Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland
A collection of 47 items in 45 volumes donated to the Library by the late Scottish architect Robert James Naismith (1916-2004). Naismith specialized in town planning and held individual appointments in advising over 20 local authorities, advising the burghs of Penicuik and Dalkeith for over 30 years. He served on EAA and RIAS Councils, was an expert witness in Public Inquiries, served on the Committees of the Cockburn Association and the Scottish Georgian Society, and was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland. He authored two books: Buildings of the Scottish Countryside (1986) and The story of Scotland's Towns (1989).
Naismith received his training from Sir Frank Mears (1880-1953) whose provenance can be seen on several of the items. Mears was the son-in-law of Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), and there are many works by, or relating to Geddes in the collection. The majority of the collection is from the 20th century and deals with town planning in countries from Ireland to India to the United States. There are three items from the early 18th century and a 1664 copy of 'A parallel of the antient architecture with the modern'. An additional 5 map items are held in the Map Library.
This collection consists of a major portion of the library formed over three centuries by members of the Lothian family and formerly housed at Newbattle Abbey. A number of important items from the library were sold in 1932 in New York, but the remainder was bequeathed to the National Library of Scotland by Philip Henry Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian (1882-1940), and acquired in 1950. The collection comprises 5,158 printed volumes and 112 manuscripts and is rich in foreign books of the 15th to the 18th century. French and Italian literature and history are well represented in the collection, which includes illustrated books of antiquities, architecture, natural history, geography and topography, as well as maps and atlases. Part of the printed collection is still currently housed at a Lothian family property, but books may be consulted in the National Library upon application, made in advance, to Rare Book Collections. Roller maps from the collection are held in the Map Library.
The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. IV of the Library's Catalogue of Manuscripts. NLS MSS.5818-27 are catalogues of the family libraries at Newbattle and in London, 1666-1876. NLS MS.5828 contains letters and papers concerning the family libraries, 1643-1899. Illuminated Manuscripts Incunabula and Americana from the Famous Libraries of the Most Hon. the Marquess of Lothian, C.H. Sold ... January 27 and 28, 1932, New York, 1932. Donald Drew Egbert, The Tickhill Psalter, New York, 1940, 8-10, 128-130.
The library of the Dalrymple family was formed largely by Sir David Dalrymple (1726-92), Lord Hailes, who added to the collection of his grandfather, Sir David Dalrymple (c. 1665-1721). Together with the manuscripts also acquired from Newhailes House, it is the most important contemporary collection to survive from the period of the Scottish Enlightenment. Although it has not survived intact - a Sotheby’s sale on 24 and 25 May 1937 sold 453 lots from the library, including 23 incunables, 182 STC (see p. 3) items and many 18th-century foreign books - the collection admirably reflects the interests and achievements of Lord Hailes, a central figure in 18th-century Scottish history. The collection consists of c. 7,000 volumes and a number of pamphlets, broadsheets, prints, maps and music; British and foreign works, of the 16th to the 18th century, with three incunables and some 19th century material; and a number of examples of fine bindings and typography. It is strongest in history and biography (c. 1,800 vols.), classical and modern literature (c. 2,500 vols.), law, politics and economics (c. 1,000 vols.), and theology (c. 750 vols.); but it is surprisingly less well represented in philosophy, science and geography, despite Lord Hailes’ association with contemporary philosophers and the position of his brother Alexander (1737-1808) as the first hydrographer to the Admiralty and writer on geographical matters. Notable items include Sanson’s Geographie of 1696, and the four-volume Blaeu Nouveau Theâtre d’Italie of 1704; a 1675 edition of vol. 1 of John Ogilby’s Britannia, and the rare Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1747), Thomas Gray’s first publication; splendid architectural folios include the Venice, 1616 edition of Palladio, and Perrault’s Les Dix Livres d’Architecture de Vitruve (Paris, 1684). The collection is particularly strong in 17th century French history books, containing first editions of important authors such as Sully and d’ Aubigné. Among the papers is the manuscript of Lord Hailes’s Annals of Scotland, annotated by Samuel Johnson, and letters of his contemporaries including Hume, Robertson, Beattie and Burke. There is also a complete set in 20 bindings of Alexander Dalrymple’s private and East India Company charts, published between 1769-1786, which are held in the Map Library. These were sent by Alexander to the family home in 1786 and are accompanied by the books of his East Indies nautical memoirs. The collection was accepted by the Government from the Trustees of Sir Mark Dalrymple, Bt (1915-71), in lieu of estate duty, and allocated to the National Library in 1978.
Cataloguing of printed books and manuscripts (Vol. XVII (unpublished) of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts) in progress.
The collection was acquired in 1973 from the library of Professor Sydney T.M. Newman (1906-71), Reid Professor of Music in Edinburgh University, 1941-70. It comprises 1,157 books and maps relating to roads and road travel, including road-books, itineraries and guide-books, numerous editions of Cary’s New Itinerary, histories of roads and road-making, and early topographies. There are also some maps and atlases, mostly of the British Isles, and which date from the 17th to the 19th century. The Map Library keeps a catalogue consisting of copies of entries from the General Catalogue of Printed Books for the books, as well as Newman’s own catalogue of the collection.
NICHOL SMITH COLLECTION
A collection of over 900 books presented by Professor D. Nichol Smith (1875-1962), formerly Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford, in 1959, though he added some small benefactions after this date. It was begun by Nichol Smith in the 1890s when he was working on the relations between French and English literary criticism. As a result the books are mainly works of literature and literary criticism, published in the late 17th and the 18th century, which illustrate the intellectual and cultural links between French and English literature at that period. The majority of the books are in French or French translations, but also included are works in Latin, Greek, Italian and English. Additions which Nichol Smith made to the main collection include editions of Defoe’s works, a number of volumes of poetry of the early 19th century, and a group of 14 books in which Anglo-Saxon types were used. These include a copy of Aelfric’s A Testimonie of Antiquitie printed by John Day in 1566, the first book printed in Anglo-Saxon type. Professor Nichol Smith also bequeathed his correspondence to the Library.
A.S. Bell, ‘Nichol Smith Collections in Edinburgh and Oxford’, Studies in the Eighteenth Century II: Papers Presented at the Second David Nichol Smith Memorial Seminar Canberra 1970. Canberra, 1973. The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. XIII (unpublished) of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts.