Seeing Red: Censored Letters of the First World War 

Seeing Red: Censored Letters of the First World War 

A lunchtime talk at the National Library corner Aitken and Molesworth Streets, Thorndon 

Tuesday 28 July 12.10pm – 1.00pm

From the outbreak of the First World War until November 1920, the private letters of mothers, lovers, internees and workmates were subject to a strict censorship. A team of diligent readers in post offices across the country poured over pounds and pounds of mail. Some were stamped and sent on; others made their way into the hands of Police Commissioners. In an era when post was paramount, the wartime censorship of correspondence heralded the largest state invasion of private life in New Zealand’s history.

Using a unique, little-used collection of censored letters at Archives New Zealand (the Army’s ‘Secret Registry’) this talk by Jared Davidson will offer a fascinating insight into postal censorship, state attitudes toward dissent, and the New Zealand home front during the First World War.

Jared Davidson (LHP) is an archivist by day & labour historian by night. His works on the intersection of power, culture & class includes two books:Remains to Be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill’s Ashes in New Zealand (2011), &Sewing Freedom: Philip Josephs, Transnationalism & Early New Zealand Anarchism (2013).