Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 735 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 391 to 405 of 735:

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TitleMair Macjigger
ImprintGlasgow: Gowans & Gray ; London: R. Brimley Johnson
Date of Publication1903
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a short work of fiction in which the character Sherlock Holmes travels to Edinburgh and Portobello to hunt for Mair Macjigger. The front cover features an illustration of a sullen cigarette-smoking youth in a tam o'shanter. The front cover of this book states that this is the third edition completing 20,000 copies. Inside are dates for the first three editions, all dated within 12 days of each other in August 1903. No Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle websites appear to mention this book.
ShelfmarkFB.s.946
Acquired on18/09/08
AuthorDuncan, Mark
TitleMarci Duncani philosophiae et med. D. Institutionis logicae libri quinque.
ImprintSalmurii [Saumur]: Apud Isaacum Desbordes,
Date of Publication1643
LanguageLatin
NotesBorn possibly in London, the philosopher Mark Duncan (d. 1640) was of Scottish parentage and probably educated partly in Scotland. In 1606 he was appointed professor of philosophy and Greek at the French protestant university of Saumur, rising to the position of Regent. He also practised medicine and his renown as a medical practitioner was such that James VI/I offered him the post of physician in ordinary to the English court, but Duncan, having settled with his second wife in Saumur, did not wish to uproot his family. This philosophical textbook, dedicated to the founder of the Academy of Saumur Phillipe de Mornay (1549-1623), was printed first in 1612. It was drawn on in particular by the Dutch logician Franco Burgersdijk (1590-1635) in the composition of his own "Institutiones Logicae" (Leiden, 1632). This is the third edition of Duncan's "Institutiones Logicae"; all editions are scarce.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2782
Acquired on29/05/10
TitleMarie der Koenigin auss Schotlandt eigentliche Bildtnuss.
Imprint[Cologne: Johann Bussemacher]
Date of Publication[1587]
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a fascinating broadside commemorating the execution of Mary Queen of Scots from a German Catholic perspective. The German text gives an account of her parentage and life, mentioning the role of Darnley, George Buchanan and Mary's son King James VI. There is an emphasis on Mary's European connections, and above all on her martyrdom for the Catholic faith. At the head of the text is a large and striking engraving by Johann Bussemacher; the central image is of Mary, wearing her crucifix and depicted with the arms of France and Scotland. Outside the border, which contains Latin phrases, are smaller images of her decapitation, and at the head of the engraving are (presumably cherubic) hands presenting a quill and the victor's laurels. This is in better condition than the only other known copy, in the British Library, which was David Laing's copy and has been cut up into four pieces. However, the British Library copy preserves some Latin verses which have been lost from the foot of our copy. These verses, by William Crichton or George Crichton, are as follows: 'Illo ego, quae Fata sum regali stirpe parentum, / Hoc tumulo parva contumulata tegor. / Hucque meo constans generoso in pectore virtus, / Prissacque me torfit, nec temeranda fides / Stemmata nil faciunt, nil prosunt sceptra, sed una, / Dum vixit, pietas, gloria nostra fuit. / Vtque Petri cathedram revereri discas, ob illam, / En mea martyris colla refecta vides' Despite this loss, this is a very desirable addition to our strong holdings of MQS material.
ShelfmarkRB.l.129
Reference SourcesAllison & Rogers, Contemporary Literature of the English Counter-Reformation, I, no. 805 BMSTC (German), p. 599
Acquired on28/10/02
AuthorLord Byron
TitleMarino Faliero Doge of Venice
ImprintVienna and Leipzig: Avalun-Verlag
Date of Publication1922
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extremely handsome early 1920s German edition of Lord Byron's historical drama about the medieval doge who carried out an unsuccessful coup d' etat against the Venetian nobility. It is one of an edition of 275 numbered copies, which contains twelve original black and white etchings and a title page vignette by the German artist Sepp Frank (1889-1970). Frank was a leading etcher and lithographer who became famous for his work in producing ex-libris bookplates, many of which are considered masterpieces of art deco design.
ShelfmarkFB.l.386
Acquired on24/10/08
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitleMaster of Ballantrae
Imprint[New York: Scribner's]
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extremely rare 'author's edition' of Stevenson's "Master of Ballantrae"; apparently only 10 copies were ever printed, one of which was later destroyed. It consists of the first five chapters of the book in unrevised form, produced in a 'no-frills' pamphlet version in plain buff wrappers. The printing was arranged by Stevenson's American publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons, to secure the author's copyright, a year before the novel's general release. Stevenson was based in the USA at this time, having moved there from Bournemouth the previous year after the death of his father. He started work on the "Master of Ballantrae" in December 1887, and a few months later had produced a manuscript of the first four instalments for the novel's planned serialisation in "Scribner's Magazine". The manuscript formed the basis of this author's edition, with the first MS instalment being divided in two to form five printed chapters. Shortly after sending off his manuscript, Stevenson realised he had a major problem in his construction of the narrative and he considered radically changing it from a first-person narrative to a third-person one, before in the end deciding not to. Work on the "Master of Ballantrae" was then interrupted when he left for a cruise of the South Seas in June 1888. Stevenson continued the novel in Tahiti in the autumn of that year and finished it in Hawaii in April 1889. He continued to find the writing of it problematic, particularly after the serialisation started in "Scribner's Magazine" in November 1888, which meant that he had deadlines to meet for producing further instalments of the novel. He later agonised over its ending, and later commentators have found it to be somewhat contrived and unsatisfactory, but despite all the difficulties he faced in writing it, the novel is now regarded as one his finest works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2743
Reference SourcesR.G. Swearingen "The prose writings of Robert Louis Stevenson" (London, 1980)
Acquired on19/01/09
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleMatil'da Rokbi, poema v shesti knigakh. [Rokeby]
ImprintMoscow: V tipografii Avgusta Semena
Date of Publication1823
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition in Russian of Scott's English Civil War poem, "Rokeby". No copy has been traced in western European libraries. The two-volume translation, by an unidentified translator, is in prose. The first English edition of "Rokeby" appeared in 1813; it did not enjoy quite the spectacular success of the "Lady of the Lake" but was still a big seller. Like Scott's other works it was soon translated for readers on the Continent; a French translation was published in 1820 and a German translation in 1822, then this Russian translation of 1823. Scott was probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, the first Russian translation of his works, some extracts from "Ivanhoe", appeared as early as 1820. His influence can be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan and dressing up as characters from his novels. Of the three great influences on the celebrated Russian author Alexander Pushkin from European literature, Byron, Shakespeare and Scott, the influence of Scott is most marked in Pushkin's prose, particularly the historical fictions. The verso of the title in volume 1 states that the book was on sale at the bookshop of Vasily Loginov; his ticket is also pasted here to the front pastedown. This copy appears to be in its original binding.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2826-2827
Reference Sources"The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia", National Library of Scotland, 1987
Acquired on07/10/11
AuthorBarclay, John
TitleMaximo potentissimo que monarchae, Iacobo primo ... carmen gratulatorium
ImprintLutetiae Parisiorum [Paris]
Date of Publication1603
LanguageLatin
NotesA very rare copy (there have hitherto been only two recorded copies of this work, neither of them in Scotland) of an early work by John Barclay (1582-1621), one of the foremost neo-Latin authors of his day. Although Barclay himself was born and brought up in France, his father was Scottish and he himself was proud of his Scottish ancestry. His first published work appeared in 1601 and two years later he composed this poem congratulating James VI on his accession to the throne of England and on the Union of the Crowns. The timing of the poem was propitious. In 1606 the Barclay family moved to England and Barclay was successful in gaining royal favour and financial support for his literary works, as well as carrying out diplomatic missions for James on the Continent. Barclay remained at James's court until 1615, when he moved to the papal court in Rome. The widespread popularity of Barclay's works throughout Europe is a testament to the continuing importance of Latin as a language of literature and culture in the early 17th century. The acquisition of this particular work is a worthy addition to the Library's extensive holdings of editions of Barclay's works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2599
Reference SourcesDNB Shaaber "Checklist of Check-list of works of British authors printed abroad, in languages other than English, to 1641" (New York, 1975)
Acquired on27/04/05
AuthorMcKinlay, John
TitleMcKinlay's Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition)
ImprintMelbourne: F. F. Bailliere
Date of Publication1862
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn McKinlay (1819-1872) was born at Sandbank, on Holy Loch, Argyll, Scotland. He was educated at Dalinlongart School and immigrated with his brother Alexander in 1836 to New South Wales, where his uncle was a landholder at Goulburn. After 1840 he moved to the Victorian side of the Murray/Darling area, from where he explored the country in New South Wales and South Australia towards Lake Frome and earned a reputation as an expert bushman. In 1861, McKinlay was the South Australian government's choice to lead an expedition to ascertain the fate of Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills, who had failed to return from their expedition to cross Australia south to north. This is the first edition of McKinlay's diary written during his expedition to locate Burke and his men. This he did not do, finding only the remains of William Gray, the first victim of the expedition. Under the impression that he had found the graves of all the leaders of the expedition, he carried out the second part of his instruction and explored the country between Eyre's Creek and Central Mount Stuart. All his party survived although they had been reduced to dire straits, having had to eat most of the camels and horses. Ultimately, it was McKinlay's great ingenuity and perseverance which saw his men through to safety.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.23
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on22/05/09
AuthorBoyle, Robert
TitleMedicinal experiments; or, A collection of choice remedies, for the most part simple, and easily prepared (vols. 1-3)
ImprintLondon : Printed for Sam. Smith (and J. Taylor)
Date of Publication1692-94
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of posthumous publications of the natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-91), who was a prolific author in his own lifetime but also left behind a huge amount of unpublished material. In 1688 he had a collection of medical recipes privately printed; "Medicinal experiments" was the first properly published edition in 1692, with sequels appearing thereafter. Vol. 3 in this particular book may be a piracy as it contains much of the material in vols. 1 and 2. Boyle was not impressed with some of the elaborate concoctions produced by medical practitioners of his day and the recipes in "Medicinal experiments" put the emphasis on simple practical remedies for a wide variety of ailments.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2651(1-3)
Reference SourcesESTC ; DNB
Acquired on28/02/07
AuthorMonro, Donald
TitleMedicine d'armee
ImprintA Paris: Chez P.F. Didot le jeune
Date of Publication1769
LanguageFrench
NotesDonald Monro (1727-1802) was the second son of Alexander Monro, the first professor of anatomy and surgery at Edinburgh University. He was educated under the care of his father and graduated M.D. in 1753. In December 1760 during the Seven Year war (1756-1763) he was commissioned as army physician to the British military hospital in Germany. He published "An account of the diseases which were most frequent in the British military hospitals in Germany" together with an essay on the means of preserving the health of soldiers, and conducting military hospitals, in 1764. A classic of preventive and social medicine, this is undoubtely his most important work, providing valuable descriptions of campaign diseases. This is a copy of the first French edition, revised and expanded by Achille le Beque de Presle.
ShelfmarkABS.2.204.019
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on20/05/04
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleMeditation vpon the Lords Prayer
ImprintLondon: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1619
LanguageEnglish
NotesAttractive copy of the first edition, STC 14384. King James's straightforward exposition of the Lord's Prayer is dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham, as one who has no time to spend on complex and lengthy prayer. Details: octavo, pp. [16], 146, sig. A-K8, L1. With notably pedantic explanatory annotations in contemporary hand with pointing fingers and underlining. Title page slightly stained; lacks sig. L2 (colophon). For more information, see on the companion volume RB.s.2081(2), Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie (A Paterne for a Kings inauguration), which is in the same binding and has notes in the same hand; both were apparently in the Royal Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(1)
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorPaton, J. Noel, 1821-1901
TitleMembers of the Peace Society: City of Edinburgh Branch
ImprintEdinburgh: A Ritchie
Date of Publication1861
LanguageEnglish
NotesPrint lithographed in sanguine, depicting a group of the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteers on duty at Edinburgh castle. The tone of the print is decidedly humorous; rather than being alert at their posts one volunteer smokes a cigar whilst admiring with two others the view across the city to Calton Hill, another is reading The Times, and a stereotypical Highlander is spinning a yarn to two his companions as a little girl listens with rapt attention. The print reveals that Paton himself had formerly served as a captain in the artillery volunteers at a time when voluntary service in the armed forces was in vogue, hence the patriotic motto on the cannon in the foreground and the caption at the top of the print. Whether the characters in the print are based on former comrades is open to question. Coincidentally the year of this print, 1861, saw the establishment of that famous Edinburgh ritual, the firing of the one o' clock gun. Paton was born in Dunfermline but trained at the Royal Academy in London and became a popular artist, very much in the accepted Victorian style, for his rendering of scenes from literature and history and also for his fairy paintings.
ShelfmarkS.Sh.S.1.204.11
Reference SourcesScheck "Directory of Lithographic Printers" p. 97
Acquired on27/05/04
TitleMemento mori
ImprintEdinburgh: Alexander Alison
Date of Publication[1738]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an interesting piece of printed ephemera from mid-18th century Edinburgh. In Britain printed funeral invitations - called burial letters - are known from at least the late seventeenth century. Many, like this, exhort the reader to 'Memento mori' - remember that you must die. Usually printers would produce ready-printed non-specific invitations on which the name of the deceased and the time and place of the funeral would be entered by hand. Mr. Simson must have reasonably well-off to have been able to afford to have his invitations fully printed . These invitations were usually hand-delivered by servants or people specially employed for the task. In large burghs delivering such letters became a recognized occupation. Woodcut invitations such as this tended to use stock narrative or allegorical compositions. The images - the grim reaper, the skull and crossbones, the cortege - relate not only to the death of the person in question but also as reminder of one's own mortality. Little is known of David Simson apart from the fact that he was employed in the legal profession. The Library holds another example of such woodcut imagery (without letterpress but in manuscript) at APS.el.150.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.205.005
Reference SourcesLlewellyn, Nigel, The art of death. (London, V&A, 1991) GME.1/20 Hatches, matches and despatches: catalogue of exhibition held at General Register House 1996-97. GRP.1999.2.4 Gordon, Anne. Death is for the living. (Edinburgh, 1984) H4.84.2025
Acquired on06/09/04
AuthorRev. Alexander Andrew
TitleMemoir of Dr. John Rankine.
ImprintGlasgow: Maurice Ogle & Company.
Date of Publication1866
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Rankine was a Scottish homeopathic doctor and early settler in Australia. Rankine arrived in South Australia on the ship Fairfield on May 4, 1839 after sailing 159 days from Liverpool. Among the ship's 105 passengers were ten members of his family and a substantial number of other families who had followed him. Rankine was responsible for the name of the town Strathalbyn in South Australia and in 1841 Andrew Rankine, son of William Rankine, became the very first child born in that town. By the end of the 1840s the Rankines had acquired large landholdings and built impressive homes on them. Dr John Rankine became a JP in 1849 and later a member of the South Australian Parliament. The book contains much detail concerning Rankine's life: emigrating to Australia; his time there; return to UK; travels in Europe; travels in Scotland; becoming involved in homeopathy; renting Kinnaird House, Larbert, and many people visiting for cures; practising work; London; settling again in Glasgow; religious involvement with the Free Church; unpublished extracts from a lecture given to the Glasgow Homeopathic Institute in the winter of 1860 ... etc. The only other extant copy of this title is held in the National Library of Medicine in Washington.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2721
Acquired on18/09/08
AuthorDefoe, Daniel
TitleMemoirs of Majr. Alexander Ramkins, a Highland officer
ImprintDublin: Printed for Will. Smith
Date of Publication1741
NotesThis is a copy of the rare Dublin edition of the narrative purportedly written by a Scottish Jacobite languishing in a French prison. These memoirs have in fact been widely attributed to none other than Daniel Defoe, partly on stylistic grounds and partly on the coincidence between the hero's 'twenty eight years service' and the 'eight and twenty years' spent by Robinson Crusoe on his desert island. There is also the fact that the fictitious Ramkins at the end of the pamphlet declares his 'intire and unlimited obedience to the present constitution'. This fictitious character was born in the north of Scotland in 1672 and was educated at Aberdeen University. He participated in most of the major Jacobite battles --Killiecrankie, the Boyne, Limerick, Aughrim before retiring to France. It is a rattling good tale --though it is not clear why it was resurrected in Ireland 20 years after it was first printed. The first edition was printed in London in 1719 and it was re-issued a year later with a new title page beginning 'The life and surprizing adventures adventures ...' - exactly as the title of Crusoe's tale began. An edition was also printed in Cork in 1741 (copy at Hall.187.j) but only one other copy of this Dublin edition is known (held at the Royal Irish Academy).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2300
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on28/11/02
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