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 765 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 email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 691 to 705 of 765:
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|Title||Theory of moral sentiments.|
|Date of Publication||1777|
|Notes||This is a surprisingly rare edition of Adam Smith's main philosophical work, which was first published in London in 1759. It was the first edition to be published in Ireland and the first to be be published outside of London. Only eight copies have been traced - none in the United Kingdom. (ESTC N45628). Although on the title page the publisher claims it to be the sixth edition, it is in fact the fifth edition published in English. A fourth edition was published in London in 1774 and a fifth (also in London) in 1781.
The theory of moral sentiments was Smith's first major work and after The wealth of nations, his most important. It was immediately popular when first published and the number of subsequent editions - six in English, two in French and one in German - indicates its popularity during the author's lifetime. It was warmly praised by Hume and Burke and established Smith's reputation as one of the foremost authors and thinkers of the day. It contains the sum of the philosophy Smith had learned under Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow University, emphasizing the part played by feelings in determining man's moral behaviour.|
|Reference Sources||Ross, Ian Simpson, The life of Adam Smith. (Oxford, 1995) (H3.96.845)|
|Title||Investigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones|
|Imprint||Valladolid, ‘En la Oficina de la Vuida é Hijos de Santander'|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||Adam Smith is one of those Scottish authors who we aim to collect comprehensively, and we acquire works by or relating to Smith whenever possible.
This four volume set is the first substantially complete Spanish translation of 'The wealth of nations, printed in 1794'. It is a good set, all but the first volume bound in contemporary tree sheep. The text was translated by Josef Alfonso Ortiz from the fifth edition of 1789. Ortiz deserves credit for getting the book approved by the Spanish Inquisition, who had already banned the French translation: he only had to make a few textual changes to comply with the censors.
NLS already has a copy of the ‘much corrected and improved’ second edition, printed in 1805-6, in the Astorga Collection (G.25.h.26). According to Tribe’s bibliography, some material printed in 1794 was omitted in 1805 (the appendix in vol. II). In 1999 we acquired 'Compendio de la obra Inglesa intitulada Riqueza de las naciones'(1792), which is a partial translation of a French summary of the work (RB.s.2050). However, it is most desirable that we should add to these works the true first Spanish edition, as a landmark in Scottish economic influence in European history.
Over the last few years, Rare Books have purchased extensively in the field of the Scottish Enlightenment in translation, acquiring early editions of David Hume, William Robertson, Lord Monboddo and Hugh Blair, in a variety of languages (Italian, Dutch, German, French). We have acquired little material in Spanish or printed in Spain, which is regrettable, as we have an outstanding collection of early Spanish books in the Astorga Collection, and the purchase of modern materials in Spanish has again become a key area in our collection development. This translation bears witness to the exchange of ideas between Scotland and Spain at an early date, and its purchase allows us to fill a gap in our Smith holdings.
This is not an exceptionally rare book, with 14 copies listed in OCLC, 3 in COPAC. However, there do not appear to be any other copies in public ownership in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||R. S. Smith, 'The first Spanish edition of The wealth of nations', in Cheng-chung Lai, ed., 'Adam Smith across Nations', 2000, pp. 342-6.
Tribe, Keith (ed.), 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', Pickering & Chatto, 2002|
|Author||Smith, Adam, 1723-1790.|
|Title||Vizsgalodas a nemzeti vagyonossag termeszeterol es okairol [Wealth of Nations]|
|Imprint||Budapest : Pallas Irodalmi es Nyomdai Reszvenytarsasag|
|Date of Publication||1891-1894|
|Notes||The Library has one of the most extensive collections in the world of printed material relating to the 18th-century Scottish economist Adam Smith and his seminal work, "Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations". This is the rare first Hungarian translation of of the work, translated by the Budapest lawyer Jakab Polya (1844-1897), with a lengthy introduction by the noted economist, politician and banker Gyula Kautz (1829-1909), under whose editorial control the book was published. Polya, although a lawyer, had a particular interest in economics and a sufficient grasp of English through his work with an international insurance firm to be able to cope with Smith's English text. For the present translation, he collaborated with the Hungarian civil servant Lukács Enyedi (1845-1906), who played a significant role in the promotion of economics as an independent discipline in Hungarian universities. The introduction by Kautz, which appears to have also been published separately (NLS copy: ABS.3.206.005) describes Smith's life and work, and his position as the "founder of economic science", putting his work into its historical context and offering a critical appraisal of his significance and his influence on 19th century economics and political theorists. Kautz was governor-general of the central bank of Hungary (the Osztrák-Magyar Bank) from 1893-1900, and the economics department of Budapest University is today named after him. The only other known copy of this translation is located at the Hungarian National Library.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Title||Izsliedovaniia o bogatstvie narodov. |
|Imprint||Moscow: Izd. K.T. Soldatenkova,|
|Date of Publication||1895|
|Notes||This is an important addition to the National Library's collection of translations of Adam Smith's landmark work 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations', published in 1776. The first Russian edition appeared in the early 19th century. However this volume of selections is the only Russian edition of Smith works held by the Library.
This edition was translated by K.T. Soldatenkov who earlier in his career had connections with Russian revolutionaries in London. The book formerly was part of the collection of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.|
|Title||Ricerche sopra la natura e le cause della ricchezza delle nazioni [Wealth of nations].
|Imprint||Torino [Turin]: Pomba, |
|Date of Publication||1851.|
|Notes||This is the second Italian edition, and a new translation, of Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations', published as part of the economic journal 'Biblioteca dell' Economista'. The first Italian translation, published under the title 'Ricerche sulla Natura, e le cagione della ricchezza delle nazioni', appeared in Naples in 1790-91. This anonymous 1851 translation is taken from the 1828 edition edited by John Ramsay McCulloch. The edition is particularly interesting as it contains a translation of an essay by the French philosopher Victor Cousin (1792-1867) on the life and works of Adam Smith, the 'Discorso di Vittorio Cousin'. It also contains Italian translations of the introductions by Adolphe-Jérôme Blanqui and Germain Garnier for their French-language editions of the 'Wealth of Nations'. The 'Biblioteca dell' Economista', printed in Turin, ran from 1850 to 1923. The present work, whilst published as volume II of this series, is complete in itself and was also intended to be sold separately.
|Title||New game of the ascent of Mont Blanc.|
London : A.N. Myers|
|Date of Publication||ca. 1856|
|Notes||A rare Victorian board game comprising a folded lithograph mounted on cloth with 54 coloured vignettes describing a route from London to the summit of Mt Blanc. The game was devised by Albert Smith, a popular author and showman. He drew on his experiences during an ascent of Mt Blanc in 1851 to devise a flamboyant entertainment 'The Ascent of Mt Blanc' which was presented at the Egyptian Halls in Piccadilly from 1852 until his death in 1860. This acquisition complements other items of 'Albert Smithiana' in the Graham Brown and Lloyd collections.|
|Title||Ristretto dei viaggi fatti in Africa dal capitano Smith.|
|Date of Publication||[1836?]|
|Notes||This is a hitherto unrecorded pamphlet in Italian based on a report written by Scottish army medical officer and naturalist, Andrew Smith. Born in Roxburghshire, Smith (1797-1872) entered the Army Medical Service in 1815 and was sent to the Cape Colony (South Africa) in 1820. While remaining in the Army, Smith became renowned for his research into the region's zoology, ethnography, and geography. In 1834 to 1836 he superintended a fact-finding expedition into the territory north of Cape Colony, which was financed by Cape merchants and other interested parties. His 'Report of the expedition for exploring Central Africa from the Cape of Good Hope' was first published for subscribers only in Cape Town in 1836. Extracts from the report were also published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1836. The report, with its details of the various African peoples, including a tribe of albinos, evidently attracted interest in continental Europe as well, hence this Italian translation. Smith returned to Britain in 1836, and became a personal friend of Charles Darwin, the latter consulting him on African zoology. He was eventually promoted to become director-general of the army and ordnance medical departments, which brought him into conflict with Florence Nightingale and the British press during the Crimean War.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||Remarks upon an essay on government by James Mill|
|Imprint||London: James Ridgway|
|Date of Publication||1827|
|Notes||The Scottish Utilitarian philosopher James Mill, who was father of John Stuart Mill, was an important writer on politics and economics in his own right. His article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica on government, which was strongly influenced by the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, provoked this critical response from the young writer Leveson Smith. Smith dislikes Mill's style, ideas and beliefs, and is strongly hostile to democratisation; he is also critical of David Hume. Smith's essay was published posthumously in this volume, edited by his mother. Also included are notes on the contemporary debates over Catholic emancipation (Smith was in favour) and a selection of poems. There is an attractive portrait of Smith included. The book is bound in red cloth and half-morocco, with marbled endpapers. There is a bookplate of Sidney Edward Bouverie Bouverie-Pusey. On the title-page is the manuscript note 'With Mr Vernon Smith's compliments'.|
|Reference Sources||DNB, Encyclopaedia Britannica|
|Title||Brief treatyse settynge forth divers truethes necessary both to be beleved of chrysten people, & kepte also|
|Imprint||London: Thomas Petit|
|Date of Publication||1547|
The acquisition of this item demonstrates how the different aspects of our work can join up serendipitously. Cataloguing the Fort Augustus collections led to a decision to feature Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism of 1552 on our webpages as a Highlight of the collections, and the research for that text meant that we spotted the connection with this Richard Smith item when it was not flagged at all by the vendor.
Richard Smith (1500-1563) was a theologian and divine who, disregarding a couple of tactical recantations, took a staunchly Catholic side during the Reformation. He was the first Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and one of the team involved in the production of Henry VIII's Institution of a Christian Man in 1537. When the Protestant party triumphed in England, he twice fled first to Scotland and then to France. While his movements on the accession of Elizabeth I seem fairly clear, there is some confusion over where exactly he was and when, between his first flight from England in 1549 and his return in 1553. He certainly went to St Andrews in Scotland and thence to Louvain.
John Durkan in McRoberts' collection "Essays on the Scottish Reformation" assigns the writing of the Hamilton catechism to another Englishman, Richard Marshall, but notes that Smith was distributing copies to clergy in November, and was present at the Synod which commissioned the catechism. In his edition of Hamilton's catechism in 1882, Professor Mitchell says that Smith was one of the theology faculty at St Andrews when the catechism was drawn up, and his involvement may have led to the echoes of the Institution of a Christian Man (in some cases, direct renderings into Scots) in the catechism. It does seem likely that the production of such a text would have involved the available experts, rather than being the work of one sole individual.
Given all these factors, we can see that this Brief Treatyse is an equally significant source for the catechism to the Institution of a Christian Man. It is Smith's third original work, and its title, like that of the Institution ('A necessary doctrine and erudicion for any chrysten man') emphasizes what the ordinary lay Christian should know - exactly what the catechism offers. Certainly the layout of this book is similar to that of the catechism: it is to be hoped that a researcher will take on the task of comparing the contents.
This library is the best in the world for the study of the 1552 catechism (we hold most of the surviving copies), and here we have an opportunity to enrich the understanding of it through the purchase of a little-known item which is at least a valuable context and probably a direct source. There is no other copy in Scotland according to the ESTC.
While the Brief Treatyse is available on microfilm and also via EEBO, original copies are very rare. This copy has been described as 'not great, but better than a "working" copy'. There are a few minor imperfections, but the main problem is the title page, which is 'cut-round and crudely inlaid' without loss of text, and also 'soiled, somewhat browned and stained'.
Finally, this item has a Scottish provenance: it contains the undated bookplate of Alexander Moffat of Edinburgh, who is unlisted in our bookplates index. At least one contemporary owner has left marginalia and other markings in the text; later owners include Wm Herbert, 1760 and the Duke of Sussex, whose armorial bookplate is on the front pastedown. Finally there is the bookplate of the Bristol collector James Stevens Cox (1910-1997). This book is one of three the NLS has purchased from the sale of his library, a collection considered worthy of its own location in the Short Title Catalogue of English books before 1640.|
|Reference Sources||DNB, catalogue, David McRoberts: Essays on the Scottish Reformation; 1882 and 1884 editions of Archibishop Hamilton's Catechism|
|Title||A narrative of an unfortunate voyage to the coast of Africa.|
|Date of Publication||1813|
|Notes||This remarkable book was written by Thomas Smith, a sailor from Arbroath. It tells of his adventures on board a number of slave ships in the 1760s. At first he got a place on board the Ann Galley in London, not realizing the nature of the journey. When the ship arrived off the West African (Guinea) coast, the captain purchased 140 slaves. However, the ship was taken over by the captives and Smith made his way on another slave ship to the West Indies. Destitute and ill he eventually returned across the Atlantic to Amsterdam and later back home to Arbroath.
No other copy of this work has been traced, but it appears to be a genuine account of life on board slave ships in the mid-18th century. The Board of Trade and Lloyds of London recorded the loss of the Ann Galley as a result of a slave insurrection in November 1762. No other account of this adventure has been published and until now naval and slavery historians have been unaware of it. It may be that it was published as a form of anti-slavery propaganda. The author ends his narrative with some 'Remarks on the slave trade' and mentions how he was asked by supporters of the anti-slavery crusader, William Wilberforce, to provide them with information on the buying and selling of slaves.
At the beginning of the work the editor apologises for the 'rude and rustic state of the copy'. It seems that the author was in poor health and couldn't assist the editor - 'a poor scholar' - to produce a better work. The book also carries an inscription (dated April 1904) on the front pastedown from Caroline Frazer of Dublin, granddaughter of John Findlay, Arbroath's first printer and publisher'.
|Author||SMT Magazine and Scottish Country Life|
|Title||Calendar for 1940.|
|Date of Publication||1940|
|Notes||An unusual survival, this calendar was found in an attic in reasonably good condition, with its original metal hanger. The different months are illustrated by good-quality prints of paintings of various Scottish landscapes. The artists include W. M. Cuthill, Healey Hislop, Alastair Dallas and George Melvin Rennie. The front cover is a martial scene of armed highlanders gathering around Bonnie Prince Charlie, which was presumably chosen in view of the recent outbreak of war with Germany. The calendar has not been covered with scribble as is the usual fate of such ephemeral items, and would still look good on the wall. One of the few pencil notes is curious: by 'September', someone has written 'Septembre'. Was the calendar sent as a present to someone in France, or was it owned by a French resident in Scotland? SMT [Scottish Motor Traction] magazine was despite its title a wide-ranging and colourful magazine with stories, letters, descriptions of Scottish towns and landscapes; very much the kind of thing one could find in dentists' waiting rooms. The 1940 volume of the magazine, which NLS holds, is full of a breezy optimism with regard to the war, and a strong current of Scottish nationalism. The magazine is quite happy to discuss the question of Scotland's future status within the union, and includes a letter asking whether federalism should actually be a war aim. This sits well with the cover of the calendar, which recalls Scotland's separate military traditions. Together, the magazine and calendar present a much more colourful image of 1940 than the conventional stereotype.|
|Title||Catalogue of Scottish rocks, Collected and Sold by John Sommerville, 18 West Register Street, Edinburgh.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: R. Wallace & Co.|
|Date of Publication||[1837?]|
|Notes||A very rare brochure listing 100 specimens of Scottish rocks which were for sale in cabinets. The samples came in three sizes, the largest at three inches costing Ł5. In the advertisement on the verso of the title page, the author states that the collection has been available for eight years, constantly undergoing improvements. The advertisement goes on to say that the collection represents nearly all the deposits to be found in Scotland, and that it will be of particular use to geologists in England as it 'stops at the point where the English strata begin to be more illustrative' than Scottish strata. The blank leaves bound into the volume suggest that it was intended for use as a field book. It is bound with the 1837 edition of John Phillip's 'Treatise on Geology'.|
|Author||Sotheby and Son|
|Title||A catalogue of a most extensive and valuable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals, in gold, silver, and copper ... formed by the Right Hon. James Earl of Morton,|
|Imprint||[London: Sotheby & Son]|
|Date of Publication||1830|
|Notes||This is the Sotheby's sale catalogue of the remarkable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals assembled by the Scottish aristocrat James Douglas, fourteenth earl of Morton (1702-1768), natural philosopher and astronomer. Douglas served on a number of august British scientific bodies; he was President of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh from its foundation in 1737 until his death. He also became President of the Royal Society (24 March 1764), and was a distinguished patron of science, and particularly of astronomy. A trustee of the British Museum and member of the longitude commission, he was also one of the commissioners of annexed estates between 1755 and 1760, but never attended a meeting. This copy is inter-leaved throughout with details of buyers and prices fetched throughout the six days of the sale and is bound in contemporary red morocco.
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||Spence, Elizabeth Isabella|
|Title||Wedding Day, a Novel.
|Imprint||London, printed by C. Stower for Longman etc., .|
|Date of Publication||1807|
|Notes||This work by the Scottish-born writer Elizabeth Spence is extremely rare. Spence (1768-1832) was born at Dunkeld, and produced several sentimental novels and travel books from 1799 onwards. Niece of the Aberdeen-born preacher James Fordyce, Spence ended up orphaned and poor in London, and seems to have written to support herself. The Wedding Day enjoyed little critical success, but does not seem wholly devoid of merit. It is deeply Scottish, full of descriptions of landscapes and buildings from Roslin Chapel to Calton Hill, although most of the action takes place in England. Literary quotations abound; suffering aristocrats write wordy letters; the heroine endures everything from shipwrecks to romantic catastrophe with the same moral resolution.|
|Author||Spenser, Edmund. |
|Title||Poetical Works. |
|Imprint||London: [by S. and R. Bentley for] William Pickering, Nattali and Combe, and Talboys and Wheeler in Oxford|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||This edition of the works of the great English poet Spenser was not, for some reason, acquired by the Advocates Library through the copyright privilege, but the main reason for purchasing these five volumes now is the binding. The books were from the library of one James Hamilton, whose red ink stamp appears on the title pages. Mr. Hamilton had a number of his books bound in the unusual material of chenille - using a different colour or pattern for each set. This set is bound in red chenille with yellow dots. Inside the rear board of the first volume is the printed label of R. Grant & Son, an Edinburgh firm listed in the Scottish Book Trade Index under this name from 1840 onwards. The Library has another binding identified as the work of the same firm (William Aytoun, Lays of the Scottish cavaliers, 1863, Bdg.m.115). It is possible that both bindings date from the 1860s.
It is difficult to know why Mr. Hamilton chose to have his books bound in this way; the effect of a whole library bound in brightly coloured chenille would be quite overpowering. It is not a durable material and these books would not withstand heavy handling. Other curious features of this binding are the fact that the boards are so much larger than the text block, the elaborately gauffered gilt edges, the brass and velvet catches and clasps, and the brass frames nailed on the front covers with a vellum slip to write the title or volume number. This is a curiosity of Scottish binding creativity.