Friday, November 30, 2012

The Stalingrad Protocols

The Stalingrad Protocols' have been compiled by the German historian, Jochen Hellbeck, who gained access to several thousand interviews with World War II Red Army soldiers, held in archives at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

The first hand accounts were originally intended as a record of the Soviet Union's "Great Patriotic War". Due to the graphic nature of the accounts, the Kremlin published only a small portion of them after 1945, preferring to opt for more orthodox Stalinist propaganda. The "protocols" languished in Moscow's archives until 2008, when, acting on a tip, Hellbeck was able to gain access to 10,000 pages.

Ref: AWNS-19431103-15-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The accounts suggest the invading German army's murderous and brutal occupation of the Soviet Union was one of the prime motives behind the Red Army's ferocious counter-offensive.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Children's Home & Orphanages in Hawkes Bay

A book about the children who lived in children's institutions in Hawkes Bay has been written by Dr Kay Morris Matthews, an acclaimed academic historian and author. It will be launched on 22 November by John McKinnon, a Hastings resident who grew up in France House, a home in the Esk Valley for teenage boys.

Ref: 4-3681A-57, Parnell orphanage, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Entitled entitled 'Who Cared? Childhoods within Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages 1892-1988', the books covers the experiences of thousands of youngsters who were orphaned, illegitimate, abandoned or destitute.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Theft of photos from a Far North museum

The police are investigating an alleged theft of historic photographs from the Whangaroa County Museum and Archives Society in Kaeo, in the far North.

Ref: AWNS19220323-40-7, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The museum has a substantial collection of photos, documents and artefacts depicting the people and scenes from Whangaroa history. Exhibition highlights include the 1809 sinking of the Boyd and items from the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed in 1985 and sunk off nearby Matauri Bay. There are also displays on timber milling and missionary work from 1814 onwards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2nd Battle of El Alamein

Sixty years ago, the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, the battle that turned the war towards the allies' favour, was fought in North Africa. Recent commemorations saw New Zealand veterans invited to the El Alamein Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Egypt to remember New Zealand and allied forces; fortunately many of their stories now live on in the written and oral histories.

George Mackay from Westport fought at Tripoli and in The Desert Rd  recounts the thoughts that go through one’s mind leading up to battle. “You don’t know what to expect.. . It’s an uncanny moment, zero hour. Everything’s going through your mind, whether you’ll survive, whether you’re going to get killed, blown up or shot at, or anything like that. What’s going to happen? What’s it going to be like? You don’t know. All those things are going through your mind and then finally its zero hour and the shelling starts. Then you’re waiting for the Germans to retaliate with their shells.  That’s what it’s all about. You don’t know what’s going to happen and then it all does happen” ('The Desert Road' edited by Megan Hutching, p.251).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Virtual village

In May 2012 the work of students from Bruce McLaren Intermediate School brought local life to the walls of the West Auckland Research Centre through the 'It takes a village: photo voice' exhibition (see post on 25 May 2012 if you want to read more about the exhibition).

Today it is back in a new form as a virtual experience of the original physical exhibition. This gives it the potential for reaching a regional, national and even international audience!

Ref: Home page, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre
Village residents and students are pleased that then are now able to send friends and family a link to the exhibition which highlights the work of the students.

Ref: Vision Waitakere Gardens, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre
Each village link includes stunning portraits and narratives reflections of the conversations captured between students and older residents. Read more about the project. 

Ref: Wilsher Village, It takes a village website, West Auckland Research Centre 
There is already a link in place from the Chinese Digital Community website and in the future there are plans to add oral history sound extracts from interviews with the Chinese residents of Wilsher Village.

West Auckland Research Centre is pleased to hold this contemporary documentary collection of photos and narratives.

 Author: Sue Berman, West Auckland Research Centre

Friday, November 23, 2012

WW1 from the vaults of British Pathé

British Pathé  has exceedingly rich and comprehensive WW1 archives. The online collection showcases just a small selection of material available.

Ref: 31-G515, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Subjects of the archival war footage include: wartime propaganda, trench warfare, zeppelins, battleships, U-boats, protests against conscription and horrifying footage of shell shock victims.

Ref: 35-R265, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The British Pathé website also has a section entitled WW1: 10 telling images depicting hard hitting imagery from 'the war to end all wars'.

Ref: JTD-04K-03812, West Auckland Research Centre
The British Pathé blog is also well worth a read. With the build up to the start of the centenary commemorations in mind, many posts are focused on WW1, the institution's WW1 archives and footage from other wars.

Ref: 4-1515C, Sir George Grey Special Collections


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Perils of Constipation – Part 2

'The Golden Age of Purgation' display at the Central Auckland Research Centre has produced many comments from our customers, who remember how the fear of constipation ruled their childhoods. As New Zealand author Ruth Park has said of her depression-era upbringing: “children suffered most.”

An article in the Otago Witness (Ref: Otago Witness, 21/10/1908) professed that constipation aggravated psychopathic states. “This is true in epilepsy, hysteria, alcoholism, melancholia, and even in organic mental diseases it is the rule.”

Ref: 1-W1774A, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

National Library Beta website

On 14 November 2012, the National Library Beta website took over as the online home of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa.

The National Library have been trialling and steadily improving the website, which includes a prototype search service and the home for collections and services.

The final step has been shifting all the information about the library and its services from this site to the new platform. In the process library staff have re-thought how they present that material, and streamlined it to get customers to what they need more quickly.

Ref: AWNS19200715-31-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The new site is the biggest change in the library's online presence since the library first ventured online in the 1990s, and the creation of the cross-collection search site FIND. Customers  can now search more of the collections, more comprehensively, and do more with what they find. Developments don't stop there and the  library is continuing to improve the website's technology,  online services, and functionality.

This refresh coincides with the official reopening of the National Library's Wellington building on 27 November. The ground floor, Te Ahumairangi, named by mana whenua after the hill the building sits on, will be home to a number of new ways to use the library.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bookbinding exhibition

Wooden boards, raised bands, end-leaves, vellum, blind-stamped, and fillets are all part of the exotic language of the bookbinder. An exhibition entitled 'From Pigskin to Paper: The Art and Craft of Bookbinding' will begin at Special Collections, de Beer Gallery, University of Otago Library on 20 December 2012 and run until 22 March 2013.

The exhibition aims to decode the jargon used by bookbinders, and showcase the creative 'art and craft' skills evident in all aspects of the binding process, from forwarding (construction) to finishing (decoration). To highlight the processes, a wide cross-section of binding styles are show in the exhibition, from the 1481 Rood and Hunt binding and 16th century European samples, to publisher's case-bindings. Books bound by local Dunedin binders also feature.

Ref: 4-7386, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Monday, November 19, 2012

Waikumete Cemetery

It’s dead good Waikumete Cemetery in Glen Eden is one of the most significant heritage places managed by Auckland Council. At 108 ha, it is New Zealand’s largest cemetery, the second largest in the southern hemisphere, and the resting place of over 60,000 people, some of whom played an important role in our history. The cemetery is just one of the many heritage assets owned or managed by Auckland Council on behalf of the community.

Ref: JTD-12AA-02366-3, West Auckland Research Centre
The cemetery opened in 1886 as a replacement for the overcrowded Symonds Street Cemetery. It was laid out by denomination and contains many historic graves and memorials of heritage significance. It includes a children’s section, soldiers’ cemetery, large lawn cemetery, Māori urupa, mass grave of over 1000 flu victims from 1918, and a memorial to the 1979 Mt. Erebus Air Disaster. The cemetery also contains a notable group of mausoleums and the historic Faith-in-the-Oaks Chapel (1886), Sexton’s House (1886) and crematorium.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Robin Hood

Plans are underway for a new £13 million Robin Hood-themed visitor attraction located in Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham.

Robin Hood, the cheeky, romanticised figure in folklore, with his band of merry men, 'robing the rich to feed the poor' is known all around the world and is the subject of many movies, TV shows, plays, books and ballads.

Sherwood Forest is the spiritual home of the 12th century English outlaw and locating the visitor's centre here, would put this legendary location back on the map and cement these past associations. The investment would also help towards future protection and management of this historic forest.

Ref: Robin Hood Memorial in Nottingham, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dunedin Flatnames Project

Over time, a unique student community has developed in Dunedin.Students from this area are well known for their wild and crazy antics but what is less well known, is their unique practice of naming their places of abode.

Ref: AWNS-19260722-43-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Students have been naming their houses and flats since the 1930s and it has become an important and traditional part of the Scarfie culture in this area, which continues to the present day. The names reference popular culture and range from being puerile to profane and from humorous to more cerebral, with the use of literary references.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Molasses, Alas, The Sideways Platypus

Recently a customer was searching through old letterbooks in the Chelsea Archives at Birkenhead Library. Tissue thin pages, eye-watering  italic script, crumbling pages, circa 1889 – that sort of thing.

He was hoping to find reference to his grandfather. Instead he found curious little notes. Which would be fine, except they seem to be nonsense:

Ref: 'Platypus', Chelsea Archives, Birkenhead Library

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diwali and Delhi

Spice up your life and celebrate Diwali, Festival of Lights! Auckland's Diwali Festival was celebrated on 13-14 October in Aotea Square, whilst Auckland Libraries is celebrating the festival from 1-15 November with something for everyone. This year, the official date for celebration is today, 13 November 2012.

Ref: AWNS-19100915-15-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections
With this important annual festival in mind, this post is dedicated to Delhi, the capital city and political hub of this large country. Delhi draws huge numbers of tourists each year, who come to visit its many attractions such as the Red fort, Jantar-mantar and Qutub minar.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Humourous archival footage from the vaults of British Pathé

From the vaults of British Pathé come comical audio visual treats, some of which are intentionally funny and others which are amusing through our contemporary eyes. Here is a selection of humorous archival footage, enjoy!

If you can think of it, British Pathé may very well have footage of it .... For example, there is a glut of lion related archival footage, from the1934 footage of a lion perching on the side of car whilst being driven around a 'wall of death' motordrome to the strange footage from 1933 of lions eating a car!

Ref: 35-R167, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Friday, November 9, 2012

Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibition

Fresh from a tour around the United States, the exhibition 'Who Shot Rock & Roll' opens at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki tomorrow, 10 November 2012 and runs until 3 March 2013.

The exhibition organised by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by photographic historian and author Gail Buckland, is a photographic history covering 1955 to the present. It is ground breaking from the perspective that it is the first museum exhibition to acknowledge photographers for their collaborative and creative role in the history of popular music.

Ref: 580-10702, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kete New Plymouth hits a milestone

During October the 10,000th item was added to Kete New Plymouth, the Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa (APNK) hosted online repository.

Ref: 35-R885, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The site uses the Kete software - an open source, web based program. Find out more about Kete.

Since its beginnings, Kete New Plymouth has grown into a healthy and popular digital archive. The site is an online taonga for the people of today as well as those in the future. It is focused on Taranaki and its people and includes contemporary and historical stories, images, videos and audio.

Ref: 35-R864, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lilburn Research Fellowship

The Lilburn Trust, in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library, is open to receive applications for the inaugural Lilburn Research Fellowship, which was established this year.

Ref: JTD-13K-05602, West Auckland Research Centre
The aim of the fellowship, is to encourage scholarly research leading to publication on some aspect of New Zealand and music, using the resources of the Archive of New Zealand Music (part of the ATL Manuscripts Collection) and the wider published and unpublished collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Highland Games

The Hororata Highland Games are back again this year and will take place on the 10 November in the small Canterbury town.

Ref: 31-55853, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The games will be traditional with a unique Kiwi twist. Highlights will include: highland dancing, solo piping and drumming, pipe bands, heavy (strongmen/women) events including caber tossing, hammer throw, sheep shearing demonstrations, scurry racing, a dedicated children’s glen, and the very popular tug-o-war. The Taste of Scotland section is a new edition to the games and will include traditional Scottish fare, cooking demonstrations, whisky tasting and much more.

The games were set up by the Hororata Community Trust to help support community activities and rebuild the town after the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake. Find out more.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tramping huts book

'Shelter from the Storm: the story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts' - the latest book from Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint covers nearly 200 years of unique New Zealand architectural history. The book documents the history of the network of over 1,000 working and recreational huts that are located deep within New Zealand’s mountains and forests, and profiles 90 of the most emblematic.

Ref: JTD-04A-03426, West Auckland Research Centre

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Golden Age of Purgation

Constipation was an obsession in the early 20th century. It was thought to pollute the blood and in turn cause everything from bad breath to liver failure, madness or syphilis.

In books such as “The Conquest of Constipation” doctors warned that the contents of the colon created “sewer-like blood” leading to 90 percent of disease.

Ref: AWNS-19220615-35-5, Sir George Grey Special Collections
“How can I emphasise enough the importance of bowels in those days?” wrote New Zealand author Ruth Park. As a child in Te Kuiti she was forced to drink castor oil every day. “It was given to me in orange juice on the top of which it floated in a viscid greenish layer. I wanted to throw up before I drank it.”