Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 899 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 166 to 180 of 899:

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Author[Anderson, Alan]
Title[Collection of c. 230 items printed by Alan Anderson at the Tragara Press]
Imprint[Edinburgh & Loanhead; Tragara Press]
Date of Publication1962-2009
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of c. 230 letterpress items printed by Alan Anderson's Tragara Press between 1962 and 2009. The Tragara Press was founded in Edinburgh the early 1950s by Alan Anderson (1922 - ), the press taking its name from the famous Punta Tragara hotel on the Italian island of Capri, a favourite holiday destination for him. It is Scotland's longest-running, and, in terms of output, most prolific private press. Alan Anderson studied printing at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1950s, and the first book with a Tragara Press imprint appeared in 1954. However, he worked mainly as a bookseller until the 1970s before devoting himself full-time to printing and publishing. In 1986 Anderson moved to Loanhead in Midlothian and is now based in Beauly, Inverness-shire. According to the most recent bibliography of the Tragara Press by Steven Halliwell, published in 2004, between 1954 and 1991 he printed and published himself c. 150 items. These items were usually small octavo pamphlets with the print runs of 100-200 numbered copies, printed from 1969 onwards on an 'Arab' treadle platen press, although some of them have smaller print runs. Anderson's aim has been to produce good quality, appropriate printing of selected texts (he has particular interest in Norman Douglas, Oscar Wilde, John Gray, Baron Corvo and other writers of the 1890s/early 20th-century) at affordable prices. His printing is characterised by its emphasis on typography rather than illustration and by its elegant, austere design; his books are now collectors' items among bibliophiles. He has also produced a substantial body of work from the 1950s onwards, usually contemporary poetry, which has been privately commissioned by other presses and by friends. From 1991 onwards his printing has been exclusively for other publishers, with the exception of his 2004 anthology of poems "Blue Remembered Hills". The Library has collected Tragara Press items for several years and held an exhibition of the Press's work in 2005. This collection supplements NLS's existing holdings of Tragara Press material by adding examples of work printed for other presses, such as Alan Clodd's Enitharmon Press and David Tibet's Durtro Press; it also includes examples of very rare printed ephemera, proof copies and variant printings on different papers, enabling one to trace the different stages in the printing of the individual publications.
ShelfmarkTrag.C
Reference SourcesS. Halliwell, "Fifty years of hand-printing: a bibliography of the Tragara Press", High Wycombe, 2005.
Acquired on12/11/10
Author[Andrew Bennett]
TitleThe book of St Andrews Links
ImprintSt Andrews: J.& G. Innes
Date of Publication1898
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare early book on golf, printed in St Andrews, which the author describes as the 'mecca of golf'. The author, not named in the publication, was Andrew Bennett, (1871-1958), who would later serve as Secretary of St Andrews University and who, in addition to his interest in golf, was a keen amateur poet and artist. The book contains the rules and regulations of the game, information on the Old and New courses in St Andrews (including a colour map showing their location) and a selection of golfing rhymes. Only 1,000 copies of this edition were printed.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2724
Reference SourcesDonovan & Murdoch, "The game of golf and the printed word, 1566-1985 : a bibliography of golf literature in the English language " (Endicott, NY, 1988)no. 690 JSF Murdoch "The Murdoch golf library" (Droitwich, 1991)no. 57
Acquired on05/09/08
Author[Anon.]
TitleA geographical history of Nova Scotia
ImprintLondon: Paul Vaillant
Date of Publication1749
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the earliest printed accounts of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which describes the rival claims of the French and British to the region. Writing for prospective settlers, the anonymous author in the preface says he has drawn on his own observations and those of the French Jesuit priest turned historian Pierre Charlevoix when writing his book. He stresses the importance of Nova Scotia to British trade and the security of the other British North American settlements in view of increasing tensions with French settlers (which eventually led to war). The book also includes descriptions of the Indians living in the area and their relations with the European settlers.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2704
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on11/04/08
Author[Anon.]
TitleScotch gallantry display'd: or the life and adventures of the unparralel'd [sic] Col. Fr-nc-s Ch-rt-s, impartially related. With some remarks on other writers on this subject.
Imprint London: printed for, and sold by the booksellers in town and country,
Date of Publication1730
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare first edition of a pamphlet which gives an account of the life of the infamous Francis Charteris (c.1665­-1732), gambler and rake, who was born in Edinburgh, and whose family were major landowners in Scotland. The work was published at the height of his notoriety; in December 1729 Charteris was charged with the attempted rape of Ann Bond, one of his maidservants, who had been in his employment for only a few days. After hearing testimony from the girl herself, as well as from fellow servants, Charteris was found guilty and in February 1730 was sentenced to death by hanging. It was unusual at the time for a gentleman to be punished for what many contemporaries considered an act of gallantry, and his conviction may have been secured by influential parties hostile to Charteris. The rape, however, was just one such in a long career of gambling, extortion, and serial seduction, usually of tall young lower class girls (Charteris was 6 feet tall), recently arrived in London, ensnared by one of his employees and brought to his houses in the West End. If unable to secure their favours by fair means, he would resort to force. Charteris, however, escaped the gallows. On the advice of judges, privy council, and his advocate, Duncan Forbes (another legatee of Charteris's will), George II granted him a full pardon on 10 April. The trial and its aftermath had incurred expenses amounting to £15,000, but Charteris's personal fortune was estimated at £200,000 so this was a sum he could well afford. He may have bought his freedom, but for the rest of his life Charteris was vilified, and was once physically attacked in his coach. He left London for good in 1730, retiring to his property in Lancashire before returning to Scotland in February 1732. He died the following month at his Stony Hill estate near Musselburgh, after using "Opiates in great Quantities" (The Country Journal, 4 March 1732. At his burial in the family vault at the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh, the populace gave a "loud Huzza" (Fog's Weekly Journal, 11 March 1732). Only one copy (in the British Library) is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2755
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/09
Author[Anon.]
TitleShipped by the grace of God in good o[r]der ... by Ro[bert] Stuart for Henry Leivie ...
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.],
Date of Publication[1671?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare piece of 17th-century printed ephemera, presumably printed in Scotland, namely a bill of lading (a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for transport to a named place for delivery to the consignee, who is usually identified on the bill). Manuscript inscriptions in blank spaces on the bill give details of the persons involved. It records the shipment of six tons of wines "fully well conditioned" from Bordeaux to Leith on 30 October 1671 on the "David" of Bruntiland (Burntisland) captained by Patrick Angus. The wine was destined for the merchant William Inglish (Inglis?) of Leith. The bill is signed by Patrick Stuart and has a MS note on the back by him. Scotland had been importing wine from France since the Middle Ages; thanks to the Auld Alliance Scottish merchants had the privilege of having the first choice of Bordeaux's finest wines. Leith was the centre for importing French wine, which was prized by the upper classes. This printed document shows that despite the political and religious upheavals which made trade with France more difficult (the Reformation, Union of the Crowns) the Scots were still using their privilege of selecting Bordeaux wines in the 1670s.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2770
Acquired on24/11/09
Author[Anon]
Title[A group of 8 poetical broadsides, printed on silk and dedicated to Count Agostino Scotti dei Duglassi]
Imprint[Padua: Giuseppe e Fratelli Penada & Gio. Antonio Conzatti]
Date of Publication[c. 1800]
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is a collection of Italian poetical broadsides composed to celebrate Count Agostino Scotti dei Duglassi's graduation from university in Padua with a law degree. The Scotti dei Duglassi were a branch of the Scottish Douglas family who settled in northern Italy in the 16th-century. The poems are printed on coloured silk (three on ivory-coloured silk, one on pink, three on light blue and one on yellow) four of them have woodcut headpieces. The texts of all 8 poems are different. The Count was born c. 1776 and presumably graduated in his early 20s, so these broadsides were printed c. 1800. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 and is one of the oldest universities in Italy (second only after Bologna). Graduation ceremonies in Padua were very important and solemn events and became very popular during the sixteenth century, often involving all the citizens of the city. After the ceremony a banquet took place and the graduates celebrated together with their family and friends. In many cases, the graduates' relatives arranged for the publication of sonnets, poems and songs to announce their graduation. These publications were written by the graduates' friends or parents and praised the intellectual abilities and the moral strength of the graduates. It is rare for such poems to have survived, let alone ones printed in silk in such fine condition. One of the broadsides has a contemporary ink inscription: Pellegrin Pasqualigo Friulano.
ShelfmarkRB.el.29
Acquired on11/06/09
Author[Anon]
TitleThe agreable [sic] contrast between the British hero and the Italian fugitive.
Imprint[London : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1746]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an engraved satirical broadside printed in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, which gives an indication of the anti-Jacobite sentiments in the capital. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the "Italian fugitive", sits in a library reading and leaning his elbow on "The Pope's Bull". At his feet lies a print of the battle of Culloden and a broken anchor. He is flanked by Britannia and Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland (the "British hero") who both issue rebukes to him. At the foot of the broadside is engraved "Here happy Britain tells her joyfull [sic] tales, And may again since Williams arms prevails".
ShelfmarkRB.l.253
Acquired on26/06/09
Author[Anon]
TitleStates of the affairs of Messrs Douglas, Heron, and company, at August 1773, when they finally gave up business.
Imprint[Edinburgh: s.n.]
Date of Publication1780
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded broadside of 1780, presumably printed in Edinburgh, which summarises the financial state of the failed Ayr Bank, one of the most dramatic crashes in the history of early Scottish, indeed European, banking. The bank had been founded in 1769 by the firm of Douglas, Heron & Co. with the motto "Pro bon publico", as a response to a rapidly growing demand in Scotland for banking facilities. Credit was tight among the existing banks and there was a general belief that a new bank could unleash the potential of land ownership in Scotland. The bank was supported by some of the leading aristocratic landowners in Scotland, its credit backed by the collateral of large tracts of land. However, in order to support land improvement schemes, the Ayr Bank adopted policies that proved to be far too risky. Adam Smith, would later comment in his 'Wealth of Nations', "this bank was far more liberal than any other had been, both in granting cash accounts, and in discounting bills of exchange" (II.ii.73). By June 1772 the bank had issued £1.2 million through advances and bills of exchange, around two thirds of the currency of the country. In the same month, news of the collapse of a London bank, which had extensive dealings with the Ayr Bank, reached Scotland; a financial crisis ensued which led to the eventual collapse of all but three of the country's 30 private banks. There was a run on the Ayr Bank forcing it to suspend payments on June 25. To shore up the loan book of the bank its partners had to put up the collateral of their lands; these lands were gradually sold over the following years to meet the bank's huge losses. The collapse of the bank was thus a major blow to the great Scottish landowning families, including Adam Smith's patron and former pupil, the Duke of Buccleuch, who was a major shareholder in it.
ShelfmarkRB.l.251
Reference SourcesAntoin E. Murphy, 'The Genesis of Macroeconomics', Oxford, 2009.
Acquired on18/06/09
Author[Anon]
TitleThe Poetical Works of the inimitable Don Carlos, commonly called the Young Chevalier.
ImprintLondon: J. Oldcastle,
Date of Publication1745
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first edition of a very rare and unusual attack on Bonnie Prince Charlie, which involved printing and attributing to him two salacious and immoral French poems. According to the anonymous author/editor of the introduction, the purpose of the publication was to show how very odious "our bold adventurer's character" must appear "in the eyes of all who have the least regard for religion and morality". The author goes on to express that the wish that the publication "will have a good effect, not only by preventing unthinking men from joining the Pretender's son, but likewise by opening the eyes of those deluded wretches who have already taken up arms in his cause". The dating of the introduction, 20 October 1745, shows that the publication was conceived at the height of the panic about the Jacobite uprising in Scotland. Charles's army had taken Edinburgh in September; he was now holding court at Holyrood and waiting for reinforcements for his expedition to England, which began at the end of the month. Charles was counting on receiving support from Jacobites in England and this pamphlet was an attempt to deter would be recruits to his cause. The two poems printed here, 'L' Ode Priapique' and 'Épitre à Uranie', are in fact not by Charles, as the anonymous author/editor must have known. The former is a famous piece of erotica by the French dramatist Alexis Piron (1689-1773), written in c. 1710, and which had circulated widely in manuscript. The version printed here is in 14 stanzas (other printings are in 17 or in an expurgated 11) and varies substantially from the more widely-known versions of the text. The latter poem is actually 'Le pour et le contre', an anti-religious poem by Voltaire probably written in 1722, first printed under a false "Londres" imprint in 1738 - this is its first true English printing. The author/editor concludes in a final paragraph that "as there is no living in this Protestant kingdom with such a religion and such morals as his, he had even best return from whence he came - ". ESTC records only two other copies of this work, both of them are in England.
ShelfmarkRB.m.691
Acquired on19/09/09
Author[Anon]
TitleA melancholy account of several barbarous murders & lately committed in the counties of Limerick, Clonmel, Kildare and Carlow
ImprintGlasgow: T. Duncan
Date of Publication[c. 1800]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare Glasgow broadside outlining recent murders committed in Ireland by groups of "armed banditties". After the failure of the 1798 Rebellion pockets of armed resistance to British rule were still to be found in parts of the country, with gangs carrying out robberies and reprisals on anyone with loyalist sympathies. The main series of murders mentioned here were the result of an attack on the Boland family home in Manister, Co. Limerick in March 1800. (Justice in this case turned out to be swift and brutal: contemporary newspaper accounts subsequently record that the following month two men, Henry Stokes and Patrick Sheehan, were found guilty by a general court martial at Limerick of the murder of the male members of the Boland family. The men were hanged, after which their bodies were brought to Limerick and thrown into a mass grave, the 'Croppies'-hole', at the new gaol.) The broadside briefly refers to the "state of fermentation" in "that unhappy country" but is more concerned with stressing the barbarity of the crimes being committed and also alludes to the apparent complicity of the Catholic church in the outrages by offering absolution to convicted murderers.
ShelfmarkAP.4.208.12
Acquired on02/05/07
Author[Anon]
TitleA particular account of the cruel murder of Mrs. Thompson & in the city of Dublin
ImprintGlasgow: John Muir
Date of Publicationc. 1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesAccounts of murders were a stock theme in 19th-century broadsides, the more gruesome and tragic the better. This moralising Glasgow broadside is based on an account in the "Dublin Journal" of the brutal murder of 19 year-old Mrs Thompson in the house of a certain Captain Peck in Portland Place, and would have been of interest to the large Irish community in Glasgow. Two servant women, Bridget Ennis and Bridget Butterly, appear to have worked together on a plan to burgle the house. During the robbery Mrs Thompson was murdered, apparently stabbed with a knife and beaten with a hot poker. The broadside typically focuses on Mrs Thompson's youth and beauty and the fact that she was the mother of a three week-old child. The author draws some comfort from the fact that the culprits were swiftly apprehended, Butterly having aroused suspicion by using a blood-stained £10 note at a local grocer's shop. The Library also has in its collections another broadside reporting the execution of Ennis and Butterly on 21 May 1821 and Butterly's public confession (shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(20) - digitised on the Word on the Street (http://www.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/14675/criteria/butterly)), which gives further details of the crime. Butterly was a former servant and lover of Captain Peck, who had a miscarriage when pregnant with his child and was later dismissed from service for speaking disrespectfully of "Miss" [sic] Thompson. Along with Ennis she decided to rob her former employer and to use the proceeds to flee to England. The women's motivation for the robbery as revenge on the predatory Captain Peck is thus made clear. Butterly's decision to murder Mrs/Miss Thompson, against Ennis's wishes, is seen as jealousy on her part, the victim being presumably Peck's mistress and the mother of his child.
ShelfmarkAP.4.208.13
Acquired on02/05/07
Author[Anon]
TitleLife of Arthur Lord Balmerino & to which are added, some memoirs of the lives of the two other lords, the Earls of Kilmarnock and Cromertie [sic].
ImprintLondon: C. Whitefield
Date of Publication1746
LanguageEnglish
NotesAfter the failure of the rebellion of 1745/46, the leading Jacobites, who had been captured or had turned themselves in, were taken to London and tried for treason. The trials of these men and subsequent fate of these men excited a lot of public interest in 1746, in particular the fate of four Scottish aristocrats: Lord Balmerino, the earls of Kilmarnock and Cromarty, and Lord Lovat. Balmerino and Kilmarnock were publicly beheaded on 18 August for their roles in the rebellion. Cromarty was also sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment nine days before the planned execution; Lovat had been captured in the Highlands and was now awaiting trial in the Tower of London (he would be tried in December and executed the following year). A number of 'hack' biographies of these eminent rebels were quickly published to meet the demand for information, including the ones printed in this book. The initial title page of this particular edition was clearly issued before the final contents had been decided, as it does not mention the final two biographies, which cover Jenny Cameron, 'the reputed mistress of the deputy Pretender', and Lord Lovat. The tone of the whole book is strongly anti-Jacobite as can be seen in the inclusion of a biography of Jenny or "Bonnie Jeannie" Cameron, who is depicted as an amoral gold-digger. Little is known of the real Jean Cameron, but her life almost certainly bore no relation to the account published here. Despite the sensational tone of the biographies, in the detailed description of their conduct leading up to their executions the anonymous author shows respect for the brave and dignified manner in which Balmerino and Kilmarnock met their deaths. This particular edition was published in fifteen parts and has five portraits engraved by William Parr. A later edition was published by Whitefield in the same year with a general title page that mentions all five biographies, but this earlier edition appears to be very rare, with only three known UK locations listed in ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2644
Reference SourcesESTC; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Acquired on22/01/06
Author[Anon]
TitleWhiskiana, or, the drunkard's progress. A poem. In Scottish verse.
ImprintGlasgow: printed by A. Napier
Date of Publication1812
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a poem in Scots dealing with the "evil of habitual intoxication", which mixes humour with a serious moral message. The anonymous author, 'Anti-Whiskianus', reveals in the preface that he was originally from the village of Ceres in Fife and wrote the poem between 1810 and 1811. "Whiskiana" is in five parts covering the progress of a drunkard from inebriation to redemption: a description of the drunkard, his wife's lament for his "infatuated conduct", his remorse, his repentance, and finally his complete reformation when he swaps the bottle for a prayer book. The author acknowledges Scots popular poet Hector Macneill as an inspiration; Macneill had written a ballad against the evils of drink, "Scotland's Skaith, or, The History of Will and Jean", first published in 1795, which quickly became a popular favourite and which is quoted on the title page. "Whiskiana" can be regarded as a further sign of growing unease among some Scots about the social problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was becoming an increasingly urbanised society due to the Industrial Revolution, with a growing and thirsty population, and there was little attempt to control and regulate alcohol production, illicit spirits being found in most taverns. 'Anti-Whiskianus' has no qualms in his preface about criticising the late Robert Burns, indeed the poem is meant to "counteract the excessive praises lavished on whisky by Burns". The author may have been influenced by James Currie's biography in his four-volume edition of the works of Burns, first published in 1800, in which Currie controversially mentioned that Burns drank to excess. He may also have in mind the traditions of Scottish conviviality exemplified by the male drinking clubs of the 18th-century to which many Scottish literary figures, including Burns, belonged, 'How comes it why ilk Scottish bard/Their sonnets always interlard, Strong recommending drinking hard, Wit to inspire?/Can sober thinking e'er retard/Poetic fire?" For men such as 'Anti-Whiskianus' temperance was the only solution to the problem; such sentiments would lead in the late 1820s to the establishment of temperance societies in Scotland. This appears to be the only published version of the poem, no other copies have been recorded in other major libraries.
ShelfmarkAP.1.211.06
Reference SourcesJack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell eds "Alcohol and temperance in modern history: an international encyclopedia" v. 1 Santa Barbara, Calif., c. 2003.
Acquired on15/01/11
Author[Anon]
TitleOverland route to India and China.
ImprintLondon: T. Nelson and Sons,
Date of Publication1858
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn the 19th century the firm of Thomas Nelson became of the most successful publishing houses in the world. From its bookselling origins in Edinburgh at the end of the 18th century the firm expanded into publishing and printing. This particular book is an example of their success in printing good quality, affordable, small format books. Despite the title, this anonymous work describes a sea journey to China, stopping in Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt and India, Ceylon, Hong Kong and Singapore, before ending up in Shanghai. The only real overland part of the journey was travelling from Alexandria to Suez (the Suez canal was yet to be built), which involved, according to the author, "incessant galloping and jolting over the parched desert" as the railway line through the desert was still in construction. The book has particularly attractive colour plates, produced using an early chromolithograph technique based on G. J. Cox's invention of transferring steel and copperplate engraving onto lithographic stone but using a combination of light blue, chocolate brown, and beige. This technique proved to be a cost effective way to print colour illustrations. "Overland route" appears to be a particularly rare Nelson publication, with only two other UK library locations in WorldCat.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2815
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/05/11
Author[Anon]
TitleEssay on the memory and character of Dorophagus, the great patriot of the North.
Imprint[London?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1743?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis anonymous satirical pamphlet is a savage attack on 'Dorophagus' (from the Greek for 'devourer of [financial] gifts') a.k.a. John Campbell, second Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1680-1743). Argyll had a long military and political career, which was marked by several quarrels not just with his political enemies, but also with family and friends. As early as 1714, a contemporary who knew him personally, George Lockhart of Carnwath, wrote in his "Memorials Concerning the Affairs of Scotland" that Argyll "was not, strictly speaking, a man of sound understanding and judgement; for all his natural endowments were sullied with too much impetuosity, passion, and positiveness". This pamphlet, presumably printed after Argyll's death in October 1743, is a lot harsher in its criticism of his character. The author depicts Argyll as man without principle and motivated only by financial gain, concluding that, "upon the whole: a character more compleatly [sic] immoral never appeared in this part of the world."
ShelfmarkAP.3.210.12
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on23/04/10
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