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Probate of Turnbull | by Archives New Zealand
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Probate of Turnbull

On 13 July 1920, the New Zealand government accepted the bequest from Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull to maintain and provide access to his vast collection of books, pamphlets, engravings and manuscripts. The collection was initially housed in Bowen house opposite the Parliament buildings but is today found in the National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth Street, Wellington. At the time of his death the collection contained approximately 55,000 books. Prior to his death, Turnbull had donated his Māori and Pacific artefacts to the Dominion Museum, which is now known as Te Papa Museum.


The images here are from the probate file of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull. These segments are from his last will and testament. Interestingly, Turnbull's initial plan was to deposit his collection with Victoria University, Wellington. In his original will, (the hand written image marked 'A'), from August 5 1907, it is clearly stated that the intention was to deposit the collection with the university. However, four months later, he changed his mind and wished to deposit the collection with the King, "I bequeath to His Majesty the King all my Library" (Image marked 'b') Turnbull died on 28 June 1918. It took the government over two years to accept his request.


Archives New Zealand reference: AAOM 6029 353 23916 (R23030560)

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Taken on June 24, 2013