Library books are a treasure trove of the bits-and-bobs that readers have used as bookmarks and then forgotten. The detritus left in books before they arrived in Special Collections include bus tickets, photographs, fliers, newspaper advertisements, cigarette papers, cheques and letters.
These random pieces of ephemera, 'the minor transient documents of everyday life,'1 can be particularly illuminating when they can be traced to the previous owners of the books.
This 1957 invoice from the renowned Smith’s Bookshop in Wellington illuminates the collecting habits of Leonard William Harrington-Hutchings (1914?-2002), a Wellington bibliophile. Mr Harrington-Hutchings spent years building a collection of works by and about English author Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), including many first editions. Later acquired by the Library, the books contain numerous scraps of paper he slipped between the pages. He also annotated the books in a large, bold hand, and used bookplates and an ink stamp to mark his ownership.
Special Collections also houses a New Zealand election ephemera collection, which spans elections from 1911 to 2011 and includes advertising material, meeting notices and mailouts.
Jo Birks, Special Collections