Showing posts from March, 2017

Colonial Tinder

Matrimonial agencies and personal ads were the colonial era equivalent of today’s dating apps like Tinder. In 1885 the owner of Auckland’s only agency, Thomas Hannaford, claimed to have found 115 wives for socially isolated men. He was particularly proud of encouraging “many respectable English girls to wed Maori Chiefs” who were subsequently “living lovingly together”. He felt his match-making skills helped promote “the fusion of the races” and he petitioned Parliament to recognise his expertise in this area (Star, 16 July 1885).
Ref: Charles Dawes, Unidentified wedding couple, 1890s-1900s, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1142-D441.
Hannaford started finding potential life partners for gentlemen in 1868. He also married people at “any day or hour they like.” His Queen Street offices were open for business between 10.00 am and 9.00 pm. Although scandal didn’t brew over such quickie marriage ceremonies here; in Australia, Holt’s Matrimonial Agency was known to m…

Mary Scott, 1888 - 1979

I discovered a Mary Scott display in Pirongia on a recent road trip following a compulsory coffee stop plus a walk across the highway to the Pirongia Heritage & Information Centre / Te Whare Taonga o Ngaa Rohe o Arekahanara.
Ref: Mary Scott display, Pirongia, 22 February 2017.
A Notable Display

The display features a gingham frame and artefacts from Scott’s writing life – notably her third typewriter. The adjacent bookcase features her prolific output. They even had some editions for sale. We left with It’s perfectly easy – one of Mary Scott’s great titles published by Paul’s Book Arcade in Hamilton, 1962. The striking dust jacket was designed by Geoffrey Ridall.
Ref: Mary Scott, It's perfectly easy.

Not just Auckland

Over the years when I've attended conferences and family history fairs, I've been interested to hear how many people associate Auckland Libraries with just having material relating to Auckland, and nowhere else.

We have a range of material in all of our collections that covers other parts of New Zealand, as well as overseas, and by not considering what is on offer, you may miss out on some treasure we have that other libraries do not.

For instance, with regard to Otago we have a series of books that were published in the 1980s covering events in Otago 1901-35 titled Otago Cavalcade.

The series is divided into approximately five-year sections and are filled with photographs from the Otago Witness and Otago Daily Times newspapers.  While the reproduction of photographs is not always wonderful, they are still worth looking at as they include buildings no longer in existence among other things. The war years naturally cover events occurring at home and overseas.  Other events incl…

No description is equal to an actual leaf

Currently on display in the Special Collections reading room, in the Central Library, is a single leaf from a 13th century Latin Bible generously donated to the Library by Keith Stuart late last year.

Stuart, an archivist trained in biblical research presented a paper to ANZBS Conference in 2010 which included a detailed description of the leaf.

Described as a typical leaf from a Paris manuscript Bible it is roughly the same size as a sheet of A4. This is much larger than a Bible we may be familiar with pulling from the back of a pew, but is not especially large for a medieval Bible. As Stuart notes, the size of Bibles became smaller with the rise of Mendicant orders and their travelling preachers, so portability became important.

The text is in Latin, from Saint Jerome’s translation of the Hebrew and is from the first book of Kings, chapter 4 verse 19 to chapter 8 verse 22. It tells of the Ark of the Covenant in Philistine through to Israel’s demand for a King.

The leaf provides a …