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The voyages of Captain James Cook round the world; comprehending a history of the South Sea Islands… (1825)

Navigator and explorer, James Cook, was born in 1728 at Martin-in-Cleveland, Middlesbrough, England.  The second of eight children, he moved with his family to Great Ayton in 1736, where his father arranged for his apprenticeship to a shopkeeper on the North Sea coast.[1]  Perhaps it was this seaside location that inspired Cook to seek a […]

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A voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas, from Balambangan… Thomas Forrest (1780)

Little is known about the personal life of 18th century navigator, Thomas Forrest, however, he is believed to have served in the Royal Navy, acting as midshipman in 1745, implying a date of birth of approximately 1729.[1]  He was engaged by the East India Company in 1748 and, according to his own writings, sailed the […]

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Exhibition: History of Book Illustration: 1400-1900

Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 16 August – 27 September 2019 Curator: Lee Hayes, Rare Books & Special Collections Is a picture really worth a thousand words? From woodcut to lithograph, this exhibition explores the history and methods of book illustration, and sheds light on the important role that co-existent images and text play in […]

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Exhibition: Science as a Human Endeavour: Natural History and Medical Science Texts from Rare Books & Special Collections

Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 24 June – 9 August 2019 In 2018, drawing on her experience as a History of Science student, intern Kate Corcoran conducted a survey of Rare Book holdings to identify items that would be useful both for teaching purposes and online displays for students. This display presents the results […]

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The usefulness of mathematical learning explained and demonstrated: Being mathematical lectures read in the publick schools at the University of Cambridge… Isaac Barrow (1734)

Isaac Barrow, mathematician and Christian theologian, was born to Thomas and Ann Barrow in London in 1630. He is believed to be the only child, surviving at least, of that marriage, with the death of his mother just four years later giving some credence to such reports.[1] Within two years of her passing his father […]

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Exhibition: God ‘Elp All of Us: The Centenary of Ross & Keith Smith’s Epic Flight

Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 1 May – 15 June 2019 Curator: Cheryl Hoskin, Rare Books & Special Collections Librarian It was to be a great adventure – this skimming through ‘unknown skies’, over strange lands, and vast spaces of oceans. We were attempting something which had never before been done, so it is […]

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Old Christmas. Washington Irving (1876)

Originally published as five short stories in the American edition of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20), Old Christmas is Washington Irving’s later, illustrated version of the work, portraying the good old-fashioned customs of Christmas. The youngest of eleven children to Scottish parents William and Sara Irving, Washington was born in 1783 after […]

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A hand-book to the marsupialia and monotremata. Richard Lydekker (1894)

Born in 1849, naturalist and geologist Richard Lydekker was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned second place in the first class ‘Natural Science Tripos’ of 1871.  Three years later he joined the Geological Survey of India, one of the oldest government organisations in the world responsible for conducting geological surveys and presenting earth […]

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The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer… Francis Barrett (1801)

The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer is Francis Barrett’s compendium of occult knowledge and ceremonial magic.  An important 19th century grimoire, the book remains one of the rarest and most sought after primary sources for those interested in natural magic, magnetism and cabalism. About its author, we know very little. Most sources put Barrett’s date of […]

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The home of the blizzard: Being the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914. Sir Douglas Mawson (1915)

Born in Yorkshire, England, on 5 May 1882, Douglas Mawson was the son of cloth merchant, Robert Ellis Mawson and his wife, Margaret Ann. Mawson’s family immigrated to Australia in 1884, settling at Rooty Hill, New South Wales. Douglas was a talented student and in 1902 graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from the University […]

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