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 196 to 210 of 727:

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AuthorJebb, Samuel
TitleThe life of Robert Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth: drawn from original writers and records
ImprintLondon: Woodman and Lyon
Date of Publication1727
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis book comes from the library of Gordon Castle, home of the Dukes of Gordon, and contains that library's booklabel, shelf label and armorial bookplate. However originally it belonged to one particular member of the Gordon family, as revealed by a flyleaf inscription: 'Lord Lewis Gordon his Book given to him by his Mamma Janry 17th 1733'. Lord Lewis Gordon (c.1725-54) would be one of Bonnie Prince Charlie's members of council in 1745, and end his life in exile in France. This life of a prominent Elizabethan courtier at first glance does not seem a likely present for the Jacobite Henrietta Gordon to give to her 8-year-old fatherless son, and one wonders if he in fact ever read the book, or if it made its way into the family library because it failed to hold his interest.
ShelfmarkAB.2.209.09
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on21/05/09
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
Author[Anon.]
TitleScotch gallantry display'd: or the life and adventures of the unparralel'd [sic] Col. Fr-nc-s Ch-rt-s, impartially related. With some remarks on other writers on this subject.
Imprint London: printed for, and sold by the booksellers in town and country,
Date of Publication1730
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare first edition of a pamphlet which gives an account of the life of the infamous Francis Charteris (c.1665-1732), gambler and rake, who was born in Edinburgh, and whose family were major landowners in Scotland. The work was published at the height of his notoriety; in December 1729 Charteris was charged with the attempted rape of Ann Bond, one of his maidservants, who had been in his employment for only a few days. After hearing testimony from the girl herself, as well as from fellow servants, Charteris was found guilty and in February 1730 was sentenced to death by hanging. It was unusual at the time for a gentleman to be punished for what many contemporaries considered an act of gallantry, and his conviction may have been secured by influential parties hostile to Charteris. The rape, however, was just one such in a long career of gambling, extortion, and serial seduction, usually of tall young lower class girls (Charteris was 6 feet tall), recently arrived in London, ensnared by one of his employees and brought to his houses in the West End. If unable to secure their favours by fair means, he would resort to force. Charteris, however, escaped the gallows. On the advice of judges, privy council, and his advocate, Duncan Forbes (another legatee of Charteris's will), George II granted him a full pardon on 10 April. The trial and its aftermath had incurred expenses amounting to 15,000, but Charteris's personal fortune was estimated at 200,000 so this was a sum he could well afford. He may have bought his freedom, but for the rest of his life Charteris was vilified, and was once physically attacked in his coach. He left London for good in 1730, retiring to his property in Lancashire before returning to Scotland in February 1732. He died the following month at his Stony Hill estate near Musselburgh, after using "Opiates in great Quantities" (The Country Journal, 4 March 1732. At his burial in the family vault at the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh, the populace gave a "loud Huzza" (Fog's Weekly Journal, 11 March 1732). Only one copy (in the British Library) is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2755
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/09
AuthorDalbeattie Golf Club.
TitleThe book of Dalbeattie Golf Club.
ImprintDalbeattie: Printed and published by Ivie A. Callan,
Date of Publication1912
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare early 20th-century golf publication on golf in Dumfries and Galloway. The Dalbeattie Golf Club was inaugurated at a public meeting in 1894, and a nine-hole course was created from local farmland. In 1902 a small clubhouse was erected, but proved to be inadequate to meets the needs of the growing membership. The book of Dalbeattie Golf Club, privately printed in 1912, was produced to help raise funds to improve the course and the facilities, with literary contributions from members of the club. As one author writes, "So fascinating has the game of golf now become that a holiday district without a good golf course labours under great disadvantages. A first class golf course is almost a necessity as a means of attracting visitors and, with this object in view it is desirable to have a course worthy of Dalbeattie".
ShelfmarkRB.m.689
Reference SourcesDalbeattie Golf Club website http://www.dalbeattiegc.co.uk/index.html
Acquired on30/04/09
AuthorWalter MacFarlane & Co.
TitleIllustrated examples of MacFarlane's Architectural ironwork
ImprintGlasgow: [s.n.],
Date of Publication[c. 1920]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a superb folio-size brochure aimed at members of the building trade highlighting the ironwork produced by Walter MacFarlane & Co.'s foundry at Possilpark, Glasgow. It includes black and white photographic illustrations of examples of the company's ironwork on recent buildings with a facing page of text. The location of each building is given along with the name(s) of the architect(s) of the buildings. A wide range of buildings and building features are covered: shops, hospitals, stairs, conservatories, railings etc.; work on overseas projects in the British Empire such as a bank in Madras and shop in Johannesburg is also included. This copy was a presentation copy to Messrs Wrathwell & Blackshaw of Stockport. Walter MacFarlane & Co. was one of number of Scottish architectural ironfounders who dominated British architectural ironwork production in the 19th century. Founded c. 1850 by Walter MacFarlane (1817-85) the firm quickly went from strength to strength to become the most prolific architectural ironfounders the world has seen. The foundry at Possilpark was opened in 1872 and expanded to cover 24 acres; it continued to operate successfully in the early 20th century, around the time this brochure was produced. After the 2nd World War, however, there was a sharp decline in demand for ornamental cast ironwork. The company became part of Allied Ironfounders in 1965, and was absorbed into Glynwed in 1966. The foundry at Possilpark eventually closed in 1967 and was subsequently demolished. The company name was bought by Glasgow firm Heritage Engineering in 1993.
ShelfmarkFB.l.391
Reference Sourceshttp://www.scottishironwork.org/waltermac.htm
Acquired on24/04/09
TitleBhagavad-Gita
ImprintGlasgow: David Bryce and Sons
Date of Publication[1900?]
LanguageSanskrit
NotesThis is a miniature copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, printed in gold and produced by David Bryce of Glasgow, the pre-eminent 19th century Scottish maker of miniature books. Regular copies of this publication are extremely rare and this copy printed in gold type is most probably unique. The provenance is significant in that it was originally part of David Bryce's personal collection. It was then owned by Bryce's grand-daughter and later acquired by Louis W. Bondy (1910-1993), the author of the classic one-volume reference source entitled: Miniature Books: their History from the Beginnings to the Present Day. The book measures 3 x 4 cm. The text is printed upon the thinnest white tissue paper and it is bound in gold and purple grapevine patterned stiff paper. On the front board a curlicue-patterned paper is pasted on, at the center of which is the title. The same pattern is repeated on two separate pasted papers on the spine. The book is accompanied by a lidded silver box measuring 4.5 x 6.5 cm. The top lid is engraved with a pattern resembling a tartan which incorporates a shield device. Engraved in script in the center of the shield is Bryce's name, and "Jedburgh" below.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2747
Reference SourcesBondy
Acquired on21/04/09
AuthorTodd, John.
TitleThe mountain cottage.
ImprintPittsfield, Mass. : E.P. Little
Date of Publication1844
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis short work is a rare and virtually unknown American children's story about a Scottish immigrant, James Orwell, which perpetuates stereotypes of Scottish greed and melancholy. The anti-hero had been in the U.S. for over 50 years, losing his livelihood when his shop was burnt down during the revolutionary wars. He retreated from society to this mountain cottage and cut a forlorn and repulsive figure. There is a moral and uplifting aspect to the tale relating to Orwell's children. The daughter dies after a long illness while the son returns in the manner of the prodigal son. The author, John Todd (1800-1873) was an American Congregationalist who wrote a number of books for children. Only three copies of this work are recorded, all in North America.
ShelfmarkAB.1.209.019
Acquired on20/04/09
AuthorJohnston, James F. W.
TitleQueries regarding the potato disease.
ImprintEdinburgh: Laboratory of the Agricultural Chemistry Association,
Date of Publication[1845?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an interesting questionnaire sent out to Scottish farmers ('the most skilful local farmers') by the laboratory of the Agricultural and Chemistry Association regarding potato disease. The 26 questions on the sheet were intended to get an understanding of the extent of potato disease in Scotland. In 1844, a new form of potato blight was identified in America, an air-carried fungus 'Phytophthora Infestans'. It basically turned a potato into a mushy mess that was completely inedible. The American blight was first identified in France and the Isle of Wight in 1845. The summer of 1845 turned out to be mild but very wet in Britain and Ireland. It was almost the perfect weather conditions for the blight to spread, which it did in Ireland to a catastrophic effect. It also badly affected the Highlands of Scotland, another area where the potato had become the staple food, from 1846 to 1852.
ShelfmarkAP.4.209.26
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorCunningham, James, Captain.
TitleProposals for printing, by subscription, Tartuffe: or, The holy hypocrite detected and exposed.
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.],
Date of Publication[1764?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a single sheet item in the form of a spoof prospectus which is referred to in a 1764 legal action entitled: 'Memorial for Mr. David Blair, minister of the Gospel and Brechin, defender, against Captain James Cunningham, defender'. David Blair (1701-1769), minister at Brechin, believing that his second wife Ann was having an adulterous affair with Captain Cunningham of Balbougie, Fife, published a story that the child recently born to his wife was not his but was fathered by Cunningham. Blair had married his second wife in 1759, his first wife having died some years previously, and is recorded as having one child with her in 1762, a daughter who lived only for a few months. Cunningham denied the charges, but admitted to publishing several satirical publications on Blair of which this is most probably one. The reference to "Tartuffe" in the title recalls the famous 17th-century French comedy by Moliere, in which the main character is a scheming hypocrite, who ostensibly and exaggeratedly feigns virtue, especially religious virtue.
ShelfmarkAP.5.209.09
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorDuncan, William.
TitleThe ass reliev'd. a true tale. In which is contained some remarks and observations, on the office of a tide-waiter.
ImprintGreenock: William Johnston,
Date of Publication1812
LanguageScots
NotesThis is an unrecorded Greenock chapbook by a local author, William Duncan. The verso of the title page notes that "The following tale is founded on fact, and happened in June, 1802, when the author was then but young in the service". 'The ass reliev'd' is in fact a mock-serious poem in Scots based on an incident involving an ass on board a ship during Duncan's time spent working as a tidesman or tide-waiter (a customs officer who goes on board a merchant ship to secure payment of the duties before a cargo can be unloaded). The second part of the poem 'Being remarks on the office of a tidewaiter' is a lament for the low pay and long hours involved in the job.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2745
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorAlexander, James Edward, Sir.
TitleOn the means of defending farm houses.
ImprintGraham's Town [South Africa]: [s.n.],
Date of Publication1835
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare South African imprint which gives instructions for the defence of farms during the 6th Cape Frontier (or Xhosa) War. The author, James Alexander (1803-1885) was a Scottish army officer, who at the time was serving in South Africa as the as aide-de-camp to Sir Benjamin D' Urban, the then governor of the Cape Colony. Alexander played a key role in organising the defence of settlements such as Grahamstown and leading an exploring party into the heart of South Africa. The 6th Cape Frontier War was one of series of nine armed conflicts between white European settlers (Boers and British) and the native Xhosa peoples of the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, which lasted for around 100 years, from the late 18th to the late 19th century. The 6th war was triggered by the killing of Xhosa chief by a government commando party in 1834. An army of 10,000 Xhosa swept into the Cape Colony the following year, pillaging and burning the homesteads and killing all who resisted. Alexander's pamphlet gives practical instructions, complete with seven illustrations, for farmers on how to defend their property. The war ended with the signing of a peace treaty in 1836. Alexander went on to pursue a long and distinguished career in the army, serving in various parts of the British Empire.
ShelfmarkRB.m.686
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorGrant, John Peter [ed].
TitleBook of the Banff Golf Club bazaar.
Imprint[Banff]: Banffshire Journal Office,
Date of Publication1895
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare item of late 19th-century 'golfiana'. It consists of poems, songs and short stories by memebers of the Club, as well as portraits of local worthies. The publication was produced to coincide with a bazaar to raise funds for a new clubhouse and improvements to the course. The Banff Golf Club was founded in 1871, the members playing on a course on Banff links, although golf had of course been played in the area for centuries. The Club continued until 1924 when it amalgamated with another Banff club, the Duff House Club to become the Duff House Royal Golf Club. This particular copy has the bookplate of noted golf book collector Joseph Bridger Hackler.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2746
Acquired on10/04/09
TitleThe Edinburgh Almanack and Scots Register for 1807
ImprintEdinburgh: David Ramsay & Son
Date of Publication1807
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis Edinburgh Almanack belonged to Fletcher Norton (1744-1820), second son of Fletcher Norton, first Baron Grantley, Speaker of the House of Commons. 'Fletcher Norton, Abbey Hill, Edinburgh' as he signs himself in this book, was appointed one of the Barons of the Scottish Exchequer in 1776 and set up residence in the Scottish capital. According to James Grant's book Old and New Edinburgh, Norton 'stood high in the estimation of all' as 'husband, father, friend, and master'. A founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Norton was a supporter of Scottish culture, playing a key role in ensuring the publication of Albyn's Anthology, an important collection of Scottish music. Norton gave his name to East and West Norton Place, Abbeyhill, the streets now located on the site of his old Edinburgh home. This almanac, whose blank pages were used by Norton to keep a record of his expenditure, provide an interesting insight into the daily life of a member of Edinburgh's social and cultural elite in the early 19th century, recording the 18 shillings spent on tooth powder, and the 2.9.0 spent on a chaise to London, among other notes. Our perception of movement between England and Scotland during this period is largely one of Scots emigrating - this book bears witness to an Englishman who successfully moved to Scotland and integrated himself with its cultural life.
ShelfmarkAB.1.209.016
Reference SourcesOxford DNB; James Grant, Old and New Edinburgh, vol.5 chapter 13 (http://www.oldandnewedinburgh.co.uk/volume5/page138/single)
Acquired on06/04/09
TitleRider's British Merlin for the year of Our Lord God 1804.
ImprintLondon: Printed for the Company of Stationers
Date of Publication1804
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis almanac, in a splendid decorative binding, is perhaps most interesting for its annotations: there is no ownership inscription, but it would be possible to reconstruct much about the owner from the copious notes on blank pages throughout the text. There are accounts (five shillings for a yard of lace, nineteen for 'stuff for petticoats', sixpence for a 'poor woman', for instance), recipes, notes on sermons and devotional topics, and poetry - most clearly attributed to authors such as Cowper, but some perhaps original. From the accounts and recipes, it seems likely that this almanac had a female owner; from the other content, one with a particularly spiritual and poetical turn of mind.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.937
Acquired on06/04/09
Author[Jones, Robert T.]
TitleA short love story: the people of St Andrews and Robert T. (Bobby) Jones Jr.
Imprint[Atlanta, GA : Atlanta Athletic Club]
Date of Publication[1973?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a commemorative pamphlet issued by the Atlanta Athletic Club shortly after the death of its most famous member, the amateur golfer Robert (Bobby) Tyre Jones Jr. (1902-1971). The pamphlet reproduces the text of two speeches, one given by Jones and the other by the Provost of St Andrews, Robert Leonard, on the occasion of Jones becoming a citizen of the Royal Burgh of St. Andrews in 1958. The 19-year-old Jones had first played at the home of golf at the British Open in 1921; he famously tore up his scorecard in disgust during his third round after failing to get his ball out of a bunker on the 11th hole. He publicly expressed his dislike of the Old Course and in return the local press labelled him as an 'ordinary boy'. Six years later, however, he returned to St. Andrews to successfully defend his British Open championship, which marked the beginning of a long and special relationship with the course and Scottish golfing fans. In 1930 he won a Grand Slam of tournaments (the open and amateur championships in both the USA and Britain), winning the British championship at St Andrews. He effectively retired from the game after 1930, but continued to be active in the world of golf. In 1948 Jones was diagnosed with a rare, incurable spinal cord disorder which gradually crippled him. In 1958 he was appointed as team captain of the USA for the World Amateur Team Championship at St. Andrews. At the packed and emotional dinner at the Younger Graduation Hall to mark Jones becoming an Honorary Burgess (he was the first American since Benjamin Franklin to receive the honour), the golfer, who by now could only stand with the aid of leg braces, spoke movingly of his career and the special role St. Andrews had played in it.
ShelfmarkAP.3.209.32
Reference SourcesGolf Digest Magazine
Acquired on03/04/09
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