Archives & Research Collections
We are pleased to announce a new exhibition entitled - Reading Experiences: Memorable Books Chosen by the Library Staff. In preparation for this exhibition, we sent out an e-mail to the Library staff. We told them that this exhibition would be a personal selection of memorable books. "Why are they memorable?," we asked. They are memorable because they have made a personal impact on us in some way. The books have changed our lives or given us a fresh perspective. Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, Margaret Laurence's The Diviners.... In many cases the books are accompanied by letters and manuscripts. You will be intrigued to read the comments of each Library staff member -- why the particular book bored, shocked, or delighted the reader. The exhibition can be viewed virtually. However, we think that you'll want to look at the exhibition itself in all its fascinating aspects. The exhibition will be on display in Archives and Research Collections until May 25th. Explore and enjoy!!
With over 40 books and literally hundreds of poems published in hundreds of journals worldwide, John B. Lee has quietly earned himself the reputation of being one of Canada's most prolific and widely published poets. Obtaining an MA from the University of Western Ontario, Lee taught high-school English and Drama for a number of years before devoting himself to the life of a full-time poet. His own poems range thematically from personal remembrances of life growing up on a farm in Highgate, Ontario to dramatic recreations of the colonial process and experience in nineteenth-century Upper Canada. For his work, he has earned numerous prestigious national awards and recently received a life appointment as Poet Laureate of Brantford, Ontario, his home for many years. The recent acquision of Lee's archives include a number of Beatles' collector cards, reflecting the importance of the band which first prompted a teen-aged Lee to begin writing poetry in the late 1960s.
See also: Brantford Expositor article: Ode to frustration; City's poet laureate getting global recognition, but not in hometown
Filed under Library News: Mills Archives & Research Collections Events Maps, Data, GIS Web Resources
McMaster University Library has launched its first digitization project in an effort to provide more remote and universal web access to unique resources in our collection. Our first project is the digitization of 425 military maps and 480 air photos from our World War I collection.
McMaster has an uncommonly rich collection of detailed, topographic maps known as trench maps . As well as delineating trenches, these maps show the locations of many positions of military importance such as machine gun nests, trench mortars, artillery and enemy head quarters to name a few. Most date from the years 1917 and 1918 and cover the Canadian sector of the Front in France and Belgium. The maps are also a lasting record of the myriad stages of evolution in mapping that occurred during the war as a result of advances in survey techniques, aerial photography and photogrammetry.
Digitization will finally allow researchers from around the world to view, pan and zoom images to a level of detail surpassing that which can be seen in person without the aid of a magnifying glass.
The index to the maps in our collection is already available here.
Russell Crowe, before he became famous in the title role of The Gladiator in Ancient Rome, played an Aussie sent to Canada to train as a bomber pilot in the Canadian movie For the Moment. That moment of history is also captured here in Archives and Research Collections, in the photograph album of Flight Officer H.C. Hass, which depicts one of the more than a hundred training facilities which were set up across the country. These centres trained not only Australians, but also the British, New Zealanders and European allies – as well as Canadians of course – as pilots, wireless operators, air gunners, and navigators. Hass was stationed at Air Observer School #8, Ancienne Lorette, Quebec in 1942-1943. Historian J. L. Granatstein has gone so far as to call this plan "the major Canadian military contribution to the Allied War effort".
On Monday January 29, at a session hosted by the Office of the Vice-President, Research & International Affairs, students who had received Undergraduate Student Research Awards in 2006 showed off the results of their labours. Among the engrossing displays was one by Arts and Science student Adriana Brook, who was given one of the prestigious awards last summer to work on the World War I song sheets housed in Archives and Research Collections. Adriana listed, transcribed and photographed all 80 of the songs and, since she is also a talented pianist, she actually recorded a selection of them. Under the supervision of Kathy Garay, Adriana prepared a detailed analysis of the songs, exploring their significance within the wider Canadian cultural context of the war. A description of these songs, along with the sound files and images is now available. We are most grateful to Adriana for her meticulous and scholarly work, and look forward to sharing this valuable material with visitors to the website.
The Library has recently acquired a letter written by Margaret Laurence to Beverley June Linklater, dated 4 April 1972. At the time Linklater was a student at the University of Winnipeg, and Laurence was in England. The letter concerns A Jest of God (1966), Laurence’s novel about an unhappy spinster in a prairie town. The novel won the Governor-General’s Award for fiction in 1967, and was made into the movie, Rachel, Rachel, in 1968. Laurence’s reply is a moving testimony highlighting two significant motifs of her writing career.
The University Library houses a wealth of original materials pertaining to the two world wars of the last century. Our latest archives in this area concern measures taken by the British government to limit injury and loss of life incurred as a result of aerial bombardment during wartime. In August 1936 air raid precautionary committees were created in every municipality of Britain. The ARP set out to establish and maintain air raid shelters for the local population in case of air attack.
Archives and Research Collections has acquired a collection of books focussing on life and customs in nineteenth-century Australia, New Zealand, and the neighbouring territories of the Pacific region. Donated by John Forster, the books are known as the Australasiana collection. Many of these books had damage to the spine and boards, resulting in a visit to the library’s Preservation Unit. The Australian Handbook and Almanac and Shippers’ and Importers’ Directory for 1879 ( Research Collections DU 95. A9 1879 ) is one such book.
Kate and John Amberley married young in 1864, both age 22, which was a good thing, because they died young as well. They had a lot of life to cram into the time remaining to them. John’s father Lord John Russell, was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. But they did not live the conventional lifestyle of their class. Both were free-thinkers in matters religious and sexual – and both were in favour of votes for women. They travelled widely in Europe and the United States and had four children, one whom died at birth. In 1874 both Kate and her small daughter Rachel died of diphtheria.
Before modern fertility treatments, multiple births were a rare event indeed and, when they did occur, the babies were not likely to survive. The 1934 birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in isolated Callander, Ontario (near North Bay), was regarded as a medical miracle and the country doctor who ensured their survival became an international celebrity. Research Collections has two collections which contain Dionne-related material: our Pierre Berton fonds contains manuscripts and research materials relating to his book The Dionne Years: a Thirties Melodrama (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1977).
We have recently added a small collection of photographs of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe basking in the fame which the birth brought him. The images show Dafoe being honoured at various events in Washington (a meeting with President Roosevelt), New York City and Atlantic City between 1934 and 1941. There are no actual photographs of the famous quints; the image shown here, with Dafoe on the left, was taken in 1939 at a gala luncheon in New York City.