Sound heritage to be preserved
Thousands of rare and unique audio recordings in Scotland are to be saved as part of a major preservation project.
The National Library of Scotland is to host one of 10 sound preservation centres in the UK being set up thanks to a £9.5 million National Lottery grant.
Led by the British Library, 'Unlocking Our Sound Heritage' will help preserve recordings threatened by physical degradation or no longer playable because equipment is obsolete.
Oral histories of the two world wars and stories of working life across different parts of Scotland are among the recordings to be saved.
Read more in our sound preservation project media release.
12 April 2017
Co-ordinator role for Muriel Spark centenary
Applications are being sought for a key role in next year's centenary celebrations marking the birth of one of Scotland's finest writers, Dame Muriel Spark.
The Muriel Spark Centenary Co-ordinator will work with a range of organisations on a programme of activity to make the centenary year truly memorable.
Spark is best known as the author of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. She was also a self-confessed hoarder whose personal archive is now one of the largest and most comprehensive held by the National Library of Scotland.
The co-ordinator role has been established by the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland. A job description is available on the Engage recruitment portal, and the closing date for applications is Thursday 20 April.
For more information see our Muriel Spark co-ordinator media release.
6 April 2017
Blackwood's — the magazine that scandalised its readers
The story of an Edinburgh magazine first published in 1817 is told in a new National Library of Scotland display.
'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine', which continued until 1980, was regarded as the most important and influential literary-political journal of its time.
The display features prominent issues of the magazine and correspondence relating to contributors, including Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. Among unusual exhibits is a 1918 issue that saved the life of a First World War soldier.
During its best days, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the magazine introduced new works from writers such as George Eliot, Joseph Conrad and John Buchan.
Success was built on controversy — with acerbic reviews and personal attacks on leading figures that both scandalised and captivated readers. This led to frequent lawsuits and the death of one angry critic in a pistol duel.
'"Laws were made to be broken": "Blackwood's Magazine" at 200' runs until July 2.
Read more in our Blackwood's display media release.
30 March 2017
'Chimney map' on display in Edinburgh
A once-disintegrating 17th-century Dutch map, painstakingly restored by the National Library of Scotland, is now on public display.
Delivered to the Library in plastic sack, the near-ruined antique map was so fragmented that some of it resembled confetti. Conservation work has resulted in the map being cleaned and reassembled, with fragments re-attached that had fallen off.
Significant sections have disintegrated and been lost, but enough remains of Dutch engraver Gerald Valck's map to tell a fascinating story.
Because it was first said to have been found stuffed up a chimney in an Aberdeenshire house, it became known as 'the chimney map'. Now it appears to have originally been discovered under a floorboard during restoration of a house on the estate of Castle Fraser, owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
The map is on show in the Library's George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh until 17 April.
13 March 2017
Read Henrietta Liston's North American journals
Experience the early United States through the eyes of a diplomat's wife who was a spirited observer of life in the new country.
A new National Library of Scotland website provides access to Henrietta Liston's handwritten North America journals.
Just 13 years after America fought Great Britain to win its independence, Henrietta arrived in the U.S. with her Scottish husband, Robert, who was British Minister to the United States.
Over the course of the five years between 1796 and 1801, the couple helped to restore good relations between the two countries. They became friends with the first President, George Washington, and other Founding Fathers.
Henrietta records the developing relationship in the nine journals that are available on the website, 'The North American journeys of a diplomat's wife'.
Full of fascinating insights, the journals tell of life at the heart of the new nation and of the Listons' travels across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. An interactive map offers a way of searching by places Henrietta and Robert visited on their tours.
See also our Henrietta Liston media release
8 March 2017