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Aberdeen University Library

Address. University of Aberdeen. Directorate of Information Systems and Services: Heritage Division; Special Collections and Archives, King's College, Aberdeen AB24 3SW
Telephone. (01224) 27 25 98
Fax. (01224) 27 38 91
e-mail. [speclib@abdn.ac.uk]
Internet. http://www.abdn.ac.uk/

Governing body or responsible institution. University of Aberdeen
Functions. University library. The Directorate's Heri- tage Division is responsible for (a) the accumulation and custodianship of the University's manuscripts and archive collections, and acts as a repository for regional historical archives; (b) the curatorship of all the University's pre-1841 and special collection printed material.
Subjects. All subjects. - Special Collections: Books printed before 1841; material relating to the north of Scotland; relating to King's and Marischal Colleges, and the University of Aberdeen, or material relating to individuals associated with these colleges and the University.

Access. Manuscripts and books printed before 1841 are partly kept in the open-access reading room, but for the most part in closed-access stacks. Most of these are available for consultation only in the reading room. Up to 24 hours notice is required for items stored in closed-access stacks. - Open to bona fide researchers. - Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Closed 2nd Monday in July (local holiday), Christmas and New Year period.
Printed information. Numerous information leaflets on the Library and Heritage Division's collections and services.
Special facilities. Microfilm reader, reader-printer, CD-ROM. Archival photocopying and scanning facilities and services also available. (This service is operated by Special Collections staff.)
Travel directions. Bus services from Aberdeen main station.


1.1 In September 1860, as a result of the Universities (of Scotland) Act of 1858, King's and Marischal College were fused, to form the University of Aberdeen. Hitherto both King's (founded in 1495 in the then separate burgh of Old Aberdeen by Bishop William Elphinstone, 1431-1514, see below 1.6) and Marischal College (established in Aberdeen, and with the active support of the Town Council, by George Keith, 1554?-1623, the 4th Earl Marischal, a diplomat and wealthy local landowner, in 1593) had both maintained strenuously independent existences as university institutions, with their own professoriate and degree awards. Though nominally united as the Caroline University in 1641, the arrangement was annulled at the Restoration.

Marischal College Library

1.2 Marischal College Library owes its existence to the bequest of Duncan Liddel (1561-1613). Liddel, Professor of Mathematics and Medicine at the University of Helmstedt, left his personal library to the College, which made provision in 1614 for its accommodation. His library, predominantly medical and scientific, includes at least 260 17th-century texts and is notable for a rare manuscript copy of the beginning of the Commentariolus of Copernicus. The library became firmly established with two other early 17th-century acquisitions, the bequest of Thomas Reid (d. 1624), a philosophy teacher at the University of Rostock, and later the Latin Secretary to James VI, and the transference of the stock of the Common Library of New Aberdeen (the Library of St. Nicholas Kirk) in 1632, which itself contained survivals from the libraries of the religious orders in Aberdeen.

1.3 In marked contrast to the character of Liddel's library Thomas Reid's collections of around 1,100 vols of printed books and 25 MSS reflect an abiding interest in the classical languages, and in philosophy. Renaissance printers and publishers figure significantly. German printers are much in evidence with many imprints of the Wechel family (Frankfurt) and Commelinus (Heidelberg). These 16th-century Renaissance editions reflect the scholarship and textual work of Joannes Leunclavius, Fredericus Sylburgius and Simon Grynaeus. A small minority of texts is scientific, including Gesner's monumental Historiae animalium (Zürich 1551-1587).

1.4 The library continued to grow slowly through the 17th century, mostly by smaller donations, made either by teachers or graduates of the College. At this period, funds for the purchase of books were meagre. The early decades of the 18th century saw efforts by both colleges to modernise their curricula, to reflect better recent and contemporary advances in intellectual thought, placing somewhat greater emphasis than hitherto on scientific disciplines. Acquisition by purchase became more frequent, though financial resources remained ungenerous until the 19th century. The state of the accommodation of the library in the old buildings of the College had been intermittently heavily criticised, and in the 1720s it was relocated in a new extension, which itself was dismantled as part of the rebuilding project begun in 1837.

1.5 Major 18th-century donations, both largely medical in nature, include those of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, Chancellor of Marischal College, 1761-1792, and Sir William Fordyce, Rector, 1790-1792. Bute's donation of around 1,300 vols includes early editions of Bauhinus, and of Agricola's De re metallica (Basel 1556). In the years leading up to the fusion Marischal College Library, whose administration and management had been improved in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, benefited from a further two significant benefactions: the donation of the private library of Dr James Melvin (1795-1853; around 7,000 vols; see below 2.22), and of John Forbes (1787-1861), physician, author and editor, whose collection of 3,830 vols contains many 17th and 18th-century German editions of medical texts.

King's College Library

1.6 William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, and an eminent churchman and statesman, was the founder of King's College by virtue of the Papal Bull of 1495, which allowed the teaching of the liberal arts, canon and civil law, theology and medicine. Elphinstone had also obtained the necessary support and patronage of James IV. Aware of the relative inaccessibility of the North-East of Scotland, and of the region's distance from any other seat of learning, Elphinstone's intentions were practical in nature: to produce the educated groups (e.g. clerics, lawyers, teachers) needed by church and state.

1.7 King's College Library was formed around the donations made by Elphinstone himself, the Principals, Hector Boece (c. 1465-1536) and William Hay (2nd Principal of King's College 1536-1543), and other early teachers, including the first two humanists, John Vaus (1490?-1538?) and Theophilus Stewart (d. 1576). (Their donations of incunabula are noted in Mitchell, Catalogue of incunabula, see below 3.3, and Elphinstone's library is discussed in Macfarlane, see below 5.) Like Marischal College, 17th-century King's made limited provision for the purchase of books, yet still relied heavily on the beneficence of graduates and teachers, for example the gift of Alexander Reid (1586?-1641, the brother of Thomas), a physician and surgeon, lecturer and writer, who gave his medical books to King's, and those in other disciplines to its rival institution.

1.8 Over 1,000 vols were added to King's stock as a result of the presentation of the library of Bishop Patrick Scougall (1607?-1682) and his son, Henry (1650-1678), Professor of Divinity, and author of the famous Life of God in the soul of man. This donation, and, more particularly, the series of gifts, adding up to around 1,000 vols, were mostly made from the 1720s onwards by James Fraser (1645-1731), bibliophile, licenser of the press, Secretary of Chelsea Hospital, who contributed many middle- and late-17th-century German imprints. Fraser also provided funding for the reconstruction and substantial largement of the College library, which since the mid-16th century had been located along the south side of King's College Chapel.

1.9 The ever-present rivalry between the two colleges was heightened by the wording of the 1710 Copyright Act, which granted the privilege of legal deposit to the University of Aberdeen. The ensuing argument between the two colleges as to which actually could claim books from Stationers' Hall, reached the Lords of Session. Marischal College lost the argument, though a pragmatic solution was arrived at: books claimed by King's should be made available to both colleges. Nevertheless in the 1780s William Ogilvie, humanist at King's College, unsuccessfully argued at length with his colleagues that the stock of King's College Library remained inadequate, and sought to have the library's funding increased and put on a more secure footing. By the time of the first Scottish Universities Commission (1826-1830) there had been successful efforts to improve the management and administration of King's College Library.

The University of Aberdeen 1860 to date

1.10 Three years after the fusion (1863) the library of Alexander Henderson of Caskieben (1780-1863; c. 3,000 vols) was added to the University's collections, and is maintained as a separate collection. The modern library owes much to the work of P. J. Anderson, the librarian from 1894 to 1926, who began the work of reorganising the collections to meet modern needs, and who at an early stage introduced the Dewey Classification system into the library, to be applied, not just to current collections, but to many of the sequences of older printed books. Catalogue records for the majority of the library's stock, including older printed books, are now available through its OPAC.

William A. Kelly


Chronological outline and analysis by language

2.1 The library holds c. 50,000 vols of books, wherever printed, from 1501 to 1800 (from 1501 to 1860 in the case of books on medicine and science). There are 231 incunables and c. 4,230 16th-century titles, apart from those in special collections. The number of 17th- and 18th-century titles cannot be specified. Of the 15th-century imprints c. 32 per cent are from German-speaking countries; of the 16th-century imprints the percentage of German imprints could only be roughly estimated at c. 20-30 per cent. The incunabula from German printing offices are all in Latin; 16th-century continental imprints from the German-speaking area are also in Latin, apart from very few examples of medical literature which are in German.

Subject outline


2.2 Of the 231 incunabula 83 are from German-speaking areas. Many of them are associated with early teachers and benefactors of the University, including William Elphinstone (see above 1.6) and Hector Boece (see above 1.7), first Principal of King's College. Imprints are Cologne (21), Strasbourg (16), Basel (14), Nuremberg (11), Leipzig (7), Mainz (3), Augsburg, Lübeck and Speyer (2), Hagenau, Heidelberg, Magdeburg, Tübingen and Ulm (1). Most of the incunabula are theological works including Bibles and commentaries (e.g. Biblia Latina. Cum postillis Nicolai de Lyra, Strasbourg: Johannes Grüninger 1492), homiletic works (e.g. Saint Bernard, Homiliae super evangelio Missus est angelus Gabriel, Cologne: Printer of Augustinus de Fide c. 1473), patristic writings (e.g. St. Augustine, Sermones et heremitas, Strasbourg: Johannes Prüss, not before 1487), sermons (e.g. Gulielmus Textor, Sermones tres de passione Christi, Strasbourg: Martinus Flach 1490) or works of Church history (e.g. Concilium Constantiense. Acta et decreta, Hagenau: Henricus Gran 1500). The earliest examples are Saint Jerome's Epistolae (vol. 2, Mainz: Peter Schöffer 1470), Aristotle's Ethics (Strasbourg: Johannes Mentelin, before 10 April 1469) and Jean Charlier de Gerson, Alphabetum divini amoris (Cologne: Ulrich Zell c. 1466).

2.3 Among non-theological works

 classical  literature  and
 philology  are  well-represented
(e.g. Joannes Reuchlin, Vocabularius breviloquus, Strasbourg: Printer of 1483 J. de Quedlinburg 1491) as well as philosophy (e.g. Aristotle's Ethics). There are also copies of well-known works such as Ptolemaeus's Cosmographia (Ulm: Leonardus Holle 1482) and Sebastian Brant's Stultifera navis (Augsburg: Johannes Schönsperger 1497), or medical works such as Avicenna's Canon de medicina (Strasbourg: Adolf Rusch, before 1473), the Hortus sanitatis (Mainz: Jacobus Meydenbach 1491) or Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De proprietatibus rerum (Strasbourg: Printer of 1483 J. de Quedlinburg 1491).

16th-century works

2.4 European imprints (pre-1601), English printing to 1640 and Scottish editions (pre-1780) are gathered in the ``pi'-Collection, which consists of c. 7,200 vols. About 4,230 items are 16th-century imprints. The libraries of the early benefactors to King's and Marischal Colleges (e.g. Duncan Liddel and Thomas Reid, see above 1.2) have been largely absorbed into this collection, but there are also examples from the collection of the Gregory family (especially medicine), the Melvin Collection (see below 2.22) or the libraries of James Fraser and Patrick Scougall (see above 1.8).

2.5 The collection reflects the great number of printing offices and places of printing in 16th-century Germany and the German-speaking areas. There are 66 printers (or associations of printers) from Basel, 46 from Cologne and 40 from Frankfurt a. M. Other imprints include Altdorf, Amberg, Augsburg, Berlin, Bern, Bremen, Breslau, Danzig, Dillingen, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Eisleben, Erfurt, Frankfurt/Oder, Freiburg, Görlitz, Greifswald, Hagenau, Schwäbisch-Hall, Hamburg, Helmstedt, Herborn, Hildesheim, Ingolstadt, Jena, Königsberg, Lauingen, Leipzig, Lübeck, Mainz, Marburg, Neustadt-an-der-Hardt, Nuremberg, Ober-

ursel, Oppenheim, Pforzheim, Rostock, Schaffhausen, Siegen, Strasbourg, Tübingen, Uelzen, Vienna, Wesel, Wittenberg, Wolfenbüttel, Worms, Würzburg, Zerbst and Zürich. The collection reflects the rich printing tradition in 16th-century Germany. Nearly all branches of contemporary learning and science are represented.

2.6 The library is rich in 16th-century theological works including Bibles (polyglot, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and German, e.g. Biblia, translated by Luther, Frankfurt 1595). The Old and New Testament and parts of them are also well represented, e.g. the so-called Hutter-Bible, the New Testament printed in 12 languages (Nuremberg 1599). Basel editions with Erasmus's commentaries are numerous, but there are also Hebrew editions of the Old Testament and the Psalms printed in Basel. Other places of printing of Bible literature are Strasbourg, Wittenberg and Leipzig. Another prominent field is Reformation literature, starting with Luther, of whom 8 editions are extant, e.g. Opera omnia (Jena: C. Rhodius 1556-1558). There are also numerous examples from Théodore de Bèze (Geneva editions only), Johannes Brenz (8 items from Frankfurt, Halle, Tübingen and Wittenberg), Heinrich Bullinger (10 items, all printed in Zürich), Jean Calvin (38 items, mostly from Geneva), Melanchthon (several theological writings, e.g. Corpus doctrinae Christianae, Leipzig 1561) or Andreas and Lucas Osiander. Furthermore, the Counter-Reformation has also left its marks: Johannes Eck and John Fisher (in Paris and Venice editions) and Jacob Gretser are represented, the latter in an Ingolstadt edition of 1590. Rerum a Societate Iesu in Oriente gestarum volumen (Cologne 1574) is an example of Jesuit literature. In the field of patristics and church history there are writings by St. Jerome, Jeremiah the Patriarch, Bede Venerabilis, John Bale and Matthias Flacius Illyricus.

2.7 Classical literature, classical philology, philos-

ophy and humanistic (neo-Latin) literature form another part of the collection. Numerous editions are to be found of classical writers such as Aristotle (80 editions, some of which are from German printing houses, e.g. Neustadt-an-der-Hardt 1587), Caesar, Callimachus, Cato or Cicero (although most editions are Italian or French). Examples of contemporary philosophy are writings by Bartholomaeus Keckermann (Oratio de Aristotele et philosophia peripatetica, Heidelberg 1596) or Wolfgang Henricus Langenmantel; contemporary philology is represented by Guillaume Budé (several items), Melanchthon (several items), David and Nathan Chytraeus (e.g. In Vergilium prolegomena, Rostock 1589), Thomas Linacre, Justus Lipsius (several items) or Conrad Neobar. Contemporary (neo-Latin) authors are Livinus Brechtus (Euripus, tragoedia Christiana, Cologne 1555) or Nicodemus Frischlin.

2.8 The collection is also rich in history and topography. Examples of ancient historians include Flavius Josephus (5 items, e.g. Opera omnia, Basel 1582) or Herodotus. Modern history writing and topography are represented by Jean Bodin (e.g. Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem, Heidelberg 1591), Giovanni Botero (e.g. Allgemeine Weltbeschreibung, Cologne 1596), Théodore de Bry (Americae pars quinta, Frankfurt 1595), Albert Krantz (Chronica regnorum ...Daniae, Suetiae, Noruagiae, n. p. 1560), David Chytraeus or Saxo Grammaticus (Danorum historiae libri, Basel 1534). Georg Braun and Franz Hoghenberg's topographical works, issued at Cologne (5 items), should also be mentioned here.

2.9 Another strong field is early science (see above 1.2, 1.5). Pre-eminent in the collection are two copies each of the first two editions of Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium libri VI (Nuremberg 1543 and Basel 1566) with annotations by Duncan Liddel, Professor of Mathematics at Helmstedt. There are more than 260 copies from his library preserved in the collection, many of them works on natural science or medicine. Among the astronomers, Georgius Peurbachius (Tabulae, Vienna 1514), Valentinus Nabod (2 items) or Regiomontanus (4 items) deserve mention, just as well as Moses ben Maimon (De astrologia epistola, Cologne 1555), whose various writings represent the tradition of Jewish learning. Alchemy is represented by the works of Andreas Libavius (5 items, e.g. Alchemia, Frankfurt 1597) or Paracelsus.

2.10 The library's holdings of 16th-century zoology, botany and medicine are remarkable. The collection contains Hieronymus Bock's Kreutterbuch (Stras-

bourg 1565), Caspar Bauhin's Enumeratio plantarum (Basel 1596) and Conrad Gesner's monumental Historiae animalium (Zürich 1551-1587). 18 items, mostly from German presses, can be attributed to Gesner. Bauhin's and Gesner's medical works are also represented, as are items by Galen (50 in total, several from Basel and Frankfurt presses) and Hippocrates (38 items, several Basel imprints and copies from the Gregory and Liddel libraries). Arabic medicine is represented by Muhammad Ibn Zakariya, Abu Bakr (Opus medicinae practicae, Hagenau 1533, with the sub-title ``Libellus introductorius in artem paruam Galeni'). Furthermore, works by Leonhard Fuchs are to be found (6 items from German presses), as well as by Crato von Kraftheim or Paracelsus (25 items, 8 from German presses, many of which come from Liddel's library). Works of British authors, e.g. of Timothy Bright (4 items printed at Frankfurt), John Craig (Basel) or Duncan Liddel himself should also be mentioned. There are several ``Arzneibücher', e.g. by Hieronymus Braunschweig (Frankfurt 1580) or Johann Wier (Frankfurt 1588). Writings on the plague deserve special attention, e.g. Kurtze Ordnung: wie man sich in jetzt grassierender ...Pestilenz praeseruiren möge (Helmstedt 1597), Pestordnung in der Stadt Hamburg (Hamburg 1597) or by Liddel himself (De peste disputatio prior, Helmstedt 1598).

2.11 Due to Liddel and his residence in Helmstedt the collection contains several Helmstedt imprints, including writings by Liddel himself, by Joannes Caselius, or a number of ``Orationes academicae', mostly written in Greek. Imprints from Rostock presses (14 in total), e.g. a funeral sermon by Johann Bocer or Jacob Bording's Sanitatis conseruatrix (Rostock 1591) also come from Liddel's library. Among the few German texts Zacharias Lochner's Zwey Büchlein der gerechneten Schlachtordnung (Nuremberg 1557) deserves mention.

Karen Kloth

17th, 18th and 19th-century works

2.12 The ``SB' collection of nearly 27,000 vols reflects the general pattern of all other pre-1841 material, and scientific and medical material to 1860. The libraries of the early benefactors to King's and Marischal Colleges (e.g. Liddel, Reid, Scougall, Fraser) have largely been absorbed into the SB collection, which also contains the published writings (including German editions) of those Aberdeen academics who contributed to Scottish Enlightenment thought and debate. Among these e.g. Alexander Gerard, Versuch über den Geschmack (Breslau: Meyer 1766) should be mentioned.

2.13 Reflecting the Scottish Enlightenment tradition, the library is strong in German philosophy of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. There are numerous editions of Kant's writings (12 German items and one Latin). All his standard works are present, often in Königsberg or Riga editions (mostly 2nd to 4th editions) starting with Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können (Riga 1783). His works were translated into Latin by Friedrich Gottlob Born (Leipzig 1796-1798), probably for the non-German-speaking learned world. Other German philosophers were Hegel (2 items; e.g. Phänomenologie des Geistes, Bamberg 1807), Leibniz (4 items; e.g. Opera omnia, Geneva 1768), Friedrich Schleiermacher (2 items; e.g. Über die Religion, Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Betrachtern, Berlin 1821), Hermann Lotze and Arthur Schopenhauer (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Leipzig 1859). The majority of these items are from the SB collection.

2.14 The ``Lib R' collection contains all other rarities (including twentieth-century titles) and topographical material up to 1860. Noteworthy within it is a group of around 75 titles, consisting of early editions (British and Continental) of Ossian or relating to the Ossianic controversy.

Special collections

Bibliotheck of Kirkwall

2.15 The collection comprises 290 vols, and was the gift of William Baikie of Stronsay (c. 1638-1683) in the Orkneys to the minister of Kirkwall and his successors for the benefit of the local inhabitants. Over the next two centuries the collection was added to, before it became part of Orkney Public Library in 1890. The older volumes not being considered worth retaining were offered for sale by auction. That Baikie's collection survived relatively intact is due to the bibliographical knowledge of a local clergyman, J. B. Craven, who bought the volumes for a paltry sum even for that time, and cared for them until 1914, when he presented them to Aberdeen University Library. As many of the volumes had been written or owned by graduates of King's College and Marischal College, the donation was a particularly appropriate one.

2.16 Two of the authors represented are Andrew Aidie and Thomas Reid, who had taught at Danzig and Rostock respectively, where they both presided over numerous disputations. Among the 16th- and 17th-century volumes of a theological content from German presses are various works by J. Buxtorf on oriental languages, e.g. Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum (Basel 1631) and Grammaticae Chaldaicae et Syriacae libri III (Basel 1615), C. Vorst's De causis admodum justis ac necessariis, hactenus ab evangelicis deserti, et porro a piis omnib. deserendi Romani Papatus (Steinfurt 1613), R. Walther's In priorem (-posteriorem) D. Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios epistolam homiliae (Zürich 1572) and Melanchthon's Anleitung wie christlich zu antworten sey auff die abgöttischen Artickel in Baiern gestellet (Wittenberg 1559). Some of the volumes owned and annotated by Baikie are more in line with what he would have been reading during his Arts course at Edinburgh University in the late 1650s, e.g. B. Keckermann's Systema compendiosum totius mathematices (Hanau 1621), J. A. Vogel's Aristoteles resolutus (Frankfurt 1614), F. Crellius' Isagoge logica (Neustadt-an-der-Hardt 1590) and A. Talé's Rhetorica et P. Rami praelectionibus observata (Frankfurt 1589).

Biesenthal Collection

2.17 The collection, comprising in total 2,150 vols, which had been accumulated by Johann Heinrich Raphael Hirsch Biesenthal, a German convert from Judaism to Christianity, has been in Aberdeen since 1872, when it was bought by Prof. W. R. Smith for the Free Church College, later Christ's College, where it remained until its deposit in Aberdeen University Library in 1968. The c. 600 Hebrew volumes in the collection have been described as representing a comprehensive selection of everything published in that language from the invention of printing up to the mid-19th century. The non-Hebrew works in the collection are rich in volumes in many languages from the 17th to the 19th century on Biblical exegesis, church history and Jewish history and antiquities. A notable feature of this part of his library is the literature which attempts to elucidate the Bible from Talmudic sources and parallels, e.g. C. Schöttgen, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in universum Novum Testamentum (Dresden 1733-1742), J. G. Meuschen's Novum Testamentum ex Talmude et antiquitatibus Hebraeorum illustratum (Leipzig 1736) and two works by S. Jarchi, Commentarius Hebraicus, in prophetas maiores et minores, ut et in Hiobum et Psalmos (Gotha 1713) and Commentarius Hebraicus in Pentateuchum Mosis (Gotha 1710). The collection also contains the general histories of the Jews by J. M. Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Secten (Leipzig 1857-1858) and Allgemeine Geschichte des israelitischen Volkes (Berlin 1832).

2.18 No such library could have been without the works of J. C. Wagenseil and J. D. Michaelis, arguably the greatest orientalists ever produced by Germany. Accordingly the former's Sota. Hoc est: liber Mischnicus de uxore adulterii suspecta (Altdorf 1674) and the latter's Mosaisches Recht (Reutlingen 1785) are both there. That Biesenthal did not confine his interests to Talmudic and Biblical exegesis can be seen in the numerous works on the history of the Jewish diaspora in his library, e.g. J. J. Schudt's Jüdische Merckwürdigkeiten vorstellende was sich curieuses und denckwürdiges in den neuern Zeiten ...mit denen in alle IV. Theile der Welt, sonderlich durch Teutschland, zerstreuten Juden zugetragen (Frankfurt 1714). Given the spiritual journey made by Biesenthal, it is hardly surprising that many of the works are on Christian proselytising of the Jews, e.g. J. H. Callenberg's Relation von einer weitern Bemühung Jesum Christum als den Heyland des menschlichen Geschlechts dem jüdischen Volck bekannt zu machen (Halle 1738-1751), S. B. Fehren's Versuch einer Abhandlung von der noch bevorstehenden merkwürdigen Bekehrung der Juden (Schneeberg 1753) and J. Müller's Judaismus oder Jüdenthumb, das ist ausführlicher Bericht von des jüdischen Volckes Unglauben, Blindheit und Verstockung (Hamburg 1644).

2.19 There are also runs, unfortunately not all complete, of specialist periodicals, e.g. Neueste Nachrichten aus dem Reiche Gottes (vols 7-28, 1823-1844), Der Freund Israels: Nachrichten von der Ausbreitung des Reiches unter Israel (vols 2-7, 1840-1855), Der Jude: eine Wochenschrift (vols 1-9, 1768-1772), as well as examples of reviewing periodicals, a common feature of 18th-century scholarly publishing in Germany, e.g. J. F. Hirt's Orientalische und exegetische Bibliothek (pts 1-8, Jena 1772-1776) and Wittembergische neue orientalische und exegetische Bibliothek (pts 1-4, Jena 1776-1779). The collection contains a large number of 19th-century pamphlets, of which A. Meyers's Moses und Samuel: ein Gespräch and his Der Jude, both issued at Frankfurt a. M. in 1856, and the anonymously written Maria: Führungen einer israelitischen Jungfrau (Berlin 1861) are three representative examples.

Henderson Collection

2.20 The majority of the books of Alexander Henderson of Caskieben (d. 1863), which were bequeathed to Marischal College in 1857, i.e. before the union of the two colleges, are of the period from 1750 to 1850 and consist for the most part of literature, history, travel, science and medicine. Among the medical titles are S. T. von Sömmering, Ueber einige wichtige Pflichten gegen die Augen (Frankfurt a. M. 1803), A. Vetter, Theoretisch-praktisches Handbuch der allgemeinen und speciellen Heilquellenlehre (Berlin 1845) and G. C. Reich, Vom Fieber und dessen Behandlung überhaupt (Berlin 1800). Henderson's interest in the history of medicine as well as in its practice is shown by his ownership of works such as J. H. Schulze's Historia medicinae a rerum initio ad annum urbis Romae 535 (Leipzig 1728) and C. F. Harles's Versuch einer vollständigen Geschichte der Hirn- und Nervenlehre im Alterthume (Erlangen 1801).

2.21 The more noteworthy travel accounts and guides in his collection are divided between those relating to Italy and those to Germany. Among the former are W. Menzel's Reise nach Italien im Frühjahr 1835 (Stuttgart 1835), E. Förster's Handbuch für Reisende in Italien (München 1846) and E. Z. Platner's Beschreibung der Stadt Rom (Stuttgart 1830-1842), which with W. A. Becker's Handbuch der römischen Alterthümer (Leipzig 1843-1856) would have satisfied the needs of any tourist to that city, while the needs of the traveller in Germany would be served by such recently published items as F. K. von Strombeck's Darstellungen aus einer Reise durch Deutschland und Holland im Jahre 1837 (Braunschweig 1838), Guide de Berlin, de Potsdam et des environs (Berlin 1828) and Kleiner Reiseatlas für Deutschland (München 1847). However Henderson's particular interest was oenology, which is reflected in the presence of such works as J. Servière's Der theoretische und praktische Kellermeister (Frankfurt a. M. 1817), J. S. Recht, Der verbesserte praktische Weinbau in Gärten und vorzüglich auf Weinbergen (Berlin 1823) und Andreas von Recum, Mittheilungen aus der ältern und neuern Geschichte über den Weinbau am Rhein, der Mosel und über Weinfabrikation (Mannheim 1826).

Melvin Collection

2.22 The private library of Dr James Melvin (1795-1853), who served for many years as the Rector of Aberdeen Grammar School, consists of c. 7,000 vols. It was donated to Marischal College in 1856. Melvin's reputation as a grammarian can be seen in some of the philological works he owned, e. g. R. Bentley's Opuscula philologica (Leipzig 1781) and Acta Seminarii Regii et Societatis Philologicae Lipsiensis (Leipzig 1811-1812) ed. by C. D. Beck. That his interest in Latin and Greek went beyond the classical period can be seen from his ownership of such works as C. Stock's Clavis linguae sanctae Novi Testamenti (Jena 1743) and R. Walther's Argumentorum in sacra Biblia tomus prior [-II.] ...In Reimen verfaßt durch B. Waldis (Frankfurt a. M. [1556]). A list of the pre-1601 imprints in this collection can be found in Drummond (see below 3.3, pp. 291-294).

Thomson of Banchory Collection

2.23 This large collection of pamphlets and books formed by Alexander Thomson of Banchory (LLD 1853) includes a small number of mainly 19th-century editions of German authors. These are of interest to the social historian of literature, in that they reflect contemporary reading tastes rather than the literary canon established by later literary critics. There are three uniformly bound volumes of the plays of Kotzebue and works by Körner, Bürger, Jacobi and Hagedorn as well as by those whose literary fame has lasted longer: Herder, Klopstock and Goethe.


3.1 General catalogues


[Replaces the sheaf binder catalogue, see below; a high proportion of the library's stock, including antiquarian material, has been converted.]

Sheaf binder catalogue

[Subject catalogue; books arranged by Dewey; closed in the 1970s, first replaced by microfiche catalogues, then OPAC, see above]

3.2 Historic catalogues (printed)

Catalogue of the library of the University of Aberdeen. 2 vols. Aberdeen 1873-74. (Supplement, being the works added 1875-87. Aberdeen 1887)

Catalogue of the books in the library, Marischal College. Aberdeen 1874. (Catalogue of the books added ...1874-87. Aberdeen 1887)

Catalogue of books added to the general library 1887-89. Aberdeen 1889

Catalogue of the books added to the libraries in King's and Marischal Colleges March 1897 to March 1903 [March 1904]. 2 vols. Aberdeen 1898-1904

3.3 Special catalogues

Dolezalek, G.: An account of antiquarian legal literature at Aberdeen, in particular the literature of ``Ius commune' [catalogue publicly available on http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ law113/rl/adlib.htm]

Subject catalogue of the Phillips library of phar-

macology and therapeutics, ed. by M. S. Best and H. Paterson. Aberdeen 1911 (Aberdeen University studies 47)

Catalogue of the Taylor Collection of Psalm versions. Aberdeen 1921 (Aberdeen University studies 85)

Catalogue of pamphlets in the King, the Thomson and the Herald collections, ed. by M. S. Best. Aberdeen 1927 (Aberdeen University studies 104)

Catalogue of the Aberdeen University Library MacBean Collection, ed. by M. D. Allardyce. Aberdeen 1949 (Aberdeen University studies 126)

Mitchell, W. S.: Catalogue of the incunabula in Aberdeen University Library. Edinburgh 1968 (Aberdeen University studies 150)

Beattie, D. R. G.: Catalogue of the Hebrew books in the Biesenthal Collection. Aberdeen 1979

Drummond, H. J.: A short-title catalogue of books printed on the Continent of Europe, 1501-1600, in Aberdeen University Library. Oxford 1979 (Aberdeen University studies series 156)

The early library catalogues of King's and Marischal Colleges are discussed in: P. J. Anderson: Aberdeen University manuscript catalogues. In: Aberdeen University Library Bulletin 4 (1918-22) pp. 239-253

Beavan, I.: Marischal College, Aberdeen and its earliest library catalogue. A reassessment. In: The Bibliotheck 22 (Autumn 1997) pp. 4-19


4.1 Archival sources

Aspects of the history of King's College Library can be traced through a series of manuscript catalogues, AUL MSS K111-K123, 126, c. 1700-1870, which also record major donations. This series also provides valuable information, along with the Library accounts, 1750s-1850s, MS K272, on its administration.

The growth of Marischal College Library can be analysed through a similar series of catalogues, AUL MSS M70-77, 1624-1860, and major donations are separately recorded, e.g. John Forbes's donation, MS M84. The accounts, MSS M57-60, 1642-1812, and sets of vouchers, MSS M351-356, provide much data on the library's purchasing activities. There is also much detail on the history and early 19th-century development of Marischal College Library in the notebooks of William Knight, the Professor of Natural Philosophy, 1823-1844 (AUL MSS M107-117).

4.2 Publications

Various reports of the Scottish Universities Com-

mission, 1826-1830, published at London between 1831 and 1837

Fasti Aberdonenses. Selections from the records of the University and King's College of Aberdeen, 1494-1854, ed. by C. Innes. Aberdeen: Spalding Club,


Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis. Ed. P. J. Anderson. 3 vols. Aberdeen: New Spalding Club, 1889-98

Bulloch, J. M.: A history of the University of Aberdeen 1495-1895. London 1895

Rait, R. S.: The universities of Aberdeen. A history. Aberdeen 1895

Anderson, P. J.: Aberdeen University Library. Past and present. In: Aberdeen University Review 1 (1913-1914) pp. 126-136

Smith, J. S.: The Marischal College story. In: Aberdeen University Review 50 (1984) pp. 288-292, 380-385

Pickard, J. R.: A history of King's College Library, Aberdeen, until 1860. 3 vols. Aberdeen 1987

Stevenson, D.: King's College, Aberdeen, 1560-1641. From Protestant Reformation to Covenanting revolution. Aberdeen 1990 (Quincentennial studies in the history of the University of Aberdeen 3)

Carter, J. J.; McLaren, C. A.: Crown and gown 1495-1995. An illustrated history of the University of Aberdeen. Aberdeen 1994

McLaren, C. A.: Rare and fair. A visitor's history of Aberdeen University Library. Aberdeen 1995


Anderson-Smith, M.: The special collections in Aberdeen University Library. Aberdeen University Review 50 (1984) pp. 265-287

Beattie, D. R. G.: Biesenthal and the Biesenthal Collection. In: Aberdeen University Review 45 (1973-1974) pp. 275-280

Beavan, I.: The best library that ever the North Pairtes of Scottland saw. In: Peter Isaac and Barry McKay (eds): Thomas Reid (Latin Secretary to James VI) and his books. Winchester 1998, pp. 205-220

Cooper, B.: Catalogue of early printed music in Aberdeen libraries. A complete list of music and music literature published before 1801 held by Aberdeen University and Aberdeen Public Library. Egham Hill 1978 (Research chronicle 14)

Cooper, B.; Turbet, R.: Catalogue of early printed music in Aberdeen libraries. A supplement. London 1990 (Research chronicle 23)

Kaufman, P.: Discovering the oldest public bibliotheck in the Northern Isles. In: Library Review 23 (1972) pp. 285-286 [on the Bibliotheck of Kirkwall]

Lawrence, P. D.: The Gregory family. PhD thesis: Aberdeen 1971 [contains an analysis of the collection]

Macfarlane, L.: William Elphinstone's library. In: Aberdeen University Review 38 (1957/58) pp. 253-271

Macfarlane, L.: William Elphinstone's library re-

visited. In: A. A. MacDonald, M. Lynch and I. B. Cowan (eds): The Renaissance in Scotland. Studies in literature, religion, history and culture offered to John Durkan. Leiden 1994, pp. 66-81 (Brill's studies in intellectual history 54)

Menzies, W. B.: Some early bookbindings in the Aberdeen University Library. In: Aberdeen University Review 25 (1937/38) pp. 215-221

Mitchell, W. S.: The Common Library of New Aberdeen, 1585. In: Libri 4 (1954) pp. 330-344

Mitchell, L.: German bindings in Aberdeen University Library. Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1961

Molland, G.: Duncan Liddell (1561-1613). An early benefactor of Marischal College Library. In: Aberdeen University Review 51 (1985/86) pp. 485-499

Wightman, W. P. D.: Science and the Renaissance. Edinburgh 1962 (Aberdeen University studies 143-144) [vol. 1: An introduction to the study of the emergence of the sciences in the 16th century; vol. 2: An annotated bibliography of the 16th-century books relating to the sciences in the library of the university of Aberdeen]

See also: A directory of rare book and special collections ...2nd ed. London 1997, pp. 618-620

December 1997

William A. Kelly

Ian Beavan

Quelle: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland. Digitalisiert von Günter Kükenshöner.
Hrsg. von Bernhard Fabian. Hildesheim: Olms Neue Medien 2003.