Dedicated to the memory of Brigit Sanders, First President of TARS
The Arthur Ransome Society has a substantial Library of books and other materials, most of which are available for borrowing by members either by post or at some regional and national events. The full catalogue, updated each spring, can be seen here.
The Library is now housed within Moat Brae, the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, in Dumfries, south-west Scotland. Visitors to the house may contact the Librarian if they wish to see the Library or to know more about it. Moat Brae itself has a website, www.peterpanmoatbrae.org. and is well worth a visit in its own right.
Ransome was a great reader and we are fortunate to know what he read, from lists of his own books and from his diaries and letters. We have a growing collection of these titles, known as ‘Read as Ransome read’, an instructive experience. Recently, for example, we have acquired the biography of William Morris, the book which changed Ransome’s life for ever when he came across it in his college Library.
Of course, we aim to have a copy of each of the books Ransome wrote but, perhaps surprisingly, this has still not been achieved. You can see a list of those we are still to acquire here, and perhaps if you are a follower of antiquarian bookshops online or in the flesh, and have some spare cash, you would like to think of making a donation either in kind or in cash to enable us to complete the collection. Did you know that Ransome had 26 books published before he wrote Swallows and Amazons?
Good children’s books are naturally important to TARS members, and we have many of those, some of which appeared during Ransome’s lifetime, as well as a complete collection of the winners of the Carnegie Medal, chosen by children’s librarians and awarded annually by CILIP (The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals), which in Ransome’s day was the Library Association. He won the very first medal in 1937 for Pigeon Post, the sixth in the Swallows and Amazons series.
Each year, in June, we wait for the announcement of the outstanding book for children or young people which has won the medal, and add it to our collection. You can see the full list at www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk.
Another important collection is of the titles published by Ransome’s friend Rupert Hart-Davis in his Mariners (sic) Library series of famous sailing books, some of which have introductions by Ransome himself. Alongside those we have many more books about sailing, and also Ransome’s other occupations, notably fishing and natural history, the Lake District, the Norfolk Broads, China, and of course Russia, as well as books by and about his own friends and contemporaries, such as
W. G. Collingwood and the poet Lascelles Abercrombie.
Each year a Library Update is published as the centre pages of Signals, with reviews and news of developments in the Library. See the latest Update here.
All members of TARS may borrow books from our Library by contacting me, Winifred Wilson, c/o Moat Brae, 101 George Street, Dumfries DG1 1EA, on my home telephone: 01387 252696, or e-mail: email@example.com.