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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AuthorAnderson, Grace Scott & John
TitleJapan from India: letters & notes of the journey of two travellers, chiefly by one of them.
Imprint[Calcutta?: privately printed]
Date of Publication[1884]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, privately-printed account of a journey to Japan in 1884, made by the eminent Scottish zoologist, Dr John Anderson (1833-1900) and his wife, Grace (1834-1917). Anderson was at the time based in Calcutta, where he had lived for 20 years and was working as Superintendent of the Indian Museum and professor of comparative anatomy at the medical school. He had devoted his career to studying the zoology and ethnology of the Far East, having already gone on three arduous, and at times dangerous, scientific expeditions to China and Burma during his time in India. The trip to Japan was a more leisurely affair. The anonymous account printed here is a mixture of a travel journal, written by Grace Anderson, who addresses her chapters to a relative or friend called Isabella, with two additional, more scholarly, chapters written by Anderson (referred to in the text as "J.A."). The Andersons' journey started from Calcutta on March 15 with the first destination being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they met the governor (and fellow Scot), Col. Thomas Cadell. During their stay they visited the penal colony at Port Blair. After a stay in Rangoon, Burma, they moved on to Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canton (Guangzhou), Grace making frequent comparisons with the landscape she saw in the course of her travels and that of her native Scotland. In May they arrived in Japan, which was the Anderson's main destination. The majority of the book is accordingly devoted to their travels in the Japanese islands with descriptions of the scenery, wildlife, local customs, religion and food. The final chapter in the book is written by John Anderson and concerns their visit to the island of Yezo (Hokkaido) from August to October. He cites a number of other contemporary authors who had written on Japan, including Isabella Birds "Unbeaten tracks in Japan" (first published in 1880). Clearly inspired by Bird's travels among the indigenous Ainu people, much of this chapter is taken up with a description of the Ainu. Anderson adopts a relatively neutral tone throughout his account, but, as already described by Isabella Bird, Anderson shows that the Ainu were suffering under the direct Japanese control of the island imposed after 1869. He describes a people living in squalor, unable to practise some of their local customs, and blighted by their addiction to alcohol. Anderson was able to get a letter of introduction from an English Anglican missionary, the Rev. John Batchelor, to meet an Ainu chief Peuri who figured prominently in Birds "Unbeaten tracks". Peuri would appear to have been the 'Benri' described by Bird as a "superb but dissipated-looking savage". Not long after his return to Calcutta, in 1886, Anderson resigned from his posts in Calcutta and returned to Britain, where he settled in London. He devoted the rest of his life to studying the fauna of North Africa, although for the rest of his life he was in poor health. He and his wife are buried in the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. In his obituary in the "Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal" (1902) it is stated that he travelled with his wife to Japan after his retirement from his jobs in Calcutta, the existence of this account shows that in fact he made the journey before his retirement.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.28
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on06/06/14
AuthorBarclay, John
TitleJohann Barclayens Argenis Deutsch gemacht durch Martin Opitzen.
ImprintBreslau: David Mueller
Date of Publication1626
LanguageGerman
NotesThe 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2310
Acquired on23/07/03
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
AuthorBell, James Stanislaus.
TitleJournal d' une residence en Circassie pendant les annees 1837, 1838, et 1839.
ImprintParis: Arthus Bertrand.
Date of Publication1841
LanguageFrench
NotesJames 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.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.17
Acquired on03/04/09
AuthorClapperton, Hugh
TitleJournal of a second expedition into the interior of Africa
ImprintPhiladelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey
Date of Publication1829
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAB.3.208.09
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on26/02/08
AuthorBlaxland, Gregory.
TitleJournal of a tour of discovery across the Blue Mountains, New South Wales in the year 1813.
ImprintAngus & Robertson: Sydney
Date of Publication1893.
LanguageEnglish
NotesA line for line reproduction of the rare original edition of 1823 which recounts the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 and the discovery of the pastures to the west of the ranges.
ShelfmarkGB/A.3616
Acquired on06/09/01
AuthorDarwin, Charles.
TitleJournal of researches into the natural history and geologyof the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.
ImprintLondon: John Murray
Date of Publication1852
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a reissue of the second edition (1845) of Darwin's account of the voyage of the Beagle. It was first published by Henry Colburn in 1839 in two forms - separately and as volume III of Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships Adventure and Beagle. According to R.B. Freeman in The works of Charles Darwin this 'book is undoubtedly the most often read and stands second only to On the origin of the species as the most often printed'. It is also an important travel book in its own right. Only two editions were published and Darwin sold the copyright to John Murray for £150. Between the first and second editions the text was extensively revised, the maps omitted and the number of woodcuts increased. The National Library holds volume III of the Narrative and the 1845 editions, but only has the reissue on microfiche. What makes this particular copy remarkable is its provenance. Darwin presented it to William Bernhardt Tegetmeier sometime between 1855, when their long correspondence begun and 1860 when the final definitive text of the Journal appeared. Tegetmeier (1816-1912), was a genuine Victorian polymath and 'character'. He practised as a mesmeric healer, lectured on domestic economy, was a keen bee-keeper and an advocate of cock-fighting. He wrote a number of works on poultry breeding, pheasants and in particular, pigeons. In 1855 Tegetmeier came to the attention of Charles Darwin, who was studying pigeons and other domestic birds as part of the research which led to the Origin of Species (1859) and Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication (1868). He took Darwin to pigeon shows, and answered numerous queries in correspondence. The relationship between Darwin and Tegetmeier is also an important one which our current holdings, in both the printed collections and the John Murray Archive, do not appear to have anything to illustrate.
ShelfmarkJMA.1
Reference SourcesFreeman, R.B. The works of Charles Darwin. (Folkestone, 1977) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Acquired on08/01/07
AuthorBurnes, Alexander
TitleKabul. Schilderung einer Reise nach dieser Stadt und des Aufenthalts daselbst.
ImprintLeipzig: T.D. Weigel
Date of Publication1843
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a German translation of Alexander Burnes's 'Cabool: being a personal narrative of a journey to, and residence in that city in the years 1836-38', published posthumously in 1842. Burnes was born in Montrose in 1805 and educated at Montrose Academy. He had extraordinary linguistic abilities, learning Hindustani and Persian within one year in Bombay. At the end of 1836 Burnes was dispatched by the British government on a mission to Kabul, where he stayed until 1838. During these two years he collected the material for his book. In 1839 he returned as an officer with the British Army and acted as second political officer in Kabul. Towards the end of 1841 the political situation deteriorated but Burnes was unprepared for the ferocity of the Afghan revenge. On 2 November 1841 an infuriated crowd besieged his house in Kabul and murdered him. This event marked the beginning of Britain's disastrous retreat from Afghanistan.
ShelfmarkABS.2.206.001
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on15/09/05
AuthorBell, Thomas [pseud. of John Roberton]
TitleKalogynomia or the laws of female beauty: Being the elementary principles of that science.
ImprintLondon: J.J. Stockdale,
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 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. 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. He teamed up again with Stockdale to publish this work, "Kalogynomia" in 1821, using his pseudonym Thomas Bell. This work is aimed squarely at a male readership of the middle and upper classes, (this particular copy is from the library of George, Second Marquess of Milford Haven (1892-1938), containing his armorial bookplate); it is ostensibly a guide to the beauty of the female sex, but in reality it is a sex manual. As with his earlier work "On diseases of the generative system", Roberton covers sexual health and generation, with chapters discussing beauty and love, before turning to a more detailed discussion of sexual intercourse, and 'the laws regulating that intercourse'. He concludes his work with a 'Catalogue Raisonné of the defects in female beauty'. A number of plates depict both the male and female sexual organs, and indeed a note of caution is included in the plate description: "Plates 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 should not be carelessly exposed either to Ladies or to Young Persons ... As the work is a scientific one, and calculated both by its mode of construction and by its price for the higher and more reflecting class of readers, and as the Plates above are enumerated are also entirely scientific and anatomical, the publisher might have dispensed with this precaution; but he is anxious that these readers should have it in their power to obviate the possibility of careless exposure of such anatomical plates: they are therefore detached from the work, and may be locked up separately" (p. i). It seems, rare, therefore, to find these plates present as here, bound in throughout the text. Roberton's decision to use a pseudonym and his warning about the graphic nature of some of the illustrations used in the book, clearly reflect the pressures that he and Stockdale felt in light of the public reaction to their previous collaboration. The work provides a fascinating insight into early nineteenth century sexual thought, revealing the sensitivity over the publication of works dealing with such matters, and the fine line in the debate of what was considered to be medical or sexual, anatomical or pornographical.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2799
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleKenel'uort. Roman Val'tera Skota obrabotan dlia iunoshestva [Kenilworth. A novel by Walter Scott adapted for youth].
ImprintSankpeterburg, Moskva : M.O. Vol'fa
Date of Publication1873
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is a Russian adaption of Sir Walter Scott's novel "Kenilworth" for younger readers. The cover states the book was published within the series 'Sochineniia Val'ter-Skota' ('Works of Walter-Scott' [sic]), but no other works within this series have been located apart a translation of "Waverley" (Veverlei, 1876), at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Translations of Scott into Russian began to appear in the 1820s; he reached probably the widest audience of any foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, and his influence could be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan, 'Walter Scott' cloaks, and dressing up as characters from his novels. It is not clear whether this translation has been done direct from the English or from a French translation (French being the language of conversation and correspondence by the Russian nobility which had in turn encouraged widespread access to French literature in Russia). However, the tinted lithograph frontispiece is taken from an illustration by the French book illustrator Denis Auguste Marie Raffet, who illustrated Auguste Defauconpret's French translations of Scott's works.
ShelfmarkAB.1.211.056
Acquired on08/07/11
TitleKoran
ImprintGlasgow, David Bryce
Date of Publicationca. 1900
LanguageArabic
NotesThis is a miniature copy of The Koran, in Arabic, published by David Bryce of Glasgow around the turn of the 19th century. The book measures 19 x 27 mm. and is accompanied by a metal locket with an inset magnifying glass to help facilitate reading the tiny script. The edges of the book are gilt and it is bound in red morocco with a gilt pattern very reminiscent of that which was used on Bryce's miniature version of the Bible published in 1896. According to Louis W. Bondy's 'Miniature Books: their History from the Beginnings to the Present Day', many copies of Bryce's Koran were issued to during World War I to Muslim soldiers fighting with allied troops.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2279
Reference SourcesBondy, Louis W. Miniature books, their history from the beginnings to the present day (London: Sheppard Press, 1981) pp. 111-112.
Acquired on23/04/02
AuthorBarclay, John.
TitleL' Argenide di Giovanni Barclaio.
ImprintVenetia [Venice]: Pietro Maria Bertano,
Date of Publication1636
LanguageItalian
NotesThe Library has recently acquired a number of early editions of the Franco-Scottish author John Barclay to increase its holdings of one of the most widely-read and influential literary figures of 17th-century Europe. This Italian translation of Barclay's political romance "Argenis" was made by Carl' Antonio Cocastello and edited by Christoforo Tomasini. First published in Turin in 1630, it followed another Italian translation made by Francesco Pona that was originally published in Venice in 1629. "Argenis" was Barclay's last work, completed only days before his death, and his greatest one. Composed in Rome as Barclay was working at the papal court at the time, but printed in Paris in 1621, Barclay's novel, describing the story of Princess Argenis and her suitors, offered an allegorical presentation of European history in transition from the 16th to the 17th centuries.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2803
Reference SourcesShaaber B144
Acquired on29/05/10
TitleL.R.B. [Lloyd Royal Belge]
ImprintGlasgow]: Maclure & Macdonald
Date of Publication[1919-1920]
LanguageEnglish
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.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.107
Acquired on04/08/08
AuthorClaude, Jean
TitleLa Defense De La Reformation Contre Le Live Intitulé Prejugez Legitimes Contre Les Calvinistes
ImprintRouen: Jean Lucas, demeurant à Rouen rue aux Juifs, proche lHotel de Ville
Date of Publication1673
LanguageFrench
NotesThe author, Jean Claude, was a French Protestant Minister who wrote fiercely against the persecution of Protestants in France. This work is aimed at Pierre Nicoles attack on the Calvinists. The item is particularly interesting because of its provenance. On the inside front board is the book-plate of the Earl of Kintore with the motto Quae Amissa Salva.On the verso of the inside flyleaf is the ownership inscription Veritas Vincit, Kintore 1703, written in a clear bold hand in black ink. The bookplate is that of a descendant of Sir John Keith, who was the first to hold the Earldom of Kintore. A hero of the civil wars, he held Dunnottar Castle against Cromwell in 1650 and had a principal hand in preserving the regalia of Scotland from falling into the hands of Cromwell. During Cromwells usurpation the regalia had been carried to Dunnottar Castle as a place of safety. During the siege of the castle 1651-52 Sir John Keith had the regalia safely conveyed away and deposited underground in the Church at Kinneff. Pretending that the Scottish Regalia were in his possession, he sailed to France. He was apprehended and examined on his return but declared that he had carried the regalia off. In consideration of his services saving the regalia he was he was appointed hereditary Knight Marischal of Scotland upon the Restoration in 1660. In 1677 he was raised to the dignity of the peerage by the title of Earl of Kintore, Lord Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall. He was further admiited to a member of the Privy Council in 1689. Sir John Keith died in 1714, having supported the Treaty of Union in the Parliament of Scotland seven years earlier. He, and his descendants, were leading figures in Scotland throughout the eighteenth century and are reckoned to be the chiefs of the Keith Clan today.
ShelfmarkRB.m.617
Reference SourcesDNB, Debretts peerage, The Scots peerage, The peerage of Scotland.
Acquired on01/04/05
AuthorAndreini, Giovanni Battista.
TitleLa Florinda, Tragedia
ImprintMilan: Girolamo Bordone
Date of Publication1606
LanguageItalian
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 cocnerning Ircano king of Scotland and his wife Florinda, countess of "Angusa" (Angus?). Tha play ends typically with a succession of suicides.
ShelfmarkRB.m.678
Acquired on07/07/08
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