The Original Materials Branch comprises three sections – Manuscripts (which includes Oral History and Field Unit); Pictures; Maps. Our role is to:
acquire new collections – through donations, purchase, or CGP process, catalogue, and interpret these collections manage their housing and storage make our collections accessible – which we do in a range of ways. Answer specialist enquiries from members of the public and other organisations
SLIDE 2 CLIENTS Wide range of clients who use our collections and services - local, Australian and international Family historians Local historians Authors & academics Professional researchers Tertiary & secondary students Tourists, self learners Others such as film makers, heritage architects, and transport buffs
Storage: 11 kms of mss 3 floors in both buildings, plus safe and offsite storage
Core of the collection is DSM and Dixson bequests (bequeathed in 1952 - closed collection)
New South Wales Collections of colonial material (pre NLA so we have the really good stuff) iconic manuscripts relating to the history of Australia Example: Mitchell had a major competitor (Alfred Lee) who’s whole collection he purchased in order to secure this prize –probably the jewel in the Crown of Mitchell’s bequest: Sir Joseph Banks’ Endeavour Journals.
SLIDE 4 Shane Gould Diary Contrast this with the diary Shane Gould kept during the 1972 Munich Olympics. She was 16 years old. It records her attempt to cope with the gruelling training program, strict diet, and pressures of success.
Other collection strengths
World War 1 Antarctica Literature and Writers and publishers eg Franklin and Gilmore Political parties and politicians Especially relevant is: local history Family history – eg church records, unpublished family histories and family bibles Keep us in mind when you get these inquiries – often we will have material that will supplement your own ***
SLIDE 5 ORAL HISTORY Oral history collections often give a voice to those who may not ordinarily have left a written record – eg interviews of migrants, builders on the Sydney Bridge 11,000 hours Arranged by theme Preservation issues with old tapes and reel to reel. Concerted effort to digitise this collection now ***
SLIDE 6: PICTURES Paintings Photographs & negatives Prints and drawings Watercolours Architectural plans Objects or realia Medallions Miniatures Posters We hold the second largest collection of art in NSW after the Art Gallery of NSW. However, unlike the Art Gallery, we collect images for their informational content, although we do have many works of great artistic merit, and of course some quite famous images. A significant part of the collection is made up of works by amateur artists and photographers. Some of our collection strengths: Pacific exploration & colonisation Photographic collections Colonial art Architectural plans Portraiture Black & white art – cartoons and caricature Other States and Pacific: While collection focuses on NSW we also have strong 19th century holdings for other Australian states and Pacific region ***
SLIDE 7: PAINTINGS Over 2,000 paintings including: portraits landscapes built environment social events & activities ***
SLIDE 8: PHOTOGRAPHS AND NEGATIVES Over 1.2 million photographs (half are negatives) Image on the left is the earliest known surviving photograph taken in Australia (1845). Image on the right is some of the latest “born digital” images we are receiving Variety of formats – daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, glass negatives, slides, photographic prints, and born digital
SLIDE 9: HOLTERMANN COLLECTION One of our significant collections is the Holtermann Collection : photographs of goldfield towns in N.S.W. and Victoria; Sydney and Melbourne streets and buildings, 1871-1876 Only a small percentage of the A&A Photographic Company’s output has survived, but 3,500 small format wet plates negatives (including extensive coverage of the towns of Hill End and Gulgong) and the world’s largest wet plate negatives, measuring a massive 1 x 1.5 metres, are held by the Library. Example of digitisation from Glass negatives Eg. http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=62063
SLIDE 10: WATERCOLOURS, PRINTS AND DRAWINGS Over 130,000 prints & drawings held Both professional & amateur artists Preparatory sketches & finished works
SLIDE 11: ARCHITECTURAL PLANS Over 116,000 architectural plans
SLIDE 12: REALIA Over 2,500 museum type objects acquired because of their associational value Examples: commemorative ware locks of hair Textiles some medals Patrick White’s desk Tea leaves that the convict escapee Mary Bryant carried with her all the way back to England
SLIDE 13: MAPS There are about 200,000 maps Map formats include manuscript maps printed maps map series subdivision plans hydrographic charts Atlases digital cartographic data sets and CD ROMs. The Maps section acquires maps through donation or purchase and legal deposit Like pictures, acquisitions are considered on the basis of a map&apos;s historical and informational value. Geographic coverage is worldwide, with the main focus on New South Wales, then Australia, the Pacific region and Antarctica. Original manuscript maps include those of European explorers such as Cook, Flinders, Bass, King as well as maps drawn up from inland exploration. Perhaps our most well known map is the Tasman Map and you can see a reproduction of this built into the foyer floor of the Mitchell Library ***
SLIDE 14: SUBDIVISION PLANS Some of our most heavily used maps are the 40,000 subdivision plans we hold mainly of Sydney from the 1880’s to 1930’s - vital for local historians and family historians use them heavily too. We have a lot of other maps of use to local historians as well such as town maps and county and parish maps A few are digitised but all have bibliographic records and eventually all those records will be online
SLIDE 15: ACQUISITION PROCESS
Donation – try and get people to do a basic sort and list of their collections – they are the experts after all Donation via Cultural Gifts program eg writers – 2 valuations and get a tax break Bequests Purchase – either with a member of the public or through auction and booksellers
While we target particular subject areas to collect in, the acquisition process is unpredictable, we never know what is going to walk in the door. can be 1 box or 100 free or big $$$ so creates challenges on our ability to process, plan budgets and storage. An report is written for every acquisition detailing its significance in terms of our CDP. Volunteers : This is Steve, one of our army of volunteers who will value-add to the collection. Steve is an expert on Antarctic and whaling and he is sorting out a very messy but important collection on whaling and readying it for a cataloguing by a staff member. Other volunteers do work such as transcribing our WW1 diaries in readiness for the centenary exhibition in 2014. ***
SLIDE 16: Card catalogues CATALOGUING SYSTEMS
Catalogues 1910-1991 – card catalogues – 100 years of cataloguing so many idiosyncracies We also have a plethora of in-house guides and indexes
SLIDE 17: Front page and where to click
1992 – Online - ACMS
So to get the complete picture of our holdings you MUST check the online catalogue AND cards.
E- records team are gradually putting more of our holdings from the cards online Briefer records but philosophy behind e-records is more product less process (approaching backlog with a shovel not tweezers) and getting at least something out there.
E-Records also working on in-house guides and indexes and will also be linking these to the records putting these online
Cataloguing is priority driven. For example:
Is it highly significant? demand Being digitized Topical we have paid a substantial sum, we want to get it out there working for us.
We also have to consider things like restrictions – which can be imposed by the donor and sometimes the library
SLIDE 18: ACMS GO TO CATALOGUE
SLIDE 19: MAPS CATALOGUE Maps (MSS and Printed) are accessible through the online webcat. Some are digitised and viewable through the webcat and where possible we have linked to the National Library’s digitised version We also have a card catalogue E-Records team are cataloguing both printed and MSS maps. We also have access to Historical Lands Record Viewer provided by the Land and Property Management Authority of NSW – which includes parish maps and Torrens Title information SHOW RESEARCH GUIDES
SLIDE 20 : END
Overview of the
Original Materials Branch
On the steps of Town Hall, ca. 1927-1930 by Sam Hood, Home and Away 5926
Joseph Banks Endeavour Journal, Volume 2, April 1770, p 242-243