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 586 to 600 of 735:

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Author[Anon]
TitleStates of the affairs of Messrs Douglas, Heron, and company, at August 1773, when they finally gave up business.
Imprint[Edinburgh: s.n.]
Date of Publication1780
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded broadside of 1780, presumably printed in Edinburgh, which summarises the financial state of the failed Ayr Bank, one of the most dramatic crashes in the history of early Scottish, indeed European, banking. The bank had been founded in 1769 by the firm of Douglas, Heron & Co. with the motto "Pro bon publico", as a response to a rapidly growing demand in Scotland for banking facilities. Credit was tight among the existing banks and there was a general belief that a new bank could unleash the potential of land ownership in Scotland. The bank was supported by some of the leading aristocratic landowners in Scotland, its credit backed by the collateral of large tracts of land. However, in order to support land improvement schemes, the Ayr Bank adopted policies that proved to be far too risky. Adam Smith, would later comment in his 'Wealth of Nations', "this bank was far more liberal than any other had been, both in granting cash accounts, and in discounting bills of exchange" (II.ii.73). By June 1772 the bank had issued £1.2 million through advances and bills of exchange, around two thirds of the currency of the country. In the same month, news of the collapse of a London bank, which had extensive dealings with the Ayr Bank, reached Scotland; a financial crisis ensued which led to the eventual collapse of all but three of the country's 30 private banks. There was a run on the Ayr Bank forcing it to suspend payments on June 25. To shore up the loan book of the bank its partners had to put up the collateral of their lands; these lands were gradually sold over the following years to meet the bank's huge losses. The collapse of the bank was thus a major blow to the great Scottish landowning families, including Adam Smith's patron and former pupil, the Duke of Buccleuch, who was a major shareholder in it.
ShelfmarkRB.l.251
Reference SourcesAntoin E. Murphy, 'The Genesis of Macroeconomics', Oxford, 2009.
Acquired on18/06/09
TitleStevensoniana: being a reprint of various literary and pictorial miscellany associated with Robert Louis Stevenson the man and his work
ImprintNew York: Bankside Press
Date of Publication1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare item is, indeed, a collection of miscellaneous items by and about Robert Louis Stevenson: it includes texts such as Stevenson's article on Beranger in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and a poem about Stevenson by W.E. Henley, and illustrations including facsimile title pages and reproductions from earlier editions. It is a fine example of American private press de luxe publication of the period, one of a series of such literary productions by the Bankside Press at this time, with M.F. Mansfield accredited as the publisher and Blanche McManus responsible for the illustrations. Originally published in 6 parts (12 are advertised in this volume, but only 6 were produced), the whole, including the original paper covers, has been rebound in contemporary maroon half morocco with black and pink marbled boards and endpapers.
ShelfmarkFB.s.888
Reference SourcesBeinicke Stevenson bibliography vol. 1 item 1425; bookseller's catalogue
Acquired on11/08/06
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitleStrange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde
ImprintParis: Ateliers Leblanc
Date of Publication1994
NotesWith 10 copper engravings preceding the text, executed by Didier Mutel. Oblong folio, loose as issued in original printed white wrappers, in matching slipcase. Like most art books this effort provokes a reaction from the viewer/reader. The conceit is simple enough, the central duality between the eponymous characters in Stevenson's story is transferred to the suite of 10 copper engravings that map the change from Jekyll into Hyde. The engravings are particularly well-executed. In the text the duality is explored through the use of type of different sizes, and with the increase in point size of the pronoun 'I' to illustrate the gradual domination of Hyde in the relationship. Finally, the typography is employed to show the fatal predominance of Hyde's personality. It is a hackneyed enough phrase, but this is a book that has to be seen to be 'appreciated'. One of a limited edition of 61, this copy is number 37 signed by the artist.
ShelfmarkFB.l.284
Acquired on23/05/01
AuthorPringle, Thomas (1789-1834)
TitleSüdafrikanische Skizzen. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt
ImprintStuttgart und Tübingen: J. G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1836
LanguageGerman
NotesPringle was a farmer's son, born in Teviotdale, Roxburghshire on 5 January 1789. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh and after graduation worked as a copyist in the Register Office. Later in 1817, he and James Cleghorn (1778-1838) were appointed editors of William Blackwood's newly-founded "Edinburgh Monthly Magazine". However, they only lasted six issues before being sacked and replaced by John Wilson and John Gibson Lockhart, who relaunched the journal as 'Blackwood's Magazine' Pringle fell into poverty and emigrated to South Africa in 1820, where he co-founded a private academy, published a magazine and newspaper, and became prominent in the anti-slavery movement. Suppression of his two publications by the Governor, Lord Charles Somerset, forced him to return to London with his wife in 1826. An article by Pringle on the South African slave trade, in the 'New Monthly Magazine' for October 1826, led to his appointment in 1827 as secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society. On 27 June 1834, Pringle signed a document which proclaimed the abolition of slavery. The following day he became seriously ill, and died later that year in London on December 5. 'Südafrikanishche Skizzen' is the first German edition of Pringles 'African Sketches' which includes his vivid and impressive 'Narrative of his Residence in South Africa'.
ShelfmarkAB.2.203.14
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on30/10/03
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
AuthorPindar
TitleTa tou Pindarou Olympia
ImprintGlasgow: R. and A. Foulis
Date of Publication1754
LanguageGreek
NotesThis is the first volume of the miniature Foulis Press edition of the ancient Greek poet Pindar's odes (printed 1754-58), this copy being one of only a few recorded copies printed on silk. It is a separate bibliographic item as only volume was the only printed in silk and accordingly it does not have the general title page of the regular 4-volume set. This is in fact only one of two miniature books printed on silk by the Foulis Press of Glasgow, the other being an edition of Anacreon printed in 1751 (a copy was acquired by the Library in 2003). It showcases the quality of their printing and the clarity of the Greek type they developed. The book is in a contemporary red morocco binding.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Reference SourcesGaskell, A bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed., 1986, no. 274
Acquired on28/02/14
Author[Morris, William and Wyatt, A.J. translators]
TitleTale of Beowulf sometime king of the folk of the Weder Geats
ImprintHammersmith: Kelmscott Press
Date of Publication1895
LanguageEnglish
NotesWith the purchase of this item along with "Atalanta in Calydon" the NLS has completed its collection of books which were available for public sale at the Kelmscott Press (there are 2 remaining items in the A section of Peterson's bibliography but it is unlikely that copies will be available for purchase). Beowulf seems to have been a favourite and long-cherished project of Morris. He described the Anglo-Saxon epic poem as "the first and best poem of the English race, [with] no author but the people", which would have appealed to his socialist principles. In 1893 he began his own translation of the poem using a papraphrase by the scholar Alfred John Wyatt. He completed the translation the following year then worked with Wyatt to revise his text. The book was issued in February 1895, 300 copies were printed on paper and 8 on vellum, and, costing over £485 to produce, was one of the more of the more expensive productions of the KP. Problems with the initial printing led to several sheets having to be reprinted. Morris was later to claim that he had lost money on the book; but the final publication ranks as one of the triumphs of the press, living up to Morris's dictum that his book were "beautiful by force of mere typography" . Morris and Wyatt's translation was reprinted by Longmans in 1898.
ShelfmarkKP.21
Reference SourcesPeterson "Bibliography of the Kelmscott Press" A32
Acquired on30/07/04
AuthorMacpherson, James
TitleTales of Ossian for use and entertainment. Ein Lesebuch für Anfänger im Englischen
ImprintNurnberg: Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe
Date of Publication1784
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare first edition of the English version of Macpherson's landmark work. It is probably based on the 1783 pirated reprint of Ossian prepared by Goethe and his friend Johann Heinrich Merck, (first ed. Darmstadt and Leipzig 1773-7). It contains an extensive German glossary, index of names, historical preface, and footnotes, all by Johann Balbach. The tales are taken exclusively from the epics of Fingal and Temora and have been made quite accessible and readable - obviously intended for quite young students of English. A second edition appeared in 1794 and a third in 1822. Only 3 other copies of this text have been recorded - none in Britain (copies at Harvard and Rice University in the United States and at Biblioteka Narodowa, Warsaw). This is also an unusual text as it is arguably the earliest adaptation published for children. It is an important addition to the National Library's corpus of Ossianic works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2094
Reference SourcesGaskill, Howard. 'German Ossianism: a reappraisal', German life and letters, vol. 42, no.4, July 1989. HJ3.455 Stafford, Fiona and Gaskill, Howard (eds.). From Gaelic to Romantic: Ossianic translations (Amsterdam, 1998) HP2.99.8029 Tombo, Rudolf. Ossian in Germany. (New York, 1901). Oss.295 (p.25)
Acquired on05/06/01
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleTeoriia nravstvennykh chuvstv [Theory of moral sentiments].
ImprintSt. Petersburg: I.I. Glazunov
Date of Publication1868
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the first, very rare edition in Russian of Smith's 'Theory of moral sentiments'. The translator, Pavel Bibikov (1831-1875), also translated the 'Wealth of Nations' in 1866, both being part of his series the Library of Classical European Writers. Bibikov regarded the two works as complementing each other, as he remarks in his preface to this translation, "the works reinforce each other. That is why, having published in Russian Adam Smith's great work of political economy, I decided to translate and publish his other work, which is no less remarkable, and yet known even less to Russian society than the first" (p. 5). Bibikov's translation, probably done via French, remained the only Russian version available until 1997.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2752
Acquired on16/06/09
AuthorKnox, Robert
TitleT'Eyland Ceylon in sijn binnenste, of 't koningrijck Candy
ImprintUtrecht: Wilhelm Broedelet
Date of Publication1692
LanguageDutch
NotesRobert Knox (1641-1720) was an English merchant, who made two journeys with his father, a ship's captain, to India. During the second journey, their ship put in at the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for repairs in 1659. The Knoxes offended the ruler of the island, the king of Kandy, as they failed to follow royal protocol by not announcing their arrival or sending suitable gifts. Relations at this time between the native inhabitants of Ceylon and European visitors were very strained, and consequently both men were both detained on the island, forbidden to leave without the king's approval. Knox's father died shortly afterwards and Knox himself spent the best part of twenty years living on Ceylon before finally managing to escape. On his return journey to England he wrote the first detailed account of Ceylon, "An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, in the East Indies", which was illustrated with sixteen plates. The book was published in 1681 and was a big success, being translated into German, Dutch and French in his lifetime. It was also a source of inspiration to Daniel Defoe when writing "Robinson Crusoe". Knox resumed his career as a merchant, visiting the East again a further five times. The acquisition of this Dutch edition complements the Library's extensive holdings of works relating to the Indian sub continent and to Sri Lanka (see the Alexander Mackie Collection). The six plates in the book are particularly interesting as they are substantially different to the plates that appeared in the English 1681 edition, although clearly inspired by them.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2683
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
TitleThe Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland, no. 3182-3337
ImprintAberdeen: J. Chalmers & Co.
Date of Publication1809-1811
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland" began in 1797 as a continuation of the "Aberdeen Journal". It was published weekly and was priced at 6d for a four-page issue. This volume contains c. 150 issues of the newspaper, covering a critical period in the Napoleonic Wars. The newspaper was published until 1876, when it was continued by the "Aberdeen Weekly Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland".
ShelfmarkRB.l.249
Acquired on21/11/08
AuthorScotland. Convention of Estates.
TitleThe acts & orders of the meeting of the Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland, holden and begun at Edinburgh, the 14th Day of March 1689.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by the heir of Andrew Anderson
Date of Publication1690
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis copy of the Acts and Orders (ESTC R033742), covering the early years of the rule of William and Mary, has an interesting provenance. On the contemporary binding is stamped in gold 'For the Browgh of Linlithgow', and inside is an inscription 'ex Dono Guiliemi Higginij Pastoris apud Tweedsmuirij'. This William Higgins (d.1718) sat for six sessions (1689-1700) as Member of the Scottish Parliament for the burgh of Linlithgow. Both his election and standing down set precedents. The Parliamentary Register of 1689 records that the Linlithgow election was contested by Higgins and George, Lord Livingston, eldest son of the Earl of Linlithgow. The election was granted to Higgins not only because he obtained 'the plurality of the votes of the burgesses' but also because Livingston, as the eldest son of a peer, was incapable of representing a burgh - a decision perhaps influenced by the fact that Higgins was a staunch Presbyterian, while Livingston was a known Jacobite. Only four days after this decision, Livingston was hosting Viscount Dundee ('Bonnie Dundee') on his journey to Stirling after defying the Convention when it decided to support William rather than James II. Higgins' election can be seen as the embodiment of the 'Glorious Revolution', with Whig politics and Presbyterianism in Linlithgow joining forces to promote the election of the popular bourgeois candidate at the expense of the local aristocrat who supported the old regime. Less excitingly, his standing down on becoming a Presbyterian minister set a precedent for the idea that ordination disqualified a man for the service of the secular parliament. Perhaps Higgins' gift, undated, was a thank-you offering to his electors, and a handing over to them of a book from the political life he was renouncing on his ordination.
ShelfmarkRB.m.683
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; The Times Law Reports; Douglas, Basil William, Lord Daer. The right of the eldest sons of the peers of Scotland to represent the Commons of that part of Great Britain in Parliament, considered. [Edinburgh?], 1790; Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (http://www.rps.ac.uk/)
Acquired on02/09/08
Author[Anon]
TitleThe agreable [sic] contrast between the British hero and the Italian fugitive.
Imprint[London : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1746]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an engraved satirical broadside printed in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, which gives an indication of the anti-Jacobite sentiments in the capital. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the "Italian fugitive", sits in a library reading and leaning his elbow on "The Pope's Bull". At his feet lies a print of the battle of Culloden and a broken anchor. He is flanked by Britannia and Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland (the "British hero") who both issue rebukes to him. At the foot of the broadside is engraved "Here happy Britain tells her joyfull [sic] tales, And may again since Williams arms prevails".
ShelfmarkRB.l.253
Acquired on26/06/09
AuthorClarke, R. M., Captain.
TitleThe angler's desideratum, containing the best and fullest directions for dressing the artificial fly; with some new and valuable inventions
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by M. Anderson
Date of Publication1839
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe author, Captain R.M. Clarke, wrote this work from his own personal experience of over fifty years of angling in the United Kingdom. Clarke felt that while other arts have been progressively improving, that of angling seems to have retrograded. He attributes this partly to the poor state of contemporary angling literature and indicates that in writing the Angler's Desideratum he was trying to address the faults and shortcomings of publications in this genre. He attributes the poor state of angling literature to two factors: firstly, the fact that many fishermen jealously want to guard their angling secrets and thus are loath to put anything in print. Secondly, the observation that those who do publish have very little, if any, actual experience of fishing and that they are primarily plagiarizing and/or summarizing Izaak Walton's (1593-1683) classic Compleat Angler of 1653. Topics covered include the rod, hooks, fly-casting, and the manner of tying a variety of flys. Both the preface and the conclusion state that this work is only "the precursor of another, more copious, and of consequence more efficient work" that is apparently in a state of being "far advanced." This larger work does not seem to have ever been published.
ShelfmarkABS.1.203.019
Acquired on07/05/03
AuthorDuncan, William.
TitleThe ass reliev'd. a true tale. In which is contained some remarks and observations, on the office of a tide-waiter.
ImprintGreenock: William Johnston,
Date of Publication1812
LanguageScots
NotesThis is an unrecorded Greenock chapbook by a local author, William Duncan. The verso of the title page notes that "The following tale is founded on fact, and happened in June, 1802, when the author was then but young in the service". 'The ass reliev'd' is in fact a mock-serious poem in Scots based on an incident involving an ass on board a ship during Duncan's time spent working as a tidesman or tide-waiter (a customs officer who goes on board a merchant ship to secure payment of the duties before a cargo can be unloaded). The second part of the poem 'Being remarks on the office of a tidewaiter' is a lament for the low pay and long hours involved in the job.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2745
Acquired on10/04/09
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