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 735 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 211 to 225 of 735:

Ordered by date acquired
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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
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
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
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
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
AuthorBell, James Stanislaus.
TitleJournal d' une residence en Circassie pendant les annees 1837, 1838, et 1839.
ImprintParis: Arthus Bertrand.
Date of Publication1841
LanguageFrench
NotesJames Stanislaus Bell (1796-1858) was a Dundee-born trader who in the 1830s started trading in Circassia, a region of the North Caucasus on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea. Circassia had long been a key strategic location for the ongoing power struggle between the Russian, Ottoman, British and French empires. Russia wanted to expand its territory along the Black Sea coastline, while Britain and France sought to reduce Russia's ability to take advantage of the declining Ottoman presence in the area in order to protect their own trading interests in the Middle and Far East. From the 1760s onwards the Russians and local tribes living in Circassia engaged in a series of battles and wars over the territory, which were only ended in 1864 when Circassian leaders finally swore loyalty to the Russian Czar. Bell was following in the footsteps of another Scot, the diplomat David Urquhart, who in 1834 was the first Briton to champion the Circassians' cause against the Russians. Bell chartered a vessel, the "Vixen", to trade with directly with the local people and landed on the Caucasian coast in late 1836. He declared his cargo as salt, but the Russian authorities were convinced that he in fact was smuggling weapons and confiscated his ship. The Russians' suspicions may have been well-founded, given Bell's links with Urquhart and the British government's anti-Russian stance. Bell made his second trip to Circassia in 1837, accompanied by "The Times" journalist J.A. Longworth, ostensibly to negotiate reparations for the capture of his ship as the British government had publicly declined to get involved in his dispute with the Russians. He may also however have been reporting in secret to the British government on the political and military situation. He ended up staying in the region until 1839. During these years he took time to study the language, customs and traditions of the Circassians, even accompanying them on raids behind the Russian lines. Both Bell and Longworth wrote books based on their time in Circassia. Bell's work was originally published in English in 1840 as 'Journal of a residence in Circassia' and is regarded as the most comprehensive first-hand account of the Russo-Circassian wars in the latter part of the 1830s. This French translation by Louis Vivien appeared in the following year, as did a German translation. Vivien supplied an historical and geographical introduction for the French edition, which contains the same plates as used in the English edition. Bell later worked as a government agent in Central America, where his daughter married the Prussian adventurer and author Gustavus von Tempsky.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.17
Acquired on03/04/09
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
Author[Fettercairn Cricket Club]
TitleRules of the Fettercairn Cricket Club 1865
ImprintMontrose: [Fettercairn Cricket Club]
Date of Publication1865
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2742
Acquired on09/03/09
AuthorRobertson, Dionysius
TitleLeichte und ganz neue Art Pferde zu englisiren [sic] [+ 1 other work]
ImprintArnheim: Felix Grundlieb
Date of Publication1770
LanguageGerman
NotesThis volume contains the second work by the 18th-century Scottish horse doctor, Dionysius Robertson, which the Library has acquired in recent years (the other being the first edition of his ground-breaking work "Pferde-Artzney-Kunst" AB.1.208.004). Nothing is known of his early life, but we do know that in 1735 he entered into the service of lieutenant-general Sir James Campbell of Lawers, Perthshire. In the 1740s he served with the British army on the Continent in the War of the Austrian Succession. Robertson stayed on the continent when the War ended in 1747. He later worked for Friedrich, Margrave of Bayreuth-Brandenburg, in Bayreuth and for Friedrich's son-in-law, Duke Carl Eugen of Wuerttemberg. In 1753, in response to what he regarded as the relative lack of written knowledge relating to breaking in horses and their medical treatment, he published in Stuttgart his work "Pferde-Artzney-Kunst". Robertson then went on to serve Friedrich Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. In 1757 he left the Elector and eventually settled in the Prussian city of Landsberg on the river Warthe (now Gorzow Wielkopolski in western Poland), where he practised his veterinary skills. He travelled widely in northern Europe during this period and became particularly renowned for his skill in castrating stallions and for introducing the practice of cauterisation to Germany. In this work of 1770 he describes how cosmetic surgery could be carried out on horses to improve their appearance. He outlines the process of 'Anglicising', i.e. docking, the tail of a horse by cutting and raising the tail of a horse while the animal is kept in its stall. By using a system of weights and pulleys the docked tail could be pulled upwards until it had a pleasing erect appearance. He Robertson then gives directions on how to carry out an operation to reduce the size of a horse's ears, as well as tips and recipes on curing common ailments which afflicted horses. The tail and ear operations are illustrated with folding engraved plates. Bound in with Robertson's work is another anonymous German work of 1774, "Von der lieflaendischen Pferdezucht und einigen bewaehrten Pferdecuren" on horse-breeding as practised in Liefland (i.e. Livonia - a Baltic state now incorporated into Estonia and Latvia) and on various cures for horse ailments.
ShelfmarkAB.1.209.013(1)
Acquired on09/03/09
AuthorMcKerrell, John
TitleA grammar of the Carnataca language
ImprintMadras: College Press
Date of Publication1820
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first published grammar of the Kannada language of India. The author was a member of the McKerrell family of Hillhouse in Ayrshire. He travelled to India in 1805 and later became master of the mint in Madras. In his preface he explains that he was initially employed in a "judicial situation" in the region of British Carnara (Karnataka - formerly known as the kingdom of Mysore) and was required to learn the Carnataca (Kannada) language of the local inhabitants. He proposed compiling a grammar as early as 1809, but ill health and demands of work delayed the publication of this book until 1820. A new grammar of the Kannada language, based on McKerrell's earlier work, was published in 1859 in Bangalore.
ShelfmarkAB.8.209.05
Acquired on02/03/09
AuthorDickson & Mann Ltd.
Title[Trade catalogue advertising coal cleaning and sorting machinery etc.]
ImprintEdinburgh: Morrison & Gibb
Date of Publication[1900]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an early illustrated trade catalogue, which includes photographic illustrations of products produced by the firm Dickson & Mann at their Bathville steel works in Armadale, West Lothian. Dickson & Mann introduced the steel industry to the area and became specialist manufacturers of surface conveying and coal-handling equipment to the coalmines in the Armadale area, as well as other parts of Britain. Conveniently situated near to the railway level crossing on the Bathville and Bathgate Road, the steel works was electrified in 1893 to keep pace with the demands of the coal industry. This fourth edition of the firm's catalogue also includes illustrations of the works itself. Founded in 1876, Dickson & Mann became an incorporated company in 1892 and continued in business until 1969; their business records are now housed in the National Archives of Scotland.
ShelfmarkAP.4.209.16
Acquired on02/03/09
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
AuthorJames Clerk Maxwell
TitleTraite d'Electricite et de Magnetisme
ImprintParis: Gauthier-Villars
Date of Publication1883
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first French translation of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, based on the second edition which was published in 1881, after Maxwell's death. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that 'the impact of the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was at first muted, but within a few years of his death his field theory shaped the work of Maxwellian physicists ... Maxwell's field theory and electromagnetic theory of light came to be accepted and regarded as one of the most fundamental of all physical theories.' In his preface, French engineer G. Seligmann-Lui explains that this translation includes extra material designed to help French professors and students understand concepts and theories Maxwell uses which are not yet taught in France, but also that it will be useful to practising engineers. He praises Maxwell for writing a book 'with a good number of chapters, easy to read, where [Maxwell's ideas] can be found set out with perfect clarity'.
ShelfmarkAB.4.209.01
Reference SourcesOxford DNB.
Acquired on19/02/09
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