Making Our Local History Library More Accessible

Gold Hill Museum volunteer Jeanette Hardiman in the process of accessioning a copy of The Art of a Salesman, kindly donated by its author, Paul Whittaker in October 2021. Jeanette has been through the entire stock of the Museum’s Reference Library – over 1300 volumes – entering basic information such as Title, Author, Date of Publication, Publisher, and ISBN into a searchable database. She is now identifying up to 30 Keywords for each book so that future enquirers may find books, via our website, which they may not even have realised were relevant to their research interests. She anticipates completing this massive task by April 2022. It is then our intention to make the Reference Library Catalogue available online.

The Art of a Salesman is a 2019 biography of the hotelier and philanthropist Sir Merton Russell-Cotes who helped to drive the development of Bournemouth as a fashionable tourist resort in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He and his wife gifted the clifftop Russell-Cotes Museum, together with a substantial art collection, to the town in 1907. Prior to Paul Whittaker’s self-published work, there was no accurate account of Merton’s life.

Archives Team volunteer Janet Swiss with leather-bound volume of copperplate notes

Member of the Archives Team Janet Swiss has been fascinated by this handwritten leather-bound volume in immaculate copperplate. The contents are notes and transcriptions from the monthly Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society, mostly from the period 1815 to 1818, but with references to journals from the early days of this august scientific institution, founded in Charles II’s reign. The anonymous writer is interested in such subjects as the weather, grain, America, black walnut tree imports, and hops. It’s not clear why we have this book so if anyone can help explain its provenance, please get in touch.

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This News Blog samples the invaluable work being done behind the scenes by many volunteers. If you think that you would be interested in joining this happy and motivated group, expertly led by Librarian Ann Symons, please contact us.