Printed Book Purchases
- Holy Bible containing the bookes of the Old and New
Testament. Cambridge, 1660.
- This beautifully printed folio Bible has a distinguished
provenance. The first recorded owner was Sir Archibald Primrose
(1616-1679), a supporter of James, first Marquis of Montrose, who
was knighted by Charles II. It passed to his son of the same name,
who was the first Earl of Rosebery, and a direct ancestor of
Archibald Primrose, the fifth Earl who was a prominent early
benefactor to the National Library. The Bible left the Rosebery
collection in 1746, when it was purchased by Edward Wright in
Edinburgh for £5.0.0. From 1786 until at least 1828 it was in the
possession of the Gibson family of Clifton Hall, Edinburgh, whose
manuscript notes recording some thirteen children survive in this
- Geddes, William. The saints recreation, third part, upon
the estate of grace. Edinburgh, 1683.
- This version of Geddes's volume of pious verse contains a rare
dedication to Margaret Lesley, Countess-Dowager of Wemyss, dated
June 1683. The author received financial assistance for the
publication of the volume from the Countess-Dowager, whom he
praises for her 'Christian moderation, prudence and sobrietie ...
in this cold, Laodicean-like and backslyding age'. More common
editions contain dedications to Anna, Duchess of Hamilton, Dame
Lilias Drummond and Dame Anna Sinclair. Geddes (1600?-1694) was a
Presbyterian minister in Wick and also at Urquhart, Elgin. The
volume is bound in red-stained deerskin, which was rarely used in
the late seventeenth century.
- The sett of the city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, 1683.
- An important piece about the government of the burgh of
Edinburgh, this contains the agreement reached a hundred years
before, in 1583. Various resolutions confirm the responsibilities
of craftsmen, merchants, bailies and provost, with the addition of
acts from the later seventeenth century. The Library has another
copy of this edition, but the new acquisition is slightly
different: a comparison shows that this work (in Harry Aldis's
checklist of early Scottish printing, number 2426) exists in two
different states, one with an inaccurate title-page.
- Briscoe, John. The following proposals for, and accounts
of, a National Land-Bank having been printed at London.
- Printed material produced in the period of Harry Aldis's
List of books printed in Scotland before 1700 are highly
prized acquisitions. Although this is an Edinburgh reprint of a
London title it takes the Library one step closer to having a copy
of the complete printed output of Scotland before 1700. This
pamphlet is a proposal for the establishment by subscription of a
National Land Bank, whose assets would include the land of its
subscribers. John Briscoe, the proposer of the Bank, claimed that
he could double the value of Freeholders' estates if they
subscribed to his Land Bank. To do this, he would 'turn their
estates into a living stock'. Briscoe's proposals were also aimed
at addressing the high interest rates that were crippling commerce
in this period.
- The tryal of Sr. Godfrey McCulloch, vindicated.
Edinburgh, 1697. (Plus ten other pamphlets.)
- This volume of pamphlets was purchased primarily for the work
whose title is given above. This title was recorded by Aldis (3677)
but no holdings information was provided. Until this volume
appeared at auction, no surviving copies were known. It is most
pleasing that a copy of this elusive seventeenth-century Scottish
work has finally been located and acquired by the National Library
of Scotland. This work concerns the trial and execution of
McCulloch, a hereditary baronet of Nova Scotia, for the murder of
William Gordon in 1690. This purchase complements the library's
existing holding of The last speech of Sir Godfrey
M'Culloch. The other pamphlets in the volume are also of
interest, relating to the radical writer and political leader John
- Com. Civit. Limirick. The information of the Right Honble
the Lord Forester. [Limerick?], 1714.
An express from Scotland; with an account of defeating two
thousand of the rebels. Dublin, 1715.
- These two unrecorded broadsheets concerning the Old Pretender
provide an important Irish perspective on the 1715 rising. One
reports the defeat of the Earl of Mar's forces by the Duke of
Argyle and attempts in Dublin and Galway to proclaim the Old
Pretender king. The printer, John Whalley, was fiercely
anti-Catholic, going so far as to petition the House of Lords in
1719 for the castration of priests. The second item is a curious
account of a lawsuit arising from a tavern brawl in Limerick. This
occurred when Lord Forester took umbrage at a suggestion from one
Richard Roche that he was a Jacobite, 'which every honest man, and
every Scotch man was for'.
- [Lilly, William] Pater, Erra. The book of knowledge:
treating of the wisdom of the ancients. Glasgow, 1726.
- An unrecorded Glasgow edition of this hugely popular almanac
text 'translated' by the seventeenth-century astrologer William
Lilly using the pseudonym 'Erra Pater, a Jew'. Most of the many
eighteenth-century editions are recorded in only one or two copies.
The National Library also holds Glasgow imprints of this title
dated 1786 and 1794. This edition is strikingly illustrated with a
number of crude woodcuts of facial moles and astrological signs.
Additional material with a Scottish flavour includes lists of
Scottish fairs, descriptions of the 'most remarkable highways', and
a 'table of the kings of Scotland'.
- Row, James. The Wounds o' the Kirk o' Scotland.
- In 1638, James Row preached in St. Giles's Kirk to persuade the
congregation to sign the National Covenant. Row's use of broad
Scots and homely expressions made the sermon famous. In particular,
his adaptation of the tale of Balaam's ass includes a colourful
description of Balaam's 'Pock-mantle' (travelling bag), full of
detestable books like the Book of Common Prayer. The term
'Pockmanty preaching' seems to have become a generic term. Like
other eighteenth-century editions, this one probably exaggerates
the earthiness of the vernacular for humorous purposes, and it
includes a satire in mock Scots, the 'Elegy on the Reverend Mess
Sawney Sinkler'. Only one other copy of this edition is known.
- Steuart, James, Sir. An enquiry into the principles of
political oeconomy: being an essay on the science of domestic
policy in free nations. London, 1767.
- This is a very important addition to the Library's holdings of
Scottish Enlightenment texts. The author, a one-time Jacobite, was
'the first to set out with some pretence at system the principles
of economic policy and to analyze their theoretical basis'
(Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences). However, the
verbose and somewhat turgid nature of his writing meant that his
work was overlooked in his own lifetime. Adam Smith in his
Wealth of nations (1776) did not even refer to Steuart's
arguments. On the other hand, nineteenth century German scholars
recognized the value of his work and hailed him as the real founder
of economic science.
- Metastasio, Pietro. Bethulia delivered. Edinburgh,
- Domenico Corri (1746-1825), singing master and composer to the
Musical Society in Edinburgh, set this drama to music. Corri was
born in Rome and came to Scotland in 1771 on the recommendation of
the musician Charles Burney. Before moving to London around 1790 he
founded a successful publishing business and managed the Theatre
Royal. The manuscript annotation on the title page appears to
indicate that a benefit performance took place for Corri on 8 March
1774. According to the cast list, Signor Corri and his wife took
the principal roles. Only one other copy of this libretto, which
was first performed in Vienna in 1734, is recorded in Britain.
- Pownall, Thomas. A letter from Governor Pownall to Adam
Smith ... being an examination of several points of doctrine, laid
down in his 'Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of
nations'. London, 1776.
- This is probably the earliest criticism of Adam Smith's
Wealth of nations, published earlier in 1776, and is a
significant addition to the Library's holdings relating to the
Scottish Enlightenment. The author, though disagreeing with some
elements in Smith's arguments, was generally complimentary. He
believed that if a number of corrections were made, the book could
be used as a basis for lectures 'in our universities'. In fact,
Smith subsequently sent him a letter of thanks for 'his very great
politeness'. Pownall had previously been Governor of the
Massachusetts Bay Company (1757-59) and Governor of South Carolina
(1759-60), and at the time of writing the critique was the MP for
Minehead. He published on a wide range of subjects including the
administration of the colonies, international trade and law.
- Smith, Adam. The theory of moral sentiments. Dublin,
- This is the first Irish edition of Adam Smith's main
philosophical work, originally published in London in 1759. No
other copies have been traced in public ownership in the UK.
Although described on the title-page as the sixth edition, it is in
fact the fifth edition published in English. The Theory of
Moral Sentiments was Smith's first major work and after
The Wealth of Nations (1776), his most important. Warmly
praised by David Hume and Edmund Burke, the work established
Smith's reputation as a leading writer and thinker.
- [Macpherson, James]. Tales of Ossian for use and
entertainment. Ein Lesebuch für Anfänger im Englischen.
- This interesting German-English version of Macpherson's
landmark work is quite rare. Apparently designed for young students
of English in Germany, it contains tales from the epics of Fingal
and Temora, with notes and a glossary to make them accessible to
Germans. These reading aids and the historical preface are all by
Johann Balbach. The edition is probably based on the 1783 pirated
reprint of the Tales of Ossian prepared by Goethe and his
friend Johann Heinrich Merck published in the previous decade. A
second edition appeared in 1794 and a third in 1822. Arguably the
earliest adaptation published for children, this is an important
addition to the National Library's corpus of Ossianic works.
- Monboddo, James Burnett, Lord. Des Lord Monboddo Werk von
dem Ursprunge und Fortgange der Sprache. 2 vols. Riga,
- This is a rare copy of the first German edition, an abridged
translation of volumes 1-3, of Lord Monboddo's seminal work Of
the origin and progress of language, which was published in
six volumes between 1773 and 1792. It is in fact the only
translation of any of his works published prior to the 1970s. It
was prefaced with a laudatory essay by Johann Gottfried von Herder,
the leading German philosopher of his time. Herder praised the
broad philosophical perspective from which Monboddo approached the
topic of the origin of language, though Scottish contemporaries
such as David Hume and Lord Kames ridiculed his views on the
humanity of the orang-outang. Monboddo (1714-1799), a member of the
Select Society and a close friend of James Boswell, was one of the
key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.
- Grant, John. Copy of a paper to the magistrates of
Edinburgh. [Edinburgh?], 1794.
Grant, John. To the Right Hon. Charles Townsend.
- The above two unrecorded single-sheet items, one of which has
an undated holograph letter from Grant pasted to its verso,
document a case of unusual paranoia. Grant, who described himself
as a journeyman weaver, believed that he was being chased and
tormented by none other than the philosopher David Hume. In these
letters he sought the assistance of notable public figures and
described how for twenty-six years Hume had followed him through
Scotland, England and Ireland, bribing people to poison Grant's
food. Hume had died in 1776, but this had not stopped the
persecution, and Grant expressed his outrage at the monument to
Hume in Calton churchyard. The letter to Gleghorn complained that
the doctor had offered him useless remedies on Hume's instructions.
Whether a curious joke or a sad testimony to mental illness, these
items are evidence of Hume's widespread influence.
- Mitchell, Hugh. A short apology for apostacy. Glasgow,
- This provocative title introduces a scathing and witty attack
on organised religion in Scotland. Mitchell, a former minister, had
come to detest the task of using the pulpit to uphold the policies
of the political establishment. In particular, he condemned the
practice of churches praying for their country's military success.
In this publication, he argues that 'heresy' is a good thing, as it
simply means individuals are free to follow their own opinions.
Towards the end of the work, Mitchell gives a long list of the
various Christian doctrines he finds incomprehensible. Only two
other copies of this first edition have been located.
- Deuchar, David. A collection of etchings after the most
eminent masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools. Edinburgh,
- These two volumes with 361 fine etchings by the Edinburgh
seal-engraver, David Deuchar, were probably produced for private
circulation among friends, who included the artists David Allan,
John Brown and Alexander Runciman. The etchings are in the style of
the old masters of the Low Countries and include contemporary
character studies, fashion plates, representations of rusticity and
genre scenes of Edinburgh life. These drawings had an influence on
'the later etchings of Wilkie and Geddes' (Cursiter). Deuchar is
also credited with encouraging Henry Raeburn to become a portrait
painter. No other copies of Deuchar's etchings in this format have
- Sinclair, John, Sir. A sketch of the improvements now
carrying on in the county of Caithness, north Britain. London,
- In this work 'Statistical Sir John' describes his plans for
improvements to 'a remote and neglected district of a country',
most of which was his own property. He focuses on some of his
favoured methods of economic improvement, including the promotion
of sheep farming and fisheries, the cultivation of 'fenland', as
well as discussing the construction of a new town in Thurso - not
dissimilar to Edinburgh's New Town. Described by a contemporary as
'the most indefatigable man in Britain', Sinclair inaugurated the
British Wool Society in 1791, founded the Board of Agriculture two
years later and was the prime-mover in the compilation of the
mammoth Statistical account of Scotland, published between
1791 and 1799.
- Dreadful fray, which took place at Culrain near Gladsfield
in Ross-shire. [Edinburgh?], 1820.
- This rare broadside consisting of letters printed in the
'Scotsman' and the 'Glasgow Courier', gives a graphic, if biased,
account of one of the flashpoints of the 'Clearances'. The unrest
arose from the decision of Hugh Munro, the Laird of Novar, to evict
600 tenants from his Culrain estates in order to begin
sheep-farming. Sheriff Donald Macleod, backed by the militia, on
arriving to execute the eviction notice, was set upon by a
'determined body of females' (also described as 'amazons') and was
forced to retreat. Although the injuries of the authorities are
mentioned, the authors neglect to record the mortal wounding of a
local woman. Faced with the stern disapproval of the local minister
and the prospect of further fatalities, the tenants were forced to
- Mackie, Charles. The original history of the abbey, palace
and chapel royal of Holyroodhouse. Edinburgh, 1829.
- Although a highly popular book on Holyrood, first published in
1819, this copy has a fascinating provenance. The book was bound as
a gift to King Charles X of France, who took up residence at
Holyrood in October 1830, having been overthrown in the revolution
of August 1830. The book then passed to Charles's grandson Henry V,
Comte de Chambord (1820-1883), and to Don Jaime de Bourbon, Duc de
Madrid (1870-1931), a member of the Spanish branch of the Bourbons,
whose ownership stamp marked Frohsdorf (near Salzburg) appears
throughout the volume.
- Souvenirs des highlands voyage a la suite de Henri V en 1832.
- Henri Dieudonné d'Artois, Comte de Chambord, Duc de Bordeaux,
was the last heir of the elder branch of the Bourbons and, as Henri
V, pretender to the French throne from 1830. He was a lover of
Scotland and travelled through the country in 1832. Charles-Achille
d'Hardiviller accompanied the young 'king' into exile. He was his
drawing-master and was reponsible for the images. The thirty
plates, which were lithographed by Villain, depict various
locations in Scotland, including Fort Augustus, Inverlochy, Loch
Leven and Edinburgh. There is a particularly striking one of Henri
V in full highland dress at the Rest and Be Thankful. This copy is
as issued in three parts with the original green paper covers.
- Montrose illustrated in five views with [a] plan of the
town and several vignettes, to which are added a few explanatory
remarks. Montrose, 1840.
- A pristine example of early lithographic printing in Scotland.
This volume appears to have been a prototype for a series of views
drawn by James Gordon, Jr. and published by J. & D. Nichol of
Montrose under the general title 'Cities & towns of Scotland
illustrated'. Views of Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow and Dumfries were
subsequently published. Lithography did not begin in Scotland until
1820, over two decades after its development in Germany. The
lithographer responsible for this work was William Nichol, based in
Hanover Street, Edinburgh. He wrote the entry for 'Lithography' in
the seventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, published
in 1841. The volume contains a bookplate of Fasque, the house and
estate of William Ewart Gladstone, the statesman and Prime
- Billings, Robert William. The Baronial and Ecclesiastical
Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh & London, n.d.
- This is an unusual version of the first edition of Billings'
magnum opus, a descriptive catalogue of notable early
churches, castles and towers in Scotland, with attractive
engravings of the author's own detailed drawings. The author's
introduction is dated 29 February 1852, although the 240 plates are
dated 1847-1848. Like the standard edition, this set is in four
volumes, but it is printed in large folio. There do not appear to
be any text or plates different to the standard edition, but the
plates are positioned differently and are in superior condition due
to being printed on fine India paper. A manuscript note on the
inside of the front cover of the first volume suggests that this
was the copy of William Blackwood, the publisher.
- London and North Western Railway. [Broadsides relating to Queen
Victoria's journey by train from Ballater to Windsor.] London,
- Nine broadsides showing the details of the Queen's journey on
the 22nd and 23rd of November 1876. This includes the itinerary of
stations, times of arrival and departure, arrangements for
telegraphing the train, arrangement of carriages, and precautions
to be taken in the event of fog. Also included is a special notice
announcing the postponement of the journey until the afternoon of
the 23rd. The Queen returned to Windsor amid the rising tension
between the great powers over the 'Eastern Question'. Apparently
the Queen had at one time thought of leaving on the 17th, but
floods below Perth had washed away bridges. The time to repair the
tracks may account for the subsequent delaying of the journey.
- Grant, James. Bothwell or the days of Mary Queen of
Scots. London, [ca. 1870?].
Grant, James. The Duke of Albany's own Highlanders.
Stevenson, R.L. New Arabian nights. London, 1885.
- These three popular novels, commonly called 'yellow-backs', are
representative of the way in which cheap fiction was marketed in
the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was a form of
publication which developed from the late 1840s and competed with
the 'penny dreadful' as a source of entertaining reading.
Routledge, with its 'Railway Library', was the first of many
publishers to target an expanding reading public with such
distinctive and graphically illustrated covers.
- Froude, James Anthony. Thomas Carlyle: a history of the
first forty years of his life 1795-1835. London, 1882.
Froude, James Anthony. Thomas Carlyle: a history of his life
in London 1834-1881. London, 1885.
- Part of the private library of the London bookseller William
Foyle, these volumes have been enhanced with the addition of over
400 illustrations, including etchings, engravings and photographs
of people and places associated with Carlyle. Also included are
three autograph letters from 'the sage of Chelsea' himself. The
Library holds copies of these works with annotations and
corrections by Alexander Carlyle, the author's nephew. James
Anthony Froude, Carlyle's literary executor, maintained that his
biography was 'no "Life", but only the materials for a "Life"'.
This biography was not simply an exercise in hagiography - Froude
refused to overlook Carlyle's well-known defects of character.
- Berlioz, Hector. Benvenuto Cellini. Partition
orchestre. Paris .
- A very rare copy of the first edition of this opera in full
score, and an addition to the Hopkinson Berlioz collection.
- Sella, Vittorio. [Photographs of the Alps and Himalayas.]
- This collection of twenty-three photographic views of the Alps
and the Himalayas is an important addition to the library's
holdings of mountain photographs in the Graham Brown and Bullock
Workman collections. They were taken by Vittorio Sella during the
late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Sella
(1859-1943) was regarded by contemporaries as the finest mountain
photographer of his day and his reputation has scarcely diminished
since. As well as being a photographer he was an accomplished
climber - he made the first winter traverses of both Mt. Blanc and
the Matterhorn and he accompanied the Duke of the Abruzzi on
several of the latter's pioneering climbing expeditions.
- Stevenson, R.L. A child's garden of verses. New York,
Stevenson, R.L. A child's garden of verses. Philadelphia,
- These two illustrated American editions of Robert Louis
Stevenson's popular collection of sixty-four poems for children,
add to the Library's collection of Stevenson's works. Each edition
was illustrated by American women illustrators: Bessie Collins
Pease (1905) and Maria Louisa Kirk (1919). Stevenson's work was the
first book illustrated by Pease (1876-1960). She was a popular
illustrator during the first quarter of the twentieth century, best
known for her drawings of 'innocent' children during the so-called
golden age of illustration. Maria Kirk (1860-193-?) illustrated
over fifty children's classics also during the early decades of the
century. This edition is not listed in the published catalogue of
the great Stevenson collection at the Beinecke Library, Yale
- Tombazi, N. A. Account of a photographic expedition to the
southern glaciers of Kangchenjunga in the Sikkim Himalaya.
- A rare signed limited-edition work by the Indian
geographer/photographer N.A. Tombazi, which will be added to the
Library's Graham Brown collection. It is an account of a
exploratory photographic journey from Darjeeling to the glaciers on
the southern approaches to Kanchenjunga along the Indian-Nepalese
frontier. It includes over fifty photographs, meteorological and
topographical tables and a map. Kanchenjunga, the world's third
highest mountain, was first ascended by a British expedition in
- Rushbrook, Alfred Henry. Collection of photographs of the south
side of Edinburgh. [Edinburgh, 1929.]
- These 138 silver gelatin prints form an invaluable record of
the St. Leonards area of Edinburgh, largely swept away by slum
clearance programmes. The photographer, Alfred Rushbrook, was
commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust to record
this area prior to its redevelopment. The photographs are part of
the same photographic tradition as Thomas Annan and Archibald
Burns, who both worked on similar civic projects in Glasgow and
Edinburgh respectively during the late nineteenth century. Most of
the images record the buildings and street life of the city and are
fascinating for recording contemporary shop front design and
advertising hoardings. Rushbrook worked as a photographer in
Edinburgh from about 1900 to the late 1930s and when these pictures
were taken he was working out of 92-96 Nicolson Street.
- Stevenson, Robert Louis. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and
Mr Hyde. Paris, 1994.
- Like most artists' books, this effort provokes a reaction from
the viewer or reader. The conceit is simple enough: the central
duality between the eponymous characters in Stevenson's story is
transferred to the suite of ten copper engravings by Didier Mutel
that map the change from Jekyll into Hyde. In the text the duality
is explored through the use of type of different sizes, and with
the increase in point size of the pronoun 'I' to illustrate the
gradual domination of Hyde in the relationship. Finally, the
typography is employed to show the fatal predominance of Hyde's
personality. One of a limited edition of 61, this copy is number 37
signed by the artist.
- The United States Army in World War I. [Washington,
D.C.]: US Army Center of Military History, 1998.
- A collection, on three CD-ROM discs, bringing together for the
first time as a single resource all the works on World War I
published by the US Army Center of Military History, featuring
source documents, commentaries and artworks. Of particular note is
the classic 18-volume United States Army in the World War,
- Boccaccio visualizzato. A cura di Vittore Branca. 3v.
Turin: Einaudi, 1999.
- A monumental work, the result of more than ten years' research
by an international team of experts, examining in depth the
iconography of the works of Boccaccio.
- Brìgh an Òrain = a story in every song. The songs and
tales of Lauchie MacLellan. Translated and edited by John Shaw.
Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000.
- A testament to the continued strength of Scottish Gaelic
culture in Nova Scotia, this biography of Lauchie MacLellan and
translation of his songs was produced by John Shaw of the School of
Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
- Fitzgerald, F Scott. Trimalchio. [Columbia, SC]:
University of South Carolina Press in co-operation with the Thomas
Cooper Library, 2000.
- A facsimile edition of the only extant set of unrevised galley
proofs for an early unpublished version of what eventually became
The Great Gatsby.
- Bachaus, Theodore. The booksellers of San Serriffe.
San Serriffe Publishing Company [i.e Newtown, PA: Bird & Bull
- One of the many titles held by the Library from the private
Bird & Bull Press and an example of humour applied to the book
trade. The author, whose real name is Henry Morris, sustains an
account of bookselling in the imaginary country of San Serriffe.
The present work follows the earlier Private Presses of San
Serriffe, also held by the Library.
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