# 33697

ABEL, Cecil Charles, Sir (1903-1994) and ABEL, Russell William (1923-1972)

“Tales of New Guinea” : by Cecil and Russell Abel. (Published by The Stevie Seabee, newsletter of the U.S. 25th Special Seabees, during World War Two).

$300.00 AUD

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[San Francisco, CA : U.S. 25th Special Naval Construction Battalion, 1943-45?]. Foolscap folio (330 mm), stapled, [40] pp, roneo printed, with line-drawn illustrations; a collation comprising Chapters I – XXVII of “Tales of New Guinea” by Cecil and Russell Abel, which appear to have been separately issued as supplements to The Stevie Seabee newsletter (the collation was probably made shortly after the time of publication, judging by the rust on the surviving staple!); paper toned and with light foxing, otherwise well preserved.

During World War Two the stories of missionary brothers Cecil Charles Abel (1903-1994) and Russell William Abel (1923-1972) were issued in conjunction with The Stevie Seabee newsletter, to both entertain and inform US marines in New Guinea. Under the title Tales of New Guinea, the stories were presented as numbered chapters and occupied one or two entire pages. We have not been able to establish conclusively whether the present collation of 27 chapters represents the Abels’ complete output published by The Stevie Seabee, but it does appear likely that this the case: much later, in the early 1970s, the Abels self-published a collection with the identical title, Tales of New Guinea. Printed at Kwato Mission in Milne Bay Province  – which had been established by their father, Charles Abel – it is a scarce publication that is held in only one Australian library (SLNSW), but its format (260 mm, 48 pages) suggests that it might well be the same group of stories (probably with some rewriting or editing) as those which appeared in The Stevie Seabee (330 mm, 40 pages).

Cecil Charles Abel later entered politics and was a key figure in the drive for Papuan independence. He is credited with writing the preamble to the Papua New Guinea constitution and acted as advisor to the new nation’s first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare. He received an OBE in 1972 and a knighthood in 1982.