Posts

Shelter in Place by Celia Walker

Image
Shelter in Place in the Angela Morton Room at Takapuna library brings together a group of artist books by Auckland printmaker Celia Walker. Landscape, environment and cultural history feature in the exhibition, reflecting the artist’s interest in the complex layers that comprise the urban landscape.  A researcher with a background in archives and histories of landscape, including an art history PhD, Celia can’t help but be influenced by heritage. She is interested in the way each place carries with it stories of our cultural landscape through oral, archaeological and documentary records.  The exhibition also has a cartographic thread – the unfolding and layering possibilities of book structures hint at the passage of time or the movement through space. Although there is an aesthetic appeal in the depiction of underlying structures and forms in maps like Hochstetter’s ‘The isthmus of Auckland with its extinct volcanoes’, these slip over cultural history, detaching the landscape from li

The printing press poster and other lessons: printing in Rarotonga in 1849 and the Mission Press

Image
Image: Pepa 10, Grey Pamphlets, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections “This is an announcement about the printing press. In ancient times these things were not familiar, and could only be written on parchment (skin of sheep). Then there was the printing press, in Britain in the year 1449. That was 400 years ago from then up to the present time”. This is a translation of the words on the poster shown above, printed in Rarotonga in 1849. It is a well-designed page including an ornament of a printing press which might have caused a stir, almost like a poster announcing the circus coming to town. For further context we can read about the arrival of the printing press in Rarotonga, and with it, literacy and the distribution of the Word of God, in the words of the London Missionary Society missionary, the Reverend Aaron Buzacott (1800 – 1864). His ‘Mission Life in the Pacific’ was published in 1866 and then reprinted as a facsimile edition in 1985. The chapter headings include details of

What’s in a cartoon? Some ideas and examples from 1920

Image
Elementary, my dear Watson. Not so. Sometimes editorial cartoons can just be humorous or ‘funny-peculiar’ pictures, but very often they have deep, intriguing meanings for readers based on current news of the day. This is usually the case with political cartoons, which use wit, satire and symbolism to convey their clearsighted but ironically subversive messages. Here is a selection of cartoons published by the Auckland Weekly News during 1920, with some ideas about what they mean. Image: Auckland Weekly News. His Majesty the Jockey, 10 June 1920. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections,AWNS-19200610-35-5 Our first cartoon is by Weekly News cartoonist Trevor Lloyd. He entitled it ‘His Majesty the Jockey’ because the Auckland tram strike supporting the jockeys’ work grievances took place on King’s Birthday, 1920. To interpret the cartoon, you should consult Papers Past about the jockeys’ work dispute and the tram strike. The tramwaymen refused to run trams going to the races at E

The Reed Dumas Collection and the mystery of Madame Giovanni

Image
One of the extraordinary collections at Auckland Libraries is the Reed Dumas Collection. This extends to some 3,350 volumes of printed works as well as over 2,000 sheets written by Alexandre Dumas (père) (1802 – 1870). Image: Bookplate for the Reed Dumas Collection, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections. Iain Sharp’s essay in Real Gold , the library’s treasure book, provides an excellent introduction to the extraordinary Reed Dumas Collection. Image: Items in the Reed Dumas Collection, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections. This collection is a life’s work developed by Frank Wild Reed (1874 – 1953), a Whangārei chemist and avid Dumas collector. Bequeathed to Auckland Libraries after his death in 1953, it is a treasure trove dedicated to the larger-than-life polymath Alexandre Dumas. FW Reed was the brother of Alfred Hamish Reed, who established one of New Zealand’s first publishing firms. The Reed Dumas collection can be explored through many paths. The first editions of Dumas fam

What kind of news magazine was the Auckland Weekly News?

Image
Auckland newspaper publishers Wilson and Horton Ltd produced the first issue of the Weekly News: a journal of commerce, agriculture, politics, literature, science and art on Saturday 28 November 1863, only a few months after they started publishing the New Zealand Herald . The publishers’ intention was that it should be a weekly magazine for rural towns and isolated households which was a digest of news from the Heralds of the preceding week. As well as summarising the news the magazine included a few extra illustrations; then still uncommon in newspapers. At first these were line engravings but the 1900s saw the first use of black-and-white photographs, usually in a detachable picture supplement. The new magazine was published at Wilson & Horton’s printery in Auckland but was distributed in North Island country districts beyond the city (and, eventually, throughout New Zealand.) Therefore, very soon it made sense to rename the magazine with the more explanatory Auckland Weekly Ne