State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 84 December 2009



Astute Readers of the La Trobe Journal will notice two changes to the layout in this issue. One is obvious, the other more subtle. The major change is the moving of the notes to one block at the end. The subtle change is the reduction of the size of the line on each page by 6mm to allow for easier reading
This issue opens with Michael Aitken writing on early Australian Christmas cards. His article is followed by one on the early nature writings of Jean Galbraith by former State Library Fellowship holder, Meredith Fletcher.
Kevin Molloy, Manuscripts Librarian at the State Library, has had a long interest in Irish history. His article on the William Irvine Papers, besides describing the collection, adds new light on Irvine's better-known nephew, the Irish radical John Mitchel. Former library fellow, Stephen Gaunson, in ‘The Mere Sketches of Ned Kelly’ discusses the often changing and distorted images of another Irish radical, Ned Kelly, published in the illustrated newspapers of the time.
There are two articles in this issue based on material in the State Library's Pictures Collection. Olga Tsara, a member of the Pictures Collection staff, poses an interesting question in her article on agitprop: is it still political when its moves from the lamp post and billboard into an institutional collection? Christine Downer, a former Pictures Librarian, surveys the Library's European bookplate collection. Although bookplates were never intended to be political, some of the illustrations accompanying Christine's article poignantly depict the troubled times of the thirties and forties following the rise of Nazism.
Terry Sawyer, yet another former library fellow, writes on the State Library's collection of the architectural drawings of William Pitt, designer of the Princess Theatre. Daniela Kaleva focuses on the concert programs in the archive of the Victorian branch of the British Music Society to provide an interesting overview of early chamber music performances in Melbourne.
Moving well away from Australia, Middle English scholar Lawrence Warner outlines the reasons for the importance of an annotated copy of a 1550 edition of William Langland's Piers Plowman held by the State Library of Victoria.
This eclectic issue of the Journal concludes with the first detailed bibliography of Joan Lindsay. Compiled by Terence O'Neill, it complements his important article on the life and work of Lindsay published in the previous issue.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of volunteer editorial assistant, Amy Hawley, and designer, Mark Brewster, in seeing this issue through the press.
John Arnold