2017 retrospect

2017 was another busy year in Special Collections and Archives. To celebrate Burns Night, we have curated some of the highlights: collections that were conserved, catalogued, acquired, and the people whom we have been thrilled to meet and work alongside this past year.

February – Peers Symposium attendees

  • March – always a busy month for teaching classes, including the popular Children’s Literature module (see below photo). We also welcomed several visitors with special links to our collections, including a relation of Grace Wilson, the long term partner and wife of John Wyndham.

    March – Dr Esme Miskimmin leading a seminar using SC&A material for ENGL573 Children’s Literature module. ®McCoy_Wynne

  • April – Cunard archivist Siân Wilks worked hard to ensure that the catalogues for the Chairman’s papers (an excellent resource for business and maritime history) are available online; we hosted a meeting of members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association; our reading room reference collection overhaul was completed, undertaken by our former Assistant Librarian Lucy Evans and Archives Cataloguer Josette Reeves; and Special Collections and Archives Manager Jenny Higham delivered the session ‘Using Primary Sources’ for the Researcher KnowHow programme.
  • May –  filming took place in the archive for the UKTV Yesterday channel documentary series “Nazi Victory: The Post War Plan“, using University Archive material to explore the university life of a German student who was suspected of being a spy during WWII; we also installed a new exhibition: ‘Thomas Rickman (1776-1841) Architect and Antiquary’. The exhibition was curated by University of Liverpool academic Dr Alex Buchanan as part of a larger AHRC funded project. On Light Night, our Science Fiction Librarian Andy Sawyer interviewed John Higgins on stage at the Victoria Gallery & Museum to coincide with the Beyond Dredd and Watchmen: The Art of John Higgins.

    May – Thomas Rickman Exhibition

    May – John Higgins (L) and Andy Sawyer (R) chatting about John Higgin’s work

  • June – the first undergraduate open day of the year, at which staff were thrilled to speak to so many prospective students; and a large amount of Science Fiction material was transported to the Barbican Centre in London for their Into the Unknown exhibition (Science Fiction was certainly well travelled throughout the year in general).
  • July – many boxes from the Liverpool Poets archive were transported to London for the Southbank Centre exhibition The Mersey Sound at 50our reading room was refreshed through the acquisition of a new microfilm system, new specialist book rests, and new professional photographs were hung on the walls, giving a behind-the-scenes look at our collections and activities.

    July – a photograph of some of the beautiful spines and tooling work in our collections! ®McCoy_Wynne

  • August – we showed off our feline collections and friends for International Cat Day. Thankfully, all the pet cats featured in the blog post are dealing with their new found fame in a very grounded manner. Our University Archivist, Jo Klett, also completed a data cleanse of records to prepare for the launch of a new archives catalogue in the future.

    August – International Cat Day featured Oldham 173, The Tale of Tom Kitten

  • September – aside from greeting students both returning and new for the start of the 2017-18 session, we welcomed our new Graduate Library Assistant Michaela Garland to the team, bade farewell to Beth Williams for the Master of Archives and Records Management course, and former Graduate Library Assistant Robyn Orr took up the new post of Library Assistant, with responsibility for the day-to-day reading room service. The Unsettling Scientific Stories researchers visited us to consult the Science Fiction archive; and we also opened a new exhibition, Roscoe’s University: Liverpool Royal Institution 1817 – 2017, to celebrate the bicentenary of the Liverpool Royal Institution.

    September – Roscoe’s University: Liverpool Royal Institution 1817-2017 exhibition

  • October – we fittingly marked the 50th anniversary of the last voyage of the Queen Mary by showing on our blog the exciting new accessions donated that month; we hosted our Library colleagues to view our some of our new acquisitions in a Staff Open Afternoon; more enthusiastic prospective undergraduates visited us on the second open day of the year; SC&A staff took part choosing our favourite books for the Libraries Week fun on the Library Instagram; and these events were a final hurrah for our Assistant Librarian Lucy Evans, who left us to join the British Library as Curator of Printed Heritage Collections. She leaves a great legacy in many research-enabling catalogue records and on social media, including her work with the ERC funded TIDE project.

    October – D1169/1/2, The Queen Mary puzzle

  • November – we kicked off this month with a bang through a blog post on bonfire night; we also welcomed Niamh Delaney to the team as the Assistant Librarian, who has been very busy cataloguing our Special Collections material and keeping up SCA’s profile on social media since her arrival; we were also pleased to welcome visitor Christopher Graham, Vice President of the Council of the University of Liverpool, to view material from his time as President of the Guild; further, after the event The Bicentenary of Liverpool Royal Institution: A Celebration, we hosted attendees to view our Liverpool Royal Institution exhibition.

    November – Attendees of the Bicentenary event viewing the Liverpool Royal Institution material in our exhibition area.

    November – an eager attendee viewing the Liverpool Royal Institution exhibition.

  • December – and finally, our festive season and winter themed material took centre stage on both the University Library twitter (#livunisca) and a board displayed at the entrance of the Sydney Jones Library; we launched our SC&A merchandise (available to purchase at our reception during opening hours); and our collections reached dizzying heights to celebrate International Mountains Day 2017.

    December – The merchandise table located in the SC&A reception area – available to purchase Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:45pm.

    December – SC&A Merchandise, including notebooks, pencils, erasers, magnets, bookmarks, and more!

December – one of our lovely Special Collections items (reference JUV.530) found on the #livunisca twitter advent

We wish our readers and visitors a happy new year and we look forward to welcoming  old and new faces in 2018. To arrange an appointment, please do email us on scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk and our staff will be happy to assist.

Saving the Children in the 1930s

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.

Eleanor Rathbone

Portrait of Eleanor Rathbone [c. 1910].

Portrait of Eleanor Rathbone [RP XIV.3.96, c. 1910].

In particular, social reformer and M.P. Eleanor Rathbone was instrumental in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those affected by war and any subsequent geographic displacement. As she formed the Children’s Minimum Committee in 1934 to actively campaign for the eradication of children in poverty, it is perhaps very fitting that the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was further expanded in 1946, the year of Eleanor’s death. This promoted the safety and welfare of children 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.

Telegram from Eleanor Rathbone to Clement Atlee, dated 19th June 1937 [RP XIV.2.13(26)].

Telegram from Eleanor Rathbone to Clement Atlee, dated 19th June 1937 [RP XIV.2.13(26)].  “Will you consider moving [adjournment?] [Monday?] to consider Spanish petition and protest against Government’s refusal to protect ships taking refugees from Bilbao to Spanish ports and also from Santander to French ports – stop latter prohibitions…”

Telegram from Eleanor Rathbone to Clement Attlee, dated 19th June 1937 [RP XIV.2.13(26)]. "on private information [privately?] confirmed [&?] Foreign Office [It?] closes the last door as Bilbao [?] understood to be almost unusable."

Telegram from Eleanor Rathbone to Clement Attlee, dated 19th June 1937 [RP XIV.2.13(26)]. “…on private information [privately?] confirmed & Foreign Office It closes the last door as Bilbao understood to be almost unusable.”

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!

SPEC JUV 573 1935-6 Edition p. 202

SPEC JUV 573 1935-6 Edition p. 202

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.

The Manuel Irujo Collection

The 2014-15 academic session will see the introduction of a Basque language, literature and popular culture module to the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. The library of Manuel Irujo, the Navarrese lawyer and politician, donated by his family, has been fully catalogued and is available for study and research in Special Collections and Archives.

Manuel Irujo portait

Manuel Irujo portait

Manuel de Irujo Ollo was born in Estella / Lizarra in 1891. His father had close links with Sabino Arana Goiri, founder of the Basque Nationalist Party (the PNV); and  the family had a long history of involvement  in local politics.   At Deusto University in Bilbao Irujo studied Humanities, but after the sudden death of his father retrained as a lawyer in order to take  over  his father’s practice. In 1919 Irujo was elected as a delegate to the Council of Navarra.  Conservative forces conspired to annul the results and he was unable to take up his seat; he stood again in 1921 and served until 1931.In the national elections of 1931,1933 and 1936  Irujo was elected  Member of Parliament for the Basque province of Gipuzkoa as a member of the Basque Nationalist Party, Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV). He supported the Second Spanish Republic and was fiercely opposed to Franco’s military uprising.  He was appointed Minister Without Portfolio in 1936 in the Government of Largo Caballero and later became Minister of Justice under Negrin. Irujo was determined to restore a basic form of justice in the Spanish Republican Zone, but  eventually  he was forced to  resign the position, mainly due to the extra judicial killings, which continued despite all his efforts. During the months he served as Minister Irujo saved  the lives of many condemned to execution by firing squad and worked tirelessly to facilitate the  exchange of prisoners and the safe passage of third parties.

Spanish Civil War pamphlet

SPEC Irujo D.2. Spanish Civil War pamphlet

After the Civil War Manuel Irujo initially went into exile in the United Kingdom. Later he served as a member of the Republican Government in exile in Mexico and  went on to work with  the Basque Government in exile in Paris under José Antonio Aguirre.Irujo was the author of a number of books including Inglaterra y los Vascos, in which he described the link between the Basque Country and Great Britain, and Instituciones juridicias, where he wrote about the Basque judicial system. Over the decades he  wrote  hundreds of articles for a number of periodicals including Euzko Deya : La Voz de los Vascos en México, Euzko Deya : La Voz de Euzkadi and Eusko-Gaztedi.

Irujo’s work in promoting European Unity earned him the title Honorary President of the Federal Peninsular Council of the European Movement (see Europa de los pueblos) and in October 1974 he was made Amigo de Europa. He returned to the Basque Country after Franco’s death, and was elected Senador to the Cortes in 1978, in which he served until his death in 1981.

SPEC IRUJO G 1 no 218: August 1958 issue of Euzco Deya

SPEC IRUJO G.1 Euzco Deya 218 (Aug. 1958)

The Manuel Irujo collection was donated to the Special Collections & Archives section of the Sydney Jones Library by Manuel Irujo’s grandchildren (Ane Button Irujo and Miren Button Irujo), and contains nearly 400 books and pamphlets and 117 periodicals, on Basque culture, the Spanish Civil War, with a section on Manuel Irujo’s legacy. Mostly collected by Irujo after he went into exile in the UK and France, the collection includes copies of Basque newspapers published for  exiled communities who had relocated to Europe and the Americas.  Many of the books are inscribed with dedications from Irujo’s friends, colleagues and associates, including the anti-Franco journalist and historian, Herbert Rutledge Southworth, the sculptor, Eduardo Chillida, the opera singer and writer, Isidoro de Fagoaga, the archaeologist and anthropologist, Pere Bosch-Gimpera, and the artist and politician Luis Quintanilla.

SPEC IRUJO C.15 – Eduardo Chillida’s dedication

SPEC IRUJO C.15 – Eduardo Chillida’s dedication

A Basque exile’s books come to rest in Liverpool

Special Collections & Archives is delighted to have received a significant acquisition to its holdings of books relating to Hispanic studies and the Spanish Civil War. Delivered in person by his grandaughters, Miren and Ane, the books which Manuel Irujo took with him to exile in Paris have been donated to the University, where they will be an important resource for teaching and research in Basque studies.

Book cover from Irujo collectionManuel Irujo (1891-1981), a Navarrese from Estella was the only Basque politician to hold ministerial responsibility in the Second Republican government, he was both Minister of Justice and Minister without portfolio, and became president of the Basque National Council in 1940. Irujo spent nearly half his life in exile – in Paris and London – from the post-Spanish Civil War government of his contemporary General Franco (1892-1975). Even after Franco’s death, Irujo’s return to Spain had to be delayed – leaving him only his final four years in his home country.

The books Irujo had with him in exile have been donated to Liverpool by his family, in recognition of Liverpool’s position as a centre of Hispanist studies, and with the purpose of promoting the development of Basque Studies. When catalogued, they will take their place alongside the library of E. Allison Peers, and other material related to the Spanish Civil war, including the E.J. Burford and Ronald Fraser collections, and the papers of Eleanor Rathbone, who was instrumental in the escape of thousands of Basque children from the conflict.

Irujo’s library of nearly 400 titles, in Basque, Spanish, Franch and English, is arranged in sections relating to: Basque Language and Literature; Navarra (Irujo’s home province); Basque people, culture and folklore; the Spanish Civil War, its aftermath, and Basque politics; political and social issues in the Basque country after the Civil War; Early Basque Nationalism; Basques and the Americas; Newspapers; and works on History, Travel, Geography, Science and Nature.

Many items are dedicated to Irujo by their authors, and the collection includes his own annotated copy of a volume of his memoirs. The Basque diaspora are well-represented, especially through the publications of Ekin, founded in Buenos Aires in 1942 by Basque exiles including Manuel’s Irujo’s brother Andres. 

Euzko Deya cover from Irujo collection