Current research in the J.C.Beaglehole Room – Two perspectives on New Zealand’s international exhibitions – Monday 19th September, 2016, 1pm

Dr Inge van Rij from Music Studies and Susette Goldsmith from Museum & Heritage Studies will talk about their research into two of New Zealand’s international exhibitions.

Monday September 19th, 2016 from 1-2pm, in the J.C.Beaglehole Room – All welcome

Dr Inge van Rij, Associate Director, Music Studies and Composition and Senior Lecturer, Music Studies

Official record of the New Zealand and South Seas exhibition held at Dunedin 1889-90 /compiled by D. Harris Hastings. 1891
HC665 D915 1889

Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century international exhibitions were highly significant events in constructing identity and classifying knowledge. During the same period, music was increasingly subjected to the same processes, as musical works were admitted to or excluded from the ‘imaginary museum’, and musical instruments were displayed as objects of ethnography or national industry. Whilst the exhibitions themselves were ephemeral events, the official documentation that typically accompanied them captures some of the symmetries and tensions between the exhibition framework and contemporaneous musical thought. Drawing on the Official Record of the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition of 1889-90 (held in Dunedin), my research examines how musical identity and classification interacted with colonial aspiration, with a particular focus on the ways in which musical and exhibition discourse framed issues of race and gender.

Susette Goldsmith, PhD candidate, Museum and Heritage Studies

Official history of the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Wellington, 1939-1940 / written by N.B. Palethorpe.
DU421.4 P157 O
(and others)

Trees, floods, erosion and the 1940 centennial – what’s the connection?

Drawing on the centennial publications housed in the J. C. Beaglehole Room, this paper views selected centennial activities through a green-tinted lens and highlights the contradiction between the enthusiastic celebration of material progress and the despair at its consequent environmental destruction. This discussion of conflicting values and their relationship to trees is part of a critical heritage study of the definition, the process, and the values, meanings and understandings of arboreal heritage in this country.







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Spotlight on Special Collections: Futuna Chapel and Cahiers d’Art – Monday 30 May, 2016, 12:30, in the J.C.Beaglehole Room

Kia ora koutou

Following on from the tradition of the 3 Books, 3 Scholars seminar, we are pleased to be presenting a lunchtime seminar in which items from the J.C.Beaglehole Room collections are featured.

On Monday the 30th of May, we will have two researchers speaking:

Nick Bevin (independent researcher): Futuna – Life of a building
Accession 2014.035 – Photographic negatives of Futuna Chapel

In 1986 Gavin Woodward, Victoria University photographer, undertook what could be regarded as his most important, and thorough, photographic assignment for a book on Futuna Chapel entitled ‘Voices of Silence’ and  written by Dr Russell Walden, Associate Professor of Architecture at Victoria University. Gavin’s photography beautifully captured the architecture, space, light, materiality and voice of the Chapel in a series of intense colour photographs. Gavin Woodward died in a tragic accident on the Chathams in 1996 when he was volunteering for DOC in a bird counting exercise.  In 2006 the Futuna Charitable Trust took ownership of Futuna Chapel and began its mission to restore the building and bring it back to a new and meaningful life, a life that befitted its status as one of New Zealand’s architectural crown jewels.



A gathering of material related to the Chapel commenced and Gavin’s transparencies became the Holy Grail but despite numerous inquiries they were not found. Gregory O’Brien current Stout fellow at Victoria and trustee of the Futuna Trust initiated a project for a new book on the chapel in 2014, a book that would tell the story of the new fortunes of  the chapel following its sale to a residential developer. Serendipitously in September 2014  over 200 of Gavin’s 5 x  4 colour transparencies were lodged in the JC Beaglehole Room by the Victoria University’s School of Architecture.

Dr Raymond Spiteri (Lecturer, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies)
N2.C35 – Cahiers d’Art

Raymond discusses the French art magazine Cahiers d’Art, which was published between 1926 and 1960, and its role in his research on the relation between surrealism and modernism.

We hope you’ll be able to join us.

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4 books, 3 librarians – J.C.Beaglehole Room, Tuesday 19 May 2015, 12-1pm

Kia ora koutou

In the latest of our lunchtime seminar series, as promised at the March seminar, the J.C.Beaglehole Room staff will take a turn to present items from the collection which have captured their interest.

  • Chrissy Tetley will talk about Expurgated, a work of book art by Christine Kermaire. She will interpret the art work in the spirit in which it was made.
  • Maia-Jeanne McAllister will draw a comparison between two pamphlets about space travel – J.M.T.’s 1901 Trip to Mars and George Smith’s The Way Out from the 1930s.
  • Sue Hirst will talk about the 1634 diary of Sarah Savage, its overseas connections and how it came to be in our collection.

Tuesday 19th of May 12-1 in the J.C.Beaglehole Room, Level 4 of the Library at Kelburn. I hope you will be able to join us.

Ngā mihi

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2 Books, 2 Scholars – Tuesday 2nd December 2014, 12:30-1:30 – David Maskill, Christiane Mortelier

An occasional interdisciplinary seminar featuring the collections of the J.C.Beaglehole Room.  RB404 – J.C.Beaglehole Reading Room.  All welcome.

For this seminar we have a French connection.

Recueil d’estampes d’après les plus beaux tableaux et d’après les plus beaux desseins qui sont en France…, 2 vols, Paris : Imprimerie royale, 1729 and 1742.

Speaker:  David Maskill, Senior Lecturer in Art History at VUW

Call number:  ND456 .R438 1729

Nicolas de Larmessin (1684–1755) after Raphael (1483–1520) Vision of Ezekiel 1729 Engraving and etching

Nicolas de Larmessin (1684–1755) after Raphael (1483–1520)
Vision of Ezekiel 1729
Engraving and etching

This title, known as the Recueil Crozat, is one of the first illustrated art books published in France in the early 18th century. The book comprises over one hundred and fifty large-format handmade engravings, etchings and woodblock prints that reproduce the most esteemed Italian paintings and drawings then in the French royal collection, the collection of the Duke of Orléans and other private collections in France. In its format and quality of production, it set the standard for publications of deluxe illustrated books for the next century. It is the only copy of this book in a public collection in either Australia or New Zealand.



Castaway on the Auckland Isles : a narrative of the wreck of the Grafton and of the escape of the crew after twenty months suffering…by Captain Thomas Musgrave. London: Lockwood, 1866

Speaker:  Christane Mortelier

Call number:  Fildes 1427

Les Naufragés des Iles Auckland“, the authentic story of survival after shipwreck known in English as Wrecked on a reef , is going to be republished in its original French version In Paris next year. It will  contain further  information than in the last edition in English which  I presented to “3 books 3 scholars” in 2003… for good measure I’ve added commentaries on Castaway on the Auckland Isles (1865) by captain Thomas Musgrave –  a number of photos drawn from NZ and Australian libraries and a fuller section on “the influence of Raynal’s story on Jules Verne”.

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Peace Now! – posters from the Ron and Carmen Smith Collection

Kia ora

Ron and Carmen Smith were well-known Wellington activists for many years.   In 2012 the J.C.Beaglehole Room received from their family a collection of posters and pamphlets relating mostly to their peace, anti-nuclear and environmental activism.  They had quite a broad international focus but with a strong New Zealand and Pacific thread.

Over the course of the last two weeks, Melissa Bryant has been working with us to list the posters and pamphlets, create a finding aid and develop a display based on a small selection of the posters.

Melissa with a couple of the Pacific peace posters

The display is in the cabinets on Levels 2 and 4, and can be viewed until the end of November.

Nga mihi




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Vote for us! Electoral advertising leaflets from 1890 to the present on display

A few years ago we received a donation from Les Cleveland which included his collection of election advertising, dating back to 1890.   We have made apoint of collecting party political leaflets each general election since then, by the unscientific but reasonably effective method of asking staff members to bring in the leaflets they have received in their letterboxes or at meet the candidates meetings.

With a general election imminent, it seemed like an opportune time to showcase some of this material.  It is fascinating to see what has and hasn’t changed over the years.  Which should we tax? from 1890 discusses the merits of a taxation on land versus labour.   Big Business Speaks from 1925 suggests that big money is having undue influence on the governing of the country.  Who owns this country – Comalco or the people of New Zealand? from 1970 reiterates that point in referring to the raising of Lake Manapouri to supply cheap energy to the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point.  A Salient special issue from 1966 reports on an attempt by a senior official of the National Party to obtain infomration from the Security Intelligence in order to discredit an opponent.  Meanwhile National Party leaflets from the 1940s emphasise the perils of socialism (A Fireside Chat 1943 and Russianising New Zealand 1949) and one from the 1950s uses an image of snake-charmer to portray Social Credit theory.  And from time to time, we find guides to young voters such as this one:

ca 1963

ca 1963

Employment (or the lack of it), housing (likewise), education, health…It seems the main thing that has changed about the message is the way it is presented, reflecting advances in technology (from plain paper monochrome, with simple illustrations, through to full colour with photographs on glossy paper) and perhaps changes in the way we deal with information (from quite lengthy discursive messages to the reading equivalent of sound bites now).

We also see the move from no particular party affiliations in the 1890s, through the almost binary National/Labour (with the occasional bit of Social Credit and beginnings of Green) period from the 1930s through to the 1990s, and then the emergence of a range of minor parties to add to the mix.

This year, the other thing we’ve noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be the same volume of letterbox advertising – at least not so far.  With 10 days to go we could yet be inundated, but so much more is happening via social media now, that I somehow think not.

The display is spread between Level 2 and 4 of the Kelburn library and will be there until September 28th.  I hope you’ll be able to come and see it.

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New exhibition at the J.C.Beaglehole Room – Lichens

Kia ora koutou

We recently had a researcher in looking at our 19th century books on lichens.  That visit inspired the mounting of an exhibition of some of the books, which – among their interesting qualities – have wonderful and fascinating illustrations which lend themselves to display.

The books range from plain text with interleaved note-sheets for the enthusiast to Antoine Fée’s Essais sur les cryptogamesdes écorces exotiques officinales, which has a wonderful range of detailed and colourful plates, such as this one:

Fee Tab31 The exhibition will run only for a fortnight or so.  I do hope some of you will have time to come and see it.

Nga mihi


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2 books, 2 scholars – Wednesday 11th May, 12:30-1:30 – Lyman Tower Sargent, Pamela Gerrish Nunn

An interdisciplinary seminar on items from the Library’s Special Collections, and their use.  All welcome.  J.C. Beaglehole Room – RB404.

The Spherethe war issues Speaker:  Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Resident Scholar, Stout Research Centre
Periodical: The Sphere (October 1914- September 1918)
Reference:  AP4 .S73

OWhen researching people who lived in another time and place, the historian can struggle to understand their way of thinking and thus the individual actions, statements and decisions that are the object of the historical project. I am at present studying various people, living  in New Zealand and Britain in the early 20th century, and for me the key to understanding or, at least, imagining well such people is: what was their position on votes for women and what did they do in the ‘Great’ war? I see these as the defining issues of that time. Before television and radio, print media such as daily newspapers and weekly periodicals provide an unparallelled insight into what our subjects were thinking and feeling, what furnished their minds and what stimulated their creativity: The Sphere is an exemplary title in this respect.

The Messiah of Johnsonville:  Frank T. Moore and his Armageddon and A Soldier in Khaki (1918)

Speaker:  Lyman Tower Sargent, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and  Resident Scholar, Stout Research Centre
Book:  Armageddon and a Soldier in Khaki by Frank Moore. Wellington: New Zealand Times, 1918
Reference:  DU401 1910-9 Box3 2

Armageddon 001Francis (Frank) Thomas Moore was born in 1867 (no one knows when he died) and, in addition to being a successful entrepreneur and local and regional politician, a self-proclaimed messiah. Also, in 1902 he was found guilty of at least threatening to kill Sir Joseph Ward (1856-1930), when Ward was the acting Prime Minister. At one point Frank Moore was so well-known in Wellington that the New Zealand Free Lance could publish a caricature of him simply labelled “Frank”. Armageddon and A Soldier in Khaki exists in one copy held in the Beaglehole Room and is a good a summary of Moore’s thought with all of its strengths and weaknesses.

We hope you can join us.

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New exhibition – Vietnam

Kia ora

We have a new exhibition in our cases on Level 4 outside the J.C.Beaglehole Room.  The material is drawn from two collections of papers related to Vietnam and the Vietnam war, for which we have recently created finding aids.

One collection is papers from Freda Cook, who taught English at Hanoi University in North Vietnam from 1960-1968.  For a fuller account of Freda’s life, have a look at her biography in Te Ara.  Freda’s papers give us a very personal perspective as well as a rare glimpse of the other side of the coin from the one we usually see.


The other collection came to us from Cath Kelly, also an activist of some note and – coincidentally(?) writer of Freda’s entry in Te Ara. Between them they have gathered a very good collection of material related to the protest movement against New Zealand’s involvement in the war, and with Freda’s material from her time in North Vietnam, this display offers a fascinating perspective on this significant event.

The exhibition will run until mid-June (with a brief interval for Samoan Language week 26-20 May).

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Asteroid Beaglehole

I have just heard that an asteroid has recently been named after J.C.Beaglehole.

We are regularly reminded of just what a significant figure J.C.Beaglehole was in the history of exploration. It seems that space exploration is no different.  It most definitely tips its hat to the explorers of the past as inspiration, and apparently gives due credit to those who have contributed to that history. There is even a profile of JCB in NASA’s Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.  And now he is remembered and acknowledged in the naming of asteroid. I think it is quite reasonable to say “Wow!” in such circumstances.

Here is the citation for newly named asteroid Beaglehole

(15413) Beaglehole = 1998 BX9
Discovered 1998 Jan. 22 by Spacewatch at Kitt Peak.
J.C. Beaglehole (1901-1971) was a New Zealand historian and authority on the European exploration of the Pacific. His “Life of Captain Cook” and associated “Journals of Captain Cook” and “Journals of Joseph Banks” constitute a definitive account of the Cook voyages. Name suggested and citation supplied by Eric M. Jones.

 – and here is the listing the the Minor Planet Catalog

Asteroid Beaglehole is in the main Asteroid Belt; and has a semi-major axis of
3.07 astronomical units, which is 3.07 times Earth’s average distance from the Sun. Its absolute magnitude is 13.9, which puts the diameter between about 5.2 to 10.2 kilometers, depending on how reflective it really is. [Thanks to Eric Jones for this information.]

There is also an Antarctic glacier which the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee named after him in 1976, honouring his contribution to Cook sholarship and Antarctic history.

Wow! again


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