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 697 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 697:
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|Title||Ristretto dei viaggi fatti in Africa dal capitano Smith.|
|Date of Publication||[1836?]|
|Notes||This is a hitherto unrecorded pamphlet in Italian based on a report written by Scottish army medical officer and naturalist, Andrew Smith. Born in Roxburghshire, Smith (1797-1872) entered the Army Medical Service in 1815 and was sent to the Cape Colony (South Africa) in 1820. While remaining in the Army, Smith became renowned for his research into the region's zoology, ethnography, and geography. In 1834 to 1836 he superintended a fact-finding expedition into the territory north of Cape Colony, which was financed by Cape merchants and other interested parties. His 'Report of the expedition for exploring Central Africa from the Cape of Good Hope' was first published for subscribers only in Cape Town in 1836. Extracts from the report were also published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1836. The report, with its details of the various African peoples, including a tribe of albinos, evidently attracted interest in continental Europe as well, hence this Italian translation. Smith returned to Britain in 1836, and became a personal friend of Charles Darwin, the latter consulting him on African zoology. He was eventually promoted to become director-general of the army and ordnance medical departments, which brought him into conflict with Florence Nightingale and the British press during the Crimean War.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||Byron, George Gordon, Baron.|
|Title||Ritter Harold's Pilgerfahrt.|
|Date of Publication||1836|
|Notes||This is the first edition of what is probably the first German translation of Childe Harold, the work which made Byron famous. He composed this work between 1812 and 1818, though nearly two decades were to elapse before it was fully translated. The translator, Joseph Christian, Freiherr von Zedlitz, (1790-1862) was one of the leading poets in Austria. The work contains a preface and copious scholarly notes by the translator and retains its original wrappers. Zedlitz composed patriotic and romantic verse and his Totenkränze (1828), a cycle of 134 poems, was in imitation of Byron's style. Another translation of Childe Harolde was apparently made by Karl Baldamus (1784-1852) in 1835, but no copy is extant. Though controversial in his own country, Byron was revered on the continent and particularly in Germany, where Heine, Goethe and their contemporaries fell under his spell.|
|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.|
|Title||Royaute de Charles Second roy de la Grand Bretagne, &c. reconnuë au parlement d'Ecosse, & proclamée par tout le Royaume|
|Date of Publication||1649|
|Notes||This item is probably a translation of the proclamation by the Scottish parliament declaring Charles II king of Great Britain. It was first printed as a broadside by Evan Taylor in Edinburgh, days after the execution of Charles I in London. It is signed on the final page by William Scot, also known as Lord Clerkington, secretary to the parliament. Scot was knighted by Charles I in 1641 and from 1645 he represented Haddington in parliament.
The proclamation was quite a political statement by the Scottish parliament in proclaiming Charles as king not just of Scotland, but of Great Britain as a whole. It signalled the end of the informal alliance with the English parliament, though it was intended that the new king should be no more than a figurehead. The proclamation marked the beginning of an intense period of negotiation between the new king and the various political and religious factions in Scotland.|
|Author||[Fettercairn Cricket Club]|
|Title||Rules of the Fettercairn Cricket Club 1865|
|Imprint||Montrose: [Fettercairn Cricket Club]|
|Date of Publication||1865|
|Notes||This appears to be the earliest surviving printed rule book of a Scottish cricket club; indeed it may well be the earliest known surviving printed item relating to cricket in Scotland. It is a small four-page pamphlet printed in Montrose at the press of the local newspaper, the "Montrose Standard", for the cricket club of the nearby village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire. Among the rules listed here is bye-law 4 which states that 'no spirituous liquors shall be brought on to the ground at any time; and no profane language shall be permitted.' Although the population of Fettercairn was relatively small (only 339 inhabitants were recorded in 1861), in the "Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland" published in 1882-85 the village is recorded as having quoit, cricket, and curling clubs. The patronage of nearby landowners such as the Gladstones at Fasque may have played a role in the establishment of cricket in the area, indeed this particular copy was originally part of the library at Fasque; but organised cricket matches were being played in Scotland long before the national game, association football, was established. The first cricket match for which records are available was played in September 1785 at Schaw Park, Alloa. The game was introduced to Scotland by English soldiers garrisoned here in the 18th century after the Jacobite uprisings. The influence of English workers in the textile, iron and paper industries led to clubs being established in places such as Kelso in 1820, and Penicuik in 1844. By the middle of the 19th century the game was firmly established in certain regions of in the south and east of Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire. Teams representing Scotland have played matches since 1865, the same year as this rule book was printed.|
|Title||Ruthinglenne; or the critical moment. A novel.|
|Imprint||Dublin: G. Burnet [et al],|
|Date of Publication||1802|
|Notes||This 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'.
|Reference Sources||Oxford DNB|
|Title||Saga: the magazine of Eastbank Hospital. No.1, Summer 1953.|
|Imprint||[Kirkwall: Eastbank Hospital]|
|Date of Publication||1953|
|Notes||George Mackay Brown was the editor of this short-lived periodical published by and for the patients and staff of Eastbank Hospital in Kirkwall. A total of 5 issues were published during 1953 and 1954 and Brown contributed 23 of the 58 pieces including poetry, prose and editorials.
Brown was in Eastbank being treated for tuberculosis. The title of the magazine was suggested as he said in his editorial by 'the long and bitter struggle of men' against TB.
He had previously been hospitalized as a result of TB in 1940. At the time of this spell at Eastbank Brown was teaching at Newbattle Abbey College, near Dalkeith, Midlothian.
His time there, where fellow Orcadian, Edwin Muir was the warden, gave Brown 'a sense of purpose and direction'.
This cover illustration drawn by Ernest Marwick shows the view of Kirkwall from the hospital verandah. It is unlikely that many copies of this home-produced magazine have survived and this is therefore a very welcome edition to the Library's holdings of material
by George Mackay Brown.
|Reference Sources||Royle, Trevor. The Mainstream companion to Scottish literature. (Edinburgh, 1993)|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: C. Elliot|
|Date of Publication||1787|
|Notes||This book of psalms in Gaelic has been bound in the style of William Scott, probably not long after it was published in 1787. The ornament at foot of the spine is identical to that reproduced by W.S. Loudon as W.12 in his work on the Edinburgh binders William and James Scott. As a binder William was not as prolific as his father James. It is known that William was binding books in Edinburgh from 1785-1787 and possibly into the early 1790s. A larger version of this particular design can be seen on the spine of Samuel Charter's Sermons, published in Edinburgh in 1786. Another piece of evidence pointing to the possibility of this having been bound by William Scott is the fact that this book was printed for Charles Elliot. Scott printed bound at least 3 works printed for Elliot. However it has to be said that evidence linking Scott with this binding is somewhat tenuous. Most of Scott's bindings were far more elaborate - the covers were usually of tree calf and none of them have this simple border. The text is John Smith's revision of the Gaelic Psalter, published by the Synod of Argyll. Smith was assistant minister of the parish of Kilbrandon and Kilchatten and subsequently minister at Campbeltown. The front flyleaf is signed 'Duncan Campbell' which may be Duncan Campbell, the clerk of the Synod of Argyll.|
|Reference Sources||Loudon, J.H. James and William Scott, bookbinders. London : Scolar Press, 1980.|
|Title||Sailm Dhaibhidh a meadar dhana Gaoidheilg|
|Imprint||Dun Edin [Edinburgh]: Aindra Ainderson|
|Date of Publication||1707|
|Notes||This is a fine copy of the very rare fifth edition of the Psalms in Gaelic. Only one other copy in recorded in public collections and Donald Maclean in 'Typographia Scoto-Gadelica' described this edition as 'excessively rare'. The Psalms were first translated into Gaelic by the Synod of Argyle in 1659. Also printed as part of the book was an edition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism 'Foirceadul aithghear cheasnuighe'. This book formed part of the library of the Earls of Macclesfield at Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire. The first Earl of Macclesfield, Thomas Parker (1666-1732) was deeply interested in theological works and it is likely that he purchased this item in the early 18th century. The Macclesfield bookplate is on the front pastedown with a library label dating from 1860 on the front free endpaper.|
|Reference Sources||Scottish Gaelic Union Catalogue (Edinburgh, 1984) Maclean, Donald. Typographia Scoto-Gadelica (Edinburgh, 1915)|
|Title||Saints recreation, third part, upon the estate of grace|
|Date of Publication||1683|
|Notes||This copy of Geddes's volume of pious verse can perhaps be described as a bibliographical conundrum. It was published in at least two variant forms. The first (of which the NLS holds two copies Cwn.699, H.29.b) contains dedications to Anna, Duchess of Hamilton, Dame Lilias Drummond wife of Lord James Drummond, Earl of Perth and Dame Anna Sinclair, Lady Tarbat. These dedications are dated September and November 1683. This second variant does not include any of the above dedications, but only a dedication to Margaret Lesley, Countess-Dowager of Weems (Wemyss) (d.1688), dated June 1683. This along with 'A summary view of the substance and method of the book' have been clearly inserted as cancellans in this copy and at least one other (Henry E. Huntington Library) which have been identified. It is unclear as to why the book was published with separate dedications and also why the Weems dedication is dated earlier than the publication with the cancellanda.
Geddes (1600?-1694) was a Presbyterian minister at Wick and also at Urquhart, Elginshire. Prior to becoming a minister he was a schoolmaster at Keith and a governor to Hugh Rose of Kilravock. At the time the book was published he had resigned from the ministry on refusing to take the test of 1682. In the imprimatur at the beginning of the volume he mentions a number of books - on history, Hebrew and Latin -for which he had received some financial support towards their publication. However 'The saints recreation' appears to be his only published work. According to the dedication, the Countess-Dowager of Weems clearly assisted Geddes financially in the printing of this book. He praises fulsomely her 'Christian moderation, prudence and sobrietie' 'in this cold, Laodicean-like and backslyding age'.
The volume is bound unusually in pink/red stained deerskin, decorated with gilt tooling on the borders. This material had been used primarily by medieval monastic binders, but was rarely used as late as the 17th century.|
|Reference Sources||Aldis 2381/ESTC R37394|
|Author||Charles Buick & Sons|
|Imprint||[Edinburgh: W & A.K. Johnston, Ltd]|
|Date of Publication||1907|
|Notes||Trade catalogues often contain fascinating insights into aspects of social and industrial history which would otherwise be hard to recover. This catalogue of 'sanitary appliances' from the firm of Charles Buick and Sons of Alloa documents the range of 'fireclay baths, lavatories, sinks, wash tubs, urinals, closets, hospital appliances, channels and every other description of enamelled goods' the firm manufactured and made available to 'architects, sanitary engineers, plumbers and builders' in 1907, with details of the designs, materials and costs involved. Many of the items illustrated in this catalogue, such as the 'range of 4 independent school closets' and hospital 'slop sinks' would have remained in use throughout the twentieth century. The occasional handwritten notes on this catalogue suggest that it was used by a French speaker. |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue|
|Title||Saturday Feb. 18th. For the St. James's Chronicle. Sketch of a comparison between the two late writers of travels in Scotland.|
|Date of Publication||[1775?]|
|Notes||Bound at the end of a copy of the first edition of Samuel Johnson's 'Journey to the Western Islands' of 1775 is this 3-page comparison between the traveller writers Thomas Pennant and Samuel Johnson. The author, who simply signs himself 'Staffa', seems to be a Scot who feels that Johnson has insulted his country. With plenty of satirical humour, he compares the way they approach Scotland, much to Johnson's disadvantage. Pennant looked for interesting landscapes and places, whereas Johnson looked for things to grumble about. Prejudice is the problem:
'Whence can proceed this wide difference between these two travellers, as to their objects, pursuits, reception, and accounts of the same country in the same year? Is it because Mr. Pennant is a gentleman and a scholar, and Dr. Johnson only a scholar? Or is it because Mr. Pennant is a Welchman, and Dr. Johnson an Englishman, and the subject of discourse, Scotland?'
This is a good addition to the Library's holdings of Johnsoniana and books about travellers in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC N46421|
|Author||Murray, W., Leut.-Col., of Ochtertyre|
|Title||Scenery of the Highlands and islands of Scotland, lithographed by S. Leith, Banff, from drawings in outline, by Lieut. Colonel W. Murray, Younger of Ochtertyre|
|Imprint||Perth : D. Morison, Junr. & Co.|
|Date of Publication||[181-?]|
|Notes||This is a rare book of letterpress and lithographs by S. Leith from drawings by Lieut.-Colonel W. Murray, Younger of Ochtertyre. Although there is no publication date on the title page, there is a textual reference to a letter from Sir Walter Scott which was written in 1812. No biographical information was found for Lt.-Col. Murray. Although the title page indicates that this is "Part 1" there is no indication that any further volumes were published.
There are 26 leaves of plates and also a variety of smaller engravings situated throughout the text. Scottish scenes featured include: Loch Maree; Scuir of Eigg; Loch Awe; Loch Alsh; Ben Venue and the Trossachs; North East coast of Skye; The Red Head, Angus; Dunottar Castle; Coir-Urchran; Perth; The Hebrides; Ben Arthur; Doune Castle; Dunblane Cathedral; St. Andrews; Dunsinnane and Abbotsford.
Compare Murray, 'Sketches in Scotland', , ABS.8.202.26. This appears to have some, but not all, of the same plates.
The title-page with 'Scenery of the Highlands' is probably a survivor of the original title-pages that were issued with each part: most of the plates do not relate to the highlands. Perhaps this should be regarded as a different edition of 'Sketches in Scotland', lacking the main title page?|
|Reference Sources||Schenck, Directory of the Lithographic Printers of Scotland, p.66|
|Title||Scotch gallantry display'd: or the life and adventures of the unparralel'd [sic] Col. Fr-nc-s Ch-rt-s, impartially related. With some remarks on other writers on this subject.|
|Imprint|| London: printed for, and sold by the booksellers in town and country, |
|Date of Publication||1730|
|Notes||This is the rare first edition of a pamphlet which gives an account of the life of the infamous Francis Charteris (c.1665-1732), gambler and rake, who was born in Edinburgh, and whose family were major landowners in Scotland. The work was published at the height of his notoriety; in December 1729 Charteris was charged with the attempted rape of Ann Bond, one of his maidservants, who had been in his employment for only a few days. After hearing testimony from the girl herself, as well as from fellow servants, Charteris was found guilty and in February 1730 was sentenced to death by hanging. It was unusual at the time for a gentleman to be punished for what many contemporaries considered an act of gallantry, and his conviction may have been secured by influential parties hostile to Charteris. The rape, however, was just one such in a long career of gambling, extortion, and serial seduction, usually of tall young lower class girls (Charteris was 6 feet tall), recently arrived in London, ensnared by one of his employees and brought to his houses in the West End. If unable to secure their favours by fair means, he would resort to force. Charteris, however, escaped the gallows. On the advice of judges, privy council, and his advocate, Duncan Forbes (another legatee of Charteris's will), George II granted him a full pardon on 10 April. The trial and its aftermath had incurred expenses amounting to £15,000, but Charteris's personal fortune was estimated at £200,000 so this was a sum he could well afford. He may have bought his freedom, but for the rest of his life Charteris was vilified, and was once physically attacked in his coach. He left London for good in 1730, retiring to his property in Lancashire before returning to Scotland in February 1732. He died the following month at his Stony Hill estate near Musselburgh, after using "Opiates in great Quantities" (The Country Journal, 4 March 1732. At his burial in the family vault at the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh, the populace gave a "loud Huzza" (Fog's Weekly Journal, 11 March 1732). Only one copy (in the British Library) is recorded in ESTC.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Date of Publication||1807|
|Notes||A presentation copy, with the note in the author's hand, of the 1807 printing of this important work. This copy is in good condition and complete with both large folding tables. The Library currently holds only an imperfect copy (wanting tables) of the 1808 printing, the first which was actually published. Bentham, the political philosopher who has come to be known as one of the founders of utilitarianism, wrote this work in favour of reforming the Scottish legal system as a series of letters. Clearly written and full of detail and practical examples, his proposals relate in particular to the workings of juries and appeal courts.|
|Reference Sources||Chuo University Library, Bibliographical Catalogue of the Works of Jeremy Bentham, Tokyo: 1989, S1-1
The Bentham Project http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/index.htm|