From zines to miniature books, hand coloured rose plates to freezing works' blueprints, zoological atlases to lantern slides - the diversity of material in this exhibition is sure to surprise and delight.
Many of these items are donations which uphold the tradition of philanthropy demonstrated by Sir George Grey's founding gift, while the purchases continue Auckland Libraries' programme of developing and enhancing the existing collections.
Zines are works that are independently published in small numbers. They are ephemeral, often constructed using non-durable materials and tend to document specific times and places.
Auckland Libraries' zine collection was established in 2011 by the founding gift of the Cross Street Zine Library. It continues to grow by acquisition and donation, such as this auto-biographical zine donated by the creator in 2015.
Miniature almanacs, designed to be carried in the pocket, were all the rage in 18th century England. They were often given as Christmas gifts as they contained calendar information and other useful facts and lists.
This copy is beautifully bound in gilt-tooled red leather, with a matching slip case, and was purchased at auction in 2016.
When the SS Wiltshire was wrecked on Great Barrier Island in May 1922, the ship's cat was the last to be rescued. The cat and the hero of the shipwreck, Seaman Kehoe, were reunited at Auckland Hospital, an event captured by the Auckland Weekly News.
This photograph is one of around 7000 negatives from the New Zealand Herald Glass Plate Negatives Collection, donated to Auckland Libraries by NZME Publishing in 2015.
19th century manuscripts
Wesleyan missionary Gideon Smales arrived in New Zealand from Yorkshire in 1840. In 1844 he and his family were sent to Beechamdale mission station, shown in this 1856 sketch by his 14-year-old son, John Bumby Smales. The mission was located at Rauraukauere on the Aotea Harbour south of Kāwhia.
In the mid-1850s, irreconcilable differences with the governing body of the Wesleyan Church caused Smales to turn to life as a farmer. He built a two-storey house and a church on his property at East Tāmaki, and this letter is an apology to his wife Mary Anna for not consulting with her over the final plan. Both buildings still exist and the church remains in use.
These early New Zealand manuscripts relating to the Smales family were purchased in 2014.
Mary Lawrance produced this book on roses between 1796 and 1799. It is the first book wholly devoted to the rose, pre-dating Pierre Redouté's more famous book by 20 years.
The production of this book could be described as an early version of the modern self-publishing phenomenon, as Lawrance was responsible for all aspects of the book's creation. She was the artist, the etcher of the copper plates, the person who hand-coloured all 91 of the plates and the publisher.
In 2014 the Mackelvie Trust, who support purchases that reflect J. T. Mackelvie's interest in art, bought this book for Auckland Libraries from the Carlyon family, descendants of William Carlyon of Cornwall whose bookplate is attached in the front of the book.
The Auckland Library Heritage Trust has made four of Lawrance's rose plates available as limited edition greeting cards to raise awareness of Auckland Libraries' heritage collections. Proceeds from sales will be used to help care for these collections.
The great exploring expeditions of the 19th century frequently reported their scientific discoveries in a series of large illustrated atlases that accompanied the written account of the voyage. These hand-coloured engravings are from a zoological atlas published after the round-the-world French expedition of the Bonite from 1836 to 1837, commanded by Captain Vaillant.
Julie Chen, renowned American book artist, visited Auckland in October 2014 to speak at the Association of Book Crafts conference. While here she asked to see any fern albums held at Auckland Libraries, such as this one donated to the library in 2012. It contains specimens of pressed ferns collected in New Zealand in the late 19th century.
Photographs taken from this and combined with letter-pressed images of flowers from a similarly aged book in America resulted in Composite Impressions, which is the author's reflection on the act of reading in the digital age. In appreciation of the help she received from library staff, Ms Chen donated a copy to Sir George Grey Special Collections.
Donated by a former library staff member upon her retirement in 2015, this bookmark collection was begun with found objects which had personal appeal to the collector. From here it quickly grew through donations by staff and friends, publicity campaigns, and even a reciprocal exchange agreement with a librarian in Spain. From metal to leather, embroidery to wood, as well as the more usual paper and card, the greatest variety of styles was generated through the Central Library lost property box.
This hand printed broadside was created by calligrapher Seb Lester as a tribute to his favourite English poet William Blake. It features one of Blake's most well-known poems, And did those feet in ancient time, more commonly known as the anthem Jerusalem. It was renamed when Sir Hubert Parry set the poem to music in 1916.
Auckland Libraries copy of this broadside was purchased in 2016 to complement works already held, such as the first editions of Blake's America: a prophecy and Europe: a prophecy.
Use of this video by kind permission of the artist.
Westfield freezing works
The records of the Westfield Freezing Works illuminate an important part of Auckland's industrial history. They were donated in 2013 by a former Westfield manager, Michael Sanders, who was instrumental in rescuing and preserving them after the company closed down. Westfield was in operation for 77 years, from the official opening on 29 May 1916 by Prime Minister William Massey to the closure in 1993.
These photographs reveal some of the different activities related to the New Zealand meat industry.
Mr Anthony Rowlands (third from the left) inspects the cattle and waits to bid with other unidentified buyers at the side of pen 154, Westfield.
A stockman on horseback keeps the cattle under control while buyers and auctioneers perform a close inspection at the sale yards adjacent to Westfield Freezing Works.
A display of prize-winning chilled beef prepared by Westfield Freezing Works, Auckland, at Smithfield Market, London.
This volume, dated 26 April 1915, includes blueprints, construction specifications and details of the tender contract for the erection of buildings for Westfield, Auckland. The featured blueprint, showing the different skids, rails and trolleys for the carriage of meat carcasses throughout the works, is annotated with explanatory sketches and additional specifications.
Officially registered on 26 July 1906, this is the first minute book for the Auckland Meat Company Ltd. A classic combination of handwritten and typescript minutes, this page shows the handing over of the manager's position from William Marks to Frank Marks near the end of World War I, and lists the duties expected to be performed by the new manager.
Auckland Tramping Club
The Auckland Tramping Club lantern slide collection was donated to Auckland Libraries in 2014. It consists of about 700 slides, the vast majority of which date from the club's formative years in the 1920s and 1930s. Most are black and white, but around a third have been hand-coloured. They show scenes of club activities throughout New Zealand.
World War I music scores
Since 1999 John Bellingham has been gifting his collection of theatre-related material to Sir George Grey Special Collections. An addition of over 2000 music scores with pictorial covers dating from the 1870s to the 1930s was received in 2016.
The covers shown here reveal the different types of music and attitudes to the War and its aftermath. How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, while a relatively light-hearted piece, addresses the serious issues of declining rural population and the trials facing returned servicemen and women.
Entertainer Toni Savage
Laura Joan Savage immigrated to New Zealand with her parents in 1929. Using the stage name Toni Savage, she entertained New Zealand and American troops during World War II - singing, dancing, playing accordion and as a ventriloquist. She continued to entertain throughout her life, although off-stage she was known as Toni Swan. In recognition of her services to entertainment she was awarded a British Empire Medal (1969), a Queen's Service Medal (1981) and a Variety Artists Club Benny (1985).
Toni lost her sight over several decades due to an undiagnosed case of childhood meningitis. To maintain her independence she learned braille, white stick work and in 1973 was one of the first people to be trained with a guide dog at the newly established Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Guide Dog Centre. She was a champion of the guide dog programme, sponsoring puppies and using the opportunity provided by her performances to educate people about guide dogs and raise funds for the Blind Foundation.
Toni died in 2011 and at her funeral was sent off with a standing ovation. A year later, Toni Swan's papers were gifted to Auckland Libraries by her executors who also donated funds allowing the audio and video cassettes to be digitised.
John Rykenberg migrated to New Zealand from Holland in the mid-1950s and established a successful photography business in Albert Street, Central Auckland. Rykenberg Photography has gifted the first instalments of his collection of over one million images, mostly negatives, to Auckland Libraries. The images cover the period from 1958 to 2006 and show Auckland buildings, street scenes and social events such as weddings, christenings, 21st birthdays and Christmas parties.
Rykenberg also worked as a street photographer which involved taking candid photographs of people as they walked down a city street, while at ship departures or in restaurants, followed by an invitation to visit his studio to buy a copy of the picture. Nightclubs and restaurants would often hire these photographers to take photos of patrons as a record of their night out.
16 November 2016 – 28 February 2017
9am – 5pm weekdays
10am – 4pm weekends
Sir George Grey Special Collections
44–46 Lorne Street
Central City Library
Auckland, New Zealand