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Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections’

New College Library’s Torah Scroll

Torah scroll on display in the Funk Reading Room

Torah scroll on display in the Funk Reading Room

Phylactery, New College Objects Collection

Phylactery, New College Objects Collection

New College Library’s Torah Scroll (Pentateuch) was on display to visitors today in the Funk Reading Room.

Scrolls such as these are an integral part of Jewish communal life, being read in their entirety in a yearly cycle. The portions of the masoretic texts are divided into weekly portions and their reading in communal worship is followed by a set reading from the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible.

This scroll is no longer suitable for ritual use, as it is no longer bound onto its original etzim (rollers) or clothed in its original protective and decorative garments. Some letters are damaged, indicating its non-kosher status. Conservation work was undertaken in 2008 to ensure that the scroll was preserved in an appropriate state for study and teaching, and it received new rollers and new box. The funds for this work were raised by the New College Library Book Sale.

The provenance of the scroll is not known, but it may have come to the Library at the same time as other objects from Jewish religious practice in the New College Library objects collection. These include a phylatctory or tefillin,  a small, black leather cube-shaped case made to contain Torah texts.

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From slave trader to ‘Amazing Grace’ – John Newton

[Newton, John] / An authentic narrative of some remarkable and interesting particularas in the life of ********* ... London, 1786.

[Newton, John] / An authentic narrative of some remarkable and interesting particularas in the life of ********* … London, 1786. New College Library Z.1188

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of John Newton, Anglican clergyman and hymn writer. This volume from New College Library’s Special Collections tells his remarkable story. The Authentic narrative of some remarkable and interesting particulars in the life of Mr. Newton describes Newton’s early career as a seaman on a slave trading ship. He experienced  a profound religious conversion, which when he finally took up life on shore led him to become active in evangelical revival. He pursued private studies in Divinity and taught himself Greek, Hebrew and Syriac.

In 1764, the year he was ordained as an Anglican priest, his Authentic Narrative appeared and quickly became a bestseller. Newton’s early life as a seaman slave trader coloured his experiences in later life, when he wrote and campaigned against slavery and is known to have met and advised William Wilberforce. He was a prominent hymn writer, and his legacy lives on today in the well known hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ .

New College Library has this sixth edition, at Z.1188, published in 1786, but it went through ten British and eight American editions before the end of the century. It was quickly translated into several other languages – New College Library also holds a Gaelic edition at Gaelic Coll. 137.

Sources

D. Bruce Hindmarsh, ‘Newton, John (1725–1807)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/20062, accessed 18 July 2013]

Treasures of New College Library : The Longforgan Free Church Ministers Library

Longforgan LibraryThe Longforgan Free Church Ministers Library is a collection of handsomely bound volumes, particularly rich in patristic and theological texts. The rare books in the collection include Knox’s Liturgy (1611), the Babylonian Talmud and Athanasii opera (1600). Each volume is embossed in gold with the distinctive stamp of the Longforgan Library.  It is kept in its own custom made glazed shelving, now housed at the entrance to New College Library and in the David Welsh Reading Room.

The Longforgan Library was originally gifted to the Free Church at Longforgan, Dundee by Mr David Watson, son of the Rev Dr Charles Watson,  who was the owner of Bullionfield Paperworks at Invergowrie. The original deed of gift records that the books were given along with the bookcases and £100 invested in stocks and shares for the library’s upkeep(1). The library that was formally handed over to the Deacons Court at Longforgan Free Church (who acted as trustees) had its own printed catalogue in a bound volume, still in use at New College Library today.  Longforgan2

The next chapter in its history came in 1962  when ownership of the Longforgan Free Church Minister’s Library was transferred to New College Library. The move had been set in motion by the Revd James Torrance (who had been minister at Longforgan) and Professor T.F. Torrance (who was then curator of New College Library) (2).

Last week  we welcomed descendants of David Watson at New College Library, who shared details of the Longforgan Library’s original donor, and who were able to see David Watson’s lasting legacy here. The Longforgan Library is due to be catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects 2012-14.

(1) Gould, Four Churches of Invergowrie.  Dundee : 1997, p. 79

(2) Howard, John. In :  Disruption to Diversity. Edinburgh : 1996, p. 193.

Science and religion : a natural history #ILW2013

Natural History CollectionInnovative Learning week kicks off at New College Library with a chance to see some of the scientific books in New College Library’s Special Collections and find out where they came from and why they were collected at New College Library. Please drop in to look at the book display in the Funk Reading Room, Monday 18 February 11-12am and ask questions.

Several of the items in this display are drawn from New College Library’s Natural History Collection, a Special Collection numbering about 175 books. This dates from the early days of New College, where ‘Natural Science’ was taught until 1934. The collection covers the mid-nineteenth century controversies over evolution and natural selection, with geology particularly well represented. There is a focus on Scottish natural history and on texts by Scots writers.

Can’t come to the display? See the presentation slides on slideshare.

Walking with Angels? Exploring Death in Modern Scotland

Song School St Mary, 1897, f.13r by Phoebe Anna Traquair, (b.1852, d.1936) . Edinburgh University Library

Song School St Mary, 1897, f.13r
by Phoebe Anna Traquair, (b.1852, d.1936) . Edinburgh University Library

There are still places available at the forthcoming conference on Death in Modern Scotland , 1855: beliefs, attitudes and practices at the School of Divinity, New College Edinburgh, on 1-3 February 2013. Among the speakers is Dr Elizabeth Cumming (Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh; Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow) on  ‘Phoebe Anna Traquair, angels and changing concepts of the supernatural in fin-de-siècle Scotland’. This image of one of Phoebe Anna Traquair’s works is taken from a volume in Edinburgh University Library’s Special Collections, with further images available online.

The Hammond Organ in history

Hymn 19Today, 11 January, is the anniversary of the birth of Laurens Hammond, inventor of the Hammond organ. New College Library holds this pamphlet, The Hammond Organ, published in the 1930s,  in the Hymnology collections.

Patented eighty years ago in 1933-4, the Hammond Organ was aimed at church and domestic use, and  it offered a new and cheaper alternative to the traditional pipe organ for church music. Later, it became popular for jazz, blues and rock music, as well as for church and gospel music.

Laurens Hammond was awarded the Franklin Institute’s John Price Wetherill Medal in 1940 for the invention of the Hammond electric organ.

This item was recently catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

The wood-walls of Scotland : a Christmas Carol

The wood-walls of Scotland : a Christmas carol, from the Fife Sentinel, with additions. Edinburgh : W. P. Kennedy … etc., 1844. New College Library F.a.12/13

New College Christmas Carol Service is taking place today at 5pm in the Martin Hall, led by members of the New College community and with singing from the New College Choir. Here’s a Christmas carol from  New College Library’s collections.

This pamphlet, The wood-walls of Scotland, was originally published in the newspaper the Fife Sentinel.  It contains a carol that would have been sung to a popular hymn tune, inspired by the verse from Psalm 132 “Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.” Published after the Disruption of 1843, the carol is celebrating the outdoor services held to accommodate congregations who had separated to form the new Free Church of Scotland.

“On hill-side and green valley

Our wooden temples placed

The faithful, round they rally

The Gospel-standard rais’d”