Advocates Library catalogues

The Advocates Library produced catalogues of its collections which can be used to trace by which date a book had been acquired by the library.

We list them here in order of publication date. 


'Catalogus Librorum in Bibliotheca Facultatis Iuridicae Edri: Janrij 1683'

The first catalogue, handwritten and dated January 1683, is available as a facsimile with modern transcription:

  • Townley, M. 'The best and fynest lawers and other raire bookes: a facsimile of the earliest list of books in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh with an introduction and modern catalogue' (Edinburgh, 1990). [NLS shelfmark: NRR (2.2 Adv)]

'Catalogus Librorum Bliothecae Juris Utriusque …'

The first printed catalogue was produced in Edinburgh by George Mosman in 1692 and includes an inaugural oration by the Lord Advocate, Sir George Mackenzie.


'A catalogue of the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh'

The date of completion of printing of this catalogue is uncertain.

There is evidence suggesting that copies were finished in 1742, the date later put on the title-page when, along with the introduction and the last page, its printing was ordered on 13 January 1772. It was printed in Edinburgh by Thomas, Walter, and Thomas Ruddiman.

As it had been completed 30 years before, a volume 2, printed by Balfour and Smellie, and an appendix, printed by William Smellie, appeared in 1776 and 1787 respectively. A third part was printed by Alexander Smellie in 1807.

View these volumes online if you have registered with NLS and have a Scottish residential address:


'A catalogue of the law books in the Advocates Library'

In 1831 the Faculty ordered the printing — by Thomas Clark, an Edinburgh bookseller — of a catalogue recording only its law books, which was followed in 1839 by a supplement. The books recorded in this catalogue were retained by the Faculty of Advocates in 1925 after the establishment of the National Library of Scotland.


'Catalogue of the printed books in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates'

The final catalogue of printed books produced by the Faculty before 1925 was based on a slip catalogue prepared by Samuel Halkett. He began printing in 1860 and completed it to volume 2, page 104.

Volumes 2 and 3 and the greater part of volume 4 were edited by Thomas Hill Jamieson, assisted by Jón Andréson Hjaltalín with the remainder completed by Hjaltalín alone. The part edited by Halkett contains biographical notices and fuller entries.

All volumes were printed by William Blackwood and were issued between 1867 and 1878.

View the volumes on the Internet Archive website:


Advocates Library main page


Speak me