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 735 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 511 to 525 of 735:
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|Title||Report and plan for laying-out and planning the Meadows|
|Date of Publication||1873|
|Notes||This pamphlet puts forward plans to develop a large and much-loved public park in Edinburgh. The Meadows can be found just south of the Old Town in Edinburgh; it consists of open grassland divided up by tree-lined paths and is much used for sport and recreational pursuits by those living in the city. The park was created when a loch on the site was completely drained in the 18th century, at the behest of the agricultural improver Sir Thomas Hope, turning the marshy land into an open space. Middle Meadow Walk, opened in 1743, was laid out by Hope as a thirty foot wide walkway, enclosed on each side by a hedge and lime trees. In 1827 an Act of Parliament protected the Meadows from being built upon. When Melville Drive was opened in 1859 as part of the development of Edinburgh's South Side, the Meadows became increasing popular as a public space. From the 1860s onwards the Town Council considered ways of improving the park by creating boundary walls, removing some fencing, and raising the level of the ground by using earth excavated from the foundations of recently-constructed houses in the area. As part of the improvement process, the most famous English landscape gardener of the day, Edward Kemp (1817-1891), was presumably asked to produce this report. Kemp had made his name by overseeing the creation of Birkenhead Park in the 1840s in his role as head gardener there. He also wrote on the subject of gardens and public parks at a time when Victorian Britain was exercised with the problems of creating of green and pleasant open spaces in its congested and dirty cities. Kemp's brief report is careful to state at the outset that he would not want to see any "violent alterations or any very elaborate style of treatment" being attempted in the Meadows. He proposes replaces the "ugly" straight footpaths in the eastern part of the park with "pleasing curves" and planting evergreen shrubs to get rid of the "present bareness of the place". He argues against the introduction of any water features and proposes the creation of "shelter houses" to allow people to take cover from sudden showers and storms. On the issue of closing the central area of the park at night, which had been considered by the Council, he is in favour of doing so, pointing out that it is impossible to light the interior of the park and that the closure could be done by putting fencing along Middle Meadow Walk. 140 years on the Meadows is not greatly altered from Kemp's time, but he may be disappointed to see that there is little in the way of shrubs, fencing or pleasingly curved footpaths.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary National Biography|
|Author||Ker, Patrick, fl. 1691|
|Title||Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical.|
|Imprint||London, Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the printing press, near the Royal Exchange,|
|Date of Publication||1684|
|Notes||Ker, Patrick was a Scottish Episcopalian poet who migrated to London during the reign of Charles II. 'Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical' is a volume of ultra-loyalist verse.
Although the work is only signed with only the initials 'P.K.', it can safely be attributed to Ker due to the fact that the verso of the leaf A4 features a complex triangular depiction of the Trinity which also appears in another work, 'The Map of Mans Misery' (1690), with the author's name, P. Ker, in full. The 'Flosculum' features a grotesque woodcut of Charles II in the oak on leaf D2, accompanied by verses equally grotesque, and a number of scurrilous rhymes and anagrams on Oliver Cromwell.
The inkstamp of Alexander Gardyne (1801-1885) is on the verso of the title page.|
|Author||King, Kennedy [i.e. George Douglas Brown]|
|Title||Love and a sword: a tale of the Afridi War.|
|Imprint||London: John Macqueen|
|Date of Publication||1899|
|Notes||The Scottish author George Douglas Brown (1869-1902) is best known for his work "The House with the Green Shutters", which was published in autumn 1901 in both Britain and the United States under the pseudonym 'George Douglas'. That work has long been regarded as a milestone in Scottish literature; a decisive move away from the sentimental, 'kailyard', Scottish novels of the 19th century. Before his ground-breaking novel appeared, Brown had moved, after leaving Oxford University in 1895, to London, with the intention of forging a literary career. However, in order to make ends meet he had to work as a hack author, writing poetry, reviews, and short stories for a number of periodicals, as well adventure books for boys. "Love and a sword" published under the pseudonym 'Kennedy King', was his first published book, an adventure story set in India and the North-West Frontier, with a Scottish hero, Roderick Gordon, as the protagonist.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||Plates for the deaf and dumb|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by J. Ritchie, published by William Oliphant|
|Date of Publication||1820|
|Notes||The Institution for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Children in Edinburgh was established in June 1810. One of the teachers, Robert Kinniburgh, designed illustrated educational materials for the school. We already have a copy of his book 'The manual alphabet', which has a title-page with illustrations showing a kind of sign language, followed by 55 numbered plates with woodcuts of important objects, animals and scenes of work. The book we have just purchased appears to be an earlier edition, with the illustrations ordered differently. There are some changes in the states of the woodcuts; for example, on p. 9 in 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', the top woodcut is of an agricultural scene with a gardener surrounded by tools and a cold-frame; the same woodcut appears on p. 30 of 'The manual alphabet', but without the cold-frame. Perhaps the woodcut had become damaged.
It is interesting to speculate about the use of these books. Perhaps the illustrations were shown first and the students were expected to then learn the relevant word. In the new copy of 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', someone has added captions in pencil to several illustrations. The order of the plates in the two editions may be significant; in 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', the book starts with people in different clothing engaged in different tasks, and moves on to animals and then household objects. In 'The manual alphabet', however, the animals come first, followed by the household objects, and the people last.
Only one other copy of 'Plates for the deaf and dumb' has been traced, at the John Rylands library in Manchester. This acquisition complements some of our special collections such as the Royal Blind School Collection.
|Title||T'Eyland Ceylon in sijn binnenste, of 't koningrijck Candy|
|Imprint||Utrecht: Wilhelm Broedelet|
|Date of Publication||1692|
|Notes||Robert Knox (1641-1720) was an English merchant, who made two journeys with his father, a ship's captain, to India. During the second journey, their ship put in at the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for repairs in 1659. The Knoxes offended the ruler of the island, the king of Kandy, as they failed to follow royal protocol by not announcing their arrival or sending suitable gifts. Relations at this time between the native inhabitants of Ceylon and European visitors were very strained, and consequently both men were both detained on the island, forbidden to leave without the king's approval. Knox's father died shortly afterwards and Knox himself spent the best part of twenty years living on Ceylon before finally managing to escape. On his return journey to England he wrote the first detailed account of Ceylon, "An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, in the East Indies", which was illustrated with sixteen plates. The book was published in 1681 and was a big success, being translated into German, Dutch and French in his lifetime. It was also a source of inspiration to Daniel Defoe when writing "Robinson Crusoe". Knox resumed his career as a merchant, visiting the East again a further five times. The acquisition of this Dutch edition complements the Library's extensive holdings of works relating to the Indian sub continent and to Sri Lanka (see the Alexander Mackie Collection). The six plates in the book are particularly interesting as they are substantially different to the plates that appeared in the English 1681 edition, although clearly inspired by them.|
|Author||Kohl, Johann Georg.|
|Title||Resor I Skottland.|
|Date of Publication||1846|
|Notes||This is the first edition in Swedish of Kohl's account of his travels in Scotland in the autumn of 1842, part of an eight month trip to England, Scotland and Ireland. It was first published in Dresden in 1844 and an English edition was published in London, by Bruce and Wyld in the same year. This Swedish edition, of which only one other copy has been traced (in the U.S.), has a fine vignette of the port of Leith on the title page.
Although Kohl covers a relatively large area, spending most time in central Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Crieff, Perth and via Abbotsford to Carlisle, he does not venture any further than Loch Tay to the north. The author is on the whole complementary about Scotland asserting that the Union of 1707 had set the country 'on the road to wealth and improvement' and that 'she [Scotland] vies with that rival with whom for centuries she had contended with in sanguinary warfare'.
Kohl (1808-1878) was regarded by his contemporaries as the most outstanding geographer in Europe; no less a figure that Charles Dickens described him as an 'indefatigable scholar'. Bremen-born Kohl gave up the study of law to travel. For most of the 1830's he worked as a teacher in the Baltic Provinces and in Russia and subsequently devoted himself to travelling and writing about his experiences. He wrote 26 separate books and treatises about his journeys through all parts of Europe and North America. He visited the United States in 1854, bringing with him an important collection of 500 facsimile drawings of maps (now at the Library of Congress) relating to the discovery and exploration of the New World. Between 1855 and 1857 he was commissioned by U.S. Coast Survey, to carry out an extensive study of the early history and exploration of the North American coastline. Towards the end of his life, as city librarian in Bremen, he oversaw the modernization of the library.|
|Reference Sources||American cartographer. Vol.3, no. 2, October 1976
Progress of discovery = Auf den Spuren der Entdecker : Johann Georg Kohl (exhibition catalogue) Graz: Akademische Druck-u. Verlaganstalt, 1993.|
|Author||Korb, Johann Georg.|
|Title||Diarium itineris in Moscoviam.|
|Imprint||Vienna: Leopold Voigt|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||An account of the Austrian diplomatic mission to Russia in 1698 to discuss an alliance against the Turkish Empire does not sound particularly thrilling, but this unexpectedly shocking book seems to have caused something of a diplomatic incident. While describing the progress of the embassy, Korb, the secretary to the embassy, described at length the turmoil of Russian internal politics. In the summer of 1698, the Tsar, Peter the Great, was on his famous incognito tour of western Europe, when the streltsy, the musketeer troops based in Moscow, rose up in rebellion. Curiously, the rebels were defeated by a Scottish general, Patrick Gordon. Gordon, born in 1635 at Auchleuchries in Aberdeenshire, had served in Russia since the 1660s, and rose to great eminence under Peter. As a Catholic, he was greatly distrusted by some in the Russian establishment (just as he would have been in Britain), but the Tsar's liking for Gordon extended so far that he was actually permitted to erect a stone-built Roman Catholic church in Moscow, in which Gordon was eventually buried. Gordon is mentioned repeatedly in this text, and some of the plates depict Gordon's fortifications at the town of Azov.
Peter hastily returned to Russia at the news of the rebellion, and proceeded to carry out a ferocious retaliatory campaign involving torture, mass executions and the punishment of the rebels' wives and children. Korb records all this in gruesome detail, and the large plates with which this volume is illustrated depict Moscow festooned with gallows, people being burned and buried alive, and rows of prisoners waiting to be beheaded. All in all, this was not a book conducive to better Austro-Russian relations, and it seems that the Austrian government had it suppressed. This is consequently a scarce book, and this is an excellent copy, from the library and bearing the bookplate of Archibald, 5th earl of Rosebery, one of the greatest early benefactors of the National Library of Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||Gordon, Patrick. Passages from the Diary. Aberdeen, 1859.
MacDonnell transl.. Diary of an Austrian secretary of legation at the court of Czar Peter the Great. London, 1863.|
|Author||La Baume le Blanc, Louise Francoise de, Duchesse de la Valliere.|
|Title||The penitent lady, or reflections on the mercy of God. The third edition, corrected.|
|Imprint||London: printed for H. N. and sold by W. Davis,|
|Date of Publication||1703|
|Notes||The author of this work, Louise Francoise de la Baume le Blanc, Duchesse de la Valliere (1644-1710), was a French noblewoman who made her debut at court in 1661. A woman of considerable charm and learning, Madame de la Valliere was soon the object of King Louis XIV's affection. She became his mistress, bearing him four children. However, by 1670 she had lost her places as Louis' principal mistress, and, after recovering from a serious illness and suffering a crisis of conscience, she decided to turn to God and renounce her former sinful existence. In 1671 she wrote a theological work "Reflexions sur la misericorde de Dieu [Reflections on the mercy of God]" from the perspective of a repentant sinner who had experienced the pleasures and hypocrisies of court life and found them to be unsatisfactory. In 1674 she entered a Carmelite convent in Paris and became a nun, remaining there for the rest of her life. "The penitent lady" an English version of "Reflexions sur la misericorde de Dieu", translated by a Church of England clergyman Lewis Atterbury, was first published in 1684. This third edition from 1703 is rare; only two other copies are recorded in ESTC. Moreover, this particular copy also has an interesting provenance. On the front free endpaper there is an inscription by a former owner, Maurice Paterson (1836-1917), the rector of Moray House (then a Free Church of Scotland teacher training college). Paterson notes that the book had once belonged to Mrs Scott, the mother of Sir Walter Scott, and had passed into his hands via a step-cousin who had formerly lived with his aunt Esther, the latter having been a companion of Mrs Scott. The role Esther Paterson played in the Scott family is revealed in Sir Herbert Grierson's edition of Sir Walter Scott's letters. 'Miss Paterson' nursed Scott's older brother John through his final illness and then became his mother's companion for the final years of her life. During, or shortly after, her time spent looking after Anne Scott (d. 1819), Esther Paterson presumably received this book as a token of gratitude for her work; it is tempting to think that she may have read aloud from it to the dying old lady who was preparing to meet her maker. Walter Scott was certainly grateful to Esther Paterson, describing her a person of 'uncommon good sense and civility', who was of 'inestimable comfort' to his dear mother. In 1826 he considered employing her to look after his wife, who was by then seriously ill, writing that, 'she is familarly know[n] to all of us and that sort of person who can take charge of keys or read aloud or make herself an assistant in many ways[,] uncommonly well bred besides[,] in short a useful and agreeable inmate".|
|Reference Sources||The letters of Sir Walter Scott edited by H.J.C. Grierson, London, 1932-37. vols 6,7 and 9.|
|Title||Royal Diorama of Scotland|
|Date of Publication||[1885-1890?]|
|Notes||This publication seems to be a tourist guide for late nineteenth-century visitors to Scotland. It consists of short articles about the main attractions in Scotland and eight pasted-in tinted lithographic plates of Scottish scenes, as well as smaller illustrations incorporated into the text. The coloured plates, which depict subjects ranging from the Glasgow Trongate to Loch Lomond, are quite striking. The work concludes with a section of 'Select Songs of Scotland'. All in the original green wrappers, with the arms of Scotland on the front cover: perfect for the tourist to leave on the coffee-table.|
|Author||Lamont, Sir James of Knockdow|
|Title||Lecture on the Civil War in America, delivered at the Rothesay Mechanics' Institute|
|Date of Publication||1864|
|Notes||An unrecorded (?) lecture stating the case for the Northern Government against the Southern States. The content is interesting for a number of reasons. The lecture begins "Ladies and Gentlemen, when I was crusing last winter in my yacht in the Mediterranean, I had the pleasure of passing an afternoon with the illustrious General Garibaldi." The venue and presumably the audience are interesting.
No copy in GUL online cat.|
|Title||Riflessioni economiche politiche e morali sopra il lusso l'agricoltura la popolazione le manifatture e il commercio dello Stato Pontificio in suo vantaggio e beneficio.|
|Imprint||Rome: Tipografio di Gioacchino Puccinelli|
|Date of Publication||1795.|
|Notes||Stefano Laonice, probably a pseudonym for Nicola Corona, uses copious quotations from Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' and the works of David Hume in this study of the most advanced contemporary economic and philosophical theories. He examines the relationship between land ownership, manufacture and the wealth of the state of Rome. He points out the dangers of applying Smith's theory in Central Italy - an area where agriculture, not manufacture, was the still the main method of creating wealth.
This is the first and only edition of this work. Only two other copies have been recorded, neither of which is in the UK.
|Title||Gedancken vom Waaren und Geld-Handel [translation of Money and Trade]|
|Imprint||Leipzig: Jacob Schustern|
|Date of Publication||1720|
|Notes||The Library has a strong collection relating to John Law (1671-1729), particularly in the Lauriston Castle collection, and has purchased actively Law-related materials in recent years. As a Scottish-born financier (his family lived at Lauriston Castle) who had a huge impact on the French economy in the short-term, and on the development of the paper-money system in the longer term, Law is a key figure to collect.
We have several copies of the 1705 English edition of Money and Trade, a copy of the second English edition of 1720 (L.C.2539), and two copies of the 1720 French edition. There are no copies in Scotland of the first German edition which we have now acquired. As well as two copies in North America, there is a copy in the University of London Library, which matches the description here. Our new copy is very good and in contemporary boards.
Antoin Murphy, John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-Maker (1997) discusses the French translation as being a work of some importance, but does not mention a German edition. It is quite possible that this translation may shed new light on how Law was seen in 1720, the year that the Mississippi Bubble burst and his schemes collapsed. As Law's main written work, it is important for the Library to have comprehensive holdings in this area, and thus this is a most desirable acquisition.|
|Reference Sources||Antoin Murphy, John Law, 1997|
|Author||Leighton, John M.|
|Title||Select views of the lakes of Scotland : from original paintings by John Fleming / engraved by Joseph Swan ; with historical and descriptive illustrations by John M. Leighton.|
|Date of Publication||1830-1833|
|Notes||This is the full set of the 16 part issues of the book published in 1834 (A.116.a.12-13) as 'The lakes of Scotland'. That it was a work of some popularity is evidenced by the lengthy subscription list in part 16, the enthusiastic reviews reprinted inside the lower cover of each part and the publication of further editions in 1836 and 1839. The 48 engraved plates contained in this set were printed on what the publisher and engraver, Joseph Swan described as 'very superior India paper, which for purity, clearness and colour, will be found equal to any which has yet met the public eye' The India proofs cost 7s. 6d. per part with Royal folio copies at 12 shillings per part and the cheapest fine impressions at 5s. 6d.
The work was aimed at 'all lovers of the fine arts' as well as 'admirers of Scotland's picturesque and romantic scenery'. According to the preface, which was written for and included in the final part in 1833, this was the first work 'entirely devoted to this branch of Scottish scenery'. Not only the well-known lakes were described but also but also those 'seldom visited and little heard of, and others which were quite terra incognita to tourists'.
Joseph Swan had previously published 'Select views of Glasgow and its environs' (1828) and 'Select views on the Clyde' (1830), both of which were collaborations with the author of this work, John M. Leighton and the artist, John Fleming. Greenock-born Fleming (1792-1845) specialized in painting mountain scenery in oils and watercolours, was a member of the West of Scotland Academy and exhibited in Glasgow.|
|Title||Faits divers, pensées diverses, et quelques réponses de sourds-muets précédés d'une gravure représentant leur alphabet manuel et de notions sur la dactylologie ou le langage des doigts, avec des détails intéresssants sur une sourde-muette-aveugle Francaise, et sur un Sourd-Muet-Aveugle Écossais.|
|Imprint||Paris: Rue Racine, 15|
|Date of Publication||1850|
|Notes||This book is the rare second edition of a selection of writings on deaf-mutes by one of the leading French educators in the field, Alphonse Lenoir. Revised and expanded here, it was first published as Dactylologie, ou Langage des Doigts (1848).
Lenoir, himself hearing-impaired, was a teacher at the Institution Nationale de Paris who did much to pioneer and advocate the education of the deaf, and was involved in the founding of the first official deaf organisation - the Societe Centrale (1838) which later became known as the Societe Universelle des Sourds-Muets in 1867. The book includes a description of sign language, with a frontispiece illustrating the signed alphabet, and descriptions of the lives and achievements of deaf-mutes. There are accounts of heroic behaviour during the events of 1848 in Paris and famous deaf mutes in the fields of literature, art, and other walks of life. Among these is an account of the Scot James Mitchell, who was brought to public attention by the Enlightenment philosopher Dugald Stewart in a paper entitled 'Some Account of a Boy born Deaf and Blind' published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1812. Stewart had been interested in Mitchell and his family, but his paper concentrated on what Mitchell's case could teach about the development of ocular sense-perceptions: Lenoir's account emphasises how in spite of his sensory isolation, he had a fully developed moral, intellectual and emotional sensibility.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's Catalogue; Collected Works of Dugald Stewart, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: 1854), pp.300-370.|
|Title||Six Glasgow Poems|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This is the rare first edition of Tom Leonard's best known work. Written in Scots, these abrasively witty poems attempt to recreate the language of ordinary people in Glasgow. Leonard completed the work by January 1968, but had difficulty finding a printer willing to do the job. Instead, he typed the sheets himself and had them reproduced in the Glasgow University student magazine office. This counts as the first edition. The poems were subsequently published by Midnight Publications in 1969, and the Library has a copy of this second edition at shelfmark 5.4593. This edition contains at least one typographical deviation from the first edition.|