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 571 to 585 of 735:

Ordered by title
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AuthorKazumasa Ogawa & James Murdoch
TitleSights and Scenes on the Tokaido.
ImprintTokyo: K. Ogawa
Date of Publication1892
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis handsome volume was one of a series of views of Japan that the pioneering photographer, Kazumasa Ogawa (1860-1930) produced in the 1890s. Ogawa set out to photograph a Japanese society that was rapidly vanishing. His images recorded Japanese life, customs, culture and scenery at a time when Japan was modernising after emerging from self-imposed isolation during the second half of the 19th century. The photographs were then reproduced using the collotype process, a high quality photomechanical process capable of creating sharp images with a wide variety of tones. Ogawa published and printed all of the collotypes personally from the original prints, becoming a master of the process. His collotype books all had distinctive paper covers, lithographed in colour with a repeating pattern of concentric overlapping half circles, stylized clouds with leaves inside and breaking waves in silver. This particular book traces the route of the historic Tokaido (Road of the Eastern Sea) which starts in Tokyo and follows the Pacific coast for 320 miles where it joins the Nakasendo (Central Mountain Road) at Kusatsu. There are 20 black and white collotype plates containing a total of 44 images based on photographs by Ogawa himself, another Japanese photographer, Kusakabe Kimbei, the Italian photographer Adolfo Farsari, and also one by a Scot, William K. Burton (William Kinnimond Burton, an engineer and photographer, who in 1887 was appointed as first professor of sanitary engineering at Tokyo Imperial University). Ogawa clearly had an international readership in mind for his books. For the descriptive text in English which accompanied each plate of this book, he turned to another ex-pat Scot based in Japan, James Murdoch (1856-1921). Murdoch was born in Kincardineshire; from humble origins he was able to graduate M.A. with first-class honours in classics in 1879 from Aberdeen University and take up a scholarship at Oxford. After returning to Aberdeen he then emigrated to Australia in 1881, where he worked as a teacher and journalist. In 1889 he became a lecturer in European history at the First Higher School in Tokyo, an elite institution which young men attended before entering Tokyo Imperial University. His job gave him time to pursue a literary career as well, including writing a novel, "Ayame-san", which was published in Japan and London. Apart from a brief spell in South America and London, Murdoch remained in Japan until 1917, marrying a Japanese woman and working in various teaching jobs. He wrote three volumes of a history of the country before returning to Australia where he taught Japanese. The volume was acquired by NLS when the library of the 17th Earl of Perth was sold at auction in 2012.
ShelfmarkFB.l.408
Reference Sourceshttp://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/ogawa/ogawa_tokaido.shtml; Australian Dictionary of Biography
Acquired on31/08/12
TitleSignal [+ misc. other French-language periodicals from World War II from 1940-44]
ImprintBerlin: Deutscher Verlag
Date of Publication1941-44
LanguageFrench
NotesA collection of periodicals relating to the Second World War in France. Apart from the English-language 'Life', the periodicals are all in French. The collection consists of: 'Life'- 20 November 1944, 'La Semaine'- 23 April 1942, 'Match' - 15 February 1940; and the following Nazi propaganda publications: 'Le Cahier Jaune'- 2 Dec 1941 (A French anti-Semitic publication), 'Dieppe 1942' (a news sheet published in response to the failed Allied raid on the port of Dieppe in August 1942), 'Der Adler' ('The Eagle' -Luftwaffe propaganda magazine)-20 May 1941; 29 July 1941; 24 March 1942: 19 Oct 1943 and 71 issues of 'Signal' from May 1941 to September 1944. 'Signal' was a key part of Nazi war propaganda: a magazine created in an effort to win over other European nations to the Nazi cause, and to promote and justify German hegemony over Europe. It was based on the format of the 'Berliner Illustrirter Zeitung' (BIZ), the leading picture and news magazine in Germany, and was first published on in April 1940 by the Deutscher Verlag in Berlin. It subsequently appeared on a fortnightly basis, and at its peak it reached a maximum circulation of 2,500,000 copies per issue, appearing in over 20 different languages. Due to its central role as a propaganda tool, the reporting of current affairs in 'Signal' had to fit in with the official Nazi line, and from 1943 onwards, as the war began to go badly for Germany, the focus of the magazine shifted more to celebrity gossip, sporting events and fashion. No expense was spared on illustrations, 'Signal' boasted full-page colour plates, and colour covers from 1944 onwards. With articles by an elite group of staff authors and war correspondents, the magazine quickly established itself as the number one propaganda publication in wartime Europe. The magazine continued to be produced well into 1945, but distribution was by then extremely limited due to the Allied advance into continental Europe.
ShelfmarkRB.l.244
Reference Sources"Hitler's Wartime Picture Magazine" (ed. S.L. Mayer) London, 1978
Acquired on22/08/08
AuthorEvelyn, John.
TitleSilva: or a discourse of forest-trees.
ImprintYork: A. Ward for J. Dodsley
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a magnificent binding of a York printing of the 17th-century English scholar John Evelyn's "Silva". The binding has been done by James Scott of Edinburgh, generally acknowledged as the finest bookbinder in Scotland in the 18th-century and indeed one of the finest in Britain at this time. Both volumes are bound in brown tree calf with gilt column style tools and musical trophy on the boards and Minerva ornament on the spines. Vol. 1 contains Scott's binder's label on the title page. The book has a distinguished provenance, as identified in J.S. Loudon's bibliography of Scott's work (JS 62). There is an inscription "Lauderdale" on the title page of vol. 1, which indicates that the book formerly belonged to James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale (1718-1789) and was presumably bound for him. It was sold by the 15th Earl at Sotheby's in 1950 and bought by the famous book collector Major John Roland Abbey (1894-1969) and has his bookplate on the front pastedowns. It was sold again at Sotheby's in 1967 and was acquired by NLS when the library of the 17th Earl of Perth was sold at auction in 2012.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.173-174
Reference SourcesJ.S. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders, 1980.
Acquired on31/08/12
AuthorLeonard, Tom
TitleSix Glasgow Poems
Imprint[Glasgow]
Date of Publication[1968]
LanguageScots
NotesThis is the rare first edition of Tom Leonard's best known work. Written in Scots, these abrasively witty poems attempt to recreate the language of ordinary people in Glasgow. Leonard completed the work by January 1968, but had difficulty finding a printer willing to do the job. Instead, he typed the sheets himself and had them reproduced in the Glasgow University student magazine office. This counts as the first edition. The poems were subsequently published by Midnight Publications in 1969, and the Library has a copy of this second edition at shelfmark 5.4593. This edition contains at least one typographical deviation from the first edition.
ShelfmarkRB.m.628
Acquired on17/12/04
AuthorAinslie, William.
TitleSixty-six years' residence in South Africa: an autobiographical sketch.
Imprint[Fort Beaufort, South Africa]: Fort Beaufort Printing and Publishing Company
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare book, crudely printed in the small South African town of Fort Beaufort, documents the experiences of a Scottish emigrant to South Africa. William Ainslie was born c. 1820 in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. His father worked there as a brewer and bookbinder. In 1833 the Ainslie family decided to move to South Africa, on the advice of William's famous uncle Thomas Pringle, who had lived there in the 1820s. Pringle (1789-1834) was a writer and campaigner for abolition of slavery, who became known as the father of South African Poetry, being the first successful English language poet and author to describe South Africa. The Ainslie family eventually purchased a farm in what was then called Kaffraria, the southeast part of what is today the Eastern Cape Province. They inevitably got caught up in the conflicts between European settlers and the native Xhosa people (referred to in the book as 'Kaffirs'). From the late 18th century onwards a series of armed conflicts between the Xhosa, British army and settlers had taken place as more and more settlers encroached on Xhosa lands. In the preface to the book, written by one A. Hanesworth, it is stated that: "No savage people has given Great Britain so much trouble in open fight and secret foray as the Coloured races of Kaffraria". When William Ainslie acquired his own farm, he became a 'burgher' who was obliged to arm himself to defend his property and also to assist the army and the other settlers. As such he was participant in what is now termed the 8th Xhosa War of 1850-53, which he describes at length. In 1859 Ainslie settled in the Fort Beaufort area, where he continued to farm as well as making a brief foray into diamond mining. Ainslie's book documents the struggle of an emigrant to establish himself in an often hostile and unforgiving environment. It was written on the eve of the Boer War and he criticises the Dutch Bond politicians "who are doing everything in their power to cause race-hatred between the Dutch and English".
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.26
Acquired on23/03/12
AuthorBurrard, S.G., Heron, A.M.
TitleSketch of the geography and geology of the Himalaya Mountains and Tibet.
ImprintDelhi : Manager of Publications
Date of Publication1933
NotesRevised and updated edition of the 1907 work by Burrard and Hayden which had been produced to mark the centenary of geographical and geological exploring expeditions of the Himalaya Mountains. This had become an invaluable reference work for surveyors and explorers. The present work, which revises and updates it, is equipped with a large number of plates, maps and illustrations.
ShelfmarkGB/B.1491
Reference SourcesYakushi : Catalogue of the Himalayan literature
Acquired on29/10/02
AuthorSinclair, Sir John
TitleSketch of the improvements now carrying on in the county of Caithness, north Britain.
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1803
LanguageEnglish
NotesA brief description, beautifully illustrated with four fine engraved plans, of proposed improvements to 'a remote and neglected district of a country', most of which was the property of the author, Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. The work was later included as an appendix to Captain John Henderson's 'General view of the agriculture of the county of Caithness', published in 1812. On the title page is a presentation inscription from the author to a 'General Melville', dated 30 May, 1803. Described by a contemporary as 'the most indefatigable man in Britain', Sinclair was a man of many parts. He served as M.P. for Caithness in the early 1780s, inaugurated the British Wool Society in 1791, founded the Board of Agriculture in 1793 and was almost single-handedly responsible for the preparation of the mammoth 'Statistical account of Scotland', which was published in 1799. This book is a microcosm of Sinclair's interests as an economic improver. The promotion of sheep farming, the cultivation of 'fenland', the establishment of new villages both inland and on the coast, the promotion of fisheries and the construction of a new town in Thurso are all described. Ultimately, Sinclair's 'improvements' changed the face of the county. Sinclair also had great hopes for Thurso and envisaged that it would trade with the West Indies. At the time of writing, work had already begun and Sinclair described his involvement in financing the enterprise, advancing a sum for every house built and promoting the work of the Building Society. His geometric town plan is similar to that for Edinburgh's New Town and apart from some public buildings - the academy, infirmary and public wash house - most of the plan was realised.
ShelfmarkRB.m.448
Acquired on01/12/00
AuthorFoott, [Elizabeth Anne] Mrs. James
TitleSketches of life in the bush
ImprintSydney: George Loxton & Co.
Date of Publication1878
LanguageEnglish
NotesElizabeth Foott was a Scot who emigrated to Australia and wrote this interesting account of her journey to a new farm settlement on the Darling River. She set out in May 1860, and describes the countryside and the people they encountered while travelling to their new home. She reflects on relations with the native inhabitants, on the role of women in Australian society and on the economic development of the new colony. She describes dramatic events such as being stranded on a hill when floods overwhelmed their house and their servants fled with many of their possessions. Foott seems to have been reasonably well-read, and she mentions the small library they took with them. She includes a chapter on 'Romantic adventures', consisting of a selection of Australian tales, to show that the new colony had its stories as well. Her Scottish origins are clear, although the way she speaks of visiting England suggests that her family had moved to England before she emigrated. The book is dedicated to her brother, Captain John Tower Lumsden, who was killed at the siege of Lucknow in 1857; this allows us to identify her father, Henry Lumsden, an Advocate from Aberdeen (1784-1856). She quotes Walter Scott (p.9), recalls 'my native land, with its pure fresh air blowing over our Scottish hills, wafting in the breeze the fragrance of the purple heather, blue bell, and sweet wild thyme' (p.20) and she teaches her daughter 'some of our beautiful Scotch paraphrases' (p.40). The first edition appeared in 1872; all editions are very rare, and there does not seem to be a copy of the second edition in any public library in Britain.
ShelfmarkAP.1.208.010
Acquired on29/10/07
TitleSlave trade.
ImprintHaddington: G. Miller and Son, printers.
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn abolitionist broadside printed in Haddington, East Lothian indicating that the residents of Dunbar are petitioning Parliament for the universal abolition of the slave trade. Beneath the title is a woodcut of a slave being whipped by a white man, followed by an abolitionist poem and a call to the residents of Dunbar to sign the petition: 'It is requested that every well wisher to the melioration of the poor Africans, and those who, from motives of humanity, are inclined to give their dissenting vote to the revival of the bloody traffic, will come forward without delay.'
ShelfmarkRB.m.702
Acquired on06/07/10
AuthorHardiviller, Charles-Achille d'
TitleSouvenirs des highlands voyage a la suite de Henri V en 1832
ImprintParis: Dentu
Date of Publication1835
LanguageFrench
NotesChambord, Henri Dieudonné d'Artois, Count (comte) de, Duke (duc) De Bordeaux was the last heir of the elder branch of the Bourbons and, as Henry V, pretender to the French throne from 1830. He was a lover of Scotland and travelled through the country in 1832. Charles-Achille d'Hardiviller accompanied the young 'king' into exile. He was his drawing master and was reponsible for the images which were lithographed by Villain. The thirty plates depict various scenes in Scotland, including Fort Augustus, Inverlochy, Lochleven and Edinburgh. There is a particularly striking one of Henri V in full highland dress at the Rest and Be Thankfull. This copy is as issued in three parts with the original green paper covers. There are two slips accompanying the three issues. One declares that the frontispiece of Henri V will come with the second part, which will be July 1835, and mentions postal rates for the provinces. The second one, in mss, announces that the Examination Committee have withheld the litho of Francesse Louise because it does not reach an acceptable quality.
ShelfmarkFB.m.613
Acquired on30/01/01
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
AuthorA.B. Fleming & Co.
TitleSpecimen book of fine colours for letterpress and lithographic printers.
Imprint[Leicester: Raithby, Lawrence & Co.]
Date of Publication[1893?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe firm A.B. Fleming & Co. was founded c. 1854 and was initially based in Salamander Street in Leith. The firm developed a technique of producing much cheaper newspaper ink which led to a rapid expansion of the business. By the 1880s they could claim to have the largest printing ink works in the world in Caroline Park, Granton, north of Edinburgh city centre. This specimen book is one a series of specimen books produced from the 1870s onwards to showcase their wares nationally and internationally. The book also includes the text of a lecture 'The chemistry of colour printing' given to the Edinburgh Branch of the British Typographia in 1891 by Robert Irvine (d. 1902), who was a chemical director of A.B. Fleming & Co. This copy has an American provenance, containing the embossed stamp of one F. Grant Schleicher, who was superintendent of the W. D. Wilson Printing Ink Company in Long Island City, N. Y.
ShelfmarkAB.2.209.23
Acquired on14/10/09
AuthorGray, Andrew
TitleSpiritual warfare; or some sermons concerning the nature of mortification, together with the right spiritual exercise and spiritual advantages thereof
ImprintBoston: ub N.E. Re-printed by S. Kneeland, for Benj. Eliot, at his shop in King-Street.
Date of Publication1720
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first and only American edition of Gray's work, which was first published in Edinburgh in 1670. Gray was a Scottish divine who became extraordinarily popular as a preacher before his sudden death in 1656, at the astonishing age of 22. His writings were all published posthumously. The present collection of sermons, with a short preface by Thomas Manton, was frequently reprinted throughout the 18th century. This Boston edition is uncommon with the ESTC listing only seven extant copies. The work is in a well-preserved Boston binding of the period.
ShelfmarkAB.1.204.07
Reference SourcesBooksellers catalogue
Acquired on03/01/04
AuthorOlin, Valerian Nikolaevich.
TitleSrazhenie pri Lore: epicheskaia poema iz Ossiana [The Battle of Lora: an epic poem from Ossian].
ImprintSt Petersburg: at the Navy Press,
Date of Publication1813
LanguageRussian
NotesIn 1792 Ermil Ivanovich Kostrov produced the first complete prose version of James Macpherson's Ossianic poems in Russian, based largely Letourneur's 1765 French translation. Over the next 30 years Kostrov's translation of the poems was very influential in Russia, stimulating interest in folk poetry and the national past, and serving as the basis of numerous versified translations in the late 18th and early 19th century by Ozerov, Pushkin and others. In 1813 the St Petersburg translator, journalist, and editor Valerian Olin (1788-1840?) produced this free translation of The Battle of Lora into Russian verse. The Battle of Lora was one of the poems that appeared first in prose form in James Macpherson's "Fingal an ancient epic poem" (London, 1762); an English verse translation by Samuel Derrick being published the same year. Olin in the introduction to his translation defends the authenticity of Ossian, regarding, like other Russians of his generation, the Ossianic poems as models of northern European poetry on a par with the Classical poetry of Greece and Rome. Olin would go on to publish two further adaptions taken from Fingal in 1823 and 1824. The provenance of this volume is particularly interesting as it was formerly in the Russian Imperial Library at Tsarsko(y)e Selo, as is shown by the stamp on the half title, and pencilled shelf-mark '64/1' to front end-leaf. It is bound in a contemporary red morocco binding with a gilt border. Tsarskoe Selo, a country estate 14 miles south of St Petersburg was owned by the Russian royal family and was developed by the empress Catherine the Great, who had the existing palaces and buildings extended and refurbished. Much of the work was carried out under the supervision of the London Scot, Charles Cameron (1745-1812), who was Catherine's chief architect on the site. Tsarskoe Selo served as a primary summer residence of the Russian tsars. It was also the place for official receptions of Russian nobility and representatives of foreign states, who were visiting Russia with diplomatic missions. Following the overthrow of the Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, the Russian royal family were kept under house arrest at Tsarskoe Seloe from March to August of that year. Nicholas II's loyal minister Count Paul Benckendorff, in his account of their captivity at the estate "Last days at Tsarskoe Seloe", noted that the library of the Alexander Palace, which was a very good one, was thrown open to the Tsar's children who were being educated, in the absence of their usual schoolmasters, by their parents and the staff at the palace. After the October Revolution of 1917, the contents of the Imperial Library were dispersed, with many of the books ending up in the USA in the 1920s and 30s. Only two other copies of this translation are recorded in major libraries, in Harvard University in the USA and the National Library of Russia. This particular copy is lacking the leaf of errata and leaf with dedication to the statesman and book collector Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumiantsov; it is possible that both were removed when the book was bound for the Imperial Palace.
ShelfmarkRB.m.740
Reference SourcesP. France, 'Fingal in Russia' in "The reception of Ossian in Europe" ed. H. Gaskill (London & New York, 2004) The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia (Edinburgh: NLS, 1987)
Acquired on01/02/13
TitleStaffa, Iona, Inverness, Cromarty, Invergordon, Burghead & Oban, Tobermory, Strontian, &c. Regular and more speedy conveyance to the above ports & .
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1835
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare and relatively undamaged broadside from the early years of steamships plying the west coast of Scotland. The very first steamer was the Comet which sailed from Glasgow to Fort William via the Crinan Canal in 1819. Throughout the 1820s a number of ships made the long and sometimes arduous trip from Glasgow to Fort William or to Inverness via the newly opened Caledonian Canal. One of the ships mentioned here - 'The Highlander' had from 1822 taken passengers and freight from the Clyde to the Sound of Mull. 'The Staffa' operated from 1832 to 1848 mainly to the west coast and to Inverness. 'The Maid of Morven' operated from 1827 to 1850 to both west coast but also to the east coast ports of Invergordon, Cromarty and Burghead. Although the main purpose of these ships was trade - carrying freight and passengers going about their business - they also accomodated tourists visiting Staffa and Iona. The painter J.M.W. Turner travelled on 'The Maid of Morven' when he went on a sketching tour of the west coast in 1831. During this trip he visited Fingal's Cave on Staffa and made some pencil sketches.
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.09
Reference SourcesDuckworth, C.L.D. and Langmuir, G.E. West Highland steamers. 1987.
Acquired on30/01/07
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