An abundance of storybooks

July 23, 2012 – 2:01 pm

From our latest ACU update


Students look on as Grace and John Nolan present about their children’s literature collection

“With more than 3,000 books, the Nolan Collection of children’s literature would exhaust even Scheherazade.

For over six years, John and Grace Nolan have been donating children’s literature to the Raheen Library at the University’s Melbourne Campus.

The husband and wife team, who both completed the Master of Philosophy at ACU, brought a new gift of books to the library in late June. On this occasion they spoke about the significance of children’s literature to a group of secondary students visiting the campus – explaining that children’s stories are a telling way of documenting the history of the era.

“When I was a girl there were very different books for boys and girls,” said Grace. “Boys books told tales of daring and adventure, while girls books were mostly about domestic duties and babies.

“Even popular children’s books, such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, often depicted the boys not allowing girls to participate in adventures if the circumstances were too scary or at night.” Full story here.

So what is the ‘Nolan Collection’?

The collection stops around 1970.

The collection contains both fiction and non fiction.

Collection has a couple of works from very early in 1800s but more starting around 1860s with works by authors such as R M Ballantyne Deep down : a tale of the Cornish mines (1868) or Fighting the flames : a tale of the London fire brigade (1868) for boys while girls had to read Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley (first published 1867, our copy 1873).

“Martha Finley is best known for her Elsie Dinsmore series, melodramatic and sentimental fiction focusing on Elsie’s trials and the solace offered her by her religious beliefs. Originally written under the pseudonym “Martha Farquharson” (Gaelic for “Finley”), the series lasted for 28 volumes, published over a period of 38 years. Much has been written about the series, discussing everything from its tear-soaked heroine and her relationship with her father to its enduring popularity during the 19th century”. More information on Martha Finley.

The Nolan Collection is for use in the Melbourne campus library only. You will find the Nolan collection through Library search…and example is below:

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