Rare Delights III: Recent Additions to Special Collections. Online Exhibition


The rare book collection in Special Collections at the University of Otago grows - slowly and surely - by purchase and donation. With these new acquisitions Special Collections aims to build on the strengths of the collection such as those traditional collecting fields of 18th century literature, garden history, art and architecture, travel, and works by and about John Evelyn, John Locke, and the English poet Robert Graves.

Over time new areas of collecting have come to the fore, in particular ‘popular culture’ items in the guise of pulp fiction and science fiction (SF). In 2010, Professor Fred Fastier gifted his entire SF Collection to Special Collections. Since then holdings in this field have grown considerably with the acquisition of the Hal Salive SF Collection, some 2400 titles kindly donated by Rachel Salive, and a near complete run of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, donated by Trevor Agnew. ‘Pulps’ continue to be acquired as too the works by the Dunedin-born artist John Buckland Wright. Other books have been acquired because of their historical significance or because they fill a visible gap in the existing collection. Brief examples here include French language works by Racine and Corneille, and Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1780)

It is by no means true that all rare books are old books. Recent purchases include important modern works that complement the older material. By this means Special Collections will continue to house significant examples of printing and publishing into the next century, will continue to provide an important forum for original research, and will retain its position as an important University-based rare book collection in New Zealand. These volumes are a selection of titles added to Special Collections between 2008 and 2013. Please enjoy.


Special Collections - University of Otago

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