The National Library of Scotland's United States collections cover a wide range of topics, from the Civil War to the Cold War, Dixie to Dadaism, and Modernism to Motown.
Our American collections are the largest of the international collections, with material dating from the 17th century to the present day. Within the collections are rare books, manuscripts, periodicals, maps, microforms, and numerous recent publications.
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Civil War display
In these collections you will find a range of topics represented, spanning centuries of history and a wide variety of disciplines. Among many others, subjects covered include:
- Politics and presidential history
- LGBT studies
- Arts and culture
- History of the book
- Libraries and librarianship
- Gender studies.
Collecting is especially focused on material about Scotland and the Scots, with relevance to Scotland, or written by important Scots. The United States collections contain material about:
- Scottish-American history
- Scottish culture in the USA
- Scottish emigration to North America.
The United States collections contain many treasures, including:
- 'Official Letters to the Honorable American Congress', 1795: Signed by George Washington, first President of the United States
- Henrietta Liston's North American journals, 1796-1801: The wife of British diplomat Robert Liston shares her observations on the newly-independent United States
- Advertisement for sale of sugar plantation and slaves, 1852: Poster advertising a Louisiana plantation with 129 slaves
- Union soldier's American Civil War diary, 1862: The pocket diary of an unknown private
- Photograph of a slave's scourged back, 1864: Abolitionist propaganda image of an escaped slave
- 'The Yosemite': A first edition of John Muir's travel guide-cum-autobiography, published in New York in 1912 [Library shelfmark: H2.78.861]
- 'Renascence and other poems': A first edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry, published in New York in 1917 [Library shelfmark: H.S.450]
- 'Gone with the wind': A first edition of the novel published in New York in 1936, signed by author Margaret Mitchell [Library shelfmark: H.S.705].
Email Dora Petherbridge, United States and Commonwealth Collections Curator, with enquiries, suggestions for acquisition, and if you wish to donate material.
Ask a question online if you have an enquiry about manuscripts relating to the United States.