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.

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Important Acquisitions 346 to 360 of 735:

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AuthorClyne, Geraldine
TitleJolly Jump-Ups: Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses
Imprint[Springfield, USA] : McLoughlin Bros
Date of Publication1946
LanguageEnglish
NotesRobert 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.
ShelfmarkRB.m.462
Acquired on07/10/02
AuthorCodman, John
TitleA letter addressed to the Hon. John Lynch, chairman of the special congressional committee of the United States Senate, on the navigation interest
ImprintBoston: A. Williams
Date of Publication1869
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis pamphlet relates to USA's efforts to rebuild its merchant navy, which had been left in a parlous state after the Civil War. Efforts to restore the American merchant fleet to its former glory were hampered by an American law which prevented any ship flying the American flag which had not been built in the USA and had been launched in American waters. Supporters of free trade in the USA were anxious to improve the situation by buying the latest metal-built steamers from British shipyards thus taking advantage of advances in British shipbuilding technology. A Boston-based captain in the merchant marine, John Codman (1814-1900), was sent to Scotland by the New York Board of Underwriters to observe shipbuilding on the River Clyde. His observations are printed in this pamphlet, which reproduces a letter written by him from Dumbarton on November 15 1869. The letter was addressed to Republican congressman John Lynch, who was in the US House of Representatives and was at the time serving as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Navy. Codman, who had spent his early career sailing on clipper ships, argues passionately that the days of wooden ships for trade are over, and the current ban on purchasing the latest iron ships built in Europe is "neither more nor less than national suicide". He rails at the restrictive practices of "antiquated shipbuilders on the eastern shore" and contrasts the lack of American ambition with the situation on the Clyde, "the natural ship-producing district of the world". Codman observes that the Clyde shipbuilders are exploiting the area's "well organized system of labor, the cheapness of iron and coal", as well as the workforce's satisfaction with "moderate wages", to dominate the world shipbuilding market. Codman's pamphlet was one of series of seven produced in 1869-70 where issued together with the collective title page 'Free ships for foreign commerce'.
ShelfmarkAP.3.213.22
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on28/06/13
AuthorColborn Barrel [et al.]
TitleA poem to the memory of Mr. Robert Sandeman.
Imprint[Aberdeen?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1771?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare collection of poems celebrating the life of Robert Sandeman (1718-1771), the Scottish promoter of the Glasite sect, and author of the controversial theological work "Letters on Theron and Aspasio" (Edinburgh, 1757). After being active in his local city of Perth then in Edinburgh, Sandeman was invited to New England by Congregational ministers based there, and he sailed from Glasgow to Boston in August 1764. The success of his American mission was limited by his loyalty to Britain in the unsettled years leading up to the American Declaration of Independence. Moreover, his theology was not always regarded highly by American theologians, and in 1770 he was brought to trial by the Connecticut authorities. He died at Danbury, in this state, in the following year and was buried there. The poems in this pamphlet seem to have been printed shortly after his death, possibly in Aberdeen, as the only other two known copies of this work are held in Aberdeen University library. Throughout the first poem, "A poem to the memory of Mr. Robert Sandeman" which is anonymous, Sandeman is addressed as Palaemon, the pseudonym taken from the name of a famous Roman grammarian, and used by him in "Theron and Aspasio". This long poem of twelve pages is followed by a series of five elegies under the general title of "Elegies on Mr. Robert Sandeman": the first is by Colborn Barrel, and the others are signed by (in turn) Alford Butler, Archibald Rutherford, Robert Boswell and David Mitchelson. The fourth elegy (ending on p. 20) concludes with 'Finis', so the final two leaves containing the elegy by Mitchelson could be a later addition, as they are missing in one of the Aberdeen University library copies. Three of the elegy writers can be identified as being based in New England at the time. Colborn Barrel was a merchant in New Hampshire, who was recorded as having preached at a Sandemanian service in 1770. Alford Butler (1735-1828) was probably a bookseller and binder based in Boston and then Portsmouth, N.H. Unlike Barrell, who had expressed his dislike of British rule, he was a loyalist and because of his opposition to American independence he may have lived in Canada for a few years. David Mitchelson was, like Alford Butler, involved in the Boston book trade. Mitchelson is known to have been a Sandemanian, and is supposed to have worked for John Mein (a Scots emigre with connections to the Sandeman family), who was at this time publisher of the "Boston Chronicle". The other two contributors probably did not come from America. Robert Boswell (1746-1804) was almost certainly a cousin of the biographer James Boswell, Robert being the son of James Boswell, Lord Auchinlecks younger brother. Like his father, Robert was an adherent of the Glasite sect in Scotland and argued with James about it in 1777 - as recorded by Boswell in his journal entry for 10 April for that year ("Boswell in Extremes 1776-1778", ed. Pottle and Weis). Robert became very close to the Glasites by marrying into the Sandeman family: his wife was the niece of Robert Sandeman. Archibald Rutherford has not been identified; he may have been based in Scotland although there are records of aman of that name who lived in Virginia and whose dates are said to have been 1732-1830.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2856
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on11/05/12
AuthorCollins, F. Howard
TitleAuthor & Printer
ImprintSecond impression. London: Henry Frowde
Date of Publication1905
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis copy of the guide for authors, editors, printers and compositors was owned by the Scottish printer John Birkbeck, who dated it on the flyleaf 26 September 1931. The book is heavily annotated in his hand, and includes numerous newspaper cuttings, cartoons and even a poem. It is a working copy, and Birkbeck has added many words difficult to spell to the printed lists. However, some of the stuck-in items were clearly included for humour's sake. For example, one printed note headed 'Please pass round - hygiene' reads 'Some person unknown has fouled one of the seats in the lavatories. Will the person concerned please take greater care in the direction of his evacuation. And, in any case, when there is an accident will he please clean the seat. January 11, 1956. J.R., Father.' Does this come from an irate school headmaster?
ShelfmarkHB1.207.7.113
Acquired on19/06/07
AuthorColquhoun, Patrick.
TitleA general view of the national police system, recommended by the Select Committee of Finance to the House of Commons.
ImprintLondon : Printed by H. Baldwin and Son
Date of Publication1799
LanguageEnglish
NotesPatrick Colquhoun (1745-1820), born in Dumbarton, was a magistrate and founder of the Thames police, a river police force to protect trade on the Thames. In 1796 his "Treatise on the police of the metropolis" was published anonymously, outlining the author's plan for an improved police system. In 1799 Colquhoun published this work, "A general view of the national police system", on the topic of the proposed board of police revenue. This is a first edition. ESTC lists only four other copies held in the UK.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2763
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on30/09/09
AuthorColumbus, Bonaventura
TitleNovus cursus philosophicus Scotistarum complectens universam philosophiam, rationalem, naturalem, moralem & transnaturalem…
ImprintLugduni : Sumpt. Lavr. Arnavd, et Petri Borde
Date of Publication1669
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a one volume compendium of the works of John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308). Sources variously state that Scotus was born in Duns, Berwickshire, Friar Minor at Dumfries where his uncle Elias Duns was superior, or Maxton (now Littledean). Scotus was one of the most important and influential philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. His complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. The recto of the front free endpaper has a manuscript entry in the hand of Professor Geoffrey W.S. Barrow, M.A., B.Litt., D.Litt., Hon.D.Litt. Barrow was formerly a professor in the Scottish History Department of the University of Edinburgh and the inscription indicates that the book was once in his ownership. The inscription begins: "This is a remarkable compendium of the philosophy of John Duns Scotus ... NB. There is no copy of this work listed in the catalogues of the British Library not that of the Bibl. Nat. at Paris."
ShelfmarkAB.10.204.03
Acquired on21/03/03
AuthorCommissioners and trustees for fisheries, manufactures and improvements in Scotland
TitleDirections for raising flax
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication1763
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare pamphlet provides practical instructions for farmers who wished to grow flax. This crop had been grown to produce linen in Scotland as early as 1000 B.C. and in the eighteenth century, the linen industry was one of the most important in the country. The Act of Union of 1707 did not immediately have the desired effect of giving linen manufacturers access to new markets. The Board of Trustees for Fisheries and Manufactures, established in 1727, tried to encourage the growth of more flax as the industry was largely dependent on imports from Holland and the Baltic. This pamphlet includes information on choosing 'lintseed' (linseed), weeding, harvesting, stacking 'winning' (winnowing), watering and grassing (drying) flax. Further revised and extended editions were published in 1772 and 1781. By 1782 it seemed that such instructions were having an effect, as Scotland became almost self-sufficient in flax. It was mainly grown in the counties of Forfar, Renfrew, Lanark, Perth and Fife, where some farms grew as many as 50 acres of flax per year. By the 1830s, flax was in decline. Hand-loom weavers in the countryside found that the power loom was reducing their profits to almost nothing. Consequently the farmers ceased to grow flax and changed over to turnips and potatoes. The only other copy of this pamphlet is held at the British Library.
ShelfmarkABS.1.205.015
Reference SourcesT. Bedford Franklin, A history of Scottish farming. London, 1952M.L. Parry and T.R. Slater. (eds)The making of the Scottish countryside. Montreal, 1980.Alastair J. Durie (ed.). The British Linen Company. Edinburgh, 1996.
Acquired on10/06/05
AuthorCommissioners and Trustees for Improving Fisheries and Manufactures in Scotland
TitleInstructions given by the commissioners and trustees for improving the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland to [blank] wreck and cure-masters of herrings at [blank]
Imprint[Edinburgh?: S.n.]
Date of Publication[1728?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 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.
ShelfmarkRB.l.223
Reference SourcesESTC T37311
Acquired on28/09/05
AuthorConn, George
TitleDe duplici statu religionis apud Scotos libri duo
ImprintRomae: Typis Vaticanis, M.DC.XXVIII
Date of Publication1628
LanguageLatin
NotesOne of four items acquired from the sale of the library of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre (1914-2003), which included a substantial number of early modern Scottish items. Inscribed on the fly-leaf: 'Ex Libris Biblioth: Presby. Drumfr. Ex dono Joan: Hutton M.D. 1714'. John Hutton began life as a herd-boy to the Episcopalian minister of Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire, through whose generosity he was educated. He graduated as a physician at Padua, and had a lucky break when he was the first doctor on the scene after Mary of Orange fell from a horse in Holland. Gaining the favour of William and Mary, he became their first physician when they ascended to the English throne, a role he continued under Queen Anne. Hutton made generous gifts to his family and the parish of Caerlaverock, and his bequests on his death in 1712 included the gift of his library to the ministers of the presbytery of Dumfries 'to be carefully kept in that town'. As the physician who accompanied William of Orange to the Battle of the Boyne, Hutton seems an unlikely person to have owned this book - a discussion of religion in Scotland by a prominent 17th century Scottish Catholic and friend of Charles I. George Conn (d. 1640) was educated at the Scots Colleges of Paris and Rome: by 1628 he was a Dominican friar and secretary to Cardinal Barberini, to whom this book is dedicated. In the 1630s he was papal agent at the court of Henrietta Maria, where his work for the Catholic religion aroused English opposition. Conn left England in 1639 and died soon afterwards. This item therefore brings together two Scots from opposing sides of the religious and political spectrum of the seventeenth century. Was Hutton curious to see how a Catholic countryman described Scottish religion? Did his European travels give him a broad-minded tolerance of other doctrines? Or did his Scottish Episcopal background give him an interest in the Stuart court? One of the other items in his library, after all, was the prayer book which Charles I carried to the scaffold. Whatever the explanation may be, this item shows that the religious divide in 17th century Scotland was not so absolute as it is sometimes portrayed. It is not known how this item travelled from Dumfries presbytery to Hugh Trevor-Roper's library. It does bear the inscription of an earlier owner, George Kellie, Trevor-Roper's book label, and a shelf-mark presumably from Hutton's library. The library of Dumfries Presbytery was transferred to the General Assembly Library in the Tolbooth Church (now The Hub) in 1880, and from there to Edinburgh University's New College Library. However, items from the collection have occasionally turned up at sales in the past. Bought with: A bill for the better ordering of the militia forces in that part of Great-Britain called Scotland (c.1760). Possibly a draft of a bill not enacted, this item is not in ESTC. Bound with Alexander Carlyle, The question relating to a Scots militia considered. (Edinburgh: Gavin Hamilton and John Balfour, 1760) ESTC T121729. Also with Trevor-Roper's book label. John Major: Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae ... editio nova. (Edinburgh: Apud Robertum Fribarnium, 1740). A subscription edition by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Freebairn, including his receipt for the subscription of James Sinclair (d.1762) of Rosslyn. The book contains Sinclair's armorial bookplate and his crest is on the binding. Sinclair, from a notable Scottish family, was an important figure in the British army of the period, besides being an M.P. (Also bought with George Buchanan: Alcestis/Baptistes/Franciscanus/Sphaera, which is a separate Report item)
ShelfmarkRB.m.513
Reference SourcesDNB; Bookseller's catalogue; John V. Howard (Archivist at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, who has worked on the Dumfries Presbytery Library); New College Library
Acquired on24/06/04
AuthorContant D'Orville, Andre-Guillaume
TitleLes fastes de Grande Bretagne, contentant tout ce qui s'est passe d'interessant dans les trois royaumes d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse, & d'Irelande…
ImprintParis: J. P Costard
Date of Publication1769
LanguageFrench
NotesThese two volumes claim to describe 'everything interesting that happened in the three realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, from the foundation of the monarchy until the peace of 1763. In practice, the work has a decidedly Anglocentric focus - the author explains in his preface that he decided to write about England because of the importance of its relationship with France. However, Scottish history is covered in greater detail after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. In short, this book contains an interesting 18th-century French perspective on events such as the Jacobite risings and 'the most brilliant part of Queen Anne's reign ... the union of Scotland and England'. The author, Andre-Guilliaume Contant d'Orville, (1730-1800), wrote novels and histories, and was influenced by the historical methods of Voltaire. The volumes are in the original stiff paper wrappers, with an 18th-century armorial bookplate (possibly Swedish) inside each front cover.
ShelfmarkAB.1.204.10
Reference SourcesBooksellers' catalogue
Acquired on13/02/04
AuthorCook, Thomas
TitleReminiscences of pleasure trips from Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and other places in Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc. to Liverpool, Fleetwood, Blackpool, the Isle of Man, Ireland, and Scotland, in the summer of 1847
ImprintLeicester
Date of Publication1847
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare and fascinating account of two of the earliest of Thomas Cook's organised 'pleasure trips' to Scotland. It is prefaced by Cook's 'short defence of pleasure trips' or 'rational pastimes' as the author described them, which he had first organized from Leicester in 1841. Facilitated by the expanding network of railway lines and inspired by the example of Queen Victoria, Cook launched his tours to Scotland with a somewhat accident-prone excursion in the summer of 1846. Cook also comments somewhat critically on the efforts of other tour organisers and some of their excursionists including a party of Newcastle mechanics who were found 'rolling about the streets [of Edinburgh] in a state of intemperance, co-habiting with the scum of the city'. This produced 'a very unfavourable impression of Englishmen' . This work describes two rather more successful trips in the following year. The first trip lasted a week and brought the excursionists from Fleetwood by steamer to Ardrossan and then by train to Glasgow. The tourists visited Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Paisley. Making use of the recently-constructed high-level rail link from Newcastle to Berwick (and experiencing long delays), the second tour was more extensive, taking in the Highlands, Staffa and Iona as well as the afore-mentioned attractions. The tourists based themselves in Oban 'a pleasant and thriving village of 100 houses', where some of their number were rebuked by the locals for not only for laughing, but also for asking the names of the mountains on the 'Scottish sabbath'. Overall, the visitors came away with a positive impression of Scotland - the climax of the tour being 'the celebrated cave of Fingal'.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.012
Acquired on14/09/00
AuthorCoultershoggle, Mungo (pseud.)
TitleGoslington Shadow
ImprintNew York: Collins & Hannay et al
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extraordinary acquisition, a two-volume novel published in America which has most of the dialogue in Scots. The work is extremely rare and the British Library only has a microfilm. This presumably explains why it seems to have escaped critical and literary recognition. The unknown pseudonymous writer also wrote 'Leslie Linkfield' (1826). It seems overwhelmingly likely that he was a Scottish emigrant; the descriptions of the Scottish countryside, and the dialogue, could hardly have been written by someone who had not spent many years in Scotland. The plot is rather reminiscent of Scott's 'Redgauntlet': a naďve youth comes to discover that he is the heir of a powerful aristocratic family, which had fought for the Jacobites. The preposterously-named Goslington Shadow emerges as a hero and lover of noble blood. In terms of literary constuction, this novel is most curious. The narrator adopts a high prose style in flowery English, full of sentimental reflections on landscape, rather like Gothic writers like Mrs. Radcliffe. The tone is frequently knowing and ironic, which can make it an irritating text to read. When the characters speak, however, the language used is serious Scots, and hard to read for a non-native speaker. The plot develops in the most meandering way, introducing numerous picaresque figures whose relevance is rarely immediately clear. I would conjecture that this novel was received in New York in 1825 with utter bafflement. This novel would repay serious study. It seems to me that this is a major attempt at literary innovation, of real significance in the development of Scottish literature. The result is certainly not an unqualified success. Some passages are wonderful and horrible stylistic failures, so bad as to be rather good. Yet the overall wit and intelligence of the writer shine through (see, for example, the debate over the reading of 'Paradise Lost' towards the end of vol. 1). Certainly, compared to some of the examples of 'Scottish literature' currently in print, 'Goslington Shadow' has much to recommend it.
ShelfmarkABS.2.203.005
Acquired on08/04/03
AuthorCraig, Thomas, Sir, 1538-1608.
TitleD. Thomae Cragii de Riccarton, equitis, ... jus feudale, tribus libris comprehensum: ... Editio tertia, prioribus multáo emendatior. ... Accessit rerum & verborum index locupletissimus, ... Opera & studio Jacobi Baillie
ImprintEdinburgi : apud Tho. & Walt. Ruddimannos, 1732.
Date of Publication1732
LanguageLatin
NotesContemporary Scottish binding of red goatskin, the covers tooled in gilt with a border composed of dog-tooth roll and a thistle and floral roll and featuring a centre diamond emblem comprised of roundels and semi-circles. The spine has been rebacked thus preserving the original spine and label. The spine is divided into seven panels with gilt scroll corners, the edges of the boards and turn-ins gilt tooled with thistle and bud roll. The endpapers are floral patterned Dutch gilt. The tooling and patterns on this copy are very similar to that found on two other Scottish bindings in the NLS collections. Bdg.s.877, also published in 1732, and Bdg.l.8, published in 1734, both feature roundels and semi-circles on red leather. The text was first published in London in 1655 and in Leipzig in 1716. It is the first systematic work on law in Scotland.
ShelfmarkBdg.l.45
Reference SourcesESTC T144476
Acquired on04/05/04
AuthorCrouch, Nathaniel
TitleHistory of the kingdoms of Scotland & Ireland.
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1685
LanguageEnglish
NotesNathaniel Crouch who wrote under the pseudonym of R.B. – Richard or Robert Burton, was a prolific author of books for both adults and children. He is credited with writing, editing or rewriting over 40 books during his long life (c.1632-c.1725). These included emblem books, fables, riddle books, travel narratives and histories. The simplicity of his prose style was praised by Samuel Johnson and he is regarded as one of the first authors to attempt to provide children with entertaining as opposed to purely moralistic reading matter. Crouch had already written about the recent history of the three kingdoms as well as a more exhaustive history of England. In his preface he stated he aimed at 'plainness and brevity' in describing the history of Scotland and Ireland, with particular emphasis on the late medieval period. The book is illustrated with crude woodcuts, some of which are repeated in the text.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.018
Acquired on19/10/00
AuthorCruikshank, Isaac
TitleResurection [sic] men disturbed, or a guilty conscience needs no accuser.
ImprintLondon: Fores
Date of Publication1794
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a hand-coloured satirical etching by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811) depicting a gruesome scene of six men, one with wig and tricorn hat which may indicate that he is a doctor, caught in the act of removing corpses from graves they have just opened up. Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 body snatching, or grave robbing, was often the only means of obtaining human bodies for use in anatomical lessons in the growing number of medical schools. The practice led to relatives of a deceased person mounting a vigil beside the grave to deter the ironically-named "resurrection men".
ShelfmarkRB.l.252
Acquired on09/06/09
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