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 697 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 181 to 195 of 697:
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|Title||States of the affairs of Messrs Douglas, Heron, and company, at August 1773, when they finally gave up business.|
|Date of Publication||1780|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded broadside of 1780, presumably printed in Edinburgh, which summarises the financial state of the failed Ayr Bank, one of the most dramatic crashes in the history of early Scottish, indeed European, banking. The bank had been founded in 1769 by the firm of Douglas, Heron & Co. with the motto "Pro bon publico", as a response to a rapidly growing demand in Scotland for banking facilities. Credit was tight among the existing banks and there was a general belief that a new bank could unleash the potential of land ownership in Scotland. The bank was supported by some of the leading aristocratic landowners in Scotland, its credit backed by the collateral of large tracts of land. However, in order to support land improvement schemes, the Ayr Bank adopted policies that proved to be far too risky. Adam Smith, would later comment in his 'Wealth of Nations', "this bank was far more liberal than any other had been, both in granting cash accounts, and in discounting bills of exchange" (II.ii.73). By June 1772 the bank had issued £1.2 million through advances and bills of exchange, around two thirds of the currency of the country. In the same month, news of the collapse of a London bank, which had extensive dealings with the Ayr Bank, reached Scotland; a financial crisis ensued which led to the eventual collapse of all but three of the country's 30 private banks. There was a run on the Ayr Bank forcing it to suspend payments on June 25. To shore up the loan book of the bank its partners had to put up the collateral of their lands; these lands were gradually sold over the following years to meet the bank's huge losses. The collapse of the bank was thus a major blow to the great Scottish landowning families, including Adam Smith's patron and former pupil, the Duke of Buccleuch, who was a major shareholder in it.|
|Reference Sources||Antoin E. Murphy, 'The Genesis of Macroeconomics', Oxford, 2009.|
|Title||[Privillegiya, dannaya ober' bergmejsteru 7-10 klassa Karla Berdu na upotrablenie mashiny]|
|Imprint||St Petersburg: [s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||Charles 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. |
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||[Barbour, Margaret Frazer]. |
|Title||The Way Home. |
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by John Greig & Son|
|Date of Publication||1855|
|Notes||This appears to be the first, privately-printed edition of Barbour's account of a family tragedy. In late 1852 or early 1853, her family was travelling from Edinburgh to Manchester, when the train met with an accident; her son Georgy was killed instantly and her son Freddy died a few days later. This book gives an account of their lives and grapples with the significance of their loss from the point of view of her evangelical Christianity.
The text begins with a dramatic account of the accident. Barbour then meditates on the tragedy through prose and poetry, and finally recounts episodes in her children's lives which she feels reveal the workings of divine grace. Barbour's motives for writing were no doubt partly therapeutic - to try to make sense of the disaster, and to create for herself an imaginative portrait of her children in heaven. However, she was also determined to use her story to promote missionary work in China. The missionary William Chalmers Burns had seen Freddy as a baby in Edinburgh, and thereafter the family always had an interest in the missions. The children gave another missionary, Mr. Johnston, some money to buy Bibles, and this led Johnston to found the Children's Chinese Bible Fund of the English Presbyterian Church. An appendix appeals for funds for this cause.
A book like this does not conform to modern tastes. The author's sentimental piety can strike a jarring note to the modern reader. The book is also fiercely anti-Catholic, particularly in its description of the family's tours in Italy. However, it is still moving in its descriptions of the children's upbringing, seen from the perspective of their early deaths.
This copy includes 9 tipped-in albumen photographs, mainly, it would seem, of Scottish missionaries in China. This is thus an important addition to our collections relating to foreign missions by the Scottish churches.
A substantially revised public edition was published in 1856; we have a copy at shelfmark VV.6/2.
|Author||[Binding - Scott, James of Edinburgh]|
|Title||The book of common prayer + A companion to the altar + A new version of the Psalms of David|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Adrian Watkins,|
|Date of Publication||1756-57|
|Notes||The Library has the largest institutional collection of bindings by James Scott and his son William, the renowned Scottish bookbinders of the second half of the 18th century, and is always looking to add to its collections. This particular volume contains three works bound together in a red morocco binding which is representative of James Scott's earlier work. It combines the characteristics of the rococo style with elements of chinoiserie, a style that preceded his shift into a more neo-classical decorative influence. Both boards are bordered by a Greek-key roll, panels with an elaborate rococo decoration framing a radiating pyramid, with use of swan and nesting bird tools; the spine is gilt in compartments, repeating a tool with two birds. The binding appears datable to c.1777 from a comparison with the recorded uses of Scott's tools detailed in J.H. Loudon's James Scott and William Scott, bookinders (Edinburgh, 1980). On this binding can be found the nesting bird tool (Zo.9) the swan tool (Zo.7) and the radiating pyramid tool (Ge.2). Also present are the detached flower head tool (Bo.7) and rococo scrolls (Sc. 1). The endpapers have been patterned with a painted spatter decoration that was used on some of Scott's earlier bindings. The title page of prayer book contains the signature of the owner "Louisa Graeme" and a note regarding her identity, namely Louisa Graham (d. 1782) wife of David Graham of Orchil, Perthshire.|
|Reference Sources||J.H. Loudon, "James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders" (NY, 1980) |
|Title||Poems on various subjects.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Gordon and Murray|
|Date of Publication||1780|
|Notes||This is the only published collection of poems by the Church of Scotland minister William Cameron (1751-1811), who was educated at the Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he had been a pupil of James Beattie. It has been bought for its contemporary tree calf binding by James Scott of Edinburgh - NLS already has two copies of this book with Scott bindings. The title page has Scott's circular binder's ticket stuck on at the foot of the page (Scott was the first Scottish bookbinder to have used a ticket). This copy is not recorded in J.S. Loudon's bibliography of Scott bindings but the tools used on the binding can be found in Loudon's book. The boards are decorated with Greek key borders, the spine with olive morocco label, and with musical instrument ornaments. This copy was one of two in the library at Invercauld Castle, near Braemar. Both copies were bound by James Scott (the other binding does not contain Scott's ticket). Invercauld has been the seat of the Farquharson family since at least the sixteenth century. It seems very probable that the Farquharson family knew Cameron well, as of the three copies of this book identified by Loudon in 1980 as being in Scott bindings, two (JS 74 and 74.5) have associations with the family, one is inscribed with the names of F. Farquharson and C. Farquharson, the other is noted as 'a present ... from Mr. Farquharson 1781'. The family may in fact have been responsible for distributing the book to their friends. The binding became available when the library of Invercauld was sold at auction in 2012.
|Reference Sources||J.H. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders (1980); Bookseller's notes |
|Title||[Programme of 1967 European Cup Final (Inter Milan v. Celtic) + 6 continental newspapers relating to the match]|
|Date of Publication||1967|
|Language||English, Portugese, Italian, French|
|Notes||On 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.|
|Title||Health and Strength|
|Imprint||[London:: Charles Atlas Ltd.]|
|Date of Publication||[c. 1948]|
|Notes||Charles Atlas (originally named Angelo Siciliano) arrived in the USA as an immigrant from Italy in the early 1900s. He became a devoted body-builder in his youth devising a system of exercises, later referred to as dynamic tension, to build the perfect body. He developed his own muscle-building business in the 1920s, which had an extremely effective advertising campaign directed at 7-stone weaklings who had sand kicked in their faces at the beach. By the late 1930s his mail order course "Health and Strength", which covered dynamic tension and a healthy lifestyle, had become a global success. Subscribers signed to up to get a series of booklets which covered 12 lessons and a supplement on 'perpetual daily exercise'. His firm, Charles Atlas Ltd., had offices around the world, including London. This is a very well-preserved example of Atlas's mail order course which was produced, specifically for British users, in the late 1940s. |
|Author||[Currie, John Lang]|
|Title||A catalogue of books on Australia and the neighbouring colonies: being a portion of the library of John L. Currie of Lawarra (formerly Larra). |
|Imprint||Melbourne: Melville, Mullen and Slade, |
|Date of Publication||1891.|
|Notes||This is the second edition of a catalogue of one of the great colonial Australiana book collections. The collector, John Lang Currie (1818-1898), was a wealthy pastoralist who was born in the parish of Yarrow, Selkirkshire. At the age of 21 he set off to join his cousins in Australia. In the 1840s he established his own farm at Larra (Lawarra) in New South Wales where he specialised in breeding merino sheep which were prized for the length, fineness and glossy appearance of their wool. Thanks to drainage and land improvement the number of sheep at Larra increased from just over 6,000 in 1846 to over 34,000 in 1879. Currie returned to Scotland several times and was shipwrecked in 1871 and again in 1874. Part of his wealth was used to acquire books on the history of Australia as is recorded by this catalogue, which was printed in limited numbers for distribution to institutions and private collectors. |
|Reference Sources||Australian Dictionary of Biography (online edition)|
|Author||[David Morison (1792-1855)]|
|Title||Catalogue of the Gray Library at Kinfauns Castle|
|Imprint||[Perth?: D. Morison]|
|Date of Publication||1827|
An unrecorded copy of the catalogue of the library of Baron Gray in Kinfauns Castle, Perthshire. This copy is unique in that it is entirely lithographed; 12 copies of the catalogue were produced the following year (1828) which had lithographed border designs on it but letterpress text.
David Morison, the compiler and printer of the catalogue, belonged to the famous Perth family of printers and he had worked as a librarian as well as printer, which meant he was the ideal person to produce a catalogue of Baron Gray's collection. He also appears to have been one of the first people in Scotland to master the art of lithography, which had been introduced to Scotland some 10 years before and was being widely used in book illustrations and jobbing printing. Although the contents of Baron Gray's library were largely unremarkable, Morison's catalogue is remarkable for its elaborate lithographed borders printed in red. A comparison of the two versions of the catalogue suggests that this 1827 version was an experiment or trial run by Morison, possibly done for Baron Gray. It is not as complete as the 1828 version and there are a number of differences in the border designs. Morison must have decided against producing further copies with lithographed text in favour of letter-press. From the dedication page it would appear that the catalogue was actually printed in Perth, where Morison would have had the printing stones for the lithography, rather than in Kinfauns Castle itself - although there is evidence of Baron Gray having had a printing press in Kinfauns Castle.
This copy was formerly in the collection of the famous New York-based bookseller and collector, Bernard Breslauer (1918-2004).|
|Reference Sources||Antony Lister "David Morison & the catalogue of Lord Gray of Kinfauns" Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR)vol. XIII (1986), pp. 416-421.
D. Shenck, Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland, 1820-1870, Edinburgh, 1999.
|Author||[Dodsley, Robert, ed.]|
|Title||A collection of poems in six volumes.|
|Imprint||London : J. Dodsley|
|Date of Publication||1770|
|Notes||This handsome 6-volume set of English poetry was bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, the most celebrated of 18th-century Scottish bookbinders. It was formerly in the library of Invercauld Castle, Aberdeenshire, one of a number of bindings executed by Scott for the Farquharson family who lived there. Dodsley's first collection of poetry was published in 1748, in three volumes, later editions were expanded to six volumes as a sign of its popularity. These particular bindings are not identified in Loudon's 1980 work on James and William Scott, but can be identified by the use of the Italianate operatic mask tool on the spines, which was one of Scott's tools. The flourish used to decorate the centre of some of the spine compartments can also be identified as a Scott tool, as well as the roll used to edge the boards.|
|Reference Sources||J.H. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders (1980); Bookseller's notes |
|Author||[Erskine, Andrew and Ross, Walter.]|
|Title||To the revolution club|
|Date of Publication||c. 1788|
|Notes||This unrecorded pamphlet is a tory satire against the Scottish whigs enthusiasm for the Glorious Revolution. The authors (see below) leave the reader in no doubt at the their unease at proposals that a monument be erected in honour of William III. They sarcastically suggest that it should be located in the Valley of Glencoe! The signature at the end is 'Gibbie Burnet' a very unveiled reference to the historian Gilbert Burnet, one of the key supporters of the Glorious Revolution.
The text was re-printed (APS.1.81.45; ESTC T108704) in 1792, at a time when it was feared that the unrest in France would spread across the Channel, as an appendix to a proclamation (ESTC T148691) by King George III warning against attempts at the 'subversion of all regular government'. The preface to this proclamation mentions that this pamphlet was first printed in 1788 with the aim of 'diverting the Northern part of this kingdom from joining in the popular enthusiasm' for the Revolution of 1688. The motives behind the re-printing of this pamphlet are difficult to unravel: the author of the preface seems to favour both the revolutions of 1688 and 1789 and implies that any attempts to suppress them were futile.
The pamphlet comes from the collection of Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), Lord Woodhouselee, Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh in August 2002. Fixed to the final blank page is a sheet of manuscript possibly with annotations partly in the hand of Tytler, listing 'The King's Advocates since the institution of the Court of Session', from 1537 to 1725. The inscription on the title page, presumably in Tytler's hand, reads 'written by Walter Ross and the honble Andrew Erskine'. The latter, who committed suicide in 1793 was one the closest friends of the young James Boswell and they collaborated on 'Critical strictures on the new tragedy of Elvira' and 'Letters between the honourable Andrew Erskine and James Boswell', both published in 1763. Walter Ross was probably the Writer to the Signet of the same name (1738-1789) who wrote a number of legal works in the 1780s.|
|Title||The weeping christian; or The six vices of man.|
|Imprint||Glasgow: James Duncan|
|Date of Publication||1729|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded, earliest known printing of a collection of six moral and devotional poems relating to the vices of mankind, namely: malicious envy, pride and insolence; excess of drinking; notorious, and vain swearing; lewd and wanton living; disobedience to parents. The work is anonymous and there is no clue in the text as to who the author is, but the imprint of a later (London? 1760?) printing of the work states that it was printed for one Thomas Fergusson "late a soldier in the Thirty-Third Regiment of Foot". Fergusson has been assumed to be the author but the existence of this Glasgow printing, possibly 30 years earlier than other known printings, calls this attribution into question.|
|Author||[Fettercairn Cricket Club]|
|Title||Rules of the Fettercairn Cricket Club 1865|
|Imprint||Montrose: [Fettercairn Cricket Club]|
|Date of Publication||1865|
|Notes||This appears to be the earliest surviving printed rule book of a Scottish cricket club; indeed it may well be the earliest known surviving printed item relating to cricket in Scotland. It is a small four-page pamphlet printed in Montrose at the press of the local newspaper, the "Montrose Standard", for the cricket club of the nearby village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire. Among the rules listed here is bye-law 4 which states that 'no spirituous liquors shall be brought on to the ground at any time; and no profane language shall be permitted.' Although the population of Fettercairn was relatively small (only 339 inhabitants were recorded in 1861), in the "Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland" published in 1882-85 the village is recorded as having quoit, cricket, and curling clubs. The patronage of nearby landowners such as the Gladstones at Fasque may have played a role in the establishment of cricket in the area, indeed this particular copy was originally part of the library at Fasque; but organised cricket matches were being played in Scotland long before the national game, association football, was established. The first cricket match for which records are available was played in September 1785 at Schaw Park, Alloa. The game was introduced to Scotland by English soldiers garrisoned here in the 18th century after the Jacobite uprisings. The influence of English workers in the textile, iron and paper industries led to clubs being established in places such as Kelso in 1820, and Penicuik in 1844. By the middle of the 19th century the game was firmly established in certain regions of in the south and east of Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire. Teams representing Scotland have played matches since 1865, the same year as this rule book was printed.|
|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]|
|Notes||Fire 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.|
|Title||Edinburgh sold by Arch. Gilchrist & Co. at their warehouse behind the city-guard ....|
|Imprint||[Edinburgh ; Archibald Gilchrist]|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This is a fascinating piece of late 18th-century printed ephemera. It is an engraved trade card for the Edinburgh haberdasher Archibald Gilchrist which provides a list of goods that he sold at his "warehouse behind the city-guard". Around the middle of the eighteenth century Gilchrist had moved from Lanarkshire to establish his business in Edinburgh. At that time he was one of only two haberdashers in the city, the other being John Neil.
The business became Archibald Gilchrist & Co. when two of his nephews named Mackinlay became partners. On
Gilchrist's death the company was dissolved and around 1788 his son, also Archibald (c.1766-1804), set up as a haberdasher on the South Bridge.|