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 834 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 834:

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Author[John Adair]
TitleAdvertisement, anent the surveying of all the Shires of Scotland, and making new mapps of it.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Swintoun
Date of Publication1681
LanguageEnglish
NotesOnly two other copies of this Scottish broadside are recorded. It advertises the fact that John Adair (1660-1718) had been granted on 4 May 1681 a licence by the Scottish Privy Council "to take a Survey of the whole Shires in the Kingdom [ Scotland ], and to make up Mapps thereof, describing each Shire, Royal Burgh, and other Towns considerable." In the broadside Adair asks for assistance from the "Nobility, and Gentry, the Magistrates of Royal Burghs ... to give me all the best information they can ... and in so doing, they shall not only do that good service to their Countrey ? they shall have honourable mention made of them in the proper places of Work." Adair's mapping work was important because it represented the first survey-based mapping of Scotland since Timothy Pont's work of the late sixteenth century. His first known work, a map of Clackmannanshire, dates from 1681, the same year as this advertisement. In 1686, by act of parliament, Adair's mapping was funded from an annual tonnage levy on native ships and foreign ships, to be paid annually for five years.
ShelfmarkRB.m.766
Acquired on30/09/16
Author[John Fletcher-Campbell]
TitleNotes, respecting the situation and improvements of the lands of Boquhan, parish of Gurgunnock
ImprintStirling: C. Randall
Date of Publication1793
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded, early Stirling printing relating to the hamlet of Boquhan in Stirlingshire, Scotland, together with an account of new farming and land-management techniques introduced there at the end of the eighteenth century. The author was probably General John Fletcher-Campbell FRSE (1727-1806), a local landowner who built Boquhan House in 1784. The work was dedicated to the Rev. Mr. George Robertson, minister of Gurgunnock (now known as Gargunnock), the preface is signed "I.F.C.", suggesting the authorship of General John Fletcher-Campbell FRSE. Fletcher-Campbell was a founder of the Gargunnock Farmers Club in 1794. This text is full of literary quotes and classical allusions, but there are also references to innovations in agriculture such as turnip husbandry, trials of new grasses, corn feed, a threshing-machine, a weigh-bridge, top dressing with lime, experiments with gypsum and the management of labourers working on the estate. The text has been bound in late nineteenth-century blue morocco, with marbled endpapers and gilt dentelles, and gilt edges.
ShelfmarkAB.2.216.02
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on04/12/15
Author[John Hood]
TitleThe letters of Zariora and Randale
ImprintEdinburgh : Walker and Greig
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, anonymous novel by a Scottish author. A contemporary MS note on the half title of this copy states 'Written by John Hood of Stoneridge A.D. 1813'. 'Stoneridge' refers to Stoneridge, or Stainrigg, House near Coldstream in the Scottish Borders. John Hood (1795-1878) was a local landowner. In 1841-1842 he travelled to Australia to visit his oldest son, and his account of his journey was published in 1843 under the title "Australia and the East". "The letters of Zariora and Randale" is an epistolary novel which would appear to be a youthful literary experiment of the 18-year-old Hood, presumably printed at the author's own expense. The novel is set in contemporary Spain and is moral tale about the dangers of excessive passion, in this case Randale's doomed love for a young woman Maria. The young Scot, the 'Chevalier Charles Randale', when living in Spain writes to his friend 'Mr. Zariora' of his love for Maria, the daughter of the Baron Lariana. When she suddenly dies he is overcome with grief and Zariora visits him in Spain, reporting his adventures to another friend 'Kalthander'. The novel closes with Zariora writing to Kalthander that his friend Randale refuses to leave the home of his dead lover and return to Scotland; he concludes "I fear that this dear man's emaciated form and disordered mind speak a quick decay". This copy appears to have been censored, as some lines have been ruled out to the point of illegibility on the title page, and a number of words throughout the text have been carefully removed by scraping away the surface of the paper. Pages 29-30 are also missing from this copy.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.58
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/02/15
Author[John Law]
TitleLettres patentes du roy : portant privilege au Sieur Law & sa Compagnie d'establir une Banque generale.
ImprintParis :Chez la Veuve de Franc¸ois Muguet
Date of Publication1716
LanguageFrance
NotesThis is the first letter patent issued on 2 May 1716 on behalf of King Louis XV of France, authorising the Scottish financier John Law (1671-1729) to found a general bank in France. Law is one of the most colourful and notorious figures in Scottish history. In the early 1690s he moved to England to make his fortune. Using his superior knowledge of mathematics and probability theory, he spent his time 'gaming and sharping'. His career as a gambler was, perhaps inevitably, fraught with risk; in 1692 he was forced to sell his rights of inheritance to his late father's estate of Lauriston, a few miles west of Edinburgh, to his mother. In April 1694 he killed a man in a duel over the affections of a woman. He was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey in London and sentenced to death, but managed to escape from prison and fled to the Continent. Law then travelled widely in Western Europe, where he gained a reputation as a financial expert who was able to support himself through speculating in currency markets in France and the Netherlands. He also developed his theories of the advantages of establishing a national land bank, and of expanding the money supply to increase national output, by issuing banknotes backed by land, gold, or silver. Law tried, without success, to sell his ideas of a bank for national finance and a state company for commerce to the rulers of various countries in the early 1700s. He settled in France in 1713 and lobbied Louis XIV and his finance minister, Nicolas Desmarets, to form a national bank. His plan was initially favourably received, but rejected shortly before the king's death in September 1715. However, the old king's death proved to be stroke of fortune which transformed Law's career. Louis's successor, his great-grandson Louis XV, was only a child of five, so France was then governed by a regency council, presided over by Philippe, duke of Orleans, the late king's nephew and son-in-law. The duke of Orleans, as a regent, was a bold leader; he was dedicated to reforming the policies of the late king and to restoring the finances of France, which were in a very poor state thanks to Louis XIV embroiling France in a series of expensive wars. The resultant shortage of precious metals had also led to a shortage of coins in circulation, which in turn limited the production of new coins. As a fellow gambler, the duke of Orleans was particularly interested in Law's plan for a bank as a way of dealing with the national debt. He agreed to the foundation of a 'banque generale' (General Bank), with the authority to issue banknotes. A further letter patent was issued on 20 May, stipulating the regulations for the operation of the General Bank. The bank proved to be popular and profitable within a short time, which encouraged Law to think on a bigger scale. In 1717 he set up the Compagnie d'Occident (formerly known as the Mississippi Company), which consolidated existing French trading companies who had control of the ports and islands of Louisiana, and a monopoly on the beaver trade in Canada. The company was strongly connected to the bank from the start, and in December 1718, to reflect its enhanced status, the Banque Generale became the Banque Royale, with Law appointed as director. In May 1719 Law added the struggling French East India and China companies to his own, and renamed the new company, the Compagnie des Indes. From being a simple trading company, the Compagnie des Indes took over the collection of indirect taxes in France and redemption of the debt; it had in effect become a giant holding company controlling almost the entire revenue-raising system in France, the national debt, the overseas companies, the mint, as well as the note-issuing bank. The rise of the company led to Law gaining a prominent role in the government of France; by May 1720 he was effectively chief minister and minister of finance in France. However, the rapid expansion of Law's company led to boom and bust, with its shares being the subject of wild speculation on the French stock market, as adventurers and aristocratic gamblers from all over Europe bought and sold shares at vastly inflated prices. The Banque Royale was declared bankrupt in October 1720, having already temporarily closed in May of that year, and the share price of the Compagnie des Indes collapsed. Law lost his own personal fortune and in December he had to resign from his ministerial posts. He went into exile abroad, living for a brief spell in England. The death of the duke of Orleans in 1723 put an end to his hopes of ever returning to France. He died in Venice in poverty.
ShelfmarkRB.m.759
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National biography
Acquired on06/03/15
Author[John Patrick]
TitlePhotograph of Scotland v England rugby match at Raeburn Park Edinburgh. March 5th 1892.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Patrick
Date of Publication1892
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a large cabinet print, taken from a high vantage point near the half-way line, of a Calcutta Cup game between Scotland and England and Raeburn Park (Place), in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Raeburn Place hosted Scotland rugby internationals until the mid-1920s when the Scottish Rugby Union acquired the Murrayfield site in Edinburgh. Both Scotland and England had won their first two games in the 1892 Home Nations Championship when the two nations met for the match which would decide the outcome of the Championship. In front of a crowd of 15,000 England won the game 5 - 0, with one try and one conversion. The photograph comes from the studio of John Patrick (1831-1923), who set up his first studio in Fife in the 1860s, having previously worked as a baker and bookseller. He moved to Edinburgh, opening a studio in 1884, specialising in portrait and landscape photography, as well as sporting scenes such as this one. A similar print for the 1894 Calcutta Cup game in Edinburgh is held in the collections of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Acquired on12/08/16
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[Law, John]
TitleLettre au sujet de l'arrest du Conseil d'État
Date of Publication1720
LanguageFrench
NotesThese items are useful additions to the Library's holdings of publications relating to the career and policies of John Law, the Scot turned economist and banker who became controller-general of finances in France. The first item announces the success of the reform of the French financial system, which Law had directed (although these reforms were shortly to result in the disastrous collapse of the 'Mississippi bubble' which ruined numerous investors). Law's biographer Antoin Murphy describes this work as 'Law at his disingenuous best'. The second item is an attempt to justify the measures of 22 May 1720, which had involved a reduction in the price of the paper currency which Law had introduced. Both items are anonymous, but seem likely to be by Law or commissioned by him: certainly they relate to the radical policies which originated with Law. Law eventually fled France in disgrace, and died in exile. His ideas are now considered to have been ahead of their time. See Antoin E. Murphy, John Law (1997), pp. 293+, 244+. These two books are good copies in modern boards.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2109
Acquired on26/09/01
Author[Law, John]
TitleEtat general des dettes de l'Etat
ImprintParis: Antoine-Urbain Coustlier
Date of Publication1720
LanguageFrench
NotesThese items are useful additions to the Library's holdings of publications relating to the career and policies of John Law, the Scot turned economist and banker who became controller-general of finances in France. The first item announces the success of the reform of the French financial system, which Law had directed (although these reforms were shortly to result in the disastrous collapse of the 'Mississippi bubble' which ruined numerous investors). Law's biographer Antoin Murphy describes this work as 'Law at his disingenuous best'. The second item is an attempt to justify the measures of 22 May 1720, which had involved a reduction in the price of the paper currency which Law had introduced. Both items are anonymous, but seem likely to be by Law or commissioned by him: certainly they relate to the radical policies which originated with Law. Law eventually fled France in disgrace, and died in exile. His ideas are now considered to have been ahead of their time. See Antoin E. Murphy, John Law (1997), pp. 293+, 244+. These two books are good copies in modern boards.
ShelfmarkRB.m.453
Acquired on26/09/01
Author[Le Wright, John]
TitleTwo Proposals Becoming England at this Juncture to Undertake. One, for securing a Collony [sic] in the West-Indies... And the other, for advancing Merchandize
Imprint[London]: Printed
Date of Publication1706
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis proposal for a new English colony near Darien has some curious features. Nationalistic and somewhat naive, the writer explains that his project will be much more successful than the ruinous Spanish colonies or the feeble Scottish enterprise. On the Scots efforts he writes 'the Scots Company made nothing of it, true; but what could a single ship do in so great an affair? And we now are addressing to the English, between who and the Scots, we allow no comparison in point of trade.' Wright (not in DNB) sees his proposed colony as a part of the struggle for international political supremacy. He concludes with a promise to reveal a new method for preserving ships against worms. Details: ESTC T167866, 4o, pp. [2], ii, 1-8; sig. ?2, A4, in folding case. Imprint partly cropped. Author's name appears at foot of introductory epistle to the Merchant Adventurers of England, p. ii. Like all the other copies, the final page has the catchword 'By', although the page also has the word 'Finis' and the work appears to be self-contained. There does not appear to be a connection with the other work Wright published in 1706, Captain le Wright's Warrant (ESTC T34125). Possibly, the text as we have it was only intended to be the first proposal, and 'Finis' indicates the end of the proposal rather than the end of the work as a whole. Was the printing interrupted for some reason before Wright could get down to a detailed description of his plans for 'advancing Merchandize'?
ShelfmarkRB.s.2078
Acquired on19/10/00
Author[Lothian, Marchioness of]
TitleCatalogue of household furniture, &c, which belonged to the late Marchioness of Lothian ... which will be sold by Roup, at Lothian House ... Monday the 3d March 1788 ... Mrs Bowie, Auctioneer.
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publication[1788]
NotesAn extremely rare printed sales catalogue of the household belongings of Jean, Marchioness of Lothian, sold by auction after her death in December 1787. Lothian House, at the foot of the Canongate, was the family's Edinburgh town house and was leased after her death to the philosopher Dugald Stewart, eventually becoming the headquarters for Youngers brewery. The site is now to be occupied by the Scottish Parliament building and the sales catalogue gives a direct source of evidence to the Parliament's eighteenth century precursor.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2072
Acquired on18/10/00
Author[MacFait, Ebenezer]
TitleEntwurf von Platon's Leben, nebst Bermerkungen ueber dessen schriftstellerischen und philosophischen Charakter.
ImprintLeipzig: Dyk,
Date of Publication1797
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first German translation of "Remarks on the Life and Writings of Plato", which was originally published in Edinburgh in 1760 by the obscure Scottish scholar-physician Ebenezer MacFait (d. 1786). MacFait's book focuses particularly on Plato's "Republic", and includes a defence of Plato's ideas against the criticisms which appeared in the scholarly works published by the 18th-century English politician Viscount Bolingbroke. The translation was the work of Karl Morgenstern (1770-1852) then professor of philosophy at the university of Halle, who had published his own commentary on the "Republic" in 1794; it is augmented with his own notes on Plato. This particular copy has doodles in pencil on the paper covers, including four faces in profile, and the word 'Tennemann' written in several places, which suggests that this book may have once been owned by a student of the Platonic scholar Wilhelm Gottlieb Tennemann (1761-1819), who himself had written a four-volume work "System der Platonischen Philosophie" (Leipzig, 1792-95).
Shelfmark AB.3.210.07
Acquired on23/04/10
Author[Mercer, John]
TitleExact abridgement of all the public acts of assembly of Virginia.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1759
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis collection of early acts passed by the assembly of colonial Virginia covers legislation from 1660 to 1758. Chronological tables give summary information, but the bulk of the text is taken up with an abridgement of the acts under alphabetical headings such as 'Deer', 'Duty on Slaves', 'Executions', 'Madeira Wine', 'Runaways' etc. A detailed index ensures that this is a highly practical reference work. Mercer had produced his first collection of acts in 1737, which was printed in Williamsburg, Virginia. Presumably this edition was printed in Glasgow in order to give Scottish traders information about the community with which they were making commercial transactions. However, most copies seem to have found their way to North America, with the result that this is a rare book in the British Isles; no copy is found in the Advocates' Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2172
Acquired on21/05/02
Author[Miscellaneous]
Title[Collection of Scottish tracts]
Imprint[Various]
Date of Publication1691-1774
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese five volumes, bought at auction as one lot, contain 24 items. The National Library of Scotland has the world's strongest holdings of early Scottish tracts and pamphlets, and there are some particularly important additions here, with a number of very rare or unrecorded works. Some examples of works new to our collections are given here: 'A letter from a gentleman in Edinburgh to his friend in the country', Glasgow, 1752. Only one copy listed in ESTC (Princeton University) Andrew Welwood, 'A Glimpse of Glory', Edinburgh, 1774. Unrecorded. 'The Black Book of Conscience', 30th edition, Edinburgh, 1751. Only one imperfect copy in ESTC (Huntington Library) 'A description of all the kings of Scotland', 1713. Unrecorded. 'A non-juror's recantation', London, 1691. Unrecorded. 'Issuasive from Jacobitism', London, 1713. Unrecorded. It is always particularly useful to acquire unrecorded works bound in volumes with other items, as this helps to indicate the context in which they appeared, and so makes it easier for the unknown work to be interpreted. This is a particularly good group of pamphlets on Scottish religion and politics.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2313-17
Acquired on28/11/03
Author[Miscellaneous]
Title[Collection of 6 pre-1701 items printed in Scotland]
Imprint[Edinburgh, s.n.]
Date of Publicationbetween 1630 and 1693
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of 6 Scottish single-sheet items printed before 1700, these were formerly part of a bound volume of mainly 17th century broadsides and pamphlets belonging at one time to an Alexander Warrand of Muir of Ord, who died in 1899. The volume was sold at auction in 2011 and the NLS subsequently acquired these six items: (1) a proclamation of Charles I, printed in 1630, relating to tax collection in Scotland; (2) a 1660 proclamation of the Committee of Estates against "unlawfull meetings and seditious papers"; (3) answers for Henry Nevil Payne, an agitator for the Roman Catholic cause in Scotland, to the indictment raised by the lord advocate (c. 1693); (4) "Act and ratification in favours of the glass manufactory in Morisons Haven" (1698) (Morrison's Haven was a harbour at Prestongrange, East Lothian, which was then a busy port); (5) "Reasons for passing an act for communication of trade to the town of Leith" (c. 1693), a printed document concerning the Acts of the Scottish Parliament in 1672 and 1693 which removed trade restrictions in Edinburgh and extended the trading rights of baronies such as Leith; (6) a proclamation, from the Commonwealth era, of the commissioners at Leith, dated 1651, requiring merchants to make a full declaration of all their merchandise to the customs officials at the chief ports in Scotland. Items 4, 5 and 6 are of particular interest as they are not recorded in ESTC or Aldis's bibliography of books printed in Scotland before 1701.
ShelfmarkRB.l.277(1-6)
Reference SourcesESTC, Aldis
Acquired on03/02/11
Author[Morris, James Archibald]
TitlePhotographs of the auld brig of Ayr (built about fifteenth century)
Imprint[Ayr: s.n.]
Date of Publication1910
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis a rare privately-published photo album documenting, in a series of 28 numbered photographs, the restoration of Ayr's most famous landmark, the Auld Brig. Built in the 15th-century, the bridge featured in Robert Burns's poems "The Brigs o' Ayr" and "Tam o'Shanter". By the start of the 20th-century the bridge was in poor condition and was almost demolished. However, a campaign led by architect and local historian James Archibald Morris (1857-1942), and supported by the Earl of Rosebery, was successful in raising funds for restoring the Auld Brig to its former glory. As the cover of the album informs us, £11,000 was raised from subscribers around the world, with the restoration work taking place between 1907 and 1910. The Earl of Rosebery re-opened the bridge on 29 July 1910. All bar three of the 28 gelatine prints were taken by Morris, who was a keen amateur photographer. Morris presumably arranged for the photographs to be bound in albums (with a leaf of explanatory notes for each photograph) and distributed, presumably to members of the executive committee of the Ayr Auld Brig preservation campaign whose names appear on the back cover.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.152
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/11/12
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