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 721 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.
Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 136 to 150 of 721:
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|Title||Guide to Edinburgh Air Raid Shelters.
|Imprint||Published by C.J. Cousland & Sons Limited. Creative Modern Printers, 30 Queen Street., Edinburgh. |
|Date of Publication||194-?|
|Notes||The front wrapper features a photograph of people emerging from a shelter on the edge of Princes Street Gardens. Other photographs feature firemen in wartime helmets, and nurses at a first aid post. There are also seven pages of maps depicting the locations of the shelters in central Edinburgh.
The book begins with a foreword by John Falconis, the Chief Air Raid Warden, in which he gives advice on what to do in the event of an air raid. He presents useful information on how to deal with mustard gas liquid on the skin, and the nature of incendiary bombs. He also imparts psychological advice: 'Wars are won by successfully exploiting fear.'; 'Air raids are not planned to cause civilian casualties; they create mental apprehension, suspense and distress; they lower morale; they disorganise national work ...'
The advertisements are excellent, and include: a builder offering to bring peoples air raid precautions to completion; Redpath Brown & Co. Ltd. of Edinburgh, have an illustration of people in one of their shelters; 'Saved again! Duncan's nut milk chocolate ... always keep some handy for real inward protection, proof against hunger and nerves'. Other adverts include children's games from Jenners, gas masks, and air raid protection equipment.
|Title||[3 early nineteenth century Edinburgh trade cards] |
|Date of Publication||[c.1811-1842]|
|Notes||These three trade cards provide us with a fascinating snapshot of the commercial life of the growing capital in the first half of the 19th century.The earliest of the three is probably that advertising the activities of H. Urquhart who was working as a hairdresser, peruque (wig)-maker and perfumer from premises at 31 George Street from 1811-1815. According to the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory he worked at other addresses in George Street and Hanover Street around the same period. The engraving has been inexpertly hand-coloured probably many decades later. The text on the verso of the illustration describes in detail the services offered by Urquhart. We have been unable to discover when George King, velvet and silk dyer, was working. Around 10 dyers are listed in Edinburgh trade directories from 1810 to 1840, but there is no mention of King. The style of dress on the engraving suggest that in dates from the first quarter of the 19th century. The Watergate referred to on the card was a physical structure guarding the entry to the Canongate from the north-east. It acted as a toll barrier rather than a military defence. The engraved card advertising Tait’s New Royal Hotel on Princes Street probably dates from the 1840s. It was engraved by Mould & Tod who had an address on North Bridge in 1842. The scene shows a bustling street with people promenading outside the hotel, which is opposite the Scott Monument (opened in 1846).Trade cards probably date from the late 18th century. The advances in printing technology in the early 19th century led to trade cards becoming far more plentiful. This was accentuated when colour printing was developed from mid-century onwards. The trade card evolved into the business card which is still in use today. There are other examples of Scottish trade cards in the collection at RB.m.571 and RB.m.112.|
|Reference Sources||Edinburgh and Leith Post Office directories 1810-1850|
|Title||The rudiments of architecture; or the young workman's instructor. In two parts ... with twenty-three elegant designs of building, the most of which have been actually executed in North Britain. To which is added. The Builder's Dictionary. Intended for those whose time will not allow them to attend teachers.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by William Auld, Turk's close, Lawn market|
|Date of Publication||1773|
|Notes||This is one of the first books of architectural designs produced in Scotland. The first such publication was George Jameson, Thirty-three designs, Edinburgh: 1765, an extremely rare book of which no copies are known in Scotland. In 1772, the first edition of an anonymous book entitled The rudiments of architecture was printed in Edinburgh by Robert Mundell (NLS copy at RB.m.418). This work was based on William Salmon, Palladio Londinensis (1762) and Sebastien Le Clerc, Treatise (1723). Eileen Harris notes 'The success of the compilation is due more to the absence of other such works printed in Scotland and the efforts of the publishers than to the second-hand, second-rate contents' (Harris, p.401). In 1773 this second edition appeared, with an additional 12 plates showing 23 designs for houses in the Palladian manner, modelled on Jameson's work. Despite Harris' disparaging remarks, this book was clearly of use, as the copy we have now acquired has marginal notes and sketches that suggest it was owned by a working architect. This may have been the William Watson whose contemporary inscription appears at the head of the title-page.
No other copies are recorded in public ownership in Scotland.
|Reference Sources||ESTC N13160;
Eileen Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785, CUP, 1990
|Title||The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments. With arguments to the different books; and moral and theological observations, illustrating each chapter, and shewing the use and improvement to be made of it: composed by the Reverend Mr. Ostervald, Professor of Divinity, and one of the ministers of the Church at Neufchatel in Swisserland: translated at the desire of, and recommended by, the Honble. Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge.|
|Imprint||London: Printed by J. Murray, no. 32, Fleet-street.|
|Date of Publication||1777|
|Notes||This is a unique and unrecorded Old Testament and Apocrypha printed by John Murray. No bibliographic record can be found for it in ESTC, COPAC, Darlow & Moule and it is also not recorded in the checklist of Murray publications found in Zachs' 'The First John Murray and the Late Eighteenth-Century Book Trade' (Oxford University Press, 1998). It is accompanied by the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which has new signatures and a different imprint: Edinburgh: Printed by William Darling, 1776. The New Testament is also not listed in ESTC. Arrayed throughout the entire Bible are 9 engraved maps and 82 full-page engraved plates by Charles Grignion (1721-1810). Grignion was born in London to Huguenot refugees and had a successful career as an historical engraver and book illustrator. He was regarded by many contemporaries as the 'Father and Founder of the English school of Engraving'. The plates are inscribed or presented to various bishops by William Rider (1723-1785). Rider published 'The Christian Family's Bible' in three large folio volumes between 1763 and 1767 and the plates may have initially appeared in those volumes. |
|Reference Sources||Not in ESTC
Not in Darlow & Moule|
|Imprint||Glasgow: David Bryce and Sons|
|Date of Publication||[1900?]|
|Notes||This is a miniature copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, printed in gold and produced by David Bryce of Glasgow, the pre-eminent 19th century Scottish maker of miniature books. Regular copies of this publication are extremely rare and this copy printed in gold type is most probably unique.
The provenance is significant in that it was originally part of David Bryce's personal collection. It was then owned by Bryce's grand-daughter and later acquired by Louis W. Bondy (1910-1993), the author of the classic one-volume reference source entitled: Miniature Books: their History from the Beginnings to the Present Day.
The book measures 3 x 4 cm. The text is printed upon the thinnest white tissue paper and it is bound in gold and purple grapevine patterned stiff paper. On the front board a curlicue-patterned paper is pasted on, at the center of which is the title. The same pattern is repeated on two separate pasted papers on the spine. The book is accompanied by a lidded silver box measuring 4.5 x 6.5 cm. The top lid is engraved with a pattern resembling a tartan which incorporates a shield device. Engraved in script in the center of the shield is Bryce's name, and "Jedburgh" below.
|Title||Rider's British Merlin for the year of Our Lord God 1804. |
|Imprint||London: Printed for the Company of Stationers|
|Date of Publication||1804|
|Notes||This almanac, in a splendid decorative binding, is perhaps most interesting for its annotations: there is no ownership inscription, but it would be possible to reconstruct much about the owner from the copious notes on blank pages throughout the text. There are accounts (five shillings for a yard of lace, nineteen for 'stuff for petticoats', sixpence for a 'poor woman', for instance), recipes, notes on sermons and devotional topics, and poetry - most clearly attributed to authors such as Cowper, but some perhaps original. From the accounts and recipes, it seems likely that this almanac had a female owner; from the other content, one with a particularly spiritual and poetical turn of mind.|
|Title||The wanderer or surprizing escape|
|Imprint||Dublin: J. Kinnier|
|Date of Publication||1747|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded edition of this work on the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Another Dublin edition was printed by William Brien and Richard James also in 1747. Editions were also published in London (two by Jacob Robinson in 1747) and Glasgow (1752). It demonstrates the interest there was throughout Britain and Ireland in the rebellion and its aftermath and the continuing war of words between the different sides after decisive result at Culloden.This work is essentially a criticism of the Young Pretender’s actions as described in Ralph Griffith’s ‘Ascanius, or the Young Adventurer’ (London, 1746). In Griffith’s work, the Pretender is compared to the son of Priam wandering after the fall of Troy. It is interesting to note that the frontispiece of the Pretender is based very closely on that which appeared in Griffith’s work. Here the anonymous author gives a factual and much less dewy-eyed account of what had happened.The printer Joshua Kinnier was also a papermaker and publisher who was in business in Dublin from about 1743 until at least 1767. He died in 1777. Although there is an extensive entry under his name in the ‘Dictionary of members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800’, this work is not mentioned.|
|Reference Sources||M. Pollard. Dictionary of members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800|
|Title||Edinburgh and Port-Patrick time-bill.|
|Date of Publication||c.1790|
|Notes||This is a timetable for the Edinburgh to Portpatrick mail-coach, printed during the 1790s. It sets out the time and the distance for each stage of the journey, along with the name of the contractor responsible for each portion of the journey. The distance covered by the route, which took in places including Moffat, Dumfries, Newton Stewart, Glenluce and Stranraer, was 156 miles. The coach took 23 hours and 20 minutes to cover this distance, allowing for 30 minutes of 'office business' at Stranraer. This was considerably slower than the average royal mail coach, which moved at 11 mph in around 1800, and is indicative of the poor state of Scottish roads at the time.A weekly mail service from Portpatrick to Donaghadee in Co. Down (a distance of 21 miles) was established in 1662. In 1790 a daily mail service was introduced with the Post Office using its own vessels. Previously the mail had been carried by contract in privately owned ships. Portpatrick was also used as a port for sending troops and cattle to and from Ireland. The Portpatrick-Donaghdee route was superceded by the Stranraer-Larne crossing in the 1860s.
A regular coach travel for passengers between England and Scotland was only introduced in the 1750s. The journey from London to Edinburgh/Glasgow took 10 or 12 days depending on the season. By the 1780s this had been reduced to 4 days. Within Scotland there were coaches operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow from 1749 and from Edinburgh to Perth and Stirling by 1767. The use of mail coaches, which also catered for passengers, only began in Scotland in 1786 with the London-Edinburgh mail coach which travelled via the Great North Road. Edinburgh-Portpatrick followed in 1790 and Edinburgh-Aberdeen in 1798. However the heyday of the mail coach was short-lived. It was superceded by the railway in most parts of Scotland by the mid-19th century.|
|Reference Sources||Cunningham, R.R. Portpatrick through the ages. (1974)
Gordon, Anne. To move with the times: the story of transport and travel in Scotland (1988)|
|Title||Saga: the magazine of Eastbank Hospital. No.1, Summer 1953.|
|Imprint||[Kirkwall: Eastbank Hospital]|
|Date of Publication||1953|
|Notes||George Mackay Brown was the editor of this short-lived periodical published by and for the patients and staff of Eastbank Hospital in Kirkwall. A total of 5 issues were published during 1953 and 1954 and Brown contributed 23 of the 58 pieces including poetry, prose and editorials.
Brown was in Eastbank being treated for tuberculosis. The title of the magazine was suggested as he said in his editorial by 'the long and bitter struggle of men' against TB.
He had previously been hospitalized as a result of TB in 1940. At the time of this spell at Eastbank Brown was teaching at Newbattle Abbey College, near Dalkeith, Midlothian.
His time there, where fellow Orcadian, Edwin Muir was the warden, gave Brown 'a sense of purpose and direction'.
This cover illustration drawn by Ernest Marwick shows the view of Kirkwall from the hospital verandah. It is unlikely that many copies of this home-produced magazine have survived and this is therefore a very welcome edition to the Library's holdings of material
by George Mackay Brown.
|Reference Sources||Royle, Trevor. The Mainstream companion to Scottish literature. (Edinburgh, 1993)|
|Title||[The last words of James, El. Of Derwentwater]|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This is a remarkable broadside (68 x 50 cm) probably produced shortly after the execution in 1716 of the Jacobite leaders. It is engraved throughout and consists of the oval portraits of eight of the leaders and the last words of six of them. The British Museum Catalogue of Prints and Drawings lists a much smaller print (without any text) depicting 7 oval portraits - James III in the centre surrounded by Kenmure, Bruce, Collingwood, Paul, Hall and Gascoigne. One can only speculate on who produced this grand work and why. Presumably it was to keep alive the memory of the Jacobite leaders among their supporters in Scotland or abroad. It is however, likely that the proceeds from the sale of such a print were devoted to the relief of the executed mens' families.
After the 'Old Pretender' scuttled back to France in early February 1716, the rebellion collapsed. Most of the Jacobite noblemen made their way to the continent and of those noblemen condemned to death, only Derwentwater and Kenmure actually paid the penalty. Both had been captured in the course of the skirmish at Preston. The original sentence involved them being hanged but before they died they were to be disembowelled (with the bowels burned before their faces) then beheaded and quartered. But because of their social status a mere beheading, which took place on Tower Hill in February 1716, sufficed. The fact that there was considerable sympathy, though not active support, for the Jacobite cause in Scotland, meant that the rebels were dealt with relatively leniently with many being 'allowed' to escape.
The only other known copy is held by the Drambuie Liqueur Company, Edinburgh.|
|Reference Sources||Kemp, Hilary. Jacobite rebellion. (London, 1975)
Sharp, Richard. The engraved record of the Jacobite movement. Scolar Press, 1996. H4.97.202|
|Title||Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser|
|Imprint||Philadelphia: John Dunlap, |
|Date of Publication||1787-88|
|Notes||This is a collection of individual issues of the "Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser", from 24 July 1787 through 27 November 1788, each containing poems or songs by Robert Burns, together with two issues of the Packet (7 July and 16 July 1788) containing the original publisher's advertisement for the first American edition of Burns's Poems. Included also is an issue ( 28 August 1787) advertising "A select collection of the most favourite Scots tunes, with variations for the piano forte or harpsichord [sic]", composed by Alexander Reinagle. The "Pennsylvania Packet" was America's first successful daily newspaper and is a much prized source for history of the fledgling American republic and the creation of its constitution. The collection contains all of the appearances of works by Burns to have been printed in the newspaper but for one (the "Scotch Drink"); they precede publication of the first American edition of Burns's poems and are therefore likely to be the first examples of Burns in print in the USA. They also provide evidence of the close trading and cultural ties between Scotland and the USA, in particular between the cities of Philadelphia and Edinburgh, in the late 1780s. Burns's "Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect" was first published in Kilmarnock in 1786 and then, to great acclaim, in Edinburgh the following year. Copies of these editions were soon available across the Atlantic, and Peter Stewart, a Scots printer and bookseller, and George Hyde, a Scots bookbinder, both of Philadelphia, decided to publish the first American edition. Rather than issue any proposals for printing they had 25 individual poems published at regular intervals in the "Pennsylvania Packet", from 24 July 1787 to 14 June 1788, a tried and tested means of advertising new publications, with their edition being published on 7 July 1788. Burns's poems clearly had a positive impact on their American readership; the selected poems were chosen to portray him as a sentimental, God-fearing ploughman, a working man at one with nature and sympathetic to the aims of the American colonists in freeing themselves from British control. Among the poems printed in the newspaper are: The rigs o' barley, The Cotter's Saturday Night, To a louse, To ruin, Epistle to a friend; as well as the review of Burns's work by Henry Mackenzie, first printed in "The Lounger", Edinburgh, 9 December 1786 and then in "The London Chronicle" which brought Burns to the attention of a wider public.
|Reference Sources||Egerer, A Bibliography of Robert Burns, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1964; Anna M. Painter "Poems of Burns before 1800", in The Library, 4th ser. 12 (1931-32), pp. 434-456; Leith Davis, Sharon Alker and Holly Faith Nelson, Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture, Farnham: Ashgate, 2012, pp. 78-82 |
|Title||Francis Garden Lord Gardenstone |
|Imprint||[Edinburgh? : s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||[18--]|
|Notes||This broadside commemorates the eccentricities of Francis Garden, Lord Gardenstone (1721-1793). It is printed on French laid paper with the watermarks Papier a la main and Auvergne with a flower and sprouting heart. However, the quality of printing suggests that the broadside is in fact a product of the mid- to late nineteenth century. It is possible that it was printed as a deluxe version for the centenary of the erection of St. Bernard's Well at Stockbridge in 1789, which had been financed by Lord Gardenstone.
Born and educated in Edinburgh, Francis Garden was admitted an advocate in 1743 and appointed a lord of session in 1764. Notwithstanding his convivial propensities during his early practice at the bar, he was characterised by A.F. Tytler as an "acute and able lawyer". As a philanthropist he is remembered fondly for buying the estate of Johnston in Kincardineshire in 1762 in order to build a new village; he also founded a library and museum there for the use of the villagers, not to mention an inn. However, Lord Gardenstone is probably best remembered for his particular taste for social hilarity and his many peculiarities, one of which was an extreme fondness of pigs. Some anecdotes are retold in the broadside; another one recalls the occasion of Garden's involvement in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion: serving under Sir John Cope, he and a companion preferred wine and oysters to watching and warding, tarried too long in a bar at Musselburgh and were captured by an enemy patrol. About to be hanged, they were released when they were seen to be completely drunk and incapable.
Lord Gardenstone died in Morningside aged 72 and is buried in Greyfriars churchyard in an unmarked grave.
|Reference Sources||Oxford DNB, www.electricscotland.com|
|Title||[Advertisement for John Hogan, Spectacle Maker, Edinburgh] That whereas John Hogan, removed from the Lucken-Booths to the Lower End of the Canongate, at the Sign of the Spectacles...|
|Date of Publication||ca.1740-1750?|
|Notes||Previously unrecorded in ESTC, this 18th-century advertisement publicizes the removal of one John Hogan from the Luckenbooths (the famous row of shops at St Giles on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, destroyed in the 19th century) to the 'lower end of the Canongate'. The Mr Robertson to whose premises Hogan removes must surely be the William Robertson whose house was 'near St John's Cross, Canongate', and who around the same time as this broadside was published was developing a 'catadioptric microscope', a 'dioptrick telescope', and an 'artificial eye, explaining the nature of vision' among other inventions. Hogan's advertisement here is for the work of a more ordinary optician: 'who makes and sells the best Christal Spectacles ... by the Use of which, those People who have weak Eyes, may be made capable to read or work as long as those who have stronger'. He also advertises reading glasses, 'Christals for Pictures', 'all Sorts of Glasses to preserve the Eyes when rideing [sic]' and 'all Sorts of Shagreen Cases, of any Fashion or Form; as reasonable as in any Part of Great Britain.' This single sheet, illustrated with a woodcut of a pair of spectacles, might have been posted up around town, or sent to customers: such ephemera rarely survives. |
|Reference Sources||ESTC; William Robertson: A description of the figure, construction and use of a new catadioptric microscope, invented by William Robertson (Edinburgh, ca. 1750).|
|Title||Dancing taught without a master. The ball-room companion containing all the fashionable dances of the day.|
|Imprint||Aberdeen : J. Daniel and Son and all booksellers|
|Date of Publication||1879|
|Notes||This little pocket manual contains instructions for over 18 of the most commonly performed dances at balls or assemblies in the late 19th century. It was intended as a reminder for people who had taken dancing lessons, rather than for those new to dancing. No pages in this copy have been opened. However, the contents of the entire work can be read as a single sheet which measures 28 cm. x 45 cm when unfolded. |
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Sir D. Hunter Blair and J. Bruce|
|Date of Publication||1807|
|Notes||This Bible was owned by Jane Baillie Welsh, who was to marry Thomas Carlyle and launch one of the greatest exchanges of correspondence in English. The book is bound for travelling, in red morocco with a fold-over flap to protect it. Inside, the flap is lined with green leather, and it is gilt-stamped 'J. B. Welsh 1814'. It is also signed 'Jane Baillie Welsh' on a flyleaf. In 1814 Jane was just thirteen and being tutored at home, in Haddington, East Lothian. The book clearly stayed with her, as Thomas Carlyle later added his own bookplate to the volume. There are remains of manuscript notes which someone has attempted to erase, but which could be reconstructed.
In 1997, the library acquired a copy of Schiller's 'Don Karlos' (Leipzig, 1804), which also has Jane's inscription and Thomas's bookplate. This latest acquisition is particularly interesting as it has this smart binding - which suggests that books were already prized by Jane as a young teenager.