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Showing posts from April, 2019

Propaganda and political cartoons from the Russo-Japanese war: Part 1

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The New Zealand Graphic achieved a satirical milestone in its 8 July 1905 issue when, perhaps for the first time, a New Zealand journal published cartoons from a foreign viewpoint. These were an intriguing series of Japanese propaganda cartoons about the Russo-Japanese War.

The Russo-Japanese war began in February 1904 when the Japanese attacked the Russian naval squadron at Port Arthur, in Liaoning province, China. In March the Japanese army invaded Korea and by May had encircled the Russians in Port Arthur. The Russian army in Manchuria tried to relieve Port Arthur but could not get further than Mukden. In January 1905 the Russian defenders at Port Arthur surrendered. Then in February 1905 the Japanese forced the Russians to retreat from Mukden back into Manchuria. After the naval battle in the Tsushima Strait in May 1905, when the Japanese virtually destroyed the Russian Baltic Fleet, the Russians grudgingly negotiated and signed a peace agreement at the Treaty of Portsmouth.

The p…

James Cook and Joseph Banks: reading over the shoulders of giants

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When the Endeavour left Plymouth harbour in August of 1768, it carried in its cabins the collected navigational knowledge of its predecessors in South Sea exploration. The vessel, under the command of Captain James Cook, was to be the site for a pioneering venture: a circumnavigational voyage in pursuit of knowledge terrestrial, oceanic, and celestial. As a voyage of European “discovery”, it would prove revolutionary in several important ways, the success of which rested upon the knowledge acquired by other, earlier expeditions.


Cook’s first voyage (1768-71) represented a joint information-gathering venture between the British Admiralty and the Royal Society. Officially, its purpose was to observe the 1769 transit of Venus from the South Pacific – part of an international effort to establish Earth’s distance from the Sun. The decision to carry this out from Tahiti specifically was relatively last-minute, depending as it did on the island’s first European visit by the Dolphin under Cap…

Auckland Library Heritage Trust Scholarship 2019/2020

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Applications for the Auckland Library Heritage Trust research scholarship are now open!


Now in its seventh year, the scholarship is offered by the Auckland Library Heritage Trust to assist with research and the promotion of material held in Sir George Grey Special Collections at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library and the distributed Heritage Collections across the region.


The breadth of Auckland Libraries' Heritage Collections is reflected in the wide-ranging research topics of previous scholars: from Vanessa York's study of botanical perfumery to Dr Majid Daneshagar's work to create a catalogue of the Middle Eastern manuscripts held in Sir George Grey Special Collections to Aleisha Ward's research into the 1920s jazz scene in Auckland.
As well as rare and historic books Auckland Libraries’ Heritage Collections include maps, archives, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, oral histories, musical recordings and ephemera. The formats are both analogue and born di…