Showing posts from October, 2023

A Man, A Plan, A Tram: A Truth about Takapuna's Tramway

Image: Takapuna Tramways & Ferry Company directors, 1907-1912 (left- right, from top row): Paul M Hansen, John Brown, Alexander R Morrison, Edwin Mitchelson, Henry Brett, Henry Hopper Adams, Captain James Smith, William J Geddis, and William Blomfield.  Paul Maximilian Hansen had a plan for Tāmaki Makaurau. The Danish-German immigrant and London-based entrepreneur envisioned an electric tramway network that would emanate from the Central City to reach every corner of Auckland, stretching far into sections that were still farmland and bush. He desired this system out of no sense of altruism, community connectedness or transportation efficiency. No, he and his cabal of investors wanted it so they could sell property. Specifically, their property. Image: Muir & Moodie. Postcard of Lake Takapuna (Pupuke), 1909. Museum of  New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa PS.002450 . By the early 1900s, the Coromandel goldfields were depleted, their vast wealth pocketed by Aotearoa’s nouveau riche, wh

A deal with the devil: the 1821 English translation of Goethe’s Faust

Image: Mephistopheles appears to Faust in his study, Faust / by Goethe ; translated by Abraham Hayward ; with illustrations by Willy Pogany, London : Hutchinson, 1908, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections IL:1908 POGA.    The idea of making a deal with the devil has a long history in popular imagination. Robert Johnson made a deal with a devil at the crossroads for his otherworldly guitar playing abilities while Faust was after unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasure. The Faust legend was first dramatized by famous Elizabethan playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe in the late sixteenth century in his play Doctor Faustus . Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s (1749-1832) interpretation of the Faust legend was his life’s work – began in 1772 when he was in his twenties and returned to again and again until he completed Part Two a year before he died. The long play, mostly written in rhyming verse, is divided into Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two - the first dealing with Faust’s pact

Tree lovers, seed savers and sponge cities

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections’ have significant holdings on the topics of environmental action, conservation, and natural history. On show now on level 2 of the Central City Library | Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, till Monday 30 October, is the wonderful display: 'Tree lovers, seed savers and sponge cities'. In this display we focus on the manuscript, or archive collections, and supplement these with items from our ephemera, photograph, and oral history collections. This blog post highlights some of the material and information from the display. Manuscript collections take the form of physical or digital documents (or a mix of both) and can include material like scrapbooks, diaries, letters, and minute books. They can also contain photographs, ephemera, audio visual material and other taonga. Collections can range in size from the small - Richard Davis’s two meteorological diaries, to the medium sized - the seven boxes in the Tahuna Torea Rangers archive, to the very large -

The rare Third Folio in Auckland: a much travelled Folio by Mr William Shakespeare

In 2023 the world is celebrating four hundred years since the publication of Shakespeare’s plays in the volume now called the First Folio . Auckland Libraries is proud to care for the First Folio (1623) and the subsequent 17th century folios two, three and four. All but one were gifted to Auckland by Sir George Grey whose founding bequest established the Auckland Free Public Library in 1887. The story of the provenance of the Third Folio is an interesting one. The Third Folio is a rarer volume than either the Second (1632) or the Fourth (1685), probably because unsold copies perished in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Our copy was purchased from the Lush Family some time after 1951. It came to New Zealand some hundred years earlier when the Reverend Vicesimus Lush, his wife Blanche and four children arrived here. It had been owned by a forebear of Mrs Blanche Lush nee Hawkins, the Reverend Thomas Hawkins, Chaplain of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1754-1772 whose bookplate is in the vol