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Waite, there’s more...

By: Anna Namuren, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 01 Oct 2014

Australian Mueaxseame? Edgar Waite muses on spelling blunders in 1906.

Waite diary 51 newspaper clipping

Waite diary 51 newspaper clipping
Photographer:  © Reproduction rights Waite family estate

In August we introduced you to the first 40 personal and scientific diaries written by zoologist and museum director Edgar Waite. The diaries had been kindly released by his family to the Museum’s Archives and Records unit to copy and preserve. Our digitisation and transcription experts, the DigiVol team, are busy working through the remaining 26.

Englishman Edgar Ravenswood Waite served at several Antipodean museums from 1893 to 1928, including the Australian Museum, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand and the South Australian Museum.

Diary 51 is typically erudite and witty, and documents Waite’s tenure as curator at the Canterbury Museum. The following entry from his diary is an excerpt from a newspaper interview with Waite about a particular peccadillo.

The spelling of the word “museum” appears to present almost insuperable difficulties to many individuals. Mr Edgar R Waite, curator of the Christchurch Museum, remarked to a reporter yesterday that during a long connection with such institutions he had encountered at least a round dozen of different renderings, but for really strenuous effort he awards the palm to a Christchurch resident, who recently addressed a letter to Mr Waite, in care of the “Mueaxeame.”

I gave the word as sent “MUEAXSEAME."