This month, we were delighted to welcome our new French specialist, Dr Irène Fabry-Tehranchi. Irène will focus on current Francophone collection development but will also work with French special collections, chief among them the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection. This post looks at the latest Liberation addition: a book signed by Tristan Tzara and Henri Matisse. Le signe de vie, which featured in Sir Charles Chadwyck Healey’s talk ‘The power of the image in liberated France, 1944-46’ earlier this year, was printed in Paris in 1946 and contains poems by Tzara with illustrations by Matisse.
Tirage description, with Tzara’s signature
Dedication to Kernn-Larsen from Tzara
Matisse’s signature; Tzara’s signature below the tirage description; dedication to Rita Kernn-Larsen by Tzara
An important part of cataloguing work in the Library is what we call authority work – adding or editing records for people for the master authority file hosted by the Library of Congress. Each record provides a unique main heading for an individual (eg Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885) and cites books where this and other forms of names appear. By using this unique heading in a catalogue record, all works by or about someone will file together in a library index even if the person’s name might appear differently in each separate book (eg V. Hugo).
Many of the books in the Liberation Collection need this authority work. More often than not, a new authority needs to be created. Sometimes the author has a record already but we need to update it to note a different form of the name. On the odd occasion, the book we are looking at is on such a different topic to those cited in the writer’s authority record that without further investigation we might assume that our author is someone different.
On Thursday 22nd February Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey will give a talk to the Cambridge Bibliographical Society on ‘The power of the image in liberated France, 1944-46’.
His talk is inspired by imagery from the collection he has put together (recently presented to the University Library) on the German occupation of France during the war and its liberation by the allied forces. Beautiful books began to be published immediately after the liberation of Paris in August 1944 even though the war was still being fought in France. Once Paris was free and the Vichy government had collapsed, censorship came to an end, and it is the immediacy of this response and the quality of the books themselves that makes this period so interesting for the history of the book.
Talk starts at 17.00. Tea from 16.30 before the talk.
Free event, no booking required. Members and non-members of Cambridge Bibliographical Society welcome.
Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library
Lyon dans les chaînes (Liberation.a.60) is a wonderfully illustrated account of the occupation and liberation of the city of Lyon by journalist Pierre Scize. This large volume, held at Cambridge University Library as part of the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection, has an extensive number of coloured lithographs “printed under the surveillance of the artist”, Julien Pavil. The 625 copies of the work were produced between 15 December 1944 and 29 June 1945, which tells us a great deal about the effort and dedication the French were willing to put into book publishing after the Liberation. Continue reading →
“La chanson des V”. Beethoven’s famous 5th symphonie start was the signature tune for the BBC programme “Les Français parlent aux français”. The rythm of its first four notes equals the letter “V” (for Victory) in morse code. Liberation.b.34
The powerful role of radio propaganda during World War II cannot be overestimated. Information was transmitted quickly to vast populations across borders, overpassing enemy lines. In the UK, the BBC would broadcast in several languages, including French of course, and would even send secret messages to the French Resistance in the form of apparently senseless phrases. The Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection has several publications related to this topic, some of them particularly fascinating.
Maurice Van Moppès was an illustrator, Free France member and broadcaster who worked for “Les Français parlent aux français”, one of the BBC radio programmes that transmitted news from the Front (for more on this check the 5 volumes of Ici Londres, 1940-1944: les voix de la liberté, 539:1.b.820.2-6). The programme was also supposed to boost the French people’s morale and send code messages to the Résistance. Continue reading →