Q. What constitutes Special Collections?
A. The entire book
and manuscript collection within Special Collections, University of Otago
Library, numbers some 28,000 items. The topics and formats are wide, ranging
from medieval manuscripts, early printed pre-1501 books, and 18th century
travel accounts, to scientific expedition reports, pulp and science fiction,
and limited edition private press publications. Some of the books and
manuscripts have been generously gifted to Special Collections; some have been
made on site; others have been purchased over time.
the Love of Books: Collectors and Collections is an exhibition that offers a very selective overview of
all the types of materials within Special Collections. It highlights the type
of books amassed by collectors such as Willi Fels, Esmond de Beer, Charles
Brasch, and the Rev. William Arderne Shoults, as well as those discrete
collections such as the Scientific Expedition Reports, and the Pulp Fiction
Collection. In essence, the exhibition is a taster. A brief but illuminating
glimpse into what makes up Special Collections. And in 2019, on the
sesquicentennial (150 years) celebrations of the establishment of the
University of Otago, it is fitting to acknowledge the generosity of both past
and recent benefactors to Special Collections. Importantly, we encourage use,
and it is pleasing to acknowledge that the different collections that form
Special Collections are used regularly by students and staff of the University,
by national and international scholars, and by individuals from the wider
Special Collections is a treasure trove, and the books and
manuscripts on display highlight just some of the delights that are in Special
Collections. There are some real strengths; others tantalise. Collectors and
collections represented include the John Evelyn and John Locke Collections
amassed by Esmond de Beer; the Italian books collected by Willi Fels; the
Charles Brasch Collection of some 7,200 books; the ecclesiastical books owned
by the Rev.William Arderne Shoults; the James Hogg Collection from the Gilkison
family; the Truby King ‘Melrose’ Library; Professor Fastier’s Science Fiction,
and Hal Salive’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Collections. And much, much more.
All are welcome.
Exhibition Times: 22 March to 14 June 2019