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 775 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 301 to 315 of 775:

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AuthorScotland. Convention of Estates.
TitleThe acts & orders of the meeting of the Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland, holden and begun at Edinburgh, the 14th Day of March 1689.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by the heir of Andrew Anderson
Date of Publication1690
NotesThis copy of the Acts and Orders (ESTC R033742), covering the early years of the rule of William and Mary, has an interesting provenance. On the contemporary binding is stamped in gold 'For the Browgh of Linlithgow', and inside is an inscription 'ex Dono Guiliemi Higginij Pastoris apud Tweedsmuirij'. This William Higgins (d.1718) sat for six sessions (1689-1700) as Member of the Scottish Parliament for the burgh of Linlithgow. Both his election and standing down set precedents. The Parliamentary Register of 1689 records that the Linlithgow election was contested by Higgins and George, Lord Livingston, eldest son of the Earl of Linlithgow. The election was granted to Higgins not only because he obtained 'the plurality of the votes of the burgesses' but also because Livingston, as the eldest son of a peer, was incapable of representing a burgh - a decision perhaps influenced by the fact that Higgins was a staunch Presbyterian, while Livingston was a known Jacobite. Only four days after this decision, Livingston was hosting Viscount Dundee ('Bonnie Dundee') on his journey to Stirling after defying the Convention when it decided to support William rather than James II. Higgins' election can be seen as the embodiment of the 'Glorious Revolution', with Whig politics and Presbyterianism in Linlithgow joining forces to promote the election of the popular bourgeois candidate at the expense of the local aristocrat who supported the old regime. Less excitingly, his standing down on becoming a Presbyterian minister set a precedent for the idea that ordination disqualified a man for the service of the secular parliament. Perhaps Higgins' gift, undated, was a thank-you offering to his electors, and a handing over to them of a book from the political life he was renouncing on his ordination.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; The Times Law Reports; Douglas, Basil William, Lord Daer. The right of the eldest sons of the peers of Scotland to represent the Commons of that part of Great Britain in Parliament, considered. [Edinburgh?], 1790; Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (http://www.rps.ac.uk/)
Acquired on02/09/08
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Lord.
TitleOeuvres de Lord Byron [10 vols]
ImprintParis: Chez Ladvocat
Date of Publication1819-1821
NotesThis is the first and very rare edition (no copies in the UK) of the first complete translation of Byron. It has been described by Richard Cardwell as 'the prime source for Byron's reception in Europe' and it served as the basis for later editions in other languages. The translation was carried out by Amedée Pichot, editor the 'Revue britannique' and Eusèbe de Salle.The translation took its source text the Galignani editions of Byron published in Paris from 1818. Though lacking any evidence of provenance, according to the bookseller the set formed part of the Fürstenberg Library at Donaueschingen.
Reference SourcesCardwell, Richard (ed.) The reception of Byron in Europe. (London, 2004)
Acquired on25/08/08
TitleSignal [+ misc. other French-language periodicals from World War II from 1940-44]
ImprintBerlin: Deutscher Verlag
Date of Publication1941-44
NotesA collection of periodicals relating to the Second World War in France. Apart from the English-language 'Life', the periodicals are all in French. The collection consists of: 'Life'- 20 November 1944, 'La Semaine'- 23 April 1942, 'Match' - 15 February 1940; and the following Nazi propaganda publications: 'Le Cahier Jaune'- 2 Dec 1941 (A French anti-Semitic publication), 'Dieppe 1942' (a news sheet published in response to the failed Allied raid on the port of Dieppe in August 1942), 'Der Adler' ('The Eagle' -Luftwaffe propaganda magazine)-20 May 1941; 29 July 1941; 24 March 1942: 19 Oct 1943 and 71 issues of 'Signal' from May 1941 to September 1944. 'Signal' was a key part of Nazi war propaganda: a magazine created in an effort to win over other European nations to the Nazi cause, and to promote and justify German hegemony over Europe. It was based on the format of the 'Berliner Illustrirter Zeitung' (BIZ), the leading picture and news magazine in Germany, and was first published on in April 1940 by the Deutscher Verlag in Berlin. It subsequently appeared on a fortnightly basis, and at its peak it reached a maximum circulation of 2,500,000 copies per issue, appearing in over 20 different languages. Due to its central role as a propaganda tool, the reporting of current affairs in 'Signal' had to fit in with the official Nazi line, and from 1943 onwards, as the war began to go badly for Germany, the focus of the magazine shifted more to celebrity gossip, sporting events and fashion. No expense was spared on illustrations, 'Signal' boasted full-page colour plates, and colour covers from 1944 onwards. With articles by an elite group of staff authors and war correspondents, the magazine quickly established itself as the number one propaganda publication in wartime Europe. The magazine continued to be produced well into 1945, but distribution was by then extremely limited due to the Allied advance into continental Europe.
Reference Sources"Hitler's Wartime Picture Magazine" (ed. S.L. Mayer) London, 1978
Acquired on22/08/08
TitleL.R.B. [Lloyd Royal Belge]
ImprintGlasgow]: Maclure & Macdonald
Date of Publication[1919-1920]
NotesThis appears to be a specially prepared album recording a Glasgow shipyard in 1919/1920 at the time of it's take-over and during the political upheavals of Red Clydeside. Clearly the photographs were taken at the time the company became incorporated into Lloyd Royal Belge in 1919, one photograph of the Managers Office helpfully has Henry Gylsen seated with a fellow director under a calendar which reads May 14 Friday [1920]. The bulk of the album contains a good series of photographs showing the entire shipyard during a working day. Beginning with a photographic reproduction of a drawn bird's eye view of the works, it also includes views of the entrance, the office areas, electric crane, smithy and hydraulic riveting station. Three plates show the S.S. Londonier on the stock, being launched and and being pulled by a tug boat and two plates of one of the owners, Senator Brys attending to King Albert on a visit to a steamer. The boat was sold off in 1939 and later became a a war ship under the Japanese flag only to be sunk in 1943 in the East China Sea. Lloyd Royal Belge began life in 1895 as the Compagnie Maritime Belge du Congo to operate passenger and cargo services to the Belgian Congo. Until 1930 routes were confined to the Belgium-Congo service but being taken over that year the company name changed to Compagnie Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal) and new services were started to North and South America and the Far East.
Acquired on04/08/08
AuthorWoden, George.
TitleA collection of 22 novels by George Woden in original dust jackets.
ImprintLondon: Hutchinson (and others)
Date of Publication1919-1951
NotesThis set of 22 novels were presented by the author George Woden during the 1940s and 1950s to his daughter Margery Noel, better known as M. Noel Slaney (1915-2000), the Scottish artist. Unusually all have their original dust jackets and show a variety of artistic styles. The artists include Philip Youngman Carter, Ben Pares, Wyndham Payne, Ley Kenyon and Lance Cattermole. Woden was the pseudonym of George Wilson Slaney (1888-1978) who was born in Staffordshire of Scottish parents. He abandoned engineering to study art and music and eventually became a teacher in Glasgow, working there from 1913. He wrote over 30 works, including novels and plays, many of which were set in Scotland between 1913 and 1952. He was President of Scottish Pen from 1944-1947.
Acquired on28/07/08
TitleDe Hollandsche Wysgeer.
ImprintTe Amsterdam : By Dirk onder de Linden, Bybel- en Boekverkooper, in de Kalverstraat, over de Nieuwezyds Kapel.
Date of Publication1759
NotesThis is the complete run of an unusual and rare Dutch periodical. It covers a wide variety of subjects including natural history (with hand-coloured plates), foreign literature, the latest murder cases and developments in science and technology. The translations of literature include some Scottish texts. Most significantly there are references to James Macpherson's Europe-wide success for Ossian. Volume V contains a poetic description of the climate and landscape of the Scottish Highlands which prepares the reader for the first Dutch edition of a selection of 'Oscian' in volume VI (pp. 66-69). The translator Egbert Buys is known to have compiled at least two Dutch-English dictionaries, one of which specialized in terms used in art.
Acquired on21/07/08
Title[Theatre programme for two plays: 1. My son-in law 2: The frogs]
Imprint[Edinburgh: privately printed]
Date of Publication[1873]
NotesThis is a rare theatre programme specially printed for the performance of two plays at the home of (Henry Charles) Fleeming Jenkin (1833-1885) on May 3,5 and 6 1873. In 1868 Jenkin had become Professor of Engineering at Edinburgh University, where he encountered and befriended the young student Robert Louis Stevenson, then studying engineering. Jenkin was a man of great learning and wide interests. His home theatricals at 5 Fettes Row in Edinburgh's New Town became events in the Edinburgh social calendar. This programme was for a performance of a French comedy ("Le gendre de M. Poirier" by Emile Augier), specially translated for the occasion, followed by an English-language version of the ancient Greek comedy "The frogs". Among the cast of actors for the two plays were Jenkin, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Edinburgh-based artist/illustrator William Hole who later illustrated many of Stevenson's works. In his "Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin", first published in 1887, two years after Jenkin's death, Stevenson reminisced fondly about his amateur dramatics as part of Jenkin's company.
Reference SourcesDNB; RL Stevenson "Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin"
Acquired on18/07/08
TitleAct of council, regulating the manner of carrying chairs.
Date of Publication1749
NotesIn 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.
Acquired on14/07/08
AuthorAndreini, Giovanni Battista.
TitleLa Florinda, Tragedia
ImprintMilan: Girolamo Bordone
Date of Publication1606
NotesRare 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 concerning Ircano king of Scotland and his wife Florinda, countess of "Angusa" (Angus?). Tha play ends typically with a succession of suicides.
Acquired on07/07/08
AuthorReid, Alan.
TitleDundee from the tram cars : an illustrated guide to the city and its surroundings.
ImprintDundee: John Durham & Co.
Date of Publication1908
NotesThis 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.
Acquired on30/06/08
AuthorLaonice, Stefano.
TitleRiflessioni economiche politiche e morali sopra il lusso l'agricoltura la popolazione le manifatture e il commercio dello Stato Pontificio in suo vantaggio e beneficio.
ImprintRome: Tipografio di Gioacchino Puccinelli
Date of Publication1795.
NotesStefano 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.
Acquired on30/06/08
AuthorDrummond de Melfort, Louis-Hector
TitleTraite sur la Cavalerie
ImprintParis: Guillaume Desprez
Date of Publication1776
NotesFirst 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 SourcesBrunet II: 842; Cohen-de Ricci pp.326-327
Acquired on23/06/08
AuthorHume, David and Smollett, Tobias
TitleThe history of England
ImprintLondon: J. Walker & Co.
Date of Publication1822
NotesThis 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.
Acquired on20/06/08
AuthorGilchrist, John Borthwick
TitleThe strangers East Indian guide to the Hindoostanee; or grand popular language of India, (improperly called Moors).
ImprintCalcutta: Printed at the Hindoostanee Press, by Tho. Hubbard
Date of Publication1808
NotesEdinburgh-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 SourcesBookseller's catalogue; DNB
Acquired on10/06/08
Title[Seaforth Highlanders, a collection of photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera]
Date of Publication19th - 20th century
NotesA 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.
ShelfmarkPhot.el.9 ; Phot.el.10 ; Phot.la.71
Acquired on29/05/08
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