Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day this year, we’re highlighting five love-themed items in Special Collections & Archives…

John Wyndham’s poems for Grace Wilson

Science-fiction author John Wyndham is best known for his novels, including The Day of the Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), but he also dabbled in poetry. His archive features several verses, most of which he wrote for Grace Wilson. They married in 1963, though they had been partners for around 30 years by the time they tied the knot.

Wyndham 8/4/1: 1944 Valentine from Wyndham to Grace Wilson

Wyndham 8/4/1: 1944 Valentine from Wyndham to Grace Wilson

Wyndham 8/6/2: 1962 Valentine from Wyndham to Grace Wilson

Wyndham 8/6/2: 1962 Valentine from Wyndham to Grace Wilson

 

Love Letter from George James Boswell to Hannah Chason

Percy Boswell was Professor of Geology at the University of Liverpool, 1917-1930, and his archive collection mostly consists of his academic and professional papers, such as essays, notes and correspondence. However, this letter, from Boswell’s great-grandfather George James Boswell, has also survived. It is addressed to Hannah Chason and is an ardent expression of Boswell’s love. He describes how his sincere friendship has ‘ripened into an affection of a more tender nature,’ and reassures her of his ‘perfectly honourable’ intentions, before proposing marriage. And marry they did, in 1855.

D4/2/2 Love letter from George James Boswell to Hannah Chason

D4/2/2 Love letter from George James Boswell to Hannah Chason

 

The Quiver of Love: A Collection of Valentines Ancient and Modern

Published in 1876, The Quiver of Love comprises verses from the likes of Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Sir Philip Sidney, along with a host of others, collected together in a volume which could be given as a gift, ‘either as a token of esteem, or as an indication of deeper regard.’ It also includes beautiful colour illustrations by artists Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway.

JUV.569:9 The Quiver of Love

JUV.509:9 The Quiver of Love

 

Happy Homes and How to Make Them (or Counsels on Love, Courtship, and Marriage)

This volume by J. W. Kirton, published in the 1870s, is packed full of advice in areas such as ‘Courting and Popping the Question,’ ‘The Mutual Duties of Married Life’ and ‘The Public-House the Rival of Home.’ To young men seeking a wife, the author urges them to ‘select the daughter of a good mother,’ ‘see that she is of domestic habits’ and ‘seek one that knows the worth of money,’ but warns them to ‘never trifle with any young woman’s affections, for it is cruel and wicked in the extreme.’ Women are advised to choose a mate who is respectable, careful, honest and healthy and, once married, to dress neatly but not extravagantly, learn to submit, and not talk about their husbands’ failings abroad (‘for if you have married a fool, it is not wisdom to go and tell every one that you have done so’).

JUV.414:2 Frontispiece of Happy Homes, and How to Make Them

JUV.414:2 Frontispiece of Happy Homes, and How to Make Them

 

Emblems of Love, in four languages

Emblem books, which first emerged in Europe in the 16th century, comprised symbolic pictures accompanied by mottoes, verses or prose. This volume, by poet and translator Philip J. Ayres, features beautiful engravings alongside verses in Latin, English, Italian and French; it is thought to date from the late 17th-early 18th century.

H35.26 Emblems of Love

SPEC H35.26 Emblems of Love

Love in the Library

To celebrate National Libraries Day and look ahead to Valentine’s Day, Special Collections and Archives has put on a romance-themed display.

On show are John Wyndham’s handmade Valentine’s cards, menus for romantic cruise dinners on board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Caronia II, paintings and poems from the Adrian Henri archive, including an owl bookmark with verse by Henri and Carol Ann Duffy, and The Quiver of Love: a collection of Valentines ancient and modern illustrated by Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway.

1964 Cunard Valentine's menu

1964 Cunard Valentine's menu

 

 

A chilly start to the New Year!

A brave pursuit to rival Christmas swimming – New Year’s Day skating from January in Walter Crane’s Book of Wedding Days.

The book of wedding days: quotations for every day in the year (London and New York: Longmans, 1889) SPEC JUV.509:13 was compiled by K. E. J. Reid, May Ross and Mabel Bamfield, and has ornate decorations for each page by the Liverpool-born artist Walter Crane (1845-1915), ‘signed’ with his device incorporating his initials and a sketch of a crane.

Walter Crane's pictorial signature device

Open Days open doors

Special Collections & Archives opened its doors to welcome visitors to the University of Liverpool’s recent Open Days with an array of notable books from the collections on view in the reading room. We included the Trianon Press facsimile of William Blake’s watercolours for the poems of Thomas Gray:

Treasures from our Special Collections on show in the Sydney Jones Library: William Blake watercolour #livopenday pic.twitter.com/xrYMgS3aIX

— LiverpoolUniLibrary (@LivUniLibrary) June 22, 2013

and Walter Crane’s Flower Wedding:

Tuesday Library Treasure: Walter Crane’s Flower Wedding pic.twitter.com/KtfVX6nNC8

— LiverpoolUniLibrary (@LivUniLibrary) June 25, 2013

Visitors clearly enjoyed their day – although we did risk turning the Trianon Press facsimile into a literal watercolour!

RT @daisgoodman: the Sydney Jones library at Liverpool uni has the most beautiful collection of old books I want to cry #livopenday

— Uni of Liverpool (@livuni) June 22, 2013

Prospective students had a packed programme, so we designed a set of postcards to give a flavour of Special Collections & Archives to those who might not have time to visit. The images were drawn from the Collection Pathways posters also used to advertise the collections within departments. Shown below are:

The Annunciation scene from a medieval manuscript book of hours: Liverpool University Library MS.F.2.8; the world map from a 1482 edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia; the Sankey viaduct from Thomas Bury’s Coloured Views of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway (1831); and the timeline from Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker, as featured recently on BBC Radio 4 (see SC&A’s blog).