6th April 2017 – The Fictional First World War: Imagination and Memory Since 1914
Michelle Gait and colleagues from Special Collections assisted with a display of materials in the Seminar Room for the opening afternoon of the conference The Fictional First World War: Imagination and Memory Since 1914. This international conference organised by the Centre for the Novel, which ran from the 6-9 April, explored the aesthetic and intellectual legacy of the war across many different nations and how factual writing about the war, including Government sponsored ‘propaganda’ materials, adopted the techniques of fiction to energize the emotional case for conflict.
Some of the items on display from Special Collections included the fascinating journals of Sir Alexander Ogston (1844-1929), kept during the First World War when he was in charge of the British Belgrade Auxiliary Hospital and later as surgeon with the 1st British Ambulance Unit in Italy (MS 3850), the memoirs of Captain Roy Livingston Mackinnon of the Gordon Highlanders (MS 2007), the University of Aberdeen Peace Society minute book (MSU 651) and papers relating to Malcolm Vivian Hay’s service in the First World War, and in particular his work for M.I.1B, the Cryptology Department of the War Office (MS 2788/2).
Further information about our First World War collections can be found here: WW1 factsheet
13th April 2017 – ‘Cover Stories’ talk
To accompany the exhibition Cover Stories, Jane Pirie, Rare Books Cataloguer, delivered a fascinating talk to 30 attendees about the choice of exhibits and the hidden stories behind the bindings of the books.
The University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections has a rich and varied collection of books in their original bindings. The libraries of King’s and Marischal Colleges were endowed through the centuries with many ornately covered books as well as those with more humble, but just as fascinating, utilitarian bindings. Jane talked about some of the people involved in the production and binding of books but also highlighted some of the notable individuals for whom the books were bound. Examples from the collections were also on display for people to browse.
19th April 2017 – Paper Conservators in Scotland symposium and talks
On the 19th of April staff from the Glucksman Conservation Centre attended the Paper Conservators in Scotland, News and Ideas Exchange 2017, hosted at the Centre for Research Collections in the University of Edinburgh Library.
There were 22 presentations in total on a range of subjects from treatment of specific objects to conservation ethics. Brannah Mackenzie, Book Conservator, gave a presentation entitled “Dilemmas around the Scroll of Esther” which focussed on the restrictions on conservation treatment when dealing with Jewish holy documents.
The event was attended by over 40 conservators and related professionals from across Scotland and the north of England. It was a very enjoyable, informative event and an opportunity to network and catch-up with conservation colleagues from other places.
24th April 2017 – Visit by students from St Andrews University
A group of 12 students from the University of St Andrews MLitt course in Medieval Palaeography, along with Rachel Hart, Deputy Head of Special Collections, and Margaret Connolly, Institute of Medieval Studies and the School of English, visited Special Collections to see some of our wonderful examples of medieval manuscripts.
In addition to looking round the current Cover Stories exhibition in the gallery the students were able to examine a selection of material from the archives: MS 109 Lectures on Aristotle, 1467 (see image above); MS 21 Higden’s Polychronicon, 1387; MS 134 The Myrroure of oure Lady, late 15th century; MS 123 Miscellany, c 1440; MS 154 Sermons, 14th century; MS 164 De Cosmographia, 15th century; MS 240 Legenda Aurea, 14th century; MS 255 Medical textbook, 1462; MS 258 Medical prescriptions, 15th century; MS 271 Psalter and Book of Hours, 15th century; MS 274 Liturgy: hours, 1400-1450 and MS 276 Book of Hours, 15th century.
The students were particularly keen to see manuscript codices, with interesting palaeographical, illustrative or codicological features, and which helped to expand their knowledge of medieval texts and illustrate some of the topics studied throughout their year-long course in St Andrews.
This was followed by a visit with colleagues at the University to discuss the Aberdeen Burgh Records Project.
26th April 2017 – Event to mark birthday of philosopher Thomas Reid
Tuesday 26th April was the 307th birthday of Thomas Reid (1710-1796), graduate of Marischal College and the eminent philosopher of Common Sense. To celebrate, Dr Stephan Torre of the Philosophy Department organised a one-day conference for some 20 students and visiting speakers in the Craig Suite of The Sir Duncan Rice Library. Special Collections curated an exhibition, drawing upon our rich archival holdings on Reid, including selections from the Birkwood Collection (MS 2131). The Birkwood papers are the most substantial gathering of Reid’s notes and manuscripts in existence, totalling over 800 items.