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.

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Important Acquisitions 241 to 255 of 735:

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AuthorBurn, John
TitleA pronouncing dictionary of the English language
ImprintGlasgow: Chapman & Duncan,
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the only known complete copy of the first edition of John Burn's English dictionary. The compiler (d. 1793) taught English in Glasgow and is best known for his work "A practical grammar of the English language", first published in 1766. In his introduction to the dictionary Burn refers to the 'several laudable attempts' of predecessors to settle the orthography and pronunciation of the English language, but notes that a pocket dictionary addressing these needs has so far been wanting. He also comments on the fluctuating state of English pronunciation and hopes for greater uniformity in future. Interest in correct pronunciation was of particular interest for some ambitious Scots of the period, who were keen to soften or eliminate their Scottish accents and to remove any Scotticisms from their speech in order to be accepted by English society. Indeed Burn states that his principal aim for this "compillation [sic]" is to "enable one to read or deliver written language with so much propriety, as not to offend even an Englishman of the most delicate ear". The rarity of the 1777 edition indicates either a very limited print-run, or, a more likely scenario, copies of the dictionary were heavily used by its owners and have simply not survived; it was reprinted in 1786 which is evidence that there was demand for such works in Scotland. The provenance of this volume is also worthy of note. It bears the armorial bookplate, and inscriptions, of the Gardiner family of Gardiners Island, a small island at the eastern tip of Long Island, New York state. The island was granted to Lion Gardiner, an English settler, in 1639, the first colonial English settlement in present-day New York state, and it has remained in Gardiner family hands ever since. John Lyon Gardiner (1770-1816), a later proprietor of the island, evidently used here the bookplate of his grandfather John Gardiner (d. 1764), inserting an 'L.' between the words 'John' and 'Gardiner' of the bookplate. John Lyon Gardiner was only four years old when his father, David Gardiner, died and he inherited Gardiner's Island. His uncle, Colonel Abraham Gardiner, served as his guardian until he reached his majority in 1791 and became the seventh proprietor of the island. It is probable that this book was used in his education and for subsequent generations of the family. J.L. Gardiner would achieve some fame during the war of 1812 between Britain and the USA. During an excursion of the British fleet to the island to buy provisions, some British sailors were captured by the local inhabitants. The British then came to arrest John Lyon Gardiner, holding him responsible for what had happened. Gardiner, who was a delicate man, adopted the 'green room defence' where he stayed in a bed with green curtains surrounded by medicine to make him look feeble. The British, not wanting a sick man onboard their ships, decided not to proceed with the arrest.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2730
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/12/08
TitleSaga: the magazine of Eastbank Hospital. No.1, Summer 1953.
Imprint[Kirkwall: Eastbank Hospital]
Date of Publication1953
LanguageEnglish
NotesGeorge Mackay Brown was the editor of this short-lived periodical published by and for the patients and staff of Eastbank Hospital in Kirkwall. A total of 5 issues were published during 1953 and 1954 and Brown contributed 23 of the 58 pieces including poetry, prose and editorials. Brown was in Eastbank being treated for tuberculosis. The title of the magazine was suggested as he said in his editorial by 'the long and bitter struggle of men' against TB. He had previously been hospitalized as a result of TB in 1940. At the time of this spell at Eastbank Brown was teaching at Newbattle Abbey College, near Dalkeith, Midlothian. His time there, where fellow Orcadian, Edwin Muir was the warden, gave Brown 'a sense of purpose and direction'. This cover illustration drawn by Ernest Marwick shows the view of Kirkwall from the hospital verandah. It is unlikely that many copies of this home-produced magazine have survived and this is therefore a very welcome edition to the Library's holdings of material by George Mackay Brown.
ShelfmarkFB.m.830
Reference SourcesRoyle, Trevor. The Mainstream companion to Scottish literature. (Edinburgh, 1993)
Acquired on08/12/08
TitleCatalogue of 1912 model Argyll Cars
Imprint[Alexandria, Dumbartonshire?]
Date of Publication1912
LanguageEnglish
NotesFrom small beginnings in the 1890s, Argyll Motors quickly became Britain's largest car manufacturer. In 1906, the company occupied Europe's largest and most up-to-date motor vehicle factory at Alexandria, on the banks of Loch Lomond. This sales catalogue is from the company's heyday in 1912: it lists monarchs from Sarawak to Sweden among users of Argyll cars, as well as the senior members of the British royal family. A year later in 1913, an Argyll car broke thirteen world records in a single day at the Brooklands track in Surrey. The catalogue contains illustrations of the Alexandria factory and a list of models, from the 12 h.p Doctor's Coupe to the 25 h.p. Landaulette, 'a magnificent example of the coachbuilder's art'. This car also used the patent single sleeve-valve engine developed by Scottish inventor Peter Burt, which would later play an interesting role in the early history of aeroplane design. 'As long as a country produces a Car like the New Argyll - which I consider is the acme of clean and good design - it has nothing to envy or fear from anybody', says the catalogue. However the company faced financial difficulties and went into liquidation in 1914. Although revived in the 1920s, the marque was finished by 1932.
ShelfmarkFB.m.838
Reference Sources'Imprentit' NLS exhibition labels, 2008; http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/argyllmc.html; http://www.enginehistory.org/
Acquired on27/11/08
Title[Scottish War Emergency Cup Final programme]
Imprint[Glasgow?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1940
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe outbreak of the Second World War led to the suspension of normal competitive football in Scotland. The Scottish War Emergency Cup was a temporary competition held at the start of World War II, due to the suspension of the Scottish Cup by the SFA. It was held between February and May in 1940, the competition involved all sixteen League clubs still operating, Cowdenbeath later withdrew which meant Dunfermline Athletic received a bye in the first round. Rangers beat Dundee United 1 - 0 in the Final, thanks to a goal by James Smith. Although the venue, Hampden Park, Glasgow, in previous years had drawn crowds of over 100,000 for big games, the police limited attendance to 75,000 for this game.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2733
Acquired on24/11/08
TitleThe Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, no. 3182-3337
ImprintAberdeen: J. Chalmers & Co.
Date of Publication1809-1811
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland" began in 1797 as a continuation of the "Aberdeen Journal". It was published weekly and was priced at 6d for a four-page issue. This volume contains c. 150 issues of the newspaper, covering a critical period in the Napoleonic Wars. The newspaper was published until 1876, when it was continued by the "Aberdeen Weekly Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland".
ShelfmarkRB.l.249
Acquired on21/11/08
TitleThe Glasgow Advertiser v. XV, no. 1151-1255
ImprintGlasgow: J. Mennons
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Glasgow Advertiser" started life as the "Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer" in 1783, becoming the plain "Advertiser" in 1794. The newspaper then became "The Glasgow Herald" in 1805, which in turn was renamed "The Herald" in 1992, making it one of the world's oldest continuously-published English-language newspapers. In 1797 the newspaper was published bi-weekly and was priced at 4d. Each issue consisted of eight pages, two of which were devoted to adverts, the rest was a mixture of domestic, British and European news. The content of these issues are heavily influenced by the ongoing war with France. Early issues of "The Glasgow Advertiser" are very rare, so this volume containing c. 100 issues is a welcome addition to the NLS' holdings of early newspapers.
ShelfmarkRB.m.681
Acquired on21/11/08
TitleThe Glasgow Chronicle, no. 1706-no. 2377
ImprintGlasgow: D. Prentice & Co.
Date of Publication1822-1826
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume contains c. 175 issues of "The Glasgow Chronicle" covering the years 1822 to 1826. The newspaper was founded and edited by David Prentice, who bought over the "Glasgow Sentinel" title, with the first issue appearing in 1811. Prentice was a pioneer among provincial newspapermen in introducing editorials. His newspaper was published tri-weekly, priced 7d, and one of the first liberal newspapers in Scotland, calling for the end of the Corn Laws. In this volume there are several articles and letters on the subject of the abolition of slavery. The newspaper continued until 1857.
ShelfmarkAB.10.208.09
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on21/11/08
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleUntersuchung ueber die Natur und die Ursachen des Nationalreichthums[Wealth of Nations]
ImprintFrankfurt and Leipzig: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1796-99
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is one of three German-language editions of Smith's "Wealth of Nations" published in the 1790s, which is a testament to the impact the work had on continental Europe. The translation is by Christian Garve, revised by August Doerrien.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2728
Acquired on14/11/08
AuthorAlfred, King of England
TitleThe will of King Alfred
ImprintOxford : Clarendon Press
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesA remboîtage in a Scottish red morocco herringbone binding. The front and back boards have been elaborately tooled in gilt. The spine features 7 compartments with the title in gilt in compartments two to four. The textblock is gilt-edged. The front and back openings feature Dutch floral endpapers.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.170
Acquired on14/11/08
AuthorLord Byron
TitleMarino Faliero Doge of Venice
ImprintVienna and Leipzig: Avalun-Verlag
Date of Publication1922
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extremely handsome early 1920s German edition of Lord Byron's historical drama about the medieval doge who carried out an unsuccessful coup d' etat against the Venetian nobility. It is one of an edition of 275 numbered copies, which contains twelve original black and white etchings and a title page vignette by the German artist Sepp Frank (1889-1970). Frank was a leading etcher and lithographer who became famous for his work in producing ex-libris bookplates, many of which are considered masterpieces of art deco design.
ShelfmarkFB.l.386
Acquired on24/10/08
AuthorAbercrombie, John.
TitleEvery man his own gardener.
ImprintLondon: Printed for W. Griffin,
Date of Publication1767
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis book is a rare copy of the first edition of John Abercrombie's most popular work. Abercrombie (1726-1806) from Prestonpans, near Edinburgh was the son of a market gardener, whom he worked for from the age of 14. In 1751 he went to London and worked at Kew Gardens, Leicester House and a host of other noblemens' gardens. At an early age, Abercrombie started the habit of noting down various horticultural observations, which formed the raw material for this book. His name does not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the publication. Instead he had asked his friend, Thomas Mawe, gardener to the Duke of Leeds in return for £20 to prefix his name to the book so that it would sell. It was a huge success and by the seventh edition of 1776, Abercrombie's name appeared on the title page.Its popularity continued for many years, a thirty-fifth edition appearing in 1857. This copy has the ownership inscription of John Lamiman, 1767 and it is possible that he had the book put into a protective chemise, possibly so he could take it out into the garden with him.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2727
Reference SourcesHenrey, Blanche. British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800. (London, 1975); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online
Acquired on13/10/08
Author[Charles Atlas]
TitleHealth and Strength
Imprint[London:: Charles Atlas Ltd.]
Date of Publication[c. 1948]
LanguageEnglish
NotesCharles 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.
ShelfmarkPB9.208.7/1
Acquired on10/10/08
AuthorCampbell, Ethel M.
Title[Collection of poetry relating to the 1st and 2nd World Wars]
Imprint[Durban: Ethel M. Campbell]
Date of Publication1914-40
LanguageEnglish
NotesEthel M. Campbell (1886-1954) was born in Glasgow and partly educated in Scotland. Her parents both had Scottish ancestry and her father, Dr Samuel Campbell, was a leading physician in South Africa. She became a well-known Durban socialite in her youth but when World War One broke out, she devoted herself enthusiastically to the entertainment and well-being of the Australian and New Zealand troops who sailed to the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East via South Africa. She published and distributed these and other patriotic verses to the troops. She earned herself a number of nicknames - 'the Durban signaller', 'the girl with the flags', 'the Diggers' idol' and 'Angel of Durban' - as she routinely signalled troopships into Durban harbour by semaphore and also used to throw oranges and other gifts to the troops on deck. She was awarded an MBE in 1919 and in 1923 she was invited to Australia to officially dedicate a memorial to the Diggers (Australian troops). Ethel Campbell's poems are a fascinating printed record of patriotism in the British Empire, Campbell's devotion to the cause being inspired by the loss of her own fiance in France at the start of the War (she never married). She went on to become a well-known poet and author in her native South Africa; her younger brother Roy was to find wider fame as a poet and writer in 1920s Britain.
ShelfmarkRB.m.677(1-7)
Reference SourcesDictionary of South African Biography v. 4
Acquired on19/09/08
AuthorRev. Alexander Andrew
TitleMemoir of Dr. John Rankine.
ImprintGlasgow: Maurice Ogle & Company.
Date of Publication1866
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Rankine was a Scottish homeopathic doctor and early settler in Australia. Rankine arrived in South Australia on the ship Fairfield on May 4, 1839 after sailing 159 days from Liverpool. Among the ship's 105 passengers were ten members of his family and a substantial number of other families who had followed him. Rankine was responsible for the name of the town Strathalbyn in South Australia and in 1841 Andrew Rankine, son of William Rankine, became the very first child born in that town. By the end of the 1840s the Rankines had acquired large landholdings and built impressive homes on them. Dr John Rankine became a JP in 1849 and later a member of the South Australian Parliament. The book contains much detail concerning Rankine's life: emigrating to Australia; his time there; return to UK; travels in Europe; travels in Scotland; becoming involved in homeopathy; renting Kinnaird House, Larbert, and many people visiting for cures; practising work; London; settling again in Glasgow; religious involvement with the Free Church; unpublished extracts from a lecture given to the Glasgow Homeopathic Institute in the winter of 1860 ... etc. The only other extant copy of this title is held in the National Library of Medicine in Washington.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2721
Acquired on18/09/08
TitleMair Macjigger
ImprintGlasgow: Gowans & Gray ; London: R. Brimley Johnson
Date of Publication1903
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a short work of fiction in which the character Sherlock Holmes travels to Edinburgh and Portobello to hunt for Mair Macjigger. The front cover features an illustration of a sullen cigarette-smoking youth in a tam o'shanter. The front cover of this book states that this is the third edition completing 20,000 copies. Inside are dates for the first three editions, all dated within 12 days of each other in August 1903. No Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle websites appear to mention this book.
ShelfmarkFB.s.946
Acquired on18/09/08
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