All images are courtesy of the Heritage Collections, Dunedin City Library, Dunedin, New Zealand
Programme for a show touring New Zealand to raise funds for the country's
armed services during the Second World War
Australasian Ephemera Collections – Part 1: New Zealand
One of the four courses offered during this year’s Australian & New Zealand Rare Book Summer School held at the State Library of Victoria (SLVA), Melbourne, was ‘Ephemera: A Collector’s Key to the History of Books’. Each morning the course instructor, Emeritus Professor Wallace Kirsop, lead us on a highly informative tour through book dealer catalogues, type specimens, printers’ and binders’ bills and labels, prospectuses, and other bibliographical ephemera. In the afternoons, the class was treated to presentations by some of the SLVA curators and paid a visit to the rare books collection of Monash University.
Meeting my fellow classmates and learning about the ephemera actively collected by two of Melbourne’s many cultural / educational institutions piqued my curiosity: What other collections of ephemera – not only in Australia but in New Zealand as well – are ‘out there’? Of course most libraries and museums will have some ephemera in their collections, such as the programmes printed on silk, railway pass and phrenological chart of Sir George Grey’s head held in the Auckland City Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections. Rather than attempt to record every institution, this post (the first of two) aims to highlight those organisations that maintain dedicated ephemera collections. It is hoped readers aware of other collections in New Zealand and Australia will contribute to this list by way of comments.
|Theatre programme, Oct 30 1926|
The City Library Heritage Collections holds a collection of over 400 pieces of ephemera relating primarily to Dunedin, but touching on some national topics as well. Pamphlets, menus, printed advertisements, brochures, all on a range of subjects. The collection is particularly strong in theatre and music ephemera, and in material related to exhibitions held in New Zealand and overseas.
In addition to this dedicated ephemera collection, Robert McNab, who donated his collection of 4,200 books to the library in 1913, also gave over multiple volumes of bound tracts and pamphlets.
N.B. The website states that the ephemera collection is uncatalogued, which is now outdated information. The collection has been fully catalogued and can be browsed in the library catalogue [select ‘Power Search’ – drop-down menu ‘location’ – DP McNab Ephemera Collection]
There are 140.5 archives shelves and 125.5 book shelves of printed ephemera, not including material held in the posters collection or art ephemera.
The scope of the ephemera collection is to support those of the other Hocken collections and encompasses general New Zealand themes, and Otago and Southland in particular. It is representative rather than comprehensive and includes material for its informative and/or aesthetic value. Especial emphasis and priority is given to University of Otago and Hocken Collections ephemera. Music ephemera relating to the Dunedin area, and artists' and election ephemera for all of New Zealand are given priority. The collection is strong in classical music, fine arts and the performing arts, as well as educational and tourism material. Material ranges in age from the nineteenth century to the current day.
Like McNab, Dr. T. M. Hocken’s 1908 gift to the nation included bound tracts, programmes and book dealer catalogues.
[Description provided by Katherine Milburn, Liaison Librarian (Ephemera), Hocken Library]
As a national repository, Te Papa’s collection is one of New Zealand’s largest. Many of the museum’s separate collections, such as Artworks, Fashion and the First World War each actively collect ephemera.
The National Library of New Zealand boasts the country’s largest collection of ephemera. The Manuscripts, Drawings, Paintings and Prints, and Special Printed departments all maintain ephemera collections.
In addition to the separate divisions mentioned above, the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the NLNZ) holds a printed ephemera collection of more than 190,000 items from the 1840s to the present.
Included in the Naval Museum ephemera are leaflets, menus, Christmas cards, event programmes, and fleet reviews.
|Sir Edmund Hillary share certificate, issued to help support the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition|
[Guest post by Anthony Tedeschi, Rare Books Librarian, Dunedin City Library]