Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 848 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 556 to 570 of 848:

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AuthorJakob Spiegel
TitleLexicon iuris ciuilis, ex uarijs probatorum autorum commentarijs congestum.
ImprintLugduni [Lyon] : Apud Sebastianum Gryphium,
Date of Publication1541
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is work on civil law by the German humanist and scholar, Spiegel (b. 1483). Spiegel served Emperor Maximilian I as his secretary and was also a confidant of Charles V, being influential in imperial and papal politics in the 1510s. This is perhaps his most important work, first published at Strasbourg in 1538 and here revised by the author. There are no recorded editions of this Lyon printing in the UK. The book has been acquired as it bears on the title page the ownership inscription of Adam Bothwell (1529?-1593) bishop of Orkney. Bothwell, son of a prominent Edinburgh family with links to government, had perhaps studied abroad - possibly, like his father, at the University of Orleans - and had already taken holy orders by 1552 when he became a minister. His links with Orkney began in the mid-1550s, and he was appointed to his see when he was only thirty. He played a major role in Scottish politics, and was a member of the privy council to Mary Queen of Scots, officiating at her marriage to the fourth Earl of Bothwell (no relation) in May 1567, and later the same year he anointed the infant King James VI at his coronation. Bothwell was a keen book collector, his library has been described as "impressively large and wide-ranging" (ODNB). It was listed not long after his death (the inventory is reprinted in volume II of The Warrender Papers published by the Scottish History Society in 1931), but this book does not seem to be amongst those listed in 1593, and it may have left the library before that date. The Library already has four books owned by Bothwell in its collections and this book is an important addition to the Library's collection of books printed before the Reformation and owned by Scots. As well as Bothwell's signature, this copy also has the 19th-century bookplate of Robert Graham. This is probably Robert Graham (d. 1815), 12th laird of Fintry, whose son Colonel John Graham (1778-1821) was the founder of Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape.
ShelfmarkRB.l.286
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Durkan and A. Ross, Early Scottish Libraries (1961), p. 29; D. Shaw, 'Adam Bothwell: a conserver of the Renaissance in Scotland' in I.B. Cowan and D. Shaw, "The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland" (1983), pp. 141-169.
Acquired on04/09/15
AuthorJames Clerk Maxwell
TitleTraite d'Electricite et de Magnetisme
ImprintParis: Gauthier-Villars
Date of Publication1883
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first French translation of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, based on the second edition which was published in 1881, after Maxwell's death. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that 'the impact of the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was at first muted, but within a few years of his death his field theory shaped the work of Maxwellian physicists ... Maxwell's field theory and electromagnetic theory of light came to be accepted and regarded as one of the most fundamental of all physical theories.' In his preface, French engineer G. Seligmann-Lui explains that this translation includes extra material designed to help French professors and students understand concepts and theories Maxwell uses which are not yet taught in France, but also that it will be useful to practising engineers. He praises Maxwell for writing a book 'with a good number of chapters, easy to read, where [Maxwell's ideas] can be found set out with perfect clarity'.
ShelfmarkAB.4.209.01
Reference SourcesOxford DNB.
Acquired on19/02/09
AuthorJames Connolly
TitleErin's hope. The end and the means.
ImprintRutherglen: P. Walsh
Date of Publication[1900?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis was the first separate publication of the Irish socialist and revolutionary James Connolly (1868-1916), who was born and brought up in Edinburgh. "Erin's hope" was first published in 1896 in Dublin by the Irish Socialist Republican party, which Connolly had founded that year after moving to Ireland. The pamphlet was Connolly's first major attempt to express in print his views on the Irish question and the future of socialism. The work was republished in serial form in the "Worker's Republic", and the text reprinted several times in the USA. This cheap (2d.) Scottish printing was done by Patrick Walsh, who was working in Rutherglen, a town in South Lanarkshire, in the 1890s and early 1900s and who appears to have specialised in selling and publishing cheap reprints of pro-socialist, Irish texts. A surviving letter of his of 1911 to the famous naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, asks permission to reprint Wallace's work "Land nationalisation" for its account of the Highland clearances and Irish land evictions. Walsh reveals that he has been selling socialist literature for the last 18 years.
ShelfmarkAP.2.216.20
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
AuthorJames Dinwiddie
TitleSyllabus of a course of lectures on experimental philosophy
ImprintDublin: D. Graisberry
Date of Publication1782
LanguageEnglish
NotesHitherto unrecorded edition of Dinwiddie's syllabus for lectures on experimental philosophy (there are other editions printed in Dumfries in 1778, and in London in 1789). James Dinwiddie (1746-1815) was born in Dumfriesshire and in 1771 became a mathematics teacher at Dumfries Academy. He went on to study at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1778. He subsequently went on a lecture tour of Scotland and, from 1779 onwards, of Ireland to pay off debts incurred during his studies. As well as lecturing on chemistry and mechanics, Dinwiddie also gave lectures on gunnery, fortification, pyrotechnics and the diving bell. This series of lectures, held in Dublin, covers what is termed 'experimental philosophy', i.e. electricity, heat, magnetism, optics, astronomy amongst other subjects. During his stay in Ireland Dinwiddie carried out experiments with diving bells and hot-air balloons and was renowned for the impressive and expensive scientific apparatus he collected. In 1792 he accompanied the British embassy to China and then stayed for a number of years in India, carrying out further scientific experiments and becoming professor in Fort William College, Calcutta.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2639
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/12/06
AuthorJames I
TitleThe Kings Maiesties speech
ImprintLondon: Robert Barker
Date of Publication1604
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the speech which James I delivered to the House of Lords on 19 March 1604, the first day of the Parliament at Westminster, and indeed the first Parliament of his reign as King of Scotland and England. This copy has the text printed in italic type. We also hold the issue in roman type at shelfmark 1.174(1). Curiously, both issues were published by Robert Barker in the same year. It could be surmised that there was such a high demand for copies of the speech that Barker had to print on two presses at the same time and decided to print different versions for the sake of variety. There are slight spelling differences between the two editions too. The speech was certainly very popular and was published in Edinburgh as well as London.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2605
Acquired on22/06/05
AuthorJames Maxwell
TitlePaisley Dispensary. A poem.
ImprintPaisley: printed and sold for the author
Date of Publication1786
LanguageEnglish
NotesJames Maxwell (1720-1800), the self-styled 'Poet in Paisley' worked as a packman, weaver, clerk, school usher, and stone-breaker; in 1787 he was awarded a charitable allowance by the town council of Paisley, which he continued to enjoy until his death. One of the most prolific versifiers of his day, Maxwell wrote nearly 60 separate poetical pieces which had little in the way of literary merit. "Paisley dispensary" is a poem in praise of the recently-established dispensary in his home town, created through the good offices of the local rich, who were profiting from Paisley's expansion as a weaving and textile centre. John Wilson's "General View of the Agriculture of Renfrewshire" (1812) notes that the dispensary's establishment in 1786 "has been attended with very happy effects among the lower classes of industrious inhabitants of the town and suburbs. It has been uniformly supported by yearly subscriptions; and ... much distress had been alleviated, by the distribution of medicines, and the gratuitous advice of the medical practitioners in Paisley" (p. 322). A House of Recovery was added in 1805.
ShelfmarkAP.1.213.63
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on21/06/13
AuthorJames Maxwell
TitleA poem descriptive of the ancient and noble seat of Hawk-head.
ImprintPaisley: printed and sold for the author
Date of Publication1786.
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded topographical poem by James Maxwell (1720-1800), the self-styled 'poet in Paisley'. Maxwell worked as a packman, weaver, clerk, school usher, and stone-breaker; in 1787 he was awarded a charitable allowance by the town council of Paisley, which he continued to enjoy until his death. One of the most prolific versifiers of his day, Maxwell issued nearly 60 separate poetical pieces, most of them of not particularly high quality, although his biographer in ODNB notes that he represents "the terminus of the virile strain of poetry of Calvinist pietism in eighteenth-century Scotland". This particular poem is dedicated to the Dowager Countess of Glasgow, Elizabeth (d. 1791), daughter of Lord Ross. The final leaf carries some additional lines, seemingly printed after the poem had been sent to the press, celebrating the ice house with its pineapple and strawberry ice creams, and the pigsties which produce 'charming ham'. The Hawkhead estate, situated just over two miles south east of Paisley, had descended in the Countess of Glasgow's own family and came to her as sole heiress of the Ross barony. In 1914 the house became part of a mental hospital called Hawkhead Asylum (now Leverndale Hospital) before being eventually demolished in 1953. The provenance of this copy is noteworthy. It belonged to Alexander Boswell Dun, the son of James Boswell's tutor, John Dun, as can be seen by the ownership inscription 'Boswell Dun' at the head of the title page. John Dun had been hired as tutor by the biographer's father when he came to Auchinleck in 1749, and a few years later he became minister at the local church, through the patronage of Boswell's father. Alexander Boswell Dun of Rigg was presumably named clearly in honour of the Laird who had done so much for his father.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2858
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on22/02/13
AuthorJames Miller
Title[Specimen of miniature lithographic printing by the lithographic printer James Miller of Glasgow]
ImprintGlasgow: James Miller
Date of Publication1828
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis small sheet of paper (9 cm square) comprises an outer ring of text containing a list of the items printed in miniature: The Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the 133rd psalm [etc. ] ... being betwixt 2000 and 3000 letters written in the compass of a sixpence by J. Miller lithographic printer Glasgow. 1828; and an inner, sixpence-sized, circular block of text containing the aforementioned texts as well as a drawing of the Glasgow city arms in the centre. The lithographic printing process, discovered in 1798, reached Scotland in the 1810s and the first recorded lithographic printer in Scotland was in business by 1819/1820. James Miller, active in Glasgow between 1825 and 1840, was regarded as one of the best exponents of the process, known for his "consummate skill in selecting and training staff ... several of the finest lithographers in Scotland first learned their art in his establishment" (Schenk).
ShelfmarkAP.1.217.20
Reference SourcesDavid H.J. Schenck "Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland 1820-1870" Edinburgh, 1999
Acquired on06/01/17
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleTwo Meditations of the Kings Maiestie
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1620
LanguageEnglish
NotesDespite the rare title page, this work consists of one meditation only, A Paterne for a Kings inauguration. Addressed to Prince Charles as a handbook for kingship, the Paterne is a kind of second Basilicon Doron (written for Prince Henry). James describes the burdens of kingship, comparing them to the sufferings of Christ in his Passion, and using the gospel of St. Matthew as illustration. It seems very likely that King Charles's own conception of martyrdom was influenced by this work. First published 1620, STC 14381.5. The library has a copy of another 1620 issue, STC 14382, shelfmark 2.325(20). Details: STC 14412, octavo, pp. [30], 84 (p. 84 misnumbered 88), [2], sig. A8 (-A1), B-G8, H3. Final leaf is colophon. Initials J.R. on title page, probably in James's own hand. Numerous contemporary annotations throughout. This book is bound, as is its companion volume RB.s.2081(1), in calf with a gilt panel design enclosing a central medallion with the armorial design of Robert Day, a previous owner, on front and rear board. Both volumes contain bookplates of Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), 6th son of George III, William Wrixon Leycester and Robert Day. The folding case which contains both books includes a plaintive manuscript letter to King Charles I from James's wayward doctor George Eglisham, who notoriously accused the Duke of Buckingham of having murdered King James and the Duke of Hamilton.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(2)
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleMeditation vpon the Lords Prayer
ImprintLondon: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1619
LanguageEnglish
NotesAttractive copy of the first edition, STC 14384. King James's straightforward exposition of the Lord's Prayer is dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham, as one who has no time to spend on complex and lengthy prayer. Details: octavo, pp. [16], 146, sig. A-K8, L1. With notably pedantic explanatory annotations in contemporary hand with pointing fingers and underlining. Title page slightly stained; lacks sig. L2 (colophon). For more information, see on the companion volume RB.s.2081(2), Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie (A Paterne for a Kings inauguration), which is in the same binding and has notes in the same hand; both were apparently in the Royal Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(1)
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleProclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 [1603]
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker
Date of Publication1602/3
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine uncut copy of the second edition of the proclamation in which the English privy council announced that James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth. James's hereditary right to the English throne is described and explained, and the text stresses that in addition to his legitimacy, James comes with 'all the rarest gifts of mind and bodie'. Details: STC 8298, black letter, 2 sheets, horizontal chain lines. Modern portfolio includes a misleading note identifying this work as STC 8297. Setting 2a, with first line of second sheet having reading 'Kingdomes, all'.
ShelfmarkRB.el.5
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VII and II
TitleNuevo triunfo de la religion Catolica, que los fieles deven al Christiano real cuydado, y magnanima providencia de serenissimo rey de la Bretaņa Jacobo Segundo.
ImprintSevilla: por Juan Francisco de Blas
Date of Publication[1687]
LanguageSpanish
NotesBy the third year of his reign as king of England, Scotland and Ireland, James VII and II was finding it increasingly difficult to work with Anglican politicians who were hostile to him as a Catholic; he was more inclined to work with those who dissented from the established religions in his kingdoms. He therefore adopted his late brother's approach to religious toleration, seeking to remove religious persecution from Catholics, Quakers and other peaceable dissenters. Bypassing the parliament in Scotland, James's first declaration of indulgence (or toleration) was issued in Edinburgh on 12 February 1687. 'Moderate Presbyterians' were allowed to meet in their private houses, while Quakers could 'meet and exercise in their form in any place or places appointed for their worship'. All laws and acts of Parliament against Catholics were suspended. This Spanish translation of James's proclamation includes not only the text of the proclamation and its introductory letter, both signed by his Scottish secretary the earl of Melfort, but also the response of the Scottish privy council. The proclamation is mistakenly dated here 22 February 1687. In the Spanish editor's preamble it is stated that news of the proclamation was sent to the court of Spain's Charles II. The declaration of indulgence is regarded here as part of a wave of recent Catholic victories (also comprising successes by the Austrian emperor against the Ottomans, and the King of France against Calvinists). James went on to introduce a similar declaration in England in April of that year.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2813
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; bookseller's notes
Acquired on10/12/10
AuthorJames, Prince of Wales, 1688-1766.
TitleHis Majesty's most gracious declaration. James R.
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication1744?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis four-page declaration by James Stuart 'The Old Pretender', "given at our court at Rome, the 23d day of December 1743", appears to be part of a charm offensive in Scotland prior to a planned Jacobite uprising. The year 1743 had brought fresh impetus to the Jacobite cause, with the French taking the opposing side to Britain in the war of Austrian Succession. English Jacobites requested a French-led invasion of Britain and Louis XV of France was actively considering an expedition to reinstate the Stuarts on the British throne. News of the French king's intentions reached the Jacobite court in Rome in late December, resulting in the drafting of this declaration for publication and display at the market crosses throughout Scotland. James professes to having "always born the most constant affection to our ancient kingdom of Scotland, from whence we derive our royal origin". He notes with concern the miseries suffered by the country due to the "foreign usurpation", and how it has been reduced to the status of a province "under the specious pretence of an union with a more powerful neighbour". Having emphasised the Scottish roots of the Stuarts, James goes on to sketch out the details of a Jacobite Scotland free from the Hanoverian kings; if not independent, then at least with some greater degree of political autonomy. He promises an amnesty for opponents of his late father and the Jacobite cause, and, perhaps mindful of his father's brief, autocratic, reign as king of Britain, he undertakes to govern Scotland constitutionally with a free parliament and to allow Protestants "free exercise of their religion". In return he asks that his Scottish subjects assist him in recovering his rights and their own liberties. James's son, Charles Edward, meanwhile, travelled to France in January 1744, but his arrival in Paris in the following month had not gone unnoticed by the British government. Although an invasion force assembled at Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on the French coast, a combination of bad weather, storm damage to the French ships, and the presence of English warships in the Channel led to Louis cancelling the planned invasion in March, much to Charles's fury. The date and place of printing for the declaration is unknown; a sympathetic Jacobite printer in Edinburgh may have produced it in early 1744 before the cancellation of the French invasion plans made it redundant for the immediate future. ESTC records just three copies of this work in the UK, none in Scotland.
ShelfmarkAP.5.212.02
Reference SourcesESTC; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on18/11/11
AuthorJane Porter
TitleThaddaus Constantin Graf von Sobieski. : Novelle.
ImprintDresden: P.G. Hilschersche Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1825-1831
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first edition in German of Jane Porter's (c. 1776-1850) hugely popular novel "Thaddaeus of Warsaw" first published in English in 1803. Jane Porter was born in England but moved to Edinburgh with her family in 1780, after the death of her father. She was formally educated in Edinburgh but she would later claim she also received an informal education from listening to tales of Scottish history about the lives of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce as told by the servants in her home and by an elderly neighbour. These tales would inspire later when she came to write historical fiction. Porter's mother was acquainted with Walter Scott's mother, and he is said to have played with the girls when he was a boy (Scott, however, makes no reference to the family in his letters or journals). The family later moved to London where Jane began her literary career. "Thaddaeus of Warsaw" was inspired by the Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817), who had fought unsuccessfully to preserve Polish-Lithuanian independence from Russia. In the novel Porter creates the fictional character of Thaddeus Sobieski, who takes part in the unsuccessful nationalist struggle in Poland in 1794?5. Thaddeus flees to London, where he has further adventures, and falls in love and is reunited with his long-lost father. The success of the novel was immediate and Porter followed it up with an even more successful one "The Scottish chiefs". A footnote to the 1831 introduction of "Thaddeus of Warsaw" states that it was after the publication of "Thaddeus" and "The Scottish Chiefs in German" that Jane Porter was made a lady of the Chapter of St. Joachim and received the gold cross of the order of Wuerttemberg for her representation of virtuous Christian heroes.
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.46
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/07/16
AuthorJean Scott
TitleA trip to the land of my ancestors: I visit my Scotch cousins.
Imprint[South Dakota? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1894?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded and privately printed travel account of a visit to Scotland made by a Jean Scott a school teacher of Armour, South Dakota during 1893-94. The author explains her motivations on the first page: "In 1844 my parents emigrated from Perth, Scotland, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they lived the remainder of their lives, loyal citizens to the country of their adoption. I think that they never regretted the removal or desired to return, except for to visit. When I first remember them, they had become quite Americanized, having readily adopted the ways and manners of the country and people. yet their former home and friends were not forgotten by them, but were often spoken of in glowing and affectionate terms, until I had a great desire even when very young to see that wonderful and much famed country, the land of the birth of my parents and of their ancestors for generations. Yet the opportunity did not present itself till the spring 1893 ...". Scott sailed from New York to Scotland, where she saw relatives and visited a variety of tourist destinations, including Perth, Kirkcaldy, Bridge of Earn, Falkland, St Andrews, Dundee, Glenfarg, Kinross, Milnathort (her mother's birthplace), Lake Leven, Inverness, Burns Country and Glasgow and Edinburgh. After Scotland she travelled by train to London then returned to North America in 1894 via Canada.
ShelfmarkAP.2.216.01
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on11/12/15
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