100 Objects from Special Collections Bradford
© Images courtesy of the University of Bradford, Special Collections.
100 Objects Bradford is an online exhibition highlighting the most exciting and important items in Special Collections at the University of Bradford. Inspired by the recent British Museum series and curated by Special Collections Librarian Alison Cullingford, the display will highlight a new object every week until 2013. Fifteen have appeared so far, ranging from the University’s unique Charter to the Clarkson book supports used to protect works in Special Collections (aka The Foam Family). The exhibition is proving very popular and has recently received an Archives Pace Setter award.
The Archives Hub and Copac are key parts of Special Collections marketing plans, and we intend to make more use of their growing range of benefits in the future e.g. digital objects and multi-level descriptions. Here’s a taste of the kind of objects Special Collections has to offer. The common themes are the University’s own history, Bradford and West Yorkshire and their particular industries and scenery, radical social and political ideas, and the power of literature and broadcasting.
The J.B. Priestley Archive is probably Bradford’s best-used collection. Priestley moved into a very modern kind of celebrity as a result of his BBC Postscript broadcasts (Object 4), which inspired Britain in the perilous summer of 1940. His archive is complemented by that of his wife, Jacquetta Hawkes, archaeologist and author. Her masterpiece is the unique A Land (Object 5), which fuses archaeology and geology through a personal, poetic approach: the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive shows how she came to write it and how it was received.
Another literary collection at Bradford is the archive of Willie Riley, a Bradford man who wrote Windyridge (Object 14), a 1912 heartwarming bestseller about Yorkshire life. Riley’s archive is recently arrived in Special Collections (hopefully to be catalogued and added to the Hub this summer): it will have more to tell about his writing, Methodism, optical lantern business and much more.
Bradford University is well known for its teaching and research around peace and is home to a unique public library for peace: Commonweal (Object 15). Detailed records for the peace-related archives in Special Collections appear on the Hub thanks to the recent PaxCat Project, for example, Object 11, the powerful flyers created by the Direct Action Committee in the early 1960s for anti-nuclear protest. The city’s radical past shows up in for example the typescripts of the Cabinet Diaries of Barbara Castle and the impressive collection of the newspaper Reynolds News and Sunday Citizen.
Readers who would like to follow the progress of the Objects can sign up to receive emails or feeds via the blog, or follow @100objectsbrad on twitter. The exhibition site also links to other archives and libraries using the 100 Objects theme.
© Images courtesy of the University of Bradford, Special Collections. These are links to larger images.
This feature was written for us by Alison Cullingford from Special Collections Bradford.