Here are books, posters, photos and more from the rare books collections at the National Library of Scotland. Some of them are fully text searchable. You can also access them all via the Digital Gallery.
We list the most recently digitised items first.
A glimpse of theatre in 19th-century Edinburgh.
Over 2,300 broadside ballads, mostly from 19th-century England.
The first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure tale from 1886.
Jacobite prints and posters
Portraits and illustrations relating to the Jacobite Rebellions in 1715 and 1745.
The church service book that brought printing to Scotland.
Early Gaelic book collections
Several hundred books in Gaelic and other Celtic languages.
Morall fabillis of Esope the Phyrgia
'Aesop's Fables' put into Scots by 15th-century poet Robert Henryson.
Our rare copy of the first book printed in Europe with moveable type.
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
The first published collection of poems by Robert Burns.
Photographs of the south side of
Arthur Henry Rushbrook's photos taken in 1929.
Photos of Forth Bridge construction and the Tay Bridge after collapse.
- The spread of
Read an early item produced in Scotland's first 33 printing towns.
- The word on
Over 1,800 broadsides with news and ballads from 1650 and 1910.
- Playbills of
the Theatre Royal Edinburgh
A selection of playbills from an important 19th-century theatre.
- The Moir Rare
An introduction to John William Moir's collection of beekeeping books.
- James VI
and the Union of the Crowns
An introduction to the union of 1603 and the monarch behind it.
Two early photo albums from Edinburgh Calotype Club.
photographs of John Thomson
A small selection of the work of the Victorian photojournalism pioneer.
- Scottish history
Two Jacobite sources and a guide to historical documents.
Examples of bindings from our collection which spans 500 years.
first Scottish books
Nine of the earliest books printed in Scotland, in or around 1508.