December saw the launch of the Information Services Advent calendar. For each day until the 24th of December we revealed an image from our special collections and University’s archive material, some of which had a Christmas theme! The calendar highlighted our vast range of collections such as A book of Christmas carols with illustrations published in 1846:
and old photos from 1907 of Shakespearian dramatics at the Christmas college play:
This was a new venture for us, and we’re pleased with the result and feedback we’ve received about the calendar. Please share your thoughts too if you wish. You can view the complete calendar here: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/collections/special-collections/advent/
On Thursday 28 November the digital archive, The Welsh Experience of the First World War, was launched at The College Merthyr Tydfil by John Griffiths AM, Welsh Government Minister for Culture and Sport and Huw Lewis AM, the Welsh Government Minister for Education and Skills.
The Welsh Experience of the First World War was developed as a collaborative initiative led by The National Library of Wales, in partnership with the Archives and Special Collections of Aberystwyth University; Bangor University; Cardiff University; Swansea University; the University of Wales Trinity St David; BBC Cymru Wales, The People’s Collection, Wales, and archives and local records offices that are part of ARCW, and the Archives and Records Council of Wales. The project was funded by a grant from the Jisc e-Content programme as part of their work in support of education and research, and through support from the partner organisations.
Elgan Davies (Aberystwyth University), Elizabeth Bennett (Swansea University), Sian Williams (South Wales Miners’ Library) and Professor Lorna Hughes (National Library of Wales)
As part of the launch Dr Paul O’Leary of the Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University, spoke of how he had used the resource to prepare an online exhibition, ‘The First World War and the Industrial Valleys’. Dr O’Leary has said, “It would have taken many years in the archives to find these resources and bring them together in a way that demonstrates the impact of the First World War on south Wales. Having the digital archive freely available will be of tremendous benefit for research and teaching”.
Dr Paul O’Leary (Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University)
Material from the Hugh Owen Archives and Special Collections that have been digitised includes The Dragon (1914-1918); Y Wawr (1913-1917); the Ifor Leslie Evans papers; In Ruhleben Camp; material relating to Professor Hermann Ethé; and photographs of military training and lists of casualties and honours.
During 2014 we intend placing on our Special Collections website articles that place these materials in their historical context.
Come along and see our unique Special Collection displays in Hugh Owen Library. This month we’ve got two collections: On Level D is a display of The Student newsletter from the late nineteenth century while on Level F you’ll find material on Moscow 1812, a turning point in the Napoleonic wars.
Although UCW Magazine which began in 1878 was intended for student use it was seen by some as rather dry in content and an attempt was made in 1894 to develop a newsletter for the Common Room, called The Student. This wallsheet provides a fascinating picture of student activity a century or more ago, long before the days of Courier.
A display featuring contemporary accounts of this turning point in the Napoleonic Wars along with some later representations in music, literature and art.
Lotus of Hindostan, from Illustrations to Oriental Memoirs by James Forbes,1835.
Over the past century Aberystwyth University has been fortunate to receive a number of important bequests from various sources which have served both to enrich the library collection and to support teaching and scholarship. In the earliest years George Powell of Nanteos gave and bequeathed many books, manuscripts and objets d’art to the College between 1879 and 1882. These items formed the core of the original library and include several rare treasures such as the Warburton edition of Shakespeare, published in 1747, which was used by Samuel Johnson in the preparation of his English Dictionary.
Sir John Rhys collection book plate
Sir John Rhys, first Professor of Welsh at Oxford, left his collection of some 2000 books to us when he died back in 1915 and these items are recognisable by their very distinctive coloured book plates.
The display for the Alumni concentrates on two more recent bequests to the University. John Challinor was on the staff of the Geology Department from 1919, retiring as a Senior Lecturer in 1960. He died in August 1990 at the age of 95 and bequeathed his extensive collection of books relating to geology, botany and topography to the University. There are many valuable books published during the 18th and 19thcenturies, a large proportion are of antiquarian interest and many are key works in the history of geology.
Organic Remains of a Former World by James Parkinson, London, 1804.
Professor Fergus Johnston was on the staff of the History Department from 1934 until his retirement in 1967. He donated some 1500 books relating to history and military studies to the library back in 1986 and the remainder of his collection was passed to us by his widow after his death in 1991. The collection is particularly strong in military affairs from the 19thcentury, including the Napoleonic Wars. Many of these items are now much sought after by book collectors and command extremely high prices.
Pallas Armata : Military Essayes of the Ancient Grecian, Roman, and Modern Art of War. Written in the Years 1670 and 1671 by Sir James Turner.
Bill Hines – Information Services