Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa
Book buyers and collectors
Book buyers and collectors
The inseparable forces of demand and supply mean that in many ways the pattern of buying (and selling) New Zealand books is at the same time the pattern of publishing in New Zealand, and some of the issues raised here are discussed more fully under 'Economics' in Chapter 3, 'Publishing'. Unfortunately neither perspective is well documented at a national level on a consistent, regular basis, even for the more recent period when publishing has developed into a strong local and export activity. There are many opportunities for further research and analysis of these patterns, and also of the imported book trade as part of the total book market.
Part of the explanation for the lack of national statistics and analysis lies in the history of the organisations that support the trade and represent the publishers and booksellers—groups whose affiliations have fluctuated regularly, especially over the last 20 years. A broad picture of this history can be found in part 4 ('The Issues') of the Rogers's Turning the Pages (1993). A more specific reason is the apparent difficulty in obtaining information from the book trade itself, for whatever reason—perhaps commercial sensitivity, or perceived lack of importance. In New Zealand Publishing News (1977-93) Gerard Reid, Executive Director of the Book Publishers Association, refers regularly to the difficulty in getting replies to survey questionnaires, and also to his efforts over many years to get the Department of Statistics interested in improving the quality of industry data.
This appropriately designed bookcase filled with New Zealand books was carved by Albert Percy Godber (1875-1949) of Silverstream in the Hutt Valley, who also took the photograph. Godber was a foreman at the Petone Railway workshops and had many other interests, including volunteer firefighting, bee-keeping and photography, and he also studied Māori language and art. He visited the Turnbull Library regularly on Fridays and on his death left the Library some 2,000 photographs, together with rafter designs in colour which are believed not to be recorded elsewhere, and manuscripts and diaries. (A.P. Godber Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, reference number G-899-1/2-APG)
By international standards, New Zealanders buy relatively more of the newspapers, magazines and books they read. A survey reported on by the New Zealand Book Publishers Association, cited in the New Zealand Book Council's Newsletter no.41 for September 1981, established that in the year July 1979 to June 1980, people spent on books $63 per capita, below the highest ranked (Sweden, at $80) but twice the figure for Australia. In the 1995/96 year expenditure per household was $380.64, of which about half was spent on books. An interesting trend over the last ten years is the increase in expenditure on magazines, which now exceeds expenditure on newspapers.
One of the few published reviews of the contemporary retail trade is Harold White's 'The Distribution of Books in New Zealand' (1974). Following on from that, and despite the difficulties in obtaining data from the trade, New Zealand Publishers News remains a useful source of publishing and therefore book buying information for the period 1969-90. For example, the December 1984 issue records total annual sales of $16 million, 5.5 million 'units', and lists the seven major outlets, led by Whitcoulls. The October 1983 issue analyses New Zealand titles published 1969-82 under 25 categories, of which the most prolific in 1982 was Political Science/Political Economy (15% of the total, over 100 titles a year); by comparison, Literature was less than 10% (66 titles). In 1969 the same two categories were 13% (46 titles) and 4.5% (16 titles). 'Flat' categories include biography, travel, and business titles. Other questions arise from these figures, such as why 1,107 titles were published in 1981 but only 765 in 1982.
Other nuggets of information include: school textbook sales ($5.8 million in 1983, i.e. 36% of total sales); domestic books as a proportion of domestic sales (24.6% in 1982, compared with 42.2% in Australia); the import trade (up 86% between 1969 and 1980); the value of UK exports to New Zealand (mainly mass-market paperbacks) totalled over £12 million in 1987. The newsletter also refers to other documents circulated to members of the Book Publishers Association which would be sources of more detailed information. The most recent similar figures (a breakdown of 1993 sales) were supplied by London Bookshops for Whitireia Publishing's First Edition (rev. ed. 1995, p.25), but it is not possible to adequately identify sales of New Zealand publications from imports. 'New Age' is a new category (3%), with children's books (14%) the highest sales of any specific category.
Complementary information can be found in the publications of the Booksellers' Association and its successor (from 1991) Booksellers New Zealand. Much of the information relates to promotions (especially the Christmas Catalogue, an industry priority) and the subsidiary book tokens business. Sales of book tokens have been a major growth area, rising from $125,000 in 1973 to a peak of $2.75 million in 1993, with tokens seen as an important means of generating new customers.
The New Zealand Bookseller & Publisher (1968-72), in addition to lists of current publications and Indecent Publication Tribunal decisions, includes articles on a range of general topics such as sale or return, shop presentation, mail-order selling. A particular success reported (in 1971) was the overseas-initiated 'part works' which appeal to people who would not usually buy books. New Zealand Book World (1973-81) initially purported to continue the preceding title, but developed into a general magazine with very few articles on the New Zealand trade. Following its demise, a number of short-lived trade journals were produced in the 1980s until (after a couple of name changes in 1986-88) Booksellers News (1988- ) became established as the official newsletter of Booksellers New Zealand. It has developed into far more than its title suggests, increasingly representing publishing as well as bookselling. Since the appointment of Anna Rogers as editor in 1993 there have been many articles of interest, a recent example being Beth Davies's article in the November 1996 issue (no.102, pp.8-11, 14) on the retailing of gay and lesbian material.
Three relevant market research surveys have been published. The National Research Bureau's Survey of Book Buying In New Zealand (1977) reported its 1976 investigation for the New Zealand Book Trade Organisation (NZBTO) into the buying habits of a representative sample of adults in the four main centres. Survey of Book Buyers in New Zealand (two publications in 1979, one by Don Esslemont) reported on a study by the Market Research Centre, Massey University, for the New Zealand Book Council, of those who entered 31 town or city bookshops in November 1978.
A 1982 survey for the NZBTO, published as The Book Buyer and Book Buying Patterns In New Zealand (1983), studied 1,054 people who entered bookshops. This survey provides some interesting information on book buyers themselves. Only one third of people enter a bookshop intending to buy—and of these only a third actually purchase something; lost book sales (unavailability of the item and unwillingness to order) are a major concern for the trade. The highest incidence of purchase of children's books is among people in the 40-54 age-group, and the older we are (up to 55) the more hardbacks we buy. In terms of media impact (despite the high rate of newspaper purchase) the survey identifies the New Zealand Listener as the only magazine or newspaper to have a significant reach to book buyers as a whole. Book reviews on Kim Hill's National Radio programme are also known to have an identifiable impact on sales.
Bestseller lists have always been regularly published in the trade journals and at times in other magazines, such as the New Zealand Listener and Metro. The current largest and most neutral survey of bestsellers is compiled fortnightly by Booksellers New Zealand from a sample of 100 bookshops (out of their 400 membership) and is described in Booksellers News (October 1993, p.14). The five bestselling New Zealand books (according to the 1990 Official Yearbook) are: Edmonds 'Sure to Rise' Cookery Book (over 3.5 million copies, with 33 editions between 1907 and 1993), Yates Garden Guide (more than a million copies from 1895 to 1995), Whitcombe's Everyday Cookery (1900, 350,000 copies), The Game of Mah Jong (1938, 282,000 copies), and New Zealand Calorie Counter (1974, 266,000). Other bestsellers include school texts, such as Whitcombe's Modern Junior Dictionary, Collins' Clear School New Zealand Atlas (Junior Edition), and Whitcombe's Atlas Of Geography.
Bibliographic reference sources, including national bibliographical records (refer to section 'Access tools' in the following chapter) provide a valuable source of information on New Zealand publishing and therefore potential sales at the level of individual titles. For example, educational books bought by families or as sets by schools may be investigated through Ian McLaren and George Griffiths's Whitcombe's Story Books (1984) and Hugh Price's School Books Published in New Zealand to 1960 (1992). Fiction is dominated by overseas-originated paperbacks, but Barry Crump's back country yarns are claimed to have sold in total over a million copies.
Meaningful analysis of book buying patterns—whether print runs and sales of individual titles, or aggregated by subject area, or over periods of time—will depend on detailed searching of individual publishers' and distributors' records.
Collectors have always constituted a significant minority of local book buyers. To be a collector, it is not sufficient to accumulate a large agglomeration of books. It requires an intentional focus upon some subject, author or category (for example cricket, Katherine Mansfield, incunabula), and a sense of the value of what is acquired, whether monetary, aesthetic, special interest, or professional. Thus a personal library may contain several collections. A valuable collection may also be built up by a group of enthusiasts, such as that of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, at the Ava Railway Station, Petone. However, this section is concerned with individuals, institutional collectors belonging rather to the section on libraries.
The term 'book collector', interpreted broadly, distinguishes collectors of text materials, printed or handwritten, from collectors of fine art, silverware, and other collectables. Some individuals (among them Turnbull, Hocken, Vogtherr) have nonetheless functioned both as major book collectors and as gatherers of quite different categories of items: Māori artifacts, porcelain, paintings, and so forth.
Book collectors in this country have pursued very diverse areas of interest, and for many of these fields, international guides to collecting are available. Even so, New Zealand material has often had a special appeal for local collectors, catered for by locally-produced guides.
During the past half century, even serious collectors, depending upon their fields of interest, have been able to buy solely within New Zealand. Previously they had to purchase largely from dealers overseas, by mail, or while visiting. Thereby they have brought many valuable books into the country. Some migrants brought substantial personal libraries when they first came. Many such libraries have been dispersed through sale, providing ore for subsequent collectors. Others have been donated to the public, for preservation in institutional libraries. Collectors have enriched in immeasurable ways the cultural resources of the nation.
Categories of collectors
J.C. Beaglehole in 'The Library and the cosmos' (1970) has distinguished between generalists, specialists, and general collectors who also specialise.
J.E. Traue, in '"For the ultimate good of the nation": the contribution of New Zealand's first book collectors' (1991b), has drawn another kind of distinction, between connoisseurs and 'colonial collectors'. For the connoisseur in the English tradition 'the emphasis was on selection, on choice works and rarities, and collecting was established as a relatively expensive hobby'. The 'colonial collector' on the other hand was concerned to amass and preserve 'anything whatever relating to this colony' (in Turnbull's words), as 'evidence in documentary form' for the nature of the recent past and the fleeting present. By this measure, Turnbull operated as a connoisseur in his ordering of Kelmscott Press publications, and as a colonial in his all-embracing acquisition of New Zealand textual and graphic materials, and artifacts. Vogtherr sought the finest copies he could get, selling off a less desirable copy when he could buy a better one. Hocken was the prime exemplar of the specialist 'colonial collector'.
Collectors, tout simple, can be contrasted with those who collect in order to write (historians, bibliographers, amateur ornithologists, and so forth), or with pursuers of professional interests (scientists, railway engineers, etc.), who have assembled working collections of one kind or another.
A further distinction can be made, in retrospect, between those individuals whose collections have been preserved in institutional libraries, and those whose collections have either become dispersed, or else are retained still in private hands. And there are of course presently active collectors, for whose efforts a future generation may well be grateful.
Aids to collecting
The only systematic introductory work is Barry Fischer's Guide to New Zealand Book Collecting and Handbook of Values (1977), which provides a discussion of some major issues, potted biographies of collectable New Zealand authors, a glossary of terms, a short bibliography, a list of dealers, and a valuation of books worth at the time more than $5. The earliest approach to a 'guide' (apart from bibliographies by A.S. Thomson (1859) and J.D. Davis (1887)) had been Charles Rooking Carter's Catalogue of Books on or Relating to New Zealand: To Which is Added Remarks on Book Purchasing and Book Collecting in London (1887). On a more systematic level, J.C. Andersen, in The Lure of New Zealand Book Collecting (1936), had been primarily concerned with what was worth collecting, and its contemporary value, but also discussed the history of various authors and publications, such as McNab and Murihiku.
Pat Lawlor, like Andersen a central figure among the Wellington literati of his era, offers in Books and Bookmen (1954) entertaining chapters on notable books in his own collection, Bethune's book sales (see below), the 'Churchill auctions' of books and other collectables in November 1941, collecting Katherine Mansfield (with a reference to Guy N. Morris as a collector of her works), on writers and on booksellers. In addition, Lawlor's various 'Wellington' books contain useful information. As a minor book dealer, he issued half a dozen 'NZ Collectors' Monographs' through his Beltane Book Bureau, sometimes under the nom de plume 'Shibli Bagarag', and discussed matters of interest to collectors in his Beltane Bulletin. His own collecting is mentioned below.
Recent prices for collectable New Zealand books have been provided by Andersen (1936), by Lawlor in The Best New Zealand Books (1948), by Fischer (1977), and in a series of Book Values publications by Andrew Fair, of Bethune's (1948-75), and by Glenn Haszard (1989-96). Booksellers' catalogues, such as Dick White's, for Newbold's Bookshop, Dunedin, are also useful.
Bibliographies are also vital, notably T.M. Hocken's Bibliography of the Literature Relating to New Zealand (1909, reprinted 1973) with supplements by A.H. Johnstone (1927, reprinted 1975) and L.J.B. Chapple (1938), and A.G. Bagnall's New Zealand National Bibliography to the Year 1960 (1969-85).
J.H. Bethune's book auction sales have been held in Wellington, with relatively brief interruptions, since 1877, and before that by the firm of Bethune & Hunter, from 1852. Nowadays the sales are held quarterly, organised by John Atkinson. The detailed catalogues are later supplemented with lists of prices realised. The firm holds a run from 1971, but some earlier catalogues survive. Other auction firms sometimes sell books as part of an estate.
In the 19th century, there were also occasional auctions of consignments of books sent out by British book dealers. Wallace Kirsop has written about 'Bernard Quaritch's Wellington consignment sale' (1981), and about 'Edward Lumley and the consignment trade' in Books for Colonial Readers (1995).
Antiquarian booksellers within New Zealand that issue catalogues include Smith's Bookshop Ltd (Rowan Gibbs, Wellington), Quilter's Bookshop (Wellington), Otago Heritage Books (George Griffiths, Dunedin), and Brewster's Old, Rare and Interesting Books (Nelson), among others. Anna and Max Rogers's Turning the Pages (1993) provides fuller information.
Collectors as a community of interest
Book collectors being scattered throughout the country, efforts have been made to link them. The Wellington-based New Zealand Ex-Libris Society, at first concerned mainly with bookplates, was established in 1930, changing its name to the New Zealand Ex-Libris and Booklovers' Society in the 1950s. The Society published a number of pamphlets, a newsletter, and at least two issues of a journal, Ex Libris. The more recently founded Slightly Foxed Society meets regularly in Auckland.
In 1941 Noel Hoggard's periodical The NZ Book Collector lasted for just one issue. A more substantial journal, History and Bibliography, ed. S.D. MacMillan, managed three issues in 1948, including in the third a brief census of collectors. A Roll of Book Collectors in New Zealand (1958) was compiled and published by the New Zealand Ex-Libris and Booklovers' Society, with an introduction by C.R.H. Taylor, the Turnbull Librarian. It provided data on 88 collectors, and a list of current members.
Apart from such membership lists, the only subsequent listings of collectors would be the mailing lists for Bethune's auction catalogues, and of antiquarian book dealers—doubtless now subject to the Privacy Act 1993.
Studies of collectors
Eric McCormick's The Fascinating Folly: Dr Hocken and his Fellow Collectors (1961) has some wider relevance. McCormick's biography of Turnbull (see below) contains much information about other collectors of his era. V.G. Elliott's article 'Early printed books in New Zealand: some thoughts on the origins of institutional collections' (1982), surveys collections that have gone into institutional or public libraries. Szentirmay's DILSINZ: A Directory of Information and Library Services in New Zealand (1988) goes some way further in listing distinct named donor collections within each institution. However, a more extended and comprehensive guide to such collections is needed.
Wynne Colgan in The Governor's Gift: The Auckland Public Library 1880-1980 (1980) discusses Sir George Grey's donation of his collection, as well as other important donor collections, now held in the Library's Rare Books Room. The Reed-Dumas collection is mentioned below. The Shaw Collection contains more than 2,300 volumes donated by Henry Shaw (1850-1928), among them 33 European manuscripts, from the 13th to the 16th centuries, 65 incunabula, and 1,450 volumes given by his brother Fred (1849-1927), especially in the areas of English drama and music. (For Henry Shaw, see DNZB, vol.3). Other gifts include James Tannock Mackelvie's, of 'more than 500 books, many on the subject of art', presented in 1885; the music collection of Lewis Roberts Eady (1858-1937), some 600 volumes, 1926; John A. Lee's 'collection of manuscripts, pamphlets, and political papers', 1966, and letters to him from authors, 1972; the Freida Dickens collection of c.2,500 theatre and concert programmes; and Hilda Wiseman's collection of over 1,500 bookplates.
Barrowman's The Turnbull (1995) provides details about Alexander Turnbull and the more important of the library's numerous later donors:
- W.G. Mantell, whose collections, of scientific and literary interest, donated by his widow in 1927, included those of his father W.B.D. Mantell and his grandfather Gideon
- Montfort Trimble, who in 1929 donated about 250 early printed books on Italian statecraft
- Henry Wright, died 1936, who bequeathed 500 volumes on comparative religion
- Arthur Richmond Atkinson, who bequeathed in 1935 some 700 books, mostly English and classical literature, with his other books going to three other Wellington libraries
- Sir Joseph Kinsey, died 1936, whose widow and daughter donated his very large collection of modern English literature, art, early printing, travel, polar exploration, and shipping and alpine literature
- E.A. Earp, who in 1939 donated his bee library
- Robert Trimble, whose daughters in 1941 donated his 1,200 volumes of Irish literature
- Robert Hogg, who bequeathed in 1941 his 2,000 volumes of poetry and Scottish literature
- Percy Watts Rule, who died in 1953, bequeathing his A. Edward Newton collection.
Art New Zealand (9, 1978, pp.32-55) has several articles on the Library's pictorial research collections.
The recent booklet published by the University of Otago Library, Rare Books and Special Collections: A Guide for Readers (1994) provides brief information about the main collectors and donors represented:
- Willi Fels (1858-1946), who, in about 1946 presented about 400 books, in the areas of history, works on art and literature, translations of classics, and early printing (see McLintock, Encyclopaedia (1966, vol.1, pp.637-8); DNZB (vol.3); H.D. Skinner, Willi Fels, CMG (1946))
- Dr Esmond de Beer and his sisters Dora and Mary (see below)
- William Ardern Shoults (1839-87), whose collecting emphasised early printing, history, theology, and Greek and Roman authors
- John McGlashan (1802-64)
- Charles Brasch (see below)
- Ernest Webber, who focused on railways
One special area of collecting interest is that covered by Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections, compiled by Margaret Manion, Vera F. Vines and Christopher de Hamel (1989). This very handsome book describes manuscripts in public and private ownership, and explores their provenance. David M. Taylor's The Oldest Manuscripts in New Zealand (1955), which it supersedes, is still of value.
A useful area for investigation is the archives of antiquarian book dealers, both in this country and overseas. For example, the records of Bernard Quaritch, I and II, of London, in the British Library's manuscript collection, include a 'Customer list arranged by country, 1887-99' (Add. Ms. 64221), and 'Trade/Gents' ledgers, c.1916-35 (64255-57). The archives of Newbold's Bookshop, Dunedin, owned 1938-66 by Dick White, are held in the Hocken Library.
This section mentions some of the more noteworthy collectors, usually listed in order of date of birth. Unacknowledged sources include biographical articles in McLintock's Encyclopaedia (1966), and in past issues of Who's Who in New Zealand (1908- ).
William Colenso (1811-99) assembled outstanding collections of zoological, botanical and mineral specimens (now in the Hawkes Bay Museum, Napier), a collection of theological and scientific books, which went to the Theological Library of Napier (Andersen in McKay, 1940, p.224), and much printed and manuscript material of all kinds, fragments of which survive in various repositories. Some of his Māori pamphlets and newspapers went to Henry Thomas Hill, Inspector of Schools, of Napier. Coming to New Zealand in 1835 as the Church Missionary Society's printer, Colenso was subsequently a missionary in Hawkes Bay, later a school inspector. See the biography by Bagnall and Petersen (1948), and the lively note by Johannes Andersen in McKay (1940); and DNZB (vol.1).
Sir George Grey (1812-98) assembled and donated two major libraries. He was Governor successively of South Australia, 1840-45, of New Zealand, 1845-53, of Cape Colony (and High Commissioner for South Africa), 1854-61, and of New Zealand, once again, in 1861-68. A member of the New Zealand parliament between 1874 and 1890, he served as Prime Minister in 1877-79. By the time he left South Africa, in 1861, he had built up an outstanding collection of general, South African and New Zealand books and manuscripts, which he presented to the Cape Town Public Library. Back in New Zealand, he accumulated a second, almost equally fine library, which he donated as the foundation collection of the reconstituted Auckland Public Library. It comprised 8,000 volumes at the time the new library building was opened on 26 March 1887, and he added another 6,000 by the time he died in 1898. Colgan notes that it included 'a number of valuable books' bequeathed to Grey by the naval captain Sir James Everard Home in 1853, on the condition they would eventually go to a public library.
His book collecting has been discussed within several biographies, notably those by William and Lily Rees (1892), and by James Rutherford (1961); and see DNZB (vol.1) and Colgan (1980). Donald Kerr, Rare Books Librarian in the Auckland Public Library, has contributed an article on Grey to the forthcoming 19th-century volume of the Dictionary of British Bibliographers and Book collectors (DBBB), and in 1997 is embarked on a doctoral study of Grey as a collector, and of his collections.
Sir David Monro (1813-77), who came to New Zealand in 1841, and became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1861, collected some books himself, but features here as inheritor of the medical books and manuscripts of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, all called Alexander Monro, successively Professors of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh. See Douglass W. Taylor, The Monro Collection in the Medical Library of the University of Otago (1979).
Charles Rooking Carter (1822-96), in New Zealand between 1850 and 1864, promoted the settlement of the Wairarapa district, and became a member of parliament. He did most of his collecting after returning to England in 1864. In and after 1890 he gave the New Zealand Institute and Colonial Museum about 1,000 books, transferred to the Turnbull Library in late 1922; see Barrowman (1995). The remainder of his library he bequeathed to the Carterton Borough Library in the Wairarapa town named after him. His Catalogue of Books on or relating to New Zealand . . . (1887) is noted above. See DNZB (vol.1).
Thomas Morland Hocken (1836-1910) acquired a near-complete coverage of New Zealand printed material, and numerous manuscripts of local interest or to do with early missionaries; and he brought together many drawings, paintings, maps, and photographs. In 1910 he gifted his collections of textual and graphic materials to the University of Otago in trust for the people of New Zealand and these became the basis of the Hocken Library. His Māori and Polynesian artifacts went to the Otago University Museum. A medical doctor, he had arrived in New Zealand in 1862, and developed wide interests, becoming the author of nine articles and two books (one a collection of lectures published posthumously), mainly in the areas of national and regional history, and the compiler of A Bibliography of the Literature relating to New Zealand (1909).
Biographies include: W.H. Trimble, Dr Hocken and his Historical Collection (1926); Olga Fitchett, 'Dr Hocken and his work', unpublished MA thesis, Otago University (1928); A.G. Hocken, Dr T.M. Hocken: A Gentleman of his Time (1989); and essays in DNZB (vol.2) and DBBB (forthcoming). Linda Rodda compiled a Calendar of Dr T.M. Hocken's Letters and Documents Preserved in the Hocken Library, University of Otago (1948). W.H. Trimble compiled a Catalogue of the Hocken Library, Dunedin (1912). Annie E. Trimble wrote seven articles on the collections for the Evening Star, Dunedin, in 1910.
Benjamin Leopold Farjeon (1838-1903), a journalist (in Dunedin 1861-67) and popular novelist, was not himself a book collector; but his family assembled a significant collection of books and memorabilia linked to its members, which is now in the Dunedin Public Library. See A.H. Reed, Ben and Eleanor Farjeon and Dunedin (1973), DNZB (vol.1).
Sir Robert Stout (1844-1930), a lawyer (Chief Justice 1899-1926) and politician (Premier 1884-87), assembled a collection of nearly 2,000 pamphlets, mainly of the late 19th century. In 1928 he gifted them to the Victoria University of Wellington for its Library. See DNZB (vol.2), Iris M. Park's 1961 study of his collection and Fildes's; and The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout, compiled by K.A. Coleridge (1987). Sir Robert's son, Dr Robert Stout, a physician, also accumulated a valuable collection of books and pamphlets, mainly in the area of New Zealand history, which was gifted in 1969, after his death, to the University, and is now mainly in the J.C. Beaglehole Room (see library leaflet).
John Macmillan Brown (1845-1935) bequeathed to the University of Canterbury an important collection of about 15,000 New Zealand and Pacific books, also his anthropological collection, and an endowment for their upkeep. One of the three foundation professors of the University of Canterbury, teaching in Classics, English and History (1875-95), in his early retirement due to ill-health, he collected and wrote vigorously in the area of the anthropology of the Pacific Islands. See The Memoirs of John Macmillan Brown (1974), DNZB (vol.2).
Robert McNab (1864-1917), a lawyer and politician, compiled four books dealing with the history of Southland (Murihiku), and with the early history of New Zealand and the South Pacific, particularly with records of exploration, trading, sealing, and whaling. On 9 March 1914 he donated his collection of about 4,000 books, together with newspaper cuttings, etc., relating to these areas, to the Dunedin City Council for the Public Library, with an endowment for further augmentation; see library leaflet, and DNZB (vol.3).
Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull (1868-1918), born in Wellington, began collecting while in London, and continued to do so after his return in 1892, building up outstanding collections of materials relating to New Zealand, and of Milton and Miltoniana. Coleridge has compiled A Descriptive Catalogue of the Milton Collection in the Alexander Turnbull Library (1980). Other special interests included travel literature, 19th-century fiction and thought, fine printing, Australiana, drama, and Scottish literature and history; and he built a substantial general library, including numerous rare books. In 1913 Turnbull donated more than 500 Māori and Polynesian artifacts to the Dominion Museum. At his death in 1918 he bequeathed to the nation (nominally to the King) his whole library of over 55,000 books, plus large holdings of manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, maps, prints, drawings, paintings and ephemera.
This became the Alexander Turnbull Library, subsequently massively enhanced by bequests and purchases; see Barrowman (1995). Turnbull items in its manuscript section include three letterbooks (1891-1900), an acquisition book (1898-1902), correspondence, and dealers' invoices. Turnbull has been the subject of a major biography by McCormick (1974), and of sundry articles in the Turnbull Library Record; see also DNZB (vol.2) and DBBB (forthcoming).
Frank Wild Reed (1874-1953), who came to New Zealand in 1887 and became a pharmacist in Whangarei, collected more than 4,000 manuscripts and books by or about Alexandre Dumas the elder (1802?-70), eventually bequeathing his collection, the largest outside Paris, to the Auckland Public Library. Reed compiled the first comprehensive bibliography of Dumas, and translated into English his 72 known plays. See Colgan (1980), and Donald Kerr (1996).
Sir Alfred Hamish Reed (1875-1975), a younger brother of Frank Wild Reed, was a Dunedin bookseller and from 1925 an important publisher—see Chapter 3, 'Publishing'. From 1907 he collected bibles, medieval manuscripts and early printed works of a religious nature, hymnbooks, Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, 'association' books, and autograph letters by authors and other notable people. In 1948 he donated these to the Dunedin City Council for the Public Library, as the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection, and organised a trust and other endowments to preserve and augment it and fund appropriate publications. The tenth such publication, by A.H. Reed himself, Rare Books and Manuscripts: The Story of the Dunedin Public Library's Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection (1968) is an extensive revision of chapters 20-22 of An Autobiography (1967), plus additional material. A Catalogue of Mediaeval Manuscripts and Printed Bibles in this collection, by Christopher de Hamel, with Bible entries compiled by Bettina M. Johnstone, was published in 1977. See also DNZB (vol.3).
Horace Manners Edward Fildes (1875-1937) accumulated more than 1,800 volumes, mainly reflecting his consuming interest in the early history of New Zealand, but extending to Pacific exploration and travel, and other related topics. The collection includes scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings, and annotated working copies. He bequeathed his library to the Victoria University of Wellington. His indexes have been published by the VUW Library in 1984. There are studies of Fildes and his collection by Park (1961) and by Coleridge (1985).
William Downie Stewart (1878-1949) built a substantial library with special strengths in law and theories of government. He was a Dunedin lawyer, member of parliament, and in 1925-28 and 1931-33 Minister of Finance. In early 1997 his library was dispersed by sale.
Patrick Anthony Lawlor (1893-1979), journalist, man of letters, and miscellaneous author, assembled a substantial library, with strengths in New Zealand poetry (the Hocken library has a checklist), and in the works of Thomas à Kempis. A Roll of Book Collectors (1958) calls this 'one of the choicest private libraries in the country, apart from its size, some 12,000 titles', adding 'he has a well-arranged file of autograph letters, photos, and cuttings by or on authors', and 'good files of periodicals'. Most of the letters were lodged 1961-62 in the Turnbull Library manuscript collection, which also has Lawlor's 'Egotistical extracts' (typescript dated July 1974), which details the dispersal of his other collections. See DNZB (vol.4, forthcoming).
Esmond Samuel de Beer (1895-1990), born in Dunedin, became a distinguished historical scholar in London, and built up a fine collection of books of the 16th to 18th centuries, related to his editing of the Diary of John Evelyn (1955), and of Correspondence of John Locke (8 vols, 1976-89). In 1959, de Beer bought and gave to the Otago University Library the Iolo A. Williams collection of 18th-century poetry, strengthening this resource with subsequent gifts. In 1983 and 1984 he donated his own collections to the Otago University Library. Diana Dekker, in 'Dr de Beer prepares to shift', mentions the gifts of paintings to the Dunedin Art Gallery, and the despatch of 70 cases of books. Keith Maslen described the donation in BSANZ Bulletin (1983). The University Library has printed checklists for the de Beer collection dated 1963, 1979 and 1984. Michael Strachan's Esmond de Beer (1995) includes a bibliography. See also DNZB (vol.4, forthcoming).
Ernest George Frederick Vogtherr (1898-1973) was a Napier businessman forced into early retirement by ill-health, who devoted himself to collecting and wrote a lively account, Your Bid, Sir!! (1969), of his acquisitions of books, porcelain and paintings.
Frederick Burdett Butler (1903-82) of New Plymouth is said to have owned 80,000 books, many to do with local history. Many were sold to the Hocken Library; others went to the New Plymouth Public Library, or the Taranaki Museum, or were dispersed.
Charles Orwell Brasch (1909-73), born in Dunedin, a nephew of Dr de Beer, was a poet, and founder and editor of the literary periodical Landfall. His personal library of about 7,000 titles, bequeathed to the Otago University Library, features art, literature (especially New Zealand poetry), history and religion.
Austin Graham Bagnall (1912-86), librarian, bibliographer and historian, brought together a large collection of titles in national and local history, which is now in the Massey University Library, Palmerston North.
These notes on collectors no longer alive omit many notable individuals on whom there is work to be done. Of the numerous significant collectors of the present day, only a few are mentioned here:
John Barton of New Plymouth has brought together a collection of incunabula in his Dalberton Library, a catalogue of which was published in 1995. He also collects early New Zealand printed works, especially those in Māori.
Ian Farquhar of Dunedin has a collection of items, including many photographs, dealing with Australian and New Zealand registered ships, and the overseas lines that have traded to these countries since 1860. It is essentially concerned with the age of steam, with a lesser accent on sailing ships.
The Len Lye Foundation has an archive of writings by and about the late Len Lye, as well as a collection of his films, paintings, drawings and kinetic sculptures, lodged in the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth.
Susan Price has written Books for Life: The Story of a Collection of Children's Books Donated to the National Library of New Zealand (1991), relating to her collection of books in English published in the last 50 years, some 5,000 titles at the time of donation, since grown to 10,000. It supplements the National Library's collection of children's books, many published much earlier, named after the librarian Dorothy Neal White.
John Mansfield Thomson built up a substantial collection relating to musicology and music printing, most of which was donated to the Victoria University of Wellington Library in 1983 and 1995.
Other noted collectors in the music field include John Steele of Cambridge (formerly of Otago University), Brian Pritchard (University of Canterbury), Adrienne Simpson (theatre, opera), and Jeremy Commons, both of Wellington.
A number of scientists have built up significant libraries, not necessarily confined to their areas of specialisation, among them, in addition to those individuals mentioned in the 1958 Roll, the late David Macmillan, and A.D. Thomson, both of Christchurch, and D.J. Galloway of Miller's Flat.