Special Collections Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar 2017

#ChrsitmasCountdown

The Special Collections team have been busy looking through their archive and rare book collections to uncover unique Christmas Treasures for the return of the Special Collections #ChristmasCountdown advent calendar.

Starting on Friday 1st December 2017, join the team in counting down the days to Christmas. Explore our unique collections by opening a new door each day to reveal a Christmas Treasure.

Click on the calendar above to take you through to our Christmas Countdown 2017 advent calendar. Be sure to visit each day throughout December in the run up to Christmas to uncover a new image.

Once you’ve opened the door for that day, why not look through the previous days and see what you can find.

Why not follow @ncllibspeccoll on Twitter to keep up-to-date with Special Collections’ #ChristmasCountdown.

Page Turners

Special Collections are pleased to announce the launch of their new online resource Page Turners. Using Turning the Pages software, Page Turners allows us to make some of the highlights of the bound volumes within our collections available within your browser. We’ve also added some information about the items to help with their interpretation. This post is to give you a brief overview of the first items we’ve made available, and consider how we might continue to make use of it to share our collections with you.

Petre’s Gradual is a 14th Century manuscript book containing ecclesiastical chants for services throughout the year. Very few graduals survive in Britain, with many having been destroyed during the Reformation. Early copies of this book had existed in the British Library, however the volume itself had been thought lost. It had in fact been held securely within Special Collections since the 1990s as part of a bequest from antiquarian book sellers Marjorie and Philip Robinson (after whom two of our library buildings are named). The volume then caught the eye of Dr Magnus Williamson during a teaching session in 2014. Since its rediscovery, the 500 year old polyphonic music it contains has been brought back to life with public performances. By featuring the Gradual on Page Turners, it can be appreciated, studied and used by scholars, musicians and any other interested parties, not just in Newcastle, but throughout the world.

Page from Petre's Gradual (ROB 405) 1

Page from Petre’s Gradual (ROB 405) 1

The second item now available leaps forward in time to the twentieth century. In 1914, Newcastle University’s Armstrong College was requisitioned for use as the 1st Northern General Hospital. During its lifetime, the hospital treated over 40,000 wounded servicemen. One of the individuals tasked with requisitioning the building, and contributing to its operation was Professor of Surgery Frederick Charles Pybus. The University holds Pybus’ archive of personal papers, and these include a volume listing the operations he performed while working at the 1st Northern. Based in Ward C, which is now the Hatton Gallery, the book lists over 1000 operations performed by Pybus. Now available on Page Turners, this resource will not only aid historians studying the war, the hospital or the University, but may also provide valuable information for family history researchers, tracing the movements of individual soldiers during the conflict.

Ward C Surgical Team (FP/1/3/9) 1

Ward C Surgical Team (FP/1/3/9) 1

The final item selected to launch Page Turners is actually the first instalment of an ongoing project. The University has held the personal papers of four generations of the Trevelyan family of Wallington since the 1960s. One of the most prominent members of the family was Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan (1870-1958). A Liberal then later Labour M.P., Sir Charles was the last of the Trevelyan Baronets to live on the family estate at Wallington and his Socialist beliefs led him to donate the estate to the National Trust in the 1930s. One of the most engaging areas of the Trevelyan archives is a collection of 39 photograph albums and scrapbooks created by Charles and his wife Lady Mary Katharine Trevelyan nee Bell [Molly] (daughter of industrialist Sir Hugh Bell and half-sister of Gertrude Bell). The albums reveal an intimate picture of Charles and Molly’s family life at Wallington and feature the couple’s six children, Pauline, George, Kitty, Marjorie, Patricia and Geoffrey. The albums have previously inspired an exhibition at the library, and in this first instalment, three volumes are being made available – Volume 8 (1917-1918), Volume 9 (1919-1921) and Volume 12 (1925). The family albums provide a captivating insight into the life of a landed, if somewhat unconventional family, from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, through both World Wars, to the early 1960s.

Page from Volume 12 (CPT/PA/11) 1

Page from Volume 12 (CPT/PA/11) 1

Page Turners gives us a fantastic opportunity to share unique items such as these from within our collections in a new way. We hope that you’ll enjoy browsing the materials available. If you have any comments about Page Turners and the items featured, or any suggestions of what you’d like to see next, do please get in touch.

Kathleen Ainslie’s Mischievous Dutch Peg Dolls

Front cover from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Front cover from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Kathleen Ainslie was an illustrator, active in the years 1900-1911. She is best-known for her series of children’s books based on jointed Dutch peg dolls which were popular during the 19th and early-20th centuries (Florence Kate Upton’s The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg had been published in 1895.)

The first of two books that we have recently added to our Rare Books Collection is Catherine Susan and Me’s coming out, published in London by Castell Brothers Ltd. and in New York by Frederick A. Stokes, c.1906 (COPAC lists just one copy, at Cambridge University).

Catherine Susan and Maria are weary of household chores so they issue a public notice to announce that they are ‘coming out’. Their coming out is both in the sense of venturing out on a trip to London and of being presented to society.

Pages 1-2 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 1-2 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Of course, such a momentous occasion requires clothes and the dolls have nothing appropriate to wear. Dutch peg dolls were sold undressed and children made clothes for them from scraps of cloth. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the female silhouette changed rapidly and, certainly in the early 20th Century, styles, designs and fabrics from other cultures had become more influential in fashion. In the haberdashery store, the dolls argue about whether to wear muslin or white satin, both of which were considered stylish at the time. In the 1880s and 1890s, small hats ornamented with birds, feathers and artificial flowers were fashionable. The mischievous dolls chase hens and then secure the feathers to their heads with hammer and nails!

Pages 11-12 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 11-12 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Catherine Susan and Maria squeeze into car and find a warm welcome in London. They are invited to attend a ball – in the 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous balls were held for members of ‘high society’. Debutante balls were occasions at which young women ‘came out’. Fans were essential: not just part of the outfit but a form of non-verbal communication conveying rejection (a closed fan), interest (an open fan) or excitement (a fluttering fan). Catherine Susan isn’t shy and sits with her fan open and, later, dances with a gentleman she tells everyone was a prince.

Pages 17-18 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 17-18 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

The dolls go to a polo match. Polo had been imported to England in the 1860s, from India, and its popularity grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the dolls exclaim at how fast the horses gallop, British polo was slower and more methodical than the polo played in Manipur. They also try their hands at punting. Punting boats were first built for pleasure in England in the 1860s. Pleasure punting probably started on the River Thames but became increasingly popular in the early 1900s. In the evening, they go to the theatre – although Maria doesn’t remember what they saw, from the balcony scene, it looks as though it might have been Romeo and Juliet. Victorian productions of Shakespeare’s plays often prioritised ‘authentic’ costumes and scenery and to be a bona fide actor/actress, like Henry Irving (1838-1905) or Ellen Terry (1847-1928), was to be a great Shakespearean actor.

Pages 27-28 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 27-28 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

By the end of the book, the dolls are both exhausted.

Pages 29-30 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 29-30 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

The second book by Kathleen Ainslie that we have added to our Rare Books Collection is What I did, published c.1905 (COPAC lists copies held at the British Library, Manchester University and Oxford University.) Inside the front cover, someone has written in pencil “I hope you will like reading this book. It is very amusing”. This time, the protagonist is a naughty Dutch doll schoolboy and the book recounts his boarding school escapades: fagging (i.e. slaving) for an older boy called Tomkins; swimming; playing cricket; cavorting in the dormitory; and smoking.

Pages 25-26 from ‘What I Did’ by Cathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 25-26 from ‘What I Did’ by Cathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

We do not currently have any more of Kathleen Ainslie’s Dutch peg doll books but in other stories, Catherine Susan and her companion, Maria, celebrate holidays, take on odd jobs and even agitate for women’s suffrage (Votes for Catherine Susan and Me, 1910). Ainslie wrote about 25 books (the first being Me and Catherine Susan in 1903), as well as illustrating a series of six calendars (1906-1911). They all feature the same brand of humorous chromolithographed illustrations.

21st December – The Fig Tree

#ChristmasCountdown

The Fig Tree

‘The Fig Tree’ illustration from Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbal Vol. 1

Plate 125. The Fig Tree. Ficus.

It seldome grows to be a Tree of any great Bigness in England; the Leaves are a grass Green and the Fruit when ripe of a brownish Green; it beareth no visible Flowers, which makes it believed they are hid in the Fruit.

Its Native soils are Turky, Spain and Portugal; and its time of Bearing is in Spring and Autumn; the Figs are cured by dipping them in scalding hot Lye, made of ye Ashes of the Guttings of the Tree, and afterwards they dry them carefully in the Sun.

Figs are esteem’d cooling and moistning, good for coughs, shortness of Breath, and all Diseases of the Breast; as also the Stone and Gravel, – and the small Pox and Measels, which they drive out. – Outwardly they are dissolving and ripening, good for Imposthumations and Swellings; and pestilential buboes.

Latin, Ficus. Spanish, Igos. Italian, Fichi: French, Figues. German, Fengen. Dutch Uygen.

Taken from Volume 1 of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbals found in our Rare Books Collection available here.

20th December – The Pear-Tree

PEAR TREE

The Pear-Tree. Pyrus.

1. There are several kinds and Varieties of Pear Trees cultivated in our Gardens; the Blossomes are white and the Leaves a grass Green.

2. It is planted in Gardens, and flowers in April and May.

3. The Fruit is esteem’d cooling and restringent. Dioscorides says it is very useful in Repelling Cataplasms and recommends the Juice boil’d as good to stop the Fluor Albus.

4. Latin, Pyrus sativa. Spanish, Peral. Italian, Pero. French, Poirier. German, Birn = Baum. Dutch, Peer = Boom.

Taken from Volume 2 of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Herbals found in our Rare Books Collection available here.

The Pybus Papers

Pybus c. 1913

Pybus c. 1913

Professor Frederick Charles Pybus (1883 – 1975) was a surgeon and alumni of our College of Medicine, graduating  in 1905. He joined the 1st Northern General Hospital shortly after its formation and was serving as its Registrar in 1914. As a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, except for a brief posting at the 17th General Hospital in Egypt, he served as a surgeon at Armstrong College throughout the war. Up until 1919, he carried out at least 1,364 operations on wounded servicemen.

WW1 MRC

WW1 MRC

Professor Pybus went on to have a distinguished career as a surgeon in the Royal Victoria Infirmary from 1920 until his retirement in 1944, becoming Professor of Surgery in the College of Medicine in 1941. Amongst his claims to fame was inventing a drink to sustain patients before operations, which was later developed and sold by a local chemist to Beechams, becoming Lucozade.

Lucozade

Lucozade

His lifelong concerns included cancer research, developed during his 50 year surgical career from 1924 and pursued through his own cancer research laboratory. He was amongst the first to make the link to atmospheric pollution as a major contributing cause of cancer and his work directly informed the Clean Air Act 1956.

For some 40 years Professor Pybus also built up a collection of international importance on the history of medicine, including books, engravings, letters, portraits, busts and bleeding bowls. In 1965, he donated the collection to the Library, where it remains a valuable source of information for medical historians. Meanwhile, his papers, also held in Special Collections, offer a unique insight into a renaissance man of medicine.

pybus-professor-frederick-collection