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 864 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 864:

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AuthorJohn Ferdinand
TitleThe sword's-man: containing a series of observations on the use of the sword
ImprintEdinburgh: A. Robertson
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded pamphlet on fencing. It is aimed at the gentleman amateur and aims to impart lessons which are "easy, safe, and void of those flourishes, only intended to divert the curious and ignorant." The author, John Ferdinand, is recorded in a contemporary post office directory as a "Fencing master" residing in Gavinlock's land, a close off what is now known as the Lawnmarket, nothing more has been discovered about him. The pamphlet was originally part of a volume in the library at Fettercairn house, home of the family of Forbes of Pitsligo, which was sold off at auction in 2016.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2933
Acquired on22/04/17
AuthorJohn Forbes-Robertson
TitleVerses on the centenary of the birth of Robert Burns.
Imprint[Glasgow?]: Maclure, Macdonald, & MacGregor
Date of Publication1859
LanguageEdinburgh
NotesForbes-Robertson (1822-1903) was an art critic and journalist, who wrote this poem for The Caledonian Society of London, a society formed in 1837 and dedicated to the advancement of Scottish cultural and philanthropic interests. The poem was privately printed in Glasgow by Maclure, MacDonald, & MacGregor, and presumably distributed to members of the society. No copies are recorded elsewhere.
ShelfmarkAP.3.216.03
Acquired on08/01/16
AuthorJohn Gibson Lockhart
TitleLe Ministre Ecossais, ou le Veuvage d' Adam Blair
ImprintParis: Charles Gosselin
Date of Publication1822
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is an unrecorded French translation of Lockhart's controversial work "Some Passages in the Life of Mr. Adam Blair, Minister of the Gospel at Cross-Meikle". The first English edition was published in Edinburgh in the same year. The identity of the translator is unknown; he/she is referred to on the title page as the translator of "Edouard en Ecosse". This work is presumably the translation of David Carey's "Lochiel; or, the Field of Culloden" by 'baron Vel', which also appeared in 1822. "Le Ministre ecossais", published by Gosselin who also published translations of Walter Scott, was clearly aimed at enthusiastic French readers of Scott and all things Scottish. "Some Passages in the Life ..." was Lockhart's second novel and is generally regarded as his best. It was based on a true story that Lockhart heard from his father about a widowed minister who had an affair with a married woman. Lockhart was criticised for his immorality in recounting the tale; some of the disapproval may also have stemmed from the lack of a happy ending in the novel - the real 'Adam Blair' minister was deposed in 1746, but went on to marry his mistress and was eventually accepted back into the church. This three-volume set is from the library of a French noblewoman Diane-Adelaide Damas d' Antigny, madame de Simiane (1761-1835), former mistress of the marquis de Lafayette, which was housed in the Chateau de Cirey in Champagne.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.153-154
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on31/05/13
AuthorJohn Gregory
TitleA comparative view of the state and faculties of man with those of the animal world.
ImprintLondon:
Date of PublicationPrinted for J. Dodsley
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Gregory (1724-1773), was a member of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. He considered human nature to be a uniform non-variant, whose principles and function can be discovered through experiment. In this, the first edition of his work, the anonymous author brings together the contents of his lectures to the Society. Gregory wrote that "The task of improving our nature, of improving man's estate, involves the proper development and exercise of the social principle and the other principle of instinct, with reason subordinate to instinct and serving as a corrective on it". The study of nature is then, according to Gregory, the best means of cultivating taste and religious understanding, the aim being to produce morally well-formed individuals.
ShelfmarkAB.1.217.121
Acquired on22/04/17
AuthorJohn James Audubon
TitleOrnithological biography vol. 1
ImprintPhiladelphia: Carey and Hart
Date of Publication1832
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn 1830 John James Audubon began working in Edinburgh with the Scottish ornithologist William Macgillivray on a five-volume work "Ornithological Biography". The work was designed to accompany the double elephant folio plates of "Birds of America", which were being engraved in London at the time. Volume one was first published in Edinburgh in 1831, and in order to safeguard his copyright in the USA, Audubon also arranged for an edition to be printed and published in his adopted homeland in the same year by Dobson and Porter. This 1832 Philadelphia edition appears to be a reprint of the Dobson and Porter version, identical apart from the title page; it presumably had a larger print-run. An American edition of volume 2 was published in Boston in 1835, but no further volumes of "Ornithological Biography" were printed in America during Audubon's lifetime.
ShelfmarkAB.4.207.05
Reference SourcesWilliam Braislin, "An American edition of Audubon's 'Ornithological biography'" The Auk, v. 35 (1918)pp. 360-362.
Acquired on30/03/07
AuthorJohn Moncrief
TitleThe poor man's physician, or the receipts of the famous John Moncrief of Tippermalloch, 2nd edition.
ImprintEdinburgh: George Stewart
Date of Publication1716
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare second edition, "very much enlarged and corrected", of a self-help manual for men and women who were not sufficiently wealthy to afford a doctor. The contents of the work are arranged according to the various parts of the body and the particular diseases affecting them. The author, John Moncrief/Moncrieff/Moncreiff, a "worthy and ingenious gentleman", was a physician and 5th baronet of Tippermalloch in Strathearn, Perthshire. He recommends cures based on folk remedies, using herbs, spices, food, drink and other substances likely to be found in the average household, as well as toe-curlingly awful treatments involving animal parts, blood and excrement, such as washing the head in dog?s urine to make hair grow on bald heads. This particular copy has the armorial bookplate on the front pastedown "The Right Honble. Patrick Hume Earl of Marchmont Viscount of Blasonberry Lord Polworth of Polwarth &c Lord High Chancelor [sic] of Scotland 1702".
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.62
Acquired on09/09/16
AuthorJohn Muir (ed.)
TitlePicturesque California and the region west of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska to Mexico.
ImprintSan Francisco & New York: J. Dewing Company
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
Notes2014 marks the centenary of the death of Scottish-born naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838-1914), who is regarded as the founder of national parks in the USA. He edited this great work of pictorial Western Americana. Among the famed artists who contributed to the work are Frederick Cozzens, Thomas Hill, Thomas Moran and Frederick Remington. Their work is reproduced here in engravings, etchings and photogravures, which fill 120 full-page plates (with printed tissue descriptions). The 35 separate articles are written by a variety of authors, with Muir contributing seven articles, three of them on the High Sierras and his beloved Yosemite Valley (two of them were written especially for this work, the others were edited from earlier publications). This edition includes his article on Alaska which is not included in later abridged editions. Publication was issued by subscription, and no subscription was accepted "for less than the entire work." The work was issued in a bewildering number of different formats and editions, initially between 1887 and 1890, the latest edition with this title being 1894. Muir wrote in a letter of 1889 that he had finished his contributions by shutting himself up in a room in the Old Grand hotel San Francisco for two weeks.
ShelfmarkAB.10.214.07-09
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB; W.F. Kimes & M.B. Kimes 'John Muir: a reading bibliography' (Palo Alto, 1977) (no. 175); L.G. Currey & D.G. Kruska "Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra" (Palo Alto, 1992) (no. 257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorJohn Newton
TitleLetters and Sermons
ImprintEdinburgh: Murray & Cochrane
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a 9-volume set, printed in Edinburgh, of the works of John Newton (1725-1807), a slave trader who became a Church of England clergyman. Newton left the slave trade in 1755, and, having already found religion, he became a leading figure in the evangelical wing of the CofE. He is best known now for his collection of 'Olney Hymns' written in collaboration with William Cowper, which included the famous hymn "Amazing Grace". In his latter years he became an important ally of William Wilberforce and the abolitionist movement. This particular set has a Scottish provenance, having belonged to the Harray and Sandwick Free Church library on Orkney.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.100-108
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on31/07/15
AuthorJohn Scott
TitleA bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Darien Company.
ImprintEdinburgh: privately printed
Date of Publication1903 & 1906
LanguageEnglish
NotesOriginally published as part of vol. 6 of the series Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society (1901-1904), under the title "A bibliography of printed documents and books relating to the Scottish company, commonly called the Darien Company", this is the catalogue originally compiled by John Scott (1830-1903), former President of the EBS, of his collection of books relating to the Darien Company. Scott was a well-known engineer and shipbuilder, who, with his brother, ran the family firm of Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. in Greenock. Only 20 copies of the catalogue were printed, the catalogue being prefaced by EBS secretary George Pyper Johnston's encomium of John Scott. Johnston revised the catalogue and made additions and corrections to it. The publication contains two title pages reflecting the fact that it was printed in two stages: pp. [1]-54, printed in 1904, containing Scott's original bibliography, and pp. 54-75, containing Johnston's additions and corrections, printed in 1906. The first one, dated 1904, reads "Revised by George P. Johnston", and is usually found at the front of the work. The second title-page has two publication dates in the imprint, 1904 and 1906, and reads "With additions and corrections by George P. Johnston", and is usually found between pages 54 and 55; in this copy it has been bound at the front of the work. The original paper wrapper, not present in this copy, is printed as the 1904 title page. This particular copy, no. 11 of 20, has the signature on the recto of the front free endpaper of "Alasdair Mac Gillemhoire aŽ Bea`rnaraidh na Hearadh" (Alasdair Morrison).
ShelfmarkRB.m.761
Acquired on03/06/16
AuthorJohn Shier
TitlePreliminary report, or Outline of the principal duties of the agricultural chemist to the colony of British Guiana.
ImprintDemerara: Royal Gazette Office
Date of Publication1847
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare British Guiana printing of a report by the Scottish agricultural chemist John Shier (1807-1854), who was the first Fordyce lecturer on agriculture at Aberdeen University (1840-45). Shier had recently emigrated to the British colony of Guiana where he was employed as Consulting Agricultural Chemist, tasked with improving agriculture, in particular cultivation of sugar cane. This copy is a presentation copy from the author to the Royal Agricultural Society of England.
ShelfmarkAP.2.216.04
Acquired on18/03/16
AuthorJohn Wilson
TitleMusalmani din ka Raddi: or Refutation of Muhammadism, in Hindustani. 2nd edition.
ImprintBombay : [Bombay] Tract and Book Society
Date of Publication1840
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Wilson (1804-1875), Scottish missionary and orientalist, studied linguistics, medicine and theology in Edinburgh in preparation for missionary life and mastered the Gujarati, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Hindi, Persion, Arabic and Zend languages. In 1829, a year after graduating, he and his wife went to Bombay as missionaries. There they established a series of successful schools for both boys and girls, secured a printing press by an arrangement with the Bombay Tract and Book Society, and entered into public discussions with Hindu Brahmans, and with Muslims and Parsees. This controversialist work, lithographically printed in the Urdu language, was part of his attempts to convert local people to Christianity. It was first published in 1834 by the Bombay Tract and Book Society and an edition in Persian was also printed, presumably aimed at the Parsee community. Despite his proselytising mission Wilson was also indefatigable collector of oriental manuscripts who sought to preserve Indian historical monuments.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.21
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/06/15
AuthorJohnston, James F. W.
TitleQueries regarding the potato disease.
ImprintEdinburgh: Laboratory of the Agricultural Chemistry Association,
Date of Publication[1845?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an interesting questionnaire sent out to Scottish farmers ('the most skilful local farmers') by the laboratory of the Agricultural and Chemistry Association regarding potato disease. The 26 questions on the sheet were intended to get an understanding of the extent of potato disease in Scotland. In 1844, a new form of potato blight was identified in America, an air-carried fungus 'Phytophthora Infestans'. It basically turned a potato into a mushy mess that was completely inedible. The American blight was first identified in France and the Isle of Wight in 1845. The summer of 1845 turned out to be mild but very wet in Britain and Ireland. It was almost the perfect weather conditions for the blight to spread, which it did in Ireland to a catastrophic effect. It also badly affected the Highlands of Scotland, another area where the potato had become the staple food, from 1846 to 1852.
ShelfmarkAP.4.209.26
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorJong, Dirk de.
TitleNieuwe Beschryving der Walvischvanst en haringvisschery.
ImprintAmsterdam: Gert Jan Bestebreurtje
Date of Publication1791
LanguageDutch
NotesThis is the second edition (first published 1784-86) of a classic work on Dutch whaling together with an article on a herring fishery. It contains accounts of whaling expeditions in Arctic Regions as well as descriptions of types of whales and other animals. Included are engraved plates depicting whaling and herring fishery scenes as well as a number of engraved maps and plates.
ShelfmarkGB/A.3813
Acquired on30/09/04
AuthorJosephus, Flavius
TitleGenuine Works
Imprint6 vols., Edinburgh: for William Coke
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine set of an interesting edition of William Whiston's translation of the works of Josephus. Whiston's famous translation of the Jewish historian's writings had its first Scottish publication in Scotland in 1777. There seem to have been two issues; the Library already has a copy of the issue printed for Alexander Donaldson. (VV.1/2). ESTC N64882 records only one copy of the issue printed for the Leith bookseller William Coke, which is at the University of Texas. According to SBTI, William Coke had fomerly been Alexander Donaldson's clerk, and was a witness in the case of Donaldson v John Reid in 1767. All six volumes are bound in contemporary polished calf; each spine has raised bands between gilt rules and a red morocco label, gilt lettered. Each volume has the attractive armorial bookplate of Thomas Lowndes.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2274
Acquired on12/06/02
AuthorJulie de Gerschau
TitleQuicksands
ImprintLondon: Spottiswoode & Co.
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
NotesA fictionalised and incomplete account of the life of Mary Queen of Scots by the daughter of a Russian aristocrat of German ancestry, Julie de Gerschau (1870-1887), privately published after her death. The work contains a preface by author's father, Baron Gerschau, who also seems to have acted as editor, and presumably funded the publication as a memorial to his daughter, who died of typhoid fever while staying in Rome. Julie 'Loulou' appears to have had a particular passion for Mary Queen of Scots which led to her to begin writing this historical novel. This copy is a presentation copy to a "Miss Coles" from Baron Gerschau. It has a mounted photograph of the author as a frontispiece, with "Loulou Gershaw" written in manuscript underneath, and a copy of a drawing of "Mary Stuart after a drawing by the author", inserted after page [100].
ShelfmarkAB.1.217.105
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on17/02/17
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49     50     51     52     53     54     55     56     57     58