Rare Books at the University of Melbourne holds a significant collection of books, journals and ephemera. Strengths of the collection include printing history, Greek and Roman classics, private presses, English literature, social and political thought, children’s books, Australiana and book arts. These items are housed in special conditions by reason of their age, value or uniqueness in order to ensure their care and preservation for current and future generations of scholars and researchers.
Some significant works held are Piranesi, Collection of folio works, 1761-1807; Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499; Mr William Shakespeares comedies, histories and tragedies (Second folio) 1632; John Gould, The birds of Australia, 1848 and the Mammals of Australia 1863; Latin Bible Mainz: Peter Schoeffer 1472; Parler seul : poème Tristan Tzara and Joan Miró 1950, Dlia Golosa. Mayakovsky, Vladimir and El Lissitzky 1923.
The majority of Rare Books are catalogued, however some collections may only be accesible via card catalogues or lists.
Items relating to the many savings schemes, loan floats, and the gradual rationing of such commodities as clothes, tea, sugar, butter, meat and petrol include:
- 'Your Greatest Challenge' poster for the Third Liberty loan, launched by Government leaders in March 1943, and poster exhorting the public to 'save and lend' for Victory
Oliver J. Nilsen Collection
- 'This is a war savings street' plaque.
Home front support included purchase of War Savings Certificates, Stamps and Coupons. The required quota being reached by households in a street, a metal plaque was fixed to the corner lamp-post.
Max Marginson Collection
- Melbourne Teachers' College War Savings Certificates Group, Trustees Register, June 1940-December 1941.
Melbourne Teachers' College Collection
- Austerity Bond rally, Collins Street; Billy Hughes seated in the middle, Laurence Hartnett standing immediately to Hughes' right; note armaments beneath.
- Musical comedy star Gladys ('Our Glad') Moncrieff atop an armoured vehicle at a mixed uniformed and civilian rally during an appeal for public subscriptions to a Commonwealth War Loan.
Commercial Travellers' Association Collection
- Certificate of Honour to employees of Hoffman Brick & Potteries Ltd. (on whose land the new Archives repository is built) for purchasing bonds of the Second Victory Loan, 1944.
Hoffman Brick & Potteries Ltd. Collection
- 'Fashions for Victory. Control of Clothing (Feminine Outerwear) order' under a clothing restrictions and rationing scheme announced 26 July 1942, showing some of the styles allowed or prohibited.
Clothing Trades Union Collection
- Austerity Cooking Demonstration, 24 September 1942, brochure and 'Planning Meat Ration Meals' booklet (undated).
N.D. Harper Collection
- Queue for aluminium ware, Lindfield, New South Wales, 1943.