Dorothy Neal White
Newsletter 29
November 2001


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.

Illustration from The boy chemist by Archie Frederick Collins (Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1924)
Illustration from The boy chemist by Archie Frederick Collins (Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1924)

Illustration from The boy chemist by Archie Frederick Collins (Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1924)


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.

Julie Eberly

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.

Rachael Underwood
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.

Image of map from the book
Image of map from the book
Historical Note:
The DNW copy of the book illustrated above was awarded by the Otago Branch of The Navy League to Edith M Horrell for winning 1st prize in the Naval History Exam, 1911.

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!

Trevor Mowbray


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.

Bibliographic Project

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.

An illustration for “Little Kettle Head” from Helen Bannerman’s The Jumbo Sambo (New York : Lippincott, 1942)
An illustration for “Little Kettle Head” from Helen Bannerman’s The Jumbo Sambo (New York : Lippincott, 1942)
An illustration for “Little Kettle Head”
from Helen Bannerman’s The Jumbo Sambo (New York : Lippincott, 1942)

Lynne Jackett
National Children’s Collection Research Librarian

Clipart for Christmas
Clipart for Christmas

On 4 December 2001 the National Library Society will be holding its annual Christmas party and Carol Concert. The Orpheus Choir will be there – and so will the the Society’s famous Christmas cake. The event takes place in the main foyer of the National Library at 12 noon. All welcome.


On 8 May 2001 the AGM of the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection was held in the Lower ground Floor meeting room of the National Library. The evening began in the traditional way with drinks, nibbles and chat. To conclude the evening there was another successful sale of books and publications.

The President, Julie Eberly, welcomed Friends and guests. A copy of her report for the year and the Minutes of the meeting are enclosed with this newsletter.

At the close of the official business of the AGM the President welcomed and introduced Lynne Jackett, Walter Cook, Maria Heenan and Bill Manhire who each read a selection of poems remembered from their own childhood or from later encounters with children’s poetry.

Literature breeds distress?
poetry readings from childhoods past


Illustration for “The Moon” by Charles Robinson from R L Stevenson’s in Child’s garden of verses (Oxford : Windrush, 1987). Originally published in 1896 by John Lane

The title of this entertainment, Literature breeds distress?, was inspired by the final line of Hilaire Belloc’s cautionary tale Sarah Byng, who could not read and was tossed into a thorny hedge by a bull.

Other poems included some definitely distressing verses read to a very young Walter by his father, a selection from A A Milne’s When we were very young, others by Robert Louis Stevenson and Emily Dickinson and several by Cornish poet Charles Causley. In addition, Bill sang us some verses from a very upsetting nursery song about a mother mislaying her baby, never to find it again.

He also caused envy to rage in the hearts of at least one other panellist by explaining that he had met Charles Causley several times and that the great man, in response to his question about who was the greatest children’s poet, very promptly responded “R. L. Stevenson in his Child’s garden of verses, without a doubt”.

This is the second presentation of readings we have held in the last few years, and like the first event it was a great success. We hope to have a third selection readings in the new year with Romance the theme. Details in our next newsletter.

Lynne Jackett

Poetry readers Bill Manhire, Walter Cook, Maria Heenan and Lynne Jackett after their wonderful performance at Poetry breeds distress?: poetry readings from childhoods past, May 2001.


It is with great delight that the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection are able to announce our first scholarship recipient. Tania Connelly, of the Master of Library and Information Science programme at Victoria University of Wellington, is researching the “portrayal of the Irish in children’s books prior to 1940.” Her proposed topic will explore a little-researched area and will make excellent use of the collection. The Friends can look forward to meeting Tania at the function on 27 November 2001. (See Function news)

Julie Eberly


With the gift-giving season upon us again it is timely to remind Friends that the following publications are available to members.

Dorothy Neal White: a tribute $15.00

Postcards – from the Fabulous and Familiar exhibition $1.00 each

Cards with envelopes – from the Show me! exhibition $2.00 each

Back issues of Notes-Books-Authors $3.00 each

All these publications will be available at our next function – or by writing to the Society at PO Box 12499, Wellington.


The following committee members were elected for 2001. As you have read elsewhere in the newsletter our President, Julie Eberly, has left us for life on a Pacific Island. Although she has indicated that she will resign her position, we have persuaded her to stay on the committee “electronically” until at least the next AGM when we will review the position. In the meantime other committee members will share the President’s responsibilities.

Julie Eberly President

Joan McCracken Secretary and newsletter editor
474 3110 (wk) 938 8123 (hm)

Trevor Mowbray Treasurer
478 8132

Audrey Cooper
478 7468

Kerry Fryer
479 2344 (wk) 973 5987 (hm)

Alison Grant
476 4320

Mary Hutton
475 9268

Carmel Jones
387 1485 (wk) 383 6264 (hm)

Lynne Jackett National Library representative
474 3084 (wk) 564 4496 (hm)


The 2001 Annual General Meeting agreed to hold the subscription rate at $20 a year. It was also suggested that members might also like to make a contribution to a special Scholarship fund that will allow us to continue and / or increase the amount we are able to offer a student doing research based on the DNW Collection. A separate line has been included on the form for those Friends who would like to make such a donation.

The Treasurer will be delighted to receive your subscription payment at the next meeting, or by post to:

The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection
PO Box 12499 Wellington

Please indicate any changes to your address details when you complete the form. We are now able to send newsletters and notification of meetings by email. If you would like to receive information in this way please include your email address.

I would like to join / renew my subscription to the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection.

My cheque / cash for $20.00 is enclosed

My donation of $ to the DNW Scholarship Fund is enclosed

Email address: