‘April 21. R. R. R. arrived at midnight for final leave. Very well.’
Entry from the diary of Hugh Reynolds and Emily Evelyn Rathbone [RP XVA.3.172].
‘April 21. R. R. R. arrived at midnight for final leave. Very well.’
Entry from the diary of Hugh Reynolds and Emily Evelyn Rathbone [RP XVA.3.172].
“German offensive at end of March very disquieting.”
Entry from the diary of Emily Evelyn and Hugh Reynolds Rathbone [RP XVA.3.172].
This month we are celebrating both International Women’s Day (8th March) and World Poetry Day (21st March). Therefore, we are showcasing material held in the Special Collections and Science Fiction Foundation collections which contains poetry written by women who personally or professionally impacted greatly on their respective field of literature.
Poems on Various Subjects was authored by Phillis Wheatley. Phillis was purchased as a slave by John Wheatley, a Boston Merchant and Tailor, in 1761. She was tutored by John’s children in reading and writing, and wrote her first poem ‘To The University of Cambridge, New England’ at the age of 12. She was relieved of her domestic duties by the Wheatley family, and encouraged to continue working on her literature. An illustration of Wheatley by Scipio Moorhead, another Boston slave, is provided in the frontispiece; the below extract is taken from a poem within the volume written by Wheatley in return. Our copy belonged to one of the William’s of the Rathbone family (by date most likely IV or V), as signed on the title page.
To S.M. a young African Painter, on seeing his Works (p. 114).
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Rhymes and Rhythms was published posthumously in an edition of only 500 numbered copies in Milan. Our copy from the Zania collection is numbered as “5”. The text is provided in both the original language of English as well as Italian. Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943) is best known for her work The Well of Lonliness, which when published in 1928 was subject to a trial for obscenity and banned in Great Britain. A self-described “invert”, she lived with two long-term female partners during her lifetime, hence the dedication page inscription “Dedicated to Our Three Selves”.
Those Who Have Eyes… (p.61)
As I took my way down a certain street,
I saw a shop with a corpse of meat,
And a horse that hadn’t enough to eat,
And a cur that limped on neglected feet,
And a cat that rubbed its sores on a wall,
And a lobster that crawled about a stall,
And an organ monkey coughing and small.
But the sight that filled me with deepest rage,
Was a nightingale in a six inch cage.
Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay contributed to this anthology for children, Five Finger Piglets: Poems. Duffy was appointed poet laureate in 2009, and she is the first woman, first Scot, and first openly LGBT person to hold the position; Kay is the third Scottish Poet Laureate, appointed in 2016, and also identifies as LGBT. Our copy of the anthology is held in the SPEC Patten series, as Brian Patten also contributed to this volume. The poetry is understandably centered upon many themes that would be familiar to children (such as friendship disputes at school and losing a ball in the neighbours garden), but, nonetheless, the volume is a excellently fun read for adults, too.
Excerpt from Dracula (p. 36-7), by and © Jackie Kay
I crawled along the pine floor to my father’s bed.
It was empty. Just a white pillow and a headrest.
My dad gave a large guffaw from the balcony.
Took off his black cape; threw back his head,
said, ‘Got you there didn’t I?
Okay. The Joke’s over. Back to your bed.’
Can you believe that? All I am asking is:
who needs imagination, a fear or a dread,
when what we’ve got is parent’s instead?
Reliques of Irish Poetry was first published in the late eighteenth century. Brooke (c. 1740–1793) was passionate in the preservation of Irish culture and heritage through translating traditional poetry. Our beautiful gilt-tooled calf-bound copy of the 1816 reissue includes an extensive biography of Brooke’s life, as well as poetry and prose in both English and Irish. The text contains poetry of varied types, including quasi-epic style heroics, elegies to loves lost, and odes to wars.
Elergy III, exerpt (p. 260, attributed by Brooke to Edmond Ryan)
For thee all dangers would I brave,
Life with joy, with pride exposing,
Breast for thee the stormy wave,
Winds and tides in vain opposing.
As one of the most influential female Science Fiction authors of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) is best known for her fiction, including The Left Hand of Darkness (1969; which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970). However, in her 2004 collection of non-fiction essays The Wave in the Mind, she explores themes including the family, on being a woman, Tolkein, and writing. One particular interesting essay is her thoughts on stress rhythms in poetry and prose; she demonstrates, using various texts, the technique and necessity of reading with stress and rhythm in mind.
The observation of a pattern, even a arbitrary pattern, can give strength to words that otherwise would be bleating like lost lambs. (p. 78)
All the above can be consulted in the reading room. As usual, please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Special Collections & Archives has been a key contributor in “Using Primary Sources”, a newly launched Open Access teaching and study resource that combines archival and early printed source materials with high quality peer-reviewed chapters by leading academics.
Edited by Dr Jonathan Hogg, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool, with over 30 academics contributing, this project is a collaboration between Liverpool University Press, the University of Liverpool Library and JISC, and is available for free on the BiblioBoard platform.
Special Collections & Archives has provided images for several chapters across the Medieval, Early Modern and Modern anthologies. Dr Martin Heale’s chapter on Popular Religion features high resolution images from some of SC&A’s illuminated medieval manuscript treasures, including the Dance of Death scene in MS.F.2.14, a French Book of Hours from the late 15th century. Death is represented as a rotting corpse, followed by a procession of a pope, an emperor and a cardinal. The depiction is intended to have a moral message: a reminder the end is the same for all, regardless of their wealth or status. The accompanying chapter provides the context for the interpretation of such primary sources, so as to better understand attitudes to popular religion during this period.
Both the Cunard archive and the Rathbone papers feature in Dr Graeme Milne’s chapter on Business History, whilst items from our children’s literature collections have been selected for Dr Chris Pearson’s chapter on the Environment. Some of these items are also used in teaching classes, where students have the opportunity to see and interpret the volumes for themselves.
From the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ephemera collected by Science Fiction author John Brunner to a 14th century English Book of Hours, “Using Primary Sources” is both a valuable showcase for SC&A’s collections, and an important open access resource for students.
The textbook can be accessed via the Library catalogue, or directly from: https://library.biblioboard.com/module/usingprimarysources.
Follow “Using Primary Sources” on Twitter @LivUniSources to find out when new themes are added to the e-textbook. Forthcoming chapters for launch in 2017 include Science & Medicine, Gender and Political Culture.
Heading into the Chinese New Year, Special Collections & Archives pauses to look back at another busy year of collecting, conserving, communicating and celebrating our rich and diverse resources.
The same week brought members of the Challenger Society to see some particularly well-preserved marine illustrations.
Behind the scenes, the team has continued its work to make new accessions and newly catalogued collections available for research and teaching use, including early Liverpool printing, the Matt Simpson archive, and additions to the Cunard Archive. Find all these and more by searching the Archive and Library catalogues on the SCA website and browsing the accessions2016 tag.
In 1948, United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This significant declaration is now used as a guideline for many nations around the world when implementing laws or adopting policies. As Human Rights Day commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights takes place in December, we thought it fitting to show some of the material we have in Special Collections and Archives that champions the rights of children and refugees across the world.
In the later 1930s, she was an active participant in campaigning for peace and the safety of Spanish civilians during the Spanish Civil War. Here at Special Collections and Archives we hold material in the Rathbone Collection (RP XIV.2.13) that relates to Ms Rathbone’s attempts to ensure that the British government were doing all they could to assist refugees and injured civilians in Spain. The below telegram to the future Prime Minister Clement Attlee outlines Eleanor’s attempts to persuade the government to protect refugee ships leaving Spanish and French ports.Eleanor was also instrumental in lobbying for the safe removal of refugees from those countries whereby the threat of Nazi Germany was prominent, and further their safety and ensuring the best treatment whilst in Britain [RP XIV.2.17]. In particular, she was keen for those families that were separated across international borders to be reunited in Britain as soon as possible. Eleanor wrote to the Home Secretary in reference to the Government’s regulations on allowing refugees into the country, which she described was “as though one were to throw a child out of the top window for fear of catching cold through leaving the door open”. [RP XIV.2.17(3), Letter to Home Secretary dated 3rd February 1940].
Current support for child refugees can be found in December through Christmas Jumper Day, in aid of Save the Children. This was certainly a cause close to Eleanor’s heart, and as the page below taken from The Girl’s Own Annual demonstrates, children in the 1930s should be safe and showing off their rounders positions!
See here for an overview on the Rathbone Collection. As always, the material is available to view here at Special Collections and Archives. We are based in Sydney Jones Library, Liverpool University, and open Monday to Friday, 9:30am until 4:30pm.
This year sees the exciting launch of the inaugural Liverpool Literary Festival, running 28–30 October 2016. To celebrate, a new exhibition at Special Collections & Archives is highlighting the work of those literary figures who have sought inspiration from Liverpool and the surrounding area, particularly local poet Matt Simpson. His newly-acquired archive provides the bedrock for the exhibition and reveals just how much his work was influenced by Liverpool; his verses are full of the city and its people.
Simpson (1936-2009) grew up in Bulwer Street, Bootle, where he attended the local grammar school. He went on to study English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and returned to Liverpool in the 1960s after his marriage to German actress Monika Weydert. He taught in various schools and colleges, including Christ’s College (now Liverpool Hope University). He published many collections of poetry, including some for children, as well as critical essays and monographs. He also undertook a poetry residence in Tasmania, which inspired his collection, Cutting the Clouds Towards (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1998). But it was the city where he grew up and lived most of his life which would be his most enduring inspiration.
The exhibition also includes impressions of the city recorded in the poems, autobiographies and travel diaries of a host of others, from novelist Daniel Defoe to physicist Oliver Lodge, social reformer Josephine Butler to poet Donald Davie.
The exhibition will run until the end of the year. In 2017 we’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mersey Sound, the anthology of poems produced by the ‘Liverpool Poets’ Brian Patten, Roger McGough and Adrian Henri.
The life and legacy of the MP and social reformer Eleanor Rathbone, who died 70 years ago this year, is currently being celebrated in the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone series of commemorative events. These include the Utopia Calling exhibition currently on display in Special Collections & Archives.
The University’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology is also contributing by hosting the Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public lectures, 2015-16. The next lecture in the series will take place on Wednesday 24th February at 5pm. Professor Susan Pederson (Columbia University, New York) will speak on “Women and the Quest for Equal Citizenship”. Professor Pederson will examine Rathbone’s unflagging effort to secure ‘equal citizenship’ for women, exploring what she meant by the term and the campaigns she launched, first in Liverpool and then nationally and internationally, to achieve it.
Attendees of the lecture are encouraged to visit the exhibition in Special Collections & Archives between 2 and 4 pm. The lecture will take place on campus in the Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, a short walk from the Sydney Jones Library.
Attendance is free, though registration is required.
January 2016 sees the 70th anniversary of the death of the celebrated social reformer Eleanor Rathbone. To commemorate this event, an exhibition of items from Special Collections & Archives’ Rathbone Papers seeks to highlight her life and times. Eleanor’s political career, social campaigning, family and legacy are examined through photographs, political manifestos, correspondence, publications and ephemera.
Born in Liverpool and educated at Kensington High School, London and Somerville College, Oxford, Eleanor was the second daughter of William Rathbone VI (1819-1902) and his second wife Emily Lyle (d.1918). The Rathbone family were a Liverpool dynasty of non-conformist merchants and ship-owners, philanthropists, politicians and social reformers, artists and patrons of the arts. From 1788 until 1940 the Rathbone family home in Liverpool was Greenbank Hall, which was bequeathed to the University in 1944.
In 1909 Eleanor Rathbone became the first woman elected to Liverpool City Council, standing as the independent councillor for the Granby Ward until 1935. During this period she was a prominent campaigner for the cause of women’s suffrage, and in 1909 helped to establish the Liverpool Women’s Suffrage Society. In the years after the First World War, Eleanor became a leading voice in the movement which saw the introduction of widows’ pensions in 1925 and the equal franchise legislation of 1928.
In 1929 Eleanor Rathbone was elected as the Independent MP for the Combined English Universities, a position she held until her death in 1946. She was one of the first politicians to realise the potential danger from the Nazi party in the 1930s, and was a relentless critic of the government policy of appeasement. Instrumental in the establishment of the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees in late 1938, Eleanor was a formidable campaigner on behalf of refugees from Francoist Spain and Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Building on her earlier social work, Eleanor was a vocal advocate for the introduction of family allowances, more commonly known as ‘child benefit’. The Family Allowance Act was passed in 1945, with Eleanor instrumental in ensuring the benefit was paid directly to mothers.
The exhibition is open during SCA opening hours (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-4.45pm), and is also accessible at weekends during the core Sydney Jones Library opening hours of 12pm to 5pm. Please ask for access at the main Sydney Jones Library reception desk. The exhibition runs until April 11th 2016.
With a general election fast approaching, we have identified some material from our collections which can help to show how elections in the past were, fought, won, and lost.
Special Collections and Archives contains collections relating to a number of political figures, some of whom served as members of parliament, including Eleanor Rathbone, Sir John T. Brunner, and Lord David Owen.
In some ways, the basic materials of an election campaign appear to have changed little over the last century. Leaflets explaining a candidate’s position, flyers advertising public meetings, and small cards on which the key slogans of a campaign are put across are all still used today. In Brunner’s papers, such material survives from his 1887 by-election victory over the Liberal Unionist Lord Grosvenor in Northwich, Cheshire.Eleanor Rathbone’s papers give us an insight into a long-gone quirk of the British electoral system: the existence of university seats. These were not physical constituencies, but electorates made up of university graduates, wherever they happened to be living.
Eleanor Rathbone represented the Combined English Universities, as one of two Members, from 1929 until her death in 1946. Although from a family largely aligned with Liberal politics, she sat as an Independent. This non-party approach clearly appealed to the electors of this seat, including Liverpool University graduates, who returned her four times.This year there is much talk of political realignment and the emergence of new parties. This in itself is nothing new. The Labour Party was once an insurgent political organisation battling for every vote against the main parties of the day. The early 20th century election material contained in the papers of Katharine and John Bruce Glasier, founder members of the Independent Labour Party (ILP), reminds us of this. Almost a century later, David Owen’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) was heralded as bringing about a political realignment upon its split from Labour in 1981. Lord Owen’s papers contain material from the general elections and by-elections fought by the party in alliance with the Liberals throughout the 1980s. Despite some good results, by the late 1980s the Alliance began to split. In 1988, the Conservatives narrowly held Kensington from Labour, while separate Liberal Democrat and Social Democrat candidates came third and fourth. As well as archival material, our collections contain various printed political pamphlets, some dating from before the political party system as we know it developed. In the 18th and 19th centuries, supporters of candidates would pen songs and rhymes set to popular tunes to extol their virtues. Tracts such as this one published by John Wilkes satirised the practice of corruption during a Hampshire election, but references to “freeholders” and “brave boys” are a reminder of how tightly the franchise was restricted to male members of the propertied classes. These days, of course, things are very different. Gone are the university seats and the limited franchise. Over the last century political parties such as the ILP and SDP have risen and fallen. Nevertheless, some of the material here indicates that the bread and butter of electoral campaigning has perhaps not changed as much as we might think.
A selection of election material from SCA collections can currently be seen in our display cases in the Grove Wing of the Sydney Jones Library.
Graduate Library Assistant