A regular visitor to the Hocken is Geoff Adams, formerly the Editor of the Otago Daily Times. Geoff is the author of the recently published book Judge Ward which explores the lives of three Victorian colonists to New Zealand – Dudley Ward, a Supreme Court Judge; Ward’s first wife Anne, first national president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; and his mistress Thorpe Talbot, who he married late in life. Geoff writes:
“Many thanks to the Hocken Collections. It allowed me to get the bulk of copious research done in Dunedin: perusing many decades of files of the Otago Daily Times and Otago Witness, not to mention sorties into other early newspapers, Lloyds’ registers, ships’ passenger lists, street directories, searches of New Zealand births, marriages and deaths, parliamentary reports, Hansard and other tools were all fruitful too. Some loose ends finally took me as a researcher to some other places in New Zealand and to London.
Hocken excelled in my hunting Talbot, a prize-winning novelist, as well as journalist, short story writer and poet. Not only do the collections have rare copies of her major books, but there is an archive (02-034/001) on Frances Ellen Talbot (her birth name in Yorkshire) presented in 1991 by Dr George Griffiths . This consists of some interesting fragments of personal letters and writing, as well as the only known photographs of Talbot, her birth certificate and the 1902 marriage certificate to Judge Ward. The archive is restricted, requiring George’s permission to peruse. Fortunately he is an old friend and knew my interest in all of the life and contacts of Judge Ward. And I live in the Maori Hill house where the Judge and Talbot were married!
I finally traced at the National Library, Wellington, the “missing” novel of Talbot — a long epic poem “Guinevere in the South” found in a copy of the obscure Geraldine County Chronicle newspaper. It was chasing clues concerning Timaru from the back of a cutting in George’s fragments that finally led to that discovery!”
We are glad to have helped Geoff with his research and very pleased to see the book published.