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 765 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 451 to 465 of 765:

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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
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, 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, 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
AuthorGrant, John
TitleTo the Right Hon. Charles Townsend
ImprintGlasgow?
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. Both these letters speak of enclosing other papers, which are probably no longer extant. The last item is dated 'Glasgow, Nov. 12. 1794.' and is addressed to the aristocrat and Whig politician Charles Townsend in London. Once again Grant appeals for assistance against Hume, who has made him 'liable to a confirmed Head-ack with Vitriol'. Bitterly, Grant remonstrates that 'it is amazing that my complaints were over-looked in Scotland, where Christianity and Philosophy are protested.' Grant explains that he has printed the letter to Townsend with the intention of sending copies to the magistrates in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It would be pleasant to think that these items are a joke, but it seems more likely that they do indeed represent the work of an articulate but thoroughly disturbed man. Neither printed item is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.201.025
Acquired on20/02/01
AuthorGrant, John Peter [ed].
TitleBook of the Banff Golf Club bazaar.
Imprint[Banff]: Banffshire Journal Office,
Date of Publication1895
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare item of late 19th-century 'golfiana'. It consists of poems, songs and short stories by memebers of the Club, as well as portraits of local worthies. The publication was produced to coincide with a bazaar to raise funds for a new clubhouse and improvements to the course. The Banff Golf Club was founded in 1871, the members playing on a course on Banff links, although golf had of course been played in the area for centuries. The Club continued until 1924 when it amalgamated with another Banff club, the Duff House Club to become the Duff House Royal Golf Club. This particular copy has the bookplate of noted golf book collector Joseph Bridger Hackler.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2746
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorGray, Andrew
TitleThe spiritual warfare
ImprintGlasgow: Printed by Robert Sanders
Date of Publication1688
LanguageEnglish
NotesA lost Scottish book has turned up and can now be added to the national collections. Andrew Gray (1633-1656) was a Church of Scotland minister whose sermons were frequently printed well into the 18th century. The first edition was printed in Edinburgh in 1670; the earliest Glasgow edition known previously was also printed by Robert Sanders, in 1715. "Mortification", seen here primarily as the Christian's struggle against lust, is the main theme of Gray's sermons. Despite a rather poor 19th-century binding, this is a good and complete copy of what may be the only surviving example of this edition. This work is not recorded in Donald Wing's 'Short-title catalogue 1641-1700', nor in the English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC). Donald Wing listed it in his 'Gallery of Ghosts' (1967) as G1620A. It was recorded in Aldis, 'List of books printed in Scotland before 1700' as Aldis 2762, but without any known holdings. Until now, the only evidence for this work's existence was in John McUre's 'History of Glasgow' (Glasgow, 1830), p. 369, which includes this edition in a list of books printed in Glasgow up to 1740. Hopefully there are other 'ghosts' in Aldis which will, like this book, appear in the light of day again.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2636
Reference SourcesAldis 2762; Wing, 'Gallery of Ghosts', G1620A
Acquired on21/11/06
AuthorGray, Andrew
TitleThe experienced millwright; or, A treatise on the construction of some of the most useful machines, with the latest improvements. [2nd edition]
ImprintEdinburgh : Printed by D. Willison for Archibald Constable & Co.
Date of Publication1806
LanguageEnglish
NotesAndrew Gray's 'The experienced millwright' presents the most accurate first-hand account of the state of traditional British millwrighting in the second half of the 18th century. The first three chapters consist of a general treatise on mechanics. The following chapters cover practical directions for the construction of machinery, the mathematics necessary for calculating the strength of machines, and detailed plans for the construction of various kinds of water mills. The text is supplemented by a series of forty-four fine engravings showing the layouts of various types of water-, wind- and animal-powered machinery. The designs and descriptions are mostly of mills and machines which Gray either designed or supervised in actual construction in central-eastern Scotland. As stated in the preface: "the machines of which he has been careful to give accurate drawings and concise explanations are to be considered, not as plans founded on the speculative principles of mechanics ... but as cases of practical knowledge, the effects of which have been fairly tried and long approved". Little is known of Gray, described in his book's preface as "a practical mechanic" who 'has been for at least forty years employed in erecting different kinds of machinery". The text indicates that he is very familiar with the work of the leading civil engineer of the age, John Smeaton (1724-92), and especially Smeaton's seminal paper on the natural powers of water and wind to turn mills and other machines. The second edition of Gray's book corrects 14 textual errors found in the original edition of 1804. The front pastedown of this copy also includes a large printed advertisement for the prospective publication of Gray's 'The plough-wright's assistant' which was eventually published in 1808.
ShelfmarkRB.l.266
Acquired on02/04/10
AuthorGray, Andrew
TitleSpiritual warfare; or some sermons concerning the nature of mortification, together with the right spiritual exercise and spiritual advantages thereof
ImprintBoston: ub N.E. Re-printed by S. Kneeland, for Benj. Eliot, at his shop in King-Street.
Date of Publication1720
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first and only American edition of Gray's work, which was first published in Edinburgh in 1670. Gray was a Scottish divine who became extraordinarily popular as a preacher before his sudden death in 1656, at the astonishing age of 22. His writings were all published posthumously. The present collection of sermons, with a short preface by Thomas Manton, was frequently reprinted throughout the 18th century. This Boston edition is uncommon with the ESTC listing only seven extant copies. The work is in a well-preserved Boston binding of the period.
ShelfmarkAB.1.204.07
Reference SourcesBooksellers catalogue
Acquired on03/01/04
AuthorGray, John
TitleGray's annual directory and Edinburgh almanac
ImprintEdinburgh: [printed by Andrew Shortrede for] John Gray
Date of Publication1836
LanguageEnglish
NotesDirectories are a very important resource for anyone wanting to track down a particular person known to have lived in a town at a certain time. This volume consists of an almanac, with information for the year ahead such as tide times, followed by a street directory and a list of Edinburgh inhabitants in alphabetical order, with addresses. The map is unfortunately missing, but it is still easy to use this directory to find out where someone lived in 1836. Various curious advertisements follow the main text, including one for 'Improvements in hats' ('It must be obvious to every one that a hard heavy hat is not only disagreeable to the head, but that it also prevents the free egress of the heated air arising therefrom, thus keeping the head in a perpetual stew, and causing headache, loss or injury to the hair, &c.') The directory was clearly aimed at professionals and tradespeople. This particular copy is signed on the title-page by 'John Murray Jun.' and dated 1847. This is presumably John Murray III, the famous publisher.
ShelfmarkABS.3.204.017
Acquired on03/08/04
AuthorGray, John.
TitleThe essential principles of the wealth of nations.
ImprintLondon: T. Cadell
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the earliest critiques of Adam Smith's seminal economic text 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations' (1776). Gray criticises Smith's work on a number of counts: he accuses Smith of misinterpreting the French economists' viewpoint on labour and productivity. Gray maintained that the French had in fact recognised that not all the so-called unproductive classes were barren to the same degree. Gray also argued that Smith was wrong to state that the manufacturing industry alone was responsible for contributing to Britain's real national wealth, saying that agriculture was the only true source of wealth. There is some Scottish content in the form of the appendix, which consists of a general plan of a lease by Henry Home, Lord Kaimes, "with remarks upon it by Dr. Anderson in his agricultural report for the county of Aberdeen". Coincidentally, Kaimes was Smith's literary patron. Very little is known about John Gray to whom this work, published anonymously in 1797, is attributed. He may have lived from 1724-1811 - obituary notices in contemporary periodicals merely state that he died in May 1811 in his 88th year and that he had been one of the Commissioners of the Lottery. John Gray may have been assistant private secretary to the Duke of Northumberland in Ireland in 1763 and 1764 and 'An essay concerning the establishment of a national bank in Ireland' (1774) may have been written by him. The Library of Congress catalogue attributes to Gray 'The right of the British legislature to tax the American colonies' (1775). However, Palgrave's 'Dictionary of economics' attributes 'The essential principles' to Simon Gray (fl.1795-1840).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2578
Reference SourcesThe New Palgrave: a dictionary of economics, vol.II, 1987. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol.46, 1952, p.275-6.
Acquired on04/07/05
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