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 755 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 586 to 600 of 755:

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AuthorMurray, W., Leut.-Col., of Ochtertyre
TitleScenery of the Highlands and islands of Scotland, lithographed by S. Leith, Banff, from drawings in outline, by Lieut. Colonel W. Murray, Younger of Ochtertyre
ImprintPerth : D. Morison, Junr. & Co.
Date of Publication[181-?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare book of letterpress and lithographs by S. Leith from drawings by Lieut.-Colonel W. Murray, Younger of Ochtertyre. Although there is no publication date on the title page, there is a textual reference to a letter from Sir Walter Scott which was written in 1812. No biographical information was found for Lt.-Col. Murray. Although the title page indicates that this is "Part 1" there is no indication that any further volumes were published. There are 26 leaves of plates and also a variety of smaller engravings situated throughout the text. Scottish scenes featured include: Loch Maree; Scuir of Eigg; Loch Awe; Loch Alsh; Ben Venue and the Trossachs; North East coast of Skye; The Red Head, Angus; Dunottar Castle; Coir-Urchran; Perth; The Hebrides; Ben Arthur; Doune Castle; Dunblane Cathedral; St. Andrews; Dunsinnane and Abbotsford. Compare Murray, 'Sketches in Scotland', [1834], ABS.8.202.26. This appears to have some, but not all, of the same plates. The title-page with 'Scenery of the Highlands' is probably a survivor of the original title-pages that were issued with each part: most of the plates do not relate to the highlands. Perhaps this should be regarded as a different edition of 'Sketches in Scotland', lacking the main title page?
ShelfmarkABS.8.204.01
Reference SourcesSchenck, Directory of the Lithographic Printers of Scotland, p.66
Acquired on07/07/03
AuthorNahum Tate
TitleThe history of King Lear, a tragedy.
ImprintGlasgow : Printed by William Duncan Junior,
Date of Publication1756
LanguageEnglish
NotesR. and A. Foulis had issued 'Lear' in 1753, using Pope's text, including it in their 'works' of 1766. They were following the literary tradition. William Duncan junior chose instead to publish Nahum Tate's adaptation, which was used for performances of the play. Another edition of Tate's version was issued in Glasgow, anonymously, in 1758. Tate's adaptation is not well regarded today. He axes the fool and gives the play a happy ending with Lear surviving to see Cordelia and Edgar marry. Addison disapproved but Dr. Johnson defended Tate's version and it seems to have been popular: the happy ending and exclusion of the weirder bits presumably ensured 'bums on seats'. Tate's version was the version of 'Lear' that audiences almost always saw, from the Restoration through to the Romantic period. It wasn't performed at all when George III began to suffer from mental health problems, and then, after his death, the literary original began to be used again.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.17
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on02/11/12
AuthorNamba, Toshio
TitleBibliography of Robert Burns in Japan
Date of Publication1977
LanguageJapanese
NotesThe donor's father, Mr. Robert McLaren, was a president of the Robert Burns Federation, and his work brought him into contact with Professor Toshio Namba. Namba, a professor of English Literature, was deeply interested in Burns, and translated many of the poems into Japanese. This bibliography, with additional translations, is an important addition to our collections. It contains a manuscript dedication to Mr. McLaren, and is in fine condition in its original cardboard slipcase. With this donation we have received a copy of another book of relevance to Scottish-Japanese studies. Album England (1979), despite its title, consists of photographs of Scottish scenes with Japanese accompanying text. It also has a manuscript dedication from Namba. We have also been given a number of photographs including some of Mr. Namba and others of scenes in Tokyo. The notes on these photographs show that a warm friendship had developed between the Japanese researcher and the McLarens.
ShelfmarkHP2.205.0101
Acquired on29/10/04
AuthorNathaniel Crouch
TitleThe Triumphs of Love
ImprintGlasgow : Printed by William Duncan,
Date of Publication1753
LanguageEnglish
NotesA work adapted by Crouch, writing under his Robert Burton pseudonym, from an unidentified work by a P. Camus. The book is a collection of short stories "Containing the surprizing adventures, and accidents and misfortunes, that many persons have encountred [sic] in the eager pursuit of their amorous inclinations. In fifteen pleasant relations, or histories. For the recreation of gentlemen, ladies and others, who are pleased with such innocent diversions and amusements". The front pastedown bears the die-sinker bookplate of Frederic Perkins, Chipstead Place, Kent. This edition is unrecorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.44
Acquired on11/05/12
AuthorNeild, James
TitleAn Account of the Rise, Progress and Present State of The Society for the Discharge and Relief of Persons Imprisoned for Small Debts Throughout England and Wales.
ImprintLondon: Printed by John Nichols and Son.
Date of Publication1808
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a signed presentation copy of the third edition of James Neild's account of the state of debtor's prisons in the early nineteenth century. The book was presented to Reginald Pole Carew (1753-1835), an MP in Devon. Neild wrote his report when he found the horrors of the debtors prison were very much the same as they had been when exposed by John Howard in the latter part of the eighteenth century. This present edition was increased in size to reflect not only new data gathered by Neild, but also to add new information on the state of Scottish prisons. The information includes names, salaries, fees and garnish due to the gaolers, with similar information on the chaplain and surgeon attached to each prison followed by the number debtors and the allowance, if any, allocated to each. The book describes the anarchy at many prisons with no attempt at any sanitation or provisions for keeping the inmates alive. Neild observes that Scottish prisons were often the worst of all. James Neild (1744-1814) was a jeweler by trade who became interested in prisons in the 1760's. He was a founding member of the Society for the Discharge of Persons throughout England and Wales, Imprisoned for Debt and later became their treasurer.
ShelfmarkABS.4.205.01
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorNicholson, Francis, 1753-1844
TitleViews in Scotland drawn from nature
ImprintLondon: Engelmann, Graf, Coindel & Co.
Date of Publication1828
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare copy of Francis Nicholson's lithographed views of Scotland. Only one other copy in public ownership has been traced - that at Princeton University, New Jersey. On the title page it is stated that the views have been 'chiefly selected from scenery described by Sir Walter Scott'. Scott's novels and poems were at the height of their popularity - there are views of Loch Katrine and Goblin Cave which featured in the Lady of the Lake. Most of the scenes are of rugged mountain scenery, brooding castles and wild waterfalls. These appealed to a public who had read of such romantic locations in Scott's works. Francis Nicholson (1753-1844) was a Yorkshire-born artist who specialised in painting landscapes. When he moved to London he was one of the founders of the Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1804 and was a major contributor to its exhibitions. He contributed 14 engravings to Walker's 'Copper-plate magazine' between 1792 and 1801. He made use of the newly invented lithograph to produce 'Six views of Scarborough' (1822) as well as contributing to 'Havel's Aquatints of Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Seats' and 'The Northern Cambrian Mountains,' both 1820. This copy which is bound in the original lithographed wrappers is wanting the plate titled 'On the Forth, in Aberfoyle'.
ShelfmarkRB.l.142
Reference SourcesAbbey, J.R. Scenery of Great Britain in aquatint and lithography.
Acquired on17/06/04
AuthorNicoll, Alexander
TitleNotitia codicis Samaritano-Arabici in Bibliotheca Bodleiana
ImprintOxford, [s.n.]
Date of Publication1817
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a pamphlet on Arabic manuscript versions of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The author, Alexander Nicoll (1793-1828), was a Snell Exhibitioner, i.e. a recipient of a scholarship for Scottish scholars at Balliol College, Oxford. He became a sub-librarian in the Bodleian Library and later a professor of Hebrew at Oxford. Nicoll, originally from Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, was famed for both his linguistic abilities and his dedication to cataloguing the Bodleian's collection of Oriental manuscripts. In the pamphlet he draws attention to errors in interpretation of these Pentateuch manuscripts by the 18th-century biblical scholar David Durell of Hertford College, Oxford, and the German professor of oriental languages at Jena, Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus. The latter had visited England as a part of a tour of Europe in the years 1787-88 and had presumably seen these manuscripts in the Bodleian. Only 60 copies in total of the book were printed, the present example being one of 10 on large paper. A manuscript annotation on the front fly-leaf notes the distribution of each of the 10 large-paper copies: some went to professors of Hebrew and Arabic; some to Oxford librarians, tutors, and fellows. This copy has a pasted piece of paper on it showing that it was formerly owned by George Williams (1814-1878), who served as Vice-Provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1854 to 1857.
ShelfmarkAB.8.209.02
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on09/02/09
AuthorNorth British Society (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
TitleRules and regulations of the North-British Society in Halifax, Nova-Scotia.
ImprintHalifax, Nova Scotia: John Howe
Date of Publication1791
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Halifax North British Society was founded on 26 March 1768, making it the oldest Scottish charitable society formed in Canada. The Halifax society was the latest addition to a small number of ethnic Scottish associations established along the eastern seaboard of North America. The first one was the Charitable Society of Boston, which was set up as early as 1657 to provide relief for local Scottish people in need. By the mid-18th century St Andrew's Societies had been established in Charleston, South Carolina in 1729, in Philadelphia in 1747, and in New York in 1756. Canadian societies were slower to develop as Canada did not become the main destination of British emigrants until after the American Revolution. The town of Halifax in Nova Scotia had been founded in 1749 under the direction of the British Board of Trade and Plantations under the command of Governor Edward Cornwallis. The town was named after the British statesman the 2nd Earl of Halifax, who had played a major role in the founding of the settlement. The creation of the town was an attempt to bring European Protestant settlers to the region to counter-balance the presence of French Catholic settlers in Nova Scotia; it contravened existing treaties with the French and Native American tribes and subsequently triggered a war between the rival factions. Halifax in its early years was accordingly an important military and naval base for the British forces. As early as 1752 a local newspaper, The Halifax Gazette, was printed, the first newspaper to be printed in Canada, and only the third to be printed in North America. A measure of peace came to Nova Scotia in 1761, but life in this isolated frontier region was often a struggle for settlers due to the inhospitable environment and the long, harsh winters. The North British Society, also known as 'The Scots' and 'The Scots Club', was founded along the lines of the other Scottish societies in the American colonies. It was a national and patriotic association whose main objectives were to provide help to Scottish emigrants, to give financial and material assistance to those in distress, to maintain a patriotic, i.e. pro-British, sentiment among the Scottish emigre community, and to foster links between other similar societies elsewhere in North America. It also later helped to fund the passage home for Scots who wished to return to their homeland but could not afford to do so. A constitution was drawn up in 1768 and revised in 1786. In 1791, as the Society continued to grow in size and importance, a further revision was deemed necessary and a committee was appointed to improve the bye-laws. The result was captured in print in this small pamphlet, which was presumably distributed to all the members of the Society. The printer was the Boston-born John Howe (1754-1835), who had moved to Halifax during the American War of Independence because of his loyalist sympathies. He would later become the king's printer for Canada. The pamphlet provides some fascinating information about the operation of charitable societies in 18th century North America. It lists the entrance criteria for the Society  all members had to be Scottish or had to have Scottish parents or at least a Scottish father. An entrance fee of not less than four dollars had to be paid, followed by quarterly fees of three shillings. There were three categories of members: ordinary, perpetual and honorary; members who missed four consecutive quarterly meetings without a good excuse lost their membership. In addition to its other charitable functions, funds were made available through the various office holders for the care of sick members and also for the widows of deceased members. At the end is a list of current office bearers and of 100 members who had joined from the foundation of the Society onwards. In 1794, the Society had the honour of hosting Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent and Strathearn, at their annual St. Andrew's Day celebrations. Edward, the fourth son of George III, and father of Queen Victoria, was based in Canada between 1791 and 1800. From 1794 onwards he lived at the Royal Navy's base in Halifax and became a fixture of British North American society. Following on from the success of Halifax Scottish society, the St. Andrew's Society of St. John, New Brunswick, was established in 1798. However, other Scottish ethnic associations only emerged in Canada during the early 19th century, with the creation of major urban centres such as Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, all of which had St. Andrew's Societies by the 1840s. The North British Society in Halifax continues to this day; NLS has a few publications from the 19th and 20th centuries relating to its commemoration of Scotland and Scottish figures such as Burns and Scott in its collections. There is no recorded copy of this pamphlet in major North American or British libraries. This copy survives in its original marbled paper wrappers; on the front free endpaper is an inscription "Allan" in an 18th-century hand, which could imply that the former owner was relative or descendant of William Allan, one of the members listed at the back of the pamphlet. William Allan may be identified with Major William Allan (1720-1790), a Scottish officer in the British Army who was one of the original settlers of Halifax. He lived there for 10 years before relocating to Fort Lawrence in Nova Scotia, where he worked as a farmer and merchant.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2881
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/11/13
AuthorNotman, William (1826-1891)
TitleSerjeants of the 78th Highlanders
Date of Publication186?
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn outstanding composite albumin photograph entitled 'Serjeants of the 78th Highlanders' by the photographer William Notman (1826-1891). The photograph measures 23 cm. tall by 18 cm. wide and is mounted on a large backing card. It incorporates 51 small oval images of soldiers, all numbered neatly beneath in ink. These numbers refer to the key below the photograph which lists, in very neat small writing, the ranks and names of the 51 soldiers depicted in the image. Notman was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1856 where he established himself as a photographer in Montréal. He eventually became one of the most important photographers in Canada. His fame as a portrait photographer drew the Montréal elite, prominent visitors to the city, and ordinary citizens to his studio. Although the major portion of his work was devoted to portraits, he also did landscapes, street scenes, and city views across Canada. Over the years the business expanded to include studios in Montréal, Toronto and Boston.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Acquired on11/06/09
AuthorOdyniec, Antoni Edward
TitleTlomaczenia Antoniego Edwarda Odynda. Tom Czwarty [-szosty i ostatni]
ImprintVilnius: Jozef Zwadski
Date of Publication1842
LanguagePolish
NotesIn this book are bound volumes 4-6 of the Tlumaczenia (translations) of Antoni Edward Odyniec (1804-1885). The first three volumes had been published in 1838 in Leipzig; these final three were published in Vilnius in 1842-3. Odyniec was a journalist, poet and translator, who had previously translated Byron's Corsair (1st ed., 1829) while in exile in Paris. The three volumes here show Byron and Scott alongside other great names of European literature, being translated for a Polish audience on whom they would have a great influence. Volume four contains Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and volume five Byron's Mazeppa, along with Thomas Moore's Paradise and the Peri and Scott's ballads The Eve of St. John and Cadyow Castle. These last, presumably taken from an edition of Scott's Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), come like The Lay complete with comments by the translator incorporating Scott's own notes. Other translations include poems by Gottfried August Burger, Southey and Puskin, and Schiller's play Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans). COPAC records no copies of these translations outside London.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2737
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on27/01/09
AuthorOgilvie, John [& John Mayne]
TitleRelatio incarcerationis & martyrij P. Ioannis Ogilbei natione Scoti
ImprintConstantiae: ex typographaeo Leonhardi Straub.
Date of Publication1616
LanguageLatin
NotesThis appears to be the second edition of the primary account of the sufferings of John Ogilvie (1580-1615), the Jesuit priest who was hanged for treason in Glasgow, thereby becoming one of the very few Catholic martyrs of the Reformation period. This is his own account of his sufferings, which was continued by John Mayne using the testimony of Ogilvie's fellow-prisoners, and first published at Douai in 1615. The Library has a copy of the first edition at BCL.S165, but the second edition has 7 pages of additional material. This copy has early provenance from German libraries. Born at Drum na Keith, Ogilvie converted to Catholicism and entered the Society of Jesus. Ordained in either 1610 or 1613, he requested to work in Scotland, despite the danger faced by Catholic priests, and particularly Jesuits, when the penalty for saying Mass was death. After a successful ministry in Edinburgh and Glasgow lasting nine months, he was arrested and tortured to reveal the names of other Catholics, being deprived of sleep by being pricked with needles. James VI had offered him the chance of liberation if he would accept the spiritual supremacy of the monarch, but Ogilvie publicly rejected these terms at his trial. He was executed as a traitor on 10 March 1615. St. John Ogilvie was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1976, the first Scot to be canonised for over 700 years.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2309
Reference SourcesTrue Relation of the proceedings against John Ogilvie, Edinburgh: 1615, H.34.c.41
Acquired on12/08/03
AuthorOgilvy, James, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and Stieglitz, Christian Ludwig
TitleZeichnungen aus der schoenen Baukunst
ImprintLeipzig: Georg Voss
Date of Publication1805
LanguageGerman
NotesA splendidly illustrated book of engraved architectural plans and elevations of existing and proposed buildings. The work was first published in Leipzig and Paris in nine parts between 1798 and 1800 under the title "Plans et desseins tires de la belle architecture". This is the second, 'improved', German collected edition, published by Voss of Leipzig. It contains an introductory essay by the German scholar and architectural historian Christian Stieglitz, who has been wrongly assumed to be responsible for the whole work. In fact the collection of engravings was compiled by James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield (1750-1811). The plates of existing buildings, including a number of British buildings (amongst them James MacPherson's former home Belleville House, Inverness-shire) were presumably taken from prints and drawings in Findlater's own collection. The plates for proposed designs appear to be Ogilvy's own work. The importance of this work lies in the significant role it played in introducing neo-classical architecture in the style of Robert and James Adam to Germany. The NLS copy is in a contemporary German calf binding, specially bound for Georg Karl von Fechenbach (1749-1808), the last Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. It was formerly in the Fechenbach family library, part of which was auctioned off in 2005. Ogilvy himself was a rather tragic figure. He left Scotland, and his ancestral home Cullen House in Banffshire, for good in 1791, after a series of personal and social misfortunes. He settled eventually in Dresden where he pursued his interests in architecture and built his own palace on the banks on the river Elbe.
ShelfmarkRB.l.235
Reference SourcesA.A. Tait, "Lord Findlater, Architect", Burlington Magazine, vol. 128 (1986), pp. 738-741)
Acquired on05/04/07
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
AuthorOrcadensis
TitleOrcadensis to William Cobbett, M.P. on the political grievances of Orkney and Zetland.
ImprintEdinburgh : John Hamilton,
Date of Publication1833
LanguageEnglish
NotesWritten in the form of a letter to the radical English writer and politician William Cobbett, this very rare pamphlet makes an impassioned plea for separate representation for Orkney and Zetland (Shetland) in the UK parliament. The author, presumably an inhabitant of Orkney (Orcadensis), believes that the Scottish Reform Act of 1832, which had redefined constituencies and greatly widened the franchise in Scotland, is an "ill digested measure". Writing shortly after the recent election of 1833, Orcadensis argues that Orkney and Shetland have major economic and cultural differences, the former being agricultural in nature, the latter being commercial, with little trade or communication occurring between them. The author's arguments do not appear to have had any effect; 170 years later Orkney and Shetland remains a single constituency, its boundaries now uniquely protected by the Scotland Act of 1998. Orcadensis's choice of Cobbett as the addressee of his letter is not just a recognition of Cobbett's leading role in securing parliamentary reform in 1832, but also a conscious copying of the latters epistolary style of writing his "rural rides" - his reports of his extensive travels in southern England. In 1833, moreover, Cobbett was very much in the news in Scotland; he made his one and only visit to the country, visiting Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley and New Lanark amongst other places. After a lifetime spent denigrating Scotland and Scots, in particular what he felt was the undue influence of Scottish politicians and "feelosofers" in post-Union Great Britain, Cobbett struck a much more conciliatory tone when in the country itself, and also in his "Tour of Scotland" published that year. As for Orcadensis, he concludes his pamphlet by stating his next letter will contain a plan for "vigorous reform" of the Scottish Church, a letter which does not appear to have been published.
ShelfmarkAP.2.213.04
Acquired on25/05/12
AuthorPark, Mungo
TitleReise in das Innere von Afrika in den Jahren 1795, 1796 und 1797 auf Veranstaltung der Afrikanischen Gesellschaft unternommen. Nebst einem Woerterbuche
ImprintHamburg: bei Benjamin Gottlob Hoffmann
Date of Publication1799
LanguageGerman
NotesThis German translation of Mungo Park's "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" was published in the same year as the English original. The African explorer Mungo Park (1771-1806) hailed from a farm on the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch near Selkirk. He was apprenticed as a surgeon before entering Edinburgh University to study medicine. In 1792 he sailed to the East Indies as assistant medical officer. In 1795 he was sent on behalf of the African Association to discover the true course of the Niger. Barely escaping with his life on more than one occasion, Park did not succeed in his mission and returned at the end of 1797. "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" is an account of this journey. It went through three editions in its year of publication and made Park instantly famous and popular. The book also contains a dictionary of the Mandingo language; Park had learned this in the Gambia before setting off on his journey. In 1805 he was commissioned to go on another journey of exploration to find the termination of the Niger. He sailed down the Niger in a boat he had constructed from a canoe and got past Timbuktu, but lost his life in a fight with natives. Ultimately, his inference that the Niger "could flow nowhere but into the sea" was proved correct. This copy of the German edition has steel engraved plates of African settlements as well as a detailed map of the area explored by Park.
ShelfmarkABS.3.204.011
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on20/05/04
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