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 775 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 691 to 705 of 775:

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AuthorSir Edmund du Cane
TitleAn account of the manner in which sentences of penal servitude are carried out in England
ImprintLondon: H.M.P. Millbank
Date of Publication1882
NotesThis is a presentation copy of a work on the penal system in England. It was given by the author, Sir Edmund Du Cane (18301903), to the 5th Earl of Rosebery, who was then, as a member of Gladstone's Liberal government, under-secretary at the Home Office, with particular responsibility for Scottish matters. The book also includes a brief letter, dated 7 March 1883, from Du Cane to Rosebery. Du Cane was one of the most important prison administrators of Victorian Britain. After serving in the army, where he organised convict labour in Australia, he became in 1863 a director of convict prisons and an inspector of military prisons. A few years later he took on the posts of chairman of the convict prison directors, surveyor-general of prisons, and inspector-general of military prisons. Du Cane "exercised a profound influence on the direction of penal policy between 1870 and 1895" (ODNB). This work printed at the press at Millbank prison, London, is an update of a paper originally prepared for the First International Prison Congress which met in London in 1872. It outlines the increasingly centralised prison system in operation in England, a system which conformed to Du Cane's belief that adult criminals required short, severe prison sentences. The term 'penal servitude' was coined in 1853 with the first Penal Servitude Act, which substituted sentences of imprisonment in lieu of transportation. Under Du Cane's regime prisoners could expect solitary confinement, severe conditions such as a plank bed, a very coarse diet, no visits, no library books or writing materials, and gruelling hard labour, often including oakum picking or the treadmill. The final stage was conditional release under police supervision. It was this Du Cane-influenced system that Oscar Wilde experienced as prisoner C.3.3. in Reading gaol in 1895 to 1897, and which he bitterly criticised in "The ballad of Reading gaol". Since 1877 Scotland's prisons had also been brought under Home Office control and a Prisons Commission for Scotland had been created. Du Cane was no doubt anxious that Scotland moved to a centralised system in line with England, and in the letter accompanying this book he notes that he is "highly flattered" by Rosebery's request for this additional copy of his work, which is in a "prettier" red, half-morocco binding. Du Cane eventually retired in 1895, amid growing disapproval by liberal politicians and civil servants of his methods and imperious manner. Penal servitude, however, was not abolished in England until 1948, Scotland followed suit two years later.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of national Biography
Acquired on03/05/13
AuthorSir Robert Lambert Playfair (1828-1899)
TitleA history of Arabia Felix or Yemen, from the commencement of the Christian era to the present time including an account of the British settlement of Aden
ImprintBombay: Printed for the Government at the Education Society's Press, Byculla
Date of Publication1859
NotesSir Robert Lambert Playfair (1828-1899), colonial administrator and author, was born at St Andrews, Fife. He was the grandson of James Playfair, principal of the University of St Andrews, and the third son of George Playfair (1782-1846), chief inspector-general of hospitals in Bengal. After studying at St Andrews University and at Addiscombe College, he entered the Royal (Madras) Artillery in 1846. Between 1848 and May 1862, Playfair was involved in a various official duties in the Middle East: from November 1848 to May 1850 he was in a quasi-political mission to Syria; from March 1852 until September 1853 he served as assistant executive engineer at Aden; and from 1854 to 1862 he served as the assistant to the first political resident in Aden. Playfair was a qualified interpreter of Arabic, and used his time at Aden to research the history of that part of the Arabian Peninsula. In his 'History of Arabia Felix, or, Yemen ...' (1859), Playfair concentrates on an historical overview of Yemen from the Christian era onwards as he felt that the history of Arabia anterior to Christianity had already been extensively covered. In his preface, Playfair stresses that his goal was to produce a generalist history which could function as both a ready reference, and also as a starting point for more detailed work by future historians.
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on16/05/07
AuthorSir Walter Scott
TitleLe miroir de la tante Marguerite et la chambre tapissee, contes.
ImprintParis: Charles Gosselin
Date of Publication1829
NotesThis volume contains the first edition in French of Scott's essay 'On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition; and particularly on the works of Ernest Theodore William Hoffmann'. The essay was first published, unsigned, in "The Foreign Quarterly Review" (vol. I, no. 1 (1827)); in it Scott criticised the late German author (1776-1822), better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann, for his unbridled use of supernatural effects and his inability to separate fantasy from reality in fiction. The essay was hugely influential as a critique of the use of the supernatural in literature and a source used by Edgar Allen Poe in "Fall of the house of Usher". The volume also includes translations of three gothic short stories by Scott, translations of: My Aunt Margaret's Mirror and The Tapestried Chamber (both from the literary annual "The Keepsake" for 1828) and Clorinda: or the Necklace of Pearl (from "The Keepsake" for 1829, by 'Lord Normanby' but pseudonymous). The translator was Rosine Mame Gosselin (Lady Lattimore Clarke), wife of the editor and publisher of Scott's works in French, Charles Gosselin. The book 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.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on31/05/13
AuthorSir William Hamilton
TitleAccount of the discoveries at Pompeii, communicated to the Society of Antiquaries of London by the Hon. Sir William Hamilton.
ImprintLondon : W. Bowyer and J. Nichols,
Date of Publication1777
NotesThis a rare work by Sir William Hamilton (1730/31-1803), diplomatist and art collector, who was appointed to the post of envoy-extraordinary to the Spanish court of King of Naples in 1764. Hamilton had already began to collect art and antiquities, mainly pictures, bronzes, and terracottas, before he left London for Naples. His arrival in Naples increased his interest in the ancient world and his passion for collecting ancient Greek and Roman artefacts, many of which had been unearthed in recent years at various sites in Italy. Excavation of the site of Pompeii began in 1748. During the first phase, the excavation was carried out essentially in order to find art objects, many of which ended up in the private collection of the Bourbon king Charles III of Naples. Hamilton was ideally placed to visit the site and write reports which were read at meetings of the Society of Antiquaries in London in 1775. This book gives the text of his reports and is illustrated with 13 handsome engraved plates. The book was the first in a long line of works, dedicated to the lost city of Pompeii, which were published in the 18th century.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorSmall, James, 1740-1793
TitleA treatise on ploughs and wheel-carriages.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed for the author and sold by W. Creech and C. Elliot?,
Date of Publication1784
NotesThis book, according to the inscription on the front pastedown, was presented by the Duke of Buccleuch ? Henry Scott (1746-1812) to ?Mr. Ducket at Petersham, April 1786, with a plow made by James Small in Scotland 1786?. The 3rd Duke of Buccleuch was one of number of Small?s patrons. Others were Henry Home (Lord Kames), Sir John Sinclair, the man behind the first Statistical Accounts in the 1790s and the Berwickshire landowner, James Renton. It is not known who Mr. Ducket was ? possibly a landowner in Petersham, Surrey. The book is also inscribed on the title page ?Dalkeith House 1784? - one of the homes of the Duke of Buccleuch. The duke, as well as being one of the greatest landowners in Scotland, was also an army officer and acted as advisor to the politicians Henry Dundas and William Pitt the Younger.This work was the first to set out the scientific principles of plough design in print and was the standard text on the subject until the 1830s. The author, James Small, born in Ladykirk in Berwickshire, learned about ploughs and wagons both in Berwickshire and in Yorkshire. When he returned to Scotland, he settled on a farm at Blackadder Mount, Berwickshire where he began to experiment with ploughs. In the early 1780s Small moved to Rosebank, Ford, in Midlothian just a few miles from Dalkeith House. As well as designing ploughs he also had his own workshop and smithy, making ploughs, wagons and carts. Small?s main innovation was in his use of cast iron and generally speaking his plough was much lighter that the ?old Scotch? ploughs.
Reference SourcesB, ESTC T150379
Acquired on04/04/05
AuthorSmith & Wellstood (Limited) Columbian Stove Works
TitleBonnybridge price list and illustrated and descriptive catalogue of Smith & c's patent and registered American cooking stoves, portable kitchen ranves, warming stoves, for church, hall, parlour, office, shop and ware-room use, &c. Catalogue 2A
ImprintBonnybridge : [s.n.]
Date of Publication[1888?]
NotesThis trade catalogue of Bonnybridge iron foundries dates from the 1880s, the heyday of heavy industry in central Scotland. The firm of Smith & Wellstood was established in Glasgow in 1858 to sell American-style free-standing stoves in Britain. Outlets were subsequently opened in Liverpool, Dublin and London. The firm was the driving force in persuading the British public to invest in efficient, slow-burning stoves in place of open fires. These stoves used less fuel and produced more heat than the type being used in Britain in the 1850s. The founders were James Smith and Stephen Wellstood, both Edinburgh-born entrepreneurs who had begun their business careers in the United States. Smith decided it would be more economic to produce the stoves in Scotland than to import them from the United States. In 1855 James Smith had contracted the services of George Ure, an ironfounder of some repute and a partner of Crosthwaite, Ure & Co. of Camelon. Ure opened his own foundry - the Columbian Stove Works - in Bonnybridge in 1860 to make the castings for the stoves. The finished products were transported down the Forth-Clyde canal to Smith's warehouses in Glasgow. Smith & Wellstood opened their foundry in 1873 and in 1890 amalgamated with George Ure & Co. In addition to stoves, baths, ranges, gates, railings, pots, pans, piano frames and umbrella stands were manufactured. At the turn of the century Smith & Wellstood introduced the first closed anthracite-burning stoves onto the UK market. These were modelled on a French design and became known as the Esse range of stoves.
Reference SourcesBorthwick, Alastair. The history of Smith & Wellstood Ltd. ironfounders. (Bonnybridge, 1954) H4.80.755 McIntosh, Fiona. Bonnybridge in bygone days. (Falkirk, 1989) HP3.90.453 Smith & Wellstood Ltd., Ironfounders, Bonnybridge. (Survey / National Register of Archives (Scotland) no.2198) (Edinburgh, 1989) GRH.9
Acquired on19/06/01
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleTheory of moral sentiments.
Date of Publication1777
NotesThis 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 SourcesRoss, Ian Simpson, The life of Adam Smith. (Oxford, 1995) (H3.96.845)
Acquired on18/07/01
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitlePolitisk undersokning om lagar, som hindra och tvinga inforseln af sadana utlandska varor
ImprintGoteborg: S. Norberg
Date of Publication1804
NotesThis is a rare copy of the first appearance in Swedish of book IV, chapter 2, of 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations'. This chapter in English was titled: 'Of restraints upon the importation from countries of such goods as can be produced at home'. This is the key chapter in which Smith discusses laissez faire. Part of 'The wealth of nations' first appeared in Swedish in 1799-1800 in the literary periodical 'Lasning I blandade amnen'. (ABS.1.81.113) It is also the second translation of Smith by Erik Erland Bodell who was, like Smith, a customs official. He published a translation of Book V, chapter 2 of the same work in Stockholm in 1800: 'Undersokning om Kongl. Stora sjo och granse-tullar,'. A Swedish translation of a German abridgement of the 'Wealth of nations' was published in Stockholm in 1800 (RB.s.2055). A full Swedish translation of this work was not published until 1911.
Reference SourcesTribe, Keith (ed.) A critical bibliography of Adam Smith (London, 2002)
Acquired on30/10/04
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleInvestigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones
ImprintValladolid, ?En la Oficina de la Vuida é Hijos de Santander'
Date of Publication1794
NotesAdam 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 SourcesR. 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
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorSmith, Adam
ImprintA Avignon, Chez J.J. Niel, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue de la Balance
Date of Publication1791
NotesThis French edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was printed in Avignon in southern France. The bookseller describes this as 'perhaps the rarest of all Adam Smith's works in any language', and indeed only one library copy has been located, at Northwestern University. It seems that many copies were destroyed during the Revolution; indeed, the printer-bookseller Jean-Joseph Niel also perished in a massacre on 16-17 October 1791. 'This edition, an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Wealth of Nations, added to Roucher's translation some preliminary material, notes, and the promise of a translation from Xenophon, all to make it marketable and to defend it against charges of piracy... The editor of this edition was Agricole Joseph Francois Xavier Pierre Esprit Simon Paul Antoine, marquis de Fortia d'Urban (1756-1843).' (Carpenter, p. 117). 'Niel had additional reasons to try to emphasize that his was a new edition. The work advertised along with Recherches was a collection of decrees of the National Assembly: 'Il importe a tous les Francais de connoitre & d'avoir sous les yeux les Decrets de l'auguste Assemblee Nationale. Ces loix, dictees par la sagesse, doivent etre gravees dans la memoire & dans le coeur de tous les individus'. Thus, he was issuing Recherches, a work that he termed the 'second torch of liberty', as part of what might be called a publishing program in support of the Revolution. And, indeed, Recherches was regarded as such by the government. In May 1793 the Committee of Public Safety agreed that a copy should be given to each of the 'Commissaires observateurs' who were being sent to various regions to report on economic matters and the state of public opinion' (Carpenter, p. lii). However, there were probably too few copies left by then to make this scheme practical. This set is in good condition, uncut and largely unopened in contemporary mottled boards.
Reference SourcesVanderblue Catalogue p. 24; See Carpenter The Dissemination of the Wealth of Nations in French and in France, 1776-1843, New York, 2002, pp. 117-127.
Acquired on02/06/06
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleThe whole works of ... in five volumes ... A new edition.
ImprintLondon: Printed for J. Richardson & Co. [et al.]
Date of Publication1822
NotesA copy of the very rare second collected edition of Smith's works, which includes a new, anonymous biography of Smith. The first collected edition had included a famous biography by Dugald Stewart; this is a much shorter biography which appears to be a crib of the Stewart biography. The format of this second collected edition is also different to the first, which was an octavo. The publishers hoped that the "condensed and accessible form" of the smaller duodecisimo format "will render it more generally acceptable".
Acquired on28/07/06
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleTeoriia nravstvennykh chuvstv [Theory of moral sentiments].
ImprintSt. Petersburg: I.I. Glazunov
Date of Publication1868
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.
Acquired on16/06/09
AuthorSmith, Adam, 1723-1790.
TitleVizsgalodas a nemzeti vagyonossag termeszeterol es okairol [Wealth of Nations]
ImprintBudapest : Pallas Irodalmi es Nyomdai Reszvenytarsasag
Date of Publication1891-1894
NotesThe 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 SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorSmith, Adam.
TitleRicerche sopra la natura e le cause della ricchezza delle nazioni [Wealth of nations].
ImprintTorino [Turin]: Pomba,
Date of Publication1851.
NotesThis 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.
Acquired on25/09/09
AuthorSmith, Adam.
TitleIzsliedovaniia o bogatstvie narodov.
ImprintMoscow: Izd. K.T. Soldatenkova,
Date of Publication1895
NotesThis 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.
Acquired on02/04/07
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