Happy Birthday Frances Hodgkins!

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post compiled by Andrea Bell, Curator of Art

Today marks what would have been artist Frances Hodgkins’ 148th birthday. Frances Mary Hodgkins was born in Dunedin in 1869, the daughter of Rachel Owen Parker and William Mathew Hodgkins. Born into an artistic family, she joined the Otago Art Society at age 21 and dedicated her life to painting. In 1875 she studied at the Dunedin School of Art under the tuition of Italian artist Girolamo Pieri Nerli and in 1901 she travelled abroad to expand her artistic horizons. In 1912, she emigrated permanently, and went on to spent the majority of her life in Britain and Europe. Primarily a painter, she worked across a range of media including watercolour, pencil, charcoal, gouache and oils. She lived a nomadic life and travelled widely around Europe. As a result, her work underwent numerous transitions: from Impressionist to Surrealist, to Neo-Romantic with abstract tendencies—but never losing sight of her subject. At age 71 she was invited to represent Britain in the 1940 Venice Biennale, along with her younger contemporaries. Hodgkins was one of New Zealand and indeed Britain’s leading modernist painters. She died in Dorset, England in 1947, aged 78.

Frances Mary Hodgkins 1869-1947, Double portrait (1922), oil on canvas, 610 x 770mm, 73/169, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago

One of the Hocken Collections’ most prized artworks is Double Portrait (1922), depicting Hodgkins’ former art students Hannah Ritchie (left) and Jane Saunders (right), with whom she maintained a long association throughout her life. Hodgkins’ use of bright colour and flattened painting technique shows the influence of Henri Matisse, while the elongated figures call to mind Amadeo Modigliani – both artists whose work Hodgkins would have seen around this time. The patterns on the women’s dresses also foreshadows Hodgkins’ foray into textile design at the Calico Printers’ Association (CPA) in Manchester, where she worked between 1925-26. Double Portrait was sold by Ritchie in 1957 via Leicester Gallery to Charles Brasch, who bequeathed the work to the Hocken Collections in 1973.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship was established at the University of Otago in 1962 in her honour.

 

Why preserving the original matters

Friday, April 7th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post compiled by Dr Anna Petersen, Curator of Photographs

Now that such high quality digital copies of historic photographs are possible, people sometimes question why preserving the original matters.  There are actually many reasons that can be given to justify this core business at the Hocken but this blog post will just touch on a few in relation to one specific item, P2014-001, in the Photographs Collection.

What would prove the annual highlight of donations for 2014 arrived just after New Year, when a lady walked in holding an old Christmas card box containing a family heirloom.  Mrs Joan Miskimmin had been given the contents by her father, P.D.J. Cockerill, and decided to gift it to the Hocken for safekeeping.

Once the photograph had been carefully removed from the wrapping and traces of red glitter blown away, the portrait of a young man with a small child on his knee looked familiar.  The Hocken already had a copy print of the photograph on file and the image had been published over the years in a number of books, always identified as the well-known whaler and pioneer Dunedin businessman, John Jones.  The donor knew by then, however, that this information was incorrect.

Fig. 1 John Jones, copy print, S11-315.

Thanks to maritime historian Ian Farquhar, someone had thought to question this attribution and hunted down the original.  John Jones was born in 1808 or 1809, married Sarah Sizemore in 1828 and together they had eleven children.  This would have made John in his early 30s when Daguerre first patented the daguerreotype and Talbot developed the calotype process in 1840.  Though it is often difficult to define people’s age, things didn’t seem to quite add up so Ian invited Associate Professor Erika Wolf from the University of Otago to accompany him to the owner’s home and advise on the probable date by looking at the photograph itself.

Fortunately, the history of photography encompasses the rapid development and use of many different materials and technical processes and using her knowledge, Erika could quickly determine the portrait as an ambrotype.  Ambrotypes belong to the small category employing non-paper supports and are photographs on glass as opposed to daguerreotypes on polished metal, ferrotypes (commonly known as tintypes) on lacquered iron, and opaltypes on translucent white glass.  Like daguerreotypes, ambrotypes were often put into elaborate pinchpeck frames and cased for protection but can still be easily told apart when looking at the original by the fact that daguerreotypes have a mirrored appearance, turning from positive to negative when viewed from different angles.

Ambrotypes became popular around the world in the 1850s, so even though there is nothing on the artefact to say whether or not it was produced in New Zealand, enough information could be gleaned by looking at the original to rule out the initial identification.  The portrait is now thought to be of John Jones’s eldest son, John Richard Jones (1832-1911), and his eldest daughter, Mary Louise Sarah, who was born in August 1856.

Fig. 2 John Richard Jones and Mary Louise Sarah, ambrotype, c.1858.  Hocken Photographs Collection, P2014-001.

The Hocken Photographs Collection includes examples of all the early forms of nineteenth century photography.  Every year, classes of students at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic come to visit and learn to discern the differences by looking at the originals, Hocken staff routinely use this knowledge to help catalogue items and members of the public, including artists and photographers, request to see the real objects which have survived the years and can only be fully appreciated at first hand.  A small selection of early photographs on non-paper supports are shown below.

Fig. 3 Mother and daughter, hand-tinted daguerreotype, Whitelaw family collection, 1840-1850s. Hocken Photographs Collection, P1997-120-001.

 

Fig. 4 William Mathew Hodgkins, ambrotype, 1853 (removed from frame).  Hocken Photographs Collection, P1984-017. (Inscription on the back of the frame: ‘Photograph taken while in London the spring of 1853, at any rate before he went to Paris. The hair is not fouled, It is dressed in the fashion of the day.’)

 

Fig. 5 Three young men, ferrotype, Whitelaw family collection, 1860s-1870s.  Hocken Photographs collection, P1997-120-002. (According to historian Bill Dacker, hats were quite a feature of society in Lawrence around this time).

Fig. 6 Ellen Brook and her two daughters, Esther and Jane, opaltype, c.1895.  Hocken Photographs Collection, P1991-026. (They are dressed in mourning clothes after the death of their husband/father in a quarry during the building of the Otago Central Railway near Naseby.)

 

New Zealand Archaeology Week 2017

Monday, April 3rd, 2017 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post prepared by Jacinta Beckwith, Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori 

Each of us is an epitome of the past, a compendium of evidence from which the labours of the comparative anatomist have reconstructed the wonderful story of human evolution. We are ourselves the past in the present.                                                           

H.D. Skinner, The Past and the Present

This year’s inaugural New Zealand Archaeology Week (1-7 April) offers an opportune moment to highlight some of the Hocken’s archaeology-related taonga. Examples include the Otago Anthropological Society Records (1960-1983), Anthropology Departmental Seminar flyers (most dating to 1997), and a wide variety of archaeological reports, notebooks, diaries, letters and photographs including papers of David Teviotdale, Peter Gathercole and Atholl Anderson. More recently, our collections have been enhanced by the ongoing contribution of local archaeologists such as Drs Jill Hamel and Peter Petchey who regularly submit their archaeological reports, for which we remain deeply grateful.

One of our largest collections relating to the world of archaeology and anthropology are the Papers of Henry Devenish Skinner (1886-1978). At 3.14 linear metres in size, this collection comprises folders full of handwritten research and lecture notes, letters, photographs, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings pertaining primarily to Skinner’s archaeological, anthropological and ethnological work with the Otago Museum and the University of Otago, and also to his school days and military service. It includes personal correspondence detailing the collection of Māori artefacts, letters with Elsdon Best, S. Percy Smith, Willi Fels, and other notable anthropologists and collectors. Skinner’s papers also include a significant series of subject files relating to not only Māori and Pacific archaeology but also to that of Africa, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

H.D. Skinner is fondly remembered as the founding father of New Zealand Anthropology. He is particularly known for his development of the Otago Museum, for his pioneering work on the archaeology of the Māori and for his comparative studies of Polynesian archaeology and material culture. He was the first Lecturer of Anthropology in Australasia, appointed Lecturer in Ethnology at the University of Otago in 1919 (where he lectured until 1952). He was appointed assistant curator of the Otago Museum in 1919, later becoming Director of the Museum from 1937 until 1957. Skinner was also Librarian of the Hocken from 1919 until 1928. Much of the collection expansion in the Otago Museum, and the importance placed on the collection and display of Māori and Polynesian artefacts can be attributed to him. He also expanded the Hocken’s collections, most notably in New Zealand paintings and drawings.

Skinner’s research on the Moriori represents a milestone in the history of Polynesian ethnology as the first systematic account of material culture of a Polynesian people. He set new standards in description, classification and analysis, and he demonstrated how ethnological research could contribute to important historical conclusions. Professor Atholl Anderson, Honorary Fellow of Otago’s Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, describes Skinner’s analyses of Māori material culture as prescribing the method and objectives of the discipline for over 50 years and his teaching as inspirational for several generations of archaeologists, especially in southern New Zealand.

References:

Anderson, A. Henry Devenish Skinner, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography Volume 4, 1998

Skinner, H.D. The Past and the Present – Popular Lecture, in Skinner, Henry Devenish Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS 1219/071

Wells, M. Cultural appreciation or inventing identity? H.D. Skinner & the Otago Museum. BA (Hons) thesis, Otago, 2014

ITEMS ON DISPLAY

HOCKEN FOYER

Anthropology Department Seminar flyers from the late nineties. Hocken Ephemera Collection

DISPLAY TABLE

  1. Skinner, H. D. 1923. The Morioris of Chatham Islands. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Hocken Published Collection
  2. Letters from Elsdon Best and S. Percy Smith to H.D. Skinner, and envelope addressed to Corporal H.D. Skinner containing further letters and clippings relating to Moriori in ‘Letters, extracts, notes, etc. relating to Morioris’, Skinner, Henry Devenish Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-1219/169
  3. Letter from J Renwick (1925) to H.D. Skinner in ‘Technology and Art of the [Moriori of the Chathams]’, Skinner, Henry Devenish Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-1219/160
  4. Photos of Chatham Island artefacts in ‘Moriori Photos’ (n.d.), Skinner, Henry Devenish Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-1219/168. Stone patu, bone fishhooks, blubber cutter, stone adzes and postcard map of Chatham Islands.
  5. Syllabus of Evening Lectures on Ethnology 1919 & University of Otago Teaching of Anthropology (n.d.) in ‘Anthropology at Otago University’, Skinner, Henry Devenish Papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-1219/022

PLINTH

  1. Freeman, D. & W. R. Geddes, 1959. Anthropology of the South Seas: essays presented to H. D. Skinner. New Plymouth, N.Z.: T. Avery. Hocken Published Collection
  2. Dr Henry Devenish Skinner at the Otago Museum (1951). D. S. Marshall photograph, Hocken Photographs Collection, Box-030-013
  3. Dr Henry Devenish Skinner and others get aboard the ‘Ngahere’ for Chatham Islands (1924). The others are identified as Robin Sutcliffe Allan, John Marwick, George Howes, Maxwell Young and Dr Northcroft. Photographer unknown, Hocken Photographs Collection, Box-030-014

PLINTH

  1. The Dunedin Causeway – archaeological investigations at the Wall Street mall site, Dunedin, archaeological site 144/469 (2010). Petchey, Peter: Archaeological survey reports and related papers, Hocken Archives Collection, MS-3415/001
  2. Beyond the Swamp – The Archaeology of the Farmers Trading Company Site, Dunedin (2004). Petchey, Peter: Archaeological survey reports and related papers, Hocken Archives MS-2082
  3. A smithy and a biscuit factory in Moray Place, Dunedin… report to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (2004). Hamel, Jill, Dr: Archaeological reports, Hocken Archives MS-2073
  4. Otago Peninsula roading improvements – Macandrew Bay and Ohinetu sea walls, report to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (2010). Hamel, Jill, Dr: Archaeological reports, Hocken Archives MS-4174/001
  5. Album of photographs accompanying Otago Peninsula roading improvements – Macandrew Bay and Ohinetu sea walls report (2010). Hamel, Jill, Dr: Archaeological reports, Hocken Archives MS-4174/002

 

… But most of all, it’s fashion!

Friday, March 24th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post by Amanda Mills, Curator of Music and AV

It’s iD fashion week here in Dunedin, and an opportunity to highlight an interesting piece of fashion-related audiovisual material in Hocken’s collections. The song It’s Fashion by Jack Roberts and Ian Couldrey was created as the theme for Ross and Glendining’s  fashion show.

Credit It’s Fashion. 1961. Lyrics by Ian Couldrey, and music by Jack Roberts. Hocken Sound Recordings Rec-S 3362

The company Ross and Glendining (founded by John Ross and Robert Glendining) was established in Dunedin in 1862, when they bought a local Dunedin retail drapery business. Changing to an import and warehousing business within three years, they sold imported fashion goods, though some of the most popular goods sold included blankets, and hosiery. To create woollens, they built the Roslyn Woolen Mill in 1879 for production of consumables like yarn, blankets and flannels, and several years later, they introduced knitting machines to produce hosiery and clothing. While expanding their clothing manufacturing business throughout New Zealand, Dunedin was still their main centre, opening a clothing factory in 1883 to manufacture men’s and boy’s clothing (under the Roslyn label), a hat factory in 1901, and also manufacturing footwear  from 1908, and neckwear from 1957. The list of brands Ross and Glendining manufactured was large, and included Mayfair Shoes, Roslyn Blankets and Rugs, Osti Lingerie, Glenross Millinery, Aotea Knitting Wool, and Sacony Fashions.

Mimosa Lingerie.[1959]. Ross and Glendining: Records, Hocken Collections AG-512/066 S09-529g.

Originally a staid manufacturer of wool, and an importer of garments, Ross and Glendining did not enter the world of fashion until the late 1950s and “stunned trade buyers with an innovative fashion show in Auckland at which they displayed their latest… creations” (Jones, 2010, p. 341). The show (held at the Winter Garden of the Great Northern Hotel) ran for 106 minutes, and used a three-piece orchestra and 10 models (eight adults and two children). The idea for this show came from Ian Couldrey, the company’s sales controller, well known in national publicity circles (Jones, 2010, p 341). The show had three successful nights before moving on to Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, and a film was made of the shows to feature in smaller centres. This was promised to be the first of many fashion events for the company.

Unfortunately, the motion picture of this 1960 show is not part of Hocken’s large collection of Ross and Glendining records; in fact, no copies seem to exist. This is a significant gap in the collection, and, if found, would be a fantastic addition to our records of the company.

It’s Fashion is stated as being written for Ross and Glendining’s 1961 fashion show, but the annual reports and records don’t document any event that year, so the date may have been incorrectly attributed – perhaps the song was written for the 1960 show. It’s Fashion was written  for the event by Roberts and Couldrey. The song is in the popular genre of the day – a charming piano-driven mid-tempo, melodic pop-ballad, sung in the style of Doris Day (sadly, there is no mention of the female vocalist’s name). The performance is sweet, and appropriate for the show, which while innovative at the time, would likely not be cutting-edge by today’s standards. Regardless, this lovely song is one of few recorded specifically for a fashion show and an interesting, and modern, approach for Ross and Glendining to take to advertise their fashion lines.

It’s Fashion.

 

References:

Jones, S.R.H. (2010). Doing well and doing good: Ross and Glendining Scottish enterprise in New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

The real housewives of Dunedin: the Dunedin Housewives’ Union Dunedin Housewives’ Association : Records (1930 – 1977) AG-002

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Kari Wilson-Allan, Hocken Collections Assistant, Researcher Services

Today being International Women’s Day, it seems fitting to delve into the history of some Dunedin women – our own real housewives.

Established in late 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Dunedin Housewives’ Union, headed up by the dynamo Mrs Alice Herbert, aimed to become a ‘real live and effective power in this part of the Dominion’. Meetings were held fortnightly, initially in the Dunedin Trades Hall, with a 2/6 annual membership fee.

First page, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01

Subjects under discussion revolved around, among other things, the quality and cost of foodstuffs, fuel, schoolbooks, and housing. Meat was ‘the foundation of the usual daily dinner’ and therefore ‘of utmost importance to the housewife’. That available in Dunedin was the ‘dearest in the Dominion’.  Milk and bread also drew attention; calls for the pasteurisation of milk and the packaging of bread appeared in local newspapers, along with requests for a municipal milk supply as a means to cut distribution costs.

Media coverage of riots in Dunedin, Otago Witness, 12 January 1932, p.20.

Fundraising events were common features in the women’s calendars. They organised bazaars, jumble sales, hat-trimming competitions, guess-the-weight-of-the-ham competitions (ham kindly supplied by Wolfenden and Russell), even baby shows.  A ‘hot pea and hot dog stall’ in 1931 was the cause of ‘much meriment [sic] ’.

As well as supporting the community with events like the 1933 party for the old-age pensioners at Talboys’ Home (lollies donated by Wardell’s Grocery), which was intended to ‘bring a little brightness into their drab lives’, the women looked after their own.  One member was gifted cocoa as she was ‘in great need of additional nourishment’.

The employment and unemployment of women concerned the Union.  It was recognised that often young women would be hired for a short period of time and then dismissed, leading to insecurity.  Compounding the problem was the higher costs of living in the South Island, where food and clothing were dearer.  The importation of foreign goods also raised their ire.

Temptations to housewives, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.144

Housing conditions were decried; condemned buildings were at times tenanted. Washing facilities were in short supply, women needed to be recruited as inspectors, and to have a larger role in the City Council over all.

Housewives’ concerns, Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.125

Meetings often featured speakers or debates.  One such debate in 1933 on the subject of birth control proved to be ‘very interesting’, and at its conclusion, members shared their personal opinions, which were both ‘amusing and instructive’.

A selection of speakers’ subjects in the Union’s first decade, Notes on the history of the Association, AG-002-13

 

Who were the women of the Union?  This is not an easy question to answer.  Members of the Executive of the first year included a Mrs. Seddon, a Mrs. Anderson and a Mrs. Allen.  Without their first initials, finding the correct woman in electoral rolls has proved to be a minefield.  Sometimes the addition of a husband’s initial was a vital clue.

The members certainly had adequate time to contribute to their cause, to pay their annual dues and rent their premises.  Based on this and a number of other clues, I surmise that they were certainly not the poorest of the poor at that time.  They had education behind them, and political contacts.

Alice Herbert’s husband was the Secretary for the Dunedin Drivers’ and Storemens’ Union, and he, along with Alice, was heavily involved in the Labour Party.  In 1934, Alice tendered her resignation for the president’s role, based on her other commitments, but this was refused pending a determination of how time-consuming her other political activities would prove to be.  That the Union did not accept her resignation seems a signifier of her great influence and energy.

Women around New Zealand came to hear of the Dunedin Union, and made contact, wanting to establish similar groups of their own.  Unions formed in Invercargill, Waimate and Napier and elsewhere, eventually growing a network around the country.  Affiliations with the National Council of Women developed, and by the 1950s, the name Union was dropped for the less combative sounding Association.

It would be unfair of me to allude to ‘real housewives’ without supplying some element of drama.  The minutes do indicate certain conflicts of interest, perceived insults and tempestuous resignations, but to focus on these would belittle the valuable contributions made to the community.  Certainly as membership grew, challenges arose.  Rules were established, and prospective members needed to be introduced by current members to be admitted.  By June 1934 there was concern that ‘misrepresentation’ could arise as a consequence of ‘business [of the Union] being discussed outside the organization’, and in October of that year it was declared that ‘loyalty to our union must be shown.’

Minute Book (1930 – 1941) AG-002-01, p.164

 

Curiosity piqued by this first minute book?  Come in and explore them further.  The minute books stretch from 1930 through to 1974, are unrestricted, and contain myriad avenues for investigation.

 

Sketching a past : Susan Downing, Sister Mary Genevieve

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post researched and written by Debbie Gale – Archivist

The exciting discovery of an accomplished watercolour sketchbook within the archives of the Dominican Sisters of Aotearoa New Zealand held by the Hocken, was first assumed to be the work of a pupil at one of the Dominican Schools.  Instead, it has been found on closer examination to be that of one of its Sisters, Mary Genevieve.

Front page & Text knitted

Hocken Collections, Natural history work book, Susan Downing, Upton Hall. Records of the Dominican Sisters of Aotearoa New Zealand. AG-264-A-019/002. To see detailed image, right click, open in new tab and zoom in.

The first ten Dominican Sisters arrived in Dunedin from Sion Hill Convent in Dublin in 1871, accompanying Bishop Moran.   Under the conditions of the agreement, those chosen to move to New Zealand needed to be qualified to teach in both ‘A High School’ and ‘A Poor School’.  Sister Mary Genevieve’s maternal aunt, Charlotte (professed as Sister Catherine Hughes in 1857), was part of this first contingent.  Indicative that the Sion Hill community sent some of its outstanding members to New Zealand, Sister Catherine had studied under a pupil of Chopin and was a highly gifted musician.  She was sister-in-law to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, Irish Nationalist, journalist, poet and Australian Politician (8th Premier of Victoria 1871-1872).  Duffy married her sister Susan Hughes in 1846[1].

The High School, opened very shortly after the Sisters’ arrival in 1871, accepted pupils from all over Dunedin for pianoforte lessons, singing, harp lessons, painting, flower making, art, needlework and languages such as French, Italian, German and Spanish[2].

By 1971, the number of Irish sisters who came out to New Zealand had risen to 80.  Like the first contingent, most were from privileged backgrounds, daughters of wealthy landowners who had received an education.  Dunedin’s successful immigrants sent their daughters to the Dominican Sisters for two reasons – to receive a good Catholic education and to acquire the ‘accomplishments’ (cultural studies of music and art and modern languages)[3].

Susan Downing appeared to fit the mould of a Dominican Sister perfectly.  She had an educated, upper class background and she was accomplished in the arts.  These attributes are evidenced both through her beautiful sketchbook, and from information held by the Dominican Sisters themselves.

By accessing genealogy resources, making enquiries about Downing from the Dominican Sisters’ Archive and following up on clues in the sketchbook, we can piece together some of Susan’s early life in England.

England Census 1861:

Six-year-old Susan J. Downing is listed in the Downing household in the Parish of Birkenhead.  Her estimated birth year is 1855 and her birthplace is listed as Birkenhead, England.  She appears in the England and Wales birth index as Susan Jane Downing.

Father Samuel was born in Ireland about 1820, he was a physician, surgeon and general practitioner.  Mother Marianne was also born in Ireland about 1819. The family appears to be prosperous, with the household consisting of five siblings and two household staff whose occupations are listed as ‘domestic servants’.

England Census 1871:

There are two entries for Susan. She is listed within her household census, and also as a scholar at Upton Hall.

Upton Hall, then a Catholic convent school in Wirral, Cheshire, lies about 10kms away from Birkenhead. It was ‘designed to produce accomplished young ladies’.  This is where Susan would have begun her sketchbook, in 1876, at the age of 21.

Illustrations knitted

Hocken Collections, Natural history work book, Susan Downing, Upton Hall. Records of the Dominican Sisters of Aotearoa New Zealand. AG-264-A-019/002. To see detailed image, right click, open in new tab and zoom in.

The Downing household now has three domestic staff whose occupations are listed as ‘groom (domestic servant)’, ‘cook’ and ‘housemaid’.  Their immediate neighbours are an attorney and broker. William, the eldest son, is a merchant’s apprentice and two further sons a medical student and scholar.

No record of Susan is found in the 1881 or 1891 England census returns so we may assume that she had left England by this time. Susan’s personal record held by the Dominican Sisters indicates that she had been educated in Holland, France and in Dublin at the Dominican College, Sion Hill and arrived in Dunedin directly from Dublin in 1892.

Sadly, no Irish census information for these years survives as the original returns were pulped during the First World War, probably because of the paper shortage.  She left Upton Hall at some point after 1876 and moved to Dublin, but without the Irish census returns it is difficult to pin dates down.

Moving to the other side of the globe:

Downing passenger list

Archives New Zealand Passenger lists from 1892 show that Susan made the long voyage to New Zealand at the age 37, by herself, on the ‘S.S. Kaikoura’.

The journey was not without incident. Both the Otago Daily Times (15 July 1892) and Hobart Mercury (11 July 1892) reported on the ‘Kaikoura’ embarking passengers of a ship wrecked on its voyage to Melbourne, as well as the terrible weather conditions encountered by its passengers:

On the 6th June at Cape Verde, Africa, the ‘Kaikoura’ embarked passengers of the liner ‘Port Douglas’, which had been wrecked on the voyage to Melbourne. The passengers also encountered ‘terrific seas’ and ‘rain, hail and sleet were frequent…traversing the Southern Ocean’. However, ‘The usual concert balls etc., were organised to enliven the monotony…they were entered into heartily by all on board’.  I wonder, did convent girl Susan join in these proceedings?

Received into the Dominican Sisters on 15th January 1893, Susan took the name Sister Mary Genevieve and was professed on 8 November 1894. Dunedin electoral rolls of 1893 and 1896 list her teaching at St Dominic’s Priory on Dowling Street. Records show she eventually reached the rank of sub prioress in 1910.  Her death is given as 19 September 1923 aged 69.

For all that we can piece together the recorded fragments of Sister Mary Genevieve’s early life; there are a few questions that will remain unanswered:

What made Susan decide to move to the opposite side of the world, on her own, at 37 years of age? It seems likely that she decided to follow in her Aunt Charlotte’s footsteps and join her as a Dominican Sister, but what was her spur? Her parents would have been in their 70s at this point, maybe they had died and she wanted a fresh start?

According to her death notice, her forte was music, and information from the Dominican’s own records describes her as an ‘excellent linguist, speaking and reading several tongues’.   There appears to be no mention of her artistic gifts, however, and her sketchbook remains sadly unfinished.  Did she simply decide to discontinue her art once she arrived in New Zealand, or maybe she was just too busy with her teaching and religious duties?  This seems a shame, when we consider how evidently she was once attached to her sketchbook, so lovingly crafted and cherished, a travelling companion on her long journey overseas.

[1] McCarthy, 19-20

[2] Collins, 78

[3] Collins, 81-82

Sources:

Collins, Jenny.  Hidden lives : The teaching and religious lives of eight Dominican sisters, 1931-1961: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Education at Massey University, Palmerston North. 2001

McCarthy, Mary Augustine. Star in the South : The centennial history of the New Zealand Dominican Sisters. Dunedin St Dominic’s Priory, 1970

New Zealand Dominican Sisters Archives

Rombouts. Michael : Death notices in the New Zealand Tablet May 1873 to Apr 1996. Dunedin N.Z. : M.J.Rombouts 2000

Rombouts. Michael : Catholic death notices in the Otago Daily Times 1861-1950. Dunedin N.Z. : M.J.Rombouts 1998

Upton Hall School Census 1871. (Retrieved August 2015 ‘http://history.uptonhallschool.co.uk’)

Upton Hall School website (Retrieved August 2015, ‘http://www.uptonhallschool.co.uk/’)

England census returns (Retrieved August 2015. ‘Ancestry’)

England and Wales birth index (Retrieved October 2015 ‘Ancestry’)

New Zealand Tablet, 1923

New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger lists 1839-1973 (Retrieved August 2015. ‘familysearch.org’)

The Mercury, Hobart 11 July 1892 (Retrieved September 2015. ‘Trove’ http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13295915)

Otago Daily Times, 15 July 1892 (Retrieved August 2015. ‘Papers Past’)

New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1893, 1896

 

Happy World Audiovisual Heritage Day!

Thursday, October 27th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Audio Visual and Music

This annual day (October 27th) is run by UNESCO to celebrate audiovisual heritage, and to raise awareness that this vulnerable material is in danger of being lost through neglect, decay, destruction, and lack of resourcing. World Audiovisual Heritage Day has a different theme every year, and 2016’s theme is ‘It’s your story – don’t lose it.’ This theme presents opportunities to showcase cultural material in the audiovisual collections, and we’ve found a couple of fascinating pieces to share with you.

The first recording is from a disc called ‘Social Credit in 3 minutes’ (spoken word by A.E. Willyams) and is a promotional 78rpm recording for the Social Credit Party, recorded in the 1950s (side B is the ‘Social Credit March’). The short excerpt is taken from the last part of the recording, and explains what social credit is.

Social credit in three minutes

‘Social Credit in 3 Minutes’. Hocken Sound Recordings: Rec-M 1104

The second recording is a 1958 45rpm disc ‘: A Maori love story’, told by Kenneth Melvin, on the Reed Records label. This short excerpt picks up the story where Hinemoa and Tutanekai become aware of each other.

Hinemoa and Tutanekai

‘Hinemoa and Tutanekai: A Maori love story’. Hocken Sound Recordings: Rec-S 318.

How much audiovisual material do you have to preserve?

Betts portable terrestrial globe

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post by Karen Craw – Maps Curator

As well as sheet maps, charts and Atlases of New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica the Pacific and the wider world, the Hocken Maps Collection contains a wide variety of cartographic resources and reference materials. This portable terrestrial globe produced by George Philip & Son, London and Liverpool, is an example of such a resource.

Betts Globe

Betts’s portable Terrestrial Globe compiled from the latest and best authorities. British Empire coloured red London, George Philip & Son, [188-?] Donated by the Otago Education Board. Hocken Library: Maps: Rolled; 100 1880 a

John Betts publisher

John Betts (fl. 1844-1875) was a London publisher specialising in low cost educational products which were large enough for children to observe features easily. This particular style of collapsible globe was patented by Betts in the 1850’s. The firm was taken over by George Philip & Son around 1880. Regular updating kept the globe in production well into the 1920’s.

An 1850’s version of the portable globe produced by Betts was 12.5 cm in diameter and had 8 hand lithographed paper gores. Cotton cords held between the gores and backing paper extended through the poles were pulled on a thread and fastened with a bead at the top to form an inflated globe. A facsimile version of this globe made in the same way as Betts original globe is still available to purchase from a British Globe maker.

 George Philip and Son map publisher

George Philip (1800-1882) cartographer and map publisher, was born at Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland into a Calvinist family. Two of the sons became ministers and the teaching of the local minister instilled in George the value of education for everyone.

He began his career working for a bookseller in Liverpool and later set up his own business. He placed orders with well-known cartographers for maps on copper plates which he had printed and hand-coloured. The bulk of his production was for the commercial, and particularly the educational market.

The firm supplied atlases and textbooks for many overseas countries in several languages, beginning with an atlas for Australian schools in 1865 and for New Zealand in 1869. The firm also published many maps of New Zealand.

George Philip and Son was sold in 1988 to the Octopus Publishing Co, part of Reed International Group of Companies, London.

The Hocken Collections globe is produced by George Philip and Son. Packed in a wooden box, it can be inflated by a metal umbrella type mechanism. It was intended to be a low cost portable education device for classroom teaching, easily transported and loaned to schools. The gores are made of silk. Wear and tear of the silk has meant that examples in good condition are very rare.

Sources:

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/George_Philip_and_Son

http://www.globemakers.com/facsimile/globe_betts.html

 

 

Rotorua Māori Choir

Monday, August 29th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | 6 Comments

Post researched and written by Amanda Mills – Liaison Librarian Audio-Visual and Music

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August was inaugural Māori music month, a celebration of Māori music around the country of all genres. The first music recorded in New Zealand was indeed Māori, when Ana Hato and Deane Waretini were recorded singing a number of songs, including Hine e Hine, and Waiata Poi. This was in February 1927 at Tūnohopu meeting house, in Ohinemutu, Rotorua, and their accompanists included the nascent Rotorua Māori Choir. While their story is the stuff of musical history, less has been written about the Rotorua Māori Choir, and their seminal recordings of 1930.

The Rotorua Māori Choir had been in existence for at least two decades, having been formed in the early 1900s by Frederick Bennett, an Anglican Clergyman. Before making their famous recordings, the choir had been part of New Zealand’s first feature film, George Tarr’s Hinemoa, from 1914. In 1929, the choir’s lawyer (a Mr. Simpson) suggested to Arthur Eady (of Arthur A. Eady Publishing) that the choir be recorded. This suggestion was taken to Columbia Gramophone Company, who agreed, and a contract was signed by three choir members – Geoffrey Rogers, Tame Petane, and Rotohiko Haupapa. In 1930, a group from the label (including musical director Gil Dech, managing director W.A. Donner, and engineer Reg Southey) came to New Zealand to record the choir, and this took three months – a significant commitment of finances and resources. Dech, who had been to New Zealand before, became closely acquainted with the music by listening to the songs sung to him repeatedly by the choir before the recording started, though his introduction to the some of the music originally occurred when he accompanied and conducted the recording sessions of Scottish tenor Ernest McKinlay, who recorded Māori songs in Sydney in 1928.

By all accounts, the recording sessions with the Rotorua Māori Choir were long and often hard, as choir members had day jobs, and the recording sessions often lasted until the early hours of the morning. Dech was keen to have the choir harmonise naturally, but often wrote harmony parts and taught them to the group – Reg Southey confirming “he trained them to sing as a group – most of them were used to singing solo.” There were soloists, however: bass baritone Rotohiko Haupapa, soprano Te Mauri Meihana, contralto Mere Amohau, and tenor Tiawhi Ratete.

As with Ana Hato and Deane Waretini before them, the Rotorua Māori Choir recorded at the Tūnohopu meeting house at Ohinemutu, Rotorua. To create a better environment to record in, shawls and carpets were hung from the roof to dampen the echo, and a production/control room was assembled in the porch. Southey recalled that the recording sessions were to record Māori singing and song, which they “felt was unique and should be put on record for all time. So many visitors… came to New Zealand, heard these singers and asked where they could buy recordings. They weren’t available… we wanted to correct that.” The recordings were cut directly to fragile wax discs (two recordings were cut, and the best one chosen for use), and sent to Australia, where copper master records were cut. Over thirty songs were recorded (in what Mervyn Mclean called “the European melodic idiom”): folk songs, love songs, and farewell and welcome songs, as well as two English hymns in Te Reo: Au e Iho, and Karaunatia. Originally issued on 10” shellac 78rpm discs, in 1961, all but three of the songs were taped from the master discs and pressed to LP, bringing the Rotorua Māori Choir to further recognition.

Digitised recording of Warutia Putiputi Pai

To illustrate the talents of the Rotorua Māori Choir, we have digitised some of our original 78rpm discs. One of the best examples of their vocal abilities is Warutia Putiputi Pai, a Māori love ditty, where the range of the choir members, and the style of the musical director is evident. The disc is in remarkably good condition for being 86 years old, though there are ‘pops’ due to the nature and slight deterioration of the format.

References:

Armstrong, A. (1961). Records: Still popular after thirty years. Te Ao Hou, 36 (September), p. 63-64.

Mclean, M. (1996). Maori Music. Auckland: University of Auckland Press.

[Unknown author]. (1964). Pioneer returns. New Zealand Listener, 20 March. p.10.

 

 

 

 

Going past Papers Past: a mass of mastheads

Friday, August 12th, 2016 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post by Kari Wilson-Allan, Library Assistant – Reference

Papers Past is undoubtedly a valuable and convenient resource for historical research.  It is easy, however, in using it, to overlook other avenues of journalistic endeavour.

While working on a response to a recent reference enquiry, I came across a reel of microfilm in the stack containing all manner of titles, some of which I had never previously encountered.  A large number of these were of local origin, and covered matters social, political, intellectual, commercial, spiritual and more.

The Dunedin triumvirate available online (Otago Daily Times, Otago Witness and Evening Star) shine a light on the city’s goings-on, but to rely on these three is to neglect a wider range of perspectives and possibilities for enquiry.

Regrettably, the film holds only a single issue of many of the titles, and some rolled off the presses for only the briefest of spells, yet they reveal a lively and varied past.

The selection of mastheads below all feature on the reel; search any of the titles on Library Search | Ketu to request the film.

Other early Dunedin papers of which we hold larger runs include the paper most commonly known as the Otago Workman (otherwise the Beacon or Forbury News, later the Otago Liberal), the Echo, the Globe and the Southern Mercury.

01 Port Chalmers watch 02 Sandfly 03 NZ Liberator 04 Magnolia 05 Penny Post 06 Hot springs guide 07 Guardian 08 Morning herald 09 Illustrated news 10 NZ Life

 
Anna Blackman anna.blackman@otago.ac.nz
 

Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.