Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Z Collection’

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]

To fast or feast? Celebrating Christmas in the eighteenth century

December 11, 2012 1 comment
A discourse concerning the lawfulness and right manner of keeping Christmas and other Christian holy-days, by way of question and answer : intended for the use of a charity-school. London: Printed for, and sold by H. Hills, in Black-fryars, near the Water-side, 1708 New College Library Z.851/3

A discourse concerning the lawfulness and right manner of keeping Christmas and other Christian holy-days, by way of question and answer : intended for the use of a charity-school. London: Printed for, and sold by H. Hills, in Black-fryars, near the Water-side, 1708 New College Library Z.851/3

Many folk will be going to Christmas lunches and parties this week – including New College Library staff. Outside our office window the Edinburgh Christmas fair is in full (and noisy) swing, celebrating the season.

This eighteenth century pamphlet,  A discourse concerning the lawfulness and right manner of keeping Christmas,  gives an eighteenth century view on seasonal celebrations.  It takes the form of a dialogue between a master and scholar, prefacing the discussion with the quotation of Bible texts that urge sincere and temperate behaviour. It unpicks the theology of Christmas from an early eighteenth century Anglican point of view,  negotiating the scriptural and historical justifications of the observance of Christmas as a holy day and the contemporary differences in practice with other Protestant Churches. The author looks back on the abolishment of Christmas celebrations (including plum pudding) under Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan regime after the English Civil War. It is possible both this period and the Restoration of 1660 may have been within the author’s living memory.

This book is also available online to University of Edinburgh users via Eighteenth Century Collections Online, where it can be read online in full.

This item is from New College Library’s Z Collection, currently being catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

To Africa with Love

Reports of the Glasgow African Missionary Society
New College Library Special Collections Z Collection Z.858/9-16

Today’s Centre for the Study of World Christianity Research Seminar is presented by Dr Jack Thompson, ‘African mission photography: Light on Darkness’.

This item, Reports of the Glasgow Missionary Society, from New College Library’s Z Collections, is a printed record of missionary activity, evidence of the hundreds of Missionary Scots at work across Africa.  I was charmed to find that among them was a Dr John Love (perhaps an ancestor of mine?) one time secretary of the Glasgow Missionary Society. The Church of Scotland’s first important missionary station in Africa, at Kaffaria (established in 1830), was named Lovedale after him.  New College Library also holds in its archives a volume of illustrations of Church of Scotland missions in South Africa (Gen. 827F), which features Lovedale. Further details can be searched online at www.mundus.ac.uk.

Israel, the Assyrians and a shoemaker’s gift

The sacred and profane history of the world connected : from the creation of the world to the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire …, and to the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel …/ by Samuel Shuckford, D.D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, George the Second. ; Revised … by James Creighton. Philadelphia, 1824.
New College Library [Special Collections] Z.2152

At todays’ opening seminar in the Divinity Biblical Studies Research Seminar series, the speaker is Dr Carly Crouch, Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, University of Nottingham, on “Israel and the Assyrians”.

On that note, here’s an ambitious work of history from New College Library’s Special Collections that covers the Assyrian Empire and  “the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel”. Written by Samuel Shuckford in the eighteenth century, this edition was published in the nineteenth century and is the first American edition of this work.

What interested me the most was in fact the label inside the book (well, I am a librarian), which states:

“Presented to the Free Church of Scotland, by Thomas Aikman, shoemaker, a native of Scotland, near Sterling [sic], a citizen of the United States of America since 1794 – a member of the Presbyterian Church in full communion for more than fifty years. Burlington, N.J., 1844.”

With this provenance, the book must have been donated to New College Library as part of the first appeal for books that came with the founding of New College as the College for the Free Church of Scotland after the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843.  It shows that Thomas Aikman, an emigrant of humble background, was following religious affairs in his homeland closely and that the principles behind the founding of New College were close enough to his heart for him to donate this book.

This book is part of the ‘Z’ Collection, currently being catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

Here comes the rain again …

Prayers written at Vailima, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1910. New College Library Z.2233.

The rain is pouring down this afternoon in thundery showers.

Here’s a rainy day item from New College Library’s collections. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this prayer in time of rain as part of a collection of prayers written in Vailima, Samoa where he made his home in the 1890s. It was later published in this 1910 illuminated edition, designed by Alberto Sangorski.

This item is held in New College Library’s Special Collections, in the ‘Z’ Collection.

A nineteenth century view of Islam at New College Library

In this month of Ramadan, I thought I would feature this recently catalogued item from New College Library’s Z-Collection that gives a nineteenth century Western view of Islam.

An history of Muhammedanism : comprising the life and character of the Arabian prophet, and succinct accounts of the empires founded by the Muhammedan arms : an inquiry into the theology, morality, laws, literature, and usage of the Muselmans, and a view of the present state and extent of the Muhammedan religion / by Charles Mills. London : 1818. New College Library, Z.1180

The item is inscribed Ex Libris Bibliothecae Theologicae Edinensis, indicating that it came from the Edinburgh University Theological Library. This library was absorbed into New College Library when New College merged with the University in the early 1960s.

The ‘Z’ Factor : New College Library’s rediscovered Special Collections

What are Special Collections? At New College Library we have Special Collections of books, archives  and manuscripts and a small collection of portraits and objects. Much of the book collections have been housed in Special Collections for decades, but we also have a growing collection of ‘new’ Special Collections.

This is the Z Collection, which is formed out of recent donations and out of New College Library books formerly in the General sequence  which were identified as Special Collections during a stock management exercise. We follow the critieria used by the Centre for Research Collections here at the University of Edinburgh, in particular that all books published before 1850 should be classed as Special Collections. The Z Collection, which numbers over 3,500 items, is currently being catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects.

One example from the Z Collection is the Biographia scotica, a biographical dictionary compiled by John Stark of Edinburgh.  It contains engraved portraits of notable Edinburgh figures such as George Drummond, a Lord Provost of Edinburgh, George Heriot, whose name is still carried by one of the well-known schools in Edinburgh, and John Napier of Merchiston, the inventor of logarithms. The book bears the inscription of one Alexander Fortune with the date 1820 at the head of the title page and a bookplate presenting the book to New College from the library of the late James Wilson, merchant, 3 South Bridge (Edinburgh).