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 750 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 646 to 660 of 750:

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AuthorScott, Sir Walter.
Title[The Legend of Montrose.] Vysluzhivshiisia ofitser, ili voina Montroza, istoricheskii roman. Soch. Valtera Scotta, avtora Shotlandskikh puritan, Rob Roia, Edimburgskoi temnitsy, i proch. Perevod s Frantsuzskago. [The officer on the up, or the war of Montrose, a historical novel. A work by Walter Scott, author of The Scottish Puritan [ie. Old Mortality], Rob Roy, The Edinburgh Dungeon [ie. The Heart of Midlothian], and others. Translated from French].
ImprintMoscow: P. Kuznetsov
Date of Publication1824
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition of the first Russian translation of Sir Walter Scott's The Legend of Montrose. This historical romance set in Scotland in the 1640s was first published alongside The Bride of Lammermoor in 1819. During his lifetime Scott became famous in Russia - just as Robert Burns would become hugely popular there in later years. Many of his novels were translated from French. Kenilworth was the first of his novels to appear in Russian, in 1823. Scott became a major influence on great Russian writers such as Pushkin. Copies of Scott's novels in Russian are rare and this is the first early example NLS has been able to acquire. This copy is is bound in contemporary Russian marbled sheep, gilt-tooled with an image on the spine of a cart with a plough and sheaves.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2695
Acquired on31/10/07
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleIvanhoe: romanja.
ImprintPesten [Budapest] : Otto Wigand
Date of Publication1829
LanguageHungarian
NotesThe Library has in recent years acquired a number of early translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott printed in eastern Europe. This a rare Hungarian translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", only two other copies are recorded in the UK. It was the only Scott novel translated into Hungarian in the first half of the 19th century. It was translated by the poet and patriot Andras Thaisz (1789-1840, described by Sir John Bowring is his "The poetry of the Magyars" (London, 1830) as 'the translator of the Scottish Romances'.
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.28-30
Acquired on18/05/12
AuthorScott, Walter
TitlePoetical works
ImprintEdinburgh: Adam and Charles Black
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a fine Scottish publisher's binding in red cloth, with the arms of Sir Walter Scott stamped in gilt on the front board. The black and gold decoration is striking and in good condition. Scott's initials are at the upper right of the front board, and at the foot of the board are various flowers and moths. The overall impression is striking. The Library has a copy of the text at SP.94, in a plain binding of polished calf.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.165
Acquired on17/08/05
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleElena Duglas ili Deva Ozera Lok-Katrinskago [Lady of the lake]
ImprintMoscow: V Universitetskoi Tipografii
Date of Publication1828
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is an early Russian translation of Sir Walter Scott's narrative poem 'The Lady of the lake', first published in English in 1810. The poem was an immediate and huge success, selling 25,000 copies in 8 months, and helped spread Scott's fame beyond English-speaking lands. He became probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, the first Russian translation of his works, some extracts from 'Ivanhoe', appeared as early as 1820. His influence can be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan and dressing up as characters from his novels. This translation (the name of the translator is unknown) is in turn taken from a French translation, possibly the 1813 translation by Elisabeth de Bon.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2878
Acquired on04/10/13
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleKenel'uort. Roman Val'tera Skota obrabotan dlia iunoshestva [Kenilworth. A novel by Walter Scott adapted for youth].
ImprintSankpeterburg, Moskva : M.O. Vol'fa
Date of Publication1873
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is a Russian adaption of Sir Walter Scott's novel "Kenilworth" for younger readers. The cover states the book was published within the series 'Sochineniia Val'ter-Skota' ('Works of Walter-Scott' [sic]), but no other works within this series have been located apart a translation of "Waverley" (Veverlei, 1876), at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Translations of Scott into Russian began to appear in the 1820s; he reached probably the widest audience of any foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, and his influence could be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan, 'Walter Scott' cloaks, and dressing up as characters from his novels. It is not clear whether this translation has been done direct from the English or from a French translation (French being the language of conversation and correspondence by the Russian nobility which had in turn encouraged widespread access to French literature in Russia). However, the tinted lithograph frontispiece is taken from an illustration by the French book illustrator Denis Auguste Marie Raffet, who illustrated Auguste Defauconpret's French translations of Scott's works.
ShelfmarkAB.1.211.056
Acquired on08/07/11
AuthorScott, Walter, Sir.
TitleCharacter of Lord Byron
Imprint[Edinburgh, Ballantyne]
Date of Publication[1824]
LanguageEnglish
NotesSir Walter Scott's Character of Lord Byron is bound with William Parry's Last days of Lord Byron with His Lordship's Opinions on Various Subjects Particularly on the State and Prospects of Greece. Scott's tribute to Byron first appeared in the May 19, 1824 issue of the 'Edinburgh Weekly Journal' and was later reprinted in 'The Pamphleteer', vol. 24, 1824. This copy of the Character of Lord Byron does not incorporate the same typeface, or follow the same layout as the edition of Scott's article published in the 'The Pamphleteer.' No bibliographic record for this copy can be found in NSTC, RLIN, CURL, or the catalogues of the British Library, Library of Congress, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge or the University of Edinburgh. Neither does it appear in William B. Todd's Sir Walter Scott : a bibliographical history, 1796-1832. A footnote on p. 197, vol. VII, in John Gibson Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh: Constable, 1902) presents some relevant background information. According to a recollection in 1839 by Andrew Shortrede, an apprentice in the Edinburgh printing trade in 1824: 'Sir Walter came down from the Court of Session to the printing-office the day the intelligence of Byron's death reached Edinburgh and there dictated to James Ballantyne the article which appeared in the Weekly Journal. I think it was inserted without correction, or revisal, except by Ballantyne. From these circumstances, I with others imagined James had himself produced it in some moment of inspiration; but when I afterwards told him how I had been misled, he detailed suo more the full, true, and particular history of the article. Separate copies, I remember, were thrown off for some of Byron's friends.' No publication details can be found anywhere on this copy of Scott's article. As Shortrede's recollection suggests, this is most probably one of the very few surviving separate copies, which James Ballantyne and Company had printed for the friends of Byron.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2097
Reference SourcesNot in NSTC, RLIN or CURL
Acquired on23/04/02
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleMatil'da Rokbi, poema v shesti knigakh. [Rokeby]
ImprintMoscow: V tipografii Avgusta Semena
Date of Publication1823
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition in Russian of Scott's English Civil War poem, "Rokeby". No copy has been traced in western European libraries. The two-volume translation, by an unidentified translator, is in prose. The first English edition of "Rokeby" appeared in 1813; it did not enjoy quite the spectacular success of the "Lady of the Lake" but was still a big seller. Like Scott's other works it was soon translated for readers on the Continent; a French translation was published in 1820 and a German translation in 1822, then this Russian translation of 1823. Scott was probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, the first Russian translation of his works, some extracts from "Ivanhoe", appeared as early as 1820. His influence can be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan and dressing up as characters from his novels. Of the three great influences on the celebrated Russian author Alexander Pushkin from European literature, Byron, Shakespeare and Scott, the influence of Scott is most marked in Pushkin's prose, particularly the historical fictions. The verso of the title in volume 1 states that the book was on sale at the bookshop of Vasily Loginov; his ticket is also pasted here to the front pastedown. This copy appears to be in its original binding.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2826-2827
Reference Sources"The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia", National Library of Scotland, 1987
Acquired on07/10/11
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleDe Zeeroover [The Pirate]
ImprintLeeuwarden : Steenbergen van Goor,
Date of Publication1825
LanguageDutch
NotesThe fame of Walter Scott's novels spread quickly through Continental Europe. Scott's novel "The Pirate" was written in 1821 and published in Edinburgh and London by Archibald Constable in December 1822. This is the first Dutch translation, done by the publisher Jan Willem Steenbergen van Goor (1778-1856). "The Pirate" was written after Scott's publisher, Archibald Constable had suggested he write a novel about pirates. Scott took as his inspiration the tale of the 'Orkney Pirate' John Gow, who had returned home to Orkney to lie low for a period. Gow lived a respectable life for several weeks, pretending to be an honest trader, until his cover was blown, which led to his eventual arrest and execution in 1725.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.38
Reference Sourceshttp://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/works/novels/pirate.html
Acquired on19/10/09
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitlePoema posledniago barda. [Lay of the last minstrel]
ImprintMoscow: V Universitetskoi Tipografii
Date of Publication1823
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition in Russian of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel", first published in English in 1805. Only one other copy has been located in western European libraries at the National Library of Finland. The publisher/translator of the prose translation was Mikhail Kachenovsky (1775-1842), professor at Moscow University and editor of the journal "Vestnik Evropy" (Herald of Europe).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2828
Acquired on07/10/11
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleThe vision of Don Roderick; a poem.
ImprintEdinburgh: Ballantyne and Co.,
Date of Publication1811.
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a copy of the first edition of Scott's poem, bound in an ornate, contemporary calf binding. The book has been acquired for the portrait in pencil pasted onto a front free endpaper. It is highly likely that this drawing is a portrait (or later copy of a portrait) of Walter Scott made in 1803, which would make it the earliest surviving image of Scott as a young man. The portrait shows the 32-year-old Scott's head in profile to the left and is initialled "E.B." Scott visited Oxford in April 1803 at a time when his literary career was just taking off; the first two volumes of 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' had been published the previous year to great acclaim and the third volume was about to be published. Scott accordingly found himself lionized by the academic community in Oxford. He stayed with his friend Richard Heber (1774-1833), a former student at Oxford and famous book-collector. During his stay Scott had his portrait sketched by Edward Berens (1778-1859), a fellow of Oriel College who later became Archdeacon of Berkshire. The existence of the portrait is confirmed by Scott's letters with his friend and regular correspondent, Mary Anne Hughes, in the years 1824 and 1825. Mrs Hughes, who lived in Uffington, Berkshire and who was a neighbour of Berens, wrote on 3 October 1824 to ask Scott if he had ever received from Berens a drawing of Scott's friend and former assistant John Leyden (1775-1811). She reminded Scott that he had been introduced to Berens at Oxford and noted that the latter had "a great talent for drawing and made an outline of you as well as of Dr. Leyden: I think he says he sent you a copy of both, but I am sure he sent your friend". Scott replied on October 6 to say that Heber had told him that he had the drawing of Leyden for him, but somehow he had forgotten to send it or had mislaid it, so Scott would therefore be delighted to get a copy of it from Berens. "I remember well", Scott added, "sitting to him and Heber reading Milton all the while - since that time my block has been traced by many a brush of eminence" (Scott 'Letters', VIII, p. 392). In a letter of 12 April 1825 he told Mrs. Hughes how grateful he was for the "sketches", particularly for that of Leyden. He had evidently been sent by Berens a copy of both drawings (cf. 'Letters', IX, p. 70). As regards the provenance of the book and portrait there is only an inscription on the title of the book: Harriet Thayer, September 27, 1812. Harriet (d. 1860) was the youngest daughter of Edward Lovenden of Buscot Park, Berkshire, and a friend of Mary Ann Hughes; she later married Baron Paul-Adolphe Thiébault, a French army officer.
ShelfmarkRB.m.695
Reference SourcesH. Grierson (ed.) 'The Letters of Sir Walter Scott', vols 8-9, London, 1935; F. Russell, 'Portraits of Sir Walter Scott', London, 1987 (no. 20, p.29)
Acquired on25/09/09
AuthorScott, William
TitleNew spelling, pronouncing, and explanatory dictionary of the English language
ImprintEdinburgh: C. Elliot
Date of Publication1786
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a pocket dictionary in oblong format published during the heyday of the Age of Augustanism in Scotland with its demand for propriety and its emphasis on southern English models of speech. It consists of an introductory essay on English pronunciation, elocution and grammar, the dictionary proper, and an appendix. The author points out in his preface that although he is a native of Scotland, it is not presumptuous of him to represent the proper English pronunciation: as a young man, Scott lived in London for many years, instructing "the young gentlemen of the academy the proper reading and reciting of the English language". The dictionary is particularly interesting because it goes beyond the usual explanation of the meaning of the words. It shows the accented vowels and consonants, thus indicating where the wordstress falls. The pronunciation of every vowel sound in a word is indicated by a number, which refers to one of the 15 vowel sounds Scott distinguishes. Other dictionaries are "extremely deficient" with regard to the indication of the proper pronunciation. Scott's work is therefore important for "provincials and foreigners", in other words anybody outside the Home counties. The Dictionary was first published in 1777, but no copy of this edition is known. This 1786 copy is the only one held in the UK.
ShelfmarkABS.1.204.031
Reference SourcesESTC; bookseller's catalogue
Acquired on01/04/04
AuthorScougal, Henry
TitleDas Leben Gottes in der Seele des Menchen oder die Natur und Vortreflichkeit der Christlichen Religion [Life of God in the soul of man].
ImprintPhiladelphia: Benjamin Franklin
Date of Publication1756
LanguageGerman
NotesThis work by the Church of Scotland minister Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was first published in London in 1667. Widely regarded as an 'enduring religious classic' (ODNB), Scougal's manual of personal devotion was reprinted several times in the 18th century, the first North American edition appearing in 1741, printed by Rogers and Fowle of Boston. A German translation was commissioned by the Trustees of the Charitable Scheme [to promote Christian Knowledge among German immigrants into Pennsylvania] and printed by Benjamin Franklin's press in Philadelphia. German migration to Pennsylvania had started in the 1720s and Franklin, along with other Anglo-American leaders of the colony in the 1750s, regarded the large German presence as a potential threat to its future; the German settlers were in their eyes not only racially and physically different to the Anglo-Americans, but also ignorant of the kind of political liberties enjoyed by English and thus likely to subvert English values and rights. Franklin stated at this time, 'Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of us Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language and customs, any more than they can acquire our complexion.' The printing of Scougal's text in German was part of the process of 'anglifying' the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, along with the offer of free education in English-orientated schools. Although the overall aims of the Charitable Scheme foundered, due to the Germans' understandable mistrust of its motives, in his papers Franklin recorded that the work 'proved most acceptable at this time.'
ShelfmarkRB.s.2731
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; Liam Riordan, "The Complexion of my Country" pp. 97-120 in 'Germans and Indians: Fantasies, Encounters, Projections' by Colin Gordon Calloway, Gerd Gmünden, Susanne Zantop (U of Nebraska Press, 2002)
Acquired on19/12/08
AuthorSella, Vittorio
Title[Mountain photographs : 23 gelatin-silver prints]
Date of Publication[ca. 1880-1905]
NotesPhotographic views of the Alps and the Himalaya, taken by Vittorio Sella during the last decades of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries. Sella (1859-1943) was regarded by contemporaries as the finest mountain photographer of his day and his reputation has scarcely diminished since. As well as being a photographer he was an accomplished climber - he made the first winter traverses of both Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn and he accompanied the Duke of the Abruzzi on several of the latter's pioneering climbing expeditions. He climbed in Africa, Alaska and the Caucasus as well as in the Alps and the Himalaya.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.3
Acquired on31/10/01
AuthorSeymour, Mina S.
TitlePen pictures: transmitted clairaudiently and telepathically by Robert Burns
ImprintLily Dale, N.Y. : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a privately-printed oddity relating to Robert Burns. It is a volume of over 150 poems in English and Scots allegedly by Burns, as received by an American medium, Mina Seymour, at the end of nineteenth century. It was published in Lily Dale, a spiritualist community in south-western New York State. Carol McGuirk, writing on Burns in America in the nineteenth century comments on the frequency with which nineteenth-century Americans imagined, wished, or even roundly asserted that Robert Burns was not dead. "As with Elvis Presley sightings in our time, this is most likely a sign that mere celebrity has been transcended and cult status achieved. The cult of Burns included prominent Scottish-Americans such as Andrew Carnegie but also marginal persons as Mina S. Seymour, a psychic who in 1900 published a book said to be 'transmitted' or channelled directly from the mind of Burns" (McGuirk, 'Haunted by authority', 1997). McGuirk describes the book as "Seymour's deranged little volume", and the quality of the poems in it is truly awful. In the opening poem, dedicated to the Psychical Research Society, the voice of Burns reveals that "I've beat auld Death, I write as weel, As mony in Earth life." The book is illustrated with portraits with various members of the American spiritualist community, many of whom were apparently recipients of poems by Burns.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Reference SourcesCarol McGuirk, "Haunted by authority: nineteenth-century American constructions of Robert Burns and Scotland", in 'Robert Burns and Cultural Authority' edited by Robert Crawford (Edinburgh, 1997), pp. 136-158.
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorShakespeare, William
TitleComplete works of Shakespeare in 20 miniature volumes.
ImprintGlasgow : David Bryce and Son
Date of Publication1904
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a miniature set of Shakespeare's complete works in 20 volumes published by David Bryce of Glasgow. Bryce was Scotland's most prolific and successful producer of miniature books. The individual volumes measure only 50 mm. in height and they are bound in brown suede featuring gilt spine lettering and gilt textblock edges. The set is housed in a tiny wooden replica of Shakespeare's desk apparently modelled upon the original in a Stratford museum. A publisher's sticker on the back states that it is made of oak (presumably from an artefact or pew) taken out of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, where Shakespeare was baptised and buried. The standard reference sources on miniature books make no mention of this set and no record for another set can be found.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2757
Reference SourcesBondy
Acquired on16/09/09
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