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 rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 526 to 540 of 735:

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AuthorL'Heritier de Villandon, Marie-Jeanne
TitleThe discreet princess; or, the adventures of Finetta. A Novel.
ImprintEdinburgh: G. & J. Ross
Date of Publication1806
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume of eight chapbooks, six of which are of Scottish origin, has the bookplate of Crewe Hall Library. Of the chapbooks, the following were previously unrepresented in NLS collections in these editions: The Discreet Princess; The Valentine's Gift (Edinburgh: G. & J. Ross, 1806); The Way to be Happy: or, the History of the Family at Smiledale. To which is added, The Story of Little George (Edinburgh: G. & J. Ross, 1807); The Life and Perambulation of a Mouse. In Two Volumes (London: John Marshall, c.1805); Garden Amusements for Improving the Minds of Little Children (London, Darton and Harvey, 1806); Worlds Displayed, for the Benefit of Young People (6th edition, Edinburgh: J. Ritchie, 1804). Most of these chapbooks are illustrated with woodcuts, some with crude hand-colouring. The signature of Barbara Peddie appears on the recto of the frontispieces to The Life and Perambulation of a Mouse, vol. ii, dated January 1806, and The History of the Holy Bible Abridged, dated 1805. This may be the Barbara Peddie 'daughter of Dr. James Peddie, a family long associated with many religious movements in Edinburgh.' She married Dr. James Harper, minister of the United Presbyterian Church at North Leith and Principle of the UPC Theological College, now New College (University of Edinburgh), with whom she had fifteen children. Given the similar publication dates of most of these chapbooks, it may be that they were collected originally by Barbara Peddie.
ShelfmarkAB.1.209.057(1)
Reference SourcesThe Sunday At Home (1882) p.212.
Acquired on14/08/09
AuthorList, Friedrich
TitleNational system of poltical economy
ImprintPhiladelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Date of Publication1856
LanguageEnglish
NotesFriedrich List (1789-1846) is recognized today as one of the most influential trade theorists. He is also one of the most severe critics of the classical school of economics. He denounced Adam Smith and his disciples and held that free trade was an ideal that could only be achieved in the distant future. Unlike Smith, who argued that a nation's wealth lay in its capacity for commercial interchange, List held that a nation's wealth lay in the development of its own economic and productive resources. This is a copy of the very scarce first edition in English, and the first English translation of List's magnum opus, originally published in German in 1841.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2668
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorLithgow, William
TitleA most delectable and true discourse of an admired and painefnll [sic] peregrination from Scotland, to the most famous kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica.
Imprint London. Printed by Nicholas Okes, dwelling in Foster-Lane.
Date of Publication1623
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the second edition of William Lithgow's account of his travels, covering much of the known world of his time. Lithgow (c.1582-1645) was born at Lanark, and had an unusual motivation for undertaking his travels: the brothers of a woman with whom he was involved attacked him and mutilated him. Legend has it that they cut off his ears, leading to the nickname 'Lugless Will', and he chose 'rather to seclude my selfe from my soyle ... then to have a quotidian occular inspection'. Lithgow's narratives are action-packed, including accounts of narrow escapes from torture and death. In spite of his wide travels, he retained a dislike of the Catholic and Muslim religions practiced in countries where he travelled, although he relished sights such as the Sphinx in Egypt and the architectural splendours of North Africa. Lithgow's first journey ended in 1612, and his first book was published two years later (with a reprint in 1616). This second edition adds the accounts of the two journeys he undertook afterwards. According to ESTC, this copy is the only one in Scotland. Like its author, this book has travelled. It contains the bookplate of Howard Pease of Otterburn Tower, Northumberland, with an auction catalogue record and note to say that it was bought from the library of the collector S.R. Christie Miller at Britwell Court, sold in 1925. As acquired by the National Library, it came in a slipcase with the binder's stamp of W. Desmont & J. Macdonald Co. Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.A. - indicating a transatlantic voyage Lithgow himself never made.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2609
Reference SourcesBookseller's Catalogue, ESTC, New DNB
Acquired on14/06/05
AuthorLizars, W[illiam]. H[ome].
Title[Specimen book of lithographs, engravings, copper plate and letterpress]
Date of Publication[1851?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a sample book of engravings produced in Edinburgh ca. 1851 by William Home Lizars (1788-1859). W. H. Lizars was first apprenticed to his father, the publisher and engraver Daniel Lizars, from whom he first learned engraving. He then entered as a student under John Graham (1754-1817) in the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh, where he was a fellow-student with Sir David Wilkie. From 1808 to 1815 he was a frequent exhibitor of portraits, or of sacred and domestic subjects, at exhibitions in Edinburgh. In 1812, on the death of his father, Lizars was compelled to carry on the business of engraving and copperplate printing in order to support his mother and family. Lizars perfected a method of etching which performed all the functions of wood-engraving in connection with the illustration of books. He died in Edinburgh on 30 March 1859, leaving a widow and family. Lizars took an active part in the foundation of the Royal Scottish Academy. This sample specimen book gives an excellent idea of the wide range of products produced by W. H. Lizars in his Edinburgh studio: business receipts, company letterheads, picturesque scenes of Scotland, bankers' notes, cheques, maps, portraits, reproductions of charters and seals, book illustrations and examples of typefaces and fonts.
ShelfmarkABS.8.202.36
Acquired on23/09/02
AuthorLloyd Osbourne [et al.]
TitleA letter to Mr. Stevenson's friends.
Imprint[Apia, Samoa: For private circulation]
Date of Publication1894
LanguageEnglish
NotesShortly after Robert Louis Stevenson's death in Samoa in December in 1894, his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, organised the printing of this small pamphlet in honour of the late author. The printing was done in the town of Apia, at the office of the local newspaper, "The Samoa times". The pamphlet gives accounts of Stevenson's life on Samoa, his death and funeral, and includes items written by Osbourne, Bazett M. Haggard (the British Special Commissioner in Samoa and brother of author Henry Rider Haggard), James H. Mulligan, A.W. Mackay, and William E. Clarke. It also includes Edmund Gosse's poem "To Tusitala in Vailima", which reached Stevenson three days before his death; at the end are some verses in Samoan. The pamphlet was then sent out to various friends and acquaintances. This particular copy was sent to the Edinburgh-based advocate and writer Sir John Skelton (1831-1897). It also has the envelope in which the book was posted to Skelton from Apia, complete with Samoan stamp, and with "via San Francisco" written on it. The address is in the hand of Margaret Stevenson, Robert Louis Stevenson's mother, who was part of his extended household at the time of his death.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2870
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on13/09/13
AuthorLondon and North Western Railway
TitleBroadsides relating to Queen Victoria's journey by train from Ballater to Windsor.
ImprintLondon : London and North Western Railway
Date of Publication1876
LanguageEnglish
NotesNote: 9 broadsides showing the details of the Queen's journey on the 22nd and 23rd of November 1876. Includes; itinery of stations en route and times of arrival and departure, arrangements for telegraphing the train, arrangement of carriages, and precautions to be taken in the event of fog. Also included is a special notice announcing the postponment of the journey until the afternoon of the 23rd. The Queen returned to Windsor amid the rising tension between the great powers over the Eastern Question of the Ottoman Empire. In a letter to the Marquis of Salisbury dated Balmoral, 18th Nov. 1876 it is stated that the Queen had at one time thought of leaving on the 17th but floods below Perth had washed away bridges. The time to repair the tracks may account for the subsequent delaying of the journey.
ShelfmarkAPS.5.201.12
Reference SourcesBuckle, George Earle (editor). The letters of Queen Victoria. Second series. (London, 1926) (X.190.d)
Acquired on01/08/01
AuthorLord Byron
TitleEnglish Bards and Scotch reviewers. A satire.
ImprintLondon: William Benbow,
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of several pirated editions of Byron's famous satirical poem "English Bards and Scotch reviewers" printed in England after 1816, when Byron had left the country, never to return. "English Bards" was first published in 1809 as a riposte from Byron to a stinging review in The Edinburgh Review of his first published volume of poetry "Hours of Idleness". Four official editions of the poem were printed by his publisher Cawthorn, between 1809 and 1811, to meet the large popular demand for it. However, by 1812, after contemplating but rejecting the publication of a fifth edition, Byron decided to remove the poem from circulation. He then decided to switch his patronage to the publisher John Murray, which led to Cawthorn continuing to print "English Bards" in defiance of his instructions, all without payment to the author. In 1816 Byron was granted an injunction preventing Cawthorn from continuing to print the work. The injunction, however, failed to stop piracies by other printers, such as this one by William Benbow, subsequently appearing on the market. Benbow (1784-c. 1852) was a political radical, who had set up in business in London in 1820 as a bookseller and publisher of pornography. During his relatively brief, but eventful, career as a bookseller and publisher, he regularly found himself in trouble with the law due to his relaxed attitude towards the laws of libel and copyright. Between 1821 and 1825 he published piracies of a number of Byron's works, including another printing of "English Bards" in 1823. In 1822 he was prosecuted, unsuccessfully, for a pirated edition of Byron's "Cain". This particular copy of Benbow's 1821 edition, of which only three copies are recorded in COPAC, also contains two MS letters connected with a former owner of it, J. Aitken. One is a letter dated August 1922 by John Murray (IV), the publisher, thanking Aitken for alerting him to the existence of the 1821 Benbow edition, which is not listed Ernest Hartley Coleridge's bibliography of the works of Byron despite Coleridge taking "infinite pains to make that bibliography complete". The other letter, from 1938, is a copy of one sent to the American librarian and bibliographer Gilbert H. Doane (1897-1980) at the University of Wisconsin. Aitken writes to Doane having been informed that the latter was preparing a bibliography of Byron (there is no record of a published bibliography by Doane). He gives details of the 1821 edition, pointing out that it has different pagination and contents to the 1823 Benbow edition (which is recorded in Coleridge's bibliography), and offers to send it to Doane to help him with the bibliography. He concludes his copy letter by announcing his intention, ultimately, to present his book to the National Library of Scotland; over 73 years later the book has finally made it to NLS.
ShelfmarkAB.2.212.07
Reference SourcesG. Redgrave, "The first four editions of 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers'" in The Library series 2, v.1 (December 1899), pp. 18-25. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on17/02/12
AuthorLord Byron
TitleMarino Faliero Doge of Venice
ImprintVienna and Leipzig: Avalun-Verlag
Date of Publication1922
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extremely handsome early 1920s German edition of Lord Byron's historical drama about the medieval doge who carried out an unsuccessful coup d' etat against the Venetian nobility. It is one of an edition of 275 numbered copies, which contains twelve original black and white etchings and a title page vignette by the German artist Sepp Frank (1889-1970). Frank was a leading etcher and lithographer who became famous for his work in producing ex-libris bookplates, many of which are considered masterpieces of art deco design.
ShelfmarkFB.l.386
Acquired on24/10/08
AuthorLüder, August Ferdinand
TitleÜber die Industrie und Kultur der Portugiesen
ImprintBerlin: bei Duncker und Humblot
Date of Publication1808
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first and only edition of this study of the economic, political and social situation in Portugal by Lüder, who was among the earliest popularisers of Adam Smith in Germany. It is not one of Lüder's best known texts. Only two copies have been traced, neither of which are in Britain. In the introduction he states that he regards the book as an application of Smith's principles to the political history of Portugal. Lüder provides a summary of Portuguese history before focussing on the economic circumstances which shaped the political situation there in the early nineteenth century. The work is amply footnoted and the author supports his arguments with many statistics. August Ferdinand Lüder (1760-1819) was Professor of History in Brunswick subsequently became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Göttingen and later honorary Professor at Jena. In his most important work Über Nationalindustrie und Staatswirtschaft (1800-1804), Lüder shows how he was influenced by Smith's ideas. He later published widely in economics and statistics, where he exposed the superficiality and narrowness of many statistical treatises.
ShelfmarkAB.1.200.008
Acquired on18/08/00
AuthorLund, John [et al.]
Title[Volume containing 10 18th-century plays]
ImprintLondon, Glasgow, Dublin & Hawick
Date of Publication1760-1787
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 'sammelband' contains 10 short plays printed in a variety of locations in the British Isles in the second half of the 18th-century. The volume contains a hitherto unrecorded 1786 printing from Hawick of a one act play "Ducks and green pease". The imprint gives no details of printer or publisher but there was only one printer known to be working in Hawick at the time, George Caw, who had started printing there in the 1780s (the first recorded book from his press dating from 1783). "Ducks and green pease", first printed in the 1770s, was the best-known work written by John Lund (1726-1786) from Pontefract in Yorkshire. Lund was a barber, wig maker and political satirist; the mildy subversive content of his play is in contrast to the largely religious works Caw was printing at the time. The volume also has an early Scottish provenance, there are inscriptions on the front pastedown "Andrew Rattray" and "Dundee 1791".
ShelfmarkRB.s.2839(1-10)
Acquired on23/03/12
AuthorLydgate, John
TitleComplaint of the Black Knight (Celebration edition 2008)
ImprintDundee: Visual Research Centre (University of Dundee), Dundee City Arts Centre
Date of Publication2008
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis portfolio commemorates the 500th anniversary of the first dated printed book in Scotland, Chepman and Myllar's edition of Lydgate's poem The Complaint of the Black Knight, which they entitled The Maying or Disport of Chaucer. On April 4th, 2008, 500 years to the day of the date in Chepman and Myllar's colophon, artists Paul Liam Harrison, Scott Hudson and Andy Rice reprinted the poem at the Visual Research Centre of the University of Dundee, Dundee City Arts Centre. However unlike Chepman and Myllar who produced their book on the then-conventional hand-press, these artists printed the text using the silkscreen method, using water-based acrylic inks, onto archival paper. The day's printing was accompanied by supporting events including a reading from the original text. NLS, whose curators supported the project from its inception, has now received number 4 of the limited edition of 18 prints, along with one of the artists' proofs produced on the day, in a cardboard portfolio. This handsome addition to our collections shows Scotland's 21st-century printers paying homage to the first printers 500 years ago.
ShelfmarkRB.el.13
Acquired on23/01/08
AuthorMacDiarmid, Hugh [C.M. Grieve]
TitleTo circumjack Cencrastus or The curly snake.
ImprintEdinburgh & London: William Blackwood,
Date of Publication1930
LanguageScots
NotesThe Library has a large collection of examples of fine Scottish bookbinding, from the 15th century down to the present day, and we continue to add to this collection wherever possible. We have acquired this particular copy of the first edition of Hugh MacDiarmid's epic poem because of its binding by renowned Scottish bookbinder Arthur W. Currie (b. 1922), who was overseer of bindings at the Edinburgh-based publishing firm of Oliver & Boyd before becoming a lecturer at Napier College (now Edinburgh Napier University). Currie's work is now regarded as being on a par with other major 20th-century British bookbinders such as Edgar Mansfield and Elizabeth Greenhill. He specialised in the use of coloured inks as well as gold leaf to produce his designs; this binding, dating from the 1950s?, is a blue goatskin with a serpent-like design of interlinked coils in black, blue, grey and tan morocco and with a gilt sunburst pattern. Currie's design of coils reflects the content of MacDiarmid's poem, in which the windings of a snake around the roots of the world are equalled by the tortuous windings of the poetic work. The struggle of the poet to complete a work, described in the poem, was informed by MacDiarmid's own difficulties in the 1920s in trying to produce creative work while trying to earn a living as a small town journalist in Montrose.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.942
Acquired on14/05/10
AuthorMacdonald, George
TitleCome and play with me
ImprintLondon: Alexadnra Publishing Company
Date of Publicationc.1860-1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis children's annual contains an unacknowledged abridged and simplified version of George Macdonald's classic children's fantasy story The Princess and the Goblin. Macdonald's story was first published in 1872, and the version here reprints Arthur Hughes' original illustrations. The annual is undated. It contains references to the Arica earthquake of 1868 and the Franco-Prussian war of 1871-2 as recent events, so was presumably first printed around this time, although the advertisements suggest this may be a later reprint. That an abridged, and presumably unauthorized version of Macdonald's novel appeared so soon after its first publication is a testimony to its contemporary appeal, and shows the wide audience for his works. The annual has a cheerful cover in coloured boards, but the inviting illustration of a girl saying 'Come and play with me' is rather undermined by the stark advertisements on the inside boards: 'DO NOT UNTIMELY DIE!' but take 'Fennings' Fever Curer' instead.
ShelfmarkAB.3.204.004
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on07/02/04
AuthorMacDonald, George
TitleWorks of fancy and imagination
ImprintLondon: Alexander Strahan
Date of Publication1884
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a ten-volume set of the second collected edition of George MacDonald's early prose and verse. It includes his first book, "Within and Without", and his long dramatic poem, "A Hidden Life", covering his upbringing in rural Aberdeenshire and his life at Aberdeen University. MacDonald (1824-1905) had by the 1880s "achieved an international reputation as a poet, novelist, lecturer, and preacher" (DNB). This set comes complete with a rare publisher's clamshell box of red cloth, designed to house the ten volumes, and also includes part of an autograph note signed by MacDonald himself.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2681
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
AuthorMacGregor, Walter William
Title[Photograph album covering the years 1897-1912, with photographs of the Gordon Highlanders, Calcutta Volunteer Rifles, and scenes of army life in India and South Africa]
Imprint[S.l., s.n.]
Date of Publication[1897-1912]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a photograph album compiled by Walter William MacGregor, an officer in the 2nd battalion of the Gordon Highlanders regiment of the British army. The album contains 66 captioned prints which depict military and civilian life of a Scottish army officer at the start of the 20th century. The album starts off at Malplaquet barracks Aldershot, where the battalion was taking part in military manoeuvres; it covers Queen Victorias Silver Jubilee of 1897, then MacGregor's move in September 1898 to Umballa in the Punjab. MacGregor, at this stage a lieutenant, left India in 1899 to travel to South Africa where the Boer War had broken out. The 2nd Gordons took part in the defence and siege of the town of Ladysmith, where MacGregor was wounded whilst repelling a Boer attack on 6th January 1900. By 1902 he was back in India, the Boer War having ended the previous year. He was promoted to the rank of captain and the rest of the album documents his life in India, including recreational pursuits such as polo and football; it also has views of Himalayan scenery. The photos from 1912 onwards show that MacGregor served as an officer in the Calcutta Volunteer Rifles. The album includes pictures of Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (the Library purchased an album belonging to him in 2008, shelfmark Phot.la.69) and J. K. Dick-Cunyngham, also a Gordon Highlander officer, who was presumably William Henry's brother and a good friend of MacGregor during his time in India. MacGregor served with the 2nd Gordons in the 1st World War where he earned a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for conspicuous gallantry during the action at Loos on 26th September, 1915.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.74
Reference SourcesA.D. Greenhill-Gardyne, "Life of a Regiment: the history of the Gordon Highlanders" vols 2-3 (London, 1903 & 1939)
Acquired on19/02/09
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