Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 735 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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Important Acquisitions 121 to 135 of 735:

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AuthorGoalen, Walter
TitleA thanksgiving ode on the recovery of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by Muir & Paterson
Date of Publication1872
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded work by the Scottish poet Walter Goalen, specially written and published to commemorate the recovery from typhoid fever of Edward VII, Prince of Wales. The text is printed in gold throughout and the upper vellum board features the royal coat of arms in gilt. A bookplate on the front pastedown indicates that this copy was part of the Prince of Wales's Library. A manuscript dedication by the author to the Prince of Wales appears on the recto of the front flyleaf. The prince's illness had caused great national concern, and public celebrations at his recovery also included the composition of Arthur Sullivan's 'Festival Te Deum' performed at a special concert in his honour at the Crystal Palace.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2801
Acquired on03/11/10
AuthorCarrick, William & Eurenius & Quist.
Title[Album of Russian and Scandinavian photographs from the 1860s and 1870s]
Imprint[S.l., s.n.]
Date of Publicationc. 1870
Languagen/a
NotesThis unusual album contains 48 albumen prints, from around the 1860s and 70s. They are mostly portraits and have been hand-coloured. It includes 10 Russian 'types', together with a few Moscow and St. Petersburg views, almost all by William Carrick (1827-1878), the Scot who for twenty years ran a successful studio in St. Petersburg and was particularly known for depicting Russian life. There is also a series of photographs by the Swedish court photographers Eurenius & Quist depicting the regional costumes of Scandinavia. The firm was established by W.A. Eurenius and P.L. Quist in Stockholm in 1858 and continued through the 1860s and 1870s. Their studio was highly esteemed and is believed to have been among the earliest professional photographic businesses in Sweden. There are also in the album uncoloured portraits of Karl XV and Queen Louise of Sweden by Hanson of Stockholm; Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Princess Sofia, by Eurenius and Quist; Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and Princess Louise; and, rather incongruously a photograph of Grey's Monument in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, produced by the local firm of P.M. Laws, which is possibly a later addition to the album. The binding of the album is particularly interesting and it points to the original owner of the album being Russian. Lacquered boards have been attached on to the original album covers, with the upper cover painted to show a seated man playing the balalaika and a couple dancing.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.147
Reference SourcesAuction catalogue
Acquired on15/10/10
AuthorBell, Thomas [pseud. of John Roberton]
TitleKalogynomia or the laws of female beauty: Being the elementary principles of that science.
ImprintLondon: J.J. Stockdale,
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. He teamed up again with Stockdale to publish this work, "Kalogynomia" in 1821, using his pseudonym Thomas Bell. This work is aimed squarely at a male readership of the middle and upper classes, (this particular copy is from the library of George, Second Marquess of Milford Haven (1892-1938), containing his armorial bookplate); it is ostensibly a guide to the beauty of the female sex, but in reality it is a sex manual. As with his earlier work "On diseases of the generative system", Roberton covers sexual health and generation, with chapters discussing beauty and love, before turning to a more detailed discussion of sexual intercourse, and 'the laws regulating that intercourse'. He concludes his work with a 'Catalogue Raisonné of the defects in female beauty'. A number of plates depict both the male and female sexual organs, and indeed a note of caution is included in the plate description: "Plates 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 should not be carelessly exposed either to Ladies or to Young Persons ... As the work is a scientific one, and calculated both by its mode of construction and by its price for the higher and more reflecting class of readers, and as the Plates above are enumerated are also entirely scientific and anatomical, the publisher might have dispensed with this precaution; but he is anxious that these readers should have it in their power to obviate the possibility of careless exposure of such anatomical plates: they are therefore detached from the work, and may be locked up separately" (p. i). It seems, rare, therefore, to find these plates present as here, bound in throughout the text. Roberton's decision to use a pseudonym and his warning about the graphic nature of some of the illustrations used in the book, clearly reflect the pressures that he and Stockdale felt in light of the public reaction to their previous collaboration. The work provides a fascinating insight into early nineteenth century sexual thought, revealing the sensitivity over the publication of works dealing with such matters, and the fine line in the debate of what was considered to be medical or sexual, anatomical or pornographical.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2799
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorRoberton, John.
TitleInstitutes of health.
Imprint[London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.
Date of Publication1817
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Stockdale guaranteed the salacious reputation of the work when over the next few years he published further editions (sometimes under the pseudonym of Thomas Little), himself interpolating still more sensational illustrations, with a fourth edition appearing in the year of the present work. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. "Institutes of health" was written with the same readership in mind and published by Stockdale, but has absolutely no salacious content. The author stresses his belief that the medical writer should be of service to the wider community and notes that the work has been divested of 'professional obscurities and unnecessary technical terms' in an effort to make it more accessible. Divided into seven chapters, Roberton warns against the dangers of excess in all areas of life, with sections on the perils of excessive drinking and eating, including a section on dangers of indulging in draught London porter and ale prepared for pot-houses (pubs) which Roberton suspects is adulterated with "other deleterious substances". He concludes with a section on the use of mercury for the treatment of liver complaints.
ShelfmarkAB.3.210.50
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. Wikipedia.
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorFarmer.
TitleA plain and earnest address to Britons, especially farmers.
ImprintAlnwick: J. Catnach
Date of Publication1793
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis anonymous pamphlet was printed in the Northumbrian town of Alnwick by the Scottish printer, John Catnach (1769-1813), who was born in Burntisland, Fife, in 1769. Having served an apprenticeship as a printer in Edinburgh, he started in business in Berwick-upon-Tweed in the late 1780s, moving to Alnwick in 1790. Catnach moved to Newcastle in 1808, where he eventually ended up in the debtors prison. He moved again, this time to London, in 1812, where he and his family lived in poverty until his death the following year. His son James later became famous for the street literature publications produced on his press at Seven Dials. "A plain and earnest address" was a rallying call to the yeoman farmers of Britain to stand firm against the political tumult unleashed by the French Revolution and Thomas Paine's "Rights of man". The "Farmer" uses extracts from Arthur Young's "Annals of agriculture" to paint a bleak picture if Britain was to embrace French revolutionary ideals. The text was printed at a number of provincial presses in England in 1792 and 1793, including places such as Newark, Ipswich and Tamworth. This Alnwick printing is not recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAP.1.210.26
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes.
Acquired on08/09/10
AuthorGretser, Jacob.
TitleAntitortor Bellarmianus Ioannes Gordonius Scotus pseudodecanus et capellanus Calvinisticus.
ImprintIngolstadt: Adam Sartorius
Date of Publication1611
LanguageLatin
NotesIn the early 1600s King James VI/I found himself embroiled in a feud with the Italian cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), which led to a 'battle of the books', to which this publication belongs. While still in Scotland James had made secret overtures to the king of France and the pope, hinting at better treatment for Catholics and even conversion, in the hope that they would support his claim to the English throne. In 1600 he sent an envoy to Rome with letters for the pope and various cardinals, including Bellarmine, a Jesuit and one of the most important figures in the Catholic Church of the period. Bellarmine subsequently presented James, probably via the French ambassador to Scotland, with an elaborately-bound four-volume set of his defence of the Catholic faith "De controversiis Christianae fidei Bellarmine" (vol. 1 of this set is now in NLS: Bdg.m.89). Bellarmine's hopes for James were to be disappointed. After the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the English parliament the following year passed an act which could require any citizen to take an oath of allegiance, entailing a denial of the pope's authority over the king. In 1607, when an English archpriest George Blackwell eventually took the oath and wrote a letter to the English Catholic clergy exhorting them to do likewise, the Cardinal wrote a letter to Blackwell deploring his subscription to a heretical oath. James in turn attacked Bellarmine in 1608 in a Latin treatise "Triplici nodo, triplex cuneus", which the scholarly cardinal answered, making fun of the defects of the royal Latin prose. James replied with a second attack in more careful style, "Apologia pro iuramento fidelitatis", in which he posed as the defender of primitive and true Christianity. Bellarmine responded again setting off a war of words between the two men's supporters, including the Scottish dean of Salisbury, John Gordon (1544-1619). Anxious to curry favour with James, Gordon published in 1610 a polemical poem "Antitortobellarminus, siue Refutatio calumniarum, mendaciorum, et imposturarum laico-Cardinalis Bellarmini". The initial word Antitorto... was derived from the name of the Cardinal's chaplain, Matteo Torti, under whose name the Cardinal had earlier written pseudonymously. This book is a response to Gordon by the German Jesuit writer, Jacob Gretser (1562-1625), who alters Gordon's punning title to suit his own ends. Gretser responds in kind to Gordon's Latin abusive verse with some abuse of his own. A book stamp and inscription on the title page shows that this particular copy was formerly held in the Jesuit college of San Hermenegildo in Seville, Spain. It was later part of the collection of the bibliographer and scholar Cosmo Alexander Gordon (1886-1965).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2800
Acquired on01/09/10
AuthorLenoir, Alphonse
TitleFaits divers, pensées diverses, et quelques réponses de sourds-muets précédés d'une gravure représentant leur alphabet manuel et de notions sur la dactylologie ou le langage des doigts, avec des détails intéresssants sur une sourde-muette-aveugle Francaise, et sur un Sourd-Muet-Aveugle Écossais.
ImprintParis: Rue Racine, 15
Date of Publication1850
LanguageFrench
NotesThis book is the rare second edition of a selection of writings on deaf-mutes by one of the leading French educators in the field, Alphonse Lenoir. Revised and expanded here, it was first published as Dactylologie, ou Langage des Doigts (1848). Lenoir, himself hearing-impaired, was a teacher at the Institution Nationale de Paris who did much to pioneer and advocate the education of the deaf, and was involved in the founding of the first official deaf organisation - the Societe Centrale (1838) which later became known as the Societe Universelle des Sourds-Muets in 1867. The book includes a description of sign language, with a frontispiece illustrating the signed alphabet, and descriptions of the lives and achievements of deaf-mutes. There are accounts of heroic behaviour during the events of 1848 in Paris and famous deaf mutes in the fields of literature, art, and other walks of life. Among these is an account of the Scot James Mitchell, who was brought to public attention by the Enlightenment philosopher Dugald Stewart in a paper entitled 'Some Account of a Boy born Deaf and Blind' published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1812. Stewart had been interested in Mitchell and his family, but his paper concentrated on what Mitchell's case could teach about the development of ocular sense-perceptions: Lenoir's account emphasises how in spite of his sensory isolation, he had a fully developed moral, intellectual and emotional sensibility.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.060
Reference SourcesBookseller's Catalogue; Collected Works of Dugald Stewart, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: 1854), pp.300-370.
Acquired on23/08/10
AuthorShakespeare, William.
TitleThe tragedy of Macbeth. By William Shakespear [sic]. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's servants. To which are added all the original songs.
ImprintGlasgow: William Duncan, Junior
Date of Publication1755
LanguageEnglish
Notes18th-century London editions of individual Shakespeare plays are relatively common, but Scottish editions are rare, usually surviving in one or two known copies. Of the eight editions of Shakespeare's Scottish play printed in Scotland in the 18th century, this Glasgow edition is the third, the previous two having been printed in Edinburgh in 1731 and 1753. It was listed in William Jaggard's Shakespeare bibliography of 1911 as the first edition printed in Glasgow, but without pagination or location. Jaggard may have copied a reference from a bibliography or auction catalogue without seeing a copy. It is not recorded in recent Shakespeare bibliographies or ESTC. The printer, William Duncan junior, was active between 1750 and 1768, but printed very little for most of that time. In 1755-1756 however, he appears to have decided to issue an assortment of plays including two by Shakespeare: King Lear and Macbeth. This particular copy is bound with a [1770?] London edition of "Timon of Athens" and leaves from volume 8 of a 1757 London edition of Shakespeare's works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2798(1)
Acquired on20/08/10
Author[Anon]
TitleThe child's catechism in two parts. The first, treating of God... The second, of mans recovery... By a well-wisher to the education of children.
ImprintEdinburgh: [s.n.],
Date of Publication1751
LanguageEnglish
NotesLearning the catechism was an essential part of religious education in the 18th century. Catechisms accordingly were a staple of Scottish printing houses from the 17th century onwards. In the 1690s a catechism for children by the late Robert Leighton, bishop of Dunblane, was printed in Edinburgh. Leighton's catechism was followed in the first half of the 18th century by a number of similar children's catechisms, with shorter and simplified text, were printed in Scotland. This particular version of 1751, by an anonymous 'Well-wisher to the Education of Children', was originally composed for a four-year-old girl, and was continued for her with additional sections until she was twelve. The last eight pages comprise "Some forms of prayers for children." Only three known copies of this particular printed catechism have been recorded, none of them in the UK.
ShelfmarkAP.3.210.09
Acquired on13/08/10
Author[Anon]
TitleA dramatic dialogue between the King of France and the Pretender.
ImprintLondon: printed by T. Gardner
Date of Publication1746
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 12-page pamphlet contains an unrecorded poem in blank verse printed in London in 1746. The anonymous work, signed only 'By a young gentleman of Oxford', is an imaginative recreation of a conversation between King Louix XV of France (1710-1774) and Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788), known as the Young Pretender, following events at the Battle of Culloden. The Battle of Culloden, on 16 April 1746, marked an end to the Jacobite uprising, which started in 1745 and Charles Stuart's attempt to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. While the King refers to Prince William, duke of Cumberland (1721-1765) as 'that beardless, unexperienc'd Boy', the Pretender recounts the abilities of the Duke in battle: 'But, soon as e'er the sad and dreadful Name / Of Cumberland was whisper'd through the Lines, / Each Face grew pale, a sudden Panick seiz'd / Each Scottish Heart, as if some mighty Power / With him had join'd, to disappoint our Hopes.' The Pretender goes on to relate his troops' valiant attempts before they 'fell a victim to their dreadful Duke', and Charles himself was forced 'reluctant, from the bloody Field'. The poem ends on a pessimistic note with an order to the Pretender from the King: 'Betake thee strait to some religious Choir, / ... Where, in Peace you may forever live, / And think no more of ruling o'er a People, / Who both despise Religion and their Prince.' This is the only recorded copy of the poem and supplements the Library's rich holdings of printed material relating to Jacobites and Jacobitism.
ShelfmarkRB.m.701
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; Oxford DNB
Acquired on09/08/10
AuthorMissionary Society for Africa and the East
Title[Handbill for sermon to be preached at Glasgow Episcopal Chapel, August 14 1814, by Rev. Isaac Saunders]
ImprintGlasgow: Chapman, Printer
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis broadside handbill or flyer advertises a sermon to be preached at the Episcopal Chapel, Glasgow, in 1814, by the Rev. Isaac Saunders, on behalf of the Missionary Society for Africa and the East. This was an English society, whose vice-presidents included William Wilberforce, and Saunders was a minister in London who would preach three sermons on the day. The handbill lists the Society's activities around the world from Malta to New Zealand, including the offer to sponsor a child: 'The Society clothes, maintains, and educates a poor African child for £5 per annum, and affixes any name to such poor liberated child, as the benefactor may wish.' This is the only known surviving copy of this handbill. It is interesting to note that it lists the Glasgow booksellers Steven & Fraser, Brash & Reid and Turnbull and Smith's Circulating Library as places where donations to the Missionary Society may be made by those who wish to contribute but cannot attend the sermon.
ShelfmarkAP.4.210.27
Reference Sourceshttp://blogs.nls.uk/rarebooks/?p=107
Acquired on05/08/10
Author[Anon]
TitleEarnest invitation to all profane persons to repent.
ImprintEdinburgh: Society for Promoting Religious Knowledge among the Poor.
Date of Publication1757
LanguageEnglish
NotesSwearing, drunkenness and working on Sundays are still issues in contemporary society, as they were over 250 years ago when this stern tract was printed warning of the dangers in indulging in these vices. The tract was printed for the Society for Promoting Religious Knowledge among the Poor (SPRKP), an organisation founded in London in 1750, which was the first of the evangelical tract societies that were established in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was founded by Protestant dissenters, but included many Anglicans among its members; its object was to promote religion by distributing bibles and cheap tracts, usually written by dissenting ministers, to the poor. The Society co-existed with the establishment church-orientated Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, and later with the Society for Distributing Religious Tracts among the Poor, founded by the Methodist leader John Wesley in 1782. In 1756 branches of the SPRK were founded in Edinburgh and Glasgow along the same lines as the London model. The anonymous "Earnest invitation" is one of at least three Society publications printed by Ebenezer Robertson in Edinburgh in the late 1750s. Very few of Society's publications survive and there is only one other copy of this book recorded in ESTC, in the British Library's collections. This particular tract covers three sins: swearing and profanity, with particular regard to the army and navy; 'the great sin of profaning the Lord's day by worldly business and pleasures'; and 'the great evil of the sin of drunkenness'. The author may, according to lists of books published by the SPRKP, be the evangelical minister Isaac Toms (1709-1801) from Hadleigh in Suffolk, who is known to have written five tracts for the Society. In the tract the author thunders, "It is not to be doubted but the glaring impiety and gross profaneness of our armies and fleets, and the bulk of the nation, had had a great hand in raising the storm of divine judgements on man and beast". Published at a time when Britain was fighting the Seven Years War on the Continent and the French in North America, this was alarming stuff intended to shock sinners into repentance. Whether the book had any effect on the profane of Edinburgh is open to question. The SPRKP's influence in Scotland appears to have been confined to the 18th century, but elsewhere it lasted into the early part of the 20th century, although it is now largely forgotten.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2794
Reference SourcesIsabel Rivers "The first evangelical tract society" The Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1 (2007), pp. 1-22.
Acquired on09/07/10
TitleSlave trade.
ImprintHaddington: G. Miller and Son, printers.
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn abolitionist broadside printed in Haddington, East Lothian indicating that the residents of Dunbar are petitioning Parliament for the universal abolition of the slave trade. Beneath the title is a woodcut of a slave being whipped by a white man, followed by an abolitionist poem and a call to the residents of Dunbar to sign the petition: 'It is requested that every well wisher to the melioration of the poor Africans, and those who, from motives of humanity, are inclined to give their dissenting vote to the revival of the bloody traffic, will come forward without delay.'
ShelfmarkRB.m.702
Acquired on06/07/10
AuthorSartorius, Georg.
TitleHandbuch der Staatswirthschaft: zum Gebrauche bey akademischen Vorlesungen, nach Adam Smith's Grundsatzen.
ImprintBerlin: Bey Johann Friedrich Unger.
Date of Publication1796
LanguageGerman
NotesEarly synopsis of Smith's 'Wealth of nations' for use at universities. Sartorius, a professor at Gottingen University, was the first to introduce the teaching of Adam Smith at a German university. Here he presents his outline of Smith's work, with the addition of his own critical and practical remarks.
ShelfmarkAB.2.210.18
Acquired on01/07/10
AuthorDuncan, Mark
TitleMarci Duncani philosophiae et med. D. Institutionis logicae libri quinque.
ImprintSalmurii [Saumur]: Apud Isaacum Desbordes,
Date of Publication1643
LanguageLatin
NotesBorn possibly in London, the philosopher Mark Duncan (d. 1640) was of Scottish parentage and probably educated partly in Scotland. In 1606 he was appointed professor of philosophy and Greek at the French protestant university of Saumur, rising to the position of Regent. He also practised medicine and his renown as a medical practitioner was such that James VI/I offered him the post of physician in ordinary to the English court, but Duncan, having settled with his second wife in Saumur, did not wish to uproot his family. This philosophical textbook, dedicated to the founder of the Academy of Saumur Phillipe de Mornay (1549-1623), was printed first in 1612. It was drawn on in particular by the Dutch logician Franco Burgersdijk (1590-1635) in the composition of his own "Institutiones Logicae" (Leiden, 1632). This is the third edition of Duncan's "Institutiones Logicae"; all editions are scarce.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2782
Acquired on29/05/10
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