Saturday, 30 May 2015

Samoa Guardian

To mark Samoan Language week, we are featuring a great Samoan resource in our heritage collections whose existence was alerted to me by a sleuth-like colleague.

We have a carbon copy typescript of the Samoa guardian from 26 May 1927 to 6 June 1929. Though this transcript finishes in June it provides a particularly valuable historical record of the two years leading up to the disastrous events of Black Saturday

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Benny Levin collection

Today we have another New Zealand Music Month post featuring the manuscript collection of Benny Levin (1930-1994) an entrepreneur, band manager and concert promoter.

This collection includes personal papers, tapes, audio-visual recordings, posters and photographs from the estate of Benny Levin. A complete inventory is available with the record on Manuscripts Online; it has been sorted and listed thanks to a Lotteries Environment & Heritage Grant.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Lusitania and Submarine Warfare

By 1915 the Auckland Weekly News Supplement was becoming a sophisticated propaganda organ. Editorial policies determined what readers would see and how they would interpret photographs, in a campaign to make them accept the need to win this ‘Great War for civilisation’ against a barbaric enemy. They were led to believe this was so even if it must be fought at the great human cost shown each week in the Weekly News Roll of Honour.

As casualties on the Gallipoli Peninsula began to mount, photo editors inserted reminders in the magazine showing readers just why we were fighting this war. They often did this by repeating photos and drawings about the Horrible Hun’s new and ungentlemanly ‘total war’ against civilians (especially women and children) through the evil menace of submarines lurking underwater to wreak death and destruction on the high seas.

In February 1915 the Germans declared the waters around the British Isles a war zone where all Allied and neutral vessels risked being sunk by their submarines. Then on 7 May 1915 the transatlantic liner Lusitania was torpedoed off Southern Ireland with the loss of 1198 men, women and children (including 128 neutral Americans.) Following is a photograph of the Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Auckland Libraries Instagram account

At the beginning of February Auckland Libraries resurrected our Instagram account. It gives us in the Heritage and Research teams a great channel to show off heritage collections and exhibitions that are happening around Auckland Libraries.

Some of our contributions from the heritage collections have been photographs, illuminated manuscripts, vintage advertising from the ephemera collection, maps and even some images of incunabula and rare books. 

The most recent post featuring our heritage collections showed the second to last book to bear the Kelmscott Press imprint: Love is enough: or, The freeing of Pharamond by William Morris. The illustration below was designed by Edward Burne-Jones and engraved on wood by WH Hooper; the borders are by Morris.



Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Mullet boat races

Local Māori were in charge of fishing in the early days of Auckland, but as more immigrants arrived fishermen from other countries entered the trade. They were unused to the Waitematā and Manukau Harbours’ estuaries and tidal flow, and from the 1860s a vessel suitable for these conditions began to evolve - the “mullety”.

Friday, 8 May 2015

New Zealand Music Month playlist

May is New Zealand Music Month (NZMM) and to help celebrate the Heritage & Research teams at the Central Library have compiled a playlist featuring some of our favourite New Zealand songs. The only proviso for selection was that we had to hold it in our Heritage collections. Format wasn’t specified as you can see from the images below; we have LPs, CDs, film soundtracks and a couple of songbooks.

Ref: Items from Sir George Grey Special Collections, clockwise from top left: The amazing ukulele songbook, Bressa Creeting Cake (self-titled) CD, Able Tasmans 'A cuppa tea and a lie down' CD, Split Enz 'Frenzy' LP.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ann Baxter, 1937-2015

The staff of Sir George Grey Special Collections and the Central Auckland Research Centre at the Central Library were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ann Baxter on Tuesday 28 April. Ann had been a volunteer for over 15 years, at first in the Research Centre and more recently in Special Collections.  For the last 18 months she had been working on sorting and foldering unsorted material from the Auckland Provincial Council records. This was done with enthusiasm and attention to detail. Her comments on items she came across were always interesting and frequently made with characteristic Yorkshire humour
Ref: Ann Baxter working in the Special Collections reading room, 5 February 2013,
 The Wire, Auckland Council, 38-244556.

We are indebted to Ann, not only for this work but for her wider appreciation of the collections and for her advocacy for them. She gave some of her personal papers from her writing, directing and acting career to the collections as well as encouraging theatre companies and friends to consider donating material. To find some of the theatre programmes and newsletters donated by Ann go to our Ephemera Index and perform a keyword search for “Ann Baxter”.
It was thanks to an introduction from Ann that Muriel Clark donated her husband’s collection of 7,000 colour slides to the Library. The selection of these used in the exhibition The big OE has been immensely popular.  We will miss Ann’s energy and cheerful sense of humour.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Automobile Association maps

Sir George Grey Special Collections holds a number of road, street and tramping track maps produced by the Automobile Association (AA).

Ref: Automobile Association 'road surface' motor touring map..., 1930s, NZ map 372,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. 
The following information is from John McCrystal's book 'One hundred years of motoring in New Zealand' which provides a great introduction to the history of the organisation. The AA was founded in 1903 and began as an automobile club for motoring enthusiasts. One of the earliest functions of the associations was signposting. In 1915, members of the Auckland branch of the AA began voluntarily marking routes. In 1925, Roy Champtaloup drew the first official AA road map by hand. Soon afterwards map making became more sophisticated, and for a time, both the Auckland and Wellington associations had their own cartographic departments.

The oldest AA map in Sir George Grey Special Collections was published in 1926, and is a road map from Auckland to the North Cape.

Ref: A selection of AA maps from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
Clockwise from top left corner: NZ map 7411, NZ map 7408, NZ map 6363, NZ map 7684, NZ map 7445.
The AA maps in the Sir George Grey Special Collections cover a period of over eighty years. AA maps can be difficult to date correctly because they often do not have the date they were published printed on the map. Plus, the same maps were sometimes reprinted with a different cover at a later date.

Ref: Centennial map of Waitakere Ranges and Scenic Drive, 1945, NZ map 2070,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
Ref: A selection of AA maps from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
From left: NZ map 1285a, NZ map 670, NZ map 7443.
From a design perspective, the AA maps showcase various graphic design trends - from typographic changes to the use of illustrations or photography - over a stretch of time.

Ref: From left: Itinerary (Whangarei, Kaikohe, Dargaville), about 1974, NZ map 7504, North Island Itinerary (Thames, Coromandel), 1961, NZ map 7512, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
The two itineraries above include a number of maps and specific information about route options, road conditions, local history and environmental points of interest. From the NZ map 7512 itinerary there is a comment on the Whitianga to Coromandel via Kuaotunu route: "An interesting road, with exceptionally fine coastal scenery, splendid beaches and panoramas of both coasts. The shorter and more direct, but less interesting [route], is described overleaf." Motorists could choose their route maps and staple them together to form personalised itineraries.

Ref: Auckland map, about 1930, NZ map 6994,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
The AA maps come in a number of different shapes: they can be thin and long, pocket-sized, large and square, or circular. A small percentage of the maps in Sir George Grey Special Collections have been digitised and are accessible via the Heritage Images database. To find maps in the collection which have not been digitised, you can ask at the reading room desk or by email.

Author: Zoë Colling, Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Friday, 1 May 2015

The first five men

On Sunday afternoon 26 April five armed and mounted men clattered down the main street of Waiuku.

Ref: Bruce Ringer, Outside the Kentish Hotel, Waiuku, 2015.

The occasion was not a bank robbery nor a gymkhana but a reenactment, 101 years after the event, of a locally famous photograph taken of the first volunteers to leave Waiuku for active service during the First World War.


These five men posed on their horses outside the Kentish Hotel on 17 August 1914. Captain John Henry Herrold of the Waikato Mounted Rifles is on the far left. He is accompanied by, from left to right, Troopers Frank Knight, Robert William ('Bob') Hammond, Alexander Glass and Henry Eisenhut. If you would like to add to the records of these first five men, you can do so at the Online Cenotaph website or keep an eye out for the Artefact Digitisation Units that are travelling around the region.

All five men survived the war, although Frank Knight was wounded at Gallipoli in 1915. Henry Eisenhut was awarded the DCM for gallantry in action at Beersheba, Palestine, in 1917. Captain Herrold (by then Major Herrold) was also wounded, and won the DSO for gallantry in action in Palestine in 1918.

Thanks to the generosity of the Waiuku Museum Society we will also shortly be able to release photographs of the four troopers taken at Heliopolis, Egypt, in April 1915, and later in life at an Anzac Day service in Waiuku in 1947.

Author: Bruce Ringer, South Auckland Research Centre