Wednesday 13 January 2010

New additions to University of Stirling Archives and Special Collections Flickr site

I thought I'd pick a few personal favourites from the most recent images to be uploaded to our University of Stirling Archives and Special Collections Flickr site. These three are all images from the University Special Collections.

This first one is perhaps the most evocative for me, both in the beautiful illustration and the wonderfully long title of the book - Farthest North: Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship «Fram», 1893-1896, and of a Fifteen Months' Sleigh Journey by Dr. Nansen and Lt. Johansen (London: George Newnes Ltd, 1898, 2 vols). The image and the title together entice you in, urging you to investigate further and read of their adventures. For me it conjures up dreams of adventure and mystery in a far off land. I read up a bit more about Fridtjof Nansen, the author of the book, and the adventurer and Zoologist of the journey described in the book. As well as carrying out groundbreaking research in Greenland and the North Pole Nansen also had time in his life to fit in enough good deeds to earn him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922. In 1917 - 1918 he negotiated a relaxation of the Allied blockade to allow shipments of essential food to get through, he was heavily involved in the repatriation of prisoners of war and in 1921 at the behest of the Red Cross he directed the relief for millions of Russians during the 1921-1922 Russian famine, even though as this time, help for the Russian =s was looked on with a great deal of suspicion. You can read more about him on his biography page at the Nobel Prize website.

Photograph of Fridtjof Nansen © the website of the Nobel Prize

The next image is a plate from another book with a wonderful title - Beautiful birds in far-off lands. Written by two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth Kirby who together wrote a number of botany and natural history books for children and general readers during the 1840s to 1860s.

The final image is the title page of Illustrations of Himalayan plants by Joseph Dalton. As a child I used to love pouring over the illustrations in my mum's books on British Wildflowers, and Birds of the British Isles. I would sit and look at them for hours, and spent a lot of time drawing reproductions of the images. Asides from this image being a lovely illustration I think the real reason I like it so much is the memories it brings back of happy times spent with my mum - memories to cherish and keep me going when I miss her too much.


  1. I love the title 'Beautiful Birds in Far-Off Lands' Kathryn. As a child I loved botanical illustrations too, and still do. I just bought a second hand book 'Birds' by Katrina Cook. It's an enormous book full of different paintings of birds. It's delightful.
    Z x

  2. Yes, we often take our parents for granted until we no longer have them. Family is funny like that. My father and I have always been at odds with each other, but when he passes on, I know I'll miss him with every fiber of my being.

    If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when your mother passed away?

  3. It only happened a year past October so it's still hard to believe sometimes. Happy memories, and good family and friends, are so important though in being able to carry on.