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 763 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 706 to 720 of 763:
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|Title||Donation of 4 items of ephemera, relating to bicentenary celebrations for Robert Burns on 25 January 1959, organised by the Scottish District of the Communist Party|
|Notes||1. Single Sheet Flyer, for the event in St Andrew's Hall, Glasgow
2. Ticket for the event
3. Souvenir Programme of the event signed by J. F. Campbell, Hugh MacDiarmid and Alex McCrindle
Three rare items of ephemera relating to bicententary celebrations for Robert Burns on 25 January 1959, organised by the Scottish District of the Communist Party. The programme is especially interesting as it lists the various contributors to the evening, including Hugh MacDiarmid and John Ross Campbell, editor of the Daily Worker.|
|Date of Publication||1764|
|Notes||An unusual contemporary binding for a 1764 Edinburgh-printed edition of the Bible. It is the first of two (or possibly three) volumes. A small number of similar floral bindings were produced in the 1760s and 1770s usually in crimson or red morocco (F.4.e.17) but occasionally in green, as in this example. The library holds two similar, though not identical, bindings with this motif.
It is noteworthy for a number of reasons: the spine does not have any raised bands or compartments; it has bold block-printed Dutch gilt endpapers and most strikingly the foredge is tooled in blind, with the petals decorated in red (now faded) in a complementary floral design. On the upper pastedown is the bookplate of James Drummond, possibly dating from the 1880s. (Bookplate also in RSM.23, acquired 1887).|
|Title||Thomas Edwards, England's, and North-Britain's, Happiness|
|Date of Publication||1709|
|Notes||This rare pamphlet makes a unique contribution to the debates over the Union of 1707. The writer argues that the great happiness brought by the union can be easily demonstrated by comparing conditions in modern England to, for instance, the reign of Henry III (!). The writer claims that the settlement has clarified the workings of the constitution, particularly as regards the militia, and supports Thomas Orme's Former Prints for a Standing Army (1707). The text goes on to claim that the Church of England is now freer from popery than at any time since the reign of Henry VIII, and warns solemnly against tolerating the Dissenters. In order to make this point further, the editor goes on to reprint the epistle from Thomas Edwards' Gangraena (1646) in which toleration is denounced. The 'imprimatur' from James Cranford on p. 32, which precedes the extract from Edwards' work, is simply an imprimatur from an edition of Edwards. At p. 33 the writer continues to discourse on religion and the state of the church, quoting from other sources to suggest that the Kirk of Scotland should conform to the Church of England. The writer clearly feels that Scotland has failed to make a proper contribution to the Union, remarking on the last page that only divine intervention prevented the Pretender from successfully taking Scotland in 1708, when 'North-Britain was so out of capacity to resist an invading Foe'. As a political argument, this work is amusingly illogical and disordered, but its references to other pamphlets create an interesting picture of literary debates in Britain in the early eighteenth century. This copy is striking for its condition, being uncut, unopened and stitched as issued. ESTC records just eight other copies (ESTC T32653). Collation: 4o, A-D4, a-b4, E-G4|
|Title||New Testament and Psalms
(Unidentified copy, t.p. missing)|
|Date of Publication||ca. 1867|
|Notes||This small format Bible (16mo) belonged to Rev. John Baird, father of John Logie Baird, inventor of the television. It is heavily inscribed with Biblical notes by Rev. Baird on pastedowns and endpapers including his signature dated 'Jany: 1867'. It was in this year that Baird was awarded his B.D. from the University of Glasgow. He was ordained as minister of West Parish Church in Helensburgh on 19th August 1869 and became first minister of the parish in 1883, resigning on 23rd October 1918. After his ordination he remained in Helensburgh for the rest of his life though made occasional trips through Europe and Africa. Although devoting his life to the one congregation and holding fast to the strict tenets of the Church of Scotland he was also interested in German culture and eastern religion. John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh on 13th August 1888.
The Bible comes with; a port. of Rev. Baird pasted to an endpaper, a newspaper clipping reporting on a memorial window to John Logie Baird to be unveiled in Helensburgh to mark the centenary of his birth and a provenance note written by Mrs Edith Brown whose family was in possession of the Bible until a move from Helensburgh to the Moray Coast in the 1930s/40s.|
|Author||Elton, Lady (Mary Stewart)|
|Title||Four panoramic views of the city of Edinburgh, taken from the Calton Hill, by Lady Elton|
|Date of Publication||1823|
|Notes||This fine and uncommon set of four lithographs provide a sweeping 360° panoramic view of Edinburgh and the surrounding areas from Calton Hill. Edinburgh was the birthplace of the panorama – indeed the first panorama ever produced was taken also from Calton Hill, by Robert Barker in 1787, thus setting in train a fashion for this type of topographical painting. In 1822, the artist, Mary Stewart, had produced a set of four views of the city from Blackford Hill. She was the daughter of Sir William Stewart, of Castle Stewart, Wigtownshire, and she married Sir Abraham Elton of Clevedon, Somerset in 1822.
The views were drawn on stone by William Westall the skilled topographical illustrator and printed in London by Charles Hullmandel, one of the foremost lithographic printers. Lithography was very much in its infancy in Scotland, the first examples using this method not being printed until 1821.
In two of the views can be seen tented encampments of troops, assembled to honour the royal visit of King George IV to the city in August 1822. The panoramas also provide detailed evidence of the development of the city in the early 19th century.|
|Title||Account of the trial of Thomas Muir.|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||This is the only known copy in Britain of the first American edition of a book describing the trial of Thomas Muir for sedition in 1793. It is one of very few eighteenth-century American publications of Australian interest. Two other editions were published by Samuel Campbell and another by W. Durrell, also in New York, which is indicative of a high level of interest in the case in the United States. The book is a detailed account of the trial, published with the approval of Muir. It also contains an appendix with copies of documents used as evidence against the accused during the trial.
Thomas Muir, born in Glasgow in 1765, was a lawyer inspired by the French Revolution and by Thomas Paine's 'The rights of man'. He was one of the prime movers in the Society of the Friends of the People, which advocated moderate parliamentary reforms. For his involvement with this organization and for his associations with the authorities in France and the United Irishmen in Ireland, Muir was arrested in August 1793. Following his trial he was sentenced with four of his compatriots (who later became known as the Scottish Martyrs) to 14 years transportation to New South Wales. In effect, they were the first 'political prisoners' sent to the colony. Muir managed to escape in 1796 and made his way across the Pacific via Mexico and eventually to France, where he died in 1799.|
|Title||Versuch über die Natur und Unveränderlichkeit der Wahreit; im Gegensatze de Klügeley und de Zweifelsucht.|
|Imprint||Copenhagen and Leipzig: Heineck & Faber|
|Date of Publication||1772|
|Notes||James Beattie's works have not stood the test of time as well as those of his contemporaries, men such as Hume and Smith, but his work was taken very seriously in its day. Beattie (1735-1803) was a poet, essayist and moral philosopher, born in Laurencekirk in Kincardine who studied Greek at Marischal College Aberdeen. From an early age he composed poetry and wrote essays which he contributed to the 'Scots Magazine'. He made a spectacular leap in his career, being a Master at Aberdeen Grammar School and from there appointed to the chair of moral philosophy and logic at Aberdeen. He is probably better remembered as a gifted poet, but it was his 'ungentle diatribe' against Hume that gained him recognition in his lifetime. As a result of his disagreement with Hume's sceptical philosophy Beattie published Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism (Edinburgh, 1770). It had proved difficult to find a publisher and Beattie's friends, Sir William Forbes and Mr Arbuthnot, arranged for the book to be published and sent fifty guineas to Beattie. As a result of its loose style and pointed attack on Hume, the book found a ready audience and in four years went through five editions. It was also translated into French, German, Dutch and Italian. The present edition is the rare first German edition translated by H.W. Von Gerstenberg.
It is a very good copy in full calf contemporary binding with spine gilt in compartments, raised bands.|
|Author||(Colbert), Hamilton, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton|
|Title||Catalogue des objects d'art & de curiosite au Palais d'Hamilton|
|Date of Publication||1838|
|Notes||A catalogue that never was. This is a quite remarkable curiosity that started life in France towards the end of the 17th Century, was bought in the early 18th Century by the 10th Duke of Hamilton and has now been purchased by the National Library of Scotland. Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) was Louis XIV's principal minister, an acknowledged financial wizard and an ardent book collector. At some date late in his career, he had made up for himself a volume of some 300 folio sheets of blank paper, watermarked with his own arms and bound in a striking red morocco armorial binding, showing a version of the Colbert arms. It is not clear what Colbert intended to do with this handsome volume but it is likely that he saw it as a manuscript catalogue of his extensive book collection. If that was the intention, then it never happened, for when Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton and 7th Duke of Brandon purchased it sometime in the early decades of the 19th Century it was blank throughout. The 10th Duke was a committed Francophile and renewed a dormant family claim to the Dukedom of Chatelherault in the French peerage. His intention for the volume seems clear since there is a manuscript title leaf in pen and ink 'Catalogue des objects d'art & de curiosite au Palais d'Hamilton 1838' and there are manuscript headings for various rooms of the Palace such as 'Salle Appartenante a La Bibliotheque' and 'Bibliotheque' and 'Chambre de Toilette de Madame La Duchesse'. However these headings end half way through the volume as the Duke, like Colbert before him, grew bored or forgot this fine volume.
The binding is late 17th Century full red morocco, gilt-panelled, with the arms of Jean Baptist Colbert in the centre panels of the upper and lower boards, surrounded by the collar s of the order of Saint-Michel and of the Saint-Esprit, and with coroneted monograms incorporating the letters JBC both at each of the central panels and in each of the seven compartments of the spine.
From the library of the Dukes of Hamilton with the Hamilton's 19th Century armorial bookplate on the front pastedown.|
|Title||Montrose illustrated in five views with plan of the town and several vignettes, to which are added a few explanatory remarks.|
|Date of Publication||1840|
|Notes||This is a pristine set of exemplars of early lithographic printing in Scotland, of which only one other copy is recorded in Britain. According to David Schenck, this volume appears to have been a prototype for a series of views drawn by James Gordon Jun. and published by J. & D. Nichol of Montrose under the general title 'City & towns of Scotland illustrated'. Views of Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow and Dumfries were subsequently published.
Lithography did not begin in Scotland until 1820, over two decades after its discovery in Germany. However Edinburgh and Glasgow soon developed into significant centres of lithographic printing in a British context. The lithographer responsible for this work is William Nichol, who was based in Hanover Street, Edinburgh, probably related to the Montrose publishers of this work. He wrote the entry for 'Lithography' in the seventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1841.|
|Title||Gospel of wealth.|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||'The gospel of wealth' was first published as a pair of articles - 'Wealth' and 'The best fields for philanthropy' in the 'North American Review' in 1889. W.T. Stead, better known subsequently as editor of 'The books for the bairns' re-titled the first article 'The gospel of wealth' when it was reprinted in the 'Pall Mall Gazette' in 1890. Ten years later, Carnegie had published his most famous work, a collection of magazine articles, under the title 'The gospel of wealth'.
In the first article, Carnegie, the Dunfermline-born philanthropist, addresses the question of the administration and disposal of wealth, concluding with the then novel idea that the rich man should give away his fortune while he is still alive and asserting that 'the man who dies ...rich, dies disgraced'. W.E. Gladstone was one of a number of prominent individuals, who praised this article and urged its wide circulation in Britain. The erstwhile Prime Minister did have some reservations about 'The best fields for philanthropy', in which Carnegie listed the best ways in which millionaires should dispose of their largesse --establishing universities, libraries, hospitals and financing public parks, swimming baths, concert halls and churches.
This is a presentation copy from the author to Cardinal Henry Manning, which forms part of a diverse collection of sixteen pamphlets on socialism and 'labour' in general published worldwide between 1873 and 1891. Manning was well known as a champion of the poor and in 1889 had played a major role in mediating between the opposing factions in the London Dock Strike. In dealing with the problem of the abuse of money and power, in an article entitled 'Irresponsible wealth' published in the 'Nineteenth century' in December 1890, Manning was indirectly criticising Carnegie's Darwinian approach to economics.|
|Author||Sinclair, Sir John|
|Title||Sketch of the improvements now carrying on in the county of Caithness, north Britain.|
|Date of Publication||1803|
|Notes||A brief description, beautifully illustrated with four fine engraved plans, of proposed improvements to 'a remote and neglected district of a country', most of which was the property of the author, Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. The work was later included as an appendix to Captain John Henderson's 'General view of the agriculture of the county of Caithness', published in 1812. On the title page is a presentation inscription from the author to a 'General Melville', dated 30 May, 1803.
Described by a contemporary as 'the most indefatigable man in Britain', Sinclair was a man of many parts. He served as M.P. for Caithness in the early 1780s, inaugurated the British Wool Society in 1791, founded the Board of Agriculture in 1793 and was almost single-handedly responsible for the preparation of the mammoth 'Statistical account of Scotland', which was published in 1799.
This book is a microcosm of Sinclair's interests as an economic improver. The promotion of sheep farming, the cultivation of 'fenland', the establishment of new villages both inland and on the coast, the promotion of fisheries and the construction of a new town in Thurso are all described. Ultimately, Sinclair's 'improvements' changed the face of the county. Sinclair also had great hopes for Thurso and envisaged that it would trade with the West Indies. At the time of writing, work had already begun and Sinclair described his involvement in financing the enterprise, advancing a sum for every house built and promoting the work of the Building Society. His geometric town plan is similar to that for Edinburgh's New Town and apart from some public buildings - the academy, infirmary and public wash house - most of the plan was realised.|
|Title||Elements of the art of dancing.|
|Date of Publication||1822|
|Notes||This is the only known copy of this book in Britain - the only other recorded copy is at the Library of Congress. It is one of the earliest and most important manuals devoted to the performance of 'la danse de la ville', better known as the quadrille, which came to Britain from the salons of Paris around 1815.
In the preface Strathy, a dancing master about whom little is known, opined that 'dancing may be to the body what reading is to the mind'. The book is divided into two parts. Part one contains an extensive account of exercises for the improvement of one's deportment. Part two provides precise descriptions for more than twenty steps for the quadrille, including a number of new steps added by the author. The book concludes with directions, given in French and English for eleven quadrille figures.|
|Title||Inaugural ceremonies in honour of the opening of Fountain Gardens, Paisley ... Published under the patronage and by authority of the Provost, Magistrates and Town Council.|
|Imprint||Paisley: J & J. Cook|
|Date of Publication||1868|
|Notes||Folio, , 92
This limited, imperial edition of 40 copies was 'published by request of a few gentlemen who wished to have a special edition de luxe'. There was also an edition for the general public and a 'drawing room' edition for subscribers. The book is dedicated to Thomas Coats, a local cotton manufacturer, who purchased the grounds for £20,000 and donated them to the town of Paisley. The gardens were designed by the Glasgow landscape architect James Niven, former assistant to Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth, and the fountains were erected by George Smith & Co. of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow. The Coates Family is indelibly bound up in the industrial history of Paisley, through their domination of cotton manufacturing output with four large mills at each corner of the town. Following the Victorian spirit of charitable works, laced with a strong Baptist belief, they endowed many buildings and gardens in Paisley during their period of Economic hegemony including the construction of the largest Baptist church in Europe (Coates Memorial Church) and the Fountain Gardens.|
|Title||[Trainspotting] The glossary.|
|Date of Publication||1996|
|Notes||This booklet has been signed by Irvine Welsh and gives a basic insight to the vernacular used in the novel. Examples range from the purely Edinburgh expressions "barry" (great) or "swedge" (fight), include the fairly self-explanatory (to most Scots ears at least) "maist", although the description of "Oor Wullie" (popular Scottish cartoon character (Our William))would boggle the minds of anyone familiar with the works of D.C. Thomson. The novel itself had been published several years previously to great acclaim, however the glossary was published as a tie-in with the recently released film.|
|Author||Byron, George Gordon, Baron.|
|Title||Ritter Harold's Pilgerfahrt.|
|Date of Publication||1836|
|Notes||This is the first edition of what is probably the first German translation of Childe Harold, the work which made Byron famous. He composed this work between 1812 and 1818, though nearly two decades were to elapse before it was fully translated. The translator, Joseph Christian, Freiherr von Zedlitz, (1790-1862) was one of the leading poets in Austria. The work contains a preface and copious scholarly notes by the translator and retains its original wrappers. Zedlitz composed patriotic and romantic verse and his Totenkränze (1828), a cycle of 134 poems, was in imitation of Byron's style. Another translation of Childe Harolde was apparently made by Karl Baldamus (1784-1852) in 1835, but no copy is extant. Though controversial in his own country, Byron was revered on the continent and particularly in Germany, where Heine, Goethe and their contemporaries fell under his spell.|