When I first received this newsletter, I didn’t know whether to be more excited that I had actually received, in an envelope, a piece of mail, or that it had come from the future. On closer inspection, it was evident that the date, 5 May 2011, relates to the launch of the new book by James Curran, but the excitement about the mail remains. (There is something so alluring, so full of potential, about getting an envelope or a parcel, and opening it).
James Curran was a visiting scholar at the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library in 2004, and the new book reflects his research at the Library into Curtin’s ideas about Australia and its relationship with the British Empire.
The newsletter also flags two new exhibitions based on collections for Curtin University as a whole. The first focuses on writer Elizabeth Jolley, while the other promotes the new Sexology collection donated by Dr Jules Black.
The promotion of these two collections highlights one of the key differences between the Australian Prime Ministerial Libraries, of which there are three, and the American Presidential Libraries. The Australian libraries are University based and focus on electronic aggregations of records from a variety of sources, while the US versions are part of NARA and include substantial documentary and other collections. The central article in this update concerns the recent collaboration between JCPML and the Noel Butlin Archives in Canberra to digitise the records of the Westralian Worker, the newspaper edited by Curtin from 1917 to 1928.