Les Beaux Pays (Arthaud) – illustrated France of the 1930s-1950s

As the weather starts to provide us with some hope for the summer, it is useful for us to look at guidebooks in the University Library, and what role they can play in a collection such as ours. An interesting series, donated to the Library by F.T.K. Caröe, covers some areas of France and provides both a literary and photographic record of these areas as they were at the time of publication.

The series is called Les Beaux Pays, published by B. Arthaud in Grenoble and Paris. These are an excellent example of guide books as historical documents. The University Library had several volumes in this collection, which are significantly augmented by those donated as part of the library of F.T.K. Caröe, about whom we’ve previously written in relation to his interest in Scandinavian literatures. Caröe’s gifts from this series date from 1935-1959, and cover a number of regions of France. The series was very wide-ranging, and our collections cover only a selection. However, this selection is illuminating and a true asset to the University Library. Continue reading

Icelandic collections

Whilst Finnish language items have never been energetically collected in the University Library, it has substantial collections of material in the other Scandinavian languages – Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. Two librarians with special responsibility for Scandinavian studies built up our collections over half a century. F.T.K. Caröe had been the principal planner of the massive operation by which the University Library was moved from its old to its present premises in 1934. He retired in 1963, and in his obituary in the Staff Bulletin in January 1971, Deputy Librarian John Oates paid tribute to Caröe’s interest in the Scandinavian literatures, “his deep knowledge of which he used indefatigably in the interests of the University Library”. His successor Dr J.B. Dodsworth, who was appointed in October 1965, carried on that tradition, but since Dr Dodsworth’s retirement in 1998, collection development in this area has significantly diminished.

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