Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland
F.E. McDONALD COLLECTION OF TRANSPARENCIES
A collection consisting of c. 4,500 colour slides dating from the mid-1960s to the present day, which was presented to the Library by Frank E McDonald between 1972 and 1989. The slides illustrate town-planning and development and architecture in Scotland and major European cities.
Each slide is labelled with the location and date when it was taken.
This collection of 241 volumes containing c. 400 items printed in Scotland during the 16th, the 17th and the 18th century - together with 17th-century transcripts of Sir George Mackenzie’s The Institutions of the Laws of Scotland, and Samuel Colvil’s A Mock Poem on the Whiggs Supplication Part Second - was presented in 1954 by the bibliographer and book-dealer Dr F.S. Ferguson (1878-1967). The subject matter of the collection encompasses a wide spectrum of Scottish life of the period, covering religion and ecclesiastical affairs, history, politics, law, education, trade, including material relating to the Darien Scheme, early newsletters, agriculture, medicine and fencing. A number of items are the only recorded copies and many of the volumes are in their original brown leather bindings.
The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. VII of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts. W. Beattie, ‘For the National Library of Scotland’, Friends of the National Libraries Annual Report 1954-55, 8-10.
A collection of early scientific works from the library of Sir John Ritchie Findlay, Bt. (1866-1930), proprietor of The Scotsman, deposited by his son on long-term loan in 1931. The 255 volumes and 37 pamphlets date from the 16th to the 20th century, but are chiefly 16th- and 17th-century continental imprints. There is a strong representation of works on horology and sundials, astronomy and astronomical instruments, mathematics, navigation and related subjects. Little is known about Findlay as a book collector, but he was a notable collector of scientific instruments, amassing a significant collection at auctions in the early 20th century. The earliest item in the collection is Opus sphericum (Cologne, 1501) written by Joannes de Sacro Bosco (John of Holywood or Halifax) in the 13th century, which was a key text on astronomy studied in universities throughout Europe until well into the 17th century. Another post-incunable of interest is Johannes Stoeffler's Calendarium Romanum Magnum (Oppenheim, 1518), a compendium of astronomical, geographical, medical and historical information. Printed in red and black, it is illustrated with numerous woodcuts. The collection also includes Giovanni Paolo Gallucci's Theatrum mundi et temporis (Venice, 1589) , the first modern celestial atlas, - two rare works by the Glasgow-born mathematician and almanac compiler James Corss - Ouranoskopia (Edinburgh, 1662) and Practical geometry (Edinburgh, 1666) -, and a very rare broadside by Thomas Wright, entitled A calculation of the moon's eclipse and phenomenon at Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1732). Works from Findlay's own lifetime include Pillow problems (London, 1895) by Charles L. Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll) and Modern sundials (Edinburgh, c.1912), a trade catalogue.
A.D. Morrison-Low, 'Sold at Sotheby's: Sir John Findlay's cabinet and the Scottish antiquarian tradition', Journal of the History of Collections, 7 (1995), 197-209.