Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Family History Month

Be sure to check out the wide range of Family History Month events running across Auckland Libraries during August. Find out more and view details of the events in your area.

To whet your appetite, here are a selection of images from Auckland Libraries heritage collections around the region.

Ref: JTD-11K-05718, West Auckland Research Centre

Ref: 1142-D367, Mary Foy nee Mere Motio Te Whiu, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Ref: N0111004, North Auckland Research Centre

Ref: Footprints 30855, courtesy of Mrs Fay Fransham, South Auckland Research Centre

Local History display at Glen Eden Library

Glen Eden Library held a very successful local history display on Saturday 14 July.  Members of the West Auckland Historic Society, Glen Eden Protection Society, Friends of Waikumete Cemetery and the Glen Eden Business Association combined to display a range of old photographs, ephemera (public notices and charters) and other documents outlining the development and settlement of the Glen Eden township dating from the 1880's onwards.

Ref: Display at Glen Eden Library
After advertising the event in the Western Leader, the displays attracted hundreds of visitors throughout the day. Library staff working on the day supported the event by dressing up in period costumes.

Ref: Display at Glen Eden Library
The reference section at Glen Eden library includes such titles as: "In those days: An Oral History of Glen Eden" and "An Historic Timeline 1848-1969 describing the Development of the Township of Glen Eden, Waikumete Cemetery and the Railway Line and Station", as well as a number of borrowable books about the history of West Auckland settlement.

Author: Christine Carter, Glen Eden Library

Monday, 30 July 2012

New Mansfield manuscripts found

A British PhD student carrying out research at the archives of King's College London has resportedly discovered four previously unknown stories by the infamous New Zelaand author, Katherine Mansfield. This includes a 2,500 story entitled 'A Little Episode' dated 1909, which deals with her turbulent love life at the time. Find out more

Ref: 4-7005, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Classics by Mansfield include short stories such as 'The Fly', 'The Garden Party', 'The Canary' and 'The Doll's House'. Check out Katherine Mansfield resources in the heritage collections as well as a manuscript featuring Mansfield's signature (NZMS 554) in the Sir George Grey Special Collections.
Ref: AWNS-19080326-11-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Friday, 27 July 2012

Poetry 2012 - The Written Word initiative

The Scottish Poetry Library along with the BBC will be broadcasting a poem on the radio every day during the games (204 in total) to represent each participating nation. Find out more about Poetry 2012 - The Written Word initiative and the poem chosen to represent Great Britain.

Ref: Footprints 04488, South Auckland Research Centre. Courtesy of the Auckland Aero Club.

1948 Olympics opening ceremnony

With the Olympics kicking off this weekend, it's time to relive the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympics.
Ref: AWNS-19220727-36-2

Ewer bookplate

An interesting item turned up recently, while I was cataloguing an item from the Pre-1800 Printed Books collection in Sir George Grey Special Collections. The book in question, 'A general history of the stage …' collected and digested by W.R. Chetwood was printed in London in 1749 and purchased by the library in 1975. The library probably bought it to complement the fine collection of Elizabethan and Restoration drama already acquired through donations from Sir George Grey and Fred Shaw. The author had been a prompter at Drury Lane, so had a wealth of insider knowledge.

Just as interesting is the rather odd bookplate of some former owners pasted inside the front cover of the book.
Ref: Bookplate, Printed 1749 CHET, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The bookplate belonged to Monica Ewer and Norman Ewer and is by the English artist Frederick Carter (1883-1967). Carter was an etcher and engraver who worked closely with people such as Austin Osman Spare, the artist and occultist, and later D.H. Lawrence. He had a deep interest in the supernatural and power of symbols.
The book would have been of interest to Monica, who was the drama and film critic of the Daily Herald, a left-wing leaning newspaper published in London in the early 20th century. She was also well known in her day as a writer of over 50 light romantic novels.

Her husband, Norman was also a journalist for the Daily Herald, writing on foreign affairs. He got an interview with Trotsky while on assignment to cover the Russian Revolution, and became a member of the Communist Party. He soon was spying for the Russians, but whilst MI5 knew about his activities, he managed to avoid being prosecuted. After the Second World War he became disillusioned with the Soviet Union and communism and turned to the Labour Party.

Monica and Norman separated in 1926 and she moved to South Africa. Monica died in 1964. Norman retired from the Daily Herald also in 1964 and died in 1976.

Author: Ian Snowdon, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Outward Bound celebrates 50 years

Today Outward Bound celebrates 50 years since its establishment in 1962.

Outward Bound was founded overseas in 1941 by the German educator Kurt Hahn and influenced by a training course devised for young sailors during World War II. Indeed the term 'outward bound' - a nautical expression to describe a ship leaving harbour, reflects these origins. It is also a metaphor for the challenges faced by participants taking part in Outward Bound courses.

Ref: AWNS-19181003-41-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Outward Bound Trust was established in 1946 to spread the concept to other schools around the world. In 1961, Kiwi Hamish Thomas, a barrister and ex-navy man, brought Outward Bound to New Zealand. The first Outward Bound expedition took places in 1962, when a group of young men descended on Anakiwa in Queen Charlotte Sound, a trip which took 24 days.

More than 50,000 New Zealanders have attended an Outward Bound course, over 2000 every year. From its military boot-camp beginnings, Outward Bound is striving to adapt and be relevant to today's times and multicultural communities. Find out more.

Ref: 03263, South Auckland Research Centre

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Happy birthday to the Bean Rock Lighthouse

Bean Rock Lighthouse, one of Auckland's distinctive icons celebrates its birthday today.

The lighthouse is located on Bean Rocks in the Auckland Harbour. Construction started in 1870 and it was completed in 1871. It was first lit at 6.00 pm on Monday 24th July 1871. Restoration was carried out in 1985.

Ref: 1-W35, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Lighthouses have traditionally been seen as romantic structures, hundreds of stories have been written about them, in them and they have actually been accused by some Ships' Masters of being in the road of their ships.  

View the online exhibition by Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum and find out more about the Bean Rock Lighthouse.

Happy birthday to the Auckland Ferry Building

This year, the Auckland Ferry Building celebrates its 100th birthday. The Ferry Building had no official opening in 1912 but Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum have taken the date of the 24th July 2012 as the building's official birthday.
Ref: 1-W720, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Find out more about the building by reading 'The Auckland Ferry Building' by David Johnson, which was written after restoration was completed in1988; copies can be found at Auckland Libraries. Be sure to also check out the online digital exhibition, which Voyager Museum have created to celebrate this iconic building.  

Ngā Kākano o Matariki: Seeds of Matariki

Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki, an exhibition of selected works by students of Ngā Kākano Reo e Rua Kura is currently on display at the West Auckland Research Centre, J T Diamond Reading Room, Level 2, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson  from 16 July to 27 July.

Seeds were planted in the minds of local rangatahi (youth) this Matariki, during two wānanga held at the West Auckland Research Centre, celebrating Māori New Year. Students from Ngā Kākano Christian Kura Reo E Rua attended two environmental presentations at Waitakere Central Library, then produced art work based on what they had learned.

Their prints celebrating our relationship with Papatūānuku, our earth mother, have blossomed into a celebrated body of work in the sanctuary of the J T Diamond exhibition space. Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki exhibition is on display for the following weeks as Matariki Celebrations conclude and te wiki o te reo Māori, Māori language week begins.

Monday, 23 July 2012

New additions to Footprints database

A new edition of the South Auckland photographic database Footprints has just come out.

Ref: Image courtesy of Allan Webb, Footprints 4220, South Auckland Research Centre
The new release has an additional 900 images. These include a number of images dating from between 1864 and 1979 from the Waiuku Museum Society’s rich and varied photographic collection (a first-time contributor); further images from the Otahuhu Historical Society’s wonderful collection; a series of striking images taken from Manukau Courier files between 1994 and 2002; and material from several privately held collections.

Author: Bruce Ringer, South Auckland Research Centre

Friday, 20 July 2012

Chelsea Sugar Refinery and James K. Baxter, Cleaner

When James K. Baxter was dismissed from his job at the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, it's well known that he wrote a rather 'unrefined' poem to express his disgruntlement:

"I had the job of hosing down
The hoick and sludge and grit
For the sweet grains of sugar dust
That had been lost in it.

For all the sugar in the land
Goes through that dismal dump
And all the drains run through the works
Into a filthy sump".

Despite this unsugared description, a copy of 'The Ballad of the Stonegut Sugarworks' is lodged in the Chelsea Sugar Archives (at Birkenhead Library), sandwiched between a 1962 plan of the 'Disposition of Buildings' and a 1976 letter from the Refinery Manger to the Managing Director about managing absenteeism. A positioning which is at once random, and oddly relevant - though I couldn’t locate that impressive sounding ‘sump’ on the plan (see below).

Ref: 1962 Plan CSR-B94127, Chelsea Sugar Archives
As to the letter, it reads as follows:

"However, we do not consider that payment for sick leave not taken is justified if for no other reason [than] that it constitutes a bonus for good health. It is claimed that payment for sick time not used does result in a reduction of absenteeism and may well induce employees to stay longer with the Company as it forms an additional bonus not paid at present".

Regrettably the poem is not a handcrafted calligraphy on vellum, but a botched bit of photocopying. And there is no commentary other than "seen this" scribbled on the top. Perhaps only a graphologist could say how scandalized the writer was, or wasn't.

What we do have is Baxter's staff card, itself a model of poetic succinctness, which mirrors the short term of his employment (see below).
Ref: Baxter Staff Card, Chelsea Sugar Archives

Author: Paul Croxson

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Nathan family

Leading Auckland retailer and benefactor Dennis Nathan passed away on July 8th, 2012. Find out more about this man, who along with his three brothers took over the family business LD Nathan in the 1930s and set up some of New Zealand's largest retail stores.

The brothers' grandfather, David Nathan started the company in 1840, exporting flax and kauri gum. It was sold in 1988 and merged with Lion Breweries.

On a heritage note, the Nathan family have a connection to the Sir George Grey Special Collections, through the records of LD Nathan, which Lawrence Nathan gave to the library in 1974. Lawrence Nathan was Dennis' brother and author of 'As old as Auckland', copies of which are available at Auckland Libraries.
Ref: NZMS 690, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Records relating to the Nathan family can be viewed online through Manuscripts Online or in the reading room at the Central City Library. They include the following: GLNZ A16c (letter to Sir George Grey); NZMS1140 (diary); NZMS 1481 (bills of sale), NZMS 690 (records of the firm). The records of John Reid and Co, which merged with L D Nathan in 1973 are held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Illustrated London News is now digital

The Illustrated London News is now available online! This newspaper ran for 150 years, with the first issue published in 1842. Whilst the newspaper was mainly focused on British events, there was coverage on British colonies, including New Zealand. Find out more about this digitisation project and the historical archive (1842-2003), available by subscription through Gale NewsVault.

You can also search for New Zealand content (covering the period from 1842-1902) for free using the online database, which has been produced by the University of Waikato. Find out more about the New Zealand content.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Essie Summers still sizzles

One of the delightful aspects of the research centres is the absolute diversity of material we have here. Some might question just why we collect the material we do but there are times when one feels particularly pleased with the powers-that-be who have, over the years, built up the collections.
In this case, I am talking about the work of the renowned Kiwi romance writer, Essie Summers.  She was a Mills and Boon phenomenon, a pastor’s wife who began writing for the publisher in the 1950s, and became one of their best selling and most loved authors. She died in 1998, but her popularity is such that at times M&B still reprint her novels as part of their Bestseller programme.

Essie Summers books at the Central Auckland Research Centre
A few months back, a customer came in to the Central Auckland Research Centre looking for the fiction. She was a huge Essie fan and, as all fan-girls do, she was going through a re-reading stage. However, she was missing a few titles in her collection, there were no borrowable copies in the system (these heritage resources have a reference only status due to their age and a number of other factors), and we happened to have the one she wanted right here on the shelves. And so, over several days, this lady came in to town, to the research centre, just so she could re-read this particular romance. She told us she was originally from South Africa and like so many romance readers world wide, had grown up reading Essie Summers. It’s a common story. A work colleague once told me she’d decided to emigrate from India because she’d fallen in love with the New Zealand that Essie Summers had written so descriptively about, such was her skill with words.

Although we don’t have every one of her novels in the collection, it is heart warming to know that the work of this iconic Kiwi writer, even several decades after her final book was published, is still being read and loved.

Read more about Essie Summers and search for holdings at Auckland Libraries.

Author: Joanne Graves, Central Auckland Research Centre

Thursday, 12 July 2012

1948 Olympics

Can't wait for the 2012 Olympics in London? Relive the events of the 1948 Olympics in post war Britain. Find out more and search the Guardian archives.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

First World War Centenary panel announced

The First World War Centenary panel has just been announced. This advisory panel will steer the vast programme of events, which will take place to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First World War in New Zealand. Find out more.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mussolini & Youtube, a seeminlgy unlikely combination

As a way of capturing Italy's historic memory, Google has struck a deal with the Italian government and will be posting 30,000 Italian archival newsreels and documentaries from the 20th century online. This includes a Youtube channel dedicated to footage captured by the Istituto Luce-Cinecitta. Many of the content is propagandistic in style and glorifies Benito Mussolini's fascist regime. Find out more.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Priceless 12th century manuscript recovered

The Santiago Codex Calixtinus, which stolen from the Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain  has been recovered safe and sound in a garage.

The richly decorated religious manuscript dates from circa 1150 and is thought to be the first guidebook for those following the religious pilgrim route to Santiago. Find out more.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

New home for Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Next year, Aotearoa New Zealand's founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Treaty of Waitangi will be moving house. But it's not going far .. The treaty is moving from the Archives New Zealand building, where it has been on display since 1991, to the newly refurbished National Library of New Zealand building around the corner. Find out more.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Historypin fever

Yes, it's true, we have caught the Historypin bug and are loving it and think you will too!

Historypin is a user generated online digital archive, which is growing daily. What does this mean?! Well, in a nutshell it's an online system that allows people and institutions from anywhere around the world to view, upload and pin photos, text and audiovisual content to a gigantic interactive worldwide map. It's fun but is also underpinned (excuse the pun) by a social and educational worth.

Auckland Libraries is now quite literally on the map and you can now view a portion of the photographic heritage collections on Historypin. Have fun exploring content from the Northern, Western and Southern research centres and the Sir George Grey Special Collections. We will be adding more in the future, including themed collections and tours.

Link to Auckland Libraries heritage collections on Historypin
To quickly view heritage content from Auckland Libraries on Historypin, click on the badge (see image above) located on the right hand side of the blog page, above the Blog Archive.

You can also click on Explore the map on the Historypin home page and then type in an Auckland location (specifying NZ) into the ‘find content near’ search box e.g. Takapuna, New Zealand. Click on search and once the location has come up, you can zoom in and out using the plus and minus slider bar and click on any pinned images that you are interested in. This will give you access to Auckland Libraries content and content pinned by others users to that location.

Those images, which have a yellow Street View symbol enable you to compare modern day imagery with archival scenes. It's like time travel from your armchair! Watch as the different colours and film textures whizz by and transport you to times in the past.

Photographs from around the Auckland region featuring royal tours have even made it into 'Pinning the Queen's History', a special collection created by Historypin to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Fiona Jack: Pakuranga

3 unidentified photographs, ca 1910 from the collection of Sir George Grey Special Collections are the subject of Fiona Jack’s installation at Pakuranga’s Te Tuhi Billboard series.
Ref: 653-9929, Sir George Grey Special Collections
 Jack has “re-presented” the photographs on the Reeves Road street front opposite the gallery. Visit Te Tuhi to view the images of the vast landscape and you can collect the catalogue. The catalogue is a transcript of the conversation between Fiona Jack, Alan La Roche, Nova Paul, Pita Turei and Luke Willis Thompson – talking about the place and the visual clues in the photographs.

Ref: 653-9928, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Billboards are in place from 03 March – 29 July 2012 – take a look.

Ref: 653-9921, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Sir John Logan Campbell

Find out more about Sir John Logan Campbell's connections with the art world, from The University of Auckland Library's blog.

Ref: 4-1364, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Weather man of the Lake District

The Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre in the UK, contains the detailed daily weather log of John Fletcher Miller (1816-1856). The logs span from the writings of a 15 year old boy through to the mature writings of a 40 year old man. The logs are rich in evocative descriptions and written in beautiful  italic script.

Image courtesy of Clip art pal
Miller was the founder of the British (now Royal) Meteorological Society and set up his own observatory from which to make meteorological recordings. In his logs, he also noted down strange phenomena including meteors and seasonal events, such as the the first annual appearance of cuckoos and butterflies. Here is a particularly vivid description of a violent thunderstorm in May 1850:
"At Westfield House, near Bowness, Carlisle, Mrs Harrison and the servant-man were milking the cows during the storm, when the electric fluid struck the man dead on the spot, killing four cows at the same time. The stool upon which Mrs H was sitting was literally, split in two and she was thrown to a considerable distance by the violence of the shock. Strange to say, not the slightest mark was found to be on the man or the cattle. The storm was not felt at Whitehaven which is peculiarly exempted from thunder-storms".

Read more about this fascinating man, who left a mark on the world in his own unique way.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Observations in Midwifery

One of only two complete surviving copies of Percival Willoughby's 'Observations in Midwifery', written in around 1670, is up for auction.

Willoughby was an obstetrician, practicing from around 1630. He collected and wrote about more than 200 cases in the manuscript, which he intended to be used as a tool for teaching midwives more humane and less brutal practices. In his own words, he wanted to "to inform the ignorant common midwives with such wayes as I have used with good successe ... shewing the wayes how to deliver any difficult birth, bee it naturall, or, unnaturall". Strangely, the manuscript was not published until 1863.

An estimate of between 20,000 to 30,000 British pounds has been given. Read more.

A published version of this manuscript already been digitised and is available online.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Government and Nation on Te Ara

A new theme on Te Ara has just been released. 'Government and Nation' is full of fascinating facts about Aotearoa New Zealand. There are 9 different sub themes, which provide avenues for exploration, such as education and Te Tiriti - The Treaty. The range and depth of information is staggering, ranging from postage stamps to memorials & monuments to New Zealand's association with Antarctica. Read more and and jump heads first into the content on Te Ara.