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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 286 to 300 of 735:
Ordered by title |
Order by author
| Order by date
|Title||[Greenock Library catalogues].|
|Date of Publication||[1808-1820]|
|Notes||This bound volume containing 8 catalogues and supplements to the catalogues of the subscription library at Greenock (known today as the Watt Library) is an important addition to the Library's holdings of material relating to library history in Scotland. The catalogue comes from the family library of James Watt (1736-1819) the engineer and includes a note in Watt's hand preceding the supplement for 1815.
The library was established in 1783 when a number of gentlemen organized a library 'to save themselves the expence of purchasing many books, and to avert the fatal effects which are sometimes occasioned by circulating libraries'. What these 'fatal effects' were is a moot point, but the subscription libraries, were, in contrast to the circulating libraries, organized on a not-for-profit basis.
Watt, born in Greenock and educated at the Grammar School there, lived in the town until he was 18, when he left to go to Glasgow (and later London) to to become an apprentice to a mathematical instrument maker. In spite of the fact that he lived and worked in Birmingham from 1773, Watt retained his links with the west of Scotland throughout his life, with frequent holidays in Glasgow and Greenock as well as overseeing a new harbour in his home town.
After he retired from his firm Boulton & Watt in 1800, he continued to demonstrate his interest in Greenock, mainly as a subscriber to the library. In 1816 he gave the library the princely sume of £100 'to fom the beginning of a scientific library, for the instruction of the youth of Greenock' . By 1818, when Watt was on the 'Committee of the Greenock Library of Arts and Sciences' there were three parts to the library - arts and sciences, foreign books (from 1807 - mainly French) and the general library. In the 1812 supplementary catalogue, there is even a list of books in the juvenile library. In addition to the subscribers, scholars in the Mathematical school and 'any other respectable inhabitant' of Greenock could have access to the books relating to the 'arts and sciences'.
Catalogues also on microfilm at Mf.51(7)|
|Reference Sources||Kaufman, P. 'The rise of community libraries in Scotland', p.254 in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America vol.59, 1965.
Kelso, William. The James Watt story. Greenock, 1997.
|Title||Greenock news-clout, no.31|
|Imprint||Greenock: John Lennox|
|Date of Publication||28 September 1850|
|Notes||This is the only known copy of this issue of a short-lived but remarkable Greenock newspaper, which was printed on calico - a coarse and light-weight form of cotton. The Watt Library in Greenock holds 5 other issues - all printed on the same material - dating from 1849-1850. According to the masthead this title was a successor to the 'Young Greenock',' Aurora' and 'Quilp's Budget'. These titles have not been traced. The masthead goes on to state that these titles were declared in January 1849 by the Solicitor of Stamps to be illegal. The printer/publisher John Lennox was summoned before the Court of the Exchequer, fined £100 and forced to pay the expenses of the case. Lennox had for a long time been a campaigner against this 'tax on knowledge' and it appears that he was not prosecuted for printing on calico. The printer and 'News-clout' were even mentioned in Parliament during a debate on the newspaper tax in March 1850.
In order to circumvent the tax on newspapers (which saw the newspapers carry a red stamp showing the amount of tax levied), the publisher John Lennox decided to print this newspaper on calico. The contents of the paper itself are unremarkable reports of municipal election and court cases, letters on the Episcopal Church, advertisements and articles on female franchise and second sight.
Lennox had been a newsagent in Dumbarton around 1822. He printed the 'Dumbarton Argus' from 1832 until 1834 and printed a number of monthly periodicals in Greenock additional to those mentioned above (The Second Precursor, Sam Slick, and The Ventilator) in the 1840s. He died in 1853 aged 59. Monthly papers were not subject to the tax, so publishers like Lennox published papers weekly, though using a different title every week to evade the tax. The tax on newspaper which had been enacted in 1712 was abolished in 1855.|
|Reference Sources||William Stewart. John Lennox and the 'Greenock Newsclout' a fight against the taxes on knowledge. Glasgow, 1918
|Title||Guide to Edinburgh Air Raid Shelters.
|Imprint||Published by C.J. Cousland & Sons Limited. Creative Modern Printers, 30 Queen Street., Edinburgh. |
|Date of Publication||194-?|
|Notes||The front wrapper features a photograph of people emerging from a shelter on the edge of Princes Street Gardens. Other photographs feature firemen in wartime helmets, and nurses at a first aid post. There are also seven pages of maps depicting the locations of the shelters in central Edinburgh.
The book begins with a foreword by John Falconis, the Chief Air Raid Warden, in which he gives advice on what to do in the event of an air raid. He presents useful information on how to deal with mustard gas liquid on the skin, and the nature of incendiary bombs. He also imparts psychological advice: 'Wars are won by successfully exploiting fear.'; 'Air raids are not planned to cause civilian casualties; they create mental apprehension, suspense and distress; they lower morale; they disorganise national work ...'
The advertisements are excellent, and include: a builder offering to bring peoples air raid precautions to completion; Redpath Brown & Co. Ltd. of Edinburgh, have an illustration of people in one of their shelters; 'Saved again! Duncan's nut milk chocolate ... always keep some handy for real inward protection, proof against hunger and nerves'. Other adverts include children's games from Jenners, gas masks, and air raid protection equipment.
|Title||Hai tou Aischulou Choephoroi. Aeschyli Choephoroe. [Aeschylus: Choephori]|
|Imprint||Glasguae: Excudebat Andreas Foulis, M.DCC.LXXVII.|
|Date of Publication||1777 [?]|
|Language||Greek and Latin|
|Notes||One of three additions to the Library's Foulis Press holdings.
Andrew Foulis published two editions of Aeschylus' Choephorae in 1777, each with parallel texts of a Greek and Latin translation. The LIbrary already has a copy of the quarto setting of one edition (Gaskell 608, shelfmark NE.732.f.3). This is a copy of the far less common edition (Gaskell 608a, 2nd ed.), apparently unrecorded by ESTC and previously known only from a copy in private hands [which may or may not be this one].
There seems to be a bibliographical mystery about the date of this edition, according to a note by Robert Donaldson dated 1982 in the Library's marked-up copy of the 1st edition of Gaskell. He dates the paper of this edition to 1794, and says it has the same setting as the text of Choephori in the editions of Aeschylus: Tragoediae published by Foulis in 1796 and 1802 (Gaskell 702), and is therefore printed from the same standing type or stereo plates. There seems no explanation for why this text might have been issued separately with a false 1777 date, and copies of all the relevant editions would need to be collated before any conclusions could be reached.
This copy is bound with the edition of Longinus: On the Sublime (Greek and Latin text) published by Foulis in 1790, in what looks like the original binding (which might confirm the later date of publication). The stamp of the Royal School Edinburgh is on the back cover. Along with this item, the Library acquired a copy of John Gay: Poems on Several Occasions (Gaskell 506). The Library has a copy of the variant described on p. 438 of Gaskell, 2nd ed (shelfmark Hall.195.b); this new acquisition accords with the description of the edition on p. 295.|
|Reference Sources||Gaskell: Foulis Press bibliography (both editions)|
|Author||Scott, Sir Walter|
|Title||Halidon Hill. En dramatisk Skildring ven Sir Walter Scott, Baronet. Oversat af K. L. Rahbek|
|Imprint||Copenhagen: Forlagt af C.A. Reitzel|
|Date of Publication||1822|
|Notes||This is the first Danish translation of Scott's 'dramatic sketch' Halidon Hill, by the celebrated Danish man of letters Knud Lyne Rahbek (1760-1830). It is a rare item: no other copies are listed in COPAC or OCLC. Rahbek had published the first Danish translations from Scott in 1817, three years after the war between Britain and Denmark was concluded; this translation appeared in the same year that Halidon Hill was first published in Britain. Rahbek presented a copy of this work to Scott, which is listed in the Abbotsford Library Catalogue. Earlier the same year, he had presented a copy of a collection of Danish ballads to Scott, who replied (probably out of politeness) that he really should learn such an interesting language. In his periodical Tilsueren, Rahbek writes of this correspondence and says that he will send this translation of Halidon Hill to Scott 'as a primer of Danish'. One doubts whether Scott did indeed take advantage of this gift to improve his Danish. This copy is in the original publisher's wrapper, with an inscription in Danish on the front cover. Surviving correspondence between Rahbek and Scott can be viewed in NLS MS.3894, ff. 197-98 (Rahbek's letter to Scott) and NLS MS.85 (photostat of Scott's reply, presented by the Royal Library of Denmark which holds the original). |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; Millgate Union Catalogue of Walter Scott Correspondence; The Reception of Sir Walter Scott in Europe, ed. Murray Pittock (London, 2006); Letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H. Grierson, vol. 7.|
|Author||Sartorious von Waltershausen, Georg Friedrich Christoph|
|Title||Handbok for Statshallningen efter Adam Smiths Grundsattser|
|Date of Publication||1800|
|Notes||The first Swedish translation of Georg Sartorius's abridgement of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations for use in Universities. NLS has the German edition which was published in Berlin in 1796. Sartorius (1766-1828) was one of the first German academics to realise the significance of Smith's system, and this abridgement was clearly for use 'in academic lectures'. Prior to this publication, Smith's work had only been available in Swedish in excerpts. The text was translated from German into Swedish by Johan Holmbergsson (1764-1840). It was this translation that led to a complete assessment of Smith's work.
The copy is uncut in original plain wrappers.
See also Christian Garve's (1742-1798) German translation of the Wealth of Nations: we bought the second edition recently.|
|Title||Handbuch der Staatswirthschaft: zum Gebrauche bey akademischen Vorlesungen, nach Adam Smith's Grundsatzen.|
|Imprint||Berlin: Bey Johann Friedrich Unger.|
|Date of Publication||1796|
|Notes||Early synopsis of Smith's 'Wealth of nations' for use at universities. Sartorius, a professor at Gottingen University, was the first to introduce the teaching of Adam Smith at a German university. Here he presents his outline of Smith's work, with the addition of his own critical and practical remarks.|
|Title||Health and Strength|
|Imprint||[London:: Charles Atlas Ltd.]|
|Date of Publication||[c. 1948]|
|Notes||Charles 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. |
|Title||Heriot's Hospital Edinburgh. |
|Imprint||[London]: [John] Murray et al, printed by W. Turner|
|Date of Publication||1826|
|Notes||This is a fine and rare set of 8 lithographic plates drawn by Goldicutt and printed by C. Hullmandel. John Goldicutt (1793-1842) was a talented architect who won various prizes and exhibited at the Royal Academy. Charles Joseph Hullmandel (1789-1850) was an outstanding lithographic printer. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Most of the major improvements made to lithography in Britain in the 1820s and 1830s can be attributed to Hullmandel, and in this period he was also the most prolific printer of pictorial lithographs in the country." This publication is a study of the architecture of Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh, now George Heriot's School. The school was founded in 1628, so perhaps this was published to commemorate the 200th anniversary.|
|Title||Hints relating to emigrants and emigration; embracing observations and facts intended to display the real advantages of New South Wales, as a sphere for the successful exercise of industry.|
|Imprint||London D. Walther, |
|Date of Publication||1834.|
|Notes||This is the first of three editions of an early work on emigration to Australia by Henry Carmichael (d. 1862), a schoolmaster and educational theorist, and former student of St. Andrew's University. In 1830 he was recruited in London by Scottish emigre John Dunmore Lang as a teacher for Lang's proposed Presbyterian secondary school in Sydney, the Australian College. Lang, Carmichael and three other licentiates of the Church of Scotland opened the College soon after their arrival in Australia in 1831. Carmichael, when his contract as a 'professor' at the College expired, set up his own school in Sydney, the Normal Institution (1834-38). He also founded in 1833 the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, the first of its kind in the colony, and was prominent believer in advanced educational ideas for the colony. In this work Carmichael states that "the necessity of emigration from Great Britain, under the present circumstances, seems questionless", the "present circumstances" being the increasing population of Britain and the growing misery among its working classes. He does, however, counsel would-be emigrants against "harbouring undue notions of the success and enjoyment which await them on setting foot in this territory"; he recognises that courage, perseverance and thrift are needed to flourish in Australia. This copy has the bookplate of James Edge-Partington (1854-1930) a British anthropologist and member of the Polynesian Society, who collected books on Oceania, and a blind stamp of Sir Thomas Meek Ramsay (1907-1995), a prominent Australian philanthropist and book collector.|
|Reference Sources||Australian Dictionary of Biography (online edition)|
|Author||James, Prince of Wales, 1688-1766.|
|Title||His Majesty's most gracious declaration. James R.|
|Date of Publication||1744?|
|Notes||This four-page declaration by James Stuart 'The Old Pretender', "given at our court at Rome, the 23d day of December 1743", appears to be part of a charm offensive in Scotland prior to a planned Jacobite uprising. The year 1743 had brought fresh impetus to the Jacobite cause, with the French taking the opposing side to Britain in the war of Austrian Succession. English Jacobites requested a French-led invasion of Britain and Louis XV of France was actively considering an expedition to reinstate the Stuarts on the British throne. News of the French king's intentions reached the Jacobite court in Rome in late December, resulting in the drafting of this declaration for publication and display at the market crosses throughout Scotland. James professes to having "always born the most constant affection to our ancient kingdom of Scotland, from whence we derive our royal origin". He notes with concern the miseries suffered by the country due to the "foreign usurpation", and how it has been reduced to the status of a province "under the specious pretence of an union with a more powerful neighbour". Having emphasised the Scottish roots of the Stuarts, James goes on to sketch out the details of a Jacobite Scotland free from the Hanoverian kings; if not independent, then at least with some greater degree of political autonomy. He promises an amnesty for opponents of his late father and the Jacobite cause, and, perhaps mindful of his father's brief, autocratic, reign as king of Britain, he undertakes to govern Scotland constitutionally with a free parliament and to allow Protestants "free exercise of their religion". In return he asks that his Scottish subjects assist him in recovering his rights and their own liberties. James's son, Charles Edward, meanwhile, travelled to France in January 1744, but his arrival in Paris in the following month had not gone unnoticed by the British government. Although an invasion force assembled at Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on the French coast, a combination of bad weather, storm damage to the French ships, and the presence of English warships in the Channel led to Louis cancelling the planned invasion in March, much to Charles's fury. The date and place of printing for the declaration is unknown; a sympathetic Jacobite printer in Edinburgh may have produced it in early 1744 before the cancellation of the French invasion plans made it redundant for the immediate future. ESTC records just three copies of this work in the UK, none in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||His Royal Highness, William Duke of Cumberland|
|Imprint||London: Bernard Baron|
|Date of Publication||1747|
|Notes||This engraving was executed by B. Baron after a painting by John Wootton (ca. 1686-1765). This pose has been reproduced in a number of other paintings and engravings of Cumberland. The BM catalogue of British engraved portraits (Vol.4, 1914, p.495) lists 43 engraved portraits in total of the victor of Culloden.
The artist John Wootton was a popular painter of landscapes, topographical views, battle and sporting scenes but he was best known as an equestrian artist. He was the first Englishman to paint horses and he worked at Newmarket for a while. The engraving shows Cumberland in complete control of proceedings at Culloden with an unfortunate Jacobite swordsman cowering at his feet.
This is a significant addition to the National Library's holdings of Jacobite material, notably to the Blaikie prints on deposit at the Scottish National Portrait. There are nearly 20 other engravings of Cumberland held there.|
|Reference Sources||Sharp, Richard. The engraved record of the Jacobite movement. Scolar Press, 1996. HP4.97.202|
|Title||Histoire d'Angleterre... par David Hume et ses continuateurs Goldsmith et W. Jones; traduction nouvelle ou revue par M. Langlois|
|Date of Publication||1829-32|
|Notes||This rare French edition of David Hume's History of England, edited by Alexandre Langlois, brings together extant French translations of Hume's work with continuations designed to bring the narrative down to as recent a date as possible, the accession of George IV (1820). The Avertissement which prefaces vol. 13 explains that it was decided not to present the usual continuation of Hume's work, that by Smollett: 'we recoiled at the necessity of presenting our readers with too many volumes' (there are 16 in all). Instead the first 13 chapters of this volume (covering William and Mary to George II) are taken from the more concise History of England by Oliver Goldsmith. The text for the reign of George III is taken from the now forgotten History of England during the Reign of George III by William Jones, first published in 1825. The Avertissement contains some interesting comments on the translation of a History of England covering the recent period when England and France were at war: 'What recommends this author [Jones] above all is a critical integrity ... he knows how to praise the French'; the translation is faithful apart from the omission of 'some exaggerated epithets' (presumably anti-French) in the English original.
Also included, bound at the end of vol. 5, is a separate publication: Justification de quelques passages des IVe et Ve volumes de l'Histoire d'Angleterre par le Docteur Lingard (Paris: Librairie de Carie de la Charie, 1827), a work which defends Hume's account of the Reformation period and his comments on the French history of that period in particular. Volume 12 also contains Abbe Prevost's appendix to Hume's history, which first appeared in his own translation. This edition, therefore, shows a somewhat controversial French reception of Hume's History at this period, with the translator, the editor and the owner (who chose to have Lingard's Justification bound in) all finding it necessary to justify and qualify Hume's original.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; DNB|
|Title||Histoire de la maison de Stuart [de Tudor]|
|Date of Publication||1761|
|Notes||This is the first duodecimo edition in French of this part of David Hume's History of Great Britain. This 6-volume set is accompanied by a 6-volume duodecimo set of Hume's Histoire de la maison de Tudor (Amsterdam, 1763). Hume actually wrote the volumes on the Stuarts first, only turning later to the Tudors (and then to the Plantagenets).
The Library collects translations of Scottish works written during the Enlightenment, as evidence for the influence of Scottish thought on Europe as a whole. The Stuart set was translated by A.-F. Prevost, the Tudor set was translated by Octavie Guichard (Mme. Belot).
This is a handsome set in a contemporary binding; the volumes have both early and later bookplates.|
|Shelfmark||RB.s.2327 and RB.s.2328|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T229804
Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p.32|
|Title||Histoire de l'amerique|
|Imprint||Maestricht: Jean-Edme Dufour & Philippe Roux|
|Date of Publication||1777|
|Notes||The historian William Robertson was one of the many writers of the Scottish Enlightenment whose works attracted interest on the continent of Europe. As part of its mission to document the influence of Scots on the rest of the world, the Library purchases versions of Scottish works printed and translated abroad. Among Robertson's popular works is the History of America, which explores the conquest of America by the European powers. This early translation into French is by Marc-Antoine Eidous. This is a particularly attractive copy, bound in contemporary patterned paper boards.|