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CUP book

Treasures of the University of Canterbury Library

20 November 2023

Edited by Chris Jones, Bronwyn Matthews and Jennifer Clement


December 2011; Print edition available May 2012
256pp, Paperback with french flaps
252 x 210mm, Full colour throughout
ISBN 978-1-927145-04-3

The University of Canterbury is the guardian of a rich and varied inheritance, which is reflected in the diverse material held by its libraries.

These collections enable us to discover not only the history of Christchurch, the South Island of New Zealand’s largest city, but also the history of an emerging nation and the broader Pacific region. This book presents reflections on some of the distinctive and exceptional items in the University’s keeping.

Treasures of the University of Canterbury Library

Written by Canterbury academics and members of the wider community, it considers material ranging from medieval European manuscripts to Maori whakapapa books. The items surveyed vary from an original printing of the 1611 King James Bible, to the papers of Karl Popper and the Pacific Leprosy Foundation Archive.

Together these tell many stories. They offer insights into the minds of kings, intellectuals, musicians, artists and explorers. They chart the development of a university and the building of a community. They are a history of the written word, but also of a settler society.

Canterbury’s treasures offer fascinating windows onto the past and occasion to reflect on the present; they highlight many of the opportunities for future research opening up in an increasingly digital age.

'A rare German Bible, a 15th-century genealogical roll and papers from a World War II war crimes trial are among the unique and seldom-seen items showcased in Treasures of the University of Canterbury Library.' Mainland Press

Chris Jones is a senior lecturer in History at the University of Canterbury. His research focuses on the development of medieval political ideas and concepts of identity. His publications include Eclipse of Empire: Perceptions of the Western Empire and its rulers in Late-Medieval France (2007) and the edited collection John of Paris: Beyond royal and papal power (2012).

Bronwyn Matthews is the Liaison Librarian (Special Collections) at the University of Canterbury. She is particularly interested in security aspects of library collections and in the use of rare books for teaching.

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