Rare Books Exhibition: Circumstances of Interest

2/10/2015

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Travel diaries, journals and logs from Fisher Rare Books and Special Collections

 

When: 2 October – 31 December 2015

Where: Fisher Library F03; Level 3 Corridor

 

For long-distance travelers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, keeping a journal was a popular method of keeping oneself gainfully occupied during long months spent at sea.

Through a selection of manuscript travel diaries, journals and logs from Fisher Rare Books and Special Collections, this new exhibition provides a window (or, a porthole) into the 19th century shipboard experience.

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Read more on the Rare Books blog

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Exhibition: Highlights and Lowlifes – 29 June to 31 August

An exhibition on the Australian Holdings in the Detective Fiction Collection

Rare Books and Special Collections will be hosting a display of some of the Australian works held in the Detective Fiction Collection.

When: Monday 29 June to 31 August 2015, 9:00am – 5:00pm

Where: Rare Books Reading Room, Fisher Library F03, Level 1Covers from the books: ‘Cocaine Blues (Kerry Greenwood, 2012), ‘Death Wears a Lady’s Smile’ (Don Haring), ‘The Dying Trade’ (Peter Corris, 1980), ‘Still Murder’ (Finola Moorhead, 1991),’ Grim Pickings’ (Jennifer Rowe, 1987)

The Detective Fiction Collection began informally in the 1960’s following a donation to the Library, which contained a large number of Penguin crime paperbacks. More titles were extracted from later donations until, in 1974, the Library bought a major American collection of detective fiction (3,500 titles), many of them valuable first editions. This purchase so pleased Frederick May (then the University of Sydney’s Professor of Italian) that he donated 1,200 of his own crime fiction books, with the Library purchasing another 800 titles from his estate in 1978. At this time, the collection grows by donation, a little purchasing, and by the addition of NSW titles received on legal deposit.

The Detective Fiction Collection began informally in the 1960’s following a donation to the Library, which contained a large number of Penguin crime paperbacks. More titles were extracted from later donations until, in 1974, the Library bought a major American collection of detective fiction (3,500 titles), many of them valuable first editions. This purchase so pleased Frederick May (then the University of Sydney’s Professor of Italian) that he donated 1,200 of his own crime fiction books, with the Library purchasing another 800 titles from his estate in 1978. At this time, the collection grows by donation, a little purchasing, and by the addition of NSW titles received on legal deposit.

 

Collecting Crime

The Detective Fiction Collection is the biggest of its kind in Australia and is a major research resource for students of the genre, and of Australian literature, social studies and popular culture in general. Although called “detective fiction”, crime fiction would be a more apt term to describe the works held. Holdings run the gamut of the genre, ranging over murder and detective stories, spy fiction, psychological thrillers and police procedurals. All publishing formats are included, including variant editions, covers and multi-media. True crime material is not collected.

 

Australian holdings on display

The Australian holdings in this collection form a major part of its strengths. Crime in all its permutations has existed in our fiction since Australia’s days as a penal colony. The display will showcase the 19th century crime stories of writers such as John Lang, Marcus Clarke and Fergus Hume (“Mystery of a Hansom Cab”); the early Boney novels of Arthur Upfield; the pulp fiction explosion of the mid-20th century; the strength of Australia’s forgotten female crime writers from the 19th century such as Ellen Davitt and Mary Fortune through to the 20th century’s now unremembered stars such as Pat Flower, Pat Carlon, Margot Neville and June Wright. Also on display are examples of the most recent flowering of Australian detective fiction, beginning with Peter Corris and including Peter Temple, Barry Maitland, Claire McNab et al.

 

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