Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 840 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 46 to 60 of 840:

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AuthorJohn Forbes-Robertson
TitleVerses on the centenary of the birth of Robert Burns.
Imprint[Glasgow?]: Maclure, Macdonald, & MacGregor
Date of Publication1859
LanguageEdinburgh
NotesForbes-Robertson (1822-1903) was an art critic and journalist, who wrote this poem for The Caledonian Society of London, a society formed in 1837 and dedicated to the advancement of Scottish cultural and philanthropic interests. The poem was privately printed in Glasgow by Maclure, MacDonald, & MacGregor, and presumably distributed to members of the society. No copies are recorded elsewhere.
ShelfmarkAP.3.216.03
Acquired on08/01/16
AuthorThomas Christie
TitleAn account of the ravages committed in Ceylon by small-pox.
ImprintCheltenham: J. & S. Griffith
Date of Publication1811
LanguageEnglish
NotesRare printing of a detailed report by Scottish physician Thomas Christie (1773-1829) of the effects of smallpox epidemics in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka). Christie had served as medical superintendent-general on the island in the early 1800s and had introduced a successful programme of free of charge inoculation to counter the ravages of the disease. Although the native population were initially reluctant to be inoculated, they became gradually convinced so that by end of 1806 more than 50,000 people had been inoculated, and more than 25,000 in 1809 alone. Christie returned to Britain in 1809 and graduated as a doctor of medicine at Marischal college, Aberdeen, 24th June, 1809, he settled in Cheltenham, and published his account there.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2918
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on18/12/15
AuthorJean Scott
TitleA trip to the land of my ancestors: I visit my Scotch cousins.
Imprint[South Dakota? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1894?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded and privately printed travel account of a visit to Scotland made by a Jean Scott a school teacher of Armour, South Dakota during 1893-94. The author explains her motivations on the first page: "In 1844 my parents emigrated from Perth, Scotland, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they lived the remainder of their lives, loyal citizens to the country of their adoption. I think that they never regretted the removal or desired to return, except for to visit. When I first remember them, they had become quite Americanized, having readily adopted the ways and manners of the country and people. yet their former home and friends were not forgotten by them, but were often spoken of in glowing and affectionate terms, until I had a great desire even when very young to see that wonderful and much famed country, the land of the birth of my parents and of their ancestors for generations. Yet the opportunity did not present itself till the spring 1893 ...". Scott sailed from New York to Scotland, where she saw relatives and visited a variety of tourist destinations, including Perth, Kirkcaldy, Bridge of Earn, Falkland, St Andrews, Dundee, Glenfarg, Kinross, Milnathort (her mother's birthplace), Lake Leven, Inverness, Burns Country and Glasgow and Edinburgh. After Scotland she travelled by train to London then returned to North America in 1894 via Canada.
ShelfmarkAP.2.216.01
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on11/12/15
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleTheorie des sentimens moraux ou Essai analytique sur les principes des jugemens
ImprintYverdun : Pierre Kuppner
Date of Publication1799
LanguageFrench
NotesThis an unrecorded French-language edition of Adam Smith's "Theory of moral sentiments" with a Swiss imprint. It consists of the sheets of the Paris 1798 edition, which is the third translation of the work, by the marquise de Condorcet (NLS copy of this edition: ABS.2.87.36), but with new cancel title pages. The imprint is almost certainly false, as there is no record of a Pierre Kuppner publishing books in Yverdun (Yverdon-les-Bains) or anywhere else at the time. Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland was an intellectual and printing centre in the 18th century (a 1781 edition in French of the "Wealth of Nations" was published there), with a long established literary and typographical society, where intellectuals such as Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Fortune-Barthelemy de Felice stayed. This particular copy is in a contemporary full-leather binding and has a Polish provenance with the bookplate, dated 1821, of the Bibliotheca Sobolevskyana.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2919-2920
Reference SourcesJean Pierre Perret, "Les imprimeries d?Yverdon au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle" (Lausanne, 1945)
Acquired on11/12/15
Author[John Fletcher-Campbell]
TitleNotes, respecting the situation and improvements of the lands of Boquhan, parish of Gurgunnock
ImprintStirling: C. Randall
Date of Publication1793
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded, early Stirling printing relating to the hamlet of Boquhan in Stirlingshire, Scotland, together with an account of new farming and land-management techniques introduced there at the end of the eighteenth century. The author was probably General John Fletcher-Campbell FRSE (1727-1806), a local landowner who built Boquhan House in 1784. The work was dedicated to the Rev. Mr. George Robertson, minister of Gurgunnock (now known as Gargunnock), the preface is signed "I.F.C.", suggesting the authorship of General John Fletcher-Campbell FRSE. Fletcher-Campbell was a founder of the Gargunnock Farmers Club in 1794. This text is full of literary quotes and classical allusions, but there are also references to innovations in agriculture such as turnip husbandry, trials of new grasses, corn feed, a threshing-machine, a weigh-bridge, top dressing with lime, experiments with gypsum and the management of labourers working on the estate. The text has been bound in late nineteenth-century blue morocco, with marbled endpapers and gilt dentelles, and gilt edges.
ShelfmarkAB.2.216.02
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on04/12/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe wandering piper.
ImprintNewcastle: Douglas and Kent
Date of Publication1833
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, illustrated broadside, printed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1833, which gives details of the 'Wandering Piper', who roamed throughout Britain and Ireland in the 1820 and 1830s. There are several contemporary accounts of the piper in provincial newspapers, one of which, from the Bury & Norwich Post, for November 21, 1832, describes him as follows: "He is a tall figure, and his air and carriage evidently indicate a rank superior to his occupation, in spite of the disguise of a carroty wig, a pair of green spectacles, and a shabby Highland costume. He has now piped in every market-town in the three kingdoms, except a few in Suffolk, Lincoln, York, Durham and Northumberland, all of which he must visit before next February. During his ramble he has given upwards of 700 l. [£] to different charities." Some newspaper accounts speak of him as a former Scottish army officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars, who in 1825 accepted a bet with a Frenchman with whom he had been to school with in Scotland, to see how much money he could raise through busking in every town in Britain and Ireland. Other newspapers dismiss the story of the wager as bogus. Whatever his motivation, there seems to have been no attempt by the piper to profit personally from his playing. As the Newcastle broadside states, "when playing in the streets he endeavours to observe the strictest disguise; he never stands nor solicits money, but receives any sum that is given him." All the money he received was distributed to local charities once he covered his own board and lodgings. The piper's travels only began in earnest in 1828, with the intention being that he would travel for three years and total up how much money he had raised. However, a stage coach accident in Ireland left him incapacitated for over 15 months, which meant that by early 1833 he still had not finished his epic journey. The broadside reports his arrival in Newcastle on January 21, 1833 and notes that he only has six more towns to play in, with Glasgow being his final destination. Along with the broadside this copy also contains a handwritten note from the piper himself, dated January 3, 1833. Addressed to the mayor of Durham, the piper requests permission to play his pipes through the streets of Durham, and stresses that he does not solicit money and that any money he receives goes to charity. The note is signed 'The Wandering Piper/Address Captain Stuart'. The identity of 'Captain Stuart' and why he went to the lengths of wearing a forerunner of a wig and tinted spectacles to disguise himself, remain a mystery to this day. He may have worn Highland costume but in the portrait of the piper on the broadside he appears to be playing Lowland, bellows-blown, pipes rather than the Highland pipes traditionally played by pipe bands in Scotland and throughout the world today. Although the broadside states that the piper was "heartily tired of his frolic", no sooner had he finished his British and Irish travels than he was off to the USA and Canada, where he continued to travel and raise money. He returned to Britain in 1837 and continued to play. A Dublin newspaper records a 'Graham Stuart' dying in Dublin on February 17, 1839, worn out by his travels.
ShelfmarkRB.l.287
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/11/15
Author[William Agnew]
TitleThe book of signs
ImprintGlasgow : William Agnew
Date of Publication1880?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is unrecorded pamphlet depicts signs to be used for communication with deaf people. The author/artist and publisher, William Agnew (1846-1914) was himself deaf and left school to become a bookbinder, and after nine years went to work for the 'semi-mute' printer Mr A.F. Strathern. He is best known for painting a series of pictures showing Queen Victoria using finger spelling to communicate with a deaf woman on the Isle of Wight. In the pamphlet text Agnew refers to the incident with Queen Victoria that the painting related to, he also mentions the use of sign language by native Americans. Agnew was a keen supporter of using sign-language for educating the deaf, as opposed to using systems based on using articulation and speech, the latter approach being favoured by leading educators of the time. In the pamphlet he argues that oral education of the deaf is ineffective and expensive compared with finger and sign methods. He subsequently became involved in the fundraising for the building of a new Institute for Deaf and Dumb Adults in Glasgow and West Scotland, that would rely on instruction through sign language. Queen Victoria contributed money, and funds from an 1891 grand bazaar raised enough to purchase a site for the new building, with Agnew being made a Director of the Institution.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.08
Reference SourcesH Dominic, W Stiles, "Deaf artist William Agnew" https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/library-rnid/2011/12/20/deaf-artist-william-agnew/
Acquired on20/11/15
Author[Muriel Digby]
Title[Victorian 'Newspaper Cuttings' album containing numerous theatre programmes, playbills, clippings and other items]
ImprintS.l.: s.n.
Date of Publication[1881-1883]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis album records part of the acting life of Muriel Digby, who performed in many showings of a popular play "The colonel". The play by Francis Cowley Burnand (1836-1917), an English comic writer and playwright, satirised the popular aesthetic craze taking place in Britain in the second half of the 19th century. In October 1881 the Prince of Wales finally persuaded his mother, Queen Victoria, to attend a command performance of "The colonel" in Abergeldie Castle, near Braemar, Aberdeenshire, by Edgar Bruce's touring company, who were playing in Edinburgh at the time. The performance was much enjoyed by the Royal family, in particular by the Queen who had previously loved theatre performances and was viewing her first play in twenty years following the death of her husband Albert in 1861. It was however another five years after "The colonel" before she would watch another one. Two copies of the programme specially produced for the Abergeldie performance are attached to the first leaf of the album. Each one depicts both sides of the programme, with emblems on the front which are absolutely of the aesthetic movement style. The outer 'aesthetic' side was engraved and copyrighted by JA Lowell & Co. Boston, 1878. The inner printed side, incorporating the Royal coats of arms, was printed by James Turner & Co., Lithographers, Edinburgh. Many of the newspaper clippings and other items refer to the Abergeldie performance, one reporting "one of the most interesting events that has happened in the theatrical world for many years." Muriel Digby is not listed among the cast of the performers at Abergeldie but she did subsequently play female roles in "The colonel" in various performances around the UK. A Glasgow Gaiety Theatre playbill, for September 1882, depicts the bust of Queen Victoria - with printed reference to the Abergeldie performance. Some of the newspaper clippings relating to performances of the play lack the name of the newspaper, but most have the name written above the clipping. No record can be located of any other copy of the Abergeldie programme.
ShelfmarkAB.9.216.01
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/11/15
Author[Walter Scott]
TitleBirthday chimes from Scott: selections from the poems and tales of Sir Walter Scott.
ImprintEdinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell
Date of Publication1891
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a birthday book, compiled by William T. Dobson, which provides a Scott quote for each day of the year with space to enter the birthdays of friends and family. The photographic illustration mounted on the binding is a trimmed reproduction of James Valentine's photograph of the Valley of Tay from Kinnoul, taken in 1882. Kinnoul Hill's Tower, visible in the left margin of the photograph, is a folly built on the cliff's summit in 1829 by Lord Gray of Kinfauns, whose home, Kinfauns Castle, is visible from the hill. Grey also built nearby Binn Tower and used both as observatories. The selection of this image for the cover could be related to the Gray family, as five of the six names entered in ink in this copy share the Gray surname. W. P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell produced a total of 22 "Birthday chimes" on various themes, as shown on the publisher's advertisement, including Bible words, Shakespeare and Keats. Purchasers of the series were able to customise bindings (cloth or leather) and finishing details, such as the gilt edges. Presumably this photographic addition was ordered alongside the cloth binding.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.963
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on06/11/15
AuthorBenedict & Saunders Wylie
TitleFree kicks at football.
ImprintGlasgow: William Love
Date of Publication1882
Language1882
NotesA very rare piece of early football ephemera, this 19-page pamphlet is separated into two different sections, written by two pseudonymous authors 'Benedict' and 'Saunders Wylie'. The whole volume is interspersed with satirical and humorous hand drawn cartoons by 'Jingo'. It consists of a series of humorous poems and pieces, reminiscent of political sketches popular at the time, relating to the rapidly developing sport of association football in Scotland. Only two other copies of this work are recorded, one in Glasgow and one in the USA.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.34
Reference SourcesGlasgow Universitly Library Special Collections website http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/jan2004.html
Acquired on23/10/15
Author[Edward Simms]
TitleStanzas to the memory of Sir Walter Scott.
Imprint[Malvern? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1839]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare elegy to Scott, only one other copy recorded in the UK, which was apparently printed seven years after his death and circulated privately. This particular copy is a presentation copy, inscribed on the title leaf: "J.H. Markland Esqre. with the Author's best respects". Markland has identified the author as 'The Revd. Edwd. Simms ? Curate of Malvern' and dated it to August 1839. Simms was probably the author, as the poem is signed "E.S." at the end, and the recipient ought to have known who had given him the poem. James Heywood Markland (1788-1864) was a successful solicitor, a noted book collector and a very early member of the Roxburghe Club: he was also one of the committee established in 1832 to raise money for a commemoration to Scott. The Rev. Edward Simms was certainly living in Malvern at around this time: his name is on several subscription lists for scholarly theological works of about 1840. He is very likely the man who was born around 1803 and matriculated at Wadham College Oxford in 1822, and was later vicar of Escot, Devon, in 1870-77.
ShelfmarkAP.2.215.16
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/10/15
Author[William Sotheby]
TitleTo His Majesty's ship Barham, appointed by the King to convey Sir Walter Scott to Naples.
Imprint[London : s.n.]
Date of Publication1831
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis single sheet poem of 42 lines is by 'W.S.', William Sotheby (1757-1833), a poet and translator. The poem is dated 18 November 1831 at the end, with the address of Fair Mead Lodge, Epping Forest, which had been Sotheby's home since the early 1790s. Sotheby had been in the army in his youth and had been stationed in Edinburgh in the 1770s, where he came to know Walter Scott, then only a boy. The two remained friends; Scott may not have greatly esteemed Sotheby's talents as a poet but he had a sincere respect for the elder man. By the summer of 1831 Scott had suffered three strokes and reluctantly agreed to go on a tour of the Mediterranean to improve his declining health. In the poem Sotheby addresses the man-of-war HMS Barham, which had been provided at the command of William IV to take Scott to Malta and Naples rather than have him undergo an arduous overland journey. The ship had set sail in October, and Sotheby anticipates its return with its precious cargo, hoping, in vain, that the famous author will return restored to full fitness. In fact, Scott had a fourth stroke on the return journey, which was overland, and by the time he reached London in June 1832 he was dying, surviving long enough to return to Scotland and to die in his beloved Abbotsford. Only one other copy of this printing is recorded, in the British Library.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.03
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/10/15
Author[David Whyte]
TitleGlenfinnan
Imprint[Inverness: D. Whyte]
Date of Publication1890?
LanguageEnglish
NotesUnrecorded commercially-produced album by the Inverness photographer David Whyte, containing 9 mounted albumen prints of the Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel area before the construction of the famous railway viaduct.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.156
Acquired on25/09/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe business man's note-book for the year 1856.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Hogg
Date of Publication1855
LanguageEnglish
NotesA proof copy of an elaborate forerunner of the 'Filofax', printed for the publisher James Hogg (1806-1888), the son of James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. It contains folding coloured maps and metal volvelle on the inside board which is a perpetual calendar. The proof copy was probably produced to attract orders and as a form of advertising. Hogg jnr. in his preface states that "the aim of this work is to produce in one volume at once a kalender [sic], diary, and commercial directory, specially adapted to the wants of business men." Only one copy of the final version for 1856 is recorded, in the 1874 Advocates Library catalogue, but that is now recorded as missing. This particular copy is described as 'incomplete' at the head of the title page, as it has blank space left for advertisements and two fewer maps than listed in the contents. Moreover, the concluding paragraph mentions that an additional 60 pages were planned as a continuation of the statistical notices of the governments of the world; as a fellow of the Statistical Society of London, this was no doubt a subject close to Hogg's heart. A notebook for 1857 was published but in 1858 Hogg closed his Edinburgh firm down and re-located to London and the "Business man's note-book" was not revived by him there.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.127
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on25/09/15
AuthorJakob Spiegel
TitleLexicon iuris ciuilis, ex uarijs probatorum autorum commentarijs congestum.
ImprintLugduni [Lyon] : Apud Sebastianum Gryphium,
Date of Publication1541
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is work on civil law by the German humanist and scholar, Spiegel (b. 1483). Spiegel served Emperor Maximilian I as his secretary and was also a confidant of Charles V, being influential in imperial and papal politics in the 1510s. This is perhaps his most important work, first published at Strasbourg in 1538 and here revised by the author. There are no recorded editions of this Lyon printing in the UK. The book has been acquired as it bears on the title page the ownership inscription of Adam Bothwell (1529?-1593) bishop of Orkney. Bothwell, son of a prominent Edinburgh family with links to government, had perhaps studied abroad - possibly, like his father, at the University of Orleans - and had already taken holy orders by 1552 when he became a minister. His links with Orkney began in the mid-1550s, and he was appointed to his see when he was only thirty. He played a major role in Scottish politics, and was a member of the privy council to Mary Queen of Scots, officiating at her marriage to the fourth Earl of Bothwell (no relation) in May 1567, and later the same year he anointed the infant King James VI at his coronation. Bothwell was a keen book collector, his library has been described as "impressively large and wide-ranging" (ODNB). It was listed not long after his death (the inventory is reprinted in volume II of The Warrender Papers published by the Scottish History Society in 1931), but this book does not seem to be amongst those listed in 1593, and it may have left the library before that date. The Library already has four books owned by Bothwell in its collections and this book is an important addition to the Library's collection of books printed before the Reformation and owned by Scots. As well as Bothwell's signature, this copy also has the 19th-century bookplate of Robert Graham. This is probably Robert Graham (d. 1815), 12th laird of Fintry, whose son Colonel John Graham (1778-1821) was the founder of Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape.
ShelfmarkRB.l.286
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Durkan and A. Ross, Early Scottish Libraries (1961), p. 29; D. Shaw, 'Adam Bothwell: a conserver of the Renaissance in Scotland' in I.B. Cowan and D. Shaw, "The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland" (1983), pp. 141-169.
Acquired on04/09/15
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