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 753 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 436 to 450 of 753:

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AuthorGilchrist, John Borthwick
TitleThe strangers East Indian guide to the Hindoostanee; or grand popular language of India, (improperly called Moors).
ImprintCalcutta: Printed at the Hindoostanee Press, by Tho. Hubbard
Date of Publication1808
LanguageEnglish/Hindustani
NotesEdinburgh-born John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841) arrived in India as an assistant surgeon in 1782. Appointed to a position with the East India Company, he became interested in Hindustani as a language understood in different regions of the country, and began the philological investigations which would occupy the rest of his life. He compiled a grammar and dictionary of Hindustani, and was appointed first professor of the language at Fort William College in 1801, where he worked with Indian scribes and scholars to publish Hindustani material in print. Gilchrist left India in 1804; this book, a grammatical guide and vocabulary of Hindustani for those in service to the East India Company, was first published in London in 1802. While 'second editions' of the Strangers [sic] East Indian Guide to the Hindoostanee have been recorded with London imprints, the only other reference to this Calcutta edition is in a Maggs Bros. catalogue from 1964 (Catalogue 891, Dictionaries and Grammars). It contains an appendix by Alexander Hamilton Kelso, a young officer in the East India Company who, to judge by his name, may have been a compatriot of Gilchrist.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2715
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; DNB
Acquired on10/06/08
AuthorGilles, Nicole.
TitleLes annales et croniques de France
ImprintParis: Barbe Regnault
Date of Publication1560
LanguageFrench
NotesThis book has been donated from the collection of the late John Buchanan-Brown (d. 2011), author and translator of French books. It includes a typescript article by him on the provenance of the book and in particular of one its owners, John Somer. The book also has a notable Scottish provenance, the contemporary calf binding being gilt-stamped with the name "Franciscus Stevartvs", presumably Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of Bothwell (1562-1612). Francis was a son of John Stewart, Lord Darnley, Prior of Coldingham, who was an illegitimate child of James V of Scotland by his mistress Elizabeth Carmichael. The first owner of the book, however, was John Somer (1527?-1585), an English diplomat, who probably purchased the book when he was in Paris in 1559 to 1562, serving Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador to the French court. Somer has signed the title page of vol. 1 of the book and and also written his motto "Iuste. Sobrie.pie" 'Soberly, righteously and godly' - taken from The Epistle of Paul to Titus in the New Testament. Somer has also made occasional corrections and annotations to the text in a neat and minute italic hand. Somer became a highly-regarded diplomat, being involved in negotiations with the French court during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and was renowned for his skills in deciphering letters written in code, such as the ones written by Mary of Guise to her brothers in France in 1560 which had been intercepted by the English. Ill-health prevented Somer from taking up the post of ambassador to the Scottish court in 1583, but his final job in 1584 was linked to Scotland, namely acting as one the minders of the captive Mary Queen of Scots; his skills as a code-breaker no doubt acting as a deterrent to Mary's supporters trying to send messages to her. He died the following year shortly after having managed to secure release from his job due to his ill health.
ShelfmarkRB.l.282
Acquired on01/03/13
AuthorGilmour, J. P. (ed.)
TitleChemists & Druggists' Directory and Year Book for Scotland.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1914
NotesThere is an enormous quantity of information about medicine and business practice in Scotland on the eve of the First World War in this volume. The most striking feature of the book is certainly the adverts for miracle cures, weed killers, bandages and cosmetics which fill the opening and closing pages. The delights of 'flexible gelatine capsules' and 'Burgess' Lion Ointment' are celebrated in terms that might well have the modern Advertising Standards Agency raising an eyebrow.
ShelfmarkNG.728
Acquired on19/11/02
AuthorGirvin, John
TitleA letter to Adam Smith
ImprintDublin: Printed by P. Byrne, no. 8, Grafton-Street
Date of Publication1786
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe library tries to collect works on Adam Smith comprehensively. This is an early reply to Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' (1776) of which there are no other copies in public ownership in Scotland. It does not seem to have been known by the main Smith bibliographers. John Girvin (1734-1804) was a Dublin merchant who wrote extensively on trade policy. He seems to have been using the 4th Dublin edition of the 'Wealth of Nations', printed in 1785, for this book. He takes issue in particular with Smith's analysis of the herring industry. He argues that Smith does not understand the trade, and expresses concern for the Irish trade if Smith's arguments for changing the bounty arrangements are accepted. This is a good copy, uncut and unopened.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2623
Reference SourcesESTC N33556 'Vanderblue Memorial Collection of Smithiana', 1939 Lai, Cheng-chung, 'Adam Smith across nations', 2000 Tribe, Keith, 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', 2002
Acquired on13/04/06
AuthorGlasgow Ayrshire Society
TitleArticles of the Glasgow Ayrshire Society.
Imprint[Glasgow?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1791]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis unrecorded pamphlet is a early publication relating to the Glasgow Ayrshire Society. The Society was instituted on 20 October 1761 in order to provide support to impoverished and distressed people from Ayrshire in Glasgow and also "to connect together Ayrshire people by the most social and friendly ties". To qualify for membership you had to have been been born in or have landed property in Ayrshire or have lived there for seven years. You could also qualify if one of your parents or your wife or in-laws had links with Ayrshire. However, none were to be admitted who "either from old age or disease are likely to become an immediate burden on the society". These new set of articles of the society were ordered to be printed at a meeting of the Society in Glasgow on 2 December 1791. The new articles were intended to clarify the existing regulations, which had "on different occasions, been found in some respects defective and inexplicit". The nine articles cover such matters as admission of members, subscription costs, the organisation and management of the society, discipline expected of members and the procedures by which members and their families might apply for financial assistance from the organisation. The Society still exists today and provides financial support for Ayrshire students to assist with further education.
ShelfmarkAP.2.213.23
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on05/07/13
AuthorGmelin, Johann Georg, (1709-1755)
TitleVoyage en Sibérie, contenant la description des moeurs & usages des peuples de ce pays, le cours des rivieres considérables, la situation des chaînes de montagnes, des grandes forêts, des mines, avec tous les faits d'histoire naturelle qui sont particuliers à cette contrée.
ImprintA Paris, Desaint, Libraire, rue du foin Saint Jacques.
Date of Publication1767
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a French translation of a German edition of one of the earliest accounts of Bering's second voyage. It contains some of the earliest material on the discovery and exploration of the Bering Strait and Alaska.
ShelfmarkGB/A.3884
Acquired on05/09/05
AuthorGoalen, Walter
TitleA thanksgiving ode on the recovery of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by Muir & Paterson
Date of Publication1872
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded work by the Scottish poet Walter Goalen, specially written and published to commemorate the recovery from typhoid fever of Edward VII, Prince of Wales. The text is printed in gold throughout and the upper vellum board features the royal coat of arms in gilt. A bookplate on the front pastedown indicates that this copy was part of the Prince of Wales's Library. A manuscript dedication by the author to the Prince of Wales appears on the recto of the front flyleaf. The prince's illness had caused great national concern, and public celebrations at his recovery also included the composition of Arthur Sullivan's 'Festival Te Deum' performed at a special concert in his honour at the Crystal Palace.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2801
Acquired on03/11/10
AuthorGoldicutt, John
TitleHeriot's Hospital Edinburgh.
Imprint[London]: [John] Murray et al, printed by W. Turner
Date of Publication1826
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine and rare set of 8 lithographic plates drawn by Goldicutt and printed by C. Hullmandel. John Goldicutt (1793-1842) was a talented architect who won various prizes and exhibited at the Royal Academy. Charles Joseph Hullmandel (1789-1850) was an outstanding lithographic printer. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Most of the major improvements made to lithography in Britain in the 1820s and 1830s can be attributed to Hullmandel, and in this period he was also the most prolific printer of pictorial lithographs in the country." This publication is a study of the architecture of Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh, now George Heriot's School. The school was founded in 1628, so perhaps this was published to commemorate the 200th anniversary.
ShelfmarkRB.m.652
Reference SourcesDNB; http://www.george-heriots.com
Acquired on21/06/07
AuthorGoldsmith, Oliver; James Stewart and Harrison Weir
TitleA history of the earth and animated nature.
ImprintLondon, Blackie & Son, Paternoster Buildings, Glasgow and Edinburgh
Date of Publication1876-79
LanguageEnglish
Notes'A history of the earth' by the poet Oliver Goldsmith was first published in 1774, and was republished throughout the 19th century. The 1853 edition (NLS copy at T.351.h) and subsequent editions published by W. G. Blackie of Glasgow include numerous fine illustrations, and the original artwork for some of these illustrations has now been acquired by NLS. Blackie's chose to publish an edition of Goldsmith's work as part of their programme of scientific publications. To accompany their edition, Blackie's commissioned these high-quality illustrations, which were reproduced to a high standard using chromolithography. A comparison of the original watercolours and the published plates shows that the reproductions were very accurate. There are 24 watercolours, all by James Stewart, except one by Harrison Weir depicting horses. The images measure 5 × 8 inches (127 × 204 mm) on sheets of 7 × 10 inches (177 × 254 mm), and are in new mounts. James Stewart (1791-1863) was born in Edinburgh and studied under Robert Scott. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and the British Institute, and worked on portraits, landscapes and (with Robert Scott) as an engraver. Harrison William Weir (1824-1906) was born in Lewes, and worked chiefly as an animal painter. Charles Darwin was one of his friends. The editor for the improved edition of 1876 was William Keddie F.R.S.E. who had recently been appointed science lecturer at the Free Church College in Glasgow. Included with the watercolours is a the publisher's own file copy of the 1879 impression of this edition, partly unopened and in the original binding of decorated cloth, each volume with the Blackie bookplate. This is a later impression to the set already in NLS at shelfmark Cp.2, where both volumes are dated 1876. Most of what remains of Blackie & Son's archive is now in Glasgow University Archives, and it is good to make these missing items available to the public as well.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2649
Reference SourcesBlackie, Agnes. 'Blackie & Son 1809-1959: a short history of the firm'. London & Glasgow: Blackie & Son Ltd., 1959 http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/blackie.html DNB
Acquired on06/02/07
AuthorGouge, Thomas
TitleWorks of the Reverend and pious Mr. Thomas Gouge, late Minister of the Gospel.
ImprintWhitburn : Printed by and for J. Findlay and J. Main
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of only three known Whitburn (West Lothian) imprints extant and is not recorded in ESTC. In the late 1790s the minister Rev. Archibald Bruce (1746-1816) set up his own printing press in Whitburn as he was unable to find anyone who would publish his books and pamphlets (because of their content). In 1786 Bruce had been appointed Professor of Divinity by the Anti-Burgher Secession Synod and the church at Whitburn became a theological college as well. He bought a printing press in Edinburgh, had it transported to Whitburn and hired an old printer to work it. 'The printing was bad, the paper was execrable, but the matter made amends' (quoted in Brucefield Church, see above). The printer was possibly James Findlay, a librarian and stationer, who was working in Edinburgh in 1789-90. The Anti-Burgher Church was an off-shoot of the Secession Church which developed in the 1730s from dissatisfaction with the Church of Scotland on matters of patronage and doctrine. A Secession church was founded in Whitburn in 1766 as a result of the frustration of the parishoners who had contributed financially to the building of the church, but were not permitted to have any say in choosing their minister. The book itself contains the works of Thomas Gouge (1609-1681), a Non-Conformist divine and philantrophist, who spent much of his life evanglising Wales. At the end of the volume is a 5 page list of subscribers, with the names of people mainly from Whitburn, Bathgate, Linlithgow and the surrounding areas.
ShelfmarkABS.3.204.003
Reference SourcesDNB Statistical accounts Brucefield Church, Whitburn: a history of the congregation, 1857-1957 (HP2.91.5154)
Acquired on12/06/03
AuthorGraeffe, Johann Friedrich Christoph.
TitleDe miraculorum natura philosophiae principiis non contradicente.
ImprintHelmstedt: C.G. Fleckeisen,
Date of Publication1797.
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a rare German Enlightenment text which systematically confutes David Hume's essay on miracles, first published in his "Philosophical essays concerning human understanding". The author, Johann Friedrich Christoph Graeffe (1754-1816), was a German Protestant theologian who studied at his hometown university in Goettingen. After working some years as a teacher and minister in the church, Graeffe eventually became a doctor of theology at the University of Helmstedt in Lower Saxony in 1797. "De miraculorum natura" was his inaugural dissertation in which he grappled with one of the typical Enlightenment problems: how could one account for miracles in the Bible using modern scientific means of explanation? As a rationalist who was also a firm believer in the veracity of the Bible, Graeffe was able to reconcile the two positions by demonstrating that the laws governing the effecting of miracles do not suspend or infringe the laws of nature. His argument thus brought him into conflict with the work of Hume, who in his essay of 1748 had regarded miracles as irrational and unlikely ever to have happened. Graeffe uses the recently published work by Immanuel Kant, "Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft" [Religion within the bounds of mere reason], in support of his dismissal of Hume's arguments. He returned to the theme in his later work "Philosophische Vertheidigung der Wunder Jesu und seiner Apostel" [A philosophical defence of the miracles of Jesus and his apostles], published in Goettingen in 1812. This particular copy has a 19th-century library label on the front pastedown showing that it was once in the library of Theological Seminary of Lexington, South Carolina (now the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Columbia, S.C.). The library was founded in 1832 and grew rapidly. It contained a large number of German texts, including items from the personal collection of its first professor of theology, Ernest Hazelius, who had emigrated from Prussia to the USA. Due to lack of students the seminary and library moved to Newberry, South Carolina, in 1859.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2779
Acquired on21/05/10
AuthorGraeme, Hugh
TitleMemorial anent the moss culture
ImprintEdinburgh: Hamilton, Balfour and Neil
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesHugh Graeme's programme for the improvement of Scottish agriculture was based on methods to make mossy soils more productive. Appended at the end of the work is a testimonial from a number of his contemporaries stating that "Mr. Graeme can be of the most singular use & to his country, in managing farms or schools for teaching agriculture in the Highlands." Little is known of the author, Hugh Graeme. Apparently he was from Argomrey (or Argomery) in Stirlingshire, a part of Flanders Moss. The method he used to make his fields productive is not specified, though it seems he did encounter suspicion, if not downright opposition, from his neighbours. Graeme is extremely critical of his peers for their lack of support for his enterprise. They are apparently willing to promote herring fisheries and linen manufacturing, yet "they would hardly venture a shilling upon a tolerable good land security & where the subject can't so easily perish." Graeme was sufficiently discouraged by his contemporaries' reaction to abandon his experiment. Graeme's improvements were just one example of the improvements and experiments that took place in Scottish agriculture during the eighteenth century. Many improvements were imported from England, but wealthy landowners in Scotland were also proactive, establishing in 1723 the Honourable Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland. Only one other copy of this pamphlet is held in public institutions. The National Library also holds "A letter to a gentleman in Edinburgh concerning Mr. Graeme of Argomery's improvements of moss", also published in Edinburgh, in 1756.
ShelfmarkABS.2.205.009(1)
Reference SourcesT. Bedford Franklin, A history of Scottish farming. London, 1952.
Acquired on10/06/05
AuthorGrant, James
TitleBothwell or the days of Mary Queen of Scots
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1870?
LanguageEnglish
NotesPurchased with a selection of other yellowbacks by two popular Scottish authors. Yellowbacks (less commonly called 'mustard-plaster' novels) was the name given to the form of cheap fiction developed from the late 1840s and competed with the 'penny dreadful' as an accessible source of entertaining reading. The distinctive brightly coloured covers made the books very attractive for a growing reading public encouraged by the spread of education and the expansion of the railways. Routledges in establishing their 'Railway Library' in 1849, were the first of many publishers to target a new reading public with yellowbacks. This series ran to 1,277 titles, ending in 1899. Most works of fiction in this format were stereotyped reprints of earlier cloth editions. By the end of the 19th century, sensational fiction and adventure stories in addition to more 'educational' manuals, handbooks and cheap biographies were being published in this manner. These yellowback novels of Grant and Stevenson were typical of those published at this time. Edinburgh-born, James Grant (1822-1887), a distant relation of Sir Walter Scott, was a prolific author, writing some 90 books. Many of his 56 novels deal with key characters and events in Scottish history. In 1853 he founded the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. Grant is best remembered today as an historian - his thoroughly-researched 'Old and new Edinburgh' was published in 1880.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.016
Acquired on05/01/03
AuthorGrant, James
TitleDuke of Albany's Own Highlanders
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1881
LanguageEnglish
NotesPurchased with a selection of other yellowbacks by two popular Scottish authors. Yellowbacks (less commonly called 'mustard-plaster' novels) was the name given to the form of cheap fiction developed from the late 1840s and competed with the 'penny dreadful' as an accessible source of entertaining reading. The distinctive brightly coloured covers made the books very attractive for a growing reading public encouraged by the spread of education and the expansion of the railways. Routledges in establishing their 'Railway Library' in 1849, were the first of many publishers to target a new reading public with yellowbacks. This series ran to 1,277 titles, ending in 1899. Most works of fiction in this format were stereotyped reprints of earlier cloth editions. By the end of the 19th century, sensational fiction and adventure stories in addition to more 'educational' manuals, handbooks and cheap biographies were being published in this manner. These yellowback novels of Grant and Stevenson were typical of those published at this time. Edinburgh-born, James Grant (1822-1887), a distant relation of Sir Walter Scott, was a prolific author, writing some 90 books. Many of his 56 novels deal with key characters and events in Scottish history. In 1853 he founded the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. Grant is best remembered today as an historian - his thoroughly-researched 'Old and new Edinburgh' was published in 1880.
ShelfmarkABS.2.201.010
Acquired on05/01/03
AuthorGrant, John
TitleCopy of a Paper to the Magistrates of Edinburgh
ImprintEdinburgh?
Date of Publication1794
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese single-sheet items record the unusual paranoia afflicting a man who describes himself as a journeyman weaver. John Grant believed that he was being chased and tormented by none other than the philosopher David Hume, and wrote to these various public figures to seek their assistance. In the first printed letter to the magistrates of Edinburgh, which Grant dates 'Edinburgh, July 11. 1794.', he explains that the persecution has now lasted for 26 years. Hume has followed him through Scotland, England and Ireland, bribing people to poison Grant's food. Grant acknowledges that an accusation directed against such a respected philosopher may cause surprise, but suggests that 'ungoverned passions supersede learning by weakening the understanding.' Grant is particularly roused by the injustice of the monument erected to Hume in Calton churchyard (presumably Grant did not accept that this monument existed because Hume had died in 1776). Laid on the back of this paper is a manuscript letter, possibly autograph, from Grant to one Doctor Gleghorn, complaining at the doctor's decision not to admit him to Glasgow Infirmary. The exact nature of his illness is unclear, but he expresses dissatisfaction at the doctor's suggested remedies of wearing flannel against the skin and rubbing the legs with spirits: the obvious conclusion is that David Hume has told Gleghorn what to say. Both these letters speak of enclosing other papers, which are probably no longer extant. Neither printed item is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAPS.3.201.13
Acquired on20/02/01
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