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 727 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 727:

Ordered by title
Order by author | Order by date acquired
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
AuthorCampbell, Ethel M.
Title[Collection of poetry relating to the 1st and 2nd World Wars]
Imprint[Durban: Ethel M. Campbell]
Date of Publication1914-40
LanguageEnglish
NotesEthel M. Campbell (1886-1954) was born in Glasgow and partly educated in Scotland. Her parents both had Scottish ancestry and her father, Dr Samuel Campbell, was a leading physician in South Africa. She became a well-known Durban socialite in her youth but when World War One broke out, she devoted herself enthusiastically to the entertainment and well-being of the Australian and New Zealand troops who sailed to the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East via South Africa. She published and distributed these and other patriotic verses to the troops. She earned herself a number of nicknames - 'the Durban signaller', 'the girl with the flags', 'the Diggers' idol' and 'Angel of Durban' - as she routinely signalled troopships into Durban harbour by semaphore and also used to throw oranges and other gifts to the troops on deck. She was awarded an MBE in 1919 and in 1923 she was invited to Australia to officially dedicate a memorial to the Diggers (Australian troops). Ethel Campbell's poems are a fascinating printed record of patriotism in the British Empire, Campbell's devotion to the cause being inspired by the loss of her own fiance in France at the start of the War (she never married). She went on to become a well-known poet and author in her native South Africa; her younger brother Roy was to find wider fame as a poet and writer in 1920s Britain.
ShelfmarkRB.m.677(1-7)
Reference SourcesDictionary of South African Biography v. 4
Acquired on19/09/08
Author[Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh]
Title[Five printed documents relating to the Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh and suburbs thereof, Canongate, Leith, &c. for a mutual insurance of their tenements and houses &c. from losses by fire.]
Imprint[Edinburgh : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1720-1730]
LanguageEnglish
NotesFire was an ever-present danger in the Old Town of Edinburgh and in 1703 the city suffered a series of devastating fires, which led to the appointment of 'firemasters' who could recruit men to fight fires, the forerunner of a municipal fire brigade. Fire insurance companies, first established in London, were also introduced. The first fire insurance society in Scotland is thought to be Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh, which was founded in 1720. Contributors to the Society paid a small percentage of the total value of their properties in return for perpetual insurance and were entitled to interest from stock and profits of the insurance fund. This collection of five documents relating to the Friendly Society span the first ten years of its existence. It consists of three receipts: one for payment of a premium by the advocate Thomas Gordon, and two for "annual rent"; there are also two forms for transferring Gordon's policy to two men, Alexander Marjoribanks and George Falconer, who had presumably purchased the insured property.
ShelfmarkRB.l.264
Acquired on24/11/09
AuthorPhillips, Philip
Title[40 photographs of the Forth Rail Bridge ]
Date of Publication[1887]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Forth Railway Bridge, begun in 1883 and completed in 1890, was the world's first major steel bridge. It is still in use today, and has become an icon of Scotland and of Victorian engineering. Photographs of the bridge are ubiquitous, found on postcards, in books and magazines. The photographs here, however, capture the development of the bridge at weekly or fortnightly intervals in 1886-1887, and appear to be extremely rare. These 40 silver gelatin prints, each measuring approximately 17 x 23 inches, are by the photographer Philip Phillips, son of Joseph Phillips, who was one of the contractors. Several prints bear his monogram 'PP'. They are of a very high quality, showing an extraordinary degree of detail down to individual rivets. The bridge is captured from a variety of angles; there are close-ups of particular sections as well as landscape shots. The first photograph has been doctored to show an accurate impression of the bridge when finished. Number 8, taken on 12 December 1886, has the amusing addition of a pencil sketch of a steam train on the track. It seems extraordinary that these photographs have not been recorded or used elsewhere. Only one, no. 21, seems to have been used in another book by Phillips, 'The Forth Bridge in its various stages of construction', [1889], where it appears as no. XVII. In his book 'The Forth Railway Bridge', Edinburgh: 1890, Phillips describes in an appendix a series of 'special' plates published separately. He goes on to give a detailed description of the 40 plates, which provides vital information about this set. Intriguingly, Phillips notes that there are 'about sixty more' such photographs: perhaps these may yet turn up on the market.
ShelfmarkRB.l.229
Reference Sourceshttp://www.forthbridges.org.uk/railbridgemain.htm
Acquired on04/05/05
AuthorMissionary Society for Africa and the East
Title[Handbill for sermon to be preached at Glasgow Episcopal Chapel, August 14 1814, by Rev. Isaac Saunders]
ImprintGlasgow: Chapman, Printer
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis broadside handbill or flyer advertises a sermon to be preached at the Episcopal Chapel, Glasgow, in 1814, by the Rev. Isaac Saunders, on behalf of the Missionary Society for Africa and the East. This was an English society, whose vice-presidents included William Wilberforce, and Saunders was a minister in London who would preach three sermons on the day. The handbill lists the Society's activities around the world from Malta to New Zealand, including the offer to sponsor a child: 'The Society clothes, maintains, and educates a poor African child for 5 per annum, and affixes any name to such poor liberated child, as the benefactor may wish.' This is the only known surviving copy of this handbill. It is interesting to note that it lists the Glasgow booksellers Steven & Fraser, Brash & Reid and Turnbull and Smith's Circulating Library as places where donations to the Missionary Society may be made by those who wish to contribute but cannot attend the sermon.
ShelfmarkAP.4.210.27
Reference Sourceshttp://blogs.nls.uk/rarebooks/?p=107
Acquired on05/08/10
Author[Anon]
Title[Lord's prayer and Apostle's creed in Greek]
ImprintEdinburgh : Andrew Symson,
Date of Publication1796
LanguageGreek
NotesThis unrecorded, small single sheet of Greek printing was done by Edinburgh-based printer, Andrew Symson (c. 1638-1712). Symson was probably born in England but was educated in Edinburgh. He served for several years as a Church of Scotland minister in south-west Scotland, at the time the heartland of Scottish presbyterianism. After relinquishing the ministry, Symson moved to Edinburgh in 1695 and set up a printing press in the Cowgate. He printed works by the likes of Sir George Mackenzie and Sir Robert Sibbald, as well as Latin vocabularies for use in schools. It is not clear why Symson would want to print the Greek text of the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed (at the time the standard creed used in Western European Christian tradition, in the 16th- and 17th-century Scottish Church, every service of public worship included a public recitation of the Apostles' Creed). Scottish churches of the period would not have used Greek in any part of the liturgy. It may well be that Symson had acquired a set of Greek long primer type and was experimenting with it; as a well-educated man and former minister he was no doubt familiar with Greek texts. There is no record of Symson printing anything substantial in Greek, only the occasional word appears in his printed output. Greek long primer type is listed as one of the specimens of types to be found in James Watson's printing house in "History of the Art of printing" (1713) and it may well be that Watson acquired his Greek type from Symson's printing house after the latter's death in 1712. This sheet was formerly in the collection of J.L. Weir, former Keeper of Manuscripts at Glasgow University.
ShelfmarkAP.2.212.19
Acquired on27/01/12
AuthorVetch, James
Title[Manuscripts and printed works on the Suez Canal project collected by the Scottish Suez canal pioneer, James Vetch]
Date of Publication1842-55
LanguageEnglish
NotesJames Vetch (1789-1869), was born at Haddington, East Lothian. He had a notable career, serving in the Royal Engineers, and then working for the Ordnance Survey, including a period surveying the Scottish islands. He also worked on the development of mining in Mexico and on the English railways, before turning his attention to the question of a canal between the Mediterranean and Red seas. "In 1843 Vetch published an Enquiry into the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean and Red seas, after having worked on the problem since 1839. The work ran through several editions and attracted much public attention, but the government, and especially Palmerston, opposed the plan as contrary to the political interests of the country. Twelve years later Ferdinand de Lesseps, a former French diplomat who is usually credited with being the inspiration behind the Suez Canal, which opened in 1869, published his scheme, printing Vetch's opinions as an appendix to his work" (Oxford DNB). Vetch spent much of the rest of his career working on sewers and drains. The collection contains the autograph manuscript of his pioneering article, together with a collection of the early reports and pamphlets on the scheme, collected and partly annotated by Vetch. The manuscript of the Enquiry (or Report, as it was first called) contains several emendations and deletions, and can be compared directly with the first printed edition of the work, which is present here. Also loosely inserted into the second volume is the orginal "Form of requiring entry of proprietorship" (for copyright purposes) made out by Vetch himself. There is also a marked-up proof copy of Vetch's entry in the old DNB. The bound collection appears to have been brought together roughly contemporaneously with publication of Lesseps's Isthmus of Suez, the latest dated work here. All these items are collected into two volumes bound in nineteenth-century blue half calf. Contents: I. a. VETCH, James. Report on the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean & Red seas. [London] "1 Clifford's Inn, 20th January 1842." Manuscript, pp. 39, preceded by an engraved map. b. MACLAREN, Charles. "Account of the ancient canal from the Nile to the Red Sea" [excerpted from the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, October, 1825.] pp. [274]-291. NOT IN NLS c. Manuscript notes: 1p. being estimates of the population of Israel at the time of the crossing of the Red Sea, from Biblical sources d. [Report from the Select Committee on Steam Navigation to India, with the minutes of evidence, 1836.] pp. 342-392. e. Manuscript notes: 2 pp. on the geography of Egypt. II. a. VETCH, James. Inquiry into the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean & Red seas. London: Pelham Richardson, 1843. pp. 34, folding lithographed map, routes added in contemporary hand colouring. NOT IN NLS b. ANDERSON, Arthur. Communications with India, China, &c. Observations on the practicability and utility of opening a communication between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1843. pp. 48. c. CLARKSON, Edward. The Suez navigable canal, for an accelerated communication with India. second edition. London: T. Hookham and others for the British and Foreign Agency Office, 1843. pp. 16 + 8 (British and Foreign Institute Prosepectus). NOT IN NLS d. GALLOWAY, John Alexander. Communication with India, China, &c. Observations on the proposed improvements in the overland route via Egypt. London: John Weale, 1844. pp. 24, large folding lithographed map. e. [WALKER, William.] A plan for improving the transit of passengers and goods across the isthmus of Suez [drop-head title]. [May 1847]. pp. 15, [I], [2] (Appendix). NOT IN NLS f. LESSEPS, Ferdinand Marie de. The Isthmus of Suez question. London: Longman, 1855. pp. 223, [I} (blank), 3 folding engraved mnps, one printed in colour.
ShelfmarkAcc.12648
Acquired on20/06/06
AuthorMacGregor, Walter William
Title[Photograph album covering the years 1897-1912, with photographs of the Gordon Highlanders, Calcutta Volunteer Rifles, and scenes of army life in India and South Africa]
Imprint[S.l., s.n.]
Date of Publication[1897-1912]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a photograph album compiled by Walter William MacGregor, an officer in the 2nd battalion of the Gordon Highlanders regiment of the British army. The album contains 66 captioned prints which depict military and civilian life of a Scottish army officer at the start of the 20th century. The album starts off at Malplaquet barracks Aldershot, where the battalion was taking part in military manoeuvres; it covers Queen Victorias Silver Jubilee of 1897, then MacGregor's move in September 1898 to Umballa in the Punjab. MacGregor, at this stage a lieutenant, left India in 1899 to travel to South Africa where the Boer War had broken out. The 2nd Gordons took part in the defence and siege of the town of Ladysmith, where MacGregor was wounded whilst repelling a Boer attack on 6th January 1900. By 1902 he was back in India, the Boer War having ended the previous year. He was promoted to the rank of captain and the rest of the album documents his life in India, including recreational pursuits such as polo and football; it also has views of Himalayan scenery. The photos from 1912 onwards show that MacGregor served as an officer in the Calcutta Volunteer Rifles. The album includes pictures of Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (the Library purchased an album belonging to him in 2008, shelfmark Phot.la.69) and J. K. Dick-Cunyngham, also a Gordon Highlander officer, who was presumably William Henry's brother and a good friend of MacGregor during his time in India. MacGregor served with the 2nd Gordons in the 1st World War where he earned a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for conspicuous gallantry during the action at Loos on 26th September, 1915.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.74
Reference SourcesA.D. Greenhill-Gardyne, "Life of a Regiment: the history of the Gordon Highlanders" vols 2-3 (London, 1903 & 1939)
Acquired on19/02/09
AuthorWilliam Blackwood (firm)
Title[Printing blocks]
Date of Publication[1840-1890?]
Notes64 blocks from the Edinburgh printing and publishing firm of William Blackwood, with 43 proofs recently printed at the Tragara Press, in excellent condition. Some blocks have a base of wood, some of metal, but all have a good-quality metal (mainly copper) surface. The images include scenes from a printer's workshop, steam trains and steam agricultural vehicles, landscapes, birds and animals, towns and harbours. Many are signed or initialled by the designer. They probably date from the mid-to-late 19th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2729
Acquired on19/06/07
Author[Baird, Charles]
Title[Privillegiya, dannaya ober' bergmejsteru 7-10 klassa Karla Berdu na upotrablenie mashiny]
ImprintSt Petersburg: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1825
LanguageRussian
NotesCharles Baird (1766-1843) was a prominent Scottish engineer and industrialist who started his career at the Carron Company, the leading ironworks in Scotland. He travelled to Russia in 1786 to help establish a gun factory there and then set up his own ironworks in the 1790s in St. Petersburg. Baird was one of a number of Scottish entrepreneurs working in Russia at the time and he became one of the most successful. The Baird Works supplied much of the metalwork for the capital city and specialised in the manufacture of steam-driven machinery. This papmphlet is a printed privilege ("privillegiya"), a public document which sets out the Baird Works' monopoly on using a steam-driven machine to sort, compress and pack bales of flax and hemp for transportation. Russia was one of the main producers and exporters of flax in the world (by the 20th century it was producing 90% of the world's total crop) so the machine potentially had an important role in the Russian economy, hence the need to patent it. It was one of several developed by Baird; by 1825 his ironworks was producing 130 steam engines of all kinds. The privilege also includes two folding plates illustrating the machine. Baird's company became a byword for efficiency in Russia, the local inhabitants at the time used the expression 'just like at Baird's factory' to denote when something was running smoothly. Baird was also famous for having built the first steamship in Russia in 1815 and for developing a new method of refining sugar.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2773
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on01/12/09
Author[Celtic F.C.]
Title[Programme of 1967 European Cup Final (Inter Milan v. Celtic) + 6 continental newspapers relating to the match]
Imprint[S.n., s.d.]
Date of Publication1967
LanguageEnglish, Portugese, Italian, French
NotesOn 25 May 1967, Celtic beat Internazionale (Inter) of Milan 2-1 to become the first British football team to win the world's premier club competition, the European Cup. Inter were hot favourites to win, having been champions of Europe three times in the previous four years and having only been defeated once in continental competition up until the 1967 final. Several thousand Celtic supporters were in the crowd in the Portuguese National Stadium in Lisbon to see Inter take an early lead through a penalty, but two second-half goals from Gemmell and Chalmers won the match for the Scottish side. The victory was a vindication for Celtic manager Jock Stein's belief in attacking football, which was in stark contrast to the ultra-defensive tactics favoured by the Italians. The achievement of the 'Lisbon Lions' was all the more remarkable in that all the players in the team had been born within a 30-mile radius of Glasgow. This collection of material relating to the 1967 final contains the official match programme (ink-stamped "2/6" on the front cover with what appears to be an additional price in British currency). There are also issues of continental newspapers for 25-26 May, which are: Italian newspaper "Il Giorno" for 25 May with additional colour supplement relating to the match, and an issue for 26 May reporting Inter's defeat; an edition of the French sports newspaper "L' Equipe" for 25 May; an edition of Portuguese sports newspaper "Bola" for 25 May; issues of Italian sports newspaper "Stadio" for 25 and 26 May.
ShelfmarkRB.l.250
Acquired on09/01/09
Title[Scottish War Emergency Cup Final programme]
Imprint[Glasgow?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1940
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe outbreak of the Second World War led to the suspension of normal competitive football in Scotland. The Scottish War Emergency Cup was a temporary competition held at the start of World War II, due to the suspension of the Scottish Cup by the SFA. It was held between February and May in 1940, the competition involved all sixteen League clubs still operating, Cowdenbeath later withdrew which meant Dunfermline Athletic received a bye in the first round. Rangers beat Dundee United 1 - 0 in the Final, thanks to a goal by James Smith. Although the venue, Hampden Park, Glasgow, in previous years had drawn crowds of over 100,000 for big games, the police limited attendance to 75,000 for this game.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2733
Acquired on24/11/08
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
Title[Street traders' silhouettes]
Imprint[s.l. : s.n.]
Date of Publicationc. 1840s?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of 25 woodcut engravings of silhouettes of street traders, ten of which are Scottish. The woodcuts have been removed from other publications and mounted on bigger sheets. Three of the street traders are well-known Glasgow characters: The blind fiddler and poet Alexander MacDonald called Blind Alick, the ballad singer and speech crier James McIndoe called Jamie Blue, and The Major, a street singer and kind of dancer who performed together with Coal Mary. The silhouette of the Glasgow Bellman may well be a likeness of the Glaswegian Bell Geordie. The other Scottish street traders depicted are Jemmy the showman, Billy Bain (Bill Porter) and Geordie Moore from Edinburgh, Willie Collie (Buttery Willie) from Aberdeen, Jamie Stephen from Montrose and the carter Willie Harrow from Dundee. From the 1820 onwards silhouettes tended to be full-length rather than just portrait size. The ones we have acquired are a mix of both kinds, although the portrait depictions outnumber the full length ones. We have not been able to establish which publications the silhouttes were taken from originally.
ShelfmarkRB.m.663
Reference SourcesD. Whitaker: Auld Hawkie and other Glasgow characters. Glasgow, 1988 [HP4.88.1771] [Collection of press-cuttings on pedlars and chap-books]. Dundee, c. 1900-1920 [RB.m.141] R. Collison: The story of street literature. London, 1973 [NG.1195.f.9] L. Shepard: The history of street literature. Newton Abbot, 1973. P. Hickman: National Portrait gallery silhouettes. London, 1972.
Acquired on22/10/07
Title[The Seasons] With sympathy inscribed to all who love flowers and their emblems
ImprintEdinburgh: T. Alexander Hill
Date of Publicationc.1855-80
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine example of de luxe book production in mid-Victorian Edinburgh. Bound in dark green cloth with the top board decorated in a black and gilt design repeated in blind in the lower cover, and with watered silk endpapers and gilt edges, the book is a meditation on the seasons designed primarily to feast the eye. The title page is decorated in gold and colours, and each season begins on a page with lithographed illuminated heading and colour illustration, enclosed with the text in a decorative border. The text, anonymously compiled, consists of a prose meditation on each season followed by an appropriate poem by a contemporary poet - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jean Ingelow, Richard Chevenix Trench and Edward Bulwer Lytton. The book was the work of two significant figures involved in the production of artistic books in mid-19th century Edinburgh: the lithographer W. H. McFarlane or M'Farlane, and T. Alexander Hill (1800-66), brother of David Octavius Hill and 'printseller to the Queen' as he describes himself on the title page. Praised in his obituary for his work in improving the print selling and publishing trade, Hill was involved with the then-recently established Royal Scottish Academy as supplier and dealer. This item is therefore not only interesting as a book, but also gives valuable background to the material context surrounding Scottish 19th-century art.
ShelfmarkFB.l.390
Reference SourcesSBTI; National Portrait Gallery directory of British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 (http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/directory-of-suppliers/h.php); bookseller's catalogue
Acquired on21/05/09
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