For the purposes of this Statement, the Special Materials Collection comprises of two main collections, with a number of collections that straddle both types, e.g. the Fildes Collection.
The physical collection is entirely housed at Kelburn Library, in closed storage accessible by Special Materials staff only. The electronic collection is entirely housed in the Library’s secure server. No material may be borrowed, and all use must take place under supervision in the J.C. Beaglehole Room.
The collection consists of the following critical resources and distinctive collections.
The term ‘rare books’ is used to cover all printed materials held in the J.C. Beaglehole Room. These include named collections, early printed books, scarce and valuable modern printing, New Zealand and Pacific research materials, early New Zealand newspapers, early New Zealand and general periodicals, New Zealand and general pamphlet collections, and printed ephemera.
Within this larger collection are the following Named Collections:
“The great event of the year is the reception of the noble collection of the late Mr. Horace Fildes…. Along with the Carnegie Corporation, Sir Robert Stout and Mr. Blair and Mr. McEldowney, Mr. Fildes will be remembered as one of the library’s greatest benefactors. We have made extensive alterations which will provide a worthy and accessible home.” (Harold Millar, Annual Report of the VUC Library, 1937)
The 1800+ volumes in the collection include his bound scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and his annotated working copies. His research papers, portfolios, and correspondence files were also included in the bequest. The collection thus includes both published and archival resources
A small collection of c. 560 maps which is growing by donation only. The maps are collected for their relevance to Wellington especially to Kelburn.
A small collection of real estate subdivision posters which is growing by donation only. The posters are collected for their relevance to Wellington especially to Kelburn. Other collections include those of the New Zealand Students’ Arts Council and of the Dan Long [PSA] Library. Posters which occur within archival collections are treated as archives.
A small collection from Somes/Matiu Island. This collection is not growing.
This collection is an attempt to collect for the study of 1990s publishing in NZ. This collection is not growing.
New Zealand Pamphlets Collection
The pamphlet collection includes a major research collection (the Sir Robert Stout Pamphlet Collection, see above), several minor named collections (e.g. from Les Cleveland, Bert Roth, Thomas Turnbull) and a general ‘New Zealand pamphlet’ collection. The Sir Robert Stout Pamphlet Collection is very strong in 19th century political and social theory, including a large proportion of material from Great Britain and Australia. The minor collections are chiefly comparable to Sir Robert’s interests – politics, economic debate, social theory – but from later periods (post-1920).
The general New Zealand pamphlets cover all the subject areas of the Library’s collections, and range in date from the 1840s to the present. The greatest emphasis is on political, economic and social debate, minor local histories of schools and churches, and exhibition catalogues. Since the 2000s exhibition catalogues have tended to be located in the Library’s General collections rather than in Special Materials. This collection is growing.
Apart from occasional non-New Zealand pamphlets in some of the New Zealand pamphlet collections, there are also some general pamphlet collections. These pamphlets are not individually catalogued, being allocated to broad subject categories, e.g. ‘Pamphlets on political science’, ‘on South Africa’, ‘on socialism’ which have general catalogue records. The collections include a few 19th and early 20th century items, the proportion varying according to the subject area, but the majority date from the 1940s to the 1970s. A high proportion are the more substantial type of publicity brochure issued by official organisations whether independent or governmental.
Print Cultures Collection
One of the successful bids to the Library Contestable Funding round in 2006 was for a Print Cultures Collection, which "enables students, staff, and researchers to work with artefacts not generally in the public domain and provides opportunities for trans-national and comparative book history, a new research area in the field of book culture” (Dr. Sydney Shep, Contestable Funding application).
The collection is numerically small so far, and consists of exemplars of textual communication, particularly those with non-Western scripts, purchased in collaboration with academics in the appropriate fields. The purchase process has sometimes tested the limits of the ‘normal’ acquisitions process, for example we have purchased via E-Bay and via advances to academics travelling in areas outside the conventional Western book trade. This collection is growing.
Victoria Authors’ Collection
The Library has had a historic role in collecting offprints of articles by staff members, as well as a copy of their books. Books were catalogued – in theory a copy was held by the J.C. Beaglehole Room (JCBR), however in practice this was not always the case. Victoria Periodicals were held in Closed Stack, i.e. available without supervision. Some offprints of articles by staff were sent to the Vice-Chancellor initially, and then passed to the JCBR in the Library. These offprints were never catalogued, but were listed by author name within the JCBR and were one reason for indexes to Victoria Staff which JCBR maintained to c. 1980. As changes to the publishing environment affected the number of copies sent to authors, this collection dwindled. From c. 2006 this type of record has been managed via the Research Office’s ResearchMaster software. JCBR has had a storage role only, and in early 2009 storage and verification was passed to the Manager, Special Collections, or to the Institutional Repository.
There are some issues to do with Staff Authorship which require clarification and are currently treated on a case by case approach, for example:
This collection is growing.
The Library has endeavoured to collect all Victoria output, including periodicals. In 2008 JCBR acquired by relegation from Closed Stack the unique or best copy of all Victoria periodical publications, prior to Closed Stack items being stored offsite. This collection is growing.
Victoria Subject Collection
Special Materials includes a ‘last resort’ copy of all publications about the University and its staff. These include official histories, festschriften, biographies, and work covering professional qualifications in which the University is engaged, e.g. Law. This collection is growing.
The Library’s copies of early and rare newspapers are kept in Special Collections. Apart from isolated issues of Australian, Pacific and British papers these are all New Zealand newspapers. The only substantial groups are Wellington papers of the 1840s and 1850s and partial runs of certain Socialist and Communist papers of the late 1930s and 1940s. There are isolated issues and fragmented runs of many 19th century provincial papers, and a substantial run (complete after 1926) of The Maoriland (later The New Zealand), The Worker and its successor The Standard. The Worker is particularly fragile and should be used as little as possible (the early years are also available in microfilm). Increasingly, early New Zealand newspapers are now available in digitised form via the website Papers Past.
This collection includes copies with particular significance for the University, usually because of their provenance. It also includes comprehensive collections of works by and about the writers in the New Zealand Literary Archive Project.
Archives and Manuscripts
The J.C. Beaglehole Room is the official repository within the Library of archival material. Archival material is primary source material used particularly for historical research. The Archives and Manuscripts collections include both Collected Archives and Manuscripts, and some University corporate archives, with a degree of overlap.
Victoria University itself has a rich and complex history from 1899 on, and the University has engaged both as an institution and through its many academic and student members with the development of knowledge, and with national, regional and local issues.
The University Archives consist of those official records of the University deemed to have long-term historical value, and certain collections of private papers—such as the records of student organisations or of eminent academic staff - with inextricable significance to the University’s history. These include significant collections of photographs.
The University archival collections fall into ‘personal’, ‘clubs and societies’ or ‘corporate’, although the divisions are not clear-cut.
The Collected Archives have chiefly built up to support the research interests of academics or for their future research value, and include the following strengths:
Other archives, manuscripts, and personal papers
The Special Materials Collection has links to all other Subject Level Collection Statements.