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Andersonian Library, University of Strathclyde

Address. Curran Building, 101 St. James' Road, Glasgow, G4 0NS [Map]
Telephone. (0141) 548-3701
Fax. (0141) 552-3304
e-mail. [librarian]
Internet. http://www.lib.strath.ac.uk/Andersonian/

Governing body or responsible institution. University of Strathclyde
Function. University library.
Subjects. Materials to support the teaching, study and research of the University.

Access. Intending researchers are requested to write in advance to the librarian (Mr D. Law, M.A., Dip. Lib.). Visitors' tickets allow for consultation only. - opening hours: In term-time, Monday to Friday 8.50 a.m. - 10 p.m. (9 a.m. - 9 p.m. full service; 9 p.m. - 10p.m. reading only), Saturday 9 a.m. - 12 a.m.; in vacation Monday to Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (5 p.m. - 9 p.m. reading only at Easter), Saturday 9 a.m. - 12 a.m. Special Collections is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The library is normally closed on public holidays.
Special facilities. Microcomputers are available for public use, mainly for accessing the library's CD-ROM collection and OPAC services. Microfilm and microfiche readers, as well as video playback facilities are also available.
Printed information. Numerous information leaflets on library services, plus three video guides.
Travel directions. The library is within easy walking distance of Queen St. railway station. - Parking in the vicinity of the library is difficult.


1.1 The library has its origin in Anderson's Institution, which was founded in Glasgow in 1796 and has since undergone changes of title, e.g. Anderson's University in 1828 and Anderson's College in 1877. John Anderson (1726-1796), Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University, bequeathed his personal library of 1,500 vols which formed the basis of the Andersonian Library's antiquarian items.

1.2 Two other important collections were added to the library's stock in the following century: c. 500 vols from the library of Alexander Laing (d. 1882), Professor of Mathematics at Anderson's University, and c. 1,400 vols from James Young of Kelly and Durris (1811-1883), who was President of Anderson's College. Strathclyde University itself was formed in 1964 by the amalgamation of the Royal College of Science and Technology with the Scottish College of Commerce. The library of the Royal College had strong collections in the fields of applied sciences and technology.


Chronological outline and analysis by language

2.1 The Andersonian Library with its collections of Anderson, Laing and Young holds c. 3,200 vols from a period between 1490 to the end of the 19th century. There is one incunable. The number of German pre-1700 and pre-1800 German imprints (Latin included) may be in the region of 20 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Subject outline

2.2 Of particular interest in the library's Special Collections is the James Young Collection, apart from his presidency an industrial chemist and originator of the paraffin and shale oil industry in Scotland. A catalogue of 1906 is available. Some 1,500 vols dated from 1490 to 1820 include many works published in German-speaking countries in the German or Latin language. Other languages represented are French, English and Dutch. There is a large number of alchemical works in the collection.

2.3 Among the notable or unusual items in the collections there are works by Agrippa von Nettesheim, e.g. De Occulta Philosophia (Cologne 1533), Albertus Magnus, and a volume by the grammarian Joannes Claius, Altkumistica (Amberg 1594) on rural economy. The collection holds various German and Latin editions of Marsilius Ficinus and Nicolas Flamel, e.g. Chymische Werke (Vienna 1751), and several works by Johann Rudolf Glauber (d. 1668), apothecary, alchemist and noted scientist, such as Opera chymica (Frankfurt 1668).

2.4 Other imprints are for example Andreas Goldmayer's Harmonia Chymica (Onoltzbach 1656), Albrecht von Haller's Pharmacopoea Helvetica (Basel 1771) and works by Johann Baptista van Helmont and his son Franciscus Mercurius, e.g. Anfang der Artzney-Kunst (Sulzbach 1683). A German version and versions in other languages of Johann Friedrich Helvetius' Guldenes Kalb (Nuremberg 1668) and various editions of the writings of ``Hermes Trismegistus' are worth mentioning. Also to be found is Der Spiegel der Alchymie (1771), a translation from the French supposedly of Jean de Mehun, author of the Roman de la Rose, and works by Conrad and Heinrich Khunrath, Medulla destillatoria et medica (Schleswig? 1596), such as Von Hyleatischen das ist, ...Chaos der naturgemessenen Alchymiae (Magdeburg 1616). There is a first edition of Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens (Oppenheim 1618).

2.5 Other works to be noted are the Aurora Thesaurusque Philosophorum (Basel 1577) of Paracelsus, and further 17th and 18th-century editions of works by him, a first edition of the work presumed to be by Johann Valentin Andreae, under the name Christian Rosencreutz, Chymische Hochzeit (Strasbourg 1616) and a later edition of the same from Regensburg in 1781. There are further works listed as by ``Rosenkreutzer' (Rosicrucians). Also worth mentioning is the New gross Distillier-Büch (Frankfurt 1556) of the famous but controversial Nuremberg and Mainz physician Walther Hermann Ryff.

2.6 The library holds various works printed in Germany by Angelo Sala, physician, chemist and member of the ``Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft'. There are for example his Chrysologia (Hamburg 1622). Of the 17th and 18th-century editions Michael Sendivogius's Novum lumen chymicum (Cologne 1612) could be mentioned. Alexander Seton is represented by copies of his Zwölf Bücher von dem rechten wahren Philosophischen Steine (Frankfurt and Leipzig 1751). There are 18th-century editions of the work of the Prussian physician and chemist Georg Ernst Stahl, such as Gedanken von Verbesserung der Metallen (Nuremberg 1720), 17th and 18th-century editions of the work of Wolfgang Wedel, e.g. Vernünfftige Gedanken vom Gold-Machen (Wittenberg 1734), to name but a few. In addition there are 7 MSS of (alchemical) receipts, mainly in German.

2.7 Also in Special Collections is the Gibson Collection of European mathematical texts of the 19th and early 20th centuries by standard publishers. The majority of the German-language texts are from after 1900, but there are some pre-1900 items. A typed handlist of this collection is available in the library. In addition many German-language technical and scientific texts are held in the general stock and some of these are pre-1900.


3.1 Modern catalogues

All Special Collections holdings, with the exception of manuscript material, are included in the library's online catalogue (OPAC), which is accessible internationally via the

Ferguson, John: Bibliotheca chemica: a catalogue of the alchemical and pharmaceutical books in the collection of the late James Young of Kelly and Durris. 2 vols. Glasgow 1906; repr. London 1954

3.2 Historic catalogues

A catalogue of books destined for the use of the Mechanics' Class, Anderson's Institution. Glasgow 1808

A catalogue of the library of Anderson's University, Glasgow. Glasgow 1832

A catalogue of books bequeathed to Anderson's College by Alexander Laing LLD, late Professor of Mathematics there. Glasgow 1883


Humboldt-Sexton, A.: The first technical college. A sketch of the history of ``The Andersonian' and the institutions descended from it. 1796-1894. London 1894

Muir, James: John Anderson. Pioneer of technical education and the college he founded. Glasgow [1950]

See also: A directory of rare book and special collections ...2nd ed. London 1997, pp. 653-654

Stand: April 1999

J. Malcolm Allan

Anthony J. Harper

Gillian M. Morris

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