Songs of the Liberation for VE Day

The Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-46) consists mainly of books, but also contains a number of French and English songs and music scores, some with striking illustrations. They appear either in individual leaflets or in larger compilations, including the lyrics and in some cases notated music. On the 70th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe), on 8 May 1945, we would like to shed light on two illustrated covers for songs of the Liberation that we displayed on the occasion of the 2019 Liberation lecture (Normandy ’44 by James Holland).

1PR-LIBERATION-A-00104Le chant de la libération : le chant des partisans, paroles de Maurice Druon et Joseph Kessel, musique de Anna Marly. Paris : Éditions Raoul Breton, 1945. Liberation.a.104

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Covers from the Liberation Collection

The Liberation Collection consists of over 3000 books published in French between 1944 and 1946. They all share a common subject – the Second World War – and reflect the interest of the collector for book history (quality paper, limited editions, signed copies, etc.); this aside, they differ widely from each other in the way they treat the subject, what they talk about (or don’t talk about), their format, pictorial content, audience, tone and genre. One way to give an insight into the variety of the collection is through its most striking book covers, most of them having been photographed for our thumbnail project. Here is a random sample taken from books catalogued in 2019:

Fiction

Fiction represents nearly one sixth of the collection and includes literature for children. Below are a spy novel, an adventure tale about the life of a fighter pilot and a theatre play about the army draft in France.

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Funding opportunity for a PhD on France and the Second World War: the Cambridge Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-1946)

Cambridge University Library is delighted to have received an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Award, and invites applications for PhD studentships, starting in 2020-2021. The successful PhD candidate will receive funding to work on the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-1946), as part of the Doctoral Training Partnership with The Open University.

The recent 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings underscored the importance of the Liberation of France in the history of the twentieth century. This PhD project aims to make use of the Cambridge University Library Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection to explore particular aspects of France during the Second World War, the Liberation, and/or in the immediate post-war period (1939-1946). The Collection consists of about 3000 books and pamphlets in French on these subjects, published from the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 to the end of 1946, encompassing a wide range of material, including novels, poetry, illustrated books, photographic albums, literature for children, testimonies from the camps, military works and political publications. Continue reading

The Liberation of Paris, 19-29 August 1944: “Images de notre délivrance” by Georges Duhamel and Claude Lepape

1On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, we would like to talk about Images de notre délivrance (Liberation.a.7), published in December 1944 by the Editions du Pavois (the publisher in 1946 of L’Univers concentrationnaire by David Rousset, which was awarded the Renaudot prize, Liberation.c.119 and Liberation.c.918). The book, clearly of a bibliophile nature, is presented by the editor as a documentary, the result of an accidental collaboration between a writer, Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), and an artist, Claude Lepape (1913-1994), both reacting to a unique historical event:

Ce livre est un document. Il est né de la rencontre fortuite de deux sensibilités. L’Ecrivain et le Dessinateur ne se sont pas concertés, mais leurs réactions, si diverses et en même temps si proches, constituent l’un des documents les plus émouvants sur les glorieuses journées de la libération.

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“Sombre est noir” by Amy Bakaloff and Óscar Domínguez (1945): war poetry, from anthologies to illustrated collections

Bakaloff Amy, Sombre est noir, orné d’une gravure à l’eau-forte et de deux dessins de Domínguez. Paris, 1945. Liberation.b.356

One of the last books acquired through the Liberation collection is Amy Bakaloff’s Sombre est noir (Liberation.b.356), a collection of French poetry written during the Second World War and dedicated to Paul Éluard and Georges Hugnet, a writer and publisher engaged in the Résistance. It includes an engraving signed by Óscar Domínguez and two drawings. It is a rare work, one of 232 copies, some numbered on Annam paper, some on blue vellum, and some on vélin des Marais. Continue reading