Guide to the Research Collections

- SECTION -- III -- THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
- PART TWO
- 48 -- HISTORY OF AFRICA, ASIA, AND OCEANIA
- HISTORY OF OCEANIA

HISTORY OF OCEANIA

The islands of the South Pacific, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania are covered in this subject class. The collections are, on the whole, strong. The 2,500 volumes and pamphlets in this area of the resources are supplemented by works classed in geography, anthropology, philology, and elsewhere. The long interest of the library in the islands of the Pacific has resulted in remarkable holdings of materials in Oceanic and Australian languages and dialects. A strong feature of the subject area is the extensive collection of early voyages, which includes all known editions of the accounts of James Cook and a large number of those of William Dampier and others. Many of the important titles are located in the Rare Book Division.

The collection relating specifically to the history of Australia and New Zealand is strongest for the periods of discovery and exploration; it is supplemented by the extensive collection of documentary material in the public documents section, among which there are items covering both the federal and state constitutional proceedings of Australia dating from the late eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries.20 Since the early twentieth century representative titles and works have been acquired, including periodicals and reviews.

There are approximately 160 catalog entries referring to Australian history, including serial publications such as Journal and Proceedings (1906-) of the Royal Australian Historical Society, and Historical Studies (1940-). Early immigrants' guides, among them one for Tasmania (1822) and another for Australia (1839), provide interesting insights. Individual states are well covered: there are some 60 entries for New South Wales including the serial publications of local historical societies; Victoria receives approximately 40 entries. There are about 170 catalog entries for New Zealand representing both early and current publications. General histories for Australia and New Zealand are held in strength for all periods; local histories are less well represented. Since World War II the library has built up a fine collection of Australian and New Zealand regimental histories and other military publications.

Australian government documents are strongly represented at both the national and state levels. From Canberra approximately 100 serial titles of a general political or economic nature are currently received; these include the parliamentary debates, the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, and the publications of the Census and Statistics Bureau. Gazettes, parliamentary debates, and other serial documents are received from the states of Australia, but holdings of material from the large cities are uneven. About fifteen serial titles, including parliamentary debates, come regularly from New Zealand.

A topic of some importance for the South Pacific area relates to HMS Bounty and the celebrated mutiny which ended her voyage to gather breadfruit trees, and led to the settlement of Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands by the mutineers. Interest in the collection centers around the famous "Pitcairn Bible."21 Material on Tahiti includes government publications from 1852 onward with several early imprints, among them a Livre des lois, dated from Papeete, 1845. In the Obadiah Rich collection of documents in the Manuscripts and Archives Division is an early holograph account in Spanish of a voyage made to the islands of Otaheite from Callao in 1774.

The material on Hawaii forms a strong collection. Much additional source material is to be found in United States government documents. Many of the early documents of the royal and republican period are housed in the Rare Book Division. In the Manuscripts and Archives Division are papers relating to the revolution in 1893.

The library receives the official gazettes and other material from French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides.

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