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 761 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 761:

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AuthorAnon.
TitleThe history of Netterville, a chance pedestrian.
ImprintLondon: J. Cundee
Date of Publication1802
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare copy of a sentimental novel set in the 1770s which relates the misadventures of the young hero Lewisham Netterville. Netterville's attempts to follow his late father's precepts and lead a virtuous life while at the same time pursuing the object of his affection, the beautiful Clara Walsingham, take him on a tour of Great Britain, from Bath to Bamborough (Bamburgh) Castle, in Northumberland, and so on to Scotland, where he visits the fictitious Clanrick Hall, Edinburgh, the hill of Moncreiff, Perth, and the islands of Mull, Staffa and Iona. The anonymous female author also includes a Scottish ballad of the her own composition, 'Ellen of Irvine; or, the Maid of Kirkonnel[sic], a ballad' (vol. II, pp. 57-65). The tragic tale of Ellen Irvine had appeared in Pennant's 'A tour in Scotland', (London 1774), and both Burns and Walter Scott wrote versions of the story. In the dedication (signed "the authoress"), the author apologises for her "untutored muse", claiming that the poetry was written at a different period. She describes this novel as "a second attempt in the region of fiction" and hopes that, given that it contains nothing immoral or irreligious, it may not fail to amuse a "candid and generous few, who condescend sometimes to stray awhile, amid the bowers of Fancy". The novel met with some praise from contemporary critics: "There is some novelty in the conduct of this novel and the characters and incidents are ingeniously varied. The plot is, perhaps, a little perplexed, but the interest, amid all the episodical interruptions which it meets with, suffers but little abatement" (The Monthly Mirror, XIII, London 1802, p. 251).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2903-2904
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/06/14
AuthorAnderson, Grace Scott & John
TitleJapan from India: letters & notes of the journey of two travellers, chiefly by one of them.
Imprint[Calcutta?: privately printed]
Date of Publication[1884]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, privately-printed account of a journey to Japan in 1884, made by the eminent Scottish zoologist, Dr John Anderson (1833-1900) and his wife, Grace (1834-1917). Anderson was at the time based in Calcutta, where he had lived for 20 years and was working as Superintendent of the Indian Museum and professor of comparative anatomy at the medical school. He had devoted his career to studying the zoology and ethnology of the Far East, having already gone on three arduous, and at times dangerous, scientific expeditions to China and Burma during his time in India. The trip to Japan was a more leisurely affair. The anonymous account printed here is a mixture of a travel journal, written by Grace Anderson, who addresses her chapters to a relative or friend called Isabella, with two additional, more scholarly, chapters written by Anderson (referred to in the text as "J.A."). The Andersons' journey started from Calcutta on March 15 with the first destination being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they met the governor (and fellow Scot), Col. Thomas Cadell. During their stay they visited the penal colony at Port Blair. After a stay in Rangoon, Burma, they moved on to Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canton (Guangzhou), Grace making frequent comparisons with the landscape she saw in the course of her travels and that of her native Scotland. In May they arrived in Japan, which was the Anderson's main destination. The majority of the book is accordingly devoted to their travels in the Japanese islands with descriptions of the scenery, wildlife, local customs, religion and food. The final chapter in the book is written by John Anderson and concerns their visit to the island of Yezo (Hokkaido) from August to October. He cites a number of other contemporary authors who had written on Japan, including Isabella Bird's 'Unbeaten tracks in Japan' (first published in 1880). Clearly inspired by Bird's travels among the indigenous Ainu people, much of this chapter is taken up with a description of the Ainu. Anderson adopts a relatively neutral tone throughout his account, but, as already described by Isabella Bird, Anderson shows that the Ainu were suffering under the direct Japanese control of the island imposed after 1869. He describes a people living in squalor, unable to practise some of their local customs, and blighted by their addiction to alcohol. Anderson was able to get a letter of introduction from an English Anglican missionary, the Rev. John Batchelor, to meet an Ainu chief Peuri who figured prominently in Bird's 'Unbeaten tracks'. Peuri would appear to have been the "Benri" described by Bird as a "superb but dissipated-looking savage". Not long after his return to Calcutta in 1886, Anderson resigned from his posts and returned to Britain, where he settled in London. He devoted the rest of his life to studying the fauna of North Africa, although for the rest of his life he was in poor health. He and his wife are buried in the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. In his obituary in the 'Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal' (1902) it is stated that he travelled with his wife to Japan after his retirement from his jobs in Calcutta, the existence of this account shows that in fact he made the journey before his retirement.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.28
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on06/06/14
AuthorWilliam Brodie, Aeneas Morison
TitleThe trial of William Brodie wright and cabinet maker in Edinburgh
ImprintEdinburgh: Charles Elliot
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first issue, in original wrappers, of Elliot's publication of Aeneas Morison's account of the trial, published on 6 September 1788, which does not have the appendix (pp. [261]-279 of subsequent issues) and the frontispiece portrait of Brodie. As indicated in William Roughead's 'Trial of William Brodie' (Glasgow, 1906 - p. 233), in the introductory paragraph to the appendix it states that the inclusion of the extra material, relating to but not actually covered in the trial itself, was the result of a misunderstanding with William Creech. Creech had included this material in his published account of the trial and Aeneas Morison felt that readers of his version of the trial should not be disadvantaged: he is of the opinion, that he intitled to put the purchasers of his account of the trial on a footing with those who have purchased Mr Creeche's [sic], by furnishing them gratis with the following Appendix (p. [261]).
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.146
Reference SourcesW. Roughead, 'The trial of William Brodie', Glasgow, 1906.
Acquired on30/05/14
AuthorWilliam Blacker
TitleW. Blacker's art of angling, and complete system of fly making and dying [sic] of colours
Imprint[London: W. Blacker]
Date of Publication1842
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis the first edition first issue of William Blacker's famous book on angling, printed in Edinburgh by Anderson and Bryce, with 38 pages. The author (1814-1857) was born in Wicklow in Ireland. He moved to London in the 1840s where he became a prominent fishing tackle dealer in Dean Street, Soho. Being an accomplished angler himself, his revolutionary methods made this book a key work in the history of fly fishing. A 48-page edition with 6 leaves of plates was also printed in London in the same year, followed by an expanded edition of 130 pages in 1843. The book was deliberately printed in a small pocket-size format so that it could be carried by anglers to the river bank. Surviving copies of the early editions are rarely identical, this particular copy for instance only has 2 plates. Blacker went on to publish in 1855 an expanded edition of the work, with the title 'Blacker's art of flymaking'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2898
Acquired on23/05/14
AuthorAnon
TitleEpistle to the deil by Holy Willie of Prussia. Second edition.
ImprintGlasgow: J. Biggar & Co.
Date of Publication[1871]
LanguageScots
NotesAnonymous satirical poem in Scots supposedly by "Holy Willie of Prussia" (German Emperor Wilhelm I)addressed to the devil "dear Nickie-ben". It refers to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which led to the defeat of France and the proclamation of King Wilhelm of Prussia as the first German emperor. The poem is written in the style of Robert Burns, and is followed by a full-page appendix "concerning Were-wolves", and a five-page glossary of Scotticisms. The author is clearly anti-Prussian as one verse runs: "Now just confess: through France I've trod O'er men, wives, weans, knee-deep, in blood; On right and justice trampl'd rough-shod, Until they're dead; And when I've blamed a' this on God, Are you no paid?" The author also gets a dig in at Thomas Carlyle, "the psalmist dour of Prussia's course", who was an admirer of German culture and who had written a history of Frederick the Great of Prussia. A contemporary manuscript note at end of poem (p.26) records one reader's dislike of the poem: "one of those thousand jingling dilettante whose jingle dies with the moment of its birth - ". No copy of this edition is recorded on COPAC, and the only other copies traced are published in London.
ShelfmarkAP.1.214.35
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorDiego de Torres Bollo
TitleDe rebus Peruanis, R di P. Dieghi de Torres, Societatis Iesu Presbyteri commentaries a Ioanne Hayo.
ImprintAntwerp: Martin Nutius
Date of Publication1604
LanguageLatin
NotesThis work is an account of Jesuit Father Diego de Torres Bollo's missionary activities in Peru. After joining the Jesuit order Torres Bollo (1550-1638) had hoped to be chosen for the China missions; instead, his superior general sent him to the fledgling mission of Peru in South America. There he eventually became the Provincial of Peru and sent out missionaries throughout the continent. Torres Bollo was also instrumental in the development of the famous 'reductiones' of Paraguay, small utopian-like communes created by the Jesuit fathers for the native peoples, but which were eventually destroyed by the Spanish colonists. The work also includes interesting details and anecdotes of the continent, such as when the volcanoes spewed out such a great quantity of ash the peoples had to walk through the cities with a lantern at noon. According to Sabin's bibliography of books relating to America it is probable that Torres Bollo wrote his account in Spanish; but the earliest recorded printed editions are in Italian, published in Milan, Venice and Rome in 1603. Subsequent Latin and German versions state that they are translations from the Italian. This Latin translation is one of several editions to be published a year following the first Italian edition and is distinguished from the Mainz Latin translation published the same year in that it is the work of John Hay (1547-1607), a Scottish Jesuit and exile living on the Continent. Hay had entered the Society of Jesus in 1566 and became noted for his polemical treatises written whilst living in France. In his later years he was based in the Low Countries where he translated Jesuit mission reports, such as these, into Latin.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2900
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB (John Hay); Sabin (96257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorTheatre Royal, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
TitleFor the benefit of Madame Frederick, on Friday evening, December 26, 1800, will be performed the favorite comedy of The wonder! ... to which will be added a grand historical romance ... taken from Ossian's poems) called Oscar & Malvina or The Hall of Fingal.
Imprint[Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Theatre Royal]
Date of Publication1800
LanguageEnglish
NotesTheatre poster advertising performances at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in December 1800. Among the pieces being performed was the popular ballet-pantomime 'Oscar and Malvina', based on the poems of Ossian. The work was first performed in Covent Garden 1791. The house composer William Shield had resigned that year leaving the score for pantomime unfinished. William Reeve (1757-1815)completed the piece, and its success secured his place as the composer of many of the Covent Garden operas and pantomimes. The performances in Newcastle were for the benefit of Madame Frederick, a popular dancer on the Edinburgh stage, best known for her performances of the Scottish Strathspey at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh.
ShelfmarkAP.el.214.03
Reference SourcesF. Burwick, 'Romantic drama: acting and reacting' (Cambridge, 2009)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorJohn Muir (ed.)
TitlePicturesque California and the region west of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska to Mexico.
ImprintSan Francisco & New York: J. Dewing Company
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
Notes2014 marks the centenary of the death of Scottish-born naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838-1914), who is regarded as the founder of national parks in the USA. He edited this great work of pictorial Western Americana. Among the famed artists who contributed to the work are Frederick Cozzens, Thomas Hill, Thomas Moran and Frederick Remington. Their work is reproduced here in engravings, etchings and photogravures, which fill 120 full-page plates (with printed tissue descriptions). The 35 separate articles are written by a variety of authors, with Muir contributing seven articles, three of them on the High Sierras and his beloved Yosemite Valley (two of them were written especially for this work, the others were edited from earlier publications). This edition includes his article on Alaska which is not included in later abridged editions. Publication was issued by subscription, and no subscription was accepted "for less than the entire work." The work was issued in a bewildering number of different formats and editions, initially between 1887 and 1890, the latest edition with this title being 1894. Muir wrote in a letter of 1889 that he had finished his contributions by shutting himself up in a room in the Old Grand hotel San Francisco for two weeks.
ShelfmarkAB.10.214.07-09
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB; W.F. Kimes & M.B. Kimes 'John Muir: a reading bibliography' (Palo Alto, 1977) (no. 175); L.G. Currey & D.G. Kruska "Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra" (Palo Alto, 1992) (no. 257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorBible
TitleLa Bible qui est toute la saincte escriture du Vieil & du Nouveau Testament
ImprintLa Rochelle: Imprimerie de H. Haultin par Corneille Hertman
Date of Publication1616
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a rare, finely printed and illustrated French Protestant bible from La Rochelle with an interesting early Scottish provenance. The bible, printed in small Roman type, imitates the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. All Protestant printing of this period in France is rare as it was expressly forbidden by the edict of Nantes except in those provincial towns where Protestantism was allowed. After the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 during the Protestant revolt Protestant bibles were preserved in France clandestinely. This bible is bound in a contemporary red morocco which may be in a French binding style but the somewhat cruder material and execution may point to it being Scottish. The marks of provenance indicate that it belonged to the Wemyss family in Scotland and in particular to one or two women in the family. There are three inscriptions in two 17th-century hands: "Jean Wemyss" on front free end-paper, "Janna Wemyss" in the same hand on the following leaf, "Forfar" on verso of title page in different hand. "L I W" is blind-stamped at centre of front and back boards of the binding. The Jean/Janna Wemyss inscribed on the free endpapers is either Jean Gray (d. 1640), the wife of John Wemyss, 1st Earl of Wemyss (1586-1649), or her granddaughter, Lady Jean Wemyss (d. 1715), eldest daughter of David Wemyss, second earl of Wemyss. Lady Jean Wemyss' eldest son was Archibald Douglas, who became 1st Earl of Forfar in 1661, which could explain the "Forfar" inscription on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2899
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorSir William Hamilton
TitleAccount of the discoveries at Pompeii, communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of London by the Hon. Sir William Hamilton.
ImprintLondon : W. Bowyer and J. Nichols,
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis a rare work by Sir William Hamilton (1730/31-1803), diplomatist and art collector, who was appointed to the post of envoy-extraordinary to the Spanish court of King of Naples in 1764. Hamilton had already began to collect art and antiquities, mainly pictures, bronzes, and terracottas, before he left London for Naples. His arrival in Naples increased his interest in the ancient world and his passion for collecting ancient Greek and Roman artefacts, many of which had been unearthed in recent years at various sites in Italy. Excavation of the site of Pompeii began in 1748. During the first phase, the excavation was carried out essentially in order to find art objects, many of which ended up in the private collection of the Bourbon king Charles III of Naples. Hamilton was ideally placed to visit the site and write reports which were read at meetings of the Society of Antiquaries in London in 1775. This book gives the text of his reports and is illustrated with 13 handsome engraved plates. The book was the first in a long line of works, dedicated to the lost city of Pompeii, which were published in the 18th century.
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.145
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorRobert Louis Stevenson
Title[A collection of 5 items printed by Lloyd Osbourne in Davos-Platz Switzerland]
ImprintDavos-Platz: S.L. Osbourne & Co
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of five small items printed by Robert Louis Stevenson's stepson, (Samuel) Lloyd Osbourne (1868-1947). They were produced on a little printing press which he took with him to Davos, Switzerland, when he, Stevenson, and his mother Fanny spent the winters of 1880-81 and 1881-82 there. Surviving copies of items printed on Lloyd Osbourne's press are very rare and much sought after by collectors. The items acquired are: the two collections of poems by Stevenson, both titled 'Moral emblems' with woodcut illustrations by Stevenson, two single leaf advertisements for the above works, and 'To M. I. Stevenson' a [4]-page pamphlet which has a woodcut and a single line quotation attributed to Stevenson's father, Thomas. The Scottish author had become part of Lloyd's life when he had met Lloyd's mother, the American Frances (Fanny) Van de Grift Osbourne, in the summer of 1876 at an artists' colony in Grez, France. Fanny had given up on her unhappy marriage to Samuel Osbourne and moved to France with Lloyd and his sister, Isobel (Belle). Stevenson fell in love with her and the relationship continued despite the disapproval of Stevenson's parents. Fanny moved back to California in 1878 but they were reunited the following year in the USA, and in May 1880, Fanny having obtained a divorce, they were married. At some point in 1880, before his 12th birthday in April, Lloyd was given a little portable printing press. Family tradition has attributed the gift to Stevenson, although at the time the struggling author was almost penniless, whereas Lloyd's wealthy father could easily have afforded it. Some of Lloyd's earliest blurry efforts on the press from early 1880 have survived and are now held in the Beinecke Library. They show that the boy's enthusiasm was not initially matched by his skill in using the press. In August 1880, Stevenson, Fanny and Lloyd moved to Scotland (Fanny's daughter Belle married in 1879 and remained in the USA). Stevenson was now reconciled with his parents, who would support him financially. In November of that year the family was on the move again, this time on medical advice, to spend the winter in the health resort of Davos-Platz in the Swiss Alps. Stevenson was suffering from chronic lung problems which would plague him for the rest of his life, and the clean dry air of the Alps was thought to be better for him than a damp Scottish winter. For a 12 year-old boy, Davos was hardly an enticing location; he would describe it as a "small straggling town where nearly all the shops were kept by consumptives." Lloyd had brought his printing press along to while away the hours and was soon carrying out small pieces of jobbing printing such as lottery tickets, admission tickets and concert programmes, and three issues of a newspaper, 'The Davos News'. Back in Scotland in the summer of 1881, he visited the Edinburgh printers R. & R. Clark, who printed some of Stevenson's early works, and saw how the professionals did it. The following winter the family was back in Davos, and once again the printing press was put to good use. This time Stevenson himself became more involved in the activities of Lloyd's printing 'firm', not only supplying text to print but also carving woodblocks with a penknife to make woodcuts to illustrate the pamphlets. Lloyd regarded his press very much as a commercial venture, giving it the names: Osbourne and Company, S.L. Osbourne and Company, and Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and Company. He was now sufficiently confident of his skill to advertise his services as follows, "printing of all kinds done neatly and well". In this second Davos winter Lloyd printed his own mini-novel 'The Black Canyon', and finished off the printing, begun in the previous winter, of a collection of poems by Stevenson, 'Not I, and other poems'. The pamphlet 'To M. I. Stevenson' was printed for his step-family's amusement, and was not for sale. M. I. Stevenson was Stevenson's mother, Margaret Isabella, and Lloyd printed it for her 53rd birthday on February 11, 1882. Stevenson supplied a woodcut of a woman in a dress delighting in the discovery of a flower in the countryside. On the adjacent page is the caption: "THE MARGUERITE. Lawks! What a beautiful flower!! T.S", supposedly a quote from Stevenson's father, Thomas, and, according to his son, the only piece of poetry his father ever composed. This particular copy is housed a morocco case with silk folding inner liner made by the Scroll Club of New York. Lloyds next project in March 1882 was another collection of five short nonsense poems by his stepfather, 'Moral Emblems', modelled on pocket-size emblem books, which were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. Stevenson supplied four basic woodcuts to accompany the poems; the fifth, depicting an elephant, was done by Fanny. Ninety copies were printed and sold in Davos, and also sent to friends and family. Stevenson sent a copy of the booklet to his friend the Scottish author Alexander Japp, describing, with tongue firmly in cheek, the illustrations as "replete with the highest qualities of art". The success of 'Moral Emblems' was such that Stevenson was willing to write a second instalment, 'Moral Emblems: a second collection of cuts and verses', even though he was at the time hard at work finishing off the novels 'The Silverado Squatters' and 'Treasure Island'. The format was the same as the first collection, five poems and five woodcut illustrations, this time all done by Stevenson. Fanny had gone to the trouble of acquiring for him some pear-wood blocks, which were easier to carve, and proper engraving tools, so the illustrations were of a finer quality. Stevenson wrote in a letter to his mother, dated 20 March 1882, "I dote on wood engraving." Another print run of ninety copies was produced just over a month after the first collection, and was equally successful. The items purchased for NLS include copies of both collections of 'Moral Emblems', the second collection being a presentation copy from Stevenson, inscribed in ink on the front cover "S.E.P. from R.L.S.". The identity of "S.E.P." is unknown; there is no one among Stevenson's close friends and regular correspondents with these initials, it may have been one of his fellow residents at Davos-Platz. Along with the copy of the second collection of 'Moral Emblems' there is a letter from Stevenson's friend, the writer Edmund Gosse (1849-1928), dated 17 November 1896, nearly two years after Stevenson's death. Written on Board of Trade paper, where Gosse worked as a translator, he informs his correspondent "Foote", the American banker and book collector Charles B. Foote (1837-1900), that he has managed to acquire for Foote this copy, with Stevenson's signature on it, from the original owner. Gosse remarks that the owner would not part with it for less than 5, which was the sum Foote had commissioned him to pay for it. Gosse was well acquainted with 'Moral Emblems'; back in March 1882 Stevenson had sent him an advertisement leaf for the first collection, noting that this was an "advertisement of my new appearance as a poet (bard, rather) and hartis [artist?] on wood." Stevenson could only send Gosse the advertisement, not the book as he declared, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I would send you the book; but I declare I'm ruined. I got a penny a cut and a halfpenny a set of verses from the flint-hearted publisher, and only one specimen copy, as I'm a sinner." Gosse would later remark that the pamphlets had a curious charm even if he was less convinced of Stevenson's abilities as a poet, "these volumes were decidedly occult. A man might build upon them a reputation as a sage but hardly as a poet." Gosse and his wife did, however, receive copies of 'The Black Canyon' and 'Not I and other poems'. The advertisement leaves for both collections of 'Moral Emblems' are among the items acquired here; the leaf for the first collection contains Stevenson's woodcut to accompany his poem 'The hero and the eagle', and promises an edition deluxe priced 9 pence, the illustrations marking "a new departure in the business of Osbourne & Co." The advertisement leaf for the second collection shows Lloyd developing his entrepreneurial skills to offer a deluxe edition for 10 pence, and a "popular edition for the million" with the "cuts slightly worn", for the bargain price of 8 pence. In a letter of April 1882 Stevenson mentioned his stepson's printing activities (calling him by his first name), "Sam I believe is to be a printer". However, Lloyd's printing activities were in fact over for good. That same month the family moved back to Britain, where Lloyd was sent to a private tutor to make up for the lack of education he had received in Switzerland. He was reunited later in the summer with his family and his printing press in Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, but his attempts to begin printing again were scuppered as the press was broken, possibly damaged in transit from Switzerland to Scotland, and could not be repaired. The next publication of Samuel Osbourne & Co., 'The Graver and the Pen', another collection of Stevenson poems with woodcut illustrations, had to be printed on a shop owner's press in Kingussie. A further collection of poems was planned to be printed in Edinburgh later that year, 'Robin and Ben: or, The pirate and the apothecary'. Stevenson wrote the text and carved three wood blocks for it, but it was never published in his lifetime. The family moved to the south of France in the winter of 1882, as Stevenson could not bear the thought of another stay in Switzerland, and Lloyd was sent off to school where he developed new interests. These surviving publications of his press are a fascinating reminder of an important chapter in his and Stevenson's life, where they collaborated to produce works which may have lacked literary and typographical polish, but more than made up for it in homespun charm. Lloyd's printing press is now on display in the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2894 ; RB.s.2895 ; RB.s.2896 ; RB.s.2897(1) ; RB.s.2897(2)
Reference SourcesJ.D. Hart, 'The private press ventures of Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and R.L.S.' (San Francisco, 1966); Oxford DNB; B.A. Booth and E. Mehew (eds)'The letters of Robert Louis Stevenson' (New Haven, 1995-1996)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorSeymour, Mina S.
TitlePen pictures: transmitted clairaudiently and telepathically by Robert Burns
ImprintLily Dale, N.Y. : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a privately-printed oddity relating to Robert Burns. It is a volume of over 150 poems in English and Scots allegedly by Burns, as received by an American medium, Mina Seymour, at the end of nineteenth century. It was published in Lily Dale, a spiritualist community in south-western New York State. Carol McGuirk, writing on Burns in America in the nineteenth century comments on the frequency with which nineteenth-century Americans imagined, wished, or even roundly asserted that Robert Burns was not dead. "As with Elvis Presley sightings in our time, this is most likely a sign that mere celebrity has been transcended and cult status achieved. The cult of Burns included prominent Scottish-Americans such as Andrew Carnegie but also marginal persons as Mina S. Seymour, a psychic who in 1900 published a book said to be 'transmitted' or channelled directly from the mind of Burns" (McGuirk, 'Haunted by authority', 1997). McGuirk describes the book as "Seymour's deranged little volume", and the quality of the poems in it is truly awful. In the opening poem, dedicated to the Psychical Research Society, the voice of Burns reveals that "I've beat auld Death, I write as weel, As mony in Earth life." The book is illustrated with portraits with various members of the American spiritualist community, many of whom were apparently recipients of poems by Burns.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.31
Reference SourcesCarol McGuirk, "Haunted by authority: nineteenth-century American constructions of Robert Burns and Scotland", in 'Robert Burns and Cultural Authority' edited by Robert Crawford (Edinburgh, 1997), pp. 136-158.
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorBlair, James Law
Title[Photographs taken by James Law Blair in and around Bandawe when employed by the African Lakes Company circa 1900.]
Date of Publication1900?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe volume contains 132 black and white photographs. Bandawe settlement was funded from Glasgow on a commercial/evangelical basis. It was then called Nyasaland but is now Malawi. The African Lakes Corporation was a British company originally set-up in 1877 by Scottish businessmen to co-operate with missions in what is now Malawi. Despite its original connections with the Free Church of Scotland, it operated its businesses in Africa on a commercial rather than a philanthropic basis, and it had political ambitions in the 1880s to control part of Central Africa. Its businesses in the colonial era included water transport on the lakes and rivers of Central Africa, wholesale and retail trading including the operation of general stores, labour recruitment and landowning.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.125
Acquired on09/05/14
TitleThe Edinburgh Review, or Critical Journal
ImprintEdinburgh: Archibald Constable
Date of Publication1814-1860
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of c. 130 issues of 'The Edinburgh Review', covering the years 1814 to 1860. The volumes are in their original state with blue paper wrappers, along with inserts of publishers' advertisements for the later issues. The latter are often missing from bound sets in Library copies, such as NLS's existing set, as they were usually removed prior to binding. These particular volumes were part of the collections found the Northumbrian mansion The Hermitage, described in the press as the house "that time forgot". The contents of the house on the outskirts of Hexham were sold at auction in 2013 after the death of last surviving member of the Morant family, who had rented the house since the 1920s. The Morants had thrown very little away in the 90 years they had occupied the house and looked after the existing contents with great care, with the result that the house was full of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera. 'The Edinburgh Review' was published from 1803 to 1929 (the first issue for October 1802 actually appearing in 1803) and quickly established itself as one of the leading and most influential English-language periodicals of the 19th century. The publishers' aim was to select only a few outstanding books in all fields of interest and to examine them with more care than had been customary in previous reviewing. 'The Edinburgh Review' was above all an instrument of political enlightenment and social reform, adopting a pro-Whig stance in contrast to the pro-Tory 'Quarterly Review' and later 'Blackwood's Magazine'. To have a substantial run of this important periodical with the volumes in their original state is a great addition to the Library's collections.
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.09-141
Reference SourcesWaterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals: 1800 - 1900
Acquired on04/04/14
AuthorAnon.
TitleA famous Fife trial: the Kirkcaldy duel case.
ImprintCork: Purcell and Company
Date of Publication1893
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 16-page pamphlet records the basic details of one of the most famous murder trials in Scotland in the 19th century. David Landale, a linen merchant from Kirkcaldy in Fife, was tried for the murder of George Morgan in a duel which took place on 23 August, 1826. It was the last recorded fatal duel that took place in Scotland. The shooting of Morgan by Landale was the culmination of a dispute between the two men that had started the previous year. Landale's business was suffering major cash flow problems when his banker Morgan had suddenly and unexpectedly refused to help him pay his creditors. Morgan was a vindictive and irascible man, who took exception to Landale's subsequent decision to take his business elsewhere. He began to spread rumours in the town about the merchant's lack of creditworthiness. In June 1826 Landale complained bitterly in a letter to the Bank of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh about Morgans conduct. The Bank took Landale's allegations seriously and admonished Morgan and his brother (and fellow-banker), David, for discussing bank matters and Landale's financial affairs in public, but chose not to punish them. George Morgan took this reprieve from the Bank as a green light to pursue his own personal grudge with the merchant. He was incensed that Landale had gone behind his back and had written to the Bank of Scotland directly; he demanded an immediate written apology for the allegations in the letter. Landale refused to apologise but did not rise to the bait of challenging Morgan to a duel, Morgan being reluctant to issue a challenge himself. There followed a tense stand-off between the two men, neither of them willing to back down and apologise, which was finally broken on the morning of 22 August when Morgan spotted Landale in Kirkcaldy's High Street and hit him across the shoulders with his umbrella while shouting "Take you that, sir!" Landale sought refuge in a shop only to be pursued in there by Morgan crying, "By God, sir, you shall have more of this yet!" Landale fled, briefly pursued by Morgan, only to return to the scene of the attack to find Morgan had also gone back there; his reaction was to call Morgan "a poor, silly coward". After being assaulted in public Landale now had no alternative but to write to Morgan and to demand "the satisfaction which as a gentleman I am entitled to". He challenged Morgan to a duel at seven o'clock the following morning with pistols, even though he later claimed that he had never fired a gun in his life and did not own any pistols; moreover, Morgan was a former army officer who was used to handling firearms. Despite one final attempt by Morgan's second, on the night of the 22nd, to resolve the dispute, the duel proceeded as planned on 23 August in a field just outside Kirkcaldy. Morgan fired and missed but Landale, having purchased a pair of pistols in Edinburgh the previous day, mortally wounded his adversary. Landale escaped to Cumbria to avoid arrest but returned to Scotland the following month to face trial for murder, confident he would be cleared. The trial took place in Perth on September 22 in a packed and boisterous courthouse. Landale was represented by two of the leading advocates of the day: Henry Cockburn (a record of the trial, kept his clerk, is now in the NLS's manuscript collections: Adv.MS.9.1.2) and Francis Jeffrey, best known today as a literary critic. Cockburn and Jeffrey argued convincingly that Landale had not acted out of malice, had been reluctant to challenge Morgan, and had been subject to sustained and intolerable provocation by Morgan. After a five-hour trial, the jury only need two minutes to acquit Landale. The judge dismissed him from the court room, commenting on his honourable and unsullied character. He returned to Kirkcaldy to carry on running his business, later becoming provost of Kirkcaldy. In an incredible twist of fate, one of his daughters, Ellen, married in 1851 Alexander Morgan, nephew of George Morgan, a sign that both families had long become reconciled. Another daughter, Eliza Gage Landale, married William Lane, an Irish landowner. He owned Mount Vernon in Cork, a Georgian mansion in the city, which is still there today. As Cork is the place of publication of this pamphlet, she must have been involved in getting this work privately printed. The text is largely based on an anonymous account of the trial published in 1826 'Report of the trial of David Landale Esq., before the Circuit Court of Justiciary at Perth'. Her motives for publication, nearly 70 years after the event, are unclear. The inscriptions in this copy show that Eliza presented this copy to her son, Samuel, and at the back she records basic details of her father's life and the fact that her sister had married the nephew of the man her father had "the misfortune to kill".
ShelfmarkAB.1.214.31
Reference SourcesJames Landale, 'Duel: a true story of death and honour', (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2005).
Acquired on28/03/14
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