The Book Catalogues of the Southern Hemisphere (BCSH) database aims to provide an explanatory gloss on each of the nearly 500 surviving auction, bookseller, and library catalogues pertaining to the British-controlled Southern Hemisphere and Straits Settlements. These brief glosses will eventually be available on our main website and will contain summaries of the number, type, genre, material format, and provenance of book holdings; information relating to the owners, distributors, sellers, and auctioneers of catalogued books; and, if relevant, information relating to subscription rates, borrowing rules, and library regulations. Below is an example of an auction catalogue from Melbourne, Australia dated 1858, which provides a taster of our many glosses to come.
Title: Catalogue of Valuable Household Furniture, Books, Surgical Instruments, Horses, Carriages, Harness, &c. The Property of the the Late Dr. Maund.
Catalogue category: Auction sale
Date(s): 27 April 1858
Auctioneer: William Easey and Co., AKA William Easey; Wm. Easey and Co. (fl. 1840s-1870s)
Printer: Shaw, Harnett and Co.
Tags: Medical books; scientific books; periodicals; Scott, Walter
The library of Dr John Maund (1823-1858) was advertised for sale by auction in Melbourne, along with other property including household furniture, horses, and surgical instruments, a few weeks after his death in April 1858. Maund, an Englishman who had completed his medical training in Scotland, had spent about five years in the colony of Victoria working as a physician in the government medical establishment, before his sudden death at the age of 35.
In all, some 348 titles from Maund’s library, comprising at least 529 volumes, were advertised for auction, arranged in 111 lots. The vast majority of the books advertised were medical texts, along with some general scientific and reference works. The auction catalogue does not provide much evidence that reading for leisure was part of Maund’s life: alongside some volumes of the Illustrated London News and Punch, a twelve-volume set of Walter Scott’s ever-popular Waverley novels were the only imaginative literature advertised for sale.
Images courtesy of the State Library of Victoria