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 899 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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

      

 

Important Acquisitions 46 to 60 of 899:

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Title1951 Exhibition of Industrial Power - Kelvin Hall, Glasgow - Festival of Britain.
Imprint[Glasgow, 1951]
Date of Publication1951
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis striking catalogue marks one of Scotland's contributions to the celebrations for the Festival of Britain. The 1951 festival marked a moment of national self-confidence as the austerity of the war years started to come to an end. As the text makes clear, this is not a commercial trade fair, but a celebration of Britain's technical and economic development, and its contribution to civilisation. However, many of the firms involved have included colourful advertisements for tools, heavy machinery, power generation and financial services. One of the most interesting features is the emphasis on the generation of electricity from renewable resources: hydro-electricity and wind power are discussed and promoted. The hope is expressed that engineers 'will be able to produce in Scotland by wind-power alone as much electricity as is being produced in the country at present by any other means'. The publication suggests an optimistic and ambitious society looking to a prosperous future: unfortunately, not all the hopes expressed in 1951 have yet been fulfilled.
ShelfmarkGSC.2007.2.10
Acquired on10/09/07
Title25 miscellaneous Scottish legal petitions, 1724-1794
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume of eighteenth-century petitions and memorials connected with legal disputes over land and inheritance contains many items otherwise unknown. A significant proportion of the items relate to estates in south-west Scotland, particularly Ayrshire. Manuscript notes record the outcome of many cases. The final item, Bill of Suspension and Interdict, Hugh Crawford... against John Patrick, is rather different, giving details of a dispute over who should be responsible for quartering soldiers in Beith in 1794, the innkeepers alone or private citizens generally. The description of the illegal distilling and endemic smuggling which had made it necessary to have a military presence in the town is quite fascinating. Physical condition: bound in a late nineteenth-century (?) red clothing binding in poor condition, with boards warped and spine lettering mostly erased; many of the petitions are too large for the binding and have been folded; some creases, darkening and tears.
ShelfmarkABS.8.201.06(1-25)
Acquired on06/07/01
AuthorErskine, Ralph
Title[3 Dutch translations: De kabinetten der Evangelische beloften; De zwangere belofte in hare vrucht; Blidje boodschap in zware tijden
ImprintVarious
Date of PublicationVarious
LanguageDutch
NotesThese three translations into Dutch of the writings of Ralph Erskine (sermons and expositions of pieces of scripture) demonstrate the popularity of his work in Holland well into the 20th century. They may also demonstrate the closeness in doctrinal terms between the modern Dutch Protestant Church and the 18th century Scottish Secession Church. Erskine (1685-1752) was one of the key figures in the Secession Church. This church was formed in 1733 when a number of ministers led by Ebenezer Erskine (Ralph's brother) broke away from the Church of Scotland when the General Assembly decreed that elders and heritors only should elect ministers. Ralph Erskine did not join until 1737. In 1744 the Secession Church itself split over the Burgess Oath - the Erskines aligning themselves to the Burgher faction in opposition to the conservative anti-Burghers. Ralph Erskine was born in Northumberland and educated at Edinburgh University. He spent most of his ministry in Dunfermline, where he was regarded as an excellent preacher. He was proficient on the violin and wrote a number of hymns.
ShelfmarkRB.m.307(22)
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/03/04
AuthorDuns Scotus
Title[3 works]
ImprintVenice
Date of Publication1580-1581
LanguageLatin
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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2171(1-3)
Acquired on22/04/02
AuthorJohn Scott
TitleA bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Darien Company.
ImprintEdinburgh: privately printed
Date of Publication1903 & 1906
LanguageEnglish
NotesOriginally published as part of vol. 6 of the series Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society (1901-1904), under the title "A bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Scottish company, commonly called the Darien Company", this is the catalogue originally compiled by John Scott (1830-1903), former President of the EBS, of his collection of books relating to the Darien Company. Scott was a well-known engineer and shipbuilder, who, with his brother, ran the family firm of Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. in Greenock. Only 20 copies of the catalogue were printed, the catalogue being prefaced by EBS secretary George Pyper Johnston's encomium of John Scott. Johnston revised the catalogue and made additions and corrections to it. The publication contains two title pages reflecting the fact that it was printed in two stages: pp. [1]-54, printed in 1904, containing Scott's original bibliography, and pp. 54-75, containing Johnston's additions and corrections, printed in 1906. The first one, dated 1904, reads "Revised by George P. Johnston", and is usually found at the front of the work. The second title-page has two publication dates in the imprint, 1904 and 1906, and reads "With additions and corrections by George P. Johnston", and is usually found between pages 54 and 55; in this copy it has been bound at the front of the work. The original paper wrapper, not present in this copy, is printed as the 1904 title page. This particular copy, no. 11 of 20, has the signature on the recto of the front free endpaper of "Alasdair Mac Gillemhoire a´ Bea`rnaraidh na Hearadh" (Alasdair Morrison).
ShelfmarkRB.m.761
Acquired on03/06/16
AuthorSotheby and Son
TitleA catalogue of a most extensive and valuable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals, in gold, silver, and copper ... formed by the Right Hon. James Earl of Morton,
Imprint[London: Sotheby & Son]
Date of Publication1830
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the Sotheby's sale catalogue of the remarkable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals assembled by the Scottish aristocrat James Douglas, fourteenth earl of Morton (1702-1768), natural philosopher and astronomer. Douglas served on a number of august British scientific bodies; he was President of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh from its foundation in 1737 until his death. He also became President of the Royal Society (24 March 1764), and was a distinguished patron of science, and particularly of astronomy. A trustee of the British Museum and member of the longitude commission, he was also one of the commissioners of annexed estates between 1755 and 1760, but never attended a meeting. This copy is inter-leaved throughout with details of buyers and prices fetched throughout the six days of the sale and is bound in contemporary red morocco.
ShelfmarkAB.8.213.07
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on08/03/13
TitleA catalogue of books, lately imported from abroad ... which will be sold by way of auction ...
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed for David Randie
Date of Publication1726
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn extremely rare 1726 sales catalogue printed for David Randie. Randie was postmaster in the Canongate according to a manuscript annotation on the title page. The catalogue is stitched as issued, is 48 pages long, and features 755 lots which are arranged by bibliographical format. The auction took place 'in the little Plain-stone Closs opposite to the foot of Marlin's Wynd in the Cowgate' on Thursday the 13th of January 1726. The catalogue is extremely clean with leaves D3-4 partially uncut suggesting that the item was never actually consulted. The catalogue is not listed on ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2688
Acquired on18/09/07
Author[Currie, John Lang]
TitleA catalogue of books on Australia and the neighbouring colonies: being a portion of the library of John L. Currie of Lawarra (formerly Larra).
ImprintMelbourne: Melville, Mullen and Slade,
Date of Publication1891.
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the second edition of a catalogue of one of the great colonial Australiana book collections. The collector, John Lang Currie (1818-1898), was a wealthy pastoralist who was born in the parish of Yarrow, Selkirkshire. At the age of 21 he set off to join his cousins in Australia. In the 1840s he established his own farm at Larra (Lawarra) in New South Wales where he specialised in breeding merino sheep which were prized for the length, fineness and glossy appearance of their wool. Thanks to drainage and land improvement the number of sheep at Larra increased from just over 6,000 in 1846 to over 34,000 in 1879. Currie returned to Scotland several times and was shipwrecked in 1871 and again in 1874. Part of his wealth was used to acquire books on the history of Australia as is recorded by this catalogue, which was printed in limited numbers for distribution to institutions and private collectors.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.40
Reference SourcesAustralian Dictionary of Biography (online edition)
Acquired on07/10/09
TitleA catalogue of foreign and native forest-trees; also fruit trees, evergreens, flowering shrubs & sold by Robert Anderson, seedsman and nurseryman ... Edinburgh. AND A catalogue of foreign and native forest-trees, flowering shrubs, evergreens, flowering shrubs and greenhouse plants & sold by Archibald Dickson and Sons, & at Hassendeanburn, near Hawick
ImprintEdinburgh : R. Fleming and A. Neill; [Hawick : s.n.]
Date of Publicationc.1785; c.1795
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese slim volumes from the late 18th century are very rare examples of Scottish nurserymen's catalogues. Robert Anderson's catalogue is unrecorded whereas there are two other copies (both in the UK) of Archibald Dickson's catalogue. Robert Anderson, who later worked as Anderson, Leslie & Co., had a large nursery at Broughton Park in Edinburgh and specialised in fruit trees, especially pears. In 1798, the whole nursery stock was acquired by another Edinburgh concern, Dicksons and Shade. Unusually, the catalogue is priced. In the advertisement preceding his lengthy address on the merits of larch (introduced to Scotland in the 1720s), Anderson expresses his hope that the catalogue 'will be of great service in promoting the planting of this country, which is so much wanted at present.' The library holds another catalogue (with 44 pages) by Anderson, which may predate this one. Archibald Dickson was one of the leading nurserymen in Scotland. Members of the family also ran tree nurseries in Perth, Edinburgh and Belfast. The first was founded in 1728 by Robert Dickson and by 1835 five generations of the family had been involved in the trade. The National Library of Scotland also holds day books and price books of the firm from the 18th and 19th centuries in the Manuscript Collections (MSS.29489-29490 and MS.3354).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2701 ; RB.s.2702
Reference SourcesDesmond, Ray. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. London, 1994. Harvey, John. Early horticultural catalogues. Bath, 1973.
Acquired on17/12/07
AuthorWoden, George.
TitleA collection of 22 novels by George Woden in original dust jackets.
ImprintLondon: Hutchinson (and others)
Date of Publication1919-1951
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis set of 22 novels were presented by the author George Woden during the 1940s and 1950s to his daughter Margery Noel, better known as M. Noel Slaney (1915-2000), the Scottish artist. Unusually all have their original dust jackets and show a variety of artistic styles. The artists include Philip Youngman Carter, Ben Pares, Wyndham Payne, Ley Kenyon and Lance Cattermole. Woden was the pseudonym of George Wilson Slaney (1888-1978) who was born in Staffordshire of Scottish parents. He abandoned engineering to study art and music and eventually became a teacher in Glasgow, working there from 1913. He wrote over 30 works, including novels and plays, many of which were set in Scotland between 1913 and 1952. He was President of Scottish Pen from 1944-1947.
ShelfmarkFB.s.922-943
Acquired on28/07/08
Author[Dodsley, Robert, ed.]
TitleA collection of poems in six volumes.
ImprintLondon : J. Dodsley
Date of Publication1770
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis handsome 6-volume set of English poetry was bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, the most celebrated of 18th-century Scottish bookbinders. It was formerly in the library of Invercauld Castle, Aberdeenshire, one of a number of bindings executed by Scott for the Farquharson family who lived there. Dodsley's first collection of poetry was published in 1748, in three volumes, later editions were expanded to six volumes as a sign of its popularity. These particular bindings are not identified in Loudon's 1980 work on James and William Scott, but can be identified by the use of the Italianate operatic mask tool on the spines, which was one of Scott's tools. The flourish used to decorate the centre of some of the spine compartments can also be identified as a Scott tool, as well as the roll used to edge the boards.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.955-960
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders (1980); Bookseller's notes
Acquired on16/11/12
Authorvarious
TitleA decorative box containing six miniature publications by David Bryce of Glasgow
ImprintGlasgow: David Bryce and Son
Date of Publicationca. 1890
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of six miniature publications by David Bryce of Glasgow housed in a metal hinged box which features images of a Chinese dragon and flying cranes. The books measure only 27 mm. tall and are bound in flexible red roan leather with pages of very fine, thin India paper. The titles comprise: 'Old English, Scotch and Irish Songs'; 'Witty, Humorous and Merry Thoughts'; 'Golden Thoughts from Great Authors; 'Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect by Robert Burns' and 'The Smallest English Dictionary in the World'. The sixth title, 'The Tourist's Conversational Guide to English, French, German, Italian' by J. T. Loth, is regarded as perhaps the rarest of all the tiny Bryce miniature books. Tiny bookplates in the volumes indicate that they were owned by Rabbi Kalman L Levitan (d. 2002), the first president of the Miniature Book Society and also Harold Stanley Marcus (1905-2002) president of the luxury retailer Neiman Marcus and one of the most important and influential American businessmen of the 20th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2761
Reference SourcesBondy p. 107-8.
Acquired on14/10/09
TitleA comical dialogue between Sawney and Bonaparte.
ImprintNewcastle: D. Bass
Date of Publication[1803-1805?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA spoof conversation between a Scotsman and Napoleon Bonaparte in which Bonaparte threatens to invade Scotland and bring 'liberty' with him. It is a patriotic dialogue in which the 'Sawney' tells Napoleon that he is not wanted and will be resisted by the Highland Watch. The exchange ends with Sawney saying 'There's no a man in a' Scotland but would fight to the last drap o' his blood for the Land o' Cakes' and daring Napoleon to come. Sawney was an English nickname for a Scotsman, now no longer used. The Library also holds a chapbook along similar lines 'Sawney & Bonaparte a dialogue' printed in Stirling in 1807.
ShelfmarkAP.4.208.14
Acquired on10/03/08
AuthorJohn Gregory
TitleA comparative view of the state and faculties of man with those of the animal world.
ImprintLondon:
Date of PublicationPrinted for J. Dodsley
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Gregory (1724-1773), was a member of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. He considered human nature to be a uniform non-variant, whose principles and function can be discovered through experiment. In this, the first edition of his work, the anonymous author brings together the contents of his lectures to the Society. Gregory wrote that "The task of improving our nature, of improving man's estate, involves the proper development and exercise of the social principle and the other principle of instinct, with reason subordinate to instinct and serving as a corrective on it". The study of nature is then, according to Gregory, the best means of cultivating taste and religious understanding, the aim being to produce morally well-formed individuals.
ShelfmarkAB.1.217.121
Acquired on22/04/17
Author[Smollett, Tobias, ed.]
TitleA compendium of authentic and entertaining voyages digested in a chronological series.
ImprintLondon: R. and J. Dodsley,
Date of Publication1756.
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis seven-volume anthology of travel writing was partially edited by the Scottish author Tobias Smollett. In 1753 he was contracted, for the considerable sum of £150, to complete the work by the following year. Smollett was at the time working on a wide range of literary projects in his roles of translator, editor and critic; he was also living an expensive and hectic social life in London. It is perhaps little wonder that he later admitted that his overall contribution to the work was actually very limited. The seven volumes consist of edited accounts of the trade and military expeditions of major European explorers and adventurers such as Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Francis Drake and Cortes. They contain several plates, including portraits and illustrations of exotic places and peoples, such as cannibals in the Caribbean, as well as 20 maps. A second edition appeared in 1766. This particular set of volumes belonged to the library of the Phelip[p]s family of Montacute House near Yeovil in Somerset.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.014-020
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/10
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49     50     51     52     53     54     55     56     57     58     59     60