Stirring up the stacks #9: two for the price of one! Macaroni soup and ginger pudding

Sunday, October 10th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | No Comments

Post cooked up by Eilish McHugh-Smith, Collections Assistant – Publications

Our recent return to Covid alert level 4 prompted Hocken Staff to fish through their camera rolls and personal bookshelves in search of historical culinary delights to tantalise their bubble’s taste buds. In the preceding weeks, I had been on a mission to find a selection of the most peculiar and delicious sounding recipes within our cookbook collection, so had an array of delights to choose from.

One of my favourite finds is a well-loved copy of New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints, dating from 1934 or 1935.[1] This was published by the Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union, an organisation established in 1925 by the wives of members of the Farmers’ Union to help combat the isolating nature of farm life, advocate for the needs of rural women and children, and of course, provide support to the Farmers’ Union.[2] As part of this the Women’s Division also emphasised and advocated for enhanced home science education, which appears to have been a motivating factor behind this book and its other iterations, some of which the Hocken is fortunate to hold.[3]

Notable recipes within the 1934/1935 edition include milk soup (containing a mere 5 ingredients: milk, onions, vermicelli, salt and pepper), mock whitebait (potato flavoured with anchovy sauce), stewed lettuce, a Marmite omelette, gingerbread cookies and currant buns.[4] However, with week one of lockdown over my bubble was craving comfort food. This led me to the recipes for macaroni soup and ginger pudding, akin to modern day macaroni cheese and a ginger cake- surely these would satisfy.

The macaroni soup recipe [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), p.12.

The ginger pudding recipe [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), p.187.

So, I broke down the recipes into step-by-step instructions, converted the measurements into metric and estimated some of the grey areas (noted in square brackets).

First up was the batter of the Ginger Pudding:

Ginger Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (115 grams) of butter or dripping
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

Method

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Bake in a flat dish for ¾ of an hour [Assumed a similar temperature to most cakes (160 degrees Celsius in a fan bake oven)]
  • Original recipe included the note: “What is left from dinner makes a nice plain cake for afternoon tea if a little chocolate icing is put on top”

Interestingly, the resulting mixture was more akin to dough than a typical modern-day cake batter, as the mix was so dry, I struggled properly combine the flour. I also decided to use a large cake pan rather than a small flat dish, out of fear of the mess an overflow would make. Upon baking I found this meant the pudding was still liquid in the centre after 45 minutes and required a further 20 minutes to cook fully. However, as the cake doubled in size, I was relieved to have made the right dish decision.

The batter as it was combined, the batter in the tin, and the final product.

Meanwhile, preparations for the soup began:

Macaroni soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) broken up macaroni [I used spiral pasta as macaroni was out of stock]
  • Salted water [I assumed this would be enough to cover the macaroni by about a couple of centimetres]
  • Sufficient stock [I used about 2 cups of chicken stock]
  • ½ pint (284 millilitres) of milk or cream [I assumed that this was referring to an imperial pint]
  • 5oz (142 grams) grated cheese

Method

  • Break up macaroni and boil in salted water until tender
  • Remove half the macaroni from the pot and hold aside
  • Continue boiling the remainder in to pot until it turns to pulp
  • Add stock, milk or cream, cheese and return the held-aside macaroni to the pot
  • Warm without boiling and serve with toast

This was relatively smooth sailing, aside from the requirement to boil half the pasta to a pulp. With an image of wallpaper paste like gloop in my head I set about boiling it for an hour and a half, by which point the pasta remained relatively intact but swollen. With stomachs growling and one bubble member telling me it “looks pulpy to me”, I made the decision to carry on with the remaining steps.

The ‘pulpy’ pasta after one and a half hours of boiling.

All plated up: the final products

A close-up to show the soup’s true soupiness.

 

First up for the taste test was the Macaroni Soup, which received comments such as: “rather flavourless”, “kind of like those quick pasta packet things” and “this is just pasta in salty water”. It was awarded an average rating of 2.5/10 from our bubble, with the consensus being that the wateriness was its biggest shortfall. Personally, I found its indescribable texture a bit challenging and could not find a discernible flavour to it. However, everyone finished their bowl, so it was certainly edible.

In contrast, the Ginger Pudding received slightly more favourable comments like “would be nice with custard”, “better than dinner” and “a lot like steam pudding”. However, its dry stodginess and a desire for a stronger ginger flavour were certainly noted. Overall, it received an average rating of 5/10, but 24 hours later remained untouched on the kitchen bench. Interestingly, the remaining pasta was snaffled before I ate lunch the following day, but I suspect some extra goodies were added to boost its flavour.

Overall, the meal was edible and filling, with the bonuses of being budget friendly and simple to prepare. These would likely have been key considerations for the Women’s Division in their mission to advance home science education for rural women. However, macaroni would likely have been more expensive than today, as it was not until 1941 that The Timaru Milling Company became the first company in New Zealand licensed to produce pasta under the brand name “Diamond” and not until the 1970s and 1980s that pasta became common place on New Zealand dinner tables.[5] Nevertheless, today pasta in all its forms holds a dear place as a staple comfort food in the hearts of many Kiwis, including my bubble’s.

 

[1] [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]).

[2] Rosemarie Smith, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

[3] Rosemarie Smith, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

[4] [New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]), pp. 6,17,93,103,232.

[5] Sarah Wilcox, ‘Story: Food and beverage manufacturing – Changing technology and tastes’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand; www.teara.govt.nz; accessed 27 August 2021; ‘About us’, Diamond, www.diamondmeals.co.nz; accessed 26 August 2021.

References

‘About us’, Diamond, www.diamondmeals.co.nz; accessed 26 August 2021.

[New Zealand women’s household guide: containing recipes and general hints] ([Wellington]: Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union (Inc.), [1934-1935?]).

Smith, Rosemarie, ‘Rural Women New Zealand’, New Zealand History, www.nzhistory.govt.nz; accessed 24 August 2021.

Wilcox, Sarah, ‘Story: Food and beverage manufacturing – Changing technology and tastes’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand; www.teara.govt.nz; accessed 27 August 2021.

 

What else have we cooked up?

Stirring up the stacks #8: Xmas Cake Recipe Recommended by “Buckhams”

Stirring up the stacks #7: Virginia pudding

Stirring up the stacks #6: Pumpkin pie

Stirring up the stacks #5: Sauerkraut roll

Stirring up the stacks #4: A “delicious cake from better times”

Stirring up the stacks #3: Bycroft party starters

Stirring up the stacks #2 The parfait on the blackboard

Stirring up the stacks #1 Variety salad in tomato aspic

The women of the D.I.C. – Part one: The knit & purl girls

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post researched and written by HUMS intern, Ceri Spivey

Amongst the business records held here at the Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, are those from the eminent local and national department store chain, the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand (lovingly known as the D.I.C.). Established in 1884 by prominent businessman Bendix Hallenstein as a ‘wholesale family warehouse’, the D.I.C. quickly flourished with multiple locations nationwide, until the business eventually closed its doors in 1991, after over a hundred years of successful trading. While much has been written about the store’s revolutionary retail practices, economic successes and male leadership, little attention has been paid to women’s involvement. These hundreds of women worked the shop floor, ran departments, hired staff, dominated shareholding, and breathed life into the company from the moment its doors opened.

A Guy Morris photo of the Dunedin D.I.C. staff, pre-WWI. MS-5063/060, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Department stores revolutionised women’s lives at the turn of the twentieth century beyond retail alone, being female designated and dominated spaces. Women would shop aided by other women for household goods, intimate apparel, clothing and more, in a progressive female-orientated environment. Our own D.I.C. was one such example, having female facilities and toilet amenities, an important shift in the Victorian era, as public toilets were not available to the women of Dunedin until 1910[i]. Alongside amenities, the female staff of the D.I.C. were an integral part of the department store from the outset, becoming well-known personalities, celebrated, and showcased, as early advertisements highlight.

‘Our Miss Button’ advertisement, Otago Witness, 19 October 1910, p.5. [image from microfilm]

D.I.C. company picnic running race, c.1900. MS-5063/012/002, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

As imagery found in the D.I.C. archives illustrates, staff social activities were tied to the store, with women participating in company sports events, picnic races and clubs, alongside philanthropic groups like the D.I.C. Girls’ Patriotic Club. The staff of the D.I.C., like thousands of women nationwide, heeded the call of Lady Annette Louise Foljambe Liverpool, wife of New Zealand’s Governor-General, for the women of New Zealand to band together to provide care parcels packed with ‘necessaries’ for soldiers serving in the Great War.

D.I.C. Girls’ Patriotic Club postcard, 1917. MS-5063/023, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Headed by crockery manager and buyer Miss Frances Alice Button, over seventy ‘girls’ under the age of twenty from the D.I.C. became members, meeting regularly in the nearby Savoy Lounge. Using Lady Liverpool’s Her Excellency’s Knitting Book as a guide, held within our publications collection, the women of the D.I.C. would parcel necessaries- cigarettes, letters, and knitting, for brothers, colleagues, and troops at home and abroad.

Her Excellency’s knitting book (1915), by Annette Foljambe, Countess of Liverpool. Ferguson and Osborn Printers, Wellington. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Miss Button was unable to attend the club’s December 1917 meeting due to a severe illness. Poignantly, a letter was read on her behalf: “Although the sadness of this great war was responsible for the formation of our club, its outcome has been a mutual understanding and comradeship”.[ii] After a long and fruitful career at the D.I.C. (which we will cover in the next blog post on the women of the D.I.C.), Miss Frances Alice Button succumbed to her illness on the 18th of June 1918. The knit and purl girls of the D.I.C. continued their good works, headed by the talented dressmaker Miss E. Lawrence, until the end of World War One.

Frances Alice’s words were ringing true for thousands of New Zealand women, who took up their knitting needles to comfort their loved ones ravaged by war, but gained friendship, autonomy, and much more.

References

[i] St Clair, as a popular seaside destination, saw the first public toilet for women built in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1910 that the central city had “underground conveniences” for women. See Alison Breese’s digital thesis below for more information on the fascinating history of Dunedin’s public toilets: https://scalar.usc.edu/works/conveniences/chapter-one-public-conveniences-and-the-rise-of-undergrounds

[ii] Evening Star, 15 December 1917, Page 4

 

Representations of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

AG-047-7/004. Photograph of unnamed performers. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Post researched and written by HUMS 301 intern Kayli Taylor.

How power (im)balances mean minorities are not adequately represented, including in archives.

Gordon Spittle’s Beat Groups and courtyard parties provides a broad snapshot of the underground culture of the Ōtepoti Dunedin music scene in the 1960s. The book offers a raw depiction of collectives of artists, musicians and performers who set the stage for the city’s emerging Dunedin sound. The book also contains a distinct lack of representation of women. Therefore, one might be forgiven for thinking that there were no women performing in the 1960s. An in-depth analysis of the Hocken archives, as I did for my HUMS301 internship, tells another story. Women did perform but were simply represented less than men. This has implications for how historians and archivists discuss women in the Dunedin music scene, and how we can do research to understand their lives and experiences.

The research I undertook at Hocken was broad, looking at publications and archives. In particular, the archival material on the Otago University Folk Music Club AG-047/7 provided different representation of women. Publications such as student magazine Critic, the Otago Daily Times and Playdate also provided interesting points of analysis.

In the 1960s, folk music expanded across Ōtepoti Dunedin and the world.[1] A key aspect of folk music was the role of women.[2] Through the archival records of the Otago University Folk Music Club, we can see that women played a key role in the organisational management of the group. This includes Diane Baird, Wendy Clark, Catherine Monthieth, Di Looney, Liz Somerville, Lyn Jeffcoate, and Bronwyn Patterson. Women also performed in concerts organised by and connected with the group, including Di Looney, Val Murphy, Lea Stevens, Christine Smith, Brownyn Patterson and Ann Wigston.

An article published in student magazine Critic in 1961 recognised this phenomenon, saying there was a shift to women performing in concerts on the basis that if women are good enough to perform behind the scenes, they are deserving of performing.[3]

The representation of women in the music scene in Dunedin in the media is also of interest to our analysis of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s. Critic, for example, includes discussion of women and their role in the Dunedin music scene. In particular, Critic shows that folk music has quite extensive representation of women. Women, such as Diane Baird and Juliet Scott, also wrote for Critic about music – showing another way that women could speak into the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s.

AG-047-7/001. Photograph of unnamed performer. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

Expanding to look at women musicians across Aotearoa New Zealand, we can see that women both performed – and were represented. Musicians such as Sandy Edmonds, Dinah Lee, Maria Dallas and Kiri Te Kanawa were regularly represented in Playdate. The way they were represented is still of note, however. They were often used in advertising, such as for hair product Napro. These products were advertised by Dinah Lee (seven times), Anne Murphy (one time) and Sandy Edmonds (nine times).

Analysing the representation of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s shows common threads of the representation of minorities. David Thomas’s Silence in the Archive argues that archives are not neutral or natural, but hold particular stories and reinforce particular discourses.[4] He argues that though archives should be beacons of light to the stories of history, that is not always the case.[5] We can see this playing out in the lack of representation of women in the Dunedin music scene.

The Ōtepoti Dunedin music scene has an interesting history of its presence and representation of women. The 1960s, in particular, was a key point of flux and transition. Women played an increasingly role in the music scene but were rarely recognised in the media of the day. For historians, this poses a challenge to how they perceive and understand women and their involvement. Thomas argues that as historians seek stories of minorities, there is not always the archival material to assist their research.[6]

AG-047-7/003. Photograph of unnamed performers. Folk Proms Concert Capping, 1967. Otago University Folk Music Club: Files. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago.

While I found some representation of women in the Dunedin music scene in the 1960s, I believe there were more women performing than the archive represents. David Thomas argued that archives silence some stories, and I believe this is the case in this instance. This encourages us – as historians and people – to act more consciously to find and represent the stories of women and minorities in the archives, and to make space for their stories in our everyday lives.

Dunbar, Julie C. Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction. Second Edition. ed. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Thomas, David, Simon Fowler, and Valerie Johnson. The Silence of the Archive. London: Facet Publishing, 2017.

[1] Julie C. Dunbar, Women, Music, Culture: An Introduction, Second Edition. ed. (New York: Routledge, 2016), 364.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “More Women Take An Active Part in Concert”, Critic, 4 May 1961, 8.

[4] David Thomas, Simon Fowler, and Valerie Johnson, The Silence of the Archive (London: Facet Publishing, 2017), 1.

[5] Ibid., 22.

[6] Ibid., 17.

Influenza and the armistice celebrations of 1918

Sunday, November 11th, 2018 | Hocken Collections | 1 Comment

Post written and researched by David Murray, Archivist

This year marks one hundred years since the devastating influenza pandemic that claimed between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. It arrived in New Zealand not long before the armistice at the end of World War I. Soldiers returning on troopships were among those who unknowingly brought the flu here, particularly contributing to the highly infectious second wave of the virus. Influenza claimed the lives of 9,000 in New Zealand, and Māori suffered a death rate eight times that of the Pākeha population. The total was equal to about half the number of New Zealanders killed in the war, and over a period of just two months.

A striking aspect of the tragedy was the contrast between the jubilation of the armistice celebrations and the emerging horror of spreading disease and rising mortality. The armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, and widely celebrated in New Zealand on 12 November. By this time some emergency hospitals had opened, and authorities were taking steps to better treat patients and prevent the spread of the virus. The Chief Health Officer urged celebrations be postponed, and no excursion trains were allowed. Schools were closed, and large gatherings of children prohibited in the North Island. Mass celebrations were banned in Auckland, but many cities and towns celebrated with large processions, brass bands, and public speeches. These events contributed to the spread of influenza.

Crowds, including children, at the armistice celebrations in Princes Street, Dunedin, on 12 November 1918. This photo by Guy Morris was originally published in the Otago Witness, 20 November 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.

Despite a warning from District Health Officer Dr Irwin Faris, crowds thronged the streets of Dunedin. A letter in the Hocken Collections paints a vivid picture of the scene here. Nan Drennan wrote to her mother on 17 November 1918:

Well! Peace has come at last! My first thought, when I heard the bells, was, “What would I not give to be at home today”? However, that is not possible, so here goes – I think it was last Monday I finished off my letter to you & on Tuesday morning, just as we were performing our ablutions the bells & whistles began, & after that it was pandemonium. Murray went down to work in the forenoon, but came home early, & after dinner we set out in the car, with flags waving, & decorated with red white & blue rosettes. We called in on Mrs Gowland as I knew she would not be able to walk much, so she was highly delighted, & we continued down town, the streets were simply packed with people & vehicles, & a procession was going through the streets. Mrs Throp & the family were hanging out the windows of her husband’s rooms, so they waved to us to come up, which we did, & found tea being dispensed, so we all had a cup, & got an excellent view of the proceedings, then Mrs Gowland insisted on our going up there to tea, so we got into the car again, & went along Princes St. as well as we could for crowds of people, & so up the hill […] Since then, things have been real quiet, as influenza is so rampant that all the picture-houses, theatres, churches, & every place where folk gather, have been closed for a week, even the shops were shut for 3 days, to get fumigated. I expect Tuesday’s proceedings were responsible for many new cases, the crowds were so dense, but the health authorities have been very wise in taking drastic measures at once. It was perfectly dreadful in Auckland a short time ago, & a severe type, but now it is abating there. There are some bad cases here, but, as I say, the health people are wide awake. [Hocken Archives Misc-MS-1308/001]

As Nan described, further closures of places of entertainment and gathering followed the celebrations. Geoffrey Rice, in his authoritative account of the influenza pandemic’s effects in New Zealand, calculated that the peak of mortality in New Zealand was on 23 November. By December the worst was over, and the country began its recovery from the trauma of both war and disease. Large-scale peace celebrations were held in July 1919, following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

The ‘Central Bureau’ for influenza relief in the old post office buildings at the corner of Princes and Liverpool streets, Dunedin. The signs on the loaned cars read ‘Medical Aid’. Guy Morris photo, Otago Witness, 4 December 1918. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena.

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.

 

Vogue New Zealand: A Decade of Home-Grown Glamour

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

Blog post prepared by Kate Hyland, Library Assistant

The Hocken’s periodicals collection is home to a range of fashion-related material. Perhaps one of the most glamorous titles we hold is Vogue New Zealand – our nation’s very own edition of the famous title published from 1957 to 1968. Though New Zealand’s Vogue was short-lived, the magazine is a valuable resource for today’s readers: the preserved copies represent an important decade in New Zealand’s fashion history.

Vogue New Zealand began as an offshoot for British Vogue. Edited from the U.K., the early issues spoke of patriotism for England: New Zealand readers were encouraged to sew with British materials, and New Zealand garments were flown out of the country to be photographed in ‘proper’ English settings. Early features were mostly international and, besides advertising, there was little to indicate that the publication was intended for an antipodean audience. One exception is found in the magazine’s fashion advice, where suggestions were made about where Vogue clothing could be worn in New Zealand. The following extract details appropriate places to sport “cotton sailcloth” items by Voyageur:

 “Bottom right: More white, per leg-pocket shorts and tying shirt, brighter beneath a red beach blazer. Three sun-active parts, for Queenstown or perhaps Waitemata Harbour this summer…” (1959:Summer, page 57).

Image 12

Vogue New Zealand cover, 1959 : Summer, and “Sun Dash” Vogageur items pictured bottom right, (1959 : Summer, page 57).

The magazine’s British accent did not silence its developing New Zealand voice however. By 1960, production of the magazine had moved from England to Australia with editor Sheila Scotter appointed to oversee Vogue New Zealand and Vogue Australia. These developments – including the coming of local editorial talent such as Michal McKay – saw the magazine’s distinctive New Zealand style begin to flourish. New Zealand photographers, fashionable New Zealand homes, elegant New Zealand women and, of course, New Zealand designers were brought to the fore. In true Kiwi style, country living and woollen garments became a heavy focus for the magazine.

Image 13

“Evening Looks on Elegant New Zealanders”. v.10 : no 2 (1966 : Winter, page 40) and “Wool Elegance” – advertisement for the New Zealand Wool Board. v.12 : no.2 (1968 : Winter, page 31).

Vogue New Zealand positioned our nation as one in-touch with global trends and capable of producing high fashion garments. New Zealand designers, like Bruce Papos, or El Jay, were celebrated by the publication, inspiring confidence in local design. The local industry also benefitted from the magazine’s showcasing of the latest in European fashion. For example, the repeated feature “What goes on in other Vogues” informed readers of the styles trending in global fashion centres such as Paris or Italy. In another feature, readers were encouraged to write to the magazine and request Vogue sewing patterns. Access to these designs was not exclusive; the professional and the non-professional alike had the means to create some of the most fashionable clothes of the era.

Image 14

Bruce Papos advertisement (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 5). Patterns for these garments were available on request. v.11 : no.3 (1967 : Summer, page 83). “What goes on in other Vogues: Italy”. v.11 : no.2 (1967 : Winter, page 83).

Trending fashions were not stagnant during the magazine’s run, of course. Fashion, as we know, is subject to change, and the magazine documents some of the era’s major changes in style. For example, looks from the late fifties vary greatly to those of the sixties. Scanning the issues today, we can see that a traditional and lady-like aesthetic prevails in the fifties; however a youthful and rebellious style emerges in the sixties. This step away from tradition is echoed in Vogue New Zealand’s “Breakaways” feature from 1966, which reads:

“Who are the Breakaways? They are the girls who bolted the pack: stepped out of the mould – then smashed it to smithereens. They are the Look of today, of this generation”. (1966:Spring, page 51).

Image 15

A traditional look from the fifties (1958 : Autumn/Winter, page 52). “The Breakaways” feature shows a distinct change in style. v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 57). Colour image from “The Breakaways” v.10 : no.3 (1966 : Spring, page 56).

Vogue New Zealand’s decade-long run was an important time in the history of New Zealand fashion. The magazine supported New Zealand’s developing fashion industry and connected Kiwi’s with the world of couture culture. Today, the preserved copies offer a fascinating record of this time and the changing fashions within it. Like many treasures at the Hocken, Vogue New Zealand offers us a glimpse into the past and tells us a story that is unique to New Zealand’s history. We encourage those who are interested by this magazine (or related material) to visit the library and view the items first-hand. Donations from the public are also welcomed; we are always looking for material that will enrich Dr. Hocken’s ever-growing collection.

Image 11

The Hocken’s collection of Vogue New Zealand to date.

References:

Hill, M. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue. New Zealand Journal Of History [Online] 45 (2), 274-275. Available from: MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost [Accessed 28th October 2015].

Sun Dash. (1959:Summer) Vogue New Zealand, 57.

Te Papa: Museum of New Zealand. (2011) New Zealand in Vogue [Online] Available from: http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/exhibitions/Pages/NZinVogue.aspx. [Accessed 28th October 2015].

The Breakaways. (1966:Spring) Vogue New Zealand 10 (3), 51.

Vogue Australia. (2011)  A decade of Vogue New Zealand. [Online] Available from: http://www.vogue.com.au/culture/whats+on/a+decade+of+vogue+new+zealand,12965.

[Accessed 29th Oct 2015].

 

Winifred Betts – botany pioneer

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Post prepared by Dr Ali Clarke, Library Assistant (Reference)

This year the University of Otago Department of Botany is celebrating its 90th anniversary. In honour of the occasion, I’ve been looking back at the beginnings of botany, as revealed in the university’s archives here at the Hocken. Although the “department” is generally dated from 1924, when John Holloway began as lecturer, botany was taught as early as the 1870s. In the university’s early decades, when student numbers were small, there were very few teaching staff and they had a wide brief. The first professor of “natural science” – F.W. Hutton – taught geology as well as biology. The 1877 University Calendar offered a general introductory course called “Principles of Biology,” as well as papers in zoology and botany. This pattern was to continue for several decades. The 1877 botany course covered “the structure, functions, and distributions of the orders of cryptograms, and the principal orders of phanerogams,” as well as “the use of the microscope.”

Geology and biology were separated into two positions after Hutton left in 1880. Thomas Parker held the chair in biology from 1880 to 1897 and William Benham from 1898 to 1937. Both were brilliant scientists, but their chief research interests were in zoology rather than botany. As the university grew, the workload of teaching all aspects of biology to science, medical, dental and home science students became increasingly burdensome. Professor Benham managed to get an assistant – Winifred Farnie – to help with biology teaching from 1916 to 1918. In 1918 he suggested that it was time for the university to appoint a lecturer in botany, but the Council decided to delay for a year. The 1919 calendar notes that instruction in botany “is not provided at present” – presumably Benham had decided he was over-stretched and could no longer offer the course. He repeated his request for a botany lecturer to the council that year, and this time approval was granted. Benham already had somebody in mind for the post – his former student Winifred Betts.

OU Review 1917

Otago University Graduates of 1917, including Winifred Betts and Winifred Farnie

Rather than simply appointing Betts, the council decided to advertise the post of botany lecturer. Were they, perhaps, reluctant to appoint a woman? As it turned out, they received three applications, all from women, and selected Betts as Otago’s first botany lecturer. For Benham, this was a long overdue development. In 1919, writing in honour of the university’s jubilee, he commented: “It is a curious fact that in each of the four colleges in New Zealand it has been expected that one man shall undertake to teach efficiently those two subjects [zoology and botany], which in England, even in fourth-rate educational institutions, have for many years been entrusted to two distinct individuals.” He was happy to report that Otago had now “set the example to the other University Colleges by appointing a lecturer in botany”.

Winnie Betts was just 25 years old when she commenced her new position at the beginning of 1920. Born in Moteuka, she was educated at Nelson College for Girls, receiving a University National Scholarship in 1911. She then came to Otago, graduating BSc in 1916 and MSc in 1917. She was clearly one of the more capable students of her era, and by 1915 Benham had selected her as a demonstrator in biology. On completing her MSc she received a National Research Scholarship – one was awarded at each university each year. This provided her with an income of £100 a year along with lab expenses so she could carry out independent research. In 1919, at a lecture to an admittedly partisan audience in Nelson, distinguished botanist Leonard Cockayne described Betts as “the most brilliant woman scientist in New Zealand.”

S14-586a

Winifred Betts

 

In December 1920 Winnie Betts married another brilliant Otago graduate, the mathematician Alexander Aitken. Aitken, whose studies were interrupted by war service (he was badly wounded at the Somme), was by then teaching at Otago Boys’ High School. This was an era when most women left paid employment when they married, so it is intriguing that Winnie Aitken continued working as botany lecturer for some years. She joined a handful of women on Otago’s academic staff. As well as the women of the School of Home Science, there were Isabel Turnbull in Latin, Gladys Cameron in Bacteriology and Public Health and Bertha Clement in English; others came and went during Winnie’s years at Otago.

Winnie Aitken’s career as botany lecturer came to an end in December 1923. Her husband had been awarded a scholarship for postgraduate study and they moved to Edinburgh, where he had a long and distinguished academic career as a mathematician. Alexander died in 1967 and Winnie in 1971; they had two children. Various women have since taught botany at the University of Otago; indeed, it has been one of the more gender-balanced of the academic departments. As the department celebrates its 90th anniversary with Prof Kath Dickinson at its head, it seems an appropriate moment to remember the woman who pioneered it all!

The New Zealand Women’s Weekly

Monday, June 25th, 2012 | Anna Blackman | 2 Comments

Our earlliest issue from 1933

New Zealand’s longest running women’s magazine is turning 80 this year. The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly has been celebrating recently after more than 4000 issues. The magazine has remained popular over its 80 year history and it is the most highly used periodical title in the Hocken. Students and researchers have been using the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly for all sorts of research, and one of the most recent examples of this was Frances Walsh’s book, “Inside stories: a history of the New Zealand housewife“.
 
2 January 1941
While the Hocken has a good collection of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, including some microfilm, it is far from complete. From the 1930s to the late 1960s we have many gaps. We would love to receive any New Zealand Woman’s Weekly issues that people don’t want anymore and we need. We rely mostly on public generosity for these older issues.

7 July 1986
 Please email or call us if you think you might have something, we would love to hear from you.


Some recent issues

Email: serials.hocken@otago.ac.nz   Ph 03 479 4372


Blog post prepared by Library Assistant – Periodicals, Megan Vaughan