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 763 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 136 to 150 of 763:

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TitleNotes 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.
ImprintEdinburgh: W. Cheyne
Date of Publication1744
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2708
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; Oxford DNB entry for Henry Scougal
Acquired on21/02/08
TitlePennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser
ImprintPhiladelphia: John Dunlap,
Date of Publication1787-88
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.l.281
Reference SourcesEgerer, 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
Acquired on24/08/12
TitleA catalogue of foreign and native forest-trees; also fruit trees, evergreens, flowering shrubs & sold by Robert Anderson, seedsman and nurseryman ... Edinburgh. AND A catalogue of foreign and native forest-trees, flowering shrubs, evergreens, flowering shrubs and greenhouse plants & sold by Archibald Dickson and Sons, & at Hassendeanburn, near Hawick
ImprintEdinburgh : R. Fleming and A. Neill; [Hawick : s.n.]
Date of Publicationc.1785; c.1795
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese slim volumes from the late 18th century are very rare examples of Scottish nurserymen's catalogues. Robert Anderson's catalogue is unrecorded whereas there are two other copies (both in the UK) of Archibald Dickson's catalogue. Robert Anderson, who later worked as Anderson, Leslie & Co., had a large nursery at Broughton Park in Edinburgh and specialised in fruit trees, especially pears. In 1798, the whole nursery stock was acquired by another Edinburgh concern, Dicksons and Shade. Unusually, the catalogue is priced. In the advertisement preceding his lengthy address on the merits of larch (introduced to Scotland in the 1720s), Anderson expresses his hope that the catalogue 'will be of great service in promoting the planting of this country, which is so much wanted at present.' The library holds another catalogue (with 44 pages) by Anderson, which may predate this one. Archibald Dickson was one of the leading nurserymen in Scotland. Members of the family also ran tree nurseries in Perth, Edinburgh and Belfast. The first was founded in 1728 by Robert Dickson and by 1835 five generations of the family had been involved in the trade. The National Library of Scotland also holds day books and price books of the firm from the 18th and 19th centuries in the Manuscript Collections (MSS.29489-29490 and MS.3354).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2701 ; RB.s.2702
Reference SourcesDesmond, Ray. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. London, 1994. Harvey, John. Early horticultural catalogues. Bath, 1973.
Acquired on17/12/07
TitleThe wanderer or surprizing escape
ImprintDublin: J. Kinnier
Date of Publication1747
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2598
Reference SourcesM. Pollard. Dictionary of members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800
Acquired on04/04/05
TitleA catalogue of books, lately imported from abroad ... which will be sold by way of auction ...
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed for David Randie
Date of Publication1726
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn extremely rare 1726 sales catalogue printed for David Randie. Randie was postmaster in the Canongate according to a manuscript annotation on the title page. The catalogue is stitched as issued, is 48 pages long, and features 755 lots which are arranged by bibliographical format. The auction took place 'in the little Plain-stone Closs opposite to the foot of Marlin's Wynd in the Cowgate' on Thursday the 13th of January 1726. The catalogue is extremely clean with leaves D3-4 partially uncut suggesting that the item was never actually consulted. The catalogue is not listed on ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2688
Acquired on18/09/07
TitleTheatre Royal, Adelphi. Unparalleled attraction!
ImprintGlasgow: Robert Donaldson, printer and lithographer
Date of Publication1844
LanguageEnglish
NotesA 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.
ShelfmarkAP.5.209.05
Acquired on18/09/08
TitleThe complete cellar-book or butler's assistant in keeping a regular account of his liquors.
ImprintEdinburgh : Printed for Thomas Veitch
Date of Publication[1842]
LanguageEnglish
NotesOne of the many duties of butlers working in large households was to keep an account of the beverages in the cellar. This is an example of a cellar book which helped butlers to maintain an adequate stock for their masters. The preface provides instruction on how to use the book. The first line contains the number of bottles of each drink at the beginning of the week, the next line the number of bottles of each drink added. Then there are separate lines for each day of the week showing what was drunk on each day. At the end of the week the butler would simply subtract the number of bottles used from the total at the beginning of the week and with the new figures proceed to the page for the following week. Unfortunately we do not know who owned the establishment in question here. This cellar book records what was drunk from August 1842 to September 1843. Port, sherry and hock were the most popular drinks. Whisky, rum and liqueurs were rarely drunk while the columns for porter, ales and 'cyder' were not added to throughout the year. There were two weeks during the year when a lot of stock was consumed  Christmas and the week of 5 March 1843. During the latter week, 2 bottles of port were drunk, 6 of sherry, 1 of madeira, 2 of claret(1819), 7 of hock, 5 of St. Julien, 2 of sherry, 1 of claret (1815) and 1 of claret (1825).
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.10
Acquired on20/02/07
TitleThe Holy Bible.
ImprintEdinburgh: Alexander Kincaid,
Date of Publication1762
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis Edinburgh Bible, which belonged to the Rev. James Oliphant, (1734-1818) is of interest for a number of reasons. Oliphant was lampooned by Robert Burns in his 1786 poem 'The ordination' for his booming voice. The Bible also contains at the front of the volume a list of the texts on which Oliphant preached, together with the dates of the sermons between 1761 and 1781. During this time he was minister at Kilmarnock and Dumbarton. Some of this information appears to have been written in a form of shorthand. Oliphant was a somewhat controversial figure during his lifetime. His adoption of a certain kind of Calvinist theology attracted the hostility of colleagues in the Church of Scotland. In 1773 his Kilmarnock opponents even hired a man to walk the streets of Dumbarton to make fun of him.
ShelfmarkRB.m.653(1)
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on25/06/07
Title1951 Exhibition of Industrial Power - Kelvin Hall, Glasgow - Festival of Britain.
Imprint[Glasgow, 1951]
Date of Publication1951
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis striking catalogue marks one of Scotland's contributions to the celebrations for the Festival of Britain. The 1951 festival marked a moment of national self-confidence as the austerity of the war years started to come to an end. As the text makes clear, this is not a commercial trade fair, but a celebration of Britain's technical and economic development, and its contribution to civilisation. However, many of the firms involved have included colourful advertisements for tools, heavy machinery, power generation and financial services. One of the most interesting features is the emphasis on the generation of electricity from renewable resources: hydro-electricity and wind power are discussed and promoted. The hope is expressed that engineers 'will be able to produce in Scotland by wind-power alone as much electricity as is being produced in the country at present by any other means'. The publication suggests an optimistic and ambitious society looking to a prosperous future: unfortunately, not all the hopes expressed in 1951 have yet been fulfilled.
ShelfmarkGSC.2007.2.10
Acquired on10/09/07
TitleL.R.B. [Lloyd Royal Belge]
ImprintGlasgow]: Maclure & Macdonald
Date of Publication[1919-1920]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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 [1920]. 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.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.107
Acquired on04/08/08
TitleThe ten little travellers.
ImprintGlasgow: John S. Marr & Sons
Date of Publicationc.1880
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a colourfully illustrated children's book published by the Glasgow firm John S. Marr & Sons in the 1880s. This company published a large variety of material including biographies, poems and song books, from the 1860s to the 1890s. The book consists of ten pages (counting inside covers), each with a full page colour lithograph by Maclure & Macdonald of Glasgow, and 8 lines of text for the traditional counting rhyme beginning 'Ten funny little travellers, took ship across to France...'. By the end of the book the ten have been reduced to none. The book is very much of its time in its portrayal of one of the travellers - a stereotypical black traveller, who invariably does all the work and ends up the last one left.
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.47
Acquired on24/09/07
Title[Seaforth Highlanders, a collection of photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera]
Date of Publication19th - 20th century
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of printed, manuscript and photographic items relating to the history and organisation of the Scottish army regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders. The regiment was formed as a result of the army reforms of 1881, when the 72nd Highlanders and 78th Highlanders were amalgamated to form the new regiment. The Seaforth Highlanders had a territorial district that included the counties of Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness, the Orkney Islands and Moray, making their recruiting area one of the largest in the British Army. In 1961 the Regiment was amalgamated with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to form "The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons)". The collection includes four photograph albums relating to the regiment, covering the period 1869-1919, as well as printed ephemera and manuscript material from the 19th and 20th centuries.
ShelfmarkPhot.el.9 ; Phot.el.10 ; Phot.la.71
Acquired on29/05/08
TitleDe Hollandsche Wysgeer.
ImprintTe Amsterdam : By Dirk onder de Linden, Bybel- en Boekverkooper, in de Kalverstraat, over de Nieuwezyds Kapel.
Date of Publication1759
LanguageDutch
NotesThis is the complete run of an unusual and rare Dutch periodical. It covers a wide variety of subjects including natural history (with hand-coloured plates), foreign literature, the latest murder cases and developments in science and technology. The translations of literature include some Scottish texts. Most significantly there are references to James Macpherson's Europe-wide success for Ossian. Volume V contains a poetic description of the climate and landscape of the Scottish Highlands which prepares the reader for the first Dutch edition of a selection of 'Oscian' in volume VI (pp. 66-69). The translator Egbert Buys is known to have compiled at least two Dutch-English dictionaries, one of which specialized in terms used in art.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2717
Acquired on21/07/08
TitleGuide to Edinburgh Air Raid Shelters.
ImprintPublished by C.J. Cousland & Sons Limited. Creative Modern Printers, 30 Queen Street., Edinburgh.
Date of Publication194-?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 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.
ShelfmarkPB1.208.91/7
Acquired on18/09/08
TitleLiving wonder! Never seen in this country before.
ImprintEdinburgh: Oliver & Boyd
Date of Publicationc.1809-1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a striking and unusual flyer advertising the exhibition of a 'great serpent or boa constrictor, alive' at Stephano Polito's menagerie, probably in Edinburgh in the early years of the 19th century. Stephano (or Stephen) Polito (1763/4-1814) was born in Italy but spent the bulk of his working life in England. He started his career by exhibiting supposedly exotic human beings at Bartolomew Fair, before establishing a menagerie of 'wild beasts' many of which had been collected from East India merchantmen. He travelled around the country showing elephants, kangaroos and rhinos. Lord Byron visited the collection at Exeter Change, London in 1813 where he remarked on a performing elephant that took off his hat. Polito travelled regularly to Scotland as well as to Ireland. It is assumed that he went to the same place in Edinburgh every year as no exact location is mentioned. Polito also claims to be the first to exhibit this species in Britain. He reassures the public by claiming that his specimen is perfectly secure and that even 'the most timorous may approach it with safety'.
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.24
Reference SourcesFrost, Thomas. The old showmen and the London fairs. London, 1874; Oxford DNB
Acquired on04/06/07
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