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 834 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 16 to 30 of 834:

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Author[Anon]
TitleThe story of the blue bird.
ImprintEdinburgh : Oliver & Boyd
Date of Publication1840?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the only recorded copy of a chapbook style children's book published by Oliver & Boyd of Edinburgh, "embellished with neat wood cuts". The text is based on a fairy tale ("L'oiseau bleu") by the French author Madam d'Aulnoy (1650 or 51-1705), who is regarded as the originator of the term 'fairy tales'.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.43
Acquired on10/06/16
Author[Anon]
TitleHouse games for rainy days
ImprintGlasgow: James Gibb & Co.
Date of Publication1860?
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded collection of 12 household games for all ages, which show how in the middle of the 19th century entertainment was of a very homespun nature. Two of the games 'Blind man's buff' and 'Charades' were still popular throughout the 20th century. The games described are: 'Hunt the slipper', 'The feather', 'Pinch without laughing', 'The clairvoyant behind the screen', 'The advice gratis lottery', 'The mousetrap', 'Blind man's buff', 'The knight of the whistle', 'Charades', 'Historical puzzles', 'Conundrums', 'Quibbles'. Three of the games ('Charades', 'Conundrums' and 'Quibbles') have answers provided at the end. The work was published by the Glasgow firm James Gibb & Co. which went bankrupt in 1867.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.42
Acquired on10/06/16
AuthorEdmund Gibson & David Hume
TitleLettere di Edmund Gibson + Vita di David Hume scritta da lui stesso + Saggio in risposta a Mr. Hume circa i miracoli di Gulielmo Adams.
ImprintVenice: Andrea Santini
Date of Publication1804-1806
LanguageItalian
NotesThis volume contains two further additions to the Library's extensive collection of books relating to David Hume the philosopher and former Keeper of the Advocates Library. These are two Italian translations by the Italian cleric Pietro Antoniutti: David Hume's celebrated short autobiography, first published in English in 1777; and English cleric William Adams's "Essay in answer to Mr. Hume's Essay on miracles", which was his response to Hume's attack on the reasonableness of belief in miracles. Both works are bound in with another Italian translation of another English-language work: Edmund Gibson's "Pastoral letters". Antoniutti had previously translated William Robertson?s "History of Scotland" in 1784 and would go on to translate Hume's "History of England" (1818-1820), as well as around 40 other English-language texts.
ShelfmarkRB.m.764(1-3)
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on10/06/16
AuthorJohn Scott
TitleA bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Darien Company.
ImprintEdinburgh: privately printed
Date of Publication1903 & 1906
LanguageEnglish
NotesOriginally published as part of vol. 6 of the series Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society (1901-1904), under the title "A bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Scottish company, commonly called the Darien Company", this is the catalogue originally compiled by John Scott (1830-1903), former President of the EBS, of his collection of books relating to the Darien Company. Scott was a well-known engineer and shipbuilder, who, with his brother, ran the family firm of Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. in Greenock. Only 20 copies of the catalogue were printed, the catalogue being prefaced by EBS secretary George Pyper Johnston's encomium of John Scott. Johnston revised the catalogue and made additions and corrections to it. The publication contains two title pages reflecting the fact that it was printed in two stages: pp. [1]-54, printed in 1904, containing Scott's original bibliography, and pp. 54-75, containing Johnston's additions and corrections, printed in 1906. The first one, dated 1904, reads "Revised by George P. Johnston", and is usually found at the front of the work. The second title-page has two publication dates in the imprint, 1904 and 1906, and reads "With additions and corrections by George P. Johnston", and is usually found between pages 54 and 55; in this copy it has been bound at the front of the work. The original paper wrapper, not present in this copy, is printed as the 1904 title page. This particular copy, no. 11 of 20, has the signature on the recto of the front free endpaper of "Alasdair Mac Gillemhoire a“ Bea`rnaraidh na Hearadh" (Alasdair Morrison).
ShelfmarkRB.m.761
Acquired on03/06/16
AuthorWalter Scott
TitleWaverley, o Ahora Sesenta Anos, Novela Historica por Sir Gualterio Scott.
ImprintMejico [Mexico City]: Galvan a cargo de Mariano Arevalo
Date of Publication1833
LanguageSpanish
NotesThis is the rare three-volume first Spanish translation of Scott's ground-breaking historical novel Waverley, no other copies being recorded as held in Europe. The place of publication, Mexico, is unusual and is explained by the fact that the translation is by the famous Cuban poet Jose Marķa Heredia (1803-1839), then living in exile in the country. As a young man Heredia had been arrested by the Spanish authorities in Cuba for taking part in pro-independence activities and was banished from the island for life. He spent some time in the USA before moving to Mexico, where he became a naturalised citizen, working as an editor and translator. Heredia is regarded as first true Romantic poet in the Hispanic World and his combination of linguistic skills and literary talent made him an ideal person to translate Scott?s work.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2923
Acquired on27/05/16
AuthorBlind Hary
TitleThe acts and deeds of the most famous and valiant champion Sir William Wallace, Knight of Ellerslie.
ImprintEdinburgh : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1648 [1758]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis copy of an 18th-century printed edition of Blind Har(r)y's famous poem of William Wallace contains an apparently unique survival of a variant title page for an edition actually published in 1758. The 1758 edition, some copies of which were apparently issued without a title page, does not give any indication of the bookseller or printer. The most likely explanation of this, as is indicated in a manuscript note in one of the Library copies of the 1758 edition, is that sheets were actually printed in Edinburgh by Robert Freebairn, the former King's Printer, over 40 years previously in 1714 or 1715. Freebairn chose to join the failed Jacobite uprising in Scotland in 1715, acting as the printer for the 'Old Pretender' in Perth. One consequence of this decision was that the sheets for his printing of Blind Harry's poem were impounded in a warehouse until 1758 when they were finally bound up and sold, either without title page or with an imprint bearing the date 1758 (there are also two copies recorded with an imprint date of 1757). This particular copy is a further variant, with the imprint date printed as 'MDCXLVIII' (1648). There was indeed a 1648 printing of the Blind Harry's poem in Edinburgh by Gideon Lithgow, but in a different format. The only explanation for this date is an error on the printer's part. A previous owner has tried to erase the offending 'X' from the imprint date, perhaps intending to write in a 'C' in its place, but seems to have given up quite quickly with the result that the false date is still clearly visible.
ShelfmarkAB.2.216.11
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/05/16
AuthorWilliam Morris
TitleThe well at the world's end.
ImprintHammersmith: Kelmscott Press
Date of Publication1896
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Morris's fantasy novel the "Well at the World's End" was one of the last works to be printed at the Kelmscott Press in the year of Morris's death in 1896. It is thought to be one of the first examples of an entirely fictional fantasy world, and greatly influenced later fantasy writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The book follows the travels of Ralph, a prince of a tiny country, as he disobeys his father's wishes and runs away from home to adventure in the world, and seek out the fabled Well at World's End, said to grant eternal youth to those who drink from it. The book was christened by Morris as 'the Interminable' as it was in production from 1892-96, longer than any other Kelmscott Press title, which was mainly due to Morris being dissatisfied with the woodcut illustrations produced by Arthur Gaskin and turning instead to his trusted collaborator Edward Burne-Jones to do the illustrations. Limited to 350 copies on paper this particular copy is in its original vellum binding and is in near mint condition. It was formerly in the Library of Appleby Castle, Westmorland (Cumbria)
ShelfmarkKP.70
Acquired on20/05/16
AuthorKendall, E. G.
TitleCosmopolitan System of Dresscutting.
ImprintLondon : Cosmopolitan Dresscutting Association, 65A, Oxford Street
Date of Publication1893
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a complete kit for home tailoring and dress cutting which includes the printed step-by-step instructions and five cardboard cut-out tools: the main chart, sleeve chart, child's sleeve, collar chart, and the "Cosmopolitan scale" used for measuring purposes. The kit is especially interesting for its provenance. The verso of the cardboard tools have the manuscript inscription "Miss Ireland" with the "sleeve chart" having "Miss Ireland 143 Constitution St. Leith". The 1889-90 Post Office Edinburgh and Leith Directory records a W[illia]m Ireland living at 143 Constitution Street Leith and a Miss Ireland, dressmaker at 41 Lothian Road Edinburgh. The 1899-1900 Post Office Edinburgh and Leith Directory records Misses M. & E. Ireland. milliners and dressmakers at 1 Great Wellington Street, Miss E. Ireland, milliner at 165 Leith Walk and Miss Ireland, dressmaker, at 41 Lothian Road, Edinburgh. The kit is accompanied by a carrying folder with the ownership label of the "Rodmure Dresscutting Association, 153 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Madame Levine, Manageress". The Rodmure School of Dresscutting was founded by Joseph Fox (1851-1933) who was credited with introducing the method of individual pattern-cutting to the city and in training many Glasgow seamstresses at his school. The Rodmure System incorporated a "scientific" sizing and cutting apparatus based on a system of radial punch holes and proportion. As the Cosmopolitan System of Dresscutting also incorporates complex measuring tools with punch holes one wonders whether Fox was adapting ideas from elsewhere. Fox's daughter Rhoda Levine was the school's manageress. She had a sister named Muriel, who trained as a Milliner in Paris before returning to Glasgow to open a dress shop near The Rodmure school. Although cutting systems like the Cosmopolitan and Rodmure systems were popular and seen as a solution to the technical problems created by the complex cut and fit of stylish women's clothing, they were criticized for not always equipping students with the skills of a true tailor. As the instruction booklets and accompanying tools for these systems were extremely complex, there was a lucrative market for schools of instruction on their correct application.
ShelfmarkAB.11.216.03
Acquired on16/05/16
AuthorT.J.
TitleDomestic, literary and village sketches.
Imprint[London: W. Nicol]
Date of Publication[1823]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first edition of a whimsical collection of notes on literary travels in Scotland, and local pastimes in Sussex. Poetry is included and there are digressions on painting, sculpture, and landscape gardening. The lithographs are claimed by the anonymous author as his/her own work and show a high degree of draughtsmanship. The work includes a separately-paginated section on "Ossian's Hall" containing extracts from Ossian's poems with "cursory observations" and a coloured plate depicting an imaginary Ossian's hall, probably based on the Ossian's Hall (formerly known as the Hermitage), built in the 18th-century near Dunkeld, which became a popular tourist attraction.
ShelfmarkAB.3.216.03
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on13/05/16
AuthorAndrew Aird
TitleAutobiography.
ImprintGlasgow: [A. Aird]
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a privately printed autobiography of the Glasgow master printer Andrew Aird (1819-1899), printed in the year of his death and presumably for distribution to family and friends. In the brief "Autobiography" Aird gives information on his humble origins, on his beginnings in the fields of printing and literary production, with sections on his times as apprentice and as journeyman, and he writes on the books he authored, such as "Letterpress printing in Glasgow during the last fifty years", and "Reminiscences of editors, reporters, and printers, during the last sixty years". He also discusses his much longer work "Glimpses of Old Glasgow". Several of his religious works are also detailed.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.31
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on13/05/16
AuthorAnon.
TitleThe moving market or cries of London.
ImprintEdinburgh: G. Ross
Date of Publication1815
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded Scottish printing a popular London chapbook/children's book "Cries of various city tradespeople". It features 25 woodcut illustrations of various kinds of street vendors with the cries they made when selling their wares. This printing is for Ross's juvenile library", the work was also printed in Glasgow by James Lumsden.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.28
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on13/05/16
AuthorArthur Sinclair
TitleHow I lost my wattie, or, Life in Ceylon: and the coffee-planting experience of an auld Scotchman.
ImprintColombo: A. M. & J. Ferguson
Date of Publication1878
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare example of printing in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) written in Scots by an "auld Scotchman", namely Arthur Sinclair (b. 1832. No other copies have been traced in the UK. Arthur Sinclair appears to have a had long and varied career working on tea and coffee plantations in Ceylon, the West Indies and South America, as well researching botany for commercial purposes. The "Melbourne Argus" newspaper for 28 March 1893 records Sinclair "paying a flying visit to Australasia in order to prime himself on the spot with the latest information as to the suitability of coloured labour for plantation work in a tropical climate." Sinclair spoke in Melbourne of his attempt to establish a colony in a remote area of Peru in 1891. In another work published in Colombo in 1900 "Planter and visiting agent in Ceylon", he reveals that he came from humble origins in Aberdeenshire with his parents being descended "from an old Jacobite stock," and that he was a prodigious reader from an early age. Sinclair is probably best known for his work "In tropical lands: recent travels to the sources of the Amazon, the West Indian Islands, and Ceylon" (Aberdeen, 1895). The author Iain Sinclair, in his 2002 work "London Orbital", revealed that Arthur Sinclair was his great-grandfather.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.29
Acquired on13/05/16
AuthorWilliam Keith
TitleCase of lodgment, for four months of the breeching of a fowling-piece in the face.
ImprintAberdeen: Printed by G. Cornwall & Sons
Date of Publication1858
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a case study of James Scott, a 19-year-old draper's apprentice, whose gun exploded while he was shooting, resulting in a large piece of metal from the gun penetrating his face, destroying his left eyeball and smashing his nasal bones. After some very basic medical treatment, he consulted the author of this study, William Keith (1802 or 1803-1871), senior surgeon at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who was able to extract the metal from Scott's skull and repair much of the damage to his face, including fitting an artificial eyeball. Keith first published his case study as an article in the "Medical Times & Gazette" for October 1858, but then republished it as a pamphlet, this time with two albumen print photographs of the unfortunate Scott, one taken before the operation and the other after, to show the efficacy of his surgical work.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.34
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
AuthorClaude-Francois-Xavier Mercier de Compiegne
TitleHistoire de Marie Stuart, reine de France et d'Ecosse. Nouvelle edition.
ImprintParis: Mercier
Date of Publication1795
LanguageFrench
NotesA rare edition of a French biography of Mary Queen of Scots, the author Mercier de Compiegne (1763-1800) originally published the work in 1793 with the longer and somewhat racier title "La vie, les amours, le proces, et la mort de Marie Stuart, reine de France et d'Ecosse". This later edition was divided into two parts and with two plates depicting scenes from Mary's life rather the portrait of her in the earlier edition. The source material of this work appears to have been Nicolas Caussin's (1583-1651) work "La cour saincte" although there may have been other sources used as well.
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.24
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
AuthorJames Connolly
TitleErin's hope. The end and the means.
ImprintRutherglen: P. Walsh
Date of Publication[1900?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis was the first separate publication of the Irish socialist and revolutionary James Connolly (1868-1916), who was born and brought up in Edinburgh. "Erin's hope" was first published in 1896 in Dublin by the Irish Socialist Republican party, which Connolly had founded that year after moving to Ireland. The pamphlet was Connolly's first major attempt to express in print his views on the Irish question and the future of socialism. The work was republished in serial form in the "Worker's Republic", and the text reprinted several times in the USA. This cheap (2d.) Scottish printing was done by Patrick Walsh, who was working in Rutherglen, a town in South Lanarkshire, in the 1890s and early 1900s and who appears to have specialised in selling and publishing cheap reprints of pro-socialist, Irish texts. A surviving letter of his of 1911 to the famous naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, asks permission to reprint Wallace's work "Land nationalisation" for its account of the Highland clearances and Irish land evictions. Walsh reveals that he has been selling socialist literature for the last 18 years.
ShelfmarkAP.2.216.20
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
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     52     53     54     55     56