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Local election advertising through Auckland’s history

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Most readers will have received their voting papers for the current local elections, and everybody will surely have seen the masses of leaflets, hoardings and newspaper or social media ads from the various candidates. Electoral communication is one of the fundamental tools which allow voters to navigate the intense competition between ambitious candidates – but it wasn’t always this way. At the first local election in Auckland, for the brand-new Borough of Auckland in 1851, the soldiers in the Fencible settlements voted for their officers and the civilians voted for their neighbours. In the Epsom East ward, the farmer Joseph Newman defeated another settler, James Williamson, by four votes to one. In the second election, a year later, the novelty value had disappeared: six wards out of 14 had only one candidate to choose from. And seven had none at all. Image: A personal message from Robbie's Team of United Independents. From:  Elections - Local Government 1958-1962 . Ephemera Colle

Shelter in Place by Celia Walker

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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

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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

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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

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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