New Accessions: Guides to Health

As part of our series introducing new summer acquisitions to SC&A, we are pleased to showcase two items from 1854 and 1890.

SPEC 2017.a.023

Controul of the passions, printed in 1854, is, on the surface, a guide to the “duties and obligations of the married state”. With a brief nod towards conjugal relations the text focuses primarily on “self pollution”, gonorrhoea and other venereal diseases and includes some choice images of the ravages of syphilis. This item is exceptionally rare, despite it being printed as the twenty first edition, with no copy with this imprint being recorded elsewhere. In keeping with the theme of sexual health and propriety, the second acquisition is The golden referee: a guide to health, printed in 1890.

SPEC 2017.a.024

Heavy on “the injurious effects of solitary and sexual indulgence” one of the most interesting aspects of this book is a printed note on the inside upper wrapper stating that the copyright for the item is owned by Joseph Thornton Woodhead. The same Mr. Woodhead was the owner of the Liverpool Museum of Anatomy, a notorious attraction which remained open in Liverpool until 1937. On the lower wrapper is an advertisement for the Museum, previously at 29 Paradise Street, which seeks to present it as “An interesting collection! An intellectual study!! And a public advantage!!!”. In reality it offered a mix of models and diagrams of the human body, discreet consultations for men with sexual problems and even courses on midwifery with a heavy tone of morality, rather than titillation.

Already included in the collections here at SC&A is a copy of the descriptive catalogue of the Museum at shelfmark Y87.3.222, which includes a matching advertisement to the one found on The golden referee.

SPEC Y87.3.222

For further reading on medical museums the Sydney Jones Library holds:

  • Morbid curiosities: Medical museums in nineteenth-century Britain by Samuel J.M.M. Alberti
  • Medical museums: Past, present, future edited by Samuel J.M.M. Alberti and Elizabeth Hallam.
  • Anatomy as spectacle: Public exhibitions of the body from 1700 to present by Elizabeth Stephens.

New Accessions: Verse

SC&A was recently able to acquire some 22 items printed or published in Liverpool during the late eighteen or early nineteenth centuries, to add to its already extensive collections of local history, literature and publishing. Several items were displayed in Manuscripts and More on 17 August. Among the rest of the recent acquisitions are several in verse. 150 years before The Mersey Sound, Liverpool already had a busy community of poets such as Sarah Medley, whose book of Original poems: sacred and miscellaneous (1807; SPEC 2017.a.019) was printed here by James Smith; Robert Merdant, author of Country people; or, Pastoral poetry (1810), printed locally by Thomas Kaye (1810; SPEC 2017.a.008), and T. G. Lace, whose Ode on the present state of Europe was printed by M. Galway & Co in 1811, during the Napoleonic wars (SPEC 2016.PF1.14).

The vision for coquettes. An Arabian tale (SPEC 2017.c.006) a poem of unknown authorship, was printed by John M’Creery in 1804 and sold by, among others, the well-known Liverpool poet, abolitionist and bookseller Edward Rushton from his shop in Paradise Street.

An extract from The vision of coquettes

Several of the new items feature William Roscoe (1753-1851), the most prominent member of Liverpool’s intellectual community at this date and its most prolific author. These new items include several political pamphlets and one of his scientific works, A new arrangement of the plants of the monandrian class usually called scitamineae, published in London during Roscoe’s brief career as MP for Liverpool (1807; SPEC 2017.c.008).

SC&A also now hold one of the few copies in the UK of his anti-slavery campaign poem, The wrongs of Africa (in two parts: London 1787-8; SPEC 2017.b.011). Roscoe’s writing career had started with an Ode, printed in a few copies in 1774, which was then added to a meditative verse account of the area he was brought up in: Mount Pleasant: A descriptive poem which was printed at Warrington in 1777 (SPEC G11A(32.5)). The wrongs of Africa was his next poem, and marked a complete change of direction, inaugurating as it did the work of a circle of abolitionist poets living and working in Liverpool. These included Rushton, whose West-Indian eclogues appeared later in 1787 (in London); the Irish émigré engraver Hugh Mulligan, author of Poems chiefly on slavery and oppression (London, 1788), Peter Newby’s The wrongs of Almoona (printed by H. Hodgson in Liverpool, 1788), and Thomas Hall’s Achmet to Selim, or, The dying negro (printed in Liverpool by M’Creery in 1792). Part one of Roscoe’s poem was published in May 1787 and part two in February 1788; it was republished in Philadelphia later that year. More copies of the Liverpool printing survive in America than do in Britain; ours is one of eight copies known in UK libraries. It was formerly in Worcester Public Library.

Roscoe’s poem was published in an era when writing by slaves was, for obvious reasons, hardly known at all. Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African, had appeared in 1782, and The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, one of the earliest formal autobiographies by a former slave, came out in 1789. Meanwhile abolition-minded writers in Liverpool and Bristol supplied the deficiency through the medium of poetic scenes and narratives in which slaves, normally denied a voice, were imagined to state their feelings to a sympathetic readership. The point was to engage public feeling by focusing on realities of life on the plantations and the suffering of the enslaved Africans. Roscoe complemented his verse tale with a soberly-argued prose account, A general view of the African slave-trade, demonstrating its injustice and impolicy: with hints towards a bill for its abolition (1788).

The poem is more psychological and emotive than economic or political in focus. According to the ‘Advertisement’ to the Part Two, it was originally planned in three parts, to focus sequentially on Africa, the passage to America, and the colonies, but only two parts were completed. Part One asks readers to transform the ‘sensibility’ they bring to the reading of sentimental fiction to active human sympathy in a pressingly real situation. It also addresses slave masters and the captains of slaving ships and a local ‘veteran trafficker’, in an attempt to provoke examination of the strange and twisted psychology involved in the enslavement of other human beings. It takes readers on an imaginary journey to Angola, portrays the peaceful life of the inhabitants before traders arrive, and blames the traders for corrupting local customs and covering the continent with fear. An inset story of two brothers, Arebo and Corymbo, caught up in a devastating raid, gives the narrative direct human appeal. Part Two imagines the passage to America from the perspective of the captured Africans. A planned revolt is bloodily thwarted. Its leader, Cymbello, an African prince educated in political principles similar to Roscoe’s own, and partly formed on the model of Aphra Behn’s seventeenth-century ‘royal slave’ Oroonoko, dies courageously with his lover in the carnage.  The last pages of the poem are devoted to a wide-ranging history of the concept of Freedom and a final address from Freedom herself, prophesying her final victory over the tyrants and enslavers of Europe and the world.

A year after Part Two was published, the French Revolution appeared to begin to dismantle the institutions of oppression (as they were perceived by Roscoe and his political allies). It would be another twenty years before the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act finally passed the House of Commons, and decades more before the practice itself was outlawed; but poems like Roscoe’s were an important initial element in the campaign, defiantly continued by Roscoe and his colleagues in Liverpool, Bristol and London, to bring the atrocities of the trade to public view and to stimulate human sympathy for an otherwise largely voiceless and invisible mass of people. It is fitting that this rare printed item should return to the place where it was written.

A guest blog post written by Paul Baines from the Department of English.

New Acquisitions: August

A bumper month for new acquisitions here in SC&A. One of the main collecting areas for the department is items printed in, or about, Liverpool.

SPEC 2017.b.003 – Memoirs of mammoth

Memoirs of mammoth was printed in Liverpool in 1806 by G.F. Harris. The author, Thomas Ashe (1770-1835), travelled in America and sent the first mammoth bones back to Britain. The work details the discovery and composition of the mammoth bones which were held at the Liverpool Museum.

SPEC 2016.P2.07 – The geology of the hundred of Wirral

This pamphlet, by John Cunningham and printed in 1864 by J. Oliver in Birkenhead, details the geology of the Wirral with particular reference to the water supply. Items printed by J. Oliver are exceptionally rare with only four works reported to COPAC, this item is not among them making it the only known copy, particularly nice as it is dedicated to a Thomas Duncan by the author.

 

SPEC 2017.c.005 – An address to the merchants of Liverpool

SCA has a wealth of material relating to the maritime history of Liverpool and this 1806 stab-sewn pamphlet is an excellent addition to the collections. Willis Earle, a local timber merchant, was elected to investigate the financial accounts of the Liverpool Dock Estate, it includes a recent history of the docks and the effect of recent Parliamentary Acts on the workings of the port.

SPEC 2017.b.010 – A form of prayer, and a new collection of Psalms

This 1763 volume is one of only 11 copies reported to the ESTC and is beautifully bound in gilt tooled black morocco. The text is a first edition of the experimental non-conformist liturgy at the Octagon Chapel in Liverpool which was developed by Philip Holland and Richard Godwin.

SPEC 2017.b.010 – provenance

The volume bears the names of Robert Pilkington, Joseph Pilkington and Esther Holland. A pencil note explains: “Given by Esther Holland who was the daughter of Robert Pilkington, to her cousin Joseph Pilkington”.

SPEC 2017.a.010 – The stereotype ready reckoner

The final item in this collection of Liverpool related items is an 1814 ready reckoner, owned by an officer of excise. A ready reckoner is a table listing standard calculations such as weights and measures and rates of interest.

These items are available to consult in our reading room, you can find out how to make an appointment on our new website.

 

New Accession – Cunard Memorabilia

A few months ago Special Collections and Archives received a surprise donation of Cunard cruise memorabilia from the 1930s that has now been added to the Cunard Associated Deposits – this makes a total of 100 series that is now searchable online.

Lancastria passenger list

Ausonia passenger list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cunard memorabilia was collected by the Abbotts family during their travels on the Ausonia cruise sailing from London to France, Devon and the Channel Islands in 1932, and the Lancastria cruise sailing from Liverpool to Spain, North Africa, Canary Isles and Madeira in 1934. Comprising passenger lists, newsletters, programmes, menu cards, poems and photographs, these items give an insight into the daily activities onboard cruises at this time.

Of particular interest is the travel album which contains photographs and postcards showing scenes on board the Lancastria, deck games, some of the places visited and local residents. The album also contains autographs of passengers and crew and diary entries made by the Abbotts.

Travel album

The Ausonia and Lancastria memorabilia has been given the deposit number of D1158 and is searchable via the Cunard Associated Deposits: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/library/sca/colldescs/cunard.html

 

University of Liverpool Students’ Architecture Portfolios

These student portfolios contain architectural drawings and plans for various projects. The drawings form a diverse and interesting collection, frequently demonstrating a high level of draftsmanship. They represent a fascinating snapshot of the teaching practices and high quality of student architects work during this period.

A337 Molly Button (1914-2015): Molly Brettel (nee Hart) Born Bromley 1914, died Huntingdon 2015. Educated at Morton Hall School and University of Liverpool – School of Architecture 1932-1936.

An Authors Cottage: Elevations with floorplan, section and schedule of materials. n.d. [1932-1933].

A Holiday Residence and Garden: Section and floor plan. 1′-16″. n.d. [1932-1936]

D712/1 Papers of Geoffrey Rogers: BArch 1952, on his retirement Mr Rogers was Deputy County Architect for Staffordshire County Council.

Remodelling of a Roadside Inn: Third year. Perspective, plans, section and elevations. n.d. [1949-1950].

 D1132: Michael Bottomley. Michael was a student of the Liverpool School of Architecture between 1945 and 1949. He was elected an associate member of The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1949.

He later became a partner in Haigh Architects of Kendal, with whom he had worked a student placement during 1947. In addition to his work as an architect he was also an accomplished artist.

Fenton House, Hampstead: Apr 1946.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fire Station for a Country Town: South elevation. 1/8″ to 1′: May 1946.

New Acquisitions: March

Three notable acquisitions in Special Collections and Archives in March, alongside “The horses’s levee” mentioned in the blog post of last week.

The old cobbler of the cottage: to which is added The idler” are two stories by female authors, Isabelle de Montolieu and Mary Martha Sherwood for children. The item is an excellent addition to our children’s literature collections and also to the number of Sherwood items already available within the collections.

SPEC 2017.a.002



The item is bound in a publisher issued embossed cloth binding with a paper label to the upper board, it also bears the provenance marks of Adriana Lacy and her Aunt, Sarah Lacy.

The embossed cloth binding.

Signed by the Lacy family.

The second item new to SCA this month is “The history of the Fairchild Family” by the ubiquitous Mrs Sherwood. This 1818 volume, bound in tree calf, was in print for nearly a century in numerous editions. It uses the format of the novel to explain the concept of original sin to a juvenile audience.

An introduction to original sin for young children, not recommended for the small people in your life!

The final new acquisition is “The trial of Harry Hardheart: for ingratitude and cruelty to certain individuals of the brute creation”. This item, dated approximately 1820, seeks to caution young people about the dangers of cruelty to animals.

The trial of Harry Hardheart

The item, which is in the original publisher issued blue paper covered boards, is recorded in only 8 locations worldwide.

Remember: be kind to elephants.

As ever, these items are now available for consultation in SCA, for information on how to make an appointment please see our webpages.

A butterfly, a grasshopper and a horse’s levee: William Roscoe in SCA collections

A new acquisition to Special Collections and Archives highlights the importance of William Roscoe to the social and cultural history of Liverpool. Roscoe, known as a leading abolitionist and historian, is perhaps as well known for his poem “The butterfly’s ball and the grasshopper’s feast” which was written for his children and published in 1807. Here in SCA we hold a copy of the 1808 edition. “Butterfly’s ball” was unusual for this period of juvenile literature as instead of seeking to contribute to the moral education of children it sought only to entertain and amuse.

JUV.508:3

In yellow paper wrappers, a common feature of this publisher, John Harris.





A hand coloured plate from the Butterfly’s Ball.

SPEC G8.15

As well as “Butterfly’s ball” SCA includes several items with Roscoe provenance including a 1683 volume bearing his signature and a 1551 Dante thought to have belonged to him.

SPEC H23.26

The new addition to the collections is “The horse’s levee, or, The court of Pegasus“. The title-page states that this rare edition (only 10 copies are recorded) is a companion to “The butterfly’s ball” rather than directly authored by Roscoe, but this perhaps highlights his influence on juvenile literature in this period.

SPEC 2016.t1.03

The yellow wrappers of the publisher John Harris.

“The horse’s levee” is an early astronomy primer for children, the plates show animals with their astronomical parallels and the verses instruct and amuse.

A party we would all like to be at.

 

New Acquisition: February

February saw “The Garland, or Thirteen extracts with colored vignettes for rewards” added to the collections in Special Collections and Archives. 

This item, dated approximately 1820, has 14 leaves printed on the recto which are hand coloured throughout. Each leaf bears an illustration and a poem to reward a child for good behaviour. Some may have been more enjoyable than others for the juvenile reader …

The item also bears an interesting provenance, the book is signed on the first free endleaf recto “Ellen Claye Manchester November 1st 1822” and a blind stamp for a bookseller appears on the final free endleaf for “Claye, Printer and Stationer, Stockport”. Perhaps a gift from the bookseller for a young family member?

This item is now available for consultation in SCA so please do feel free to make an appointment.