BONNIE BITS O’ BONNIE SCOTLAND: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HIGHLANDERS FROM THE WOLFSONIAN COLLECTION
On account of the pending (and now decided) vote on whether to remain with or secede from the United Kingdom, Scotland has been in the news (and on my mind) quite a wee bit this past week. As it has also been a rather busy week here in The Wolfsonian-FIU library, I have not had much time to move from thinking–to blogging–about Scotland. The Wolfsonian possesses some rich collections of material both on late nineteenth and twentieth century secession movements in general, and on the Scottish nation itself. Consequently, I thought that I would take just a few minutes out of my busy schedule today to highlight some Scottish ephemera from the Wolfsonian library collection when international and empire expositions also brought Scotland into the limelight.
GIFT OF THE SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The city of Glasgow hosted several important international, national, and imperial exhibitions in the twentieth century, and the Wolfsonian-FIU library holds a number of souvenir view books documenting those fairs.
In 1901, Scotland organized the Glasgow International Exhibition, proudly proclaiming their important place within the Empire and United Kingdom.
The attendance of the royals and the grandeur of the exhibition buildings and pavilions attest to Scottish pride and prestige, industrial might and wealth.
A nighttime view of the fair included in one of the view books was intended to show off Glasgow’s technological advances as well, as the exhibition buildings radiate and glow with new electric lighting.
Glasgow organized another slightly more modest exposition in 1911, styled the Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry. Although national rather than international in scope, the fair was intended to instill a sense of local Scottish pride and also featured a royal procession in the fair grounds on opening day and photo-opportunities for the royal party in the Palace of Art.
Lest the good Scots forget their national honor, a letter dated October 11th, 1297 from William Wallace (of Braveheart fame) was on display.
In 1938, the city of Glasgow hosted the British Empire Exhibition, again demonstrating the importance of Scotland to the United Kingdom’s empire just one year prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The Wolfsonian museum and research center holds a variety of materials celebrating the fair ranging from medallions and keepsakes, newspaper clippings, cigarette card sticker books, original photographs, to postcard view books. Below are few examples from the collection.
Although the bulk of our holdings are limited to the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, thanks to a generous donation from the San Diego Historical Society in 2008, we have a very decent collection of post-Second World War travel and tourism advertising brochures, many of which focus on Scotland.
GIFTS OF THE SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY