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Edinburgh University Library
   
About the Library Founded in 1583, Edinburgh University Library has a very large and wide-ranging collection, estimated to total at present 2.5 million volumes. Edinburgh has one of the most significant collections of early British books in Scotland, second only to that of the National Library of Scotland, with particular strengths in science, medicine and the humanities. As a major Scottish repository, the Library naturally has a particular strength in the earliest printed output of Scotland. The material at Edinburgh to be covered by this Project includes books from some of the Libraryís most important collections. The total estimated quantity of pre-1700 British books in Edinburgh University Library is 18,000, with some 3,000 already on the database (as a result of previous externally-funded Projects). The early printed material is mostly housed in the Main Library building, with some theological material in New College, and music material in the Reid Music Library.
Collection Highlights Collection 1: (a) The Clement Litill bequest (1580). This collection of 276 volumes became the nucleus of the nascent Universityís library. Includes a small number of early British books, largely theological, but with pre-reformation Scottish provenances, including a copy of the first book printed at St Andrews (John Hamiltonís The Catechisme, That is to say, ane co[m]mone and catholik instructioun of the christin people ... (1552))

Collection 2: The library of the Scottish poet William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1645). This is one of the most important private libraries collected in seventeenth century Scotland, and is preserved substantially intact thanks to three separate donations by the poet in the 1620s and 1630s. The collection is especially strong in early English literature.

Collection 3: The library of James Nairne (1629-1678), Chaplain to Charles II, whose collection, especially strong in seventeenth century theology, came to the Library in 1678. Almost half of the 1949 books were published in the British isles. It includes the classic account of modern mathematics, John Napierís Rabdologiae (1617)

Collection 4: The library of the Scottish enlightenment giant Dugald Stewart (1753-1828). Consisting of over 4,000 volumes the collection is particularly rich in pre-1700 British books on economics, moral philosophy, and mathematics.

Collection 5: The library of Adam Smith (1723-1790). Almost 1, 000 books from the library of the great economic theorist. The books, including many pre-1700 British books, is wide ranging, but includes classics, science, law, and architecture.

Collection 6: (a) The Presbytery Library of Dumfries, consisting of over 1,500 books on theology and history, mostly pre-1700 British imprints.
Contact details 0131 650 3409
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