Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Elizabeth of York

A young English princess tries on her wedding gown with excitement only for her betrothal to the French Dauphin to be broken shortly afterwards.  So begins the first chapter of The Tudor Rose, a novel about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.  I knew who she was but what was she like?  This wonderful novel by the late English novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes provided an answer for me.

Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962) began her career by writing for various leading British literary publications before turning to historical fiction.  Her agents at Curtis Brown Ltd. encourage her to write historical novels.  She wrote ten novels between 1944-62.  In 1944 her son Michael’s death in World War II combat operation devasted her and her husband Peter.  Her love for her son shines in her writing.  (A fuller biography may be found in any of her reissued novels)

I first discovered Margaret Campbell Barnes in high school.  The copy of The Tudor Rose  in my high school library wasn’t very distinctive on the shelf: it was a hardback rebound with the title engraved on the spine.  (I don’t remember if any of Barnes’s novels were there)  I went on to read other historical fiction novels but I didn’t forget this novel. Years would pass before I saw it again…

Tudor Rose

What I enjoy about Barnes’s novels is her writing style and how she brings her subject and the time period to life. As I read, I feel I’m watching what’s happening: the battles, political upheaval, murder, vying for the throne, feasts and royal pageantry, and domestic life. The individual people in her novels, both well-known and lesser known, come alive on the pages.  Because it’s actual history, there are no surprises about the ending. The way Barnes tells the story will have you wanting to know. Barnes follows the historical records about her subjects accurately, and she includes an acknowledgement about her research in her novels.  As an undergrad history major, I appreciate that.

If you enjoyed reading Margaret Campbell Barnes when you were younger, you’ll be delighted her novels have been reissued with beautiful covers after being out of print for many years. I’ve bought four of the reissues including The Tudor Rose. Three of them were new to me so I was in for a treat. (My second favorite is My Lady of Cleves)  Below is a list of Barnes’s reissued novels in chronological order in English history and their original publication dates:

The Passionate Brood (1944)

Within the Hollow Crown (1947)

The Tudor Rose (1953)

Brief Gaudy Hour (1949)

King’s Fool (1959)

My Lady of Cleves (1946)

Mary of Carisbrooke (1956)

This is the first in a three part series about my favorite historical fiction novelists.  Next installment: Margaret Irwin.


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Disguising technology with something a bit more familiar .. .

Horchow is selling this faux book case for the MacBook Pro:

leather case for MacBook

It seems that this attraction to the familiar, to older technology represents value and comfort. 

Will we see natural language database interfaces repackaged with familiar, comforting reference librarian wrappings?

Reference Librarians

 Will we see Google Data Centers holding Google Books sporting the glorious edifices of Library architecture?

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Best of Publib will return next week to cover March 1st through March 14th

I envision some sort of blonde theme . . .

This Week in Best of Publib

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

This week  in  Best of Publib includes some elegant and thoughtful discussions on collection development, the value of GSLIS programs and the future of public libraries – some of the topics we will be reviewing include:

  • Topic – Cataloging 9/11 ‘conspiracy’ materials – do conspiracy ‘theories’ belong with the official truth, or in their own section?
  • Topic H1N1 sanitation redux – handwashing and inhaling in the swine flu era – librarians behind the mask.
  • Topic Jobs and People- including many permutations – Favorite Books, Library Education, Library Organizational Structure, Library Job Descriptions and Ethics.
  • Topic – Missing the Boat – future  of librarianship/ technology skills and the ups and downs of the MLS/MLIS – do we know enough?
  • Topic – Nuke the Books – will the California  book microwaving trend catch on across the US,  is it just an isolated fad or a recipe for disaster?
  • Topic Is this thing on? – some libraries are allowing print reference to go out – what does this mean to circulation and collection provenance?

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LIS Alumni Reunion during ALA

Hello everyone!  My name is Elisa Babel, and I’m the new contributing editor to BestofPUBLIB. 

For those of you who attended ALA Annual in Chicago, I hope you had a great time, whether it was your first time or a repeat visit.  I hadn’t been in Chicago in 11 years so it was exciting to be back.

Here goes with my first post…

On Sunday, July 12, I attended the Cooperative Library and Information Science Alumni Reunion which was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Westin River North Hotel during ALA Annual in Chicago.

Alumni from nineteen participating library schools across the country came for a light dinner buffet and fellowship. (Eight other schools including Syracuse University, UC Berkley, University of Chicago, and Indiana University had private gatherings at hotels and restaurants throughout downtown Chicago)  Many tables were near full to completely filled.  It was a wonderful break from workshops and exhibits at ALA.

It was pleasure to see a library professor that I was acquainted with and a few current students from my school at our table.  I enjoyed hearing news from campus, impressions about the conference, and the library job search.  If you were able to attend, I hope you enjoyed the experience. It was a fun and informal atmosphere, and I’m glad I attended. 

Here’s a listing of the 19 library schools that participated the alumni reunion:   ALISE at ALA

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Happy post 4th! 

We set up a BestofPublib group on Facebook to help us administer content and have a central communication structure for contributors.  The group is closed in order to keep out spam, but librarians and those employed or interested in libraries are welcome as members.   You will need to set up a Facebook account, before you can apply.

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