Cymru ac Iwerddon / Wales and Ireland 1914-1918

 

Cymru ac Iwerddon 1914-18:  Delweddau o Ddau Ryfel

Wales and Ireland 1914-18:  Images from Two Wars

Arddangosfa gan / An exhibition by Katherine Wilkins

 

Ymreolaeth i Iwerddon / Home Rule for Ireland

Conradh na Ghaeilge oedd y mudiad a sefydlwyd i ymgyrchu dros iaith a diwylliant Iwerddon, o fewn y mudiad ymreolaeth. Roedd gan y mudiad gylchgrawn dwyieithog wythnosol, An Claidheamh Soluis, hynny yw ‘Gleddyf Goleuni’. Golygydd cynnar y papur oedd Padraig Pearse, arweinydd dylanwadol yng ngwrthryfel Iwerddon. Dosbarthwyd pamffledi’n hybu gwaith Conradh na Ghaeilge yn Nulyn, Llundain, ac ar draws Prydain.  Cytunwyd ar fesur ymreolaeth i Iwerddon gan San Steffan yn 1914, ond cafodd ei ohirio pan aeth Prydain i mewn i’r Rhyfel Mawr.

The Gaelic League was the cultural strand of the Irish Home Rule movement focusing on a revival of Irish culture and language. Its journal was An Claidheamh Soluis, or The Sword of Light, a weekly, bilingual newspaper. An early editor and contributor was Patrick Pearse who later became an influential leader of the Irish rebellion. Pamphlets promoting the study and advancement of Irish and the work of the Gaelic League were distributed in London, Dublin, and throughout Great Britain. At the beginning of 1914, the Irish Home Rule Bill appeared to pass through Parliament, but was later suspended as Great Britain entered the First World War.

An Claidheamh Soluis. Samain, 29, 1913

An Claidheamh Soluis. Samain, 29, 1913

Punch. 11 Feb 1914.

An Claidheamh Soluis. Samain, 29, 1913.

Gaelic League. Dhá adhbhar déag: Seo dhá adhbhar déag fá’r cóir do gach Éireannach an Ghaedhilg do bheith fá mhear aige. [Twelve Reasons Why Irishmen Should Know, Prize, and Cherish the Irish Language.] ca. 1900.

Ryan, W. P. The Work of the Gaelic League: Points for Irish People in Great Britain; How to Start and Conduct Branches. 1902.

 

Ymreolaeth i Gymru / Home Rule for Wales

Prif fudiad tu ôl i’r galwadau am ymreolaeth i Gymru oedd Cymru Fydd. Roedd yn fudiad diwylliannol i ddechrau, ond â chysylltiadau â’r Blaid Ryddfrydol, ac ymgyrchodd dros ymreolaeth i Gymru yng nghylchgrawn y mudiad, Young Wales (yn ddiweddarach Wales: a National Magazine). Er yn gefnogol yn y dechrau i Gymry Fydd, yn ddiweddarach symudodd David Lloyd George i ffwrdd o’r mudiad, a diflannodd y corff wedyn. Serch hyn, roedd digon o gefnogaeth yn 1914 i hybu Deddf Ddatgysylltu’r Eglwys, ond gohiriwyd hon ar ôl i Brydain ymuno yn y Rhyfel Mawr ym Mis Awst.

The driving force behind the Wales Home Rule movement was Cymru Fydd, or Young Wales. As a cultural organisation it was linked with the Liberal party in Wales, and campaigned for Welsh home rule via the journal for the organisation, Young Wales (later Wales: a National Magazine). Although an early advocate for Cymru Fydd, David Lloyd George later distanced himself, and the movement collapsed subsequently. Momentum appeared promising for Parliament’s approval of the Welsh Disestablishment Act of 1914, but by August it was suspended as Britain entered in the First World War.

Edwards, J. Hugh. (ed.) Wales: A National Magazine. July 1913

Edwards, J. Hugh. (ed.) Wales: A National Magazine. July 1913

Celt, A. Cymru Fydd Cymru Rydd: Or the National Movement in Wales. 1895.

Griffith, Gwilym O. The New Wales: Some Aspects of National Idealism: With a Plea for Welsh Home Rule. 1913

Fowell, R. W. and Dibdin, L. George. The Welsh Disestablishment Bill, 1909 with Explanation Notes and Compared with the Bill of 1895 and the Irish Disestablishment Act of 1869. 1909.

Downing, S. E. Disestablishment and Disendowment under the Welsh Church Act, 1914. 1915.

John, Edward T. Ymreolaeth Gyfunol: Safle A Hawliau Cymru: Manteision Senedd Gymreig. 1910.

Edwards, J. Hugh. (ed.) Wales: A National Magazine. July 1913.

John, Edward T. National Self-Government: How Wales Stands to Gain By It: Advantages of A Welsh Senate. 1910.

Edwards, J. Hugh. (ed.) Young Wales. March 1901.

 

Dau Ryfel / Two Wars

Gwirfoddolodd nifer yn y fyddin dan anogaeth David Lloyd George, a chonsgriptwyd nifer hefyd, i greu bataliwn ‘Cymreig’ (y 38ain), a alwyd yn fataliwn Lloyd George. Ym Mis Gorffennaf 1916 lladdwyd neu anafwyd tua 4,000 o Gymru ym Mrwydr Goed Mametz ger y Somme. Yn yr un cyfnod yn Iwerddon fe gododd Gwrthryfel y Pasg pan gipiwyd canol Dulyn, dim ond i filwyr Prydeinig eu gorchfygu dyddiau’n ddiweddarach. Cyhoeddwyd ffotograffau o ddigwyddiadau gydol y rhyfel gan y ‘War Illustrated’, yn cynnwys yma rhai o filwyr Cymru ac Iwerddon nid nepell o flaen y gad.

Whether conscripted or spurred by David Lloyd George’s rhetoric, a large number of Welshmen joined the 38th (Welsh) Division, also known as Lloyd George’s Division. In early July 1916 nearly 4,000 Welshmen were killed or wounded at the Battle of Mametz Wood on the Somme. Meanwhile, Ireland was recovering from the repercussions of the Easter Rising, when in April 1916, rebels seized Dublin, only to be quelled by British forces a few days later. The War Illustrated published photographs throughout the war, included here are some Welsh and Irish soldiers on the Western Front.

The War Illustrated: A Pictorial Record of the Conflict of the Nations. 29 July 1916

The War Illustrated: A Pictorial Record of the Conflict of the Nations. 29 July 1916

Muirhead Bone (the official war artist). The Western Front. 1917.

The Great War: The Standard History of the All-Europe Conflict. Vol. 7.

The War Illustrated: A Pictorial Record of the Conflict of the Nations. 29 July 1916.

 

Gwrthwynebwyr Cydwybodol / Conscientious Objectors

Er gwaethaf galwadau gan Kitchener i ddynion godi arfau, a’r ddeddf gonsgriptio hefyd, gwrthododd rhai ymuno â’r fyddin. Yng Nghymru cyhoeddwyd cryn nifer o bamffledi a chylchgronau heddychol, gan y rhai â daliadau crefyddol neu wleidyddol cryf. Gweithiodd Thomas Rees, pennaeth Coleg Bala-Bangor fel golygydd y cylchgrawn heddychol ‘Y Deyrnas’. Cafodd T.E.Nicholas ei garcharu am wrthod ymladd, ar sail heddychol a sosialaidd. Yn Iwerddon doedd fawr o awydd gan lawer i ymladd ar ran Prydain yn ei rhyfel tramor. Beirniadaeth hallt oedd ymateb y wasg Brydeinig i’r ‘shirkers’ honedig hyn.

Despite Kitchener’s call to arms and the newly passed Conscription Bill, some British refused to join the forces. In Wales, spurred by religious and political beliefs, a growing number wrote passionately for pacifism publishing pamphlets, books, and newspapers. Thomas Rees, principal at Bala-Bangor College and an objector on Christian principals, served as editor of Y Deyrnas. T. E. Nicholas, an out-spoken, Socialist pacifist was incarcerated for his objection to fighting. In Ireland, with rebellion surfacing, there was little interest in fighting Britain’s war overseas. The British press offered harsh criticism of so-called “shirkers”.

Punch. 12 June 1918

Punch. 12 June 1918

Nicholas, Thomas Evan. Dros Eich Gwlad. 1920.

Rees, Thomas. (ed.) Y Deyrnas. Chwefror 1917.

Punch. 16 June 1915.

Punch. 12 June 1918.

 

Llenyddiaeth / Literature

Mae Cymru ac Iwerddon ill dau yn dathlu eu traddodiadau llenyddol gan wobrwyo awduron a beirdd yn eu gwyliau diwylliannol cenedlaethol, yr Eisteddfod a’r Oireachtas. Yn yr Eisteddfod yn 1917 cafodd Hedd Wyn ei gadeirio, wythnosau ar ôl ei farwolaeth ar flaen y gad. Awdur poblogaidd ar y pryd oedd Arthur Machen, a nes ymlaen David Jones a oedd yn arlunydd hefyd, ac Edward Thomas o deulu Cymry Llundain (mae Prifysgol Caerdydd yn dal ei archif llenyddol enfawr). Yn Iwerddon adlewyrchiad o hyder cenedlaethol oedd gweithiau Padraig Pearse. Er yn pellhau ei hun oddi wrth Wrthryfel y Pasg, roedd W.B. Yeats yn dal yn wladgarwr wrth reddf; un o weithiau Yeats sydd yma, o gasgliad gweisg preifat Prifysgol Caerdydd, un o’r ddau gasgliad pwysicaf o’i fath ym Mhrydain.

Wales and Ireland both celebrate their individual literary traditions prizing authors and poets at their respective cultural festivals, the Eisteddfod and Oireachtas. At the 1917 Eisteddfod, ‘Hedd Wyn’ (Ellis Humphrey Evans) was awarded the highest honour posthumously, the Bardic Chair, having been killed on the Front only weeks earlier. Other popular Anglo-Welsh wartime authors included Arthur Machen, David Jones who was an equally accomplished artist, and Edward Thomas from a London-Welsh family (Cardiff holds an extensive archive of Edward Thomas materials.) In Ireland, the prolific writings of Patrick Pearse boosted a surge in Irish pride. An Irish Nationalist at heart, William Butler Yeats distanced himself from the events of the Easter Rising in 1916. One of Yeats’ works is shown from the Cardiff Private Presses collection, one of the two largest such collections in Britain.

Bettws-y-Coed, from Edward Thomas, Beautiful Wales. 1905.

Bettws-y-Coed, from Edward Thomas, Beautiful Wales. 1905.

Rhaglen Swyddogol Eisteddfod Frenhinol Genedlaethol Cymru. 1917.

Cofnodion a Chyfansoddiadau Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. 1917.

Wyn, Hedd. Cerddi’r Bugail: Cyfrol Goffa Hedd Wyn. 1918.

Thomas, Edward. Beautiful Wales. 1905.

Oireachtas. 1917.

Hyne, Anthony. David Jones: A Fusilier at the Front. 1995.

Pearse, Desmond Ryan (ed.). Collected Works of Padraic H. Pearse: Plays, Stories, Poems. 1917.

Yeats, William Butler. Responsibilities: Poems and a Play. The Cuala Press, 1914.

Machen, Arthur. Angel of Mons: The Bowman and Other Legends of the War. 1915.

 

Wedi’r Rhyfel / Post-War

Llwybrau gwahanol oedd etifeddiaeth y rhyfel i Gymru ac Iwerddon, er yn cwrdd weithiau, fel yn Fron-goch, lle’r oedd gwersyll i 2,000 o garcharorion Gwyddelig. Yn 1920 gwireddwyd Deddf Ymreolaeth Iwerddon nifer o amcanion y mudiad ymreolaeth, ond heb chwe sir y gogledd, ac felly yn tanio gwreichion yr IRA nes ymlaen. Yng Nghymru gwelodd ffrwyth yr ymgyrch i ddatgysylltu’r Eglwys, eto’n rhan o weledigaeth y mudiad ymreolaeth cynharach. Gwelwyd cefnogaeth eang i sefydlu Cynghrair y Cenhedloedd yng Nghymru. Dangosodd ôl y rhyfel mewn amryw o ffyrdd, dynion yn ceisio dychwelwyd i’w gwaith, a menywod dros 30 yn ennill y bleidlais.

The legacies of Wales and Ireland remained entwined as nearly 2,000 Irish rebels were held prisoner at Fron-Goch in North Wales. However, by 1920, the two nations embarked on separate paths. In 1920, The Government of Ireland Act, following the Home Rule demands, established a self governing Ireland, minus the six counties in the north, fanning the sparks that would ignite the IRA. While in Wales, the Welsh Disestablishment Bill was enacted, motivated in part by the Home Rule demands. Enthusiasm in Wales for organising future peace through the League of Nations increased. Post-war society reflected changing pressures as returning soldiers sought a return to normalcy and women aged 30 and older won the vote.

Ysbysty Tywysog Cymru i Forwyr a Milwyr Cymru a Sir Fynwy Wedi Colli Aelodau yn y Rhyfel. 1918.

Ebenezer, Lyn. Fron-Goch Camp 1916 and the Birth of the IRA. 2012.

O Mahony, Sean. Fron-Goch: University of Revolution. 1987.

The Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic, 1916. 1960.

Garnett, Maxwell. Organising Peace: Being an Account of the League of Nations. 1928.

Ysbysty Tywysog Cymru i Forwyr a Milwyr Cymru a Sir Fynwy Wedi Colli Aelodau yn y Rhyfel. 1918.

League of Nations. How you Can Join the League of Nations Union and Help Forward the Most Practical Means of Securing World Peace.

Punch. 27 June 1918.

Should women wear trousers?

PP ShouldWomenWearTrousers 22

Special Collections and Archives’ latest exhibition is curated by Dr Becky Munford and Amber Jenkins, School of English, Communication and Philosophy. The exhibition forms part of Becky’s wider research project into trouser wearing among women in Britain, France and America since the French Revolution. Becky’s website, ‘Women in Trousers: A Visual Archive’, will be launched later this summer.

The exhibition will be on display until early September. Extracts are supplied below.

Should women wear trousers?

From Joan of Arc to George Sand, Mary Edwards Walker to Marlene Dietrich and Colette to Coco Chanel, the history of trouser-wearing women in the West is vexed by controversy. Linked with periods of social and political upheaval, women’s liberation, radical thought, aesthetic innovation and erotic freedom, women in trousers have historically represented an illegitimate assumption of male authority and power – of ‘wearing the trousers’ – that destabilises fixed notions of sexual difference and threatens the ideology of the separate spheres.

trousers1

‘Should Women Wear Trousers?’, Picture Post (1 November 1941), pp. 22-23.

‘Trousers For Women Are Not Necessarily Unattractive’, Punch (11 May 1927), p. 517.

Dress reform and ‘rational’ costume

The ‘bloomer costume’ was popularised by the American women’s rights activist and temperance advocate Amelia Bloomer in The Lily in 1851. Consisting of loose Turkish-style ‘trowsers’ worn under a short dress, the bloomer costume offered a ‘rational’ alternative to what Bloomer described as the ‘everlasting bondage’ of stays and petticoats. Although trousers had been worn by women in utopian socialist communities earlier in the century, bloomers represented the most radical challenge to fashionable dress because they wedded dress reform to feminist thought and political protest.

bloomerism

‘Woman’s Emancipation (Being a Letter addressed to Mr. Punch, with a Drawing, by a strong-minded American Woman)’, Punch (28 June 1851), p. 3.

‘Amelia Bloomer, Originator of the New Dress’, Illustrated London News (27 September 1851), p. 396 [first printed in The Lily (September 1851), p. 69].

‘The American Ladies’ New Costume’, Illustrated London News (19 July 1851), p. 85.

‘Bloomeriana. A Dream’, Punch (1851) pp. 204-205. Illustrated London News (19 July 1851), p. 85.  

Irrational Rationalists

The intrigue and anxiety provoked by the sight of women wearing trousers in public unfolded across the printed pages of the popular press on both sides of the Atlantic. The British weekly magazine Punch focused its satire on the figure of the ‘strong-minded woman’, whose appropriation of trousers – a visual symbol of male power and privilege – was construed as a direct assault on masculinity. In the early 1850s, the magazine routinely offered derisive images of bloomer-clad women adopting ‘masculine’ poses, smoking cigars, proposing to men and terrorising their ‘hen-pecked’ husbands.

sirens

‘Bloomerism!’, Punch (1851), p. 189.

‘The Angel in ‘The House;’ Or, the Result of Female Suffrage (A Troubled Dream of the Future)’, Punch (14 June 1884), p. 279.

‘Sirens in Small-Clothes’, Lady’s Pictorial (25 April 1891), p. 654.

Free-wheeling feminism

The bloomer costume reappeared with the bicycle craze of the 1890s, and once again became the object of Punch’s caricature. The New Woman on a bicycle not only represented new locomotive freedoms for women, but also the possibility of broader social, intellectual and political freedoms. In 1896, the American women’s suffrage campaigner Susan B. Anthony declared that bicycling had done ‘more to emancipate women than anything else in the world’.

bicycle

‘The Latest Craze in Paris: Lady Cyclists as Seen at Longchamps’, The Graphic (14 April 1894), front cover.

‘Fashions for November’, The Graphic (27 October 1894), p. 495.

‘The National Cycle Show’, The Graphic (15 December 1894), p. 682.

‘The Latest Parisian Craze’, The Graphic (14 April 1894), p. 420.

‘Bicycle Suit’, Punch (12 January 1895), p. 23.

‘A Girl Goes Cycling’, Picture Post (17 February 1940), pp. 42-43.

Wearing the trousers

The early decades of the twentieth century saw dramatic transformations in women’s dress to match the seismic changes taking place in the cultural, technological and political spheres. During the First and Second World Wars women adopted trousers to take up new modes of labour, working on the land, in munitions factories, as ship-builders, and as ambulance drivers and pilots, among other professions, preparing for and responding to ‘national emergencies’.

landgirl

‘Farmers! Protect Your Crops by Using “Binks’s Patent Futurist Scarecrow”’, Punch (17 July 1918), p. 33.

‘The Farmer’s Idea of the Landgirl’, Punch (13 March 1940), n.p.

‘Ambulance Drivers in their War-Time Kit’, Picture Post (13 May 1939), p. 16.

‘Girl Pilots’, Picture Post (22 October 1938), p. 47.

Fashioning the modern woman

In the 1920s and 1930s, trousers became a more acceptable part of women’s attire for sports and leisure activities. Sportswear influenced the masculinisation of women’s fashion, while pyjama suits, and even shorts, became a part of fashionable women’s summer wardrobes. That trousers played a vital role in fashioning the idea of ‘modern’ femininity was also reflected in the association between trouser-wearing and smoking – trousers featured prominently in cigarette advertising of the period to suggest the freedoms promised by smoking for the modern woman.

fashion

‘Trousers – And All That – For Women’, Punch (18 May 1931), n.p.

‘Play Suits for Summer’, Picture Post (1 April 1939), pp. 52-53.

‘Advertisement for Camels’, Harper’s Magazine (July 1930), back cover.

An Claidheamh Soluis : Cardiff Free Library and the Irish revival

claideam1 

Among publications which were in the old Cardiff Free Library and have come to light recently are several original issues of An Claidheamh Soluis (“The sword of light”), the weekly newspaper of the Gaelic League. It was established in 1899, and had some distinguished editors – Eoin Mac Neill and Padraig Pearse being the first. Our copies come from the years 1912-1913, so they immediately predate some important years in both Irish and European history.  Many of the contributors and the people who feature in the newspaper went on to take part in the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent events.

Most of the text is in Irish, with some articles and most of the advertisements being in English, and although the copies have suffered a little from the passage of time  they are still mostly in good condition. The newspaper was printed on good quality paper for its time, and is illustrated throughout with photographs and cartoons.  This picture of Edwardian ladies practising their shooting is actually of English women (with a suggestion that Irish women should follow their example):

  claideam4 

As with all old newspapers and periodicals the advertisements are another great window on a vanished world: there are many relating to tobacco, for instance (one even claims to be selling Irish-grown tobacco).  The Gaelic League was active in promoting Irish business and developed a trade mark which could be displayed to encourage support of home industries, especially Irish-speaking ones:  claideam3

Cardiff’s officialdom was not traditionally very positive about the Welsh language in the early 20th century – and indeed later – so it is amusing to note that the wrapper which arrived from Dublin fully addressed in Welsh was “corrected” to English by the Cardiff Post Office:claideam5 It is also interesting to note the broad interests of the public library at the time, including reaching out to make connections with other “Celtic” countries and to develop its own collections of material in the sister languages of Welsh.

This paper is a welcome addition to the collection of the Salisbury Library, and is an important source of Irish social history, despite being incomplete. We have a number of other, more recent, Irish language newspapers which will be added to our collection in the coming months.

Beautiful British Books: a South Wales Decorative and Fine Arts Society study day

Special Collections and Archives recently hosted a study day for the South Wales Decorative and Fine Arts Society, with Master Bookbinder Dominic Riley. It was a rare opportunity to learn about contemporary design bindings with one of the leading practitioners of the craft.

NADFAS 1

The day began with Dominic’s talk ‘Design Matters’, in which he showed examples of his unique fine bindings, explaining how each design grew from a response to the text and illustrations of the printed book. After the talk, Dominic gave a demonstration of the rarely shown technique of gold tooling onto leather.

NADFAS 2

Finally, the group was give a tour of the library, and had the opportunity to examine a range of examples of fine bindings and Private Press books from the Cardiff Rare Books collection.

 

Remembering the Battle of Mametz Wood

Map 1-4-2I have recently finished cataloguing a fascinating collection of letters from World War One soldiers who fought at the Battle of Mametz Wood. An opening move of the Somme offensive, the battle was notorious for its heavy losses. A five day fight for a square mile of land. Over 4,000 members of the 38th (Welsh) Division were killed or wounded in the battle.

Clipping

 

This collection of letters from Welshmen who fought at Mametz was recently donated to Special Collections and Archives via the School of History, Archaeology and Religion. The letters were written in 1974, in response to a notice placed in local newspapers across Wales by the author Colin Hughes. The little advert implored any survivors of the battle to contact him with their memories, to assist with his research.

Portrait 2-18-1Hughes was inundated with responses from across Wales, from privates, gunners, stretcher bearers, sergeant majors, lance corporals and captains. Their letters tell their personal stories of those five days, in their own words. They also enclose diary entries, annotated maps, and photographs.

Hughes’ book was later published as ‘Mametz Wood – Lloyd George’s Welsh Army at the Battle of the Somme’. The archive of letters received by Hughes, and all associated material, is now fully catalogued and available to search and browse on our archives catalogue ArchiveSearch.

Some extracts from the archive:

Letter 2-5a

Letter 2-6-2

Letter 1-11-1a

Letter 2-7-1a

Letter 2-5g

Diary 2-18-1

Letter 2-9-1a

Letter 2-7-2a

Letter 2-7-2b

Letter 2-5f

 

The Cardiff Rare Books Project: historical highlights and favourite finds

IMG_9828The Cardiff Rare Books Collection, acquired by Cardiff University in 2010, includes 14,000 rare and early printed books and pamphlets dating from the 15th to the 20th century. Before arriving here, the collection had been in storage for decades and had never been comprehensively catalogued. The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation kindly agreed to fund a specialist rare books cataloguer to work on the collection over a three year period and I happily took up the role in June 2011. The Cardiff Rare Books Project began with the aim of cataloguing as much of the collection as possible, uncovering hidden treasures and making them accessible to scholars and the general public alike.

Cardiff’s incunabula (books printed before 1501)

During the course of the project, almost five and a half thousand records have been added to the library catalogue and numerous exciting discoveries have ???????????????????????????????been made. The library’s cataloguing team and I have been able to provide access to one of the finest collections of private press books in the UK, as well as a remarkable collection of annotated Restoration dramas which are already attracting considerable interest from researchers. Our 178 incunabula, some of them printed as early as 1470, have been fully described and accurately recorded for the first time.

With so many wonderful discoveries made during the project (many of which I have been able to blog about here), it is hard to pick favourites but a few very special items do come to mind.

Duodo

Pietro Duodo’s copy of “Amadis de Gaula” (1582), bound in the olive-brown leather for literary works

I love the story behind the beautiful Duodo bindings I found very early on in the project. These two little volumes were intended to be part of a gentleman’s travelling library for Pietro Duodo (1554-1611), Venetian ambassador to Paris in the late 16th century. The books were sent to a Parisian bindery to be luxuriously bound in gilt-tooled morocco leather, colour-coded by subject and incorporating Duodo’s arms and motto (“She whom I await with longing will not elude me”), but the ambassador never returned to collect his library; suddenly and unexpectedly recalled to Venice, Duodo was forced to leave his beloved books behind.

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You never know what you might find when you pull a book of the shelf in the rare books stack and on a few occasions I was delighted to discover paintings on the fore-edges of books I retrieved for cataloguing. We are lucky to have two examples of the fore-edge paintings produced by John T. Beer, a successful businessman and  book collector who turned to fore-edge painting after his retirement. Beer selected books from his own collection to be decorated and, as with our examples, he often took inspiration from texts themselves.

P1200422

Our “Newton book” certainly deserves its place on any list of favourite finds. On opening a copy of John Browne’s Myographia Nova (1698) I discovered two unidentified bookplates together with other evidence of former owners. With a little detective work, I was able to trace all the previous owners and follow the book back into the library of the renowned scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, whose books were dispersed and lost after his death. The discovery of this volume led to an unprecedented level of media interest for Cardiff Special Collections and our rare books. Articles and photographs appeared in national newspapers and I was rushed off to be interviewed live on BBC Radio Wales, an unusual experience indeed for a rare books cataloguer!

A woodcut of me, hard at work on the collection – a cataloguer’s work is never done!

IMG_9467Last but not least, I have had enormous fun rummaging through the collection trying to track down as many manicules as humanly possible. I find these little pointing fingers, created by or for readers to mark noteworthy passages, endlessly fascinating and I have always been delighted to discover new and surprising variations in our early books. I am sure there are many, many more out there.

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I will shortly be moving on to work with an even larger and hopefully equally Smileyinteresting collection at Lambeth Palace Library, as the new cataloguer of the Sion College Collection. The SCOLAR blog will keep going strong as library staff continue to work with the Cardiff Rare Books Collection and share their exciting discoveries. We can be certain there is much more to be revealed about these fascinating books.

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SCOLAR wins national award!

At the May 2014 annual conference of CILIP Cymru, the ‘Welsh Librarian of the Year Award’ was presented to the Head of SCOLAR, Peter Keelan.

Awarded to an individual librarian or information professional, the award champions the achievements, impact and innovation of those who make a significant difference to either the communities which they serve or to the profession in Wales.

Peter was nominated for the award by Janet Peters, Director of University Libraries and University Librarian Information Services, Cardiff University, Janet said

“Peter leads by example, with his passion for the unique and distinctive in ‘special’ collections, and has made major contributions to the promotion of historical materials both in Cardiff University and across Wales. Recognised as an expert in his field, and a strategic thinker, he is a leading light in the WHELF Special Collections Group.”

- See more at: http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip-cymru-wales/news/winner-welsh-librarian-year-award-announced#sthash.U44nGBb5.dpuf

Awarded to an individual librarian or information professional, the award champions the achievements, impact and innovation of those who make a significant difference to either the communities which they serve or to the profession in Wales (awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals – CILIP Cymru).

Peter was nominated for the award by Janet Peters, Director of University Libraries and University Librarian Information Services, Cardiff University, Janet said:

“Peter leads by example, with his passion for the unique and distinctive in ‘special’ collections, and has made major contributions to the promotion of historical materials both in Cardiff University and across Wales”.

(CILIP Cymru Awards Ceremony, Cardiff, May 2014)

Aled Gruffydd Jones, National Librarian, National Library of Wales and President of CILIP Cymru Wales celebrated the achievements of all the nominees before announcing the winners, and Barbara Pacut on behalf of the sponsors, Sirsi Dynix, presented the awards.

“It is a real honour and surprise to be named Welsh Librarian of the Year,” said Peter. “I work with many inspiring colleagues on projects both within Wales and further afield, and the progress we’ve made collaboratively, especially around digitising archives and making these valuable resources available online, will continue to make a difference to academic research and public education well into the future.”

Building Noah’s Ark: instructions from Thomas Stackhouse’s “A new history of the Holy Bible” (1733)

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Construction begins on the ark as mankind ignores the danger: this engraving from the 1752 edition of Stackhouse’s “A new history of the Holy Bible” clearly shows the three decks, single window and door described in Genesis

These fascinating illustrations come from A new history of the Holy Bible, written by Thomas Stackhouse and first published in 1733. We hold several editions of this work in the Cardiff Rare Books Collection, each containing different engravingsIMG_0973a depicting the design and construction of Noah’s ark as described in the Old Testament. The book of Genesis tells how God decided to undo his creation of the Earth by sending a flood to wash away the wickedness of man. Noah was instructed by God to build an ark, a large waterproof vessel that would save Noah, his family and a sample of the world’s animals from the coming storm that would soon cleanse the Earth.

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The rectangular, box-shaped design is apparent here in the first edition of 1733, but the many (impractical?) windows allow us to view the animals on the decks. In his text, even Stackhouse refers to this depiction as “pure imagination”.

In Genesis 6:14-6:16, God gives Noah detailed directions for the construction of the vessel: “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark 300 hundred cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks …” The length of a cubit has varied over time but Stackhouse calculated the measurements to correspond roughly to a vessel 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, which, as Stackhouse readily admits, would make the ark of Noah larger than any wooden vessel ever built.

Although slightly closer to the familiar boat design, this ark also shows the single skylight in the roof as described

A more traditional view of a ship-shaped ark from Weigel's "Biblia ectypa" (1697)

A more traditional view of a ship-shaped ark from Weigel’s “Biblia ectypa” (1697)

Stackhouse and his illustrators depict the ark as having a rectangular box-like design, very different to the traditional sea-going ship with curved keel, bow and rounded hull (the Hebrew word for the ark, “tebah”, actually means box or container, as in the Ark of the Covenant). In Stackhouse’s words, Noah was commanded to “build a kind of vessel, not in the form of ships now in use, but rather inclining to the fashion of a large chest or ark”. As this ark was “intended only for a kind of float, to swim above the water, the flatness of it’s bottom did render it more capacious”. It was, Stackhouse argues, designed for protection and not for navigation.

An earlier illustration of the ark depicting the single door and triple decks (from our 1474 copy of Rolewinck's "Fasciculus temporum")

This earlier illustration of the ark is very similar to the one above and also depicts the single door and triple decks (from our 1474 copy of Rolewinck’s “Fasciculus temporum”)

Surprisingly, the box-shaped ark has resurfaced once again in 2014. Despite the apparent unseaworthiness of the design, film director Darren Aronofsky chose to depict an ark very similar to Stackhouse’s ‘floating container’ for his retelling of the flood narrative, Noah, starring Russell Crowe as the titular prophet.

 

An illuminated manuscript of Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

IMG_0926In addition to our many private press books and fine bindings, the Cardiff Rare Books Collection also holds a few modern illuminated manuscripts. This beautiful copy of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard was written out and hand-illuminated by a man named Sidney Farnsworth in 1910. Mr Farnsworth was a painter, sculptor and illuminator, and also the author of a how-to guide for people wishing to learn the craft, Illumination and its Development in the Present Day (New York: George H. Doran, 1922).

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A well-travelled travel book: tracing former owners of a copy of Sandys’ Travels (1658)

???????????????????????????????George Sandys’ Relation of a journey begun an. Dom. 1610, more commonly known as Sandys’ Travels, relates the author’s wanderings through Europe and the Middle East. Setting off in May 1610, Sandys spent several years touring extensively through France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus and Palestine. His narrative of the journey was published in 1615 and was an influential work on geography and ethnology. Sandys was eventually appointed colonial treasurer of the Virginia Company and sailed for the New World in April 1621.

Like Sandys himself, our copy of the 1658 edition of his book has travelled far in its lifetime with several of the book’s previous owners leaving their mark in some way. An inscription on the front free endpaper reads, “Tho Sergeant. 1708. The gift of Joseph Moyle Esqr.” Some research revealed that Joseph Moyle was brother to the English politician, Walter Moyle, who was born in Cornwall in 1672, studied at Oxford and was admitted to Middle Temple in 1691. While a Member of Parliament for Saltash in Cornwall, he also wrote several essays on the forms and laws of government. After Walter’s death in 1721, his brother Joseph arranged for his works to be published and he selected Thomas Sergeant to be the editor. As our copy of the Travels was a gift from Joseph Moyle to Sergeant in 1708, they had apparently known each other for a long time.

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Further evidence of previous ownership can be found pasted onto the rear of the title page: an engraved bookplate of an unusual coat of arms with the caption, “Mr. Smart Lethieullier of Alldersbrook in Com Essex”. Smart Lethieullier (1701-1760) was the son of Sir John Lethieullier, Sheriff of London, and himself rose to the office of High Sheriff of Essex from 1758. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, and developed a lifelong passion for antiquities and fossils. Lethieullier wrote numerous papers on antiquarian topics, including the first English account of the Bayeux Tapestry, and, like Sandys, travelled widely throughout Europe.

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Yet another interesting inscription can be found on the book’s front pastedown which reads, “C. E. Norton. Bought at auction for my father, perhaps in 1847-8″. Some research of the web led me very quickly to an identical autograph of one Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908), professor of the history of art at Harvard University and a leading American writer and social reformer. So our book, like its author, had also found its way to the New World. Between 1864 and 1868 Norton was editor of the first literary magazine in the United States, the North American Review, alongside his friend, the Romantic poet James Russell Lowell. In 1861 Norton and Lowell had assisted Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with his translation of Dante and together they had founded the Dante Club.

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Norton’s father, Andrews Norton (1786-1853), was professor of sacred literature at Harvard. A renowned preacher and theologian, he was instrumental in bringing liberal Unitarianism to New England. In addition to his duties as a lecturer, Andrews Norton also acted as librarian of Harvard College from 1813-1821.

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There is no evidence in the book to reveal how it made its way back across the Atlantic from the United States to Wales. Cardiff Public Libraries were certainly purchasing many books at auction in the early 1900s in the hope of becoming the Welsh national library, and it is possible that the book was bought at a sale after C. E. Norton’s death in 1908. However it returned to these shores, our copy of the Travels clearly lives up to its name.