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 755 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 755:
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|Title||L.R.B. [Lloyd Royal Belge]|
|Imprint||Glasgow]: Maclure & Macdonald|
|Date of Publication||[1919-1920]|
|Notes||This appears to be a specially prepared album recording a Glasgow shipyard in 1919/1920 at the time of it's take-over and during the political upheavals of Red Clydeside.
Clearly the photographs were taken at the time the company became incorporated into Lloyd Royal Belge in 1919, one photograph of the Managers Office helpfully has Henry Gylsen seated with a fellow director under a calendar which reads May 14 Friday .
The bulk of the album contains a good series of photographs showing the entire shipyard during a working day. Beginning with a photographic reproduction of a drawn bird's eye view of the works, it also includes views of the entrance, the office areas, electric crane, smithy and hydraulic riveting station.
Three plates show the S.S. Londonier on the stock, being launched and and being pulled by a tug boat and two plates of one of the owners, Senator Brys attending to King Albert on a visit to a steamer. The boat was sold off in 1939 and later became a a war ship under the Japanese flag only to be sunk in 1943 in the East China Sea.
Lloyd Royal Belge began life in 1895 as the Compagnie Maritime Belge du Congo to operate passenger and cargo services to the Belgian Congo. Until 1930 routes were confined to the Belgium-Congo service but being taken over that year the company name changed to Compagnie Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal) and new services were started to North and South America and the Far East.
|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||Theatre Royal, Adelphi. Unparalleled attraction!|
|Imprint||Glasgow: Robert Donaldson, printer and lithographer|
|Date of Publication||1844|
|Notes||A mid 19th-century theatre poster (50cm x 25cm) for the Theatre Royal, Adelphi in Glasgow. The poster advertises a July 2, 1844 production of 'Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp' with the word 'Aladdin' formed from the bodies of 12 Chinese figures in traditional oriental dress. The poster is in excellent condition in spite of its fragility.
Near the bottom of the broadside the proprietor is listed as Mr. David Prince Miller. Miller (1809?-1873) was a travelling entertainer who came to Glasgow with his family in the late 1830s. He was well known in Glasgow for his productions of popular entertainment on Glasgow Green. He was briefly jailed for performing without a licence.
In 1842 Miller built and became manager of the Adelphi Theatre, a wooden building on the Green, opposite the Jail, at the foot of Saltmarket. It was also known as the Theatre Royal Adelphi, or the Sans Pareil Pavilion and was one of two licensed theatres in Glasgow during the first half of the 19th century. The Adelphi was extremely popular. However, the uninsured theatre burned down in 1848 and Miller ran into other business difficulties. He went back on the road as a travelling showman, returning to Glasgow only near the end of his life.
|Title||[The Seasons] With sympathy inscribed to all who love flowers and their emblems|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: T. Alexander Hill|
|Date of Publication||c.1855-80|
|Notes||This is a fine example of de luxe book production in mid-Victorian Edinburgh. Bound in dark green cloth with the top board decorated in a black and gilt design repeated in blind in the lower cover, and with watered silk endpapers and gilt edges, the book is a meditation on the seasons designed primarily to feast the eye. The title page is decorated in gold and colours, and each season begins on a page with lithographed illuminated heading and colour illustration, enclosed with the text in a decorative border. The text, anonymously compiled, consists of a prose meditation on each season followed by an appropriate poem by a contemporary poet - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jean Ingelow, Richard Chevenix Trench and Edward Bulwer Lytton. The book was the work of two significant figures involved in the production of artistic books in mid-19th century Edinburgh: the lithographer W. H. McFarlane or M'Farlane, and T. Alexander Hill (1800-66), brother of David Octavius Hill and 'printseller to the Queen' as he describes himself on the title page. Praised in his obituary for his work in improving the print selling and publishing trade, Hill was involved with the then-recently established Royal Scottish Academy as supplier and dealer. This item is therefore not only interesting as a book, but also gives valuable background to the material context surrounding Scottish 19th-century art.|
|Reference Sources||SBTI; National Portrait Gallery directory of British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 (http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/directory-of-suppliers/h.php); bookseller's catalogue|
|Title||A comical dialogue between Sawney and Bonaparte.|
|Imprint||Newcastle: D. Bass|
|Date of Publication||[1803-1805?]|
|Notes||A spoof conversation between a Scotsman and Napoleon Bonaparte in which Bonaparte threatens to invade Scotland and bring 'liberty' with him. It is a patriotic dialogue in which the 'Sawney' tells Napoleon that he is not wanted and will be resisted by the Highland Watch. The exchange ends with Sawney saying 'There's no a man in a' Scotland but would fight to the last drap o' his blood for the Land o' Cakes' and daring Napoleon to come. Sawney was an English nickname for a Scotsman, now no longer used. The Library also holds a chapbook along similar lines 'Sawney & Bonaparte a dialogue' printed in Stirling in 1807.|
|Title||The Tam O Shanter|
|Imprint||'Somewhere in France [Belgium, Holland, Germany]|
|Date of Publication||1944-45|
|Notes||This is a group of 25 issues of a World War II trench newspaper written for Scottish soldiers. It was printed in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany and thus reflects the movement of Scottish troops in Western Europe towards the end of the war. They were each printed on one large 32 x 20 cm. sheet of paper. They were not type-set, but were crudely prepared on a typewriter and many of the copies also incorporate hand-drawn maps and other illustrations. The issues appear to have been folded down and carried by a soldier or soldiers for some length of time as there is dirt, tears, nicks, creases on many of them and all have horizontal and vertical fold lines.
The Tam o'Shanter was the Divisional Newsletter of the 15th Scottish Division, a Territorial Division which had been disbanded at the end of WW1 and was revived in 1939.
Tam o'Shanter was begun sometime in 1943. Newsletters were very much part of Divisional life and most followed the format of the famous "Wipers Times" of WW1. The contents are varied: good first-hand reports of military engagements including much on Arnhem; encapsulated reports from Scottish newspapers; anecdotes from soldiers and also humorous pieces.
News was gleaned from local newspapers from where the battalions of the division recruited and was fed down from 21st Army Group of which the division was a part. There was a coordinating Press Office in St Andrew's House.
The group consists of the following numbers:
'No.10. Somewhere in France. Divisional News Edition. Monday 24 July 44.'
'No.33. Somewhere in Belgium. Scottish News Edition. Friday 15 September 44.'
'No.40. Somewhere in France. General News Edition. Thursday 31 August 44.'
'No.56. Somewhere in Belgium. General News Edition. Monday 18 September 44.'
'No.65. Somewhere in Holland. General News Edition. Wednesday 27 September 44.'
'No.66. Somewhere in Holland. General News Edition. Thursday 28 September 44.'
'No.71. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 3 October 44.'
'No.72. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 4 October 44.'
'No.73. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 5 October 44.'
'No.86. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 18 October 44.'
'No.91. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Monday 23 October 44.'
'No.92. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 24 October 44.'
'No.99. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 31 October 44.'
'No.106. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 7 November 44.'
'No.110. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Saturday 11 November 44.'
'No.116. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Friday 17 November 44.'
'No.117. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Saturday 18 November 44.'
'No.118. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Sunday 19 November 44.'
'No.120. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 21 November 44.'
'No.121. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 22 November 44.'
'No.129. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 30 November 44.'
'No.130. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Friday 1 December 44.'
'No.148. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 19 December 44.'
'No.212. Somewhere in Germany. Edn Branch Publication. wednesday 21 February 45.'
'No.213. Somewhere in Germany. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 22 February 45.'
|Title||Greenock news-clout, no.31|
|Imprint||Greenock: John Lennox|
|Date of Publication||28 September 1850|
|Notes||This is the only known copy of this issue of a short-lived but remarkable Greenock newspaper, which was printed on calico - a coarse and light-weight form of cotton. The Watt Library in Greenock holds 5 other issues - all printed on the same material - dating from 1849-1850. According to the masthead this title was a successor to the 'Young Greenock',' Aurora' and 'Quilp's Budget'. These titles have not been traced. The masthead goes on to state that these titles were declared in January 1849 by the Solicitor of Stamps to be illegal. The printer/publisher John Lennox was summoned before the Court of the Exchequer, fined £100 and forced to pay the expenses of the case. Lennox had for a long time been a campaigner against this 'tax on knowledge' and it appears that he was not prosecuted for printing on calico. The printer and 'News-clout' were even mentioned in Parliament during a debate on the newspaper tax in March 1850.
In order to circumvent the tax on newspapers (which saw the newspapers carry a red stamp showing the amount of tax levied), the publisher John Lennox decided to print this newspaper on calico. The contents of the paper itself are unremarkable reports of municipal election and court cases, letters on the Episcopal Church, advertisements and articles on female franchise and second sight.
Lennox had been a newsagent in Dumbarton around 1822. He printed the 'Dumbarton Argus' from 1832 until 1834 and printed a number of monthly periodicals in Greenock additional to those mentioned above (The Second Precursor, Sam Slick, and The Ventilator) in the 1840s. He died in 1853 aged 59. Monthly papers were not subject to the tax, so publishers like Lennox published papers weekly, though using a different title every week to evade the tax. The tax on newspaper which had been enacted in 1712 was abolished in 1855.|
|Reference Sources||William Stewart. John Lennox and the 'Greenock Newsclout' a fight against the taxes on knowledge. Glasgow, 1918
|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||Chronicle of Perth: a register of remarkable occurrences, chiefly connected with that city, from the year 1210 to 1668|
|Imprint||Edinburgh Maitland Club|
|Date of Publication||1831|
|Notes||An apparently unique copy of this Maitland Society publication, printed on vellum. It is not mentioned in the list of the Society's publications listed in A catalogue of the publications of Scottish historical and kindred clubs and societies by Charles Sanford Terry (Glasgow, 1909). The volume is tastefully bound in contemporary morocco, with the borders tooled in gilt with floral designs.
The Maitland Club was a publishing society founded in Glasgow in 1828 with the purpose of editing and printing works of Scottish historical and literary interest. It was named after the 16th century poet and editor, Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. The Club produced over 50 publications between 1829 and 1859.|
|Imprint||New York and Rochester, NY|
|Date of Publication||1838-39|
|Notes||The Dundonian William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) ran a circulating library with his mother before emigrating to the province of Upper Canada in 1820. He became a politician and journalist, starting with the publication of the "Colonial Advocate" in 1824. Politically he supported the critics of the local ruling class of Tory politicians and colonial administrators. He was elected to the assembly of the new provincial capital York in 1828 but was ejected three years later by the Tories. In 1834, when York became incorporated as the City of Toronto, Mackenzie became its first mayor. He later pushed for greater Canadian autonomy, which led to the armed Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-8; the revolt was quickly put down by British troops and Mackenzie and his allies fled to the USA. He settled in New York and on 12 May 1838 launched "Mackenzie's Gazette", asserting that the newspaper would defend the cause of Canadian patriots, who, although now based the USA, were still determined to overthrow the Upper Canadian government and remove the British presence in the province. In January 1839 Mackenzie moved to Rochester, New York state, continuing to publish the newspaper from there, but financial support for him and his cause began to dry up; moreover, in June of that year Mackenzie was found guilty of violating America's neutrality laws. He served almost a year in prison, but still managed to publish his newspaper, although issues appeared only sporadically. The last issue was published in December 1840, six months after MacKenzie received a pardon by the US President, Martin Van Buren. Mackenzie later became an American citizen, but he returned to Canada in 1850 when an amnesty for those who took part in the 1837-8 Rebellion was announced. He remained active in politics and journalism for the rest of his life.
"Mackenzie's Gazette" was an important, if rather short-lived, literary expression of radical, anti-colonial feeling among Canadians and American sympathisers and contains much valuable historical information for the period. The set acquired by NLS comprises Vol. 1, numbers 27 to 52, covering November 1838 to May 1839; there are no recorded original copies of the newspaper in the UK.
|Title||Notes upon, and illustrations of, the treatise intitled the Life of God in the soul of man. To which is prefixed a preface taking off the material objections lately published against that little Book, to which are subjoined, a poem upon prayer, with a short account of Dr. Scougal's life, &c. By a young gentleman.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: W. Cheyne|
|Date of Publication||1744|
|Notes||This rare book offers an insight into contemporary responses to one of the most popular Scottish devotional works. Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was a Church of Scotland minister in Aberdeenshire and professor of divinity at King's College, Aberdeen. He first published The Life of God in the Soul of Man, originally a manual for his private devotion, in 1677. It was reprinted many times into the 19th century, with enthuasiastic admirers as diverse as Gilbert Burnet, John Wesley, and Benjamin Franklin. This work shows the effect Scougal's book had on one reader described as a 'young gentleman' on the title page. The publisher's address to the reader refers to 'the author's distance from the press' (perhaps like Scougal he was based in Aberdeenshire) and his 'youthful modesty' which led to the anonymous publication. It also mentions that this 'impression' amounts 'only to a very small number, and upon a fine paper, neatly bound, for the reader's pocket', which must explain the scarcity of the book today. The author's preface, where he says that like Scougal he was a young man training for the ministry, explains that he was provoked to write by criticisms of Scougal's book: the first that Scougal's description of Christ as 'he never knew the nuptial bed' was indecent, and the second that he was accused by 'a sect pretty well known' of being Arminian and Socinian. A search of ESTC and ECCO does not uncover any details of these controversies, which would have remained unknown were it not for the 'young gentleman's' defence. His book itself contains several different responses to Scougal: a commentary on The Life of God; a poem 'On Prayer', a 'Life and Character' of Scougal, including a Latin text translated into English, and a poem in praise of Scougal. The author was clearly as much an admirer of Scougal the person as Scougal the theologian, perhaps identifying the young clergyman as a role model, and the mixture of prose and poetry in the volume show him inspired intellectually and emotionally by Scougal's life and work.
Only one other copy of this book is listed in ESTC, at the British Library, with a different collation. Though the edges of the first few leaves are damaged, the book preserves its original wrappers. It comes from the library of the 20th-century book collector Bent Juel-Jensen.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; Oxford DNB entry for Henry Scougal|
|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. |
|Title||[Greenock Library catalogues].|
|Date of Publication||[1808-1820]|
|Notes||This bound volume containing 8 catalogues and supplements to the catalogues of the subscription library at Greenock (known today as the Watt Library) is an important addition to the Library's holdings of material relating to library history in Scotland. The catalogue comes from the family library of James Watt (1736-1819) the engineer and includes a note in Watt's hand preceding the supplement for 1815.
The library was established in 1783 when a number of gentlemen organized a library 'to save themselves the expence of purchasing many books, and to avert the fatal effects which are sometimes occasioned by circulating libraries'. What these 'fatal effects' were is a moot point, but the subscription libraries, were, in contrast to the circulating libraries, organized on a not-for-profit basis.
Watt, born in Greenock and educated at the Grammar School there, lived in the town until he was 18, when he left to go to Glasgow (and later London) to to become an apprentice to a mathematical instrument maker. In spite of the fact that he lived and worked in Birmingham from 1773, Watt retained his links with the west of Scotland throughout his life, with frequent holidays in Glasgow and Greenock as well as overseeing a new harbour in his home town.
After he retired from his firm Boulton & Watt in 1800, he continued to demonstrate his interest in Greenock, mainly as a subscriber to the library. In 1816 he gave the library the princely sume of £100 'to fom the beginning of a scientific library, for the instruction of the youth of Greenock' . By 1818, when Watt was on the 'Committee of the Greenock Library of Arts and Sciences' there were three parts to the library - arts and sciences, foreign books (from 1807 - mainly French) and the general library. In the 1812 supplementary catalogue, there is even a list of books in the juvenile library. In addition to the subscribers, scholars in the Mathematical school and 'any other respectable inhabitant' of Greenock could have access to the books relating to the 'arts and sciences'.
Catalogues also on microfilm at Mf.51(7)|
|Reference Sources||Kaufman, P. 'The rise of community libraries in Scotland', p.254 in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America vol.59, 1965.
Kelso, William. The James Watt story. Greenock, 1997.
|Title||The case of the Bishop of Ross, resident of the Queen of Scots, who was seized and committed to the Tower by Queen Elizabeth, for traiterous practices, and endevouring to raise a rebellion against her.|
|Imprint||London: Printed for Edward Symon...sold by J. Roberts...|
|Date of Publication||1717|
|Notes||A rare work attempting to construct a case against Count Karl Gyllenborg’s treasonable communications with Jacobites, by drawing on the case of John Leslie, Bishop of Ross’s support for Mary Queen of Scots' right of succession to the throne of England. The text revolves around the retelling of the events of 1584 with emphasis on pinpointing a legal parallel between the two cases of treason. Gyllenborg was imprisoned until the threatened rebellion blew over, more as a guaranteed safe custody or protection than as a punishment.|