Dorothy Neal White
END OF YEAR FUNCTION
On Tuesday 27 November 2001 we are going to celebrate two significant events for the Friends. The Minister for the National Library, Marian Hobbs, has graciously accepted our invitation to present the inaugural Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection Scholarship at the function. Friends will also be able to see a display that includes the copy of The boy chemist purchased for the Dorothy Neal White Collection by the Friends. (Both these events are covered in more detail later in this newsletter).
This year the function will take place in the main foyer on the Ground Floor of the National Library Building. Please note that this is not our usual venue – and that access to the foyer is through the main entrance. The evening will begin at 5.30pm with festive drinks and nibbles. At about 6pm the formal part of the proceedings will begin. As usual we will have a range of publications available for sale. We hope to see you there.
NEWS FROM THE FRIENDS’ PRESIDENT
It is with a mixture of disappointment and excitement that I must take leave of the Friends. My husband, Don Hollander, is taking up a position in Samoa and I will be basking in the sun for the next three years. Unfortunately this means I must step down as president after too brief a tenure. I am particularly sad not to be here to celebrate the presenting of our first scholarship but I know the other committee members will give me a full account of the festivities! I hope my contribution as President during the last two years will be exceeded by presidents to come. My best wishes to all of the Friends and particular thanks to the Committee who individually and collectively have been a joy to work with.
ELSIE LOCKE, 1912-2001
On Thursday 22 November 2001 the Friends of the Turnbull Library are hosting a memorial lecture on Elsie Locke: the integrity of a nationbuilder. Brian Easton’s book The nationbuilders was published in October 2001 and although Elsie Locke does not feature in it, because of space and timing, she could have. Brian will redress the balance with this lecture that will be both a tribute to Elsie as a remarkable New Zealander and place her in the pantheon of great nationbuilders. Elsie – writer, feminist, peace activist, historian, environmentalist – was a great supporter of the Dorothy Neal White Collection, and of the Turnbull Library, where her papers are now housed. The lecture will be held on Thursday 22 November 2001 in the National Library auditorium at 5.30pm. All welcome – free entry.
There will be a display of Elsie Locke’s books in the Alexander Turnbull Library foyer, first floor, National Library building, from19 November 2001.
Friends of the Turnbull Library
When we suggested to Trevor Mowbray that he might like to be “Introduced” in this issue of the newsletter he said he found it hard to believe there was anyone in the Friends who does not know him! And of course he is quite right – he has belonged to the Society since its inception, he serves the drink at all our functions, and, even more importantly, for many years he has been our Treasurer and has reliably collected our subscriptions. Nevertheless he has found a word or two to say about himself that perhaps you didn’t already know.
Members may have wondered why I am involved. For one thing I have been interested in the Society since I helped to set it up years ago, and for a period of time I was the curator of the Collection.
The books in the Collection are part of our inherited memory. As a boy I read a number of historical stories including those of G.A. Henty who seemed to have written something about every country and period. Years later when I travelled in Israel I was pleased to recognise Yafo (Jaffa) and Akko (Acre) as sites of famous battles and sieges that Henty had introduced me to. I would not use Henty as a guide to the present day Mediterranean but that urge to travel must have come from somewhere!
FROM THE RESEARCH LIBRARIAN
Curator to Research Librarian
In mid-June 2001 the role of Curator, Dorothy Neal White Collection, in Collection Development – a 15 hours a week position – was replaced by a 20 hour a week position: the Dorothy Neal White & National Children’s Collection Research Librarian, General Reference Service. I am very happy to have been appointed to the new position, where my total time is now dedicated to working with the children’s literature resources. My standard hours of work are approximately 8.30 am – 4 pm Wednesday to Friday, although the days I work are occasionally changed so that I can participate in meetings. If members wish to visit the collection it is helpful to contact me in advance (ph: 474 3084) to ensure that I will be available on the chosen day
In the last newsletter I mentioned that I was seeking a copy of The boy chemist by Archie Frederick Collins. Alan McDiarmid, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, cited The boy chemist as the main spur to him pursuing chemistry as an interest and then career. As a child he had borrowed the book repeatedly from Lower Hutt Public Library. In early July I located a copy of the 1924 first edition on an American antiquarian internet book site. The Committee agreed that I should purchase it on behalf of the Friends, for donation to the collection. I was startled to have the book delivered to my desk only 5 days after I had sent the order to the bookshop in Virginia. It is in splendid condition, complete with dust jacket.
The book is certainly a prime example of a children’s book having a significant impact on a child’s life – and perhaps globally. Apparently, McDiarmid’s discovery of electroconductive plastics will make electronic goods even cheaper and easier to produce and will impact on miniaturisation.
The boy chemist is now on display in the Dorothy Neal White cabinet in the Library’s main ground floor foyer.
Patricia Godfrey, from Bibliographic Services, has completed cataloguing the main Fiction and Annuals & Serials sequences. She is now up to the 800s in the non-fiction sequence, so this project is rapidly nearing completion.
Donations continue to be offered to both the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections. From May to the end of October 75 books and serials were accepted for the Dorothy Neal White Collection and 25 books (including 13 by Elsie Locke) were added to the National Children’s Collection. In addition, 55 textbooks were received.
There have been regular visits by groups from the National College of Design and Technology (Wellington). In October I spoke to a group of Wanganui Polytechnic design students about the history and scope of the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections and gave an illustrated talk about the features of picture books, with an emphasis on design and illustration.
MLIS students preparing for their research projects have also visited regularly.
Reference requests have included providing images for a scholarly publication on an Egyptian queen, locating various poems from remembered lines or snippets, assisting a researcher for the 20th birthday edition of the children’s television show What now?, and discovering that we do have a copy of the terribly politically incorrectly titled Jumbo Sambo. This compilation includes not only Little Black Sambo and several other of Helen Bannerman’s Indian stories, but also the strange story of Little Kettle Head. A pretty child plays with fire, literally loses her head, and the Indian servant replaces it with a kettle. That night she receives a doll’s head from Father Christmas to replace the kettle. Most disturbingly, her parents don’t notice the loss of her real head, but do comment on the rude noises she is making as the lid rattles, and then on how lovely and smiling she looks when the doll’s head replaces the kettle. Ah, they just don’t write cautionary tales like that any more.
National Children’s Collection Research Librarian