We subtitled our exhibition '500 Years of the Scottish Printed Word', rather than 'of printing' or 'of printed books' because we wanted it to show not just some fine examples of printed books but the effect that the printed word has had on people's lives in the most everyday and surprising ways.
One example is this receipt, which acknowledges that on 23rd October 1646, Mr James Hervie, Minister of New Machar in Aberdeenshire, loaned 600 marks for the use of the army. It is the oldest known example of a Scottish printed receipt. In the exhibition, rather than place the original in a case where it is hard to make out, we have created a shelf where a copy can be seen properly along with other such ephemera.
This document contributes to our knowledge of the struggles between Royalists and Covenanters in Aberdeenshire during the Civil War era, when the two were fighting real battles in the countryside around New Machar. We know that Hervie had represented anti-Covenanting ministers locally some years earlier; here he gives the Royalist side hard cash to support them. But it also connects to a chain of transactions recorded on printed receipts which can still be found in every home today.