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 727 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 331 to 345 of 727:
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|Title||Institutes of health.|
|Imprint||[London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.|
|Date of Publication||1817|
|Notes||The Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Stockdale guaranteed the salacious reputation of the work when over the next few years he published further editions (sometimes under the pseudonym of Thomas Little), himself interpolating still more sensational illustrations, with a fourth edition appearing in the year of the present work. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. "Institutes of health" was written with the same readership in mind and published by Stockdale, but has absolutely no salacious content. The author stresses his belief that the medical writer should be of service to the wider community and notes that the work has been divested of 'professional obscurities and unnecessary technical terms' in an effort to make it more accessible. Divided into seven chapters, Roberton warns against the dangers of excess in all areas of life, with sections on the perils of excessive drinking and eating, including a section on dangers of indulging in draught London porter and ale prepared for pot-houses (pubs) which Roberton suspects is adulterated with "other deleterious substances". He concludes with a section on the use of mercury for the treatment of liver complaints.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes. Wikipedia.|
|Title||Institutes of moral philosophy|
|Imprint||Basle: Printed and sold by James Decker|
|Date of Publication||1800|
|Notes||This is a new edition, reprinted in enlarged form, of Ferguson's Institutes which was first published in Edinburgh in 1769, when the author was Professor of Moral Philsophy at Edinburgh University. In 1766 Ferguson had published a syllabus of his lectures, Analysis of pneumatics and moral philosophy for the use of students in the College of Edinburgh. He expanded on these in the Institutes, which is essentially an overview of his philosophical and political beliefs. The final part of the book which is entitled 'Of politics', deals with political economy and political law.
The Institutes was popular not only with Ferguson's students and the Edinburgh intelligentsia, but was, as this Basle imprint shows, much in demand abroad. It was translated into German in 1772, where the translator's Appendix was known by heart by Schiller and subsequently a Russian translation was used as a textbook in Russian universities. An edition was apparently published in Basle in 1789, but no copies have been traced. An Italian translation was published in Venice in 1790. Ferguson, who briefly held the position of Keeper of the Advocates Library, in 1757, succeeding David Hume, introduced the method of studying humankind in groups. He is regarded as the father of what is now known as sociology.|
|Author||Commissioners and Trustees for Improving Fisheries and Manufactures in Scotland|
|Title||Instructions given by the commissioners and trustees for improving the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland to [blank] wreck and cure-masters of herrings at [blank] |
|Date of Publication||[1728?]|
|Notes||The Board of Trustees for Fisheries and Manufactures was established in 1727 by an Act of Parliament of 1727 in order to "encourage and promote the fisheries or such other manufactures and improvements in Scotland as may most conduce to the general good of the United Kingdom". This broadside printed for national distribution provides a fascinating glimpse into the early 18th-century Scottish herring fishery, a major and lucrative industry for Scotland right up until the mid-20th century. It gives instructions to the local officials responsible for supervising the curing and packing of herrings. As herring is a fatty fish, it has to be cured as quickly as possible, hence the need for tight regulations regarding curing and packing. The fifteen numbered instructions give specific guidelines for all stages of the curing process, in particular regarding the cleanliness and wholesomeness of the fish, packing methods, salting, pickling with wine, the number of hoops per barrel, the dumping of fish unfit for consumption, burn-marking each barrel with appropriate identifications, keeping ledgers for records of barrel-marks and the ships used to export herrings, and inspection of freshly-caught fish. The blank spaces in the title are meant to be annotated, presumably with the names of the relevant inspectors and the areas of Scotland in which they worked. This is an extremely rare work; there are only two other known copies listed in ESTC.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T37311|
|Author||Chambers, William and Robert|
|Title||Introduction to the science of astronomy.
Second edition, embossed by permission; for the use of the Blind.
|Imprint||Glasgow, printed, in the Asylum at the Institution Press, by John Alston, Honorary Treasurer to the Asylum; and sold by John Smith and Son, Glasgow; Smith Elder and Co., London; John Johnstone Edinburgh, and William Maccomb Belfast: |
|Date of Publication||1843|
|Notes||This is an apparently unrecorded edition of this work printed with embossed letters for the blind. The Library has a copy of the 1841 edition (shelfmark RB.s.502); a comparison of the two shows that the 1843 edition has two extra leaves because the type was reset to make it clearer. The text deals with the climate and geography of Earth as well as the solar system. There are six plates, also embossed, with diagrams and charts. The binding is rather curious. The original embossed wrapper can still be seen through the later leather binding, which has 'Science of Astronomy' rather crudely stamped in gold on the front cover. The endpapers are startling, shiny pink paper with gold stars.
John Alston (1778-1846) set up his press for raised Roman type in 1836. This copy is inscribed by him as a presentation copy to Thomas Carfrae (1802?-1854). This is a nice addition to the Library's holdings of material printed for the visually impaired, including the Royal Blind School special collection, which contains several other works produced by Alston.
|Title||Investigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones|
|Imprint||Valladolid, ‘En la Oficina de la Vuida é Hijos de Santander'|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||Adam Smith is one of those Scottish authors who we aim to collect comprehensively, and we acquire works by or relating to Smith whenever possible.
This four volume set is the first substantially complete Spanish translation of 'The wealth of nations, printed in 1794'. It is a good set, all but the first volume bound in contemporary tree sheep. The text was translated by Josef Alfonso Ortiz from the fifth edition of 1789. Ortiz deserves credit for getting the book approved by the Spanish Inquisition, who had already banned the French translation: he only had to make a few textual changes to comply with the censors.
NLS already has a copy of the ‘much corrected and improved’ second edition, printed in 1805-6, in the Astorga Collection (G.25.h.26). According to Tribe’s bibliography, some material printed in 1794 was omitted in 1805 (the appendix in vol. II). In 1999 we acquired 'Compendio de la obra Inglesa intitulada Riqueza de las naciones'(1792), which is a partial translation of a French summary of the work (RB.s.2050). However, it is most desirable that we should add to these works the true first Spanish edition, as a landmark in Scottish economic influence in European history.
Over the last few years, Rare Books have purchased extensively in the field of the Scottish Enlightenment in translation, acquiring early editions of David Hume, William Robertson, Lord Monboddo and Hugh Blair, in a variety of languages (Italian, Dutch, German, French). We have acquired little material in Spanish or printed in Spain, which is regrettable, as we have an outstanding collection of early Spanish books in the Astorga Collection, and the purchase of modern materials in Spanish has again become a key area in our collection development. This translation bears witness to the exchange of ideas between Scotland and Spain at an early date, and its purchase allows us to fill a gap in our Smith holdings.
This is not an exceptionally rare book, with 14 copies listed in OCLC, 3 in COPAC. However, there do not appear to be any other copies in public ownership in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||R. S. Smith, 'The first Spanish edition of The wealth of nations', in Cheng-chung Lai, ed., 'Adam Smith across Nations', 2000, pp. 342-6.
Tribe, Keith (ed.), 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', Pickering & Chatto, 2002|
|Title||Istoria della Sanita o sia dell' arte di ben conservarla giusta gl'insegnanti li piu interessanti additati da medici e filosofi si antichi, che moderni. |
|Imprint||Venice: Niccolo Pezzana|
|Date of Publication||1765|
|Notes||This is the first known Italian translation of The History of Health by the Scottish physician James Mackenzie (1682? - 1761), a book today most notable for its advocacy of smallpox innoculation. However, this edition suggests that to a contemporary audience the book's interest lay in its advice to the general public for a healthy lifestyle. The foreword to the Italian translation by the printer mentions an unfavourable review of the work by a 'Sig. Vandermond' in a medical journal, saying that of course a doctor would speak ill of a book which enables anyone interested in their own health to learn about the subject and to live as healthily as possible - hence not needing a doctor. This Italian translation is rare - no other copy is recorded in COPAC - but perhaps it would be more common had the foreword begun with the explanation of how the book could be useful to all, and was praised in England and France, rather than with the details of how Signore Vandermond 'criticises and shows the book to be useless'.|
|Author||Deschamps, Emile & Wailly, Gustave de.|
|Title||Ivanhoe : opera en trois actes, imite de l' anglais.|
|Imprint||Paris : Vente|
|Date of Publication||1826|
|Notes||"Ivanhoe" is probably Sir Walter Scott's most successful and enduring novel. Several musical adaptions of the work were produced in the 19th-century, the first being the opera performed in Paris in 1826. This is the first edition of the libretto by Emile Deschamps and Gabriel-Gustave de Wailly for a pasticcio created, with Rossini's permission, by Antonio Pacini as a means of introducing Rossini's music to Paris. Rossini had already written "La donna del lago" in 1819, the first Italian opera to be based on one of Scott's works, which would inspire other composers to create works based on Scott's novels. Scott was himself in Paris to see the opera, remarking: "It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled [Rowena and Richard the Lionheart do not appear, for example, and Ivanhoe marries Rebecca], and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people" (Journal, 31 October 1826). This particular copy of the Ivanhoe libretto has the library stamp of the Chateau de la Roche-Guyon in northern France on the title page and is attractively bound in red calf with lyre-shaped gilt cornerpieces.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Imprint||Pesten [Budapest] : Otto Wigand|
|Date of Publication||1829|
|Notes||The Library has in recent years acquired a number of early translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott printed in eastern Europe. This a rare Hungarian translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", only two other copies are recorded in the UK. It was the only Scott novel translated into Hungarian in the first half of the 19th century. It was translated by the poet and patriot Andras Thaisz (1789-1840, described by Sir John Bowring is his "The poetry of the Magyars" (London, 1830) as 'the translator of the Scottish Romances'.|
|Title||Izsledovanie celoveceskago razumenia (An Inquiry concerning human understanding).|
|Imprint||St. Petersburg: M. V. Pirozhkov|
|Date of Publication||1902|
|Notes||This is the rare first Russian translation of Hume's "Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding", which was first published in English in 1748. In the late eighteenth century, Hume was known in Russia chiefly as a writer on law, politics and history, rather than as a philosopher. In the 19th century, however, attitudes began to change once Russian thinkers gained access to French translations of his works, French being the language of the Russian nobility whose members were the main readership of his works at the time. Almost all leading Russian thinkers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century showed an interest in Hume, particularly in his empiricism and his interpretation of causation. Consequently Russian translations of Hume's main philosophical works were published in the 1890s and the first decade of the 20th century. Moreover, during the social and intellectual ferment of pre-Revolutionary Russia Hume's work on the philosophy of religion was particularly in demand. Lenin may have consulted this translation when writing his own main philosophical work "Materialism and empiriocriticism", published in 1909. He discusses Hume's work in some detail, dismissing his ideas as outdated. In the post-Revolution Soviet Union, free thinking was not encouraged and Hume's philosophy, whilst regarded as being progressive for its time, did not fit in with Soviet revision of philosophical heritage. New publications and translations of Hume did not appear until the 1960s in the Krushchev era of greater cultural freedom.|
|Reference Sources||Artemieva, T. and Mikeshin, M. "Hume in Russia" in Jones, P. (ed.), The Reception of David
Hume in Europe, London & N.Y., 2005.|
|Title||Izsliedovaniia o bogatstvie narodov. |
|Imprint||Moscow: Izd. K.T. Soldatenkova,|
|Date of Publication||1895|
|Notes||This is an important addition to the National Library's collection of translations of Adam Smith's landmark work 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations', published in 1776. The first Russian edition appeared in the early 19th century. However this volume of selections is the only Russian edition of Smith works held by the Library.
This edition was translated by K.T. Soldatenkov who earlier in his career had connections with Russian revolutionaries in London. The book formerly was part of the collection of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.|
|Title||Jacobi des Andern aus Franckreich, in Gendancken nach Engeland.|
|Imprint||Coelln [Cologne]: Bey Peter Hammern, |
|Date of Publication||1696|
|Notes||The Library has one of the major collections of printed material relating to Jacobites and Jacobitism, including foreign-language works concerning the exiled Stuart court. This is an uncommon first (and only?) German-language printing of an anonymous work on James VII and II, which had first been printed in French in 1696 under the title "Histoire secrette [sic] du voyage de Jaques II a Calais pour passer en Angleterre". The book deals with the last attempt to restore James to the British throne after his exile in 1688. Early in 1696 Louis XIV of France lent ships and men to James for an invasion of England. To coincide with the arrival of the French, a rising was secretly organized by the Jacobites in England. However, as neither side would take the initiative, the murder of William III, planned by a group of Jacobites in London, was seen as a way out of the deadlock. The plot was betrayed on the eve of the murder attempt and most of the conspirators were apprehended. The assassination plot aroused enormous contemporary interest throughout Europe as evidenced by this book. By supporting the assassination attempt, James came out of the whole affair in an unflattering light. In England there was a backlash of loyalty to William and the Jacobite cause there was badly undermined. The place of publication for this book is uncertain as it appears under the 'Peter Hammer' imprint. Books in French with a 'Pierre Marteau' (French for Peter Hammer) imprint had started appearing in the 1660s. Allegedly located in the German city of Cologne the publishing house never actually existed. The fictitious imprint was used by booksellers and printers in the Netherlands, France and Germany who wanted to publish politically controversial books to avoid open identification and censorship. German-language 'Peter Hammer' books started appearing in the late 1680s. German intellectuals, who were opposed to the despotic character of the French monarchy and who supported the likes of William III in his wars against Louis XIV, used the imprint to print books such as this one, which was critical of the French monarch and of those, like the exiled King James, who were under his influence.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
|Title||Johann Barclayens Argenis Deutsch gemacht durch Martin Opitzen.|
|Imprint||Breslau: David Mueller|
|Date of Publication||1626|
|Notes||The Scotsman John Barclay published his political novel "Argenis" in Latin in 1621, one month prior to his death. This long romance, which introduces the leading personages of international importance, has been called the prototype of a courtly roman a clef. Martin Opitz made his, the first German translation, from a French version of "Argenis" between 1626 and 1631.
This two volume edition is bound in contemporary vellum over wooden boards. It has 24 engraved plates with scenic illustrations, as well as a portrait of Barclay in volume 2.
Martin Opitz (1597-1639) was the foremost German Baroque poet. He was considered the authority on the best metrical pattern in all genres. Johann Christoph Gottsched called him the father of German poetry. In Vienna in 1623, Opitz was awarded the position of an imperial poet on account of an extempore poem. He received a knighthood from the Austrian Emperor in 1627.
The first volume is Opitz's translation of Barclay's text, whereas the second volume contains the translation of a second instalment by A.M. de Mouchemberg.|
|Title||Jolly Jump-Ups: Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses|
|Imprint||[Springfield, USA] : McLoughlin Bros|
|Date of Publication||1946|
|Notes||Robert Louis Stevenson comes to life in pop-up form in this delightful and highly coloured children's book. Stevenson's classic text, A Child's Garden of Verses, had proved very popular in North America and appeared in many attractive illustrated editions. This is a rather different adaptation which shows how Stevenson's influence had reached quite different genres of children's books. This copy is in nice condition, particularly for a pop-up, a form which often attracts the investigation of curious fingers to the detriment of the book. The 'Jolly Jump-Ups' was a well-established series of pop-ups, mostly nursery rhymes and learning books: as the bookseller remarks, it is 'somewhat unusual to have real literature as the basis for a pop-up'. Stevenson and children's books are two popular themes in the Library's collections which have been highlighted in recent exhibitions, and this pop-up brings both themes together.|
|Author||Bell, James Stanislaus.|
|Title||Journal d' une residence en Circassie pendant les annees 1837, 1838, et 1839.|
|Imprint||Paris: Arthus Bertrand.|
|Date of Publication||1841|
|Notes||James Stanislaus Bell (1796-1858) was a Dundee-born trader who in the 1830s started trading in Circassia, a region of the North Caucasus on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea. Circassia had long been a key strategic location for the ongoing power struggle between the Russian, Ottoman, British and French empires. Russia wanted to expand its territory along the Black Sea coastline, while Britain and France sought to reduce Russia's ability to take advantage of the declining Ottoman presence in the area in order to protect their own trading interests in the Middle and Far East. From the 1760s onwards the Russians and local tribes living in Circassia engaged in a series of battles and wars over the territory, which were only ended in 1864 when Circassian leaders finally swore loyalty to the Russian Czar. Bell was following in the footsteps of another Scot, the diplomat David Urquhart, who in 1834 was the first Briton to champion the Circassians' cause against the Russians.
Bell chartered a vessel, the "Vixen", to trade with directly with the local people and landed on the Caucasian coast in late 1836. He declared his cargo as salt, but the Russian authorities were convinced that he in fact was smuggling weapons and confiscated his ship. The Russians' suspicions may have been well-founded, given Bell's links with Urquhart and the British government's anti-Russian stance. Bell made his second trip to Circassia in 1837, accompanied by "The Times" journalist J.A. Longworth, ostensibly to negotiate reparations for the capture of his ship as the British government had publicly declined to get involved in his dispute with the Russians. He may also however have been reporting in secret to the British government on the political and military situation. He ended up staying in the region until 1839. During these years he took time to study the language, customs and traditions of the Circassians, even accompanying them on raids behind the Russian lines. Both Bell and Longworth wrote books based on their time in Circassia. Bell's work was originally published in English in 1840 as 'Journal of a residence in Circassia' and is regarded as the most comprehensive first-hand account of the Russo-Circassian wars in the latter part of the 1830s. This French translation by Louis Vivien appeared in the following year, as did a German translation. Vivien supplied an historical and geographical introduction for the French edition, which contains the same plates as used in the English edition. Bell later worked as a government agent in Central America, where his daughter married the Prussian adventurer and author Gustavus von Tempsky.
|Title||Journal of a second expedition into the interior of Africa|
|Imprint||Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey|
|Date of Publication||1829|
|Notes||This is the first American edition of the Scottish explorer's posthumously published account of his second African expedition. Clapperton had participated in an earlier expedition with Dixon Denham and Walter Oudney into Central and Western Africa to find the source and map the course of the Niger River. Denham had published an account of that expedition in 1826 in which he had claimed all the glory. In the meantime Clapperton had returned to Africa and on this second trek he was the expedition leader. In this attempt, which was again unsuccessful, he accomplished an immense amount of travel, and here are his travels to Bussa (where he learned the details of Mungo Park's death), Kanto, Katunga, and finally Sokoto, where he died of malaria and dysentery. It was his servant Richard Lander who finally accomplished the expedition's goals on a separate expedition, as detailed in Lander's additions to the basic narrative. The Journal's appendix contains such diverse information as short word lists of the Yoruba and Fellatah languages, meteorological tables, and a list of Clapperton's Arabic manuscripts. The engraved plan shows the course of the Kowara or Quarra River.