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.

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 rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 151 to 165 of 763:

Ordered by author
Order by title | Order by date acquired
Title[Greenock Library catalogues].
Imprintvaries
Date of Publication[1808-1820]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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)
ShelfmarkRB.s.2283(1-8)
Reference SourcesKaufman, P. 'The rise of community libraries in Scotland', p.254 in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America vol.59, 1965. HP1.201.1250 Kelso, William. The James Watt story. Greenock, 1997. HP2.98.585
Acquired on07/05/03
Title[The last words of James, El. Of Derwentwater]
Imprint[Sl.l, s.n.]
Date of Publication[1716]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.case.1(15)
Reference SourcesKemp, Hilary. Jacobite rebellion. (London, 1975) H3.76.379 Sharp, Richard. The engraved record of the Jacobite movement. Scolar Press, 1996. H4.97.202
Acquired on12/05/03
Title[211 nineteenth century pamphlets on education]
ImprintVarious
Date of Publication19th century
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of 12 bound volumes containing 211 nineteenth century pamphlets on topics related to education. They were at one time in the library of the Educational Institute of Scotland. The Educational Institute of Scotland was founded in 1847 and is the oldest teaching union in the world. Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the EIS and among the powers conferred was the power to award a degree of Fellow of the Institute. The EIS remains the only trade union that awards degrees. Liverpool and Scotland feature strongly in the collection and there are also items from the United States, Wales and other parts of England. Items produced by the pupils on their press in an Edinburgh disabled pupils school are particularly interesting. Important authors represented include William Godwin and Thomas Chalmers among others.
ShelfmarkAB.3.206.002-013
Acquired on21/02/06
TitlePsalterium Sancti Ruperti (Vollstandige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Manuale)
ImprintGraz, Austria : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt
Date of Publication[2007]
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a facsimile of the miniature codex 'Psalterium Sancti Ruperti' from the library foundation of St. Peter in Salzburg. The pages measure only 37 x 31 mm in size and the Carolingian minuscule is easily legibile in spite of a font size of 1.5mm and a maximal line-spacing of only 1.2mm The original Psalterium was most likely written in the third-quarter of the 9th century in north-eastern France. All 117 folios of the facsimile are according to the original border cuttings. The binding closely follows the details of the original and feature front and back book covers out of wood, two authentic, bicoloured trusses and a hand-stitched headband with exposed book spine.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2677
Acquired on28/08/07
TitleThe Glasgow Advertiser v. XV, no. 1151-1255
ImprintGlasgow: J. Mennons
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Glasgow Advertiser" started life as the "Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer" in 1783, becoming the plain "Advertiser" in 1794. The newspaper then became "The Glasgow Herald" in 1805, which in turn was renamed "The Herald" in 1992, making it one of the world's oldest continuously-published English-language newspapers. In 1797 the newspaper was published bi-weekly and was priced at 4d. Each issue consisted of eight pages, two of which were devoted to adverts, the rest was a mixture of domestic, British and European news. The content of these issues are heavily influenced by the ongoing war with France. Early issues of "The Glasgow Advertiser" are very rare, so this volume containing c. 100 issues is a welcome addition to the NLS' holdings of early newspapers.
ShelfmarkRB.m.681
Acquired on21/11/08
TitleMair Macjigger
ImprintGlasgow: Gowans & Gray ; London: R. Brimley Johnson
Date of Publication1903
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a short work of fiction in which the character Sherlock Holmes travels to Edinburgh and Portobello to hunt for Mair Macjigger. The front cover features an illustration of a sullen cigarette-smoking youth in a tam o'shanter. The front cover of this book states that this is the third edition completing 20,000 copies. Inside are dates for the first three editions, all dated within 12 days of each other in August 1903. No Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle websites appear to mention this book.
ShelfmarkFB.s.946
Acquired on18/09/08
TitleThe Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, no. 3182-3337
ImprintAberdeen: J. Chalmers & Co.
Date of Publication1809-1811
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland" began in 1797 as a continuation of the "Aberdeen Journal". It was published weekly and was priced at 6d for a four-page issue. This volume contains c. 150 issues of the newspaper, covering a critical period in the Napoleonic Wars. The newspaper was published until 1876, when it was continued by the "Aberdeen Weekly Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland".
ShelfmarkRB.l.249
Acquired on21/11/08
TitleA new version of the Psalms of David , fitted to the tunes used in churches.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed for William Gordon
Date of Publication1761
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis Edinburgh edition of the Psalms has been acquired because of the rarity of the edition, the sumptuous nature of the herrringbone binding and its provenance. Only one other copy - at Aberdeen University Library - is recorded. It appears to have been bound for Margaret, Countess of Dumfries, who married the 6th Earl of Dumfries in 1771; 'M. Dumfries' is inscribed in cut-out letters at the head of the title page. It was later owned by the Countess's grandson, Lord James Stuart, younger brother of the second Marquess of Bute and M.P. for Cardiff during the early 19th century. The binding, which retains the brightness of the original crimson morocco, is tooled in gilt. There are two sets of endpapers - one the original Dutch gilt and pasted onto them, 19th century marbled papers. William Gordon, who is named in the imprint, worked as a bookseller in Edinburgh from the 1750s until the 1780s. He also had the distinction of being sued on at least two occasions by other booksellers for selling pirated editions of other works.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.927
Reference SourcesESTC; Scottish Book Trade Index
Acquired on24/09/07
TitleRepresentation of the high-landers, who arrived at the camp of the confederated army, not far off the city of Mayence the 13th of August 1743.
ImprintNorimberga: Excudit Christoph: Weigely Vidua.
Date of Publication1743
LanguageEnglish / German / French
NotesThis is an important acquisition for several reasons. It consists of an engraved title-page and five leaves of plates with engravings of highland soldiers in various supposedly characteristic postures. The plates are signed ''V. G. del', which is believed to be John or Gerard van der Gucht. These brothers, both artists, were working in London in 1743, when the Black Watch regiment was sent to the English capital. At this date (two years before the 1745 Jacobite rebellion), highland dress and manners were unfamiliar to many southerners. Various prints were made of the Black Watch troops. In 1743, Britain was involved in the War of the Austrian Succession. The Black Watch, who had been told that they were simply going to London to see the King, realised that they might be sent to Flanders. A mutiny took place in May 1743 and a number of soldiers tried to return to Scotland. Three were eventually executed, causing much resentment and possibly contributing to the strength of the Jacobite rebellion. The regiment was indeed sent to Flanders where they distinguished themselves at the battle of Fontenoy. The Black Watch were the first kilted troops to be seen on the continent, and the interest created probably explains why this publication of plates based on the van der Gucht drawings is trilingual and printed in Nuremberg. (The English is rather unorthodox). These plates were the basis for several other publications, such as the plates engraved by John Sebastian Muller. This copy comes from the Library of the 17th Earl of Perth (lot 201 at the auction on 20 November 2003 by Christie's).
ShelfmarkRB.l.136
Reference SourcesEric and Andro Linklater, 'The Black Watch', 1977 John Telfer Dunbar, 'History of Highland Dress', 1979 Colas, 'Bibliographie generale du costume', 1933, 2543 Lipperheide, 'Kostumbibliothek', 1963, 2262
Acquired on22/04/04
Author-
TitleHow true Christiane liberfie [sic] consisteth in the true service of God, and not to doe what each one listeth, as our carnall gospellers wold have it so be. [with:] A treatise shewing how the sarifice [sic] of the Holy Masse the worthie receiving of Christs bodie in the holy Sacrment [sic] the power to remite sinnes giuen to Churchmen, the praying to Saints halpe all good Chrsitians to Saluation aginst the Co[m]mon dotrine of the Proaestants [sic], which affirne that all the faithfull are Saued by only faith in the blood of Christ with a probation of purgatorie and holy images. A Rouen. Prentet in the Prent Hous of Marin Michel. 1614.
ImprintA Rouen, prentet in the Prent Hous of Marin Michel.
Date of Publication1614
LanguageEnglish / Scots
NotesThese are two extremely rare works bound in one volume which provide evidence about the continuing life of the Scottish Catholic community, fifty years after the Reformation had been legally established in this country. The first work is only known from this copy, and so it seems appropriate to give a description of its contents here. The text is divided into two parts. The first section presents the Catholic interpretation of 'true Christian liberty'; how the merits of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, obtained through receiving the sacraments, allow believers to be freed from subjection to sin and the Devil, and to live a life of charity and good works. The second section describes the Protestant understanding of Christian liberty in critical terms. Protestants, the writer argues, believe their liberty consists in not having to obey the law of God, because they have faith instead. The writer argues that Protestants consider that they can live as wickedly as they like and still expect to receive eternal salvation. They have disregard for the laws of civil society as well as for the laws of God. The writer cites the writings of Luther and Calvin to support his points. Ultimately, he claims, the Protestant's 'liberty' is slavery to Satan. He goes on to give some amusing (if improbable!) examples of Protestant liberty in action. He gives the example of a young woman asking her Protestant minister 'yf she with saue conscience might play the wanton', and the minister being obliged to reply that 'she may passe hir time with any young man she liketh best prouiding she doe the tourne quyetly without slaunder, because she is not bound in conscience to keepe the commandement of God where it is said: Thou shalt not commit adulterie, by reason of the libertie of the their Gospell'. The work ends with a sadly incomplete copy of a poem, supposedly from Martin Luther to Katherine Bora, the ex-nun whom he married. It includes the lines 'A whit I doe not caire of heauen or hell / Prouydiing in thy fauour I may duell'. The text is available in facsimile published by the Scolar Press (Ser.49.207). The second work is known from one other copy, at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. It is a calmer defence of various points of Catholic doctrine, particularly the Mass, the sacraments, prayers to the saints, purgatory and holy images. The two works may well have been issued together. They are both in octavo gathered in fours, from the press of the Rouen printer Marin Michel. They are two of only three works in English / Scots produced by this press (see STC vol. III p. 254). The other work was published the following year: this is A shorte declaration of the lives and doctrinde [sic] of the Protestants and puritans, STC 20451, known in three copies only (British Library, Edinburgh University and Folger, and available on Early English Books Online (EEBO)). This work accuses the Protestant leaders of various immoralities. In particular, John Knox is arraigned for committing 'horrible incest' and using necromancy to seduce a noble lady. The writer makes it clear that he is Scottish, describing how he was told about Knox's life by a lady in Edinburgh. Other fantastic tales of Scottish ministers follow. There can be little doubt that all three works were written or compiled by the same Scottish Catholic writer. There are numerous distinctively Scottish spellings such as 'pairte', 'Magistrat', 'prent'. The only other clue to the author's identity is the initials 'I.P.' which sign the prefatory address to the second work. English recusant works printed on the Continent are fairly well-known and documented; the much smaller number of works with a Scottish connection is much less-well studied. Like other recusant publications, these texts contain interesting ideas, but the extravagant abuse levelled at the Protestants seems unlikely to have won them many converts. It is interesting to note that in the year of publication, 1614, the Jesuit John Ogilvie (eventually canonised) was carrying out his missionary work in Scotland, leading up to his martyrdom in 1615. This volume has recently been dispersed from the library of Prinknash Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Gloucestershire, England. It has different Prinknash bookplates inside the front and rear boards. It is bound in contemporary limp vellum, with a gilt flower ornament stamped in the centre of each cover. The volume is imperfect. It is stained throughout, most notably obscuring the text on the first title page. The first work has damage to leaf F3 and lacks leaf F4, which would have completed the poem mentioned above; the second work has some text missing on D2, E1 and K3, and is apparently missing a blank leaf at the end - the text ends with 'Finis' and an apologie for the printer's mistakes, and so is presumably complete. The printing throughout is poor, and suggests that the compositor was not familiar with the English or Scots languages. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable survival and an important addition to the national collections.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2662(1-2)
Reference SourcesSTC 5161.5; 19072.3; ESTC S91420; S94574. Allison & Rogers, English Counter-Reformation, II 916 and 584
Acquired on20/04/07
Author(Colbert), Hamilton, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton
TitleCatalogue des objects d'art & de curiosite au Palais d'Hamilton
Date of Publication1838
LanguageFrench
NotesA catalogue that never was. This is a quite remarkable curiosity that started life in France towards the end of the 17th Century, was bought in the early 18th Century by the 10th Duke of Hamilton and has now been purchased by the National Library of Scotland. Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) was Louis XIV's principal minister, an acknowledged financial wizard and an ardent book collector. At some date late in his career, he had made up for himself a volume of some 300 folio sheets of blank paper, watermarked with his own arms and bound in a striking red morocco armorial binding, showing a version of the Colbert arms. It is not clear what Colbert intended to do with this handsome volume but it is likely that he saw it as a manuscript catalogue of his extensive book collection. If that was the intention, then it never happened, for when Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton and 7th Duke of Brandon purchased it sometime in the early decades of the 19th Century it was blank throughout. The 10th Duke was a committed Francophile and renewed a dormant family claim to the Dukedom of Chatelherault in the French peerage. His intention for the volume seems clear since there is a manuscript title leaf in pen and ink 'Catalogue des objects d'art & de curiosite au Palais d'Hamilton 1838' and there are manuscript headings for various rooms of the Palace such as 'Salle Appartenante a La Bibliotheque' and 'Bibliotheque' and 'Chambre de Toilette de Madame La Duchesse'. However these headings end half way through the volume as the Duke, like Colbert before him, grew bored or forgot this fine volume. The binding is late 17th Century full red morocco, gilt-panelled, with the arms of Jean Baptist Colbert in the centre panels of the upper and lower boards, surrounded by the collar s of the order of Saint-Michel and of the Saint-Esprit, and with coroneted monograms incorporating the letters JBC both at each of the central panels and in each of the seven compartments of the spine. From the library of the Dukes of Hamilton with the Hamilton's 19th Century armorial bookplate on the front pastedown.
ShelfmarkBdg.l.42
Acquired on22/12/00
Author[Anderson, Alan]
Title[Collection of c. 230 items printed by Alan Anderson at the Tragara Press]
Imprint[Edinburgh & Loanhead; Tragara Press]
Date of Publication1962-2009
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of c. 230 letterpress items printed by Alan Anderson's Tragara Press between 1962 and 2009. The Tragara Press was founded in Edinburgh the early 1950s by Alan Anderson (1922 - ), the press taking its name from the famous Punta Tragara hotel on the Italian island of Capri, a favourite holiday destination for him. It is Scotland's longest-running, and, in terms of output, most prolific private press. Alan Anderson studied printing at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1950s, and the first book with a Tragara Press imprint appeared in 1954. However, he worked mainly as a bookseller until the 1970s before devoting himself full-time to printing and publishing. In 1986 Anderson moved to Loanhead in Midlothian and is now based in Beauly, Inverness-shire. According to the most recent bibliography of the Tragara Press by Steven Halliwell, published in 2004, between 1954 and 1991 he printed and published himself c. 150 items. These items were usually small octavo pamphlets with the print runs of 100-200 numbered copies, printed from 1969 onwards on an 'Arab' treadle platen press, although some of them have smaller print runs. Anderson's aim has been to produce good quality, appropriate printing of selected texts (he has particular interest in Norman Douglas, Oscar Wilde, John Gray, Baron Corvo and other writers of the 1890s/early 20th-century) at affordable prices. His printing is characterised by its emphasis on typography rather than illustration and by its elegant, austere design; his books are now collectors' items among bibliophiles. He has also produced a substantial body of work from the 1950s onwards, usually contemporary poetry, which has been privately commissioned by other presses and by friends. From 1991 onwards his printing has been exclusively for other publishers, with the exception of his 2004 anthology of poems "Blue Remembered Hills". The Library has collected Tragara Press items for several years and held an exhibition of the Press's work in 2005. This collection supplements NLS's existing holdings of Tragara Press material by adding examples of work printed for other presses, such as Alan Clodd's Enitharmon Press and David Tibet's Durtro Press; it also includes examples of very rare printed ephemera, proof copies and variant printings on different papers, enabling one to trace the different stages in the printing of the individual publications.
ShelfmarkTrag.C
Reference SourcesS. Halliwell, "Fifty years of hand-printing: a bibliography of the Tragara Press", High Wycombe, 2005.
Acquired on12/11/10
Author[Andrew Bennett]
TitleThe book of St Andrews Links
ImprintSt Andrews: J.& G. Innes
Date of Publication1898
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare early book on golf, printed in St Andrews, which the author describes as the 'mecca of golf'. The author, not named in the publication, was Andrew Bennett, (1871-1958), who would later serve as Secretary of St Andrews University and who, in addition to his interest in golf, was a keen amateur poet and artist. The book contains the rules and regulations of the game, information on the Old and New courses in St Andrews (including a colour map showing their location) and a selection of golfing rhymes. Only 1,000 copies of this edition were printed.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2724
Reference SourcesDonovan & Murdoch, "The game of golf and the printed word, 1566-1985 : a bibliography of golf literature in the English language " (Endicott, NY, 1988)no. 690 JSF Murdoch "The Murdoch golf library" (Droitwich, 1991)no. 57
Acquired on05/09/08
Author[Anon.]
TitleA geographical history of Nova Scotia
ImprintLondon: Paul Vaillant
Date of Publication1749
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the earliest printed accounts of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which describes the rival claims of the French and British to the region. Writing for prospective settlers, the anonymous author in the preface says he has drawn on his own observations and those of the French Jesuit priest turned historian Pierre Charlevoix when writing his book. He stresses the importance of Nova Scotia to British trade and the security of the other British North American settlements in view of increasing tensions with French settlers (which eventually led to war). The book also includes descriptions of the Indians living in the area and their relations with the European settlers.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2704
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on11/04/08
Author[Anon.]
TitleScotch gallantry display'd: or the life and adventures of the unparralel'd [sic] Col. Fr-nc-s Ch-rt-s, impartially related. With some remarks on other writers on this subject.
Imprint London: printed for, and sold by the booksellers in town and country,
Date of Publication1730
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare first edition of a pamphlet which gives an account of the life of the infamous Francis Charteris (c.1665­-1732), gambler and rake, who was born in Edinburgh, and whose family were major landowners in Scotland. The work was published at the height of his notoriety; in December 1729 Charteris was charged with the attempted rape of Ann Bond, one of his maidservants, who had been in his employment for only a few days. After hearing testimony from the girl herself, as well as from fellow servants, Charteris was found guilty and in February 1730 was sentenced to death by hanging. It was unusual at the time for a gentleman to be punished for what many contemporaries considered an act of gallantry, and his conviction may have been secured by influential parties hostile to Charteris. The rape, however, was just one such in a long career of gambling, extortion, and serial seduction, usually of tall young lower class girls (Charteris was 6 feet tall), recently arrived in London, ensnared by one of his employees and brought to his houses in the West End. If unable to secure their favours by fair means, he would resort to force. Charteris, however, escaped the gallows. On the advice of judges, privy council, and his advocate, Duncan Forbes (another legatee of Charteris's will), George II granted him a full pardon on 10 April. The trial and its aftermath had incurred expenses amounting to £15,000, but Charteris's personal fortune was estimated at £200,000 so this was a sum he could well afford. He may have bought his freedom, but for the rest of his life Charteris was vilified, and was once physically attacked in his coach. He left London for good in 1730, retiring to his property in Lancashire before returning to Scotland in February 1732. He died the following month at his Stony Hill estate near Musselburgh, after using "Opiates in great Quantities" (The Country Journal, 4 March 1732. At his burial in the family vault at the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh, the populace gave a "loud Huzza" (Fog's Weekly Journal, 11 March 1732). Only one copy (in the British Library) is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2755
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/09
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49     50     51