Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Donation of Nevin graphica from private collector to the NLA



We are delighted to announce that a private collector and American resident has generously donated to the National Library of Australia, Canberra, a total of 45 photographs of Port Arthur convicts taken by Thomas J. Nevin, including the photograph of John Gregson, 1874 (pictured), together with original records, prison logs, prison ephemera and realia, and letters written to Thomas J. Nevin from the adiministration regarding his government commissions at both the Port Arthur penitentiary and Hobart Gaol, Tasmania during the 1870s-1880s. The donation was bequeathed from a large collection of 19th and early 20th century Pacifica, the bulk of which will remain in the United States.

The National Library of Australia donation includes these carte-de-visite photographs:
- prison photograph of John Gregson, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Francis Gregson, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of George Leathley, Nevin stamp verso, handwritten inscriptions "Port Arthur 1872"
- prison photograph of George Fisher, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Henry Clabby, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Richard Copping, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of William Curtis, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Job Smith, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Stephen Kelly, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of John Nestor, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of William Sewell, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of Charles Baker, Nevin stamp verso
- prison photograph of James Martin, verso inscribed with "T.J. Nevin Photo"
- prison photograph of Daniel Murphy, verso inscribed with "T.J. Nevin Photo"
- prison photograph of Dennis Dogherty, Nevin stamp verso, handwritten inscriptions "Port Arthur 1872"
- and thirty more of prisoners taken in the same decade, some as uncut paper prints bundled together with handwritten logs numbering each image on each sheet of photographs, plus dates of printing, and cost calculations in pencil at the foot of each log (4 pages). Some bear the wording  "To J. Barnard" and "for Tuesday" and various other days. Two separate notes attached give details of paper size, mount colours, and ink orders from suppliers, including one stained with blue and pink watercolour.

The collection also consists of these documents:
- letter to T. Nevin, New Town from W. Giblin, 1872 (govt)
- letter to T. Nevin, from J. Woodcock Graves, 1871 (lawyer)
- letter to T. Nevin, from J. Barnard, 1869 (govt printer)
- letter to T. Nevin, from Detective J. Connor 1879 (govt)
- letter from Ad. H. Boyd to Thomas Nevin, 1871 (govt)
- letter from Chief Justice F. Smith to R. Byron Miller re Nevin (Supreme Court 1873)
- letters (x3) to Thomas Nevin from J. W. Beattie 1898
- Christmas card from E.R. Nevin to J. W. Beattie 1898

There are also six photographs of unidentified landscapes printed as stereographs with "T. Nevin Photo" embossed on the mounts, one in a green mount, and four mounted cdv studio portraits of Eliza Hurst (dated 1878), William Giblin, James Erskine Calder, and James Hurst, names written on reverse, all with Nevin's stamp.

This donation is a welcome addition to the public holdings of Thomas J. Nevin's photographic work and biographical documentation. The items have not yet been individually catalogued, and access is restricted to those nominated by the Nevin family descendant who signed the release from the collector's estate in May 2014 at Oakland, California. NB: check the date of this post.