New exhibition: Binned, banned, bombed: selection and survival in Special Collections & Archives

Have you ever wondered why there is what there is in Special Collections & Archives?

Our collections are a fascinating mixture of what survives physical degradation, individual actions, historical events and official censure. But just because something has survived for a long time doesn’t automatically mean it has a place in Special Collections & Archives.

The survival of printed books and archival collections usually contains an element of serendipity; a modicum of good fortune which means they have been able to transcend neglect, wilful destruction, environmental dangers and the censure of authority. But there is also the hand of the librarian and archivist in evidence, selecting and preserving through careful management to ensure the items are kept secure and made available for years to come in a way that is appropriate to both the resources available and the intellectual content of the broader collections.

Our new exhibition displays a range of items from the collections to provide an insight into some of the issues we deal with whilst working to ensure our collections are cared for and made available to facilitate your research and requests. 

For more information on the exhibition, please see our website here.

Visit us anytime between 9:30am-4:45pm Monday – Friday at the Ground Floor Grove Wing of the Sydney Jones Library to view the display, no appointment is needed. Also, keep an eye on our twitter for information on special events focused around the material used in the exhibition.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today marks the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Globally, women are still underrepresented in scientific roles, so this is a day to break down barriers and to celebrate science’s heroines, past and present.

SC&A is positively brimming with such heroines across various fields of study and practice, so we’ve picked out a few to shout about.

BOTANY

Dr Margery Knight, a lecturer in botany at the university from 1912 until her retirement in 1954, was a seaweed specialist. She and her students could often be seen scrambling over rocks at the Port Erin marine research station, even after Knight lost her leg in a car accident in 1936.

Dr Knight and her students in August 1942 (A301/2/120)

As well as her scientific contributions, she was known for her generosity and support of students. Dr Burges (Professor of Botany, 1952-1966) wrote her obituary for the University of Liverpool Recorder and noted that:

‘It was I believe completely unappreciated that the “small fund to which she had access,” and from which she helped so many, was in fact her own pocket.’

The high esteem in which she was held is evident from this gift: an album containing messages from staff, former students and members of the scientific community, presented to Knight on her 80th birthday (alongside pressed seaweed).

A page from Knight’s 80th birthday present (D964)

May Rathbone, part of the Liverpool family of politicians, philanthropists and social reformers, initially trained as a doctor at the turn of the 20th century. She went on to become a botanist, an amateur artist and a keen mountaineer. She spent many holidays in Norway and even worked on a glossary of Norwegian botanical terms.  

One of May Rathbone’s botanical drawings (RP XVIII.3.38)

MEDICINE

Knotty Ash-born Phoebe Powell was the first female medical graduate at the University of Liverpool, gaining her MD in 1912. She later married fellow doctor Douglas Bigland.

Over her short life (she died in 1930), she held a variety of medical posts and published widely on venereal disease. She lectured in pathology at the university, was house physician at the Liverpool Stanley Hospital and, on the establishment of the Crofton Recovery Hospital for Women in 1922, became Consulting Physician. In 1926 she set up a Mothers’ Welfare Clinic, dispensing contraceptive advice to women.

Patients enjoying some fresh air convalescence at Crofton Recovery Hospital for Women, where Phoebe Bigland (née Powell) served as physician (RP XVA.3.37)

She was also committed to supporting women in the field of medicine, serving as president of the Liverpool Association of the Federation of Medical Women. In an obituary of Bigland, pioneering surgeon and gynaecologist Frances Ivens-Knowles celebrated her as: ‘a real “live wire” when there was any work for medical women to be done.’  

VETERINARY SCIENCE

Annie Littlejohn graduated as a vet from the University of Liverpool in 1949, and stayed here to lecture on veterinary medicine. After leaving Liverpool, she worked at the Animal Diseases Research Association in Edinburgh and the government’s Central Veterinary Laboratory. 

She mostly focused on farm animals, though clearly she had time for important doggy medicine too.

Annie Littlejohn (right) examines a patient (A31/42)

SCIENCE FICTION

Ahem… not technically a branch of science, we know. But we couldn’t miss this opportunity to shout about some of the fantastic female authors represented in our science fiction collections.

Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006) was a US writer and one of the first Black women to achieve mainstream recognition in the SF genre. Her works include the neo-slave narrative Kindred, the Lilith’s Brood and Patternist series of novels, and Fledgling. (PS3552.U827.K51 1988)
Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018) was a prolific, multiple award-winning US writer whose works bring a feminist, anthropological sensibility to the genre. She is perhaps best-known as the creator of the Earthsea fantasy quartet. Rocannon’s World, first published in 1966, was her debut novel. (PS3562.E42.R66 1972)
Joanna Russ (1937-2011) was a US writer and academic, whose landmark 1975 novel The Female Man also brought a fierce, feminist political sensibility to the genre. (PS3568.U763.F32 1975)

James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Bradley Sheldon, 1915-1987) was a US writer who wrote under a masculine pseudonym until her identity was revealed in 1977. A prolific and complex author, she is notable for her dazzling short stories, the most famous of which is ‘The Women Men Don’t See’ (1973), contained within this volume. (PS3570.I66.A6WA 1979)

The Graduate papers of Norah Dunphy. Architectural Drawings.

Twenty-eight architectural drawings from Norah Dunphy’s time as a student at the University of Liverpool and in employment in the North-East have recently been added to the University Archive.

Norah Dunphy was a student of the Liverpool School of Architecture. Graduating in 1926, she was the first woman to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Architecture in the country. She studied architecture under Professor Charles Reilly and obtained a first-class certificate in civic design under Professor Abercrombie. Norah Dunphy was also the first woman in the in the country to be employed as a town planner, appointed as Town Planning Assistant to the Tynemouth and North Shields Corporation in 1931.

The drawings were donated by Norah Dunphy’s daughter, who attended an event organised by the School of Architecture to highlight the achievements of their female graduates ( https://alumni.liv.ac.uk/news/stories/title,1123305,en.html ).

The catalogue for Dunphy’s architectural drawings is available online. If you would like to book an appointment to view these drawings, or if you have material that you wish to donate to the University Archive, please email us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk.

The Papers of Frank W. Walbank

The following is guest blog post written by Emilio Zucchetti (PhD candidate at Newcastle University). Emilio visited SC&A throughout the summer of 2019 as part of an internship offered by his funding body, Northern Bridge Consortium.

“I agreed on an internship within Special Collections and Archives, promising that I would catalogue the papers left by Frank William Walbank (archive reference D1037), Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool (1951 – 1977). At first, I thought that it would be a great job for an internship. I was not too excited because I barely knew Walbank’s work, and he is not one of the authors with whom I have to be constantly in dialogue for my own research, since I focus on the late Republic. On the contrary, Wallbank worked mainly on the Hellenistic Age. He is remembered as the “Polybius Man” (how Mary Beard called him in an article for The Times Literary Supplement, 29th May 2013) because his most important work is a three volumes commentary of Polybius’ text that occupied him between 1944 and 1979. Dedicating thirty-five years to Polybius, producing the commentary and a plethora of academic articles expanding on some details, made him probably the greatest expert on the subject of the 20th century.

Even though I knew about some interesting adventures in his personal biography, I was still expecting to find correspondence and notes about Polybius and the Hellenistic age, depicting a rigorous scholar, to the point that I pictured him to be quite boring. Well, I was terribly wrong. Letters of colleagues asking him about passages or details in Polybius constitute indeed an important part of the archive, together with many detailed notes on bibliography in several languages (including Russian and Hebrew). On top of this, however, a very complex figure emerged. A good man, certainly, but also a very political man, involved in anti-fascist activities and part of the Communist Party in 1938-9; a Marxist in analytical terms, until very late in his life (though his research has never been held back by doctrinal positions). Some of the important documents in the archive were indeed mentioned in his Hypomnemata, a memoir composed in 1992 and covering the years between his birth (10th December 1909) and the end of WWII. The archive gives us all the possibility to brush his memoir against the grain, to complete his reluctances, to extend the narrative to the years he did not manage to cover (and for which he had prepared a long set of memorialistic notes, conserved in the archive).

Spending an entire summer in Merseyside could be quite tough, notwithstanding how lovely is Liverpool, with his great music and foodie culture – especially if you are used to the Italian countryside, where I grew up. However, even with a very wet and sometimes cold summer the archive helped me keeping my energy level high. I enjoyed going through the documents, creating this catalogue, looking up which articles or books was he commenting on, finding scholars’ names I knew before and learning some new ones. To make everything work better, and immerse myself in Walbank’s world a little more, I visited his houses, where he lived in Liverpool and Birkenhead: a very curious form of tourism, I reckon. I met many wonderful academics, whom I only knew by name (and I was somewhat frightened of), such as John K. Davies, Bruce Gibson, Robin Seager, Christopher Tuplin, and, most important of all, Dorothy Joan Thompson, distinguished Cambridge scholar who happens to be Frank Walbank’s daughter. All of them gave me a nuanced image of Wallbank, telling me memories and stories, jazzing up my picture of him, and listening to me, rambling excited about what I was finding in the collection.”

Emilio’s detailed catalogue of the Walbank papers is available, please do contact scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk with any queries.

New Exhibition: Liverpool University Press: ‘Forward-looking for 120 years’

This exhibition celebrates the 120 year anniversary of the conception of the Liverpool University Press (LUP) in 1899. Drawing on archival material held within the Liverpool University Press archive and LUP publications held within Special Collections and Archives and the University Libraries, this exhibition seeks to document and display the key points in the rich history of the Press.

As with the scholarly communities it serves, LUP’s fortunes have waxed and waned over many decades but the unfailing commitment of Press staff, authors and editors, and a wider community of scholars who understood the distinctive and important contribution of university press publishing, have helped to lay the strong foundation on which LUP stands today.

Publishing more than 150 books a year, 34 journals and a number of digital products, and still the only university press to have won both The Bookseller and IPG awards for Academic Publisher of the Year, Liverpool University Press has been widely acclaimed for its willingness to embrace change. To that end, the team at LUP have chosen to celebrate the future as well as the past in 2019 with the strapline ‘Forward-looking for 120 years.’

(reference D80/5/2)

The exhibition is available to view at Special Collections and Archives, Ground Floor Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library. It will run from September 2019-January 2020. We are open Monday to Friday, 9:30am-4:45pm.

Tweet us at @LivUniSCA & @LivUniPress; alternatively, contact us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk for more information.

Sport in the University Archive

It’s been a summer full of sport in the UK and around the world, from the Women’s World Cup in June, to Wimbledon and the Tour de France in July, and the Netball World Cup which took place here in Liverpool. Inspired by this, we have been taking a look at some of the sportier items from the University Archive.

Sports at University College Liverpool began with the University College Athletic Club in 1885, which was initially open to male students and consisted of Cricket, Lawn Tennis, Rugby Football, Gymnastics and Cycling. On the creation of the University of Liverpool in 1903, the Athletic Club became a part of the Guild of Undergraduates. The first Annual Athletic Sports took place on 5th May 1894, and featured below are a few of the items from the collections relating to these events over the years.

A104/10 – First Report of Annual Athletic Sports
A104/19 – Poster advertising Sports Day [1986]
A104/19 – Programme for Annual Athletic Sports 1940, with results filled in

For a number of students competing with a sports club is a highlight of university life, with many clubs being formed over the years at the University of Liverpool. Some of these are represented in the University Archive, such as the Liverpool University Women’s Boating Club (D552), which includes an album of compiled photographs and press cuttings relating to the team and the various events they competed at.

D552
D552

The Rugby Football team was one of the original clubs included in the University College Athletic Club, and it was decided in 1918 that an official University Rugby club should be run. The below press cuttings are from a 1931 volume compiled by Thomas L Ellis, a member of the Liverpool Rugby Union Football Club, who acted as Secretary in 1932-1933 and Captain in 1933-1934.

D696

D696

A Netball Club was first established at the University of Liverpool in 1924. The netball kit pictured below belonged to Isabel Harkness, who studied at the university and played for the Netball First VII team between 1932-6, and was the captain of the team for the 1935-6 season. She is identified as the captain in the below team photograph in Liverpool University Athletic Union; the first one hundred years, 1884-1984 by Beryl Furlong (GLD/2/2/1).

D326/25 – 1st VII Netball Team (1935-1936)
D502/2 – Netball kit owned by Isabel Harkness

Also held within Special Collections and Archives is the archive of the British Universities Sports Association (D741) and the various organisations that preceded it. One of these was the Universities’ Athletic Union, formed 100 years ago in 1919 by universities across England and Wales, including the University of Liverpool, to promote inter-university sport competitions across the UK. Initially known as the Inter-Varsity Athletic Board of Great Britain and Ireland, students from different universities came together to compete both at home and as a team at international competitions. The UAU continued until 1994, when it merged with the British Universities Sports Federation to become the British Universities Sports Association.

D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs
D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs

International student sports competitions have been and continue to be held across the world, with the International Confederation of Students being established in 1919 and the International University Sports Federation in 1949. Between these organisations, many international student competitions were held, including the summer and winter Universiade. The Universiade celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with the summer games in Napoli and the winter games in Krasnoyarsk, with the first games being held in Turin and Zell am See in 1959.

D741/J8/1 – Programme for the winter games held in Bardonecchia, Italy (1933)
D741/J8/3 – Report on the French team’s performance at the Monaco games (1939)
D741/J8/8 – Regulation booklet for the first Universiade in Turin (1959)

All of these items are available to view in the Special Collections and Archives reading room. Please email us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk to book an appointment.

Summer memories: postcards and photographs

In honor of the new SC&A summer exhibition ‘Travels in Europe’, we are showcasing some of the wonderful photographs and postcards in the collections which related to summer holidays and travel, whether that be within the UK or abroad.

We do all enjoy taking photographs during our trips to remember them by, even 119 years ago. Below are some shots from the photograph album owned by Mildred Stimson, the daughter of Frederic Jesup Stimson, the American writer, lawyer, and friend of William Gair Rathbone and his family. It includes many shots towns and natural beauty spots from across England and Scotland.

RPXXV.7.666 – Shakespeare’s House
RP XXV.7.666 – The Thames at Oxford
RP XXV.7.666 – ‘Two lazy dogs and a grinning imp’, being Frederic J. Stimson, William Gair Rathbone and Lorna Stimson (Mildred’s sister).

Students have always made good use of the freedom that summer provides! From the papers of Professor Wilberforce, below is a group photograph of members of the University Physics Society sitting on the grass by the River Dee by rowing boats, dated either June 1925 or 1926.

D349/3 – Front row from left to right (first five persons): J. Castle, Elizabeth Taylor, Professor Wilberforce, N. C. Porter, and Connie Richards. At the end of the third row on the right is Mr. Welch, Chief Laboratory Steward.

Collecting postcards (or, Deltiology) is another popular way of gathering memories of a holiday. Within the papers of Professor Charles Reilly (School of Architecture), there is a large volume containing the all the postcards he collected during his travels in the UK and abroad between 1927 – 1930.

D207/45  – Christchurch Priory, visited Summer 1929
D207/45 – Brussels, visited Summer 1927

The Cunard Archive held here at Special Collections and Archives is an excellent place to find ephemera from travel and holidays been and gone. However, it is important to also remember the staff who worked hard so that others could travel to their destinations. The below postcards are from the papers of Mr John Teather Piper (1874-1915), Chief Officer of the Lusitania on the ship’s final voyage. The collection contains prints and postcards, some of which detail the dates of service Mr Piper undertook on each vessel.

D1126/1 – R.M.S Ultonia
D1126/4 – R.M.S Campania

The below postcard features within the ‘Travels in Europe’ exhibition. It is a postcard featuring comic views of the Swiss Alps, dated Thursday 27th August 1898, from Josephine Butler (1828 -1906) to her grandchildren.

JB 1/1/1898/08/27/2(II) – ‘Sweet Hetha [Lady Hetha Butler]. Here are some funny men & a funny lady for you. Grannie’.

‘Travels in Europe’ is available to view in the Special Collections and Archives exhibition area, Ground Floor Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library (Monday to Friday, 9:30am until 4:45pm). The exhibition runs until September 2019.

Q is for quarter-bound

A binding which covers only the spine and the edge of the boards nearest the spine is described as ‘quarter binding.’ The amount of the board covered varies, but the binding may indeed cover one quarter, hence its name.

Quarter bindings, which use less material – leather, parchment, cloth, paper, depending on date and style – are cheaper than half bindings which cover the spine and back edge of the boards plus the outer corners of the boards. Half and quarter bindings may be described as quarter calf, half parchment, etc, naming the binding material used on the spine. Full calf, for example, describes a binding in which the full extent of the spine and boards is covered in the same material.

Common styles of binding can help to identify where and when an item was bound, or may be a recognisable ‘uniform’ such as the ‘Roxburghe style’ used for the publications of the Roxburghe Club. Their quarter bindings have a spine of brown or black leather, with the title tooled in gold, and the sides are dark-red paper-board. More recently, morocco and buckram have been used in the same colour scheme.

SPEC G.02.05: Roxburghe style binding

From the 17th century onwards, and notably in the 18th and 19th centuries, as it became usual to shelve books with the spines outward, the spines of quarter- or half-bound books lent themselves to decorative display.

SPEC Zaina C.10: leather spine decorated with gilt-tooling and colour onlay, and marbled paper boards on Paris, 1887 edition of Gautier.

This week’s war: Armistice

Statue commemoriating Captain Noel Chavasse and 15 other Liverpool-born recipients of the Victoria Cross, located in Abercromby Square

This Sunday marks both Remembrance Sunday and the centenary of Armistice Day, 100 years since the hostilities of the First World War were brought to an end.

Since August 4th 2014, 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany, we have been posting This week’s war, a series of excerpts from the collections detailing the war as it was, this week 100 years ago. To mark the Armistice centenary and to bring this series to an end, we will be reflecting on the end of war and where some of those mentioned over the last four years were in November 1918 and beyond.

In the 1918 diary of John Bruce Glasier [GP/2/1/25], who was a pioneer of the British Socialist movement and had been opposed to the war from the beginning, he expresses joy at the announcement of the Armistice. It appears that he may have written his entry for November 11th prior to hearing the news, and has added parts along the top and side of the page saying, ‘Great News, Peace Revolution’, and ‘Announced at noon today – Armistice signed. Peace!’.

A page from Glasier’s 1918 diary – GP/2/1/25

That afternoon Glasier found his plans to travel to London disrupted; he was unable to make his way to Manchester Station due to the streets being blocked with people gathering to celebrate the end of the war:

Girls and soldiers dancing, and boys and girls gawfawing and singing silly ditties. … All good humoured however.

[GP/2/1/25]

As those at home began to celebrate and reflect on the end of the war, the cessation of hostilities meant that the long task of repatriating soldiers to their home countries could begin. Repatriating some of the millions of soldiers abroad in Europe began soon after the Armistice, and Cunard vessels were some of those transporting Allied troops before ‘the guns were hardly cool after roaring out their last bombardment of the war’ [D42/PR3/8/4 ‘To the American Legion Cunard’]. The December 1918 edition of Cunard Magazine (D42/PR5/22), produced for staff, reminds readers that their drive for socks for servicemen abroad continues:

We can now look forward to the day when further contributions will no longer be needed, but in the meantime, ladies, the boys still remain at the front – so please carry on.

[D42/PR5/22]

It would take months for many to be returned home. J. H. Forshaw, an Architecture graduate of the University of Liverpool after the war, was in the Royal Engineers during the war and for a number of months following the war. War diaries from his papers [D113] describe the bridging and inspection work that he was carrying out with the Royal Engineers in France and Belgium until his dispersal on the 11th July 1919. On Armistice Day, he made a note of the announcement before carrying on with inspections work in the following days.

War Diary from the papers of J. H. Forshaw – D113/1/2

According to Forshaw’s dispersal certificate, he would leave his Unit on the 11th of July 1919 to return to Ormskirk.

Forshaw’s Dispersal Certificate – D113/1/3

Of course, not all soldiers returned home from fighting, and Remembrance Day is dedicated to those who have served and those who were lost during the First World War and other conflicts. The end of the war appears to have been a time of complicated emotions for many; relief that it had ended but sorrow and grief for those who had been lost.

The January 1919 edition of Cunard Magazine [D42/PR5/23] includes a report of celebrations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the announcement of Armistice, but also this reflection of feeling at the end of the war:

The end has come so suddenly that it is hard to realise, all at once, that the unspeakable horror is indeed over. … And now for the first time in four years, brave men are not being killed and maimed by thousands. It gives one a feeling of solemn gladness, that is akin to sorrow.

[D42/PR5/23]

For many, the upcoming festive season would have been coloured with sorrow for those they had lost in the four years since the beginning of the war. This passage from the introduction to the December 1918 Cunard Magazine (D42/PR5/22) is perhaps, then, a fitting way to conclude This week’s war:

For the past four years it has unfortunately been impossible to indulge in our customary felicitations, but with the success of the Allied Arms we are now happily able to revert to our former practice. … It would be idle to attempt to overlook that to many a home the absence of dear ones who have made the supreme sacrifice will cause many a pang of sorrow and regret, but we trust that the kindly hand of time will help to soften the feeling of loss, while keeping ever sweet and fragrant the memory of those who have fallen.

[D42/PR5/22]

The University of Liverpool First World War Memorial, in the entrance hall of the Victoria Museum and Gallery

This Week’s War: 215

Aside

‘We beg to point out that if the extra accommodation requisitioned by the War Office is granted it will put us to considerable inconvenience […] The present temporary Laboratory and curtailed filling room are barely sufficient to meet the demands now made upon them and in view of the increase in the entry of Dental Students, we must have some room for expansion.’

Letter dated September 11th 1918, from W. H. Gilmour to the War Office regarding use of the Dental Hospital [A306/2/8].