The new exhibition in the CRC showcases a number of items from the Thomas Nelson Archive, which has been written about on this blog more than once in the past. It really is an interesting collection and it’s great to see some of the books making it into the public eye.
Fiona Mowat and Beth Dumas, who began organising and cataloguing the collection of over 10,000 books, have worked with Emma Smith to make this exhibition possible. In it you can see a range of books from throughout the 20th century including stylish art deco designs and pulpy dust-jackets from the ‘40s and ‘50s. There is plenty of sci-fi and and romance present for genre fans!
The exhibition can be seen at the Binks Trust Display Wall at the Centre for Research Collections on the 6th floor of the Main Library from 3 March until 21 May 2015.
More information can be found here:
Read more about the Thomas Nelson Archive at the Library Annexe here:
[Blog] Fiona an Beth blog about their work on the Thomas Nelson collection
[Blog] The AnneXe Factor: Full Nelson Archive
Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor
The Laird of Glenfernie by Mary Johnston (Nelson’s Continental Library)
Springtime by H. C. Bailey
While the cover of Fifty Shades of Grey displays a degree of restraint, publishers and consumers of the romance genre did not always have such a taste for understated dust-jackets. Instead, they favoured a more direct approach.
The Prize-Winner. A comedy in one act by Macdonald Watson (Repertory Plays. no. 86.)
The King’s Wooing by Conal O’Riordan (Repertory Plays No. 71)
In these examples from Gowans and Gray’s playbooks of the 1910s to 30s and Nelson’s Novels from the 20s onwards, it’s clear that previous generations wanted to get right to the action.
Marcella by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Over 500 books from the Nelson publishing archive have been shelf-marked and catalogued by rare books cataloguing interns Beth and Fiona. There are only around another 9,500 left to go!
The books in the collection reflect the decades of the 20th century- beginning with the staid, uniform editions of the New Century Library; progressing through stylish art deco illustrations; austere WWI and WWII paper; bright, pulpy dust-jackets from the ‘40s and ‘50s; and into rainbow-hued classics of the later decades.
Interesting examples of the changing book styles of the 20th century will be exhibited in the 6th floor display wall at the Centre for Research Collections next year.
The Thomas Nelson Archive contains these Gowans and Gray playbooks; a handsome series of repertory plays with fragile glassine dust wrappers.
Fiona Mowat and Beth Dumas , CRC Cataloguing Interns
Items from Nelson’s Library on the On-line Catalogue
[Blog] The AnneXe Factor: Full Nelson Archive
Repertory Plays Series, Thomas Nelson Archive: These picturesque little plays are just some of the gems amongst the collection.
The Thomas Nelson collection of books arrived at the Annexe on Tuesday 14th August 2012. We were very excited to be receiving this collection of books and materials forming the back catalogue of the publishing firm that began in Scotland in 1798. The books date back to the time when Nelson moved away from Scotland to become part of the Wolters Kluwer Group. Edinburgh University already acts as guardians to the Thomas Nelson business archives up to 1960, so it made perfect sense to keep the collection together.
The Interlude of Youth
We foolishly thought the packed boxes would come straight off the van and onto our shelves before lunch time. However, after only a couple of the 13 pallets were unloaded, we realised that this was unlikely to be the case. The collection is made up of a vast range of materials from cassette tapes to oversized picture books. Each pallet had to be unwrapped and unpacked individually, which involved fighting through layers of dust and dirt (most of which was many years old). The first task we had to undertake was the weeding of duplicates. At first glance there were many copies of the same item, but closer inspection revealed that each item bore tiny differences, which from a bibliographical perspective are potentially huge.
Gods Throw Incense by Katharine Trae
Many weeks later, the collection was finally in its new home at the Library Annexe. After the weeding of duplicates the collection still covered an impressive 275 meters.
Under the Skull and Bones by Ronald Gow
Whilst unpacking, Library Annexe Assistant Stephanie (Charlie) Farley discovered a first edition of “When Wendy Grew Up” by J.M. Barrie, which is an epilogue to peter Pan (dating from 1957). What made this book stand out was a signature from Mr Sydney Blow, who was not only an actor in the original production of Peter Pan, but the author of the foreword. It was dedicated to Hilda Trevelyan, who played Wendy in the production and to whom the manuscript “When Wendy Grew Up” was dedicated to in 1908. Although not overly valuable, this item is certainly unique. It was the sheer mystery and excitement of not knowing what you might find that helped us get through 13 pallets of material.
Scott Docking, Library Assistant (Special Collections and Archives)