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 753 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 email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 286 to 300 of 753:
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|Title||Act of council, regulating the manner of carrying chairs.|
|Date of Publication||1749|
|Notes||In modern times, local government concerns itself with seemingly banal regulations concerning parking, litter or public lighting. There is nothing new in this - perceived 'over regulation' was alive and well in Edinburgh over 250 years ago, as this broadside demonstrates. The city authorities were forced into action to ask 'chairmen' - those who carried sedan chairs and their occupants around the city - to ensure their chairs had 'a light fixed upon one of the fore-poles of the chair'. This apparently followed a number of incidents resulting in 'many hurts and inconveniences that have happened to the inhabitants & by the chairmen carrying or resting their chairs without lights under cloud of night'. Furthermore all chairs had to be numbered. If these regulations were not followed, chairmen faced being fined a shilling, imprisonment, loss of hire and the chair impounded!
The first sedan chairs for public hire were introduced into Edinburgh in 1687. Horse drawn coaches were often unsuited to the narrow closes and steep hills of Edinburgh's Old Town. In 1687 there were only 6 chairs available but by 1779 there were 180 hackney-chairs and 50 private chairs in Edinburgh. The table of fairs introduced in the regulation dated 1738, referred to in this broadside, specified 6d a trip within the city, 4s for a whole day's rental, and 1s 6d for a journey of half a mile outside town. The majority of the chairmen were Highlanders and this was reflected in the use of tartan for their uniforms.
|Author||Andreini, Giovanni Battista.|
|Title||La Florinda, Tragedia|
|Imprint||Milan: Girolamo Bordone|
|Date of Publication||1606|
|Notes||Rare first edition of this illustrated tragedy, the first work for the stage and the only tragedy by Giovanni Battista Andreini (1579-1654), regarded as the most important Italian dramatist of the 17th century. Andreini is considered especially important as a link between the Commedia dell' arte tradition, with its mixing of dialects and improvisational tendencies, and the emerging genre of opera. The tragedy is set in a Scottish forest (pictured on an illustrated plate), with the plot centering on a domestic tragedy cocnerning Ircano king of Scotland and his wife Florinda, countess of "Angusa" (Angus?). Tha play ends typically with a succession of suicides.
|Title||Riflessioni economiche politiche e morali sopra il lusso l'agricoltura la popolazione le manifatture e il commercio dello Stato Pontificio in suo vantaggio e beneficio.|
|Imprint||Rome: Tipografio di Gioacchino Puccinelli|
|Date of Publication||1795.|
|Notes||Stefano Laonice, probably a pseudonym for Nicola Corona, uses copious quotations from Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' and the works of David Hume in this study of the most advanced contemporary economic and philosophical theories. He examines the relationship between land ownership, manufacture and the wealth of the state of Rome. He points out the dangers of applying Smith's theory in Central Italy - an area where agriculture, not manufacture, was the still the main method of creating wealth.
This is the first and only edition of this work. Only two other copies have been recorded, neither of which is in the UK.
|Title||Dundee from the tram cars : an illustrated guide to the city and its surroundings. |
|Imprint||Dundee: John Durham & Co.|
|Date of Publication||1908|
|Notes||This well-illustrated guide book to Dundee and the surrounding area was published by the local Tramways Committee. There are descriptions of the notable places to see along all the routes. The preface notes that 'the horse and steam haulage of earlier days has given place to electric traction'. The statistics which follow are impressive - 20,000 miles covered weekly, 15 million passengers conveyed annually. The guide also includes a map of the tram routes with a list of the routes, fares, stations and distances.
Electric trams were on the streets of Dundee for over 50 years from 1900 to 1956. Loosely inserted in the volume are a number of interesting ephemeral items: Dundee City Tramways security card from 1911 and an employees pass for Andrew Thomson dated March 1910. There is also a photograph of a driver and conductor standing in front of the Blackness tram.
|Author||Drummond de Melfort, Louis-Hector|
|Title||Traite sur la Cavalerie|
|Imprint||Paris: Guillaume Desprez|
|Date of Publication||1776|
|Notes||First edition of a rare and extemely handsome book which is in exceptionally fine condition. There are two volumes: one of text with 11 plates, the other an atlas volume with 32 folio-size folding plates. The author, Louis-Hector Drummond de Melfort (1721-1788) was the grandson of John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort, James VII/II's right hand man in Scotland, who escaped to France in 1688. The Drummonds became one of the leading Jacobite families at the French court. Drummond spent most of his life involved with cavalry and for his last eight years was Lieutenant-General of Louis XVI's army. He did not take part in the 1745 Jacobite uprising, but served the French king on several military campaigns on the Continent and later commanded the Royal Ecossais regiment in the French army. This book became a important textbook in Europe on cavalry tactics as Drummond de Melfort had some radical opinions on the use of cavalry in battles. His work lays out, with illustrations, the simplified procedures for cavalrymen that he advocated as early as 1748, which had often met with incomprehension and disbelief. The dedication expresses Drummond's hope that this work will assist in making the French cavalry the best in the world and his wish to help the country that his family fled to on their forced emigration from Scotland nearly a century before. The two volumes are bound in contemporary red morocco. The original owner was Armand-Thomas Hue de Miromesnil (1723-1796), Keeper of the Seals from 1774-1787, after having held several other official positions. On his death, at his request, the contents of his library were sold and the profits distributed amongst the poor. According to a bookseller's note the book was also owned by the Vicomtesse de Fontenay and it also contains the bookplate of Richard Penard y Fernandez.
The text volume also includes a bound-in letter by the Duchesse de Melfort, dated July 1773.|
|Reference Sources||Brunet II: 842; Cohen-de Ricci pp.326-327|
|Author||Hume, David and Smollett, Tobias|
|Title||The history of England|
|Imprint||London: J. Walker & Co.|
|Date of Publication||1822|
|Notes||This is a beautiful 16-volume stereotyped edition of Hume's classic "History of England" (vol. 1-10) and its continuation by Tobias Smollett (vol. 11-16). Hume's "History", first published in eight volumes between 1754 and 1761, gives an account of English history from the Roman invasion under Julius Caesar to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Smollett's continuation, first published 1757-58, starts with the reign of William and Mary and ends with George II's death in 1760.
The volumes are bound in green morocco and have bright gilt frames on the covers; the title is lettered in gilt on the spines and there is dense gilt tooing in the other spine compartments.|
|Author||Gilchrist, John Borthwick|
|Title||The strangers East Indian guide to the Hindoostanee; or grand popular language of India, (improperly called Moors).|
|Imprint||Calcutta: Printed at the Hindoostanee Press, by Tho. Hubbard|
|Date of Publication||1808|
|Notes||Edinburgh-born John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841) arrived in India as an assistant surgeon in 1782. Appointed to a position with the East India Company, he became interested in Hindustani as a language understood in different regions of the country, and began the philological investigations which would occupy the rest of his life. He compiled a grammar and dictionary of Hindustani, and was appointed first professor of the language at Fort William College in 1801, where he worked with Indian scribes and scholars to publish Hindustani material in print. Gilchrist left India in 1804; this book, a grammatical guide and vocabulary of Hindustani for those in service to the East India Company, was first published in London in 1802. While 'second editions' of the Strangers [sic] East Indian Guide to the Hindoostanee have been recorded with London imprints, the only other reference to this Calcutta edition is in a Maggs Bros. catalogue from 1964 (Catalogue 891, Dictionaries and Grammars). It contains an appendix by Alexander Hamilton Kelso, a young officer in the East India Company who, to judge by his name, may have been a compatriot of Gilchrist. |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; DNB|
|Title||[Seaforth Highlanders, a collection of photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera]|
|Date of Publication||19th - 20th century|
|Notes||A collection of printed, manuscript and photographic items relating to the history and organisation of the Scottish army regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders. The regiment was formed as a result of the army reforms of 1881, when the 72nd Highlanders and 78th Highlanders were amalgamated to form the new regiment. The Seaforth Highlanders had a territorial district that included the counties of Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness, the Orkney Islands and Moray, making their recruiting area one of the largest in the British Army. In 1961 the Regiment was amalgamated with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to form "The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons)". The collection includes four photograph albums relating to the regiment, covering the period 1869-1919, as well as printed ephemera and manuscript material from the 19th and 20th centuries.|
|Shelfmark||Phot.el.9 ; Phot.el.10 ; Phot.la.71|
|Title||Les types Russes|
|Imprint||[St. Petersburg: s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||c. 1860-1870]|
|Notes||An album of 24 carte-de-visite photographs pasted onto folding boards, making up a portfolio. William Carrick (1827-78) was born in Edinburgh but moved to Russia the following year when his father set up a timber business in Kronstadt, the port of St. Petersburg. William visited Scotland in 1857 where he met a young professional photographer, John MacGregor, who encouraged him in his plans to set up a photographic studio in St Petersburg. Carrick's studio opened in 1859 and MacGregor joined him to work together in the business. When they were not taking commissioned portraits, Carrick would invite people from the street in to have their photographs taken. He called these portraits his 'Russian types' and he and MacGregor photographed a broad cross-section of Russian society, from nuns, to street hawkers, coachmen and soldiers. These photographs found approval with the Russian court, Carrick getting a diamond ring from Tsar Alexander II. It is unusual to find Carrick 'Russian types' photographs in this album format. The title in French on the front cover suggests that the album may have been produced for the Russian court as French was the main language of the court.|
|Reference Sources||F. Ashbee & J. Lawson, "William Carrick 1827-1878" [Edinburgh, 1987] (Scottish Masters series no. 3)|
|Title||My own life and times 1741-1814.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas|
|Date of Publication||1861|
|Notes||This is an extra-illustrated copy of the memoir of Thomas Somerville, minister of Jedburgh and uncle of the famous scientic writer Mary Somerville. This copy bears the bookplate of William John Lee, presumably the son of the editor of Thomas Somerville's text, William Lee, a professor of Glasgow University. There are almost 200 prints and 19th-century photographs added to the volume. Of particular interest is the carte-de-visite photograph of Mary Somerville, bound in after p. 390 and a photograph of a marble bust of her. Thomas Somerville had first been Mary's uncle by marriage and subsequently her father-in-law, he gave her early encouragement and tuition.|
|Title||The state of Kelso Dispensary opened for the admission of patients, on the 5th of December, 1777.
|Imprint||Newcastle: Printed at the Union Press, by J. Palmer|
|Date of Publication||1788|
|Notes||This is a very rare and unrecorded work on the Kelso Dispensary, the first hospital in the town and only the second in Scotland (after the Edinburgh Royal Public Dispensary). The Kelso establishment was founded by the Earl of Haddington in 1777. Dispensaries were served to a large degree by free student labour, and costs were kept down too through a high (working-class) patient turnover. This pamphlet provides us with a lot of information on health care in a provincial town in the late 18th century. We see, from the list of subscribers, that the great and the good gave money to support the dispensary; there is a list of regulations, treasurer's report, a most informative table detailing the diseases of the patients treated (consumption and fever were the most common causes of mortality) and a table of the parishes 'from which patients had been admitted'.
Inserted into the pamphlet is a printed circular letter dated 31 October 1788, with a manuscript note from Thomas Scott reminding an eminent subscriber (addressed as your Lordship) that his subscription of 14 guineas was overdue.
|Reference Sources||http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/03101401.html; |
|Imprint||London: T. Heptinstall|
|Date of Publication||1797|
|Notes||This is a rare illustrated edition of James Thomson's popular poem with an engraved portrait by J. Caldwall and four engraved plates done by R. Laurie after drawings by Scottish painter and caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank. As attested to by a note from Laurie, this copy is extra-illustrated with Cruikshank's own, original wash drawings for each of the seasons; Laurie's note, "The Four Seasons original drawing by I. Cruikshank," appears on the verso of the Winter plate (signed, "R.H. Laurie, Esq."). Thomson (1700-48), Scottish poet and dramatist, was one of the most influential poets of his day. He is perhaps best remembered for the present work, originally published in separate sections: Winter in 1726, Summer in 1727, Spring in 1728, and Autumn in 1730. The provenance of this copy is particularly interesting: the book contains the morocco and gilt bookplate of Jerome Kern (1885-1945), the American composer and legendary book collector who collected rare books for a brief period in the 1920s before selling most of them in 1929. The book also contains the morocco and gilt bookplate of the collector Francis Kettaneh. As befitting a volume of this nature, the book is splendidly bound in a early 20th-century green morocco binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. |
|Reference Sources||Cruikshank, I, 797; Thieme-Becker, VIII, 176;
Bookseller's own notes|
|Author||[William Henry Dick-Cunyngham]|
|Title||[Album of 94 albumen prints]|
|Date of Publication||[c. 1875 - c.1882]|
|Notes||An album of 94 albumen prints probably compiled by William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (1851-1900). Dick-Cunyngham served with the Gordon Highlanders in India then Afghanistan, winning a Victoria Cross in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. The album contains photographs relating to his time in India, as well as views of the family home at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, all of which are captioned. The first half of the album comprises commercially produced views in India and towards the end are a few commercial Scottish views by Valentine and Wilson. In between are photographs that relate specifically to army regiments, including an interesting series of military group portraits identified as: pipers, 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, Windsor 1882; group of Sutherland Highlanders (93rd?); officers of the Sutherland Highlanders including Colonel MacPherson and Colonel Nightingale; Captain Dick-Cunyngham VC, Gordon Highlanders and the men of his company, taken at Edinburgh Castle. The photographs showing Dick-Cunyngham and companions posing with hunting trophies may have been taken by John Burke (1843-1900), a leading commercial photographer based in North-West India who is best known for his photographs taken during the Second Afghan War (two of the photographs in this album show men and officers of the 92nd Highlanders in Kabul in 1880). Dick-Cunyngham went on to serve in the Boer War in South Africa where he died of wounds incurred in action at Wagon Hill in Natal.
|Reference Sources||J. Falconer " India: Pioneering Photographers 1850-1900" London, 2001. Auction catalogue.|
|Title||A geographical history of Nova Scotia|
|Imprint||London: Paul Vaillant|
|Date of Publication||1749|
|Notes||This is one of the earliest printed accounts of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which describes the rival claims of the French and British to the region. Writing for prospective settlers, the anonymous author in the preface says he has drawn on his own observations and those of the French Jesuit priest turned historian Pierre Charlevoix when writing his book. He stresses the importance of Nova Scotia to British trade and the security of the other British North American settlements in view of increasing tensions with French settlers (which eventually led to war). The book also includes descriptions of the Indians living in the area and their relations with the European settlers.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue|
|Title||L'Histoire et vie de Marie Stuart, Royne d'Ecosse, d'Oiriere de France, heritiere d'Angleterre & d'Ibernye ...|
|Imprint||Paris : Chez Guillaume Iulien|
|Date of Publication||1589|
|Notes||Robert Turner, an exiled Scottish Catholic and Professor of Divinity at Ingolstadt, produced the first edition of Mary Queen of Scots life and death in 1588, in Latin. This is the exceptionally rare first French edition of the work. Turner tried to portray Mary as a victim of Queen Elizabeth and a martyr to the Catholic faith. He also wished specifically to refute George Buchanan's attacks on the Scottish queen.
Turner was educated at Oxford and Douai, where he was ordained and became Professor of Rhetoric. He also taught at the German College in Rome before being appointed rector at the University of Ingolstadt. The National Library holds two copies of the Latin edition, but no other copies of the French have been traced worldwide.