South Asian purchases on the increase
Current publications from and about Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are being added to the National Library of Scotland's foreign collections in increasing numbers, following the decision to dedicate funding for the buying of South Asian material.
Despite the limitations of financial constraints in recent years, our collection of South Asian holdings remains one of the most important of its kind in the UK, and the most important north of Cambridge. The Library has substantial manuscript items relating to the East India Company, the administration of British India, and legal, military, trade and missionary activities. Travel and exploration are prominent themes in the collection as a whole. Particularly important is the India Papers collection - unique in Scotland - comprising more than 4,000 volumes relating to the Imperial Government and the government of many states.
The overall emphasis in current purchasing is on colonial and post-colonial history and on literature in English, with the addition of works of reference and some social science material.
Among our recent South Asian additions are an English translation of the spiritual epic Mahabharata with original Sanskit text, and an investigation of the ideological role of an Islamic group in Pakistani regional conflicts.
See our South Asian Collections page for more information.
26 August 2004
Through the Garden Gate
A select sample of sources for gardens and garden history, drawn largely from our manuscript collections, will be on show at the National Library of Scotland in September as part of the nationwide Archive Awareness Campaign.
Supported by the National Council on Archives, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and the National Archives, the campaign uses a series of events to highlight the amazing wealth of material that is contained in the nation's archives.
Tying in with 2004 as the Year of the Garden, this year's events theme, 'Routes to Roots', reflects the widespread interest in gardens and gardening that is evident throughout the country. The Library's small display, in the Barrel Vault cases in George IV Bridge, brings together 17th-century drawings of plants, gardeners' letters, a nurseryman's day book, a garden labour journal, accounts and more, under the title 'Through the Garden Gate'.
Pictured are details from two of the exhibits: above - part of a postcard of a Japanese garden, from the honeymoon scrapbook of Lady Newhailes (1911); left - a watercolour engraving of a flower of about 1670, possibly the work of a Scotsman in Paris, copied from a French volume dated 1608.
'Through the Garden Gate' can be viewed during Library opening hours from 6 September to 1 October. Admission is free.
26 August 2004
Liddell's 1924 Olympic gold on show
In the year of the Athens Olympics, a gold medal earned by one of Scotland's sporting heroes has gone on display in the National Library of Scotland's summer exhibition.
Eric Liddell, at the 1924 the Olympic Games in Paris, entered a race he hadn't trained for, after the qualifying heats for the 100 metres dash fell on a Sunday. His deep Christian convictions about the Sabbath caused the athlete to pull out of that race and opt for the 400 metres event instead. The decision led to a record-breaking triumph, a gold medal (plus a bronze for the 200 metres) and a story that captured the public imagination.
Sporting glories of yesteryear is one of the themes in our exhibition, READ ALL ABOUT IT!, which celebrates Scotland's cultural and social history as told by newspapers. Liddell's medal is one of several sports-related exhibits on show: you can also see early ballads about racing and curling, the report of the first Scotland-England rugby match (1871), and tabloid coverage of Euro-96 football games between Scotland and England.
The development of sports reporting over the years is the subject of an exhibition-related event on 15 September with commentator Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4's Head of Programmes (Nations and Regions) and co-presenter of BBC Radio Scotland's award-winning show Off the Ball. See our Events page for details.
For further information, read our press release (10 August).
19 August 2004