This page has information about the current exhibition as well as links to previous exhibitions. Many of the previous exhibitions are online.
The Female of the Species: A Celebration of Women in History
‘As a class, women seem always to have been too busy to say much about themselves. And sometimes it has seemed that the more worthwhile their deeds the less they said about them. Few women have had Boswells, though many should have’. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead, 1937.
A woman’s role in society, until recently, has traditionally been as wife, mother, and caregiver. She is often remembered in history, overwhelmingly written by men, for her looks, her body, or her scandalous behaviour. Women make up at least half of the world’s population, but they occupy less than one percent of recorded history.
As you will find in this exhibition, The Female of the Species: A Celebration of Women in History, women have always been writers, inventors, leaders, activists, and warriors. However, their contributions have often been overlooked, fading into a background overshadowed by men. The paucity of resources about women has proven a challenge, but in the exhibition, you will find books highlighting familiar faces: Cleopatra, Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Curie, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Florence Nightingale, and Janet Frame.
You will also learn of the endeavours of less familiar women in history: Christine de Pisan, the 14th century proto-feminist; Boudica, Queen of the Iceni; Hypatia, the mathematician; Ida Pfeiffer, the Austrian traveller; Mary Somerville, the scientist; Ann Radcliffe, the writer; Margaret Sanger, the birth control activist; Teuta, the pirate Queen; Charlotte Guillard, the Paris printer; and many more besides.
Let us now bring the exploits of all these women into the light. Please enjoy the exhibition.
Poster (PDF format, 735KB)
Handlist (PDF format, 1.4MB)
Dates: 21 June – 13 September 2019
Venue: de Beer gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago
Contact: Dr Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian
Tel: +64 3 479 8330
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Past exhibitions 22 March - 7 June 2019 For the love of books: Collectors and Collections 14 December 2018 - 15 March 2019 Medical Marvels: Treasures from the Health Sciences Library 7 September 2018 - 7 December 2018 Auld Acquaintances: Celebrating the Robert Burns Fellowship 15 June - 31 August 2018 All the Year Round: Exploring the Nineteenth-Century Periodical 16 March - 1 June 2018 A Middle Eastern Odyssey: Constantinople to Palmyra 15 December - 9 March 2018 Moving to the Left: The Art and Development of the Frontispiece 15 September - 8 December 2017 Parlez-vous français? Celebrating France & the French 16 June - 8 September Intrepid Journeys: Travelling with the Hakluyt Society 24 March - 9 June 2017 500 Years On. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation 9 December 2016 - 17 March 2017 Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations, 1770-1930 1 September 2016 - 2 December 2016 A Letterpress Legacy: The Dartmouth College Book Arts Workshop 10 June 2016 - 26 August 2016 Scholarly Favourites. Researching in Special Collections Exhibition, University of Otago 11 March 2016 - 3 June 2016 Fashion Rules OK 11 December 2015 - 4 March 2016 By Land and By Sea: Scientific Expedition Reports in Special Collections from 1826 to the 1960s 28 August - 27 November 2015 The Melrose Library: Reflecting the Life and Works of Sir F. Truby King 5 June - 21 August 2015 Black + White + Grey. The Lives + Works of Eric Gill + Robert Gibbings 12 March - 29 May 2015 Aliens, Androids & Unicorns. The Hal Salive Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection 17 December - 23 March 2014 The World of Joseph W. Mellor (1869-1938) 11 September - 5 December 2014 Celebrating Botany (1924-2014) 11 June - 5 September 2014 Viva l'Italia. A Regional Romp through Italy 21 March - 23 May 2014 Make It New! Modernism & the Medieval Presence 20 December 2013 - 14 March 2014 Rare Delights III. Recent Additions to Special Collections 27 September - 13 December 2013 Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates 28 June - 20 September 2013 Maths, Politics and Concrete: The Legacy of the Classical World 5 April - 25 June 2013 Celebrating Pharmacy 20 December 2012 - 22 March 2013 From Pigskin to Paper: The Art and Craft of Bookbinding 21 September - 13 December 2012 Celebrating Charles Dickens (1812-1870) 22 June - 14 September 2012 Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876 23 March - 15 June 2012 Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection 21 December 2011 to 16 March 2012 The Gentleman's Magazine: The 18th century answer to Google 30 September - 16 December 2011 In Search of Scotland 1 July - 23 September 2011 Experimental Philosophy: old and new 1 April - 17 June 2011 Forging a Magical Landscape: The Works of Robert Graves, Poet 17 December 2010 - 25 March 2011 Faces of Authorship: Constructing the Author in Medieval and Early Modern Books 27 August to 10 December 2010 Pulp Fiction 14 May - 20 August ALL ABOARD! The Ernie Webber Railway Collection 8 February - 7 May Footnotes on Official History: Celebrating Dr Hocken's Pamphlet Collection 30 October 2009 - 29 January 2010 Heresy, Sedition, Obscenity: The Book Challenged 13 July - 23 October 2009 'I sat down in the evening to read...' Books from the Library of Charles Brasch, Poet, 1909-1973 8 April - 3 July 2009 Beetles, Barnacles, Orchids, and the Origin of Species: Charles Darwin and His Legacy 19 December 2008 - 27 March 2009 A Record of Achievement: The 50th Birthday of the Otago University Press 29 August - 12 December 2008 Nourishing the Roots: an exhibition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago 5 May - 22 August 2008 Éire á Móradh: Singing the Praises of Ireland 25 February - 25 April 2008 Rare Delights II: Recent Additions to Special Collections 20 December 2007 - 1 February 2008 RETROSPECTIVE: A look back at the last 21 Special Collections exhibitions 17 October to 14 December 2007 Initials: In the Beginning... 6 July to 28 September 2007 Linnaeus, Prince of Botanists: His Works and Legacy 11 April to 29 June 2007 A Quick Stab at the Eighteenth Century 12 December 2006 - 30 March 2007 Master of the Burin: the book illustrations of John Buckland Wright, 1897-1954 4 September - 1 December 2006 In the Flesh. The Monro Dynasty 1720-1846. 1 June - 25 August 2006 The Black Art: Hand-printing in the Bibliography Room, 1961-2005 10 February - 26 May 2006 West Meets East: Images of China and Japan, 1570 to 1920 17 October 2005 - 27 January 2006 Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass 11 July - 23 September 2005 The Word on Modernism: How Books Aided a Revolution in Design 11 April - 24 June 2005 "£100 & a butt of sack yearly" The office of the poet laureate 20 December 2004 - 31 March 2005 Straight Jackets: the Art of the Book Jacket 20 September - 10 December 2004 'A Civilising Mission' : New Zealanders and the Rhodes Scholarship 1904 - 2004 24 June - 10 September 2004 41 Stunning Books: A selection of modern private press books 23 March - 11 June 2004 Glimpses of London's Past 25 November 2003 - 12 March 2004 He tirohanga ki muri ~ A view of the past 4 July - 17 November 2003 Harmonizing my starting place: Charles Brasch, patron, poet and collector 21 March - 27 June 2003 Cultivating Gardens: Practical garden advice through the ages 13 December 2002 - 13 March 2003 Rare Delights: recent additions to Special Collections 12 September - 28 November 2002 Unpacking Ruins: architecture from antiquity 21 June - 1 September 2002 Enlarging the prospects of happiness: European travel writing through the ages 21 March - 13 June 2002 Portrait of a gentleman scholar: celebrating the life and legacy of Esmond de Beer
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Exhibition gallery location
Exhibitions are mounted in: The de Beer Gallery
65 Albany Street
Open 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Monday to Friday
Contact the Special Collections Librarian for enquiries and consultations.