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Cambridge University Library’s unique WW2 collection goes on display in New York

23 January, 2015

victoireA unique collection of literary works that were published following the German retreat from French soil held by Cambridge University Library (UL) is now on public display in New York’s Grolier Club, America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts.

The items will be on display until 1st March. The exhibition has been assembled from the collection of more than 600 books, cartoons, magazines, photographs and gramophone records donated to the UL by collector, Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey. From May – October 2014, many items from the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection were on public display in the UL’s exhibition Literature of the Liberation: The French Experience in Print 1944-1946 and now enthusiasts in the USA will also have the chance to view the literary response to the liberation of Paris.

After four years of occupation, Paris was liberated on 25th August, 1944. In the immediate aftermath writers, artists, photographers and film-makers sought to capture what the experience had been like. 

Chadwyck-Healey said: “The days, weeks and months following liberation were such an extraordinary time for people in France. Occupation and liberation were cataclysmic events in French history. They had to deal with the scars of overwhelming defeat, living with the Germans, and then having the Allies sweeping through the country. All this had a profound effect on the national psyche.

“Much of the collection is about shame, but the most surprising thing is the sense of humour, irony and self-deprecation. After liberation, from the very first moments of freedom, there was an extraordinary outpouring of material.”

If you missed the Literature of the Liberation exhibition at the UL, you can view many of the items in the virtual exhibition by clicking here.

An introductory video by the curator, Charles Chadwyck-Healey, to the exhibition 'Literature of the Liberation: the French experience in print, 1944--1946', held in Cambridge University Library in 2014, can be viewed below.

Other News

Former Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library awarded Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry

12 January, 2015

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2014 to Imtiaz Dharker, a former Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library.


'Crown jewels' of English lute music go online on Cambridge Digital Library

11 December, 2014

Handwritten copies of scores by composers of English lute music have been digitised in a programme to make a precious legacy available to professional and amateur musicians around the world.


Winners announced for Cambridge University Library landscape design competition

09 December, 2014

Cambridge University Library and the Department of Architecture are delighted to reveal the prize winners of a design competition to attract bold re-imaginings of the open spaces and environment of the iconic Giles Gilbert Scott building.


The evolution of Darwin’s Origin: Cambridge releases 12,000 papers online

24 November, 2014

The origins of Darwin’s theory of evolution – including the pages where he first coins and commits to paper the term ‘natural selection’ - are being made freely available online today in one of the most significant releases of Darwin material in history.


University Library welcomes visit from Commonwealth Essay Competition winners

21 November, 2014

The winners and runners-up of the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest, the Commonwealth Essay Competition, visited the University Library Royal Commonwealth Society collections during a week-long visit to the UK that included a special award ceremony at Buckingham Palace.


Private Lives of Print: exhibition to celebrate early printed books

23 October, 2014

A unique copy of the Gutenberg Bible – Europe’s first printed book using moveable type – is to go on display in a spectacular exhibition charting how books were simultaneously cherished and embellished, mistreated and even vandalised in the first century of the printed age.


Cambridge Festival of Ideas now on!

20 October, 2014

Cambridge University Library is once again taking part in the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, which offers a series of engaging and thought-provoking events that celebrate the arts, humanities and social sciences.


Uncovering the text of the New Testament

12 September, 2014

A £1.1m campaign by Cambridge University Library to secure one of the most important New Testament manuscripts – the seventh-century Codex Zacynthius – has been a success.


Shortlist revealed for Library landscape design competition

12 September, 2014

The University Library and the Department of Architecture have revealed the shortlist for a design competition to attract bold re-imaginings of the open spaces and environment of the iconic Giles Gilbert Scott building.


Sassoon's War Journals Released Online

31 July, 2014

Siegfried Sassoon’s First World War diaries – some bearing traces of mud from the Somme – are among 4,100 pages from his personal archive being made freely available online from today, almost 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany.


80-year old photograph albums throw light on the building of the iconic University Library

29 July, 2014

Photographic albums uncovered at the University Library (UL) offer a unique view of the huge removal job which 80 years ago this week saw one million items successfully moved to their new home.


Heavens above

28 May, 2014

A 600-year-old astronomical document is now moving into the modern era, with a symposium at the Whipple Museum to mark its digitisation.


Stanley Sadie Archive Project

19 May, 2014

Cambridge University Library is delighted to have received the Stanley Sadie Archive as a gift from his widow Julie Anne.


Literature of the Liberation: Cambridge exhibition a world first

06 May, 2014

Seventy years after Hitler’s soldiers were driven from Paris, Cambridge University Library is staging the first-ever exhibition to examine the outpouring of literary works that followed the German retreat from French soil.


From text to texting: 10th century Greek manuscript is brought into the digital age

27 March, 2014

A tenth century Greek manuscript, one of the latest additions to the Digital Library, shows how the transmission and reinterpretation of written knowledge over the centuries still continues in today’s digital age.


Conquering a continent: How the French language circulated in Britain and medieval Europe

22 January, 2014

A 13th-century manuscript of Arthurian legend once owned by the Knights Templar is one of the star attractions of a new exhibition opening at Cambridge University Library today (January 22).