Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 775 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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Important Acquisitions 406 to 420 of 775:

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AuthorDuncan, Andrew.
Title[Collection of 13 printed items mainly edited or written by Andrew Duncan the elder].
Imprint[Edinburgh: Neill & Co.]
Date of Publication1801-1810
NotesThis collection of ephemera is mostly connected with a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, the physician Andrew Duncan the elder (1744-1828). Duncan is best known today for two major acts of social medicine in Edinburgh: the founding of a dispensary for the sick poor and a lunatic asylum where inmates were treated humanely. He became president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1790, and in 1808 the freedom of Edinburgh was conferred on him for his services in the foundation of the dispensary and the asylum. Apart from his medical work, Duncan was convivial man with great energy who was a member of and founded many clubs and societies, such as the Aesculapian Club, the Harvein, Gymnastic and Royal Caledonian Horticultural societies. He also had a keen interest in literature and wrote poetry, of indifferent quality to say the least, which was often read out or sung at meetings of these clubs. This collection contains 10 items which can be ascribed to him; nine of them are not in NLS and at least two are unrecorded. There are also two substantial items here: "Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect" (1809) not by Duncan but by Andrew Stewart, a poet sentenced to death for theft but whose sentence was commuted to transportation on the intervention of Walter Scott; and part of a collection of Scottish verse edited by Duncan "Carminum rariorum macaronicorum delectus" (1801). The collection also contains two elegies written by James Amos and John Wharton for late Edinburgh medical colleagues. The Duncan items mostly relate to the clubs he was was involved in, two of the poems, however, are devoted to Duncan's ascent of Arthur's Seat on a foggy May Day morning in 1807. For half a century, right up until a year before his death, Duncan climbed Arthur's Seat every May Day and sometimes produced a poem to commemorate the event. The items were probably all printed in Edinburgh by the firm of Adam Neill & Son, whose head, Patrick Neill, was a friend of Duncan's and the first secretary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. The poems, which are bound together, were formerly in the library of Douglas Grant (1921-1969), professor of American literature at the university of Leeds.
Reference SourcesODNB; J. Chalmers (ed.), "Andrew Duncan Senior: Physician of the Enlightenment" Edinburgh, 2010.
Acquired on12/11/10
AuthorDuncan, Mark
TitleMarci Duncani philosophiae et med. D. Institutionis logicae libri quinque.
ImprintSalmurii [Saumur]: Apud Isaacum Desbordes,
Date of Publication1643
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.
Acquired on29/05/10
AuthorDuncan, William
TitlePhysiologia Guillelmi Duncani philosophiae professoris veterani
ImprintToulouse: Arnaldum Colomerium
Date of Publication1651
NotesThis is a rare copy of this work on physiology by the Scot William Duncan and an important addition to the library's collection of books by Scots working abroad. Copies have been traced in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Bibliotheque Municipale (Toulouse), Yale and the National Library of Medicine, but there are no copies in British libraries. Some of the copies appear to have an added engraved title page which is lacking in this copy. Little is known about William Duncan except that he was a teacher in Montauban in the south of France before 1606 when he became a Professor of Philosophy there. He died in 1636. His brother Mark who was born in Roxburghshire c.1570, also worked as an academic in France. He was Professor of Philosophy in Saumur and died in France in 1640. Lynn Thorndike in The history of magic and experimental science (vol.7) describes it as 'a very backward book' which propounded a 'distinctly Aristotelian' view of the universe. For example Duncan regarded comets as portents of drought, failure of crops, pestilence and the death of leading men. He also believed that most of the water on earth came from the sea via hidden underground channels.
Reference SourcesThorndike, Lynn. The history of magic and experimental science. v.7 (New York, Columbia University Press, 1958) X.81.c Baxter, J.H. and Fordyce, C.J. 'Books published abroad by Scotmen before 1700' in Records of the Glasgow Bibliographical Society, XI, 1933.
Acquired on22/11/02
AuthorDuncan, William.
TitleThe ass reliev'd. a true tale. In which is contained some remarks and observations, on the office of a tide-waiter.
ImprintGreenock: William Johnston,
Date of Publication1812
NotesThis is an unrecorded Greenock chapbook by a local author, William Duncan. The verso of the title page notes that "The following tale is founded on fact, and happened in June, 1802, when the author was then but young in the service". 'The ass reliev'd' is in fact a mock-serious poem in Scots based on an incident involving an ass on board a ship during Duncan's time spent working as a tidesman or tide-waiter (a customs officer who goes on board a merchant ship to secure payment of the duties before a cargo can be unloaded). The second part of the poem 'Being remarks on the office of a tidewaiter' is a lament for the low pay and long hours involved in the job.
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorDuns Scotus
Title[3 works]
Date of Publication1580-1581
NotesThis is a pleasing volume of three Duns Scotus works, bound in vellum and with gauffered floral designs on all edges. The works are Quaestiones Quolibetales, Disputationes Collationales, and Syllabus generalis (this last is a concordance to the Scripti Oxoniensis super Sententias). All are edited by Salvatore Bartolucio of Assisi, and published in Venice in 1580-1581. These editions seem to be quite rare; the third item is not found in the Bibliothèque Nationale or Adams. The printer 'Haeredes Melchioris Sessae' has a rather striking device of a cat carrying a mouse in its jaws. The only indication of provenance is the manuscript note on the first title-page, 'Cornelio Francescucci'. John Duns Scotus, the Franciscan theologian, Scholastic philosopher and commentator, is believed to have been born in about 1265-1270. His name is not conclusive proof that he was born in Scotland. Some have argued that he came from Ireland, and he certainly taught in England, at Oxford. On the basis of tradition, the Library treats him as a Scottish writer.
Acquired on22/04/02
AuthorDuns Scotus, John
TitleQuaestiones in Aristotelis Analytica posteria
ImprintVenice : Simon de Luere
Date of Publication1497
NotesSources variously state that Duns Scotus (ca. 1266-1308) was born in either Duns, Berwickshire, Friar Minor at Dumfries where his uncle Elias Duns was superior, or Maxton (now Littledean). 'Scotus' is, in fact, a nickname simply identifying him as a Scot. We do not know the precise date of his birth, but we do know that he was ordained to the priesthood in the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) at Saint Andrew's Priory in Northampton, England, on 17 March 1291. He studied at the universities of Oxford and Paris and later lectured at both universities. In 1307 he was sent to Cologne, where he lectured until his death on November 8, 1308. His sarcophagus in Cologne bears the Latin inscription: "Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet." ("Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me.") Quaestiones in Aristotelis Analytica Posteria is one of a series of questions and commentaries in which Scotus attempted to show that Christian doctrine was compatible with the philosophical ideas of Aristotle. Some bibliographical sources, including the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, posit this edition as "Pseudo Duns Scotus". There are only two other known copies in Great Britain at the Bodleian and the British Library.
Reference Sources-ISTC -Catalogue des livres imprimes au quinzieme sicle des bibliotheques de Belqique -Incunabula in Dutch libraries -Biblioteca Nacional [Madrid] Catalogo general de incunables en bibliotecas espanolas -An index to the Early Printed Books in the British Museum from the Invention of Printing to the Year MD -Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century now in the British Museum
Acquired on10/05/04
AuthorDupont, John et al.
Title[4 anti-Jacobite pamphlets]
ImprintYork: Printed for John Hildyard
Date of Publication1745 & 1746
NotesA collection of 4 rare anti-Jacobite pamphlets, printed for John Hildyard in York. Jacobitism had a strong base of support not just in Scotland but also south of the border in counties such as Northumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as areas of the Midlands, Wales and the West Country. However, in the 1745 uprising very few men from northern England were prepared to commit to the Jacobite cause. The printing of these violently anti-Jacobite (and also anti-Catholic) pamphlets served as a warning to the local population of the dangers of supporting the Stuarts (NB pamphlet 1 was printed after the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden). Pamphlets 1 and 3 are by John Dupont, vicar of Aysgarth in Yorkshire.
Reference Sources1. ESTC T4272, 2. ESTC T33080, 3. ESTC ????, 4. ESTC ????
Acquired on14/07/04
AuthorDurdent, R.J
TitleEpoques et faits memorables de l'histoire d'Angleterre
Date of Publication1820
NotesAlthough the Library has a number of bindings by Alexander Banks jnr (for example, NC.314.a.10; Hall.1.f ; ABS.2.80.64) we do not have one on green leather. His entry in SBTI reads: BANKS, Alexander junior bookbinder 5 North Bridge 1833-45 and stationer 29 North Bridge 1850. Green leather, covers with a gilt and blind roll-tooled design on the border of the covers. The spine is decorated in gilt to an arabesque design; oval morroco label with letters in gilt. The binding is signed in the lower margin of the upper inner board.
Acquired on02/05/00
AuthorDurdent, Rene-Jean
TitleQuatre Nouvelles. Lismore, ou le minstrel ecossais; Theresa, ou la peruvienne; Lycoris, ou les enchantemens de Thessalie; Eudoxie et Stephanos, ou les Grecs modernes.
ImprintParis: Chez Cogez, Libraire
Date of Publication1818
NotesThis rare publication is a set of four short novels by the minor French novelist Rene-Jean Durdent (1776-1819) which perhaps testifies to the early European enthusiasm for the novels of Walter Scott. How else to account for a tale set in 14th-century Perth to be laid alongside three other short novels in more exotic-sounding Peru, Thessaly and Greece? The story recounts the tragic love affair of the aristocratic Clara and the talented minstrel Lismore. A brief introduction asserts the historical likelihood of such a relationship taking place in an age when minstrels wandered from castle to castle, and quotes Sophie Cottin: 'They love; therefore it is necessary that they experience some great catastrophe.'
Acquired on04/10/07
AuthorDyer, William.
TitleAinmeanna cliuteach Chriosd. [Christ's famous titles].
ImprintCharlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Date of Publication1832
LanguageScots Gaelic
NotesThis is an important addition to the National Library's collection of books in Scots Gaelic printed in Canada. Only one other copy is recorded of this Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island imprint. The National Library holds eight imprints by the printer S. Haszard, all dating from the period 1890-1902. This work is a translation of William Dyer's work 'Christ's famous titles' first published in 1663 which ran through seveal editions through into the nineteenth century. Dyer, who died in 1696, was a Non-Conformist minister with Quaker sympathies, who was minister at Chesham and Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire. The text was first translated by C. Maclauruinn for a Glasgow 1817 edition. It was clearly a popular work - five Gaelic editions were also published in Edinburgh between 1845 and 1894. Maclauruinn in his English preface opines that 'it is neither a popular nor an elegant publication ? but an evangelical one'. Ownership inscriptions on the free endpapers indicate that this book belonged to one Fergus Ferguson of New Gairloch, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. The last leaf contains an advertisement for the bookseller James Dawson of Pictou, Nova Scotia, which lists 39 Gaelic titles. This is evidence of the market for books in Gaelic among the emigrant population in Nova Scotia in the mid-nineteenth century. Scots first settled in Prince Edward Island in 1768, but the majority of the migrations, primarily from the the Western Isles, Argyll and Invernesshire, took place between 1771 and 1803. One of the largest migrations was that of 1803. It was organized by Thomas Douglas the fifh Earl of Selkirk and resulted in the arrival of 800 people from the Isle of Skye, Raasay, North Uist and Mull, most of whom were Gaelic speakers.
Reference SourcesHornby, Susan. Celts and ceilidhs: a history of Scottish societies on Prince Edward Island. (Charlottetown, 1981). HP2.201.04699 Craig, David. On the crofters' trail. (London, 1990) H4.90.1632
Acquired on19/03/02
AuthorEbel, Johann Gottfried
TitleAnleitung auf die nützlichste und genussvollste Art in der Schweitz zu reisen.
ImprintZürich. Bey Orell, Gessner, Füssli und Compagnie.
Date of Publication1793
NotesThis guide by Johann Ebel (1764-1830) is a rare first edition of one of the earliest and most famous handbooks for travellers in Switzerland.
Acquired on05/09/05
AuthorEdinburgh (Scotland) Town Council
TitleNotice. The Magistrates, in consequence of a complaint by the possessors of shops between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close ? hereby give notice ... Given at Edinburgh, this 4th day of March 1814 years.
Imprint[Edinburgh] : Alex Smellie
Date of Publication[1814]
NotesThis broadside outlines the regulations affecting street sellers and casual vendors in Edinburgh in response to complaints from shopkeepers in Edinburgh's Old Town. The shopkeepers on the High Street in the area between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close were concerned that the pavement in front of their shops was being obstructed by "the number of carts, creels, stands, &c. placed there without any authority". The Edinburgh magistrates therefore decreed that "from and after this date, no stands or creels will be allowed to be placed on the street ... No carts bringing in vegetables, or fish of any kind, will be permitted to remain there after eight o'clock in the morning ... Nor will those exposing gingerbread for sale be allowed to stand on that part of the pavement between the South Bridge and the head of Niddry Street". The broadside warns those flouting these regulations that they would have their goods seized by police officers. Despite this attempt to gentrify part of the High Street, street vendors would continue to be a major presence in Edinburgh's Old Town throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. Gingerbread was a popular street food, particularly at Halloween and during the winter months. William Tennant's mock-heroic poem "Anster fair", first published in 1812, which describes the annual fair held in Anstruther in Fife in 16th-century Scotland, mentions the "market-maids, and apron'd wives that bring their gingerbread in baskets to the fair".
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorEdmond Hoyle
TitleHoyle's game of whist.
ImprintDundee: Printed for Ostell, London [et al.]
Date of Publication1806
NotesEdmond Hoyle (1679-1769) was the first English writer on the rules and strategy of popular games. He is best known for his works on card games, but he also published works on subjects such as backgammon and chess, as well as a book about probability. In 1742 his "A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist" came out, a book which became the definitive book on whist until the second half of the 19th century. Hoyle's work was reprinted several times in the 18th century, and was often pirated. This miniature version (78 mm high) was printed in Dundee in 1806 by W. Chambers for publishers in London, Edinburgh and Perth. Much of the text is derived from Hoyle's original "A Short Treatise", but with some additions - the title page proclaims it contains all the improvements of modern writers and the best players. Only five copies of this edition have been recorded by Hoyle scholar and collector David Levy in his blog; this copy is in its original blue paper wrappers with "Hoyle" stamped on the front cover. Although slightly above the 3-inch limit for a regulation miniature book, this must be one of the earliest surviving examples of a miniature book printed in Scotland for an adult readership. With its very small type and lack of illustrations it would certainly have been portable but also challenging to use.
Reference SourcesDavid Levy blog: http://edmondhoyle.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/scottish-hoyles-part-2.html
Acquired on04/05/12
AuthorEdwards, Jonathan
TitleAn humble attempt to promote explicit agreement and visible union of God's people in extraordinary prayer.
ImprintBoston, MA: D. Henchman
Date of Publication1747
NotesThis work by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the American theologian and philosopher, testifies to the close connections between Scottish and American thought in the eighteenth century, and the textual traffic between the two countries. Edwards, the most important theologian of his day, who would end his life as third President of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) was concerned with the revival movement known as the 'Great Awakening', and in this book draws on the example of Scottish clergymen who drew up a plan for a 'Concert for Prayer', or prayer meetings arranged internationally to take place at scheduled times. In doing so, he reprints in full the text of a 'Memorial publish'd by a number of Ministers in Scotland', which was only circulated in manuscript in Scotland at the time, and printed in an American edition of which only one imperfect copy is recorded in ESTC. This book is therefore the most important witness to the 'Concert for Prayer', and is cited as such both by Edwards' Scottish contemporaries (John Gillies: Historical Collections (Glasgow, 1754) and John MacLaurin, Sermons and Essays (Glasgow, 1755)) and by scholars today. The contemporary references testify that Edwards' book had a Scottish circulation in his lifetime, where Edwards was held in great esteem, but this is the only recorded copy in Scotland today. Unusually, it is survives in a contemporary brown paper wrapper, with the inscription 'Madam Johnson's book' on the front cover.
Reference SourcesDNB; George M. Marsden: Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, 2003); Matthew Smith: 'Distinguishing Marks of the Spirit of God: Eighteenth-Century Revivals in Scotland and New England'(www.star.ac.uk/Archive/Papers/Smith_C18.Revivals.pdf)
Acquired on24/08/07
AuthorElizabeth Helme
TitleSt. Clair, der Eilaender oder die Geachteten von Barra
ImprintMagdeburg : Heinrichshofen
Date of Publication1811
NotesThis the rare German-language translation of Elizabeth Helme's novel "St. Clair of the Isles; or, The outlaws of Barra" first published in English in 1803. The only other surviving copy of the German edition is recorded in the USA. Little is known of the Elizabeth Helme's life. She was born in the North East of England; she moved to the London area where she married and raised a family and also worked as a schoolmistress at a school at Brentford. To supplement her income, from the 1780s onward she wrote ten novels and translated works from French and German, as well writing didactic works for the young. She died either in 1810 or c. 1814. ""St. Clair of the Isles" is set in medieval Scotland and concerns the young outlaw St. Clair Monteith, a Robin Hood-like figure who lives on a fortress on the isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. The novel was later turned into a play in 1838 by the equally obscure dramatist Elizabeth Polack.
Reference Sourceshttp://extra.shu.ac.uk/corvey/corinne/1Helme/BioHelme.html; http://orlando.cambridge.org/public/svPeople?person_id=helmel
Acquired on06/02/15
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