November 2008 acquisitions

Here is some information on a sample of items recently acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland.

Trams in Dundee

Detail of a tram.

Dundee's Tramways Committee published a well-illustrated guide book to Dundee and the surrounding area early in the 20th century. The book includes descriptions of notable places to see along all the tram routes. It also has as a list of the routes, fares, stations and distances.

A number of interesting items are loosely inserted in the volume. They include a Dundee City Tramways security card from 1911 and an employee's pass for an Andrew Thomson, dated March 1910. There is also a photograph of a driver and conductor standing in front of the Blackness tram.

Electric trams operated on the streets of Dundee from 1900 to 1956. They covered 20,000 miles weekly and conveyed 15 million passengers every year.



Scottish ale advertisement

Detail of an ale advertisement.

The Edinburgh brewers Campbell and Co advertised their product with a highly decorative poster. The lettering is in bold red with striking gilt finishing. Such extravagance is typical for the late Victorian period, during which Campbell's Ale was popular.

The lithographed poster is undated, but it must have been produced before 1896. In that year, Campbell & Co. amalgamated with the brewing company of Hope and King of Glasgow. The business remained in the family until this merger. Campbells probably started brewing as early as 1710.



Macjigger — a Scottish criminal?

Detail from
book cover.

A sullen, cigarette-smoking youth in a tam o'shanter adorns the front cover of the book 'Mair Macjigger'. In this short work of fiction, Sherlock Holmes travels to Edinburgh and Portobello to hunt for the criminal Macjigger. According to the front cover, this is the third edition, completing 20,000 copies. The first three editions all appeared within 12 days of each other in August 1903.

There appears to be no link to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. The book may well be a spoof of J J Bell's 'Wee MacGreegor' stories, first published in 1901. The names Macjigger and MacGreegor are very similar. Both works are also written in the same kind of Scots dialect.




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