Christmas cards from the trenches

The war to end all wars. How everyone longed for this to be true in 1918, yet sadly how mistaken was this belief. Looking back from a distance of 100 years at the horror, the suffering, the unimaginable waste and futility of it all, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the statistics of lives lost or permanently shattered, and to focus instead on analysing the politics and the actions of the major players. There is a tendency to lose sight of what the war meant to so many individuals.

Some comics just fade away

Some comics become an instant success, enjoying great popular appeal and lasting for decades. Others may slowly develop a devoted cult following and inspire clubs, fanzines, and blogs. Sadly, there also comics that  begin with high-hopes but last only a brief time and soon fade into obscurity. For the National Library of Australia, it is particularly important that this latter category is collected and preserved as there may be few copies retained elsewhere, and they provide an important insight into the culture and publishing history of the time.

Spring is in the air!

Spring – “to leap, burst forth, fly up, spread, grow”. A name that in temperate climes we have come to apply to the season that emerges with freshness and new life from dormant winter’s cold, as well as to water rising forth unexpectedly from beneath the ground. An inspiration for artists, composers and writers throughout the ages, a source of beauty for everyone, and on a more prosaic level, sustenance for us all.

Travels of a travel book

Many of the Library’s books are interesting not only because of their subject matter but more so because of their own special histories – who owned them and where they have been. One travel book in the Library’s collection called Travels amongst the great Andes of the equator by Edward Whymper tells the story of a journey through the Andes in Ecuador. However, it is the journey that this particular copy of the book undertook that makes it unique.

Dexter down under

The National Library aims to comprehensively collect works published by Australians or about Australia. For items published in Australia, we have legal deposit to help us in this task. However we also undertake the even greater challenge of trying to track down those elusive Australian authors/illustrators (including expats) whose works have been published overseas, either in English or in translation. In addition, we search for works about Australia that are published by overseas authors. In our global hunt it is amazing what we find!


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