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.

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Important Acquisitions 541 to 555 of 735:

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AuthorMackenzie, Henry
TitleOeuvres Completes
ImprintParis: Chez Waree Oncle
Date of Publication1825
LanguageFrench
NotesThis first French translation of the complete works of Henry Mackenzie is extremely rare, with no other copies recorded on COPAC. Mackenzie (1745-1831) is most famous for his sentimental novel The Man of Feeling, which like other individual works had already been translated into French. He was an important figure in Scottish literary society: this edition also includes a translation of Sir Walter Scott's contemporary praise of Mackenzie from Lives of the Novelists.
ShelfmarkAB.3.207.009
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; DNB; BOSLIT
Acquired on15/01/07
AuthorMackenzie, Henry.
TitleThe life of William Annesly.
ImprintBennington, Vermont: Anthony Haswell
Date of Publication1796
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare printing (ESTC records one other copy in the American Antiquarian Society) of a work compiled from parts of Scottish author Henry Mackenzie's novel "The man of the world". Mackenzie's second novel was first published in 1773, parts of it dealing with the character William Annesly are set in North America. Annesly is a victim of the machinations of the anti-hero of the novel, Sindall, and, after being found guilty of robbery, finds himself sentenced to transportation to the West Indies. Once there, after the death of his master, he is enlisted in the army and sent to North America. Annesly's adventures continue as he escapes from the army and lives with the Cherokees. This particular printing is done on blue paper by the second printer to operate a press in Vermont, English-born Anthony Haswell (1756-1816).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2835
Acquired on16/12/11
AuthorMackenzie, Isobel
TitleCaberfeigh
Imprint[Gollanfield House, Invernessshire]
Date of Publication1874
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extraordinary example of private printing. Isobel Mackenzie (1852-1880) was given a Berri's People's Printing Press by her parents - illustrated in the frontispiece sketch. She used it to print six issues of Caberfeigh: A Magazine of Polite Literature, while suffering from tuberculosis at Gollanfield House. Despite the subtitle, however, this is not a typical example of Victorian family literature; it is actually very entertaining and full of satirical humour. 'Cabear fèidh' is the Gaelic for 'deer antler' and it is the war cry of the Clan Mackenzie. Isobel was evidently determined to cheer herself and her family with stories, jokes, poems and quizzes. She describes visits to England with witty and precise language. The standard of the printing is good for a private family press. Additional interest is supplied by the fact that Isobel was the niece of the writer Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1924), best known today for his swashbuckling yarn The Coral Island (1858). He contributed two articles to Caberfeigh ("From our African correspondent" in issue 1 and "Buncle's experiences on the Continent" in issue 6). For this copy, he also supplied the water-colour volume title-page and two highly dramatic pen and ink drawings for Isobel's own story "R-R-R Remorse! A Tale of Love! Murder! and Death!!!" in issue 5. This bound set of the magazine was presented to Isobel as a Christmas present for 1874. As well as the Ballantyne illustrations, and another colour illustration of Isobel's cat Nixie, there are 14 tipped-in albumen photographs, mainly of family and friends; there are photographs of Isobel and her uncle Robert ('Bob'), as well as an image of Gollanfield House. In this copy there are manuscript additions, probably in Isobel's hand, which identify the writers of various anonymous articles (e.g. on p. 13 of issue 1, a poem is ascribed to 'Mamma'). This copy comes from the library of the Ballantyne bibliographer Eric Quayle, sold at auction in March 2006. There are a couple of imperfections; pp. 7-8 of issue 6 are missing, and pp. 16-18 may also be missing (although this may just be a numbering error  another copy also lacks pages 16-18). Two other sets of this magazine are currently known, one in private hands, one at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. This is, apparently, the only copy of Caberfeigh in public ownership in Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2669
Reference SourcesEric Quayle, R. M. Ballantyne: a bibliography of first editions, London: 1968, p. 122.
Acquired on19/06/07
AuthorMackenzie, James
TitleIstoria della Sanita o sia dell' arte di ben conservarla giusta gl'insegnanti li piu interessanti additati da medici e filosofi si antichi, che moderni.
ImprintVenice: Niccolo Pezzana
Date of Publication1765
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is the first known Italian translation of The History of Health by the Scottish physician James Mackenzie (1682? - 1761), a book today most notable for its advocacy of smallpox innoculation. However, this edition suggests that to a contemporary audience the book's interest lay in its advice to the general public for a healthy lifestyle. The foreword to the Italian translation by the printer mentions an unfavourable review of the work by a 'Sig. Vandermond' in a medical journal, saying that of course a doctor would speak ill of a book which enables anyone interested in their own health to learn about the subject and to live as healthily as possible - hence not needing a doctor. This Italian translation is rare - no other copy is recorded in COPAC - but perhaps it would be more common had the foreword begun with the explanation of how the book could be useful to all, and was praised in England and France, rather than with the details of how Signore Vandermond 'criticises and shows the book to be useless'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2613
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on10/05/06
AuthorMackenzie, William Lyon
TitleMackenzie's own narrative of the late rebellion, with illustrations and notes, critical and explanatory: exhibiting the only true account of what took place at the memorable seige of Toronto, in the month of December, 1837.
ImprintToronto: Printed and sold at The Palladium Office, York Street, 1838.
Date of Publication1838
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) was born near Dundee. When he was less than a month old, his father died, leaving the family in poverty. He obtained a meager business education in Dundee, and after some six years' work in a shop at Alyth he emigrated with his mother to Canada in 1820 at the age of 25. It was in North America that Mackenzie made a name for himself as a politician, journalist and insurgent leader. In 1824 he published 'The Colonial Advocate', a newspaper that was strongly in favour of governmental reform. In 1828 he was elected to the legislative assembly of Upper Canada for the county of York. Mackenzie's oratory was often inflammatory and he was five times expelled for libel and five times reelected by his constituency. As a leader of the Reform party of Upper Canada he went to London in 1832 to obtain a redress of grievances. After his return to Canada, Mackenzie was chosen as the first mayor of Toronto in May 1834. In 1837, frustrated by Britain's refusal to begin democratic changes, he gathered supporters in an effort to overthrow the government. Mackenzie's ideal at this time was an American-style democracy. The attempt by the rebels was a fiasco and after being defeated at Montgomery's Tavern north of Toronto, Mackenzie fled to the United States, setting up a provisional government on Navy island in the Niagara River. It was there that he wrote his 'Narrative' , addressing it to the editor of the 'Jeffersonian', a newspaper published at Watertown, New York. In 1849 Mackenzie was granted an amnesty and returned to Canada. He later sat as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1851 to 1858. Mackenzie was the grandfather of the Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) The Canadian editor of this rare first edition -clearly a Loyalist - has provided numerous critical annotations to the text and an introduction where he refers to Mackenzie as the 'Arch-Traitor'. Also included is an 'Appendix containing further particulars obtained from conversations with John Powell, Esquire, Mayor of the City of Toronto'.
ShelfmarkRB.m.511
Reference SourcesDNB Booksellers Catalogue (D & E Lake Bulletin 219) Various Internet biographical sites
Acquired on30/06/04
AuthorMackie, Charles
TitleOriginal history of the abbey, palace and chapel royal of Holyroodhouse
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication1829
LanguageEnglish
NotesNote: This is a rare edition of a highly popular book on Holyrood, with a fascinating provenance. It ran to at least nine editions from 1819 to 1832 and was one of a series of works which the author Charles Mackie (d. 1864) wrote on the castles and abbeys of Scotland. It seems that this volume may have been bound as a gift to the exiled king Charles X (1757-1836) of France, when he took up residence at Holyrood in October 1830. Charles as Comte d'Artois had previously stayed in Holyrood from 1796 to 1799, (and periodically until 1803) following an abortive attempt to regain the French throne. He had abdicated from the French throne in August 1830, when Louis Philippe had taken over in a bloodless revolution. Although this volume is ostensibly a copy of the edition of 1829, pasted onto the verso of the title page is a printed dedication of William IV, who did not become king until June 1830. The dedication first appeared in the 1830 8th edition. This indicates that this was a brand new copy of the book at the time when Charles took up residence in Holyrood, which was desribed by one of the emigrés, Baron de Damas, as a residence 'good enough for a private citizen', but not for an exiled monarch used to splendour of Versailles. The Bourbon court remained in Edinburgh for two years and it is probable that the book passed to Charles's grandson Henry V, Comte de Chambord (1820-1883). When he died, the book passed to Don Jaime de Bourbon, Duc de Madrid (1870-1931) a member of the Spanish branch of the Bourbons, whose ownership stamp marked Frohsdorf (near Salzburg) appears throughout the volume. A bookseller's label on the upper flyleaf verso indicates that the book was purchased by the London booksellers Maggs Bros. from Henry's library, probably at Frohsdorf, where he had spent much of his life from 1840. The only other known copy is in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2083
Reference SourcesMackenzie-Stuart, A.J. A French king at Holyrood. (Edinburgh, 1995) HP1.95.2496
Acquired on03/07/01
AuthorMaclean, Hector
TitleHistory and Travels
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1769
NotesThis is one of the most significant and interesting (not to mention expensive) chapbooks that the National Library of Scotland has purchased in recent years. Hector Maclean's autobiographical account of his sea-faring life is packed with extraordinary information about how one eighteenth-century Scot saw the world. Hector was born in Argyleshire in 1728, but the story really begins when he stowed away on his brother's ship at the age of eight. He ended up in Greenock, which struck him as such an amazing place that he wandered the town until it was dark, and got lost. Not speaking any English (presumably because his native tongue was Gaelic), Hector ended up being taken in by various families, who put him to work as a farm servant. After some years he managed to return to his family, and was taught to read and write: the urge to travel, however, was still strong, and he took ship for Virginia. The account of the North American coast which follows is full of keen observations, particularly of the wildlife. The curious behaviour of opossums, sharks, alligators and insects is presented to the Scottish reader. Maclean is also informative about the native Americans; he describes a group presenting a British Governor with the scalp of an enemy. The Portuguese, however, come in for the most scathing criticism, being described as violent thieves. This is apparently the second edition of the first installment of Maclean's account (there is a 1768 edition in the British Library). We already have a copy of the second installment, (L.C.2811(2)), published in 1771. Any other installments have not been traced. It sounds as though Maclean paid for the printing of these chapbooks himself, so the rarity of the surviving copies may be a result of their being printed in very small numbers. When placed together, the first and second installments of Maclean's History and Travels constitute a truly fascinating account of a Scottish traveller, with some genuine literary merit. The two pamphlets combined would be excellent candidates for a short publication.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2286
Reference SourcesLauriston Castle chapbook catalogue
Acquired on04/11/02
AuthorMacLeod, Fiona [William Sharp]
TitleRe-issue of the shorter stories of Fiona Macleod: rearranged, with additional tales.
ImprintEdinburgh: Patrick Geddes & Colleagues,
Date of Publication1897-1903
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a three-volume set of William Sharp's short stories, written under the pseudonym 'Fiona MacLeod', in original wrappers. Volume 1 was published in Edinburgh ca. 1897 by the publishing company founded by Patrick Geddes and Sharp to publish literature in support of the Celtic revival taking place in the British Isles. Volumes 2 and 3 have the imprint: 'London: David Nutt, at the sign of the Phoenix, Long Acre, 1903', but have the same overall layout as volume 1.
ShelfmarkFB.s.974
Acquired on15/12/09
AuthorMacpherson, Alistair
TitleTreubhantas na'n Gaidheal Albanach. The valour of the Scottish Gael
Imprint[Scotland?]
Date of Publicationc.1918
LanguageGaelic
NotesThis seems to be the only known copy of this book of Gaelic poems. Macpherson, a former soldier himself, wrote these poems 'in praise of the bravery of the Scottish Gael from time immemorial', in the language which he calls 'the most expressive in recording the actions of the bold, the valorous, and the true of any living language'. His preface criticizes those 'Highlanders into whose hands this volume may fall, and whose mother tongue is the Gaelic', who 'know less of the Gaelic than they do of the English language'. The volume is dedicated to Lady Macdonald of the Isles: Macpherson's only other known work is Welcome to Alexander Somerled Angus, the son of the Heir of MacDonald, Prince of the Western Isles, published in Gaelic with an English translation in 1918 (shelfmark NG.1526.a.11).
ShelfmarkHB1.208.8.74
Acquired on02/06/06
AuthorMacpherson, James
TitleTales of Ossian for use and entertainment. Ein Lesebuch für Anfänger im Englischen
ImprintNurnberg: Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe
Date of Publication1784
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare first edition of the English version of Macpherson's landmark work. It is probably based on the 1783 pirated reprint of Ossian prepared by Goethe and his friend Johann Heinrich Merck, (first ed. Darmstadt and Leipzig 1773-7). It contains an extensive German glossary, index of names, historical preface, and footnotes, all by Johann Balbach. The tales are taken exclusively from the epics of Fingal and Temora and have been made quite accessible and readable - obviously intended for quite young students of English. A second edition appeared in 1794 and a third in 1822. Only 3 other copies of this text have been recorded - none in Britain (copies at Harvard and Rice University in the United States and at Biblioteka Narodowa, Warsaw). This is also an unusual text as it is arguably the earliest adaptation published for children. It is an important addition to the National Library's corpus of Ossianic works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2094
Reference SourcesGaskill, Howard. 'German Ossianism: a reappraisal', German life and letters, vol. 42, no.4, July 1989. HJ3.455 Stafford, Fiona and Gaskill, Howard (eds.). From Gaelic to Romantic: Ossianic translations (Amsterdam, 1998) HP2.99.8029 Tombo, Rudolf. Ossian in Germany. (New York, 1901). Oss.295 (p.25)
Acquired on05/06/01
AuthorMacvicar, Symers Macdonald
TitleThe distribution of hepaticae in Scotland
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publication[1910]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an annotated proof copy of Macvicar's (1857-1932) work on Scottish non-vascular plants known as liverworts. The text is complete although there are no preliminaries. The inkstamp "Neill & Co. Edinburgh First Proof" appears on a number of pages and there are numerous manuscript corrections and annotations by Macvicar throughout the text. An inscription on the front pastedown indicates that the book was bound during Christmas 1945 and presented to Mr. A. D. Banwell by the bryologist P. W. Richards (b. 1908).
ShelfmarkS3.205.0691
Acquired on09/08/05
AuthorMaidment, J[ames], P[itcairn], R[obert], and H[ill], James, editors and publishers
TitleNugae Derelictae, quas colligerunt …
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication[1815?-] 1823
LanguageLatin
NotesA very rare collection of current jeaux d'esprit and reprints of rare pieces brought together by a triumvirate of lawyers led by James Maidment. There may well have been only three copies made, one for each of the collaborators, Maidment, Pitcairn and Hill. Maidement's bibliographer Thomas G Stevenson certainly knew nothing of the collection. This collection should not to be confused with a similar collection brought together by Maidment and Pitcairn in 1822 and comprising 18 separate tracts (Ry.IV.c.11). There are 20 of a possible 21 separartely printed pieces including The Election, a new song; The Fornicator's Court by Robert Burns, The Thimble by Alan Ramsay and Two ancient ballads published in Aberdeen. The missing piece is deduced to be 'Original letter thereanent' comprising two leaves and relating to the foregoing piece (Item XII) a mock broadsheet on Professor Dunderhead. Given that it is highly likely that the other two copies have long since been broken up for their constituent parts, this may, arguably, be the sole survivor of the three. Hence the want of item XIII is easier to accept.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2291(1-21)
Acquired on24/08/00
AuthorManderston, William
TitleDialectica Guillelmi Ma[n]deston. Tripartitum epithoma
Imprint[Lyon: Jacques Giunta]
Date of Publication[c. 1520]
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is an extremely rare Lyons printing of the "Tripartitum", a work on logic by the Scottish philosopher and logician William Manderston, with only one other copy being recorded, in the bibliotheque municipale of Lyons. Described as "one of the leading Scottish intellectuals of his age" (ODNB) Manderston (c.1485-1552) followed the standard career path of Scottish 15th- and 16th-century scholars. After graduating from Glasgow University in 1506, he moved to France and continued his education at the University of Paris, where he studied alongside other Scots including John Mair, George Lokert, and David Cranston. The "Tripartitum", Manderston's first published work, was first printed in Paris in 1517. It is, as the title implies, a three-part work in Latin on the principles of logic, dedicated to Andrew Forman, archbishop of St Andrews. A year later Manderston's "Bipartitum", a two-part work on moral philosophy, was published. Manderston remained in France until 1528, eventually becoming rector of the University of Paris and acting as a tutor and mentor to prominent Scots such as George Buchanan and the theologian Patrick Hamilton. On his return to Scotland he moved to St. Andrews, becoming rector of the University. This book also has an interesting provenance; an inscription on the title page of the book, 'Collegio de Montilla', shows that the book was formerly in the collection of the Jesuit college of Montilla, near Cordoba in southern Spain. It also has extensive marginal annotations in a 16th-century hand, by a former owner or student of the college.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2738
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on19/01/09
AuthorMaty, Matthew
TitleOde sur la rebellion de MDCCXLV en Ecosse
ImprintAmsterdam: Jean Joubert
Date of Publication1746
LanguageFrench
NotesThe NLS's collections of material relating to the Jacobite uprising of 1745-46 have been enhanced by the acquisition of this very rare poem by Matthew Maty (1718-1776). The Maty family were Huguenot refugees who moved first to Holland, where Matthew was born, then, in 1740, to London. Matthew Maty practised medicine there but also contributed to various British literary publications. This short French-language poem, printed in his native Netherlands, is uncompromising in its anti-Catholic, anti-Jacobite stance. Maty describes Prince Charles as a tyrant seduced by pride "un Tiran, que l' orgueil seduit" and praises the Duke of Cumberland for 'calming the storm' and punishing the 'criminal cohorts' of the rebels. The poem is preceded by a six-page preface dedicated to 'M.L.C.D.C.', presumably My Lord [or perhaps Milord Le] Comte de Chesterfield, the fourth earl of Chesterfield, who was a keen literary patron. Maty addresses him in the preface as dear friend and almost as an equal. Maty would go on to found the "Journal Britannique" (published at the Hague from 1747 onwards) which reviewed British works for continental readers. He also earned the hatred of Samuel Johnson for his implication, in a review of Johnson's Dictionary in 1755, that Johnson had been ungrateful to the Earl of Chesterfield. From 1756 he was employed as a librarian at the British Museum, taking charge of the printed books in the royal library, gifted to the Museum by George II, and from 1772 he was Principal Librarian there. Only two copies of this poem have been traced, one at the British Library and the other at the University of Virginia.
ShelfmarkAP.3.212.01
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; bookseller's notes
Acquired on21/10/11
AuthorMcKerrell, John
TitleA grammar of the Carnataca language
ImprintMadras: College Press
Date of Publication1820
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first published grammar of the Kannada language of India. The author was a member of the McKerrell family of Hillhouse in Ayrshire. He travelled to India in 1805 and later became master of the mint in Madras. In his preface he explains that he was initially employed in a "judicial situation" in the region of British Carnara (Karnataka - formerly known as the kingdom of Mysore) and was required to learn the Carnataca (Kannada) language of the local inhabitants. He proposed compiling a grammar as early as 1809, but ill health and demands of work delayed the publication of this book until 1820. A new grammar of the Kannada language, based on McKerrell's earlier work, was published in 1859 in Bangalore.
ShelfmarkAB.8.209.05
Acquired on02/03/09
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