Showing posts from August, 2012

No plaque for the writer Stefan Sweig

English Heritage have rejected the application to commemorate Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) with the English Heritage blue plaque on the London house in which he lived for five years.

Zweig, a Jewish writer fled Austria in 1934. He settled in Hallam Street in London for five years and become a British citizen.
Zweig has recently undergone a resurgence of interest recently. He was a prominent writer during the 1920s and 1930s and was well known in Europe and America (although not Britain) for his stories, novellas, biographies and his one novel entitled 'Beware of Pity'.
Find out more about this story and about Zweig and his life.
Zweig committed suicide in Brazil in 1942. In February of this year, The National Library of Israel  published online letters by Zweig including his suicide letter, to mark the 70th anniversary of his death. Find out more including a description of his archive.

Out of the Box exhibition

Out of the Box: Going West Books and Writers Festival 1996-2011, opened on Thursday 16th August 2012 at the West Auckland Research Centre, Level 2, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson and runs until 16 September 2012. Find out more.

The exhibition includes the use of touch screens with audio selections from the Going West Archive held in the centre's collection. Speakers include Maurice Gee, Michael King, Nigel Cox and Dorothy Butler. 

On the wall are copies of selected ephemera, artwork, photos and press-clippings capturing some of the Going West literary story.

All recordings from the archive are available for listening in the centre's  J T Diamond Reading Room.  This collection includes many of New Zealand's literary luminaries.

UNESCO Memory of the World NZ Programme newsletter

The latest newsletter from UNESCO Memory of the World New Zealand Programme is now available. It features a short section on the Grey's New Zealand Māori Manuscripts from the Sir George Grey Special Collections (Central City Library), which was inscribed onto the register in 2011.

Digitisation of Indian documentary heritage

The Jammu and Kashmir Government of the northern Indian state has started digitisation of archival records, rare books and manuscripts to preserve the state's documentary heritage.

Find out more and view some of these rare records on You Tube.

Frankfurt Book Sale

New Zealand is to be the Guest of Honour at the prestigious 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

This book fair is the biggest book and media trade fair in the world – with around 7,500 exhibitors from over 110 countries and nearly 300,000 visitors yearly. It is also the world’s oldest publishing events and takes place over five busy days of international book trading. Find out more.

Family tree found and a a hunt for the descendants begins

Be sure to check out the latest blog post on Kintalk, a wonderful tale of a lost family tree going back 500 years which was found in an attic on Waiheke Island, emigration of one branch of the family to New Zealand and the Central Auckland Research Centre's hunt for the descendants so that they can be reunited with their history ...

Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876

The exhibition 'Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876' is on now at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, Dunedin.

It features rare books and maps from the Hocken Collections, the Science Library, Special Collections, University of Otago, and the Heritage Collection, Dunedin Public Library.

An online version of this exhibition has also been released and includes additional material, which could not be displayed due to space limitations.  Gradually these will be added to, forming a greater resource for all those interested in Pacific exploration.

One of the sections is entitled Cook's First Voyage and includes sample of Polynesian cloth / tapa once owned by Captain Cook. Housed in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Central City Library is one of the thirty surviving, individually distinct copies of ‘A catalogue of the different specimens of cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook’.  London: Printed for …

The British Armorial Bindings Database

The British Armorial Bindings Database  is now available online. This free database allows users to identify heraldic stamps used by owners to decorate their books. It has been published under sponsorship by The Bibliographical Society in conjunction with the University of Toronto

Users can search for book owners using their family name, titular name, rank in the peerage, and by gender.  Around 12,000 books from around the world form the basis of this database. The database has great application for rare book librarians, book historians, book dealers, students of heraldry, genealogists, and coats of arms enthusiasts.

Dominion Road stories

Dominion Road Stories is a theatrical experience being planned for 2013 by Auckland Theatre Company's community programme ATC Participate, in conjunction with AUT students, Auckland Libraries and Albert-Eden Local Board.

As part of this initiatives,  locations and sites around the Balmoral area of Dominion Road will be brought to life through series of theatrical performances and installations. The theatre company is currently looking for people contribute stories, objects, photos as part of the project. Find out more.

Be sure to listen to Lynne Cardy talking with RNZ afternoons about the Dominion Road stories project.

Western Pacific Archives Guide

The Western Pacific Archives (WPA) at the University of Auckland Library contains the records of the British colonial administration in the Western Pacific from 1877-1978. Containing more than 760 linear metres (about 2,800 archive boxes), the WPA was transferred to Special Collections at the university library in 2002.

The WPA offers great a whole wealth of research opportunities for historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and researchers in many other fields. Previously research was hindered by the sheer size and complexity of this collection, which has 87 separate finding aids. The Guide to the Western Pacific Archives is a new resource offering easier points of access to this rich collection.

Recent research and publications which have drawn on the WPA include:
The history of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony The interface between native medical practitioners and the colonial administration German migrants in Tonga Coastwatching The legal status of indigenous peoples Nume…

Celebration of Hobson Wharf & NZ National Maritime Museum

Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum are continuing their mini online exhibitions during August 2012.

The latest exhibition celebrates the construction of Hobson Wharf in Auckland and the maritime enthusiasts that spent many years lobbying to have a Maritime Museum established in Auckland. The NZ National Maritime Museum, now Voyager, opened on the 19th August 1993 and celebrations continued for four days.

The world of Shakespeare

Not that most New Zealanders will be able to go ... but it's still interesting to know that the British Museum is staging a major exhibition on the world of Shakespeare in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Find out more.

Back here in New Zealand, the Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Central City Library branch holds all four folios of William Shakespeare. The first folio was purchased by Sir George Grey from the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch at the request of Auckland Public Library. It is one of three copies in the Southern Hemisphere out of a known 228 which survive. The second and fourth folios were also donated by Grey, the third by the Lush family.

Julius von Haast

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the death of Julius von Haast (1822-1887). German born geologists Haast and Ferdinand Hochstetter (1829-1884) were responsible for much of the early geological surveying in the South Island, particularly around the Canterbury region.

Haast had a number of of flora and fauna and landscape features named after him including: Haastia (an alpine plant), the extinct Haast's Eagle (the largest eagle to have ever lived), the Haast River and the Haast Pass.

Find out more about Haast and his written works. Auckland Libraries heritage holdings include letters from Haast to Sir George and maps as seen below (in both instances enter the search term 'Haast' into the databases) in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Central City Library.       

Afraid of ghosts?

An unfinished story by the English writer MR James has been discovered in a Cambridge archive. The manuscript was found amongst a collection of James' documents at the King's College Archive Centre. James was the college's provost in the early 20th century.

The manuscript was discovered by scholar Rosemary Pardoe, who notes that the difficulty of James' hand writing is mostly likely the reason that this manuscript remaining undiscovered for so long.

James is well known for his children's ghost stories. The main characater in this manuscript is an elderly gentleman, who during the course of the story relates the history of the sordid "Purdue business" to his friend. Find out more.

Interview with Brad Argent for Family History Month

Brad Argent, Content Director for was recently interviewed by Chris Laidlaw on National Radio about the importance of family history in finding a sense of place; and genealogy as a way to personalise and democratise history. Brad states that it's all about people and stories, rather than places and dates.

Listen to this interview (load up the site, then click on the link for Sun, 5th August and then click on the link entitled 'Brad Argent - Family History').

ATL collections are now fully accessible again

The Alexander Turnbull Library, along with the rest of the National Library Reading Rooms, reopened for researchers on Monday 6th August.

This is the first time in over two years that researchers will have full access to the ATL collection, since the closure of the whole building for refurbishments.

The new ATL gallery is also open and the first exhibition is entitled 'Fresh: Recent Past, New Start'. Find out more.

Arrowsmith's Australian Maps

John Arrowsmith produced the largest scale maps, constructed mostly from official government sources, of the British colonies during the early to mid nineteenth century period.

The website Arrowsmith's Australian Maps is the result of study by Dorothy Prescott from the University of Melbourne, documenting the differences between the maps (1834-1858) published in the 'London Atlas of Universal Geography' by Arrowsmith. During her research, Prescott used maps from Sir George Grey Special Collections to help document these differences.

New Zealand Herald on Papers Past

The New Zealand Herald (1863-1884) is now searchable online through the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa's Papers Past. The culmination of this joint project between the National Library and Auckland Libraries was launched at the Central City Library branch last night.

Contents currently include 6,554 issues and nearly 50,000 pages, with further releases planned in the future. Find out more.

Be sure to check out the Auckland Star (1870-1945), which is also available through Papers Past.

Old Mangere Bridge to be replaced

The old Mangere Bridge across the Manukau Harbour connecting Onehunga and Mangere Bridge communities is to be replaced. The existing bridge, which opened in 1915, is made of reinforced concrete and replaced an earlier wooden structure. Find out more.

Zine culture in New Zealand & Charlotte Bronte's zine

Zine culture is growing and becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand, as illustrated by the popularity of the Auckland Zinefest last Thursday on K Road. Find out more about zines and search Auckland Libraries holdings.

On a heritage note, Charlotte Bronte's zine written when she was just 14 years old, was sold by Sotheby's (London) in December last year to La Musee de Lettres et Manuscrits, Paris for $1.1 million (US). The tiny zine (or manuscript) measures just 1.5 by 2.5 inches and contains 19 pages of tiny writing containing over 4,000 words. It was written for the toy soldiers given to the sisters by their father and was one of six 'Young Men's Magazines' written by Charlotte.

Find out more about this story and also about the Bronte sisters heritage resources at Auckland Libraries.

Mystery of the Marilyn Monroe FBI files

August 5th 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. Great interest and mystery still surround the star and the records kept on her by the FBI. Neither the FBI nor the National Archives, state that they hold the material ....

Find out more and check out the heavily edited Monroe records on the FBI's searchable website The Vault.

Women's magazines

A library just isn’t a library without displays and with our collections, we are spoilt for choice in the display material available to us.

We decided to put together a display for the Central Auckland Research Centre on the women’s magazines in the collection because they are just such a fascinating part of our 20th century heritage – the 1970’s especially.  It was tough deciding which magazines to select and also which individual issues to highlight. With all those unique seventies designs, the adverts and the products, the fashion, the makeup, the grittiness of topics and issues…. there was so much to choose from.

In the end, we went with 'Broadsheet' and 'Eve', two different magazines from the period. The research centre has bound collections of both these, and other magazines, on the open shelves.

'Broadsheet' (1972 to 1997) was run by a collective of the Auckland Women’s Liberation movement and dealt with the real gritty issues affecting women. Things lik…

Symonds St Cemetery & Family History Month

Sleuthing with Brad Argent ( at Symonds Street Cemetery to reveal the stories behind the moss covered gravestones and Family History Month events during August at Auckland Libraries - this article in The Aucklander has it all!

The Walker family of gravediggers

A recent article in the Western Leader describes the history of the Walker family, who were employed as gravediggers at Symonds Street Cemetery and Waikumete Cemetery over a period spanning from the mid 1840s through to early 1900s. Find out more.

Scanning Kingsland's past

Take yourself on a self guided walk around Kingsland's heritage buildings using a mobile app, which scans the QR codes on newly installed Kingsland Heritage Icon plaques. Lean all about the built heritage in the area using this new and exciting innovation. Find out more.