Hubble and I enjoy rummaging through second-hand bookshops. They are treasure troves. I buy some new books, but I am building up my Australian history collection by finding out of print, sometimes obscure gems in second-hand bookshops. Often these books are hard to find in a library near me – particularly if they solely relate to a state other than the state in which I live. I visited two great second-hand bookshops while I was in Brisbane recently. I left Sydney with a 10kg suitcase and returned with a 20kg suitcase full of second-hand books.
For a number of years I have been visiting Archives Fine Books in Charlotte Street. Recently I found a large room at the back of the shop that I had not been aware of. In this room I found Soldiers of the Service Volume II: More Early Queensland Educators and their Schools. Not too many people would get excited by this title, but it should be a good reference book for my work about the history of education in Queensland. I bought it because I thought it would be difficult to borrow from a library in Sydney where I live. Not only is it available in very few libraries, there was not one image of the front cover on the internet until I photographed my own and uploaded it. Now I need to find a copy of Volumes I and III. Given the interest in this book (see comments) I have added a list of the chapter titles of this book at the end of this post.
I also picked up some old school readers. School readers are generally not digitised. I am purchasing readers when I can so that I can digitise them at home using my camera, a cardboard box, a lamp and some optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert print to machine readable text using these instructions. Once I have done this I can easily analyse the text in these readers.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a big believer in walking the streets of the places I am researching. Historical research can be a very sedentary occupation so walking the streets is also a good way to get some exercise on a research trip. One morning I walked a couple of kilometres from my hotel to Bent Books in Brisbane’s West End.
It was well worth the walk. Bent Books has a well organised history section where I picked up 100 years of history: Holland Park Mosque 1908-2008. According to Trove, this book is only available in four Australian libraries, none of which are in Sydney. I am looking forward to learning more about Brisbane’s experience of Islam.
Bent Books is on Boundary Street in West End. This street marks the boundary where Aboriginal people were not allowed to cross after dusk (see The History of Boundary Street Curfew). Earlier this year there was a debate about whether the name should be changed but at least one Aboriginal elder argued that renaming the street would be wrong as such an action would enable people to avoid an essential aspect of our history.
Bent Books, like most good second-hand bookshops, has books about our Aboriginal history. I picked up a book that I have been wanting to read for some time – Auntie Rita by Rita and Jackie Huggins.
Second-hand bookshops offer a great service recycling old books. Like shopping at a good bricks and mortar retailer of new books, it is the experience of being in the bookshop which counts as much as finding books. I know that I can just get onto Abe Books and order whatever I want from the comfort of home, but I enjoy searching searching for books on the shelves, talking to shop owners and customers. At Bent Books a customer recommended that I check out Boswell’s Books in Ashgrove. I’ll do that next time I’m in Brisbane.
After a bout of second-hand bookshopping I add them to my LibraryThing catalogue. If they are paperback books I cover them with contact – I hate dog-eared books. Books go straight onto the shelf if I have previously read them through a library or if they are reference books, otherwise I add them to my bedtime reading ‘to be read’ (TBR) pile or my research TBR pile.
Soldiers of the Service Vol II: List of Chapters
After the introduction by Tom Watson:
- ‘Andrew Barlow: A Reforming Minister of Education, 1903-1909’ by Tom Watson
- ‘John Douglas Story: The ‘Atlas’ of Queensland Education: His rise to power, values and administrative style, 1900-1923′ by Greg Logan
- ‘Leonard Morris: The Long-serving Superintendent of Technical Education: developing practical technical education, 1909-1925’ by David Green
- ‘James Stubbin: The Zealous Teacher of Agriculture, 1910-1926’ by Greg Logan
- ‘Marianne Brydon: The Respected Inspectress of Women’s Work, 191901932’ by Michael Marendy
- ‘Edith Bryan: The Gifted Teacher of the Deaf and Dumb, 1901-1937’ by Geoff Swan
- ‘Reginald Roe: The Cultured Inspector-General, 1909-1917’ by Tom Watson
- ‘Milisent Wilkinson: The Battling Lady Principal of Brisbane Girls Grammar Scool, 1900-1912’ by Tom Watson
- ‘Frederick Bousfield: The Besieged Headmaster of Brisbane Grammar School, 1909-1928’ by Pam Barnett
- ‘John Shirley: The Highly Qualified Trainer of Teachers, 1914-1919’ by Tom Watson
- ‘Cuthbert Potts: The Isolated Principal, Queensland Agricultural College, Lawes, 1915-1923’ by Philip Raymont