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 754 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 511 to 525 of 754:

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AuthorJohn Gibson Lockhart
TitleLe Ministre Ecossais, ou le Veuvage d' Adam Blair
ImprintParis: Charles Gosselin
Date of Publication1822
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is an unrecorded French translation of Lockhart's controversial work "Some Passages in the Life of Mr. Adam Blair, Minister of the Gospel at Cross-Meikle". The first English edition was published in Edinburgh in the same year. The identity of the translator is unknown; he/she is referred to on the title page as the translator of "Edouard en Ecosse". This work is presumably the translation of David Carey's "Lochiel; or, the Field of Culloden" by 'baron Vel', which also appeared in 1822. "Le Ministre ecossais", published by Gosselin who also published translations of Walter Scott, was clearly aimed at enthusiastic French readers of Scott and all things Scottish. "Some Passages in the Life ..." was Lockhart's second novel and is generally regarded as his best. It was based on a true story that Lockhart heard from his father about a widowed minister who had an affair with a married woman. Lockhart was criticised for his immorality in recounting the tale; some of the disapproval may also have stemmed from the lack of a happy ending in the novel - the real 'Adam Blair' minister was deposed in 1746, but went on to marry his mistress and was eventually accepted back into the church. This three-volume set is from the library of a French noblewoman Diane-Adelaide Damas d' Antigny, madame de Simiane (1761-1835), former mistress of the marquis de Lafayette, which was housed in the Chateau de Cirey in Champagne.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.153-154
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on31/05/13
AuthorJohn James Audubon
TitleOrnithological biography vol. 1
ImprintPhiladelphia: Carey and Hart
Date of Publication1832
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn 1830 John James Audubon began working in Edinburgh with the Scottish ornithologist William Macgillivray on a five-volume work "Ornithological Biography". The work was designed to accompany the double elephant folio plates of "Birds of America", which were being engraved in London at the time. Volume one was first published in Edinburgh in 1831, and in order to safeguard his copyright in the USA, Audubon also arranged for an edition to be printed and published in his adopted homeland in the same year by Dobson and Porter. This 1832 Philadelphia edition appears to be a reprint of the Dobson and Porter version, identical apart from the title page; it presumably had a larger print-run. An American edition of volume 2 was published in Boston in 1835, but no further volumes of "Ornithological Biography" were printed in America during Audubon's lifetime.
ShelfmarkAB.4.207.05
Reference SourcesWilliam Braislin, "An American edition of Audubon's 'Ornithological biography'" The Auk, v. 35 (1918)pp. 360-362.
Acquired on30/03/07
AuthorJohn Muir (ed.)
TitlePicturesque California and the region west of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska to Mexico.
ImprintSan Francisco & New York: J. Dewing Company
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
Notes2014 marks the centenary of the death of Scottish-born naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838-1914), who is regarded as the founder of national parks in the USA. He edited this great work of pictorial Western Americana. Among the famed artists who contributed to the work are Frederick Cozzens, Thomas Hill, Thomas Moran and Frederick Remington. Their work is reproduced here in engravings, etchings and photogravures, which fill 120 full-page plates (with printed tissue descriptions). The 35 separate articles are written by a variety of authors, with Muir contributing seven articles, three of them on the High Sierras and his beloved Yosemite Valley (two of them were written especially for this work, the others were edited from earlier publications). This edition includes his article on Alaska which is not included in later abridged editions. Publication was issued by subscription, and no subscription was accepted "for less than the entire work." The work was issued in a bewildering number of different formats and editions, initially between 1887 and 1890, the latest edition with this title being 1894. Muir wrote in a letter of 1889 that he had finished his contributions by shutting himself up in a room in the Old Grand hotel San Francisco for two weeks.
ShelfmarkAB.10.214.07-09
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB; W.F. Kimes & M.B. Kimes 'John Muir: a reading bibliography' (Palo Alto, 1977) (no. 175); L.G. Currey & D.G. Kruska "Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra" (Palo Alto, 1992) (no. 257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorJohnston, James F. W.
TitleQueries regarding the potato disease.
ImprintEdinburgh: Laboratory of the Agricultural Chemistry Association,
Date of Publication[1845?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an interesting questionnaire sent out to Scottish farmers ('the most skilful local farmers') by the laboratory of the Agricultural and Chemistry Association regarding potato disease. The 26 questions on the sheet were intended to get an understanding of the extent of potato disease in Scotland. In 1844, a new form of potato blight was identified in America, an air-carried fungus 'Phytophthora Infestans'. It basically turned a potato into a mushy mess that was completely inedible. The American blight was first identified in France and the Isle of Wight in 1845. The summer of 1845 turned out to be mild but very wet in Britain and Ireland. It was almost the perfect weather conditions for the blight to spread, which it did in Ireland to a catastrophic effect. It also badly affected the Highlands of Scotland, another area where the potato had become the staple food, from 1846 to 1852.
ShelfmarkAP.4.209.26
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorJong, Dirk de.
TitleNieuwe Beschryving der Walvischvanst en haringvisschery.
ImprintAmsterdam: Gert Jan Bestebreurtje
Date of Publication1791
LanguageDutch
NotesThis is the second edition (first published 1784-86) of a classic work on Dutch whaling together with an article on a herring fishery. It contains accounts of whaling expeditions in Arctic Regions as well as descriptions of types of whales and other animals. Included are engraved plates depicting whaling and herring fishery scenes as well as a number of engraved maps and plates.
ShelfmarkGB/A.3813
Acquired on30/09/04
AuthorJosephus, Flavius
TitleGenuine Works
Imprint6 vols., Edinburgh: for William Coke
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine set of an interesting edition of William Whiston's translation of the works of Josephus. Whiston's famous translation of the Jewish historian's writings had its first Scottish publication in Scotland in 1777. There seem to have been two issues; the Library already has a copy of the issue printed for Alexander Donaldson. (VV.1/2). ESTC N64882 records only one copy of the issue printed for the Leith bookseller William Coke, which is at the University of Texas. According to SBTI, William Coke had fomerly been Alexander Donaldson's clerk, and was a witness in the case of Donaldson v John Reid in 1767. All six volumes are bound in contemporary polished calf; each spine has raised bands between gilt rules and a red morocco label, gilt lettered. Each volume has the attractive armorial bookplate of Thomas Lowndes.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2274
Acquired on12/06/02
AuthorKalley, Robert Reid
Title[6 pamphlets by or relating to Robert Reid Kalley]
ImprintLisbon & Funchal
Date of Publication1845-1875
LanguagePortugese
NotesThis is a collection of six pamphlets, printed in Portugal and Funchal in Madeira, relating to the controversial career of Dr Robert Reid Kalley (1809-1888), a Scottish missionary. Kalley was born and brought up in Glasgow. After qualifying in medicine and surgery at Glasgow University, he practised medicine in Ayrshire, where he refound his Christian faith, lost in his teens, and rejoined the Church of Scotland. Kalley was accepted as a potential missionary by the London Missionary Society in 1837, but was obliged to resign shortly afterwards when he became engaged to be married, without the Society's permission. His wife was found to be ill with tuberculosis, so, seeking a milder, drier climate for her, in October 1838 Kalley and his wife travelled to Funchal, on the island of Madeira, initially to spend the winter there. Funchal had a large colony of British residents, but the devout Christian Kalley was unhappy with what he regarded as the spiritual laxity of the Anglican ex-pat community. He decided to become ordained as a minister, but, rather than spend years of theological study demanded by the Church of Scotland, he went to London where he was ordained in the Congregational ministry in July 1839. However, he renounced the title Reverend and remained throughout his life formally a member of the Church of Scotland. On the way back to Madeira he obtained a medical qualification in Lisbon, which enabled him to practise in Portugal. Kalley subsequently worked as a medical missionary, unsupported by any society and unconnected with any denomination of the church. He learned Portuguese and opened a clinic for Madeiran patients, treating the poor for free. He began preaching to his patients, organized worship in his house for local people and created seventeen schools to teach literacy, so that the Madeiran people could read and understand the Bible. Kalley's evangelizing brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the local police. He was eventually arrested and imprisoned in July 1843 on charges of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy, which carried the death penalty. From prison he mounted a campaign for his release in the British newspapers, while the British embassy in Lisbon helped to secure his release in January 1844. Kalley was unbowed by his imprisonment and resumed his work in Madeira despite continued harassment of his local followers and the disquiet of the local British community and consular staff at his activities. He visited Scotland in the summer of 1845, where he addressed the Free Church assembly. A Free Church missionary, William Hewitson, had already arrived in the island and was at this time baptizing his converts. The first pamphlet in this collection, "Revista historica do proselytismo anticatholico" (Funchal, 1845), written by an anonymous 'Madeirense', dates from this period and is an attack on Kalley's work on the island. Kalley's response to this pamphlet was published in Lisbon in 1846 "Observacoes sobre a revista historica do proselytismo". After Hewitson left Madeira, in poor health, in May 1846, Kalley found himself increasingly isolated on the island and again accused of anti-Catholic proselytizing. In August 1846 a crowd headed by a Jesuit priest drove 'Calvinistas' from their homes, and ransacked Kalley's house, burned his books, and demanded 'Death to the wolf from Scotland'. Kalley, fearing for his life, disguised himself as a Madeiran peasant woman, and was carried in a hammock to the harbour, where he and his wife escaped from Madeira on a British ship. Several hundred of his followers were subsequently expelled from their homes in Madeira, settling first in the West Indies and then in the USA. Despite his escape from Madeira, Kalley seems to have maintained links to Madeira. The English-language pamphlet "A few plain words to visitors to the island of Madeira on the present position of the English Church there" written by 'a visitor', published in Funchal in 1848, appears to have been written by him and printed on his behalf. It is a sharply worded attack on the Anglican community there and a "priest of the English Church in this island" who has committed "a most gross act of Schism". Although, Kalley's name is not mentioned anywhere in the pamphlet, it is clearly meant as a vindication of his work on the island. After a period travelling through Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, during which time his first wife died, Kalley settled in Brazil with his new wife, where he continued to work as a medical missionary and prosletytize, this time in a more low-key manner, and without harassment from the more liberal Brazilian government. His turbulent time on Madeira still seems to have exercised him. The collection also contains three different Lisbon printings of a work by him, two dated 1875 from the press of a presumably British printer based in Lisbon (W.T. Wood's Typographia Luso-britannica), the other undated. The work bears the title "Exposicao de factos [etc.]" ("An exposition of the facts relating to the aggression against protestants on the island of Madeira"). It deals with the events of 1843, reproducing official documents relating to Kalley in this period. Not long after the publication of this work, Kalley and his wife retired to Edinburgh in 1876, where he was elected a director of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, and where he died in 1888.
ShelfmarkAP.1.213.32 ; AP.1.213.31 ; AP.1.213.30 ; AP.1.213.29(1) ; AP.1.213.29(2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; W. B. Forsyth, The wolf from Scotland: the story of Robert Reid Kalley, pioneer missionary, Darlington, 1988.
Acquired on25/01/13
AuthorKazumasa Ogawa & James Murdoch
TitleSights and Scenes on the Tokaido.
ImprintTokyo: K. Ogawa
Date of Publication1892
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis handsome volume was one of a series of views of Japan that the pioneering photographer, Kazumasa Ogawa (1860-1930) produced in the 1890s. Ogawa set out to photograph a Japanese society that was rapidly vanishing. His images recorded Japanese life, customs, culture and scenery at a time when Japan was modernising after emerging from self-imposed isolation during the second half of the 19th century. The photographs were then reproduced using the collotype process, a high quality photomechanical process capable of creating sharp images with a wide variety of tones. Ogawa published and printed all of the collotypes personally from the original prints, becoming a master of the process. His collotype books all had distinctive paper covers, lithographed in colour with a repeating pattern of concentric overlapping half circles, stylized clouds with leaves inside and breaking waves in silver. This particular book traces the route of the historic Tokaido (Road of the Eastern Sea) which starts in Tokyo and follows the Pacific coast for 320 miles where it joins the Nakasendo (Central Mountain Road) at Kusatsu. There are 20 black and white collotype plates containing a total of 44 images based on photographs by Ogawa himself, another Japanese photographer, Kusakabe Kimbei, the Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari, and also one by a Scot, William K. Burton (William Kinnimond Burton, an engineer and photographer, who in 1887 was appointed as first professor of sanitary engineering at Tokyo Imperial University). Ogawa clearly had an international readership in mind for his books. For the descriptive text in English which accompanied each plate of this book, he turned to another ex-pat Scot based in Japan, James Murdoch (1856-1921). Murdoch was born in Kincardineshire; from humble origins he was able to graduate M.A. with first-class honours in classics in 1879 from Aberdeen University and take up a scholarship at Oxford. After returning to Aberdeen he then emigrated to Australia in 1881, where he worked as a teacher and journalist. In 1889 he became a lecturer in European history at the First Higher School in Tokyo, an elite institution which young men attended before entering Tokyo Imperial University. His job gave him time to pursue a literary career as well, including writing a novel, "Ayame-san", which was published in Japan and London. Apart from a brief spell in South America and London, Murdoch remained in Japan until 1917, marrying a Japanese woman and working in various teaching jobs. He wrote three volumes of a history of the country before returning to Australia where he taught Japanese. The volume was acquired by NLS when the library of the 17th Earl of Perth was sold at auction in 2012.
ShelfmarkFB.l.408
Reference Sourceshttp://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/ogawa/ogawa_tokaido.shtml; Australian Dictionary of Biography
Acquired on31/08/12
AuthorKeill, John
TitleAn examination of Dr Burnet's Theory of Earth. 2nd edition.
ImprintOxford: H. Clements and London: S. Harding
Date of Publication1734
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Keill (1671-1721), mathematician and natural philosopher, was born in Edinburgh and was educated at Edinburgh University. He won a scholarship to study at Oxford and while studying there became a devoted follower of Isaac Newton. He was the first to teach Newtonian natural philosophy, developing an innovative course for students which involved 'experimental demonstrations' for the first time in the teaching of science. This is the second edition of Keill's first book, originally published in 1698, in which he criticises Thomas Burnet's book "Telluris Theoria Sacra, or The Sacred Theory of the Earth" and also the work of fellow Newtonian, William Whiston, whose "A New Theory of the Earth" had been published in 1696. Burnet's book on the creation and formation of the earth had appeared in the 1680s and provoked much debate in academic circles. Keill, the scientist, aimed to disprove the views of Burnet, the natural philosopher and schoolmaster, by the application of Newtonian scientific principles. Keill also disagreed with Whiston on how to interpret the Bible. Whereas Whiston accepted revealed scripture, properly interpreted by a Newtonian, as being compatible with Newtonian science, Keill was convinced that there were some aspects of the Bible which no amount of 'scientific' interpreting could square with science. In such cases, for Keill, the Biblical view was always correct. The work contains several plates of scientific diagrams relating to the structure of the earth and movement of celestial bodies.
ShelfmarkAB.3.207.43
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
AuthorKelly, Isabella.
TitleThe secret: a novel.
ImprintBrentford: printed by and for P. Norbury
Date of Publication1805
LanguageEnglish
NotesIsabella Kelly, née Fordyce (1759-1857), poet and novelist, was born at Cairnburgh Castle, Aberdeen. In 1794 she published her first book, a "Collection of poems and fables". Having suffered, in her own words, 'a variety of domestic calamities', which may have included possible desertion by her husband, Kelly began writing Gothic fiction in order to support her two surviving children. She published her first novel, "Madeline", also in 1794, and wrote nine more between 1795 and 1811. "The secret" is a Gothic romance, set in an ancient abbey in the imaginary village of Llanleeven in North Wales. The opening lines vividly set the scene: "The stormy blasts of December were blowing loud and fearful through the wild cloisters of a very ancient abbey... The melancholy mistress of this nearly desolated mansion, had withdrawn herself to a suite of chambers the most remote and cheerless in the whole edifice". This four-volume-set contains the ownership inscriptions and bookplates of Sir John Thorold of Syston Park, Lincolnshire.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2807-2810
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on19/11/10
AuthorKelly, Isabella.
TitleRuthinglenne; or the critical moment. A novel.
ImprintDublin: G. Burnet [et al],
Date of Publication1802
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the very rare Dublin edition of a gothic novel by the Scottish poet and novelist Isabella Kelly (1759-1857). First published at the Minerva Press in London in 1801, the book is a horrifying saga of the House of Ruthinglenne set in the north of England. Isabella Kelly (née Fordyce) was born at Cairnburgh Castle, Aberdeenshire in 1759. She was married twice - firstly to Robert Hawke Kelly in 1789, who died in Madras in 1807. Her second husband was Joseph Hedgeland, whom she married in 1816. However he had died by 1820, possibly having lost money in speculation. Kelly wrote 10 gothic novels, primarily to support her children, between 1794 and 1811. They were moderately successful, receiving cautiously approving reviews in 'The Critical Review'. She also compiled a French grammar and a collection of miscellaneous information, 'Instructive Anecdotes for Youth'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2671
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorKemp, Edward
TitleReport and plan for laying-out and planning the Meadows
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication1873
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAP.2.213.22
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on07/06/13
AuthorKer, Patrick, fl. 1691
TitleFlosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical.
ImprintLondon, Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the printing press, near the Royal Exchange,
Date of Publication1684
LanguageEnglish
NotesKer, 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2325
Reference SourcesDNB ESTC R17623
Acquired on16/06/04
AuthorKing, Kennedy [i.e. George Douglas Brown]
TitleLove and a sword: a tale of the Afridi War.
ImprintLondon: John Macqueen
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 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.
ShelfmarkAB.2.211.006
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorKinniburgh, Robert
TitlePlates for the deaf and dumb
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by J. Ritchie, published by William Oliphant
Date of Publication1820
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2637
Acquired on27/11/06
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