Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland
GAEL TURNBULL COLLECTION
This collection comprises a major part of the working library of the poet, Gael Turnbull (1928-2004). The collection contains over 1,100 books, pamphlets and periodicals of poetry from Britain, Canada, United States, Australia and France. Many of the items in the collection are presentation copies from other poets. The Library has also acquired manuscript material, (Acc. 12552, 12554-6, 12476, 12477) including letters, diaries and typescripts. The collection features contemporary poets from both sides of the Atlantic (and Australia) including Basil Bunting, Cid Corman, Robert Creeley, Raymond Souster, Simon Cutts, Laurie Duggan and Louis Zukovsky. It is clear from the collection that from the beginning Turnbull recognised the talent of poets who have since become widely published and he continued to give encouragement and advice to up-and-coming new writers. The collection very much reflects Gael Turnbull's own cosmopolitan background. He was born in Edinburgh of a Scottish Baptist minister father and a mother from Minnesota of Swedish descent. He was brought up in Co. Durham, Blackpool and Winnipeg. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and graduated in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. Turnbull practised medicine in Canada, the United States and England until 1989 before retiring to Scotland. In 1957 he started Migrant Press, one of the first British-run presses to focus on poets in the modernist tradition.
GEORGE CAMPBELL HAY COLLECTION
This collection of 45 books - which are mainly poetical works in a number of languages, including Gaelic (Scottish and Irish), Scandinavian and Greek - are from the collection of the Scottish poet, George Campbell Hay (1915-84), and were purchased in 1989, in the course of the acquisition of manuscripts relating to Hay by the Library between 1985-89 (printed items annotated by Hay are in the manuscript collection).
The manuscripts are described and indexed in Catalogue XVIII (unpublished) of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts.
GEORGE WASHINGTON WILSON SLIDES COLLECTION
In 1976 the Library acquired a set of c. 400 glass lantern slides by George Washington Wilson (1823-93) and photographers working for his studio. Wilson was a prolific photographer based in Aberdeen, who was quick to realise the commercial opportunities afforded by photography. The slides in this collection, dating from c. 1890, are of Scottish scenery and buildings, and cover four categories: the Western Highlands, Scottish lochs, places associated with Sir Walter Scott, and with Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Scott slides were produced for a series of lectures entitled ‘The homes and haunts of Sir Walter Scott’, and the collection includes six typescript volumes of texts for the lectures.
Typescript inventories of the slides
A collection of the works of Sir Walter Scott, mostly early editions published abroad and in translations, formed by David Gilson of Oxford, the bibliographer of Jane Austen, and presented in 1983. It consists of 82 works in 162 volumes with a wide coverage of titles, a number of which are in early bindings. The donor has annotated one volume of each work with a note recording the source of acquisition.
The collection of John Glen (1833-1904), member of a well-known Edinburgh firm of musical instrument makers, compiler of The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music (1891-95), and author of Early Scottish Melodies (1900). It was presented in 1927 by Lady Dorothea Ruggles-Brise, daughter of the 7th Duke of Atholl, in memory of her brother Lord George Stewart Murray. There are 900 items in 412 volumes, including six manuscripts; the printed material consists mainly of collections of Scottish songs and music of the 18th and the early 19th century, including music for the Highland bagpipe.
The pre-1801 items are recorded in the British Union-Catalogue of Early Music, London, 1957. The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. II of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts.
This is a collection of books and pamphlets (approx. 600 items) on handwriting and calligraphy. It was assembled by Tom Gourdie (1913-2005) who spent most of his working life as an art teacher in Fife. He was an internationally renowned expert on handwriting. Gourdie introduced the italic script to schools in Britain and throughout Europe. He also wrote a number of books on the subject too. The collection includes Gourdie's own books as well as French, Dutch, Danish, American and Australian works on the subject. The collection complements Tom Gourdie's papers in the Manuscript Collections. For further details please consult Acc.9136 and Acc.12817.
Cataloguing in progress
GRAHAM BROWN COLLECTION
A large library of Alpine and mountaineering literature formed by the Edinburgh physiologist Professor Thomas Graham Brown (1882-1965) was received by the Library, through his bequest, in 1965. The collection consists of c. 20,000 items, comprising works on the history of Alpine climbing and exploration from the 16th to the 20th century, and books on climbing, travel and exploration in other parts of the world, including the Caucasus, the Andes and the Himalayas (a miscellaneous collection of nine volumes, belonging to Professor Graham Brown, was received in 1961 and is housed and shelf-marked separately from the main collection). There are also a number of works on Arctic exploration; mountaineering journals in runs of varying completeness with the contents listed in a card-index; over 250 volumes of press-cuttings; maps and extracts from periodicals; postcards and large numbers of photographs and lantern slides; and proofs of his major work Brenva. Manuscript material includes diaries for the period from 1898 to 1960, correspondence, climbing diary notebooks, and papers relating to Graham Brown’s period as editor of the Alpine Journal (1949-53), and his book, written with Sir Gavin de Beer, The First Ascent of Mont Blanc (1957). The collection includes c. 160 maps, predominantly Swiss, French and Italian maps of the 19th and the early 20th century, with the earliest being John Dury’s map of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1783). Professor Graham Brown left his estate in trust to enable additions to be made to the collection in the fields of mountaineering, and, building on the strengths of the Wordie bequest (see Wordie Collection), polar exploration. Books on all aspects of mountains and mountaineering in all languages are currently acquired, and material relating to the polar and sub-polar regions (especially in the field of discovery and exploration) is also purchased. Additions of both early and modern maps, atlases and panoramas are also regularly made to the collection. The acquisition of the Graham Brown and the Lloyd collections, has made the National Library a major centre for research in mountaineering and polar exploration. The strength of the existing collections continues to attract further substantial gifts including, in 1971, the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s deposit of their records and other documents, 1889-1959.
Mountaineering: Catalogue of the Graham Brown and Lloyd Collections, Edinburgh: National Library of Scotland, 1994 (catalogue contains printed books catalogued up to 30.6.1987, plus microfiche supplements covering acquisitions made up to the end of 1995). Typescript inventory of the manuscripts. Thomas Graham Brown 1882-1965 [exhibition catalogue], Edinburgh, 1982.
Shelf: GB. & G.Brown. (collection received in 1961)
This collection was initially formed when Rev. John Gray (1646-1717), the former minister of Aberlady, bequeathed his private library to his native town of Haddington. Additions were made to the collection down the years, although inevitably some losses of books occurred. In 1961 the collection, which had grown to some 1,500 books along with 37 manuscripts, was deposited in the National Library by the Town Council of Haddington and the Gray Library Committee. The deposit was subsequently converted into a gift by East Lothian District Council in 1983. The subject content is largely theological and classical, containing books in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, mostly of the 16th and the 17th century, as well as three incunables. Continental imprints predominate, but there are over 30 volumes of British political and ecclesiastical pamphlets of the second half of the 17th century. The manuscripts include Gray’s lecture notes and sermons, written in his hand, minute-books of the Trustees of the Gray Library, and, of outstanding interest, the loan register for borrowers of books, covering the years 1732-96 and 1805-16, one of the earliest loan registers to have survived in Scotland.
The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. XI (unpublished) of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts. W.J. Couper, The Gray Library, Haddington, Haddington, 1916. J. Forbes Gray, Catalogue of the Library of John Gray, Haddington, Haddington, 1929. Paul Kaufman, ‘The Rise of Community Libraries in Scotland’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 59 (1965), 233-94.
GREGYNOG PRESS BOOKS
A collection of over 100 items deposited in 1978, and subsequently donated in 1993, by Mrs Mary M. Noble of Edinburgh, a niece of the Misses Davies, the founders of the Press. It consists of the 42 works published by the Press between 1923 and 1940, as well as items of printed ephemera, mainly programmes and orders of service for festivals and conferences held at Gregynog Hall.
Thomas Jones, A Paper Read to the Double Crown Club on 7th April 1964 by Thomas Jones, CH, Oxford, 1954. W. Ransom, 'The Gregynog Press'. Selective Check Lists of Press Books, New York, 1963, 152-60. W. Ridler, 'Gregynog Press' British Modern Press Books, 2nd ed. Folkestone, 1975. Dorothy A. Harrop, A History of the Gregynog Press, Pinner, 1980. Wendy Fish, An Introduction to the Gregynog Press, London, 1987.
In 1801 an Edinburgh merchant, George Grindlay, left his library to the Royal High School, Edinburgh, where he had been a pupil; his books were subsequently presented to the Library by the Royal High School in 1964. The collection consists of 475 volumes covering a wide range of subjects, many of a practical nature, including agriculture, mathematics, accountancy and business practice, but also works of general literature and piety, and narratives of voyages of exploration and travel.