Farewell to the Chief Librarian

Chris Szekely, who has been Chief Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library since 2007, will be leaving his job at the start of March, after almost 17 years. Tributes from the Friends acknowledge that his long tenure has included some very difficult times and will be remembered for many innovations and achievements. Chris is only the seventh chief librarian, and his two predecessors (Jim Traue and Margaret Calder) also each served for 17 years.

His plan is to “settle in the Far North closer to family, smell some home-tended roses, grow bumper potatoes and catch a fish every Friday”. It is expected that the position will be advertised early in the new year.

 

Turnbull Library Record 2024: Call for Papers

We are now inviting contributions for the 2024 issue of the Turnbull Library Record.

The Turnbull Library Record is a journal in the humanities, published yearly by the Alexander Turnbull Library in association with the Friends of the Turnbull Library. It is the longest-running humanities journal in New Zealand. It publishes information relating to the activities of the library, as well as articles covering a wide range of research, with special emphasis on the societies and cultures of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Its purpose is to increase knowledge of the library’s collections by showing their scope and richness, and the ways researchers are using them.

Articles or pictorial essays should be between 2,000–6,000 words in length. Contributions that have not been previously published are welcome and, before acceptance, will be independently refereed. Articles should have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to decline to publish an article, whether solicited or unsolicited.

The deadline for submitting articles is Monday 11 December 2023. Publication is scheduled for August 2024.

For more information, to propose an idea or submit an article, please contact the Managing Editor, Michael Keith (mickeith@shearwater.kiwi).

FoTL July Talk – Dr John E Martin – Empire City: The Making of Wellington

Dr John E Martin – Empire City: The Making of Wellington

Venue: Taiwhanga Kawhau Auditorium, lower ground floor, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, Thorndon. Entrance on Aitken Street

Dr John E Martin will talk about his book ‘Empire City’: Wellington Becomes the Capital of New Zealand (2022) which covers the period from first encounters between Māori and the New Zealand Company in Te Whanganui-a-Tara in 1839 through to becoming the ‘Empire City; by the 1870s.

The ‘Empire City’ story begins with a small and fragile New Zealand Company pākehā settlement relying only on whaling and racked by earthquakes and shows how a durable economic base was created and how Wellington became a thriving political and commercial centre and the country’s capital.

Contributions from a diverse population: Author Dr John E Martin looks at the contributions made by Māori, the New Zealand Company, early pākehā settlers, merchants, shopkeepers, working people, worthy and less worthy citizens alike, together with a host of institutions and organisations.

This diverse, rich and turbulent story is the key to understanding how Wellington came from such unpromising beginnings to be the capital of New Zealand.

Dr John E Martin  has researched and written about New Zealand history since the 1980s, teaching in universities and employed as an historian in the public sector. He was parliamentary historian in the 2000s and 2010s.

He has published texts on rural and labour history, the history of science and engineering, and social and political history.

His books include The Forgotten Worker (1990), People, Politics and Power Stations (1991 and 1998), Holding the Balance (1996), The House: New Zealand’s House of Representatives,1854–2004 (2004),Parliament’s Library (2008), Honouring the  Contract (2010), Illuminating Our World (2017) and A Colonist’s Gaze (2018). John currently works as a freelance historian.

Please RSVP to turnbullfriends@gmail.com

Can’t make it in person? This event will also be delivered using Zoom. You do not need to install the software to attend, you can opt to run Zoom from your browser.

Register if you’d like to join this talk and we’ll send you the link to use on the day.

REGISTER NOW FOR ZOOM

Treasures of Turnbull Library inspire two writers

Two well-known writers are co-recipients of 2019 Friends of Turnbull Library Research Grants.

Wellington writer and broadcaster Nick Bollinger receives a research grant to assist his latest project, eventually to be published as an illustrated book chronicling the development of the counterculture in New Zealand during the years 1960-1975. Bollinger will be drawing on the rich and diverse collections of the Turnbull Library to trace the roots of countercultural ideas, how they evolved and how they affected New Zealand society.

Bollinger is presenter and producer of The Sampler for RNZ, and is the author of the acclaimed Goneville: a memoir, published by Awa Press in 2016. He says the term “counterculture” originated in the 1960s and became widely used to identify a range of groups and individuals broadly sharing a belief in an alternative society. “From Baxter’s poetry to the music of Blerta, from Roger Donaldson to Tim Shadbolt, the counterculture has had a profound and lasting impact on New Zealand culture.”

Wellington historian Dr Vincent O’Malley – whose fine book The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2016 – receives a research grant to assist him to continue work on a book on the New Zealand Wars aimed at secondary school students as well as a general market.

Dr O’Malley says that his project “takes us to the heart of the series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history.” His new book will focus on a number of quite lengthy first-hand accounts (manuscripts held in the Alexander Turnbull Library) from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu’s narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wahine toa, through to Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky’s colourful account of his time in the Forest Rangers and beyond, these stories will resonate with New Zealanders who are now acknowledging the need to remember, embrace and own our past.

Winners of Smart Alex Competition announced

We are delighted to announce all the award-winning entries in this year’s Smart Alex creative writing competition.

In the Yr 11-13 category, the winner is: CHARLOTTE BOYLE of Cashmere High School, Christchurch (“Crotchety crochet”); and runner-up is: LIA HORSLEY OF Hastings Girls High School (“Bȃc sī”).

In the Yr 9-10 category, the winner is: KRISTEN ROXBURGH of Selwyn College, Auckland (“Right side up”); and runner-up is: EARINA SAVINELLI of Whakatane High School, Whakatane (“The Haircut”)

Our thanks to all those who entered this year’s inaugural SMART ALEX Competition.

Years 9-10 Smart Alex winners Yr 9-10

Years 11-13 Smart Alex winners Yr 11-13

Congratulations to all these wonderful achievers, and remember to look out for next year’s competition in 2019.

Call for papers: TURNBULL LIBRARY RECORD

Contributions are now invited for the 2019 issue of the Turnbull Library Record.

The Turnbull Library Record is a journal in the humanities, published yearly by the Alexander Turnbull Library in association with the Friends of the Turnbull Library. It is the longest-running humanities journal in New Zealand. It publishes information relating to the activities of the Library, as well as articles covering a wide range of research, with special emphasis on the societies and cultures of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Its purpose is to increase knowledge of the Library’s collections by showing their scope and richness, and the ways researchers are using them.

Articles or pictorial essays should be between 2,000–5,000 words in length. Contributions that have not been previously published are welcome and, before acceptance, will be independently refereed. Articles should have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to decline to publish an article, whether solicited or unsolicited.

The deadline for submitting articles is Friday 2 November 2018. Publication is scheduled for August 2019.

For more information, to propose an idea or to submit an article, please contact the Managing Editor, Fiona Oliver (fiona.oliver@dia.govt.nz).

Information about past issues of the Turnbull Library Record can be found at: www.turnbullfriends.org.nz/about-us/publications

Turnbull Centenary 2018-2020 Essay

AIM: To create new knowledge about Alexander Turnbull, and to publicise his legacy during the anniversary years 2018-2020.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL) is now calling for Expressions of Interest in submitting an essay on any aspect of the life and/or collecting role of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull, who donated his personal collection of about 55,000 books and other items relating to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to the nation in 1918. This generous bequest became the nucleus of the Alexander Turnbull Library, an internationally renowned research library which opened its doors to the public in 1920.

At the discretion of the Friends of Turnbull Library, the expressions of interest will be assessed and entrants will be advised of the terms and conditions. The original concept of an essay competition may be modified to provide research funding to one or more selected entrants.

GUIDELINES:

  • We expect the final essay(s) will achieve a high academic level of accessible scholarship, providing a new perspective on the life and achievements of Alexander Turnbull.
  • Entries may be non-fiction or creative writing.
  • By entering the competition entrants agree to FoTL terms and conditions regarding subsequent publication of your essay and FoTL publicity requirements.
  • The awarding of research funding will be decided by a panel selected by FoTL and the decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • Open to anyone (no age limit).
  • Word length: is expected not to exceed 5000 words.

RESEARCH FUNDING (OR PRIZE MONEY IF A COMPETITION IS CONFIRMED):

Up to $15,000 to be allocated or shared at the complete discretion of the Friends of Turnbull Library.

DEADLINES: Expressions of interest (research proposals) must be received by Friday 29 June 2018.

Following confirmation of the acceptance of a research proposal, essays must be received by FoTL on or before 1 September 2019. Results announced 15 November 2019.  Successful entries may be published in Turnbull Library Record in 2020.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Alexander Turnbull (1868-1918) was born in Wellington, the sixth of seven children, and was educated in Wellington and then in England. As a young man Alex joined the family’s prosperous “general commission business”, involving importing, shipping and insurance, occupying two warehouses and an office on Customhouse Quay. His growing passion for collecting books began when he was 17, and quickly focussed on anything published in or about New Zealand. At times he was buying about 700 books per year, and his interests widened to include all the “South Sea Islands” of the Pacific. When he died, shortly before his fiftieth birthday, he had amassed about 55,000 books, along with drawings, prints, paintings, maps and manuscripts; and this was the collection he gifted to the nation to form “the nucleus of a New Zealand National Collection”. It was welcomed as “the most generous bequest to the people of New Zealand ever made by a New Zealander.”

E.H. McCormick’s excellent 1974 biography of Alexander Turnbull is meticulously researched and rich with archival detail, but there are various dimensions of this driven and generous man which might produce a fascinating essay. Turnbull’s first racing yacht, the narrow and beautiful gaff rigged cutter Rona, is moored at Chaffers Marina. Turnbull’s history as a sportsman and sailor has been documented by his own account of sailing in Queen Charlotte Sound. What is Turnbull’s history as a sailor? Before he became a dedicated book hound Turnbull was a laddish man about town – what kind of person was he? He came from a close family but his relationship with his sisters, especially the younger one Sissy, seems to have been a bit puritanical – what was he like as a brother and son? Why did Turnbull himself never marry and is the obvious explanation the right one? What was he like as a businessman and how did the business support the ferocious bookbuying? Towards the end of his life Turnbull succumbed to drug addiction, about which McCormick is clear but discreet. What was the incidence of drug use in Wellington at this time and how would Turnbull have acquired his supplies? Who were his close friends?

An essay on these, or any other aspects of this remarkable but essentially private man would add to our knowledge and understanding of Turnbull’s life and passions.

Further information about Alex and the Alexander Turnbull Library is on www.turnbullfriends.org

Enquiries and Expressions of Interest to: fergiehill@xtra.co.nz

Preserving the past to enlighten the future

The Friends of the Turnbull Library Inc

PO Box 12186, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand

ESSAY COMPETITION: CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is pleased to announce an essay competition with prizes totalling $15,000 to celebrate the anniversaries of the generous bequest of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull’s library to the nation in 2018, and the subsequent opening of the Alexander Turnbull Library in 2020.

We are now inviting expressions of interest in submitting an essay on any aspect of Alexander Turnbull’s life and/or his role as a collector.

Essays should be between 3,000–5,000 words in length, and must not have been previously published. We expect they will have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

Turnbull’s personal collection, of some 55,000 books and other items relating to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, formed the basis of the Turnbull Library which has subsequently grown steadily to become the internationally renowned research library it is today, serving all those with interests in the fields of historical, literary, cultural and genealogical studies.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is an incorporated society established in 1939. The essay competition assists our aims to promote public interest in the Alexander Turnbull Library, and to encourage research and use of Library materials to create new knowledge.

The deadline for expressions of interest in entering the essay competition is 29 June 2018. Subsequent completed essays must be submitted (by email or by post) by 1 September 2019.

Enquiries and Expressions of Interest should be emailed to editor@turnbullfriends.org.nz or fergiehill@xtra.co.nz

Turnbull’s treasures inspire two very different projects

Vincent O’Malley
Angela Lassig

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is delighted to announce that two research grants will be awarded in 2018.

Wellington historian Dr Vincent O’Malley – whose fine book The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2016 – receives a research grant to assist him to begin work on a book on the New Zealand Wars aimed at secondary school students as well as a general market.

Dr O’Malley says that his project “takes us to the heart of the series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history.” The new book will focus on a number of quite lengthy first-hand accounts (manuscripts held in the Alexander Turnbull Library) from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu’s narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wahine toa, through to Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky’s colourful account of his time in the Forest Rangers and beyond, these stories will resonate with New Zealanders who are now acknowledging the need to remember, embrace and own our past.

Auckland dress historian Angela Lassig receives a research grant towards the publication of an illustrated book on the history of women’s dress in nineteenth century New Zealand. Ms Lassig has drawn almost all her material from the rich and diverse collections of the Turnbull Library. She will be making use of letters and diaries, cartoons and advertisements, sketchbooks and photographs, to create an accessible social history for the study and enjoyment of New Zealand women’s dress and textile heritage. Images will be accompanied by detailed descriptions of the women, their clothing, their social circumstances and additional information such as about the dressmakers and drapery shops that may have been available to women at the time.

These grants bring the total number of projects assisted by the Friends of the Turnbull Library to fifteen, since the first grant was awarded to Philip Norman in 2004 for his biography of Douglas Lilburn. Six biographies have been awarded research grants and a very diverse range of other projects ranging from a survey of ecclesiastical architecture (2006) to a history of rugby league (2017).

Significant bequests have created the research fund, but Rachel Underwood, president of the Friends of the Turnbull Library, says there are always many more applicants than can possibly be funded. “The vast collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library – a world-class research library that attracts scholars from around the globe – provide fertile soil for many diverse research projects. We would love to be able to support more researchers with larger grants,” Mrs Underwood said. “We encourage people who might be able to make donations or to set up bequests to come and talk to us about how they could help.”

New book on women’s work in WWI

Jane Tolerton is an experienced historian and a lively story teller. Her two books on Ettie Rout have been immensely popular.

Now she has written a well-researched account of New Zealand women’s work overseas in the First World War, including gripping stories of heroic women such as Ida Malone (wife of Col. William Malone), Dr Grace Russell, and Kitty Mair (daughter of Gilbert Mair).

At her public talk to the Friends of Turnbull Library on 9 November, about 150 people – including some descendants of the women she has written about – turned up to be entertained and enlightened.

Jane Tolerton

“Make Her Praises Heard Afar: New Zealand women overseas in World War One” has been published by Booklovers Books.