Name/TitleBook, 'the Birthday Register Shakspere'
About this objectThis book belonged to Maud Buckland and was later passed on to her sister Ruth Waller (nee Buckland). The book was used to record the birthdates of family and friends. Each page contains the month and date and is accompanied by a verse from William Shakespeare’s writing.
Maud Buckland was born in 1874 and was the daughter of Alfred Buckland, one of Auckland’s largest landowners and most successful agricultural businessmen. Maud was one of 21 children, thus this book would have been helpful in reminding Maud of the birthdates of her thirteen sisters and seven brothers.
The celebration of birthdays is an ancient tradition and is common to many cultures. Birthdays are one of the many customs that European settlers brought with them to New Zealand in the mid-19th century.
In the past, birthdays were a celebration governed by superstition because they were regarded as a dangerous time due to their association with the perilous event of birth. It was believed that being surrounded by friends and well-wishers helped to ward off evil spirits. The ritual of wishing people “happy birthday” and “best wishes” were ways in which these evil spirits were kept at bay. (1)
(1) Nancy Swarbrick, ‘Birthdays and wedding anniversaries – Celebrating birthdays,’ Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, URL: www.teara.govt.nz/en/birthdays-and-wedding-anniversaires/page-1
For more information about the Buckland family and Highwic, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.
MakerWilliam Shakespeare (b.1564, d.1616)
MakerRuth Waller (nee Buckland)
Date MadeNot dated
Medium and MaterialsLeather and paper
Measurements10.5 x 7cm
Subject and Association KeywordsGirlhood
Credit LineCollection of Highwic, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Object TypeBirthday Register