story of Schoenberger’s journey to New Zealand and his gradual discovery of the events that were unfolding in his ho…

The Jennings Family Tree found on Waiheke

Just a wee while ago, Di and Fiona, librarians from Waiheke Library rang to ask me if I was interested in a family tree that a customer of theirs had found in their attic. They thought we might be able to find the family it belonged to, and if not, maybe it would be of interest to keep in our Sir George Grey Special Collections manuscript collection at Central City Library.

When I received it here in the Central Auckland Research Centre, it was rolled up in a tube - and had obviously been rolled up for some time. The photos attached were curled up, and a couple fell off when I removed it from its tube.

As a family historian, this tree excited me. It is A2 in size, and the first date on the tree was 1620, so the research had gone back for more than 500 years. It has been meticulously drawn out - and was beautiful in its own right. The family had taken care to record its genealogy in 1894 - courtesy of Mary Adelaide, Lady Jennings.

A branch of the Jennings had emigrated to New Zealand i…

Port Stories: Voices of Ahuriri

Port Stories: Voices of Ahuriri is an ongoing project to record, preserve and share the unique history of the people and community of Ahuriri in Napier, Hawkes Bay. The focus is on the town as a working port  during the 1920s-1970s.

The online site lets you explore the personal first-hand stories and accounts of people who grew up and spent their lives in this area. This includes oral history recordingsartefacts and themed historical stories told through stories, photographs and oral history records.

170th anniversary of Nelson Public Libraries

2012 marks the 170th year of  continuous operation of Nelson Public Libraries 170th. The first library building in Nelson opened on 27 September 1842.

On 17 May 1841 a meeting chaired by Captain Arthur Wakefield was held aboard the New Zealand Company immigrant ship Whitby as it journeyed to Nelson. At this meeting the Nelson Literary & Scientific Institute was formed, which included the establishment of a library. 

With an initial collection of 700 books donated by the passengers, and money sent to England for more books, journals and periodicals, a new library and reading room was built and operational within months of the settlers’ arrival in Nelson in 1842. Find out more.

Antarctica exhibition

'Next Stop Antarctica: Dunedin's Role in Polar Exploration' is the latest exhibition at the Reed Gallery, Dunedin City Library, which runs until 2 December.

This year marks hundred years since the death of Robert Falcon Scott and his party during the ill-fated 'Terra Nova' Expedition. This mission was the second of Scott's Antarctic ventures to depart from Port Chalmers, New Zealand. This location has maintained a connection to the exploration of the Antarctica. 
Displayed in the exhibition are more than sixty items from five local institutions. Including: the first editions of printed books; a presentation copy of The South Polar Times given by Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Arctic explorer Sir Allen Young; handwritten and typed letters; issues of Little America Times and the Antarctic News Bulletin; photographs; artefacts (most notably Scott's typewriter) and memorabilia relating to the American explorer Richard E. Byrd. Find out more about the exhib…

Protest exhibition

'Protest! a cry for freedom', is an exhibition about revolution and reform and runs from 1 August to 11 November at the Sir George Grey Special Collections, 2nd floor, Auckland Central Library.

The exhibition looks at universal themes of race, religion, power, land, peace, work, gender and the environment, which over the centuries have brought the ordinary man to react against the status quo in both peaceful and violent ways.

Examples through history and from around the world are given in the exhibition using rare books, letters, photographs, posters and memorabilia drawn from the Sir George Grey Collections. Examples include: the 1863 Waikato land confiscations in New Zealand, suffragette movement in the UK and environmental issues & organisations in New Zealand.

Highlights from the exhibition are also available online.

Change to the Sound Archives

It has been ammounced that day to day responsibility for Radio New Zealand’s Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero is to be transferred to The New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua. A transfer agreement has been signed, and takes effect from 1 October 2012.

The sound archives operation will continue to be based in Christchurch and all current Sound Archives staff have been offered employment with the Film Archive.

However, concern has been expressed by some around this decision. The National Film Archive is not covered by any legislation but is a charitable trust. Therefore, it has been argued that an opportunity has been missed to ensure the preservation and protection of material other than text and image, through legislative mandate.

On a positive note, an extra $300,000 per annum is being made available for sound archiving and a one-off sum of $1 million will be provided over the next two financial years. This extra funding will be used to digitise New Zealan…

Heritage of the Printed Book database

The Heritage of the Printed Book database, which was previously called the Hand Press Book Database, is a steadily growing collection of high level files of catalogue records from major European and North American research libraries. It includes items from the European hand-press printing period  of c.1455 to c.1830.

The database now contains over three million records of books and searches go across 22 contributing institutions. Every year further files are added, while others are updated.

This system makes it possible for information to be retrieved in one single search across all files and is therefore an important research tool for a variety of different practitioners from librarians to academics.

A subscription fee for access to the database applies. Find out more and read about the contents and resources.

Rare Book School

Each year during the summer holidays in the USA, the Rare Book School brings together librarians, conservators, scholars, dealers, collectors and book enthusiasts for intensive week long courses.

The school was founded in 1983 by the scholar Terry Belanger at Columbia University but it moved in 1992 to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The school has a vast teaching collection of 80,000 items and despite the steep cost of the annual event, it is always well attended by around 300 eager book lovers.

Find out more.

Papers Past update

Read on (or should that be click on) for an update about new releases on Papers Past ...

Letterpress printing exhibition

Letterpress is a form of relief printing. This traditional craft, which has almost exclusively been replaced by digital technology, is showcased in an exhibition by the Christchurch Art Gallery at Central Library Peterborough.

The exhibition 'Press Letters – Fine Printing in New Zealand since 1975' includes the finest examples of letterpress printing produced in New Zealand in the last 37 years. The exhibition runs from 30 August to Sunday 23 September and is timed to coincide with The Press Writers’ Festival.

Find out more about the exhibition.

Daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson found

A daguerreotype, which is believed to be an exceedingly rare image of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) has been found in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. Amherst, which is in Massachusetts (USA) was the hometown of the prolific and reclusive poet.

The image from 1859 shows two young women seated next to each other. It is believed that this is Dickinson in her late 20s (on the left) and her friend Kate Scott Turner (on the right).

Currently, the well-known image of the poet as a teenager taken in 1847 is the only authenticated image (see below). The college has run numerous tests on the 1859 daguerreotype. This includes facial comparison with the earlier image and comparison of her clothing in the image with fabric samples found in the Emily Dickinson Museum's textile collection.

Find out more and check out the limited edition 1998 printing of 'Compound frame: seven poems' by Dickinson, in the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Central City Library.

The Jennings Family Tree - owner found!

Some of you may have followed the happenings of the Jennings Family Tree in the media or via this blog.

Early July, a family tree was handed into the Waiheke Library. It was beautifully drawn out on A2 draughtsman’s paper, and the Librarians on Waiheke sent it to me, so that we could trace the owner.

The tree dated back 500 years, and was annotated that the original research had been taken from the records of the Drapers’ Company of London from the 15th Century – earliest date marked on it was 1589, although it showed the Jennings line going back some four generations more than that.

It was also annotated that the tree had then been further updated by Mary Adelaide, Lady Jennings, in 1894 and published privately in "A Kentish Country House."

The tree had again been updated by an F. Keiller in 1969, and showed the Jennings branch of David and Maria Faint (nee TURNER) coming to New Zealand, and settling in Nelson with their 12 children (11 surviving).

Intriguingly, the tree st…

17th century rare books discovered

Two rare and unusual 17th century books about Stonehenge (1655) and the government of James II (1689) were found earlier last year in a house clearance. Both books are written in old English and were auctioned March 2011 at a special sale in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire. Find out more.

Find out more about heritage resources relating to Stonehenge and James II at Auckland Libraries.

The Women's Library may face closure

The fate of Women's Library at London Metropolitan University in Whitehall, London is uncertain.

This open shelf library houses a unique historical archive including ephemera and artefacts which weaves a rich narrative of British women's lives over the past four centuries. For example, the train ticket found on the body of Emily Wilding Davison, the 41-year-old suffragette martyred under the hooves of George V's horse at the 1913 Derby.

Very few of the resouces have been digitised and unless a new owner, sponsor or home is found for the archives, then the library faces reduced hours and possible closure.

Find out more about this story and recent celebrity endorsement for the library to be saved.

Replicas of a rare Buddhist manuscript are now available

Exact replicas of the rare Buddhist manuscript entitled the Gilgit Lotus Sutra can now be purchased in India.

The manuscript  was discovered in 1931 by cattle grazers in Pakistan - previously called the Gilgit region. The Gilgit Lotus Sutra dates to the 5th century and is one of the most revered Buddhist scriptures. It is believed to be the only Buddhist manuscript discovered in India.

The Gilgit Lotus Sutra is kept in Delhi at the National Archives of India.

Find out more.

What's in the attic?

This time it isn't a family tree but a previously unheard interview with Dr Martin Luther King Jr from 1960. The audio reel (or reel to reel) was found by Stephen Tull in his father's attic in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. It features Stephen's father, an insurance salesman interviewing Dr King for a book project about racism in Chattanooga, which never eventuated. Unusually and significantly, the interview covers Dr King's activities in Africa, which are not covered in other known recordings.

Tull plans to sell the audio reel at a private sale arranged by a New York broker during September. Find out more.

The Paralympic movement in photographs

Be sure to check out the photographs from the Guardian and Observer archive collections relating to the Paralympic Games and its forerunner, the Stoke Mandeville Games.
 The Stoke Mandeville Games were established in 1948 by neurologist Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann, who organised the sporting competition for spinal injury victims at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital rehabilitation facility in England. The Games were held in Stoke Mandeville until 1960 when they took place in Rome immediately following the Olympics. These became retrospectively known as the first Paralympic Games. The Paralympics continued to be staged alongside the Olympics while the Stoke Mandeville Games (today known as the IWAS World Games) took place more frequently, first annually then every two years.