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 727 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 727:

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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
AuthorAnon
TitleThe bird-fancier's companion; or, a true and easy way of hatching and bringing forth canary birds. 2nd ed.
ImprintEdinburgh: A. Donaldson & J. Reid for William Coke,
Date of Publication1763
LanguageEnglish
NotesOnly two other copies of this book on canaries are recorded in ESTC and no first edition is recorded anywhere. The text is taken from a work first printed in London "A new way of breeding canary birds" (1742), which was also reissued as the second part of "The bird fancier's necessary companion and sure guide" (London, 1760-62). The work opens with chapters on the different breeds of canary and about how to make the best choice from the birds imported into "England" by German traders. The import of caged birds into Scotland is likely to have been though Leith, at that time the main entry point in Scotland for foreign goods, which would explain why the book was printed for a Leith-based bookseller, William Coke. The book goes on to cover breeding of canaries, health tips and how to make them sing. It closes with a section on native wild birds which were often kept as caged birds: skylarks, goldfinches and linnets. The book is illustrated with a frontispiece and a plate showing how to set up a bird trap, as well as three plates depicting the three aforementioned native song birds. The plates were engraved by Edinburgh-based Thomas Phinn (1728-c.1770).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2851
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on31/08/12
Author[Binding - Scott, James of Edinburgh]
TitleThe book of common prayer + A companion to the altar + A new version of the Psalms of David
ImprintEdinburgh: Adrian Watkins,
Date of Publication1756-57
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Library has the largest institutional collection of bindings by James Scott and his son William, the renowned Scottish bookbinders of the second half of the 18th century, and is always looking to add to its collections. This particular volume contains three works bound together in a red morocco binding which is representative of James Scott's earlier work. It combines the characteristics of the rococo style with elements of chinoiserie, a style that preceded his shift into a more neo-classical decorative influence. Both boards are bordered by a Greek-key roll, panels with an elaborate rococo decoration framing a radiating pyramid, with use of swan and nesting bird tools; the spine is gilt in compartments, repeating a tool with two birds. The binding appears datable to c.1777 from a comparison with the recorded uses of Scott's tools detailed in J.H. Loudon's James Scott and William Scott, bookinders (Edinburgh, 1980). On this binding can be found the nesting bird tool (Zo.9) the swan tool (Zo.7) and the radiating pyramid tool (Ge.2). Also present are the detached flower head tool (Bo.7) and rococo scrolls (Sc. 1). The endpapers have been patterned with a painted spatter decoration that was used on some of Scott's earlier bindings. The title page of prayer book contains the signature of the owner "Louisa Graeme" and a note regarding her identity, namely Louisa Graham (d. 1782) wife of David Graham of Orchil, Perthshire.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.171(1-3)
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, "James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders" (NY, 1980)
Acquired on03/06/11
AuthorDalbeattie Golf Club.
TitleThe book of Dalbeattie Golf Club.
ImprintDalbeattie: Printed and published by Ivie A. Callan,
Date of Publication1912
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare early 20th-century golf publication on golf in Dumfries and Galloway. The Dalbeattie Golf Club was inaugurated at a public meeting in 1894, and a nine-hole course was created from local farmland. In 1902 a small clubhouse was erected, but proved to be inadequate to meets the needs of the growing membership. The book of Dalbeattie Golf Club, privately printed in 1912, was produced to help raise funds to improve the course and the facilities, with literary contributions from members of the club. As one author writes, "So fascinating has the game of golf now become that a holiday district without a good golf course labours under great disadvantages. A first class golf course is almost a necessity as a means of attracting visitors and, with this object in view it is desirable to have a course worthy of Dalbeattie".
ShelfmarkRB.m.689
Reference SourcesDalbeattie Golf Club website http://www.dalbeattiegc.co.uk/index.html
Acquired on30/04/09
AuthorGreensmith Downes & Son
TitleThe book of Scotch-made underwear
ImprintEdinburgh: Greensmith, Downes & Son
Date of Publication1910
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis trade catalogue provides us with a lot of very useful information about fashion in the early 20th century. It is attractively illustrated with colour plates and black and white drawings and photographs to accompany the price lists and descriptions of the clothes. At the back of the volume there is a pattern book incorporating over 30 pieces of fabric of the type used by Greensmith Downes & Son in their garments. The shop in George Street, Edinburgh was well known for selling quality (and expensive) clothing and was in business until at least the 1970s. As well as underwear the there are also sections in the catalogue on hunting jackets, waistcoats, elbow warmers, socks and rugs. There is also an extensive introductory section describing the manufacturing process, a discussion of the merits of woollen underwear as well as short pieces on The problem of shrinkage and Sweating: how far is the British public responsible. A couple of pages are also devoted to the Scottish Antarctic Expedition of 1902-04 during which the members of the expedition “all wore complete outfits of ‘Australlama’ which speciality gave the utmost satisfaction, and was acknowledged by them to be infinitely superior to the foreign makers of underwear hitherto tried”.The Library also has a 1926 Greensmith Downes trade catalogue at shelfmark HP1.87.1881.
ShelfmarkABS.1.206.067
Acquired on04/04/05
Author[Andrew Bennett]
TitleThe book of St Andrews Links
ImprintSt Andrews: J.& G. Innes
Date of Publication1898
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare early book on golf, printed in St Andrews, which the author describes as the 'mecca of golf'. The author, not named in the publication, was Andrew Bennett, (1871-1958), who would later serve as Secretary of St Andrews University and who, in addition to his interest in golf, was a keen amateur poet and artist. The book contains the rules and regulations of the game, information on the Old and New courses in St Andrews (including a colour map showing their location) and a selection of golfing rhymes. Only 1,000 copies of this edition were printed.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2724
Reference SourcesDonovan & Murdoch, "The game of golf and the printed word, 1566-1985 : a bibliography of golf literature in the English language " (Endicott, NY, 1988)no. 690 JSF Murdoch "The Murdoch golf library" (Droitwich, 1991)no. 57
Acquired on05/09/08
TitleThe case of the Bishop of Ross, resident of the Queen of Scots, who was seized and committed to the Tower by Queen Elizabeth, for traiterous practices, and endevouring to raise a rebellion against her.
ImprintLondon: Printed for Edward Symon...sold by J. Roberts...
Date of Publication1717
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare work attempting to construct a case against Count Karl Gyllenborg’s treasonable communications with Jacobites, by drawing on the case of John Leslie, Bishop of Ross’s support for Mary Queen of Scots' right of succession to the throne of England. The text revolves around the retelling of the events of 1584 with emphasis on pinpointing a legal parallel between the two cases of treason. Gyllenborg was imprisoned until the threatened rebellion blew over, more as a guaranteed safe custody or protection than as a punishment.
ShelfmarkRB.m.618
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorStuart, John Knox
TitleThe chemical experimentalist; or, an attempt to allure by experiment. Third edition.
ImprintPaisley: Caldwell
Date of Publication1834-37
LanguageEnglish
NotesWith the running title of "Stuart's Useful Information for the People", this book is an excellent example of early 19th-century attempts to popularise science for the masses. The author aims to guide the reader "towards the cultivation of the simple and sublime science - chemistry", using simple language and lots of diagrams. The book appears to have been issued in individual numbers which form seven parts. Of particular interest are the rather crudely produced illustrations, including an advertisement for the author's own popular medicines, as well as a cloth sample on p. 121.
ShelfmarkAB.3.208.01
Acquired on14/01/08
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