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 755 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 241 to 255 of 755:

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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
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
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
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
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
AuthorPaterson, William & Francklin, John
TitleWilhelm Patterson's Reisen in das Land der Hottentotten + William Franklin's Bermerkungen auf einer Reise von Bengalen nach Persien
ImprintBerlin: Voss
Date of Publication1790
LanguageGerman
NotesThis volume contains two German editions of important 18th-century British works of travel and exploration, both translated by Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-98). Forster, a German naturalist of partial Scottish descent, was at the time Professor of Natural History and Mineralogy at the University of Halle. The first item in the volume is the rare first German translation, complete with the often missing map, of "A narrative of four journeys into the country of the Hottentots and Caffraria" by the Scots army officer and natural historian Lieutenant William Paterson (1755-1810). Paterson made four journeys from Cape Town into the largely unexplored interior of South Africa between 1777 and 1779 and first published this account of his travels in 1789. It includes a number of plates illustrating indigenous plants, demonstrating Paterson's own particular interest in the flora and fauna of the country. Indeed, his book is dedicated to the eminent English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks. This German translation and a French translation appeared shortly afterwards, an indication of the appetite for information about Africa in Western Europe at this time. Paterson spent the last 20 years of his life involved in colonial administration in Australia, but he is best remembered for his explorations, his South African publications, and his botanical collections, which are located in the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. The second item in the volume is a German translation of "Observations made on a tour from Bengal to Persia" by another soldier turned explorer William Francklin [sic] (1763-1839). Francklin's work was first published in Calcutta in 1788, then in London in 1790. The German translation appeared seven years before the French one. Forster was an ideal choice to do these translations, having lived and taught in Britain for several years and having served as the naturalist on Captain Cook's second voyage 1772-75.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2740(1)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/02/09
AuthorRobert, J.S.
TitleLife and explorations of Dr. Livingstone
ImprintNottingham: Haslam
Date of Publicationc. 1880
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn S. Roberts's biography of David Livingstone first appeared in the 1870s and was immediate success, contributing to the image of the Scots explorer as a saintly and indefatigable figure, a true Victorian hero whose exploits were studied by schoolchildren all over the Empire. The work was published by Adam & Co. of London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and contained colour lithographic plates depicting in vivid detail scenes from Livingstone's life. It appears to have been reissued by provincial booksellers, who inserted an additional title page. This large-format copy was published by Haslam of Nottingham presumably for the local market.
ShelfmarkAB.9.209.03
Acquired on16/02/09
AuthorStewart, Dugald
TitleCompendio di filosofia morale
ImprintPadua: Tipografia della Minerva
Date of Publication1821
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is the first Italian translation of Dugald Stewart's Outlines of Moral Philosophy, a book first published in Edinburgh in 1793, but here translated from the fourth edition of 1818. The prolific translator Pompeo Ferrario produced the Italian text and contributed a 'Preliminary Note' in which he set the book in the context of the 'Scottish Philosophical School', claiming for Stewart a key role as the school's best moral philosopher. He praises Stewart's works as 'l'Opera di Morale piu completa che sia fin qui comparsa in Inghilterra' - 'the most complete scheme of Moral Philosophy which has yet appeared in England'. This translation testifies to the Europe-wide reputation of Stewart and other 18th-century Scottish philosophers; no other copy is recorded on COPAC.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.04
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue.
Acquired on12/02/09
AuthorNicoll, Alexander
TitleNotitia codicis Samaritano-Arabici in Bibliotheca Bodleiana
ImprintOxford, [s.n.]
Date of Publication1817
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a pamphlet on Arabic manuscript versions of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The author, Alexander Nicoll (1793-1828), was a Snell Exhibitioner, i.e. a recipient of a scholarship for Scottish scholars at Balliol College, Oxford. He became a sub-librarian in the Bodleian Library and later a professor of Hebrew at Oxford. Nicoll, originally from Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, was famed for both his linguistic abilities and his dedication to cataloguing the Bodleian's collection of Oriental manuscripts. In the pamphlet he draws attention to errors in interpretation of these Pentateuch manuscripts by the 18th-century biblical scholar David Durell of Hertford College, Oxford, and the German professor of oriental languages at Jena, Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus. The latter had visited England as a part of a tour of Europe in the years 1787-88 and had presumably seen these manuscripts in the Bodleian. Only 60 copies in total of the book were printed, the present example being one of 10 on large paper. A manuscript annotation on the front fly-leaf notes the distribution of each of the 10 large-paper copies: some went to professors of Hebrew and Arabic; some to Oxford librarians, tutors, and fellows. This copy has a pasted piece of paper on it showing that it was formerly owned by George Williams (1814-1878), who served as Vice-Provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1854 to 1857.
ShelfmarkAB.8.209.02
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on09/02/09
Author[Winter, W. Jefferson]
TitleIn Memory of Frank Worthing Actor
ImprintNew York: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1912
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a memorial volume containing glowing tributes to the late actor Frank Worthing (1866-1910), who was born as Francis George Pentland in Edinburgh. Worthing became a student at Edinburgh University with a view to a career in medicine but by 1884 abandoned his studies in favour of the stage. By the late 1880s he had made it to London and was securing leading roles there, acting alongside the likes of Lily Langtry, before moving on to the USA in 1894. He worked in America for the rest of his career, in latter years playing the leading man in productions with the actress Grace George. Worthing collapsed when stepping on stage in Detroit for the opening act of the comedy "Sauce for the Goose", and died shortly afterwards. He had been suffering from tuberculosis for a number of years but had insisted on carrying on acting, despite collapsing on stage on two previous occasions. One of his notable roles was as Lieutenant Pinkerton in the original 1900 production of "Madame Butterfly", the play which would later be adapted by Puccini for his famous opera. Among the contributors to the volume is the actor Tyrone Power, Sr. (father of the well-known Hollywood actor of the same name). The printing of the volume was organised by W. Jefferson Winter (1878-1929), an American actor and friend of Worthing. Winter's father, the drama critic William Winter (1836-1917), supplied a brief biography and elegy for the deceased. This copy contains the bookplate of the author Eric Salmon, and of the American printer William Frederick de Dopff Morey (b. 1858).
ShelfmarkPB4.209.34/6
Reference SourcesNY Times Digital archive
Acquired on09/02/09
AuthorWotherspoon, John and Stevenson, William
TitleThe weaver's pocket companion
ImprintGlasgow: David Niven,
Date of Publication1796
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded second printing of a work which was first published in Glasgow in 1779. The first edition is also very rare, only two copies recorded in ESTC at NLS and the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. The book is one of several such 'companions' produced by and for members of the weaving community in the west of Scotland, who were noted for their high level of education. It gives practical advice and a series of tables to help weavers produce the right quantity and quality of cloth. The fact that so few copies of either edition of Wotherspoon and Stevenson's companion survive is probably testament to their heavy use by individual handloom weavers. After the mechanisation of cloth production in factories in the early 19th century, the handloom weavers, and by extension these printed weaving companions, became largely redundant.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2736
Acquired on02/02/09
TitleA health, the Duke of Richmond and the Earl of Clare made their hired mobb[sic] drink in the Court of Requests, and places adjacent, on Friday 10th of June, 1715.
Imprint[S.l., s.n.]
Date of Publication1715
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a curious piece of anti-Jacobite printed ephemera: a small handbill with the text of a toast proposed by two Whig peers, the Earl of Clare and Duke of Richmond. The toast wishes ill-will to, amongst others, the Pretender (James, son of the late, deposed James II/VII), the French king and all those who do not love King George I. At the time a Jacobite rebellion against the Hanoverian king, organised by leading Tory noblemen, seemed imminent, but it never came to fruition in England. In Scotland, however, events took a different course and an organised armed rebellion took place in the autumn of that year.
ShelfmarkAP.2.209.029
Acquired on30/01/09
AuthorOdyniec, Antoni Edward
TitleTlomaczenia Antoniego Edwarda Odynda. Tom Czwarty [-szosty i ostatni]
ImprintVilnius: Jozef Zwadski
Date of Publication1842
LanguagePolish
NotesIn this book are bound volumes 4-6 of the Tlumaczenia (translations) of Antoni Edward Odyniec (1804-1885). The first three volumes had been published in 1838 in Leipzig; these final three were published in Vilnius in 1842-3. Odyniec was a journalist, poet and translator, who had previously translated Byron's Corsair (1st ed., 1829) while in exile in Paris. The three volumes here show Byron and Scott alongside other great names of European literature, being translated for a Polish audience on whom they would have a great influence. Volume four contains Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and volume five Byron's Mazeppa, along with Thomas Moore's Paradise and the Peri and Scott's ballads The Eve of St. John and Cadyow Castle. These last, presumably taken from an edition of Scott's Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), come like The Lay complete with comments by the translator incorporating Scott's own notes. Other translations include poems by Gottfried August Burger, Southey and Puskin, and Schiller's play Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans). COPAC records no copies of these translations outside London.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2737
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on27/01/09
AuthorDorvigny, M.
TitleLes jeux, caprices, et bizarreries de la nature. Par l'Auteur de Ma Tante Genevieve.
ImprintParis: Barba, Libraire, Palais-Royal
Date of Publication1808
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a rare copy of the first edition of Les jeux, caprices et bizzarreries de la nature, a novel by the French author Louis-François Archambault (1742-1812) . Better known by his stage name, Dorvigny, and rumoured an illegitimate son of Louis XV, this prolific author first became famous as actor and playwright, creator of the famous characters 'Janot' and 'Jocrisse'. This novel, whose leading characters are the Scottish 'Sir Jakson Makdonnal' and his family, is a light-hearted tale centred on characters who illustrate the 'games, caprices and peculiarities of nature': 'Sir Jakson', for instance, has the ears of a wild boar, and his French valet the tail of a deer. These peculiarities, never explained or mocked, drive the story, as Sir Jakson leaves Scotland first for Paris and then for America: the bulk of the book consists of his adventures there with his brother's daughter 'Miss Makdonnal' (who has horns) and a tribe of Iroquois Indians. Realism is not the point of this fictional representation of Scotland and Scottish characters, produced just before Scott's novels spread through Europe. Although at one point Sir Jakson's bearded great-niece returns to Scotland and spends time contemplating 'the rural and romantic location of her principal manor, surrounded by woods and mountains' (Vol. III, page 95), she is easily persuaded by another character to leave this 'savage solitude' and visit France, 'country of all kinds of liberty' - but not until she has erected a memorial chapel to her uncle, complete with priest to say Mass for his soul every day (pages 102-3). To a modern reader, the main interest of this book probably lies in the last section, where the bearded heroine, forced to disguise herself as a man, becomes romantically involved with a girlish youth raised to wear female clothes, and they happily live like this till a bout of smallpox restores both to the normal appearance of their genders and they can get respectably married.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2739
Reference SourcesCharles Monselet: Oublies et dedaignes: figures litteraires de la fin du 18E siecle (1861); bookseller's catalogue.
Acquired on27/01/09
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitleThe misadventures of John Nicholson
ImprintNew York: George Munro
Date of Publication1887
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first edition, first issue of a Christmas story written by Stevenson, which he began writing in November 1885 but quickly put aside, not starting work on it again until December of the following year. In a letter to his friend Sidney Colvin he complained that he was writing 'a damn tale to order & I don't love it, but some of it is passable in its mouldy way', and would later refer to it in a letter to Henry James as 'a silly Xmas story'. The story was published in "Cassell's Christmas Annual" in December 1887, and no sooner had it appeared in print than this pirate edition was produced by 'dime novel' publisher George Munro of New York. Munro had already produced a pirated version of "Jekyll and Hyde" in 1886 for the US market in his 'Seaside Library (Pocket Edition)' series of cheap, 25-cent, paperbacks, and he now printed Stevenson's story as part of the same series. Such was Stevenson's popularity on both sides of the Atlantic that even his silly Xmas stories could sell. The work was, however, quickly forgotten and was nearly overlooked for the Edinburgh Edition of Stevenson's works, the first collected edition, which was printed between 1894 and 1898.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2744
Reference SourcesR.G. Swearingen "The prose writings of Robert Louis Stevenson" (London, 1980)
Acquired on19/01/09
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