A catalogue of fifteenth-century printed books in Glasgow

Compiled by Jack Baldwin

Web version designed by Julie Gardham and maintained by Robert Maclean and Sarah Gillies.

1. Introduction to the Web Catalogue

2. Introduction to Glasgow's Incunabula

1. Introduction to the Web Catalogue

1.1 Project background

The Glasgow Incunabula Project came into being in the Spring of 2009, largely thanks to the enthusiasm and foresight of David Weston, the then Keeper of Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library. It was he who invited me to resurrect some preliminary spade-work I had done in the early 1980s in identifying the University Library’s incunables by Goff number and he proposed that, starting with this basic information, I should embark on a full-scale investigation of all of the Library’s incunables. We agreed that the data resulting from my in-depth research would be used by the Special Collections Department to produce a stand-alone catalogue of the University’s 1,062 incunables, in the form of an illustrated digital catalogue published on the Special Collections website – one of the first examples of its kind. In tandem, the same data would be adapted and expanded to achieve a complete revision of all the records for incunables scattered throughout the Library’s main online (Opac) catalogue, most of which – produced nearly a century ago – were insubstantial and showing numerous deficiencies and inaccuracies. With these twin aims established, the Glasgow Incunabula Project was launched.

Fairly early on, John Goldfinch (then Head of the Incunable Section at the British Library) suggested that the Project could usefully be extended to include incunables in five other libraries or museums in the city of Glasgow: namely, the Mitchell Library (Glasgow’s Public Library), the Library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Burrell Collection and the University of Strathclyde Andersonian Library. The directors of all these five institutions generously agreed to be associated with the Project with the result that a further sixty-two incunables outside the University Library’s collections are now made public.

The web catalogue and the revision of incunable records in the University’s online catalogue were both more or less completed by the end of 2017, and at that point there was a further proposal, supported by several incunable scholars, that a printed version of the web catalogue would also be welcome. After a further two years’ editorial work, the catalogue has been published in two volumes under the imprint of D.S. Brewer for the Friends of Glasgow University Library: Jack Baldwin, A catalogue of fifteenth-century printed books in Glasgow libraries and museums, Glasgow: 2020 (ISBN 978 1 84384 467 9). The additional time span has enabled revisions and corrections to be made to the online catalogue.

From the start, the emphasis has been on researching ‘copy-specific’ details of Glasgow’s incunables, including provenances, marginal textual annotations, decoration, bindings and purchase prices. The Project has revealed that over 90 per cent of the incunables in the Catalogue have some form of manuscript annotation added by early and later owners, and around 57 per cent have some form of decoration added by hand. An examination of bindings has indicated that slightly over 10 per cent of Glasgow’s incunables still retain their 15th/16th-century bindings. My investigations into owners and donors (a vital part of the Project) have brought to light almost 1,000 different names: 799 personal owners (including 71 booksellers) and 163 institutional owners. It has also been possible (mainly using external evidence) to provide details of well over 500 prices paid for books. The fruits of this research I hope will make a significant contribution, on Glasgow’s part, to the cultural history of early printed books.

Jack Baldwin
Glasgow, October 2020

1.2.  The Web Catalogue: methodology

The Catalogue is essentially a short-title catalogue with author, title and imprint given in a standard form as in ISTC (Incunabula short-title catalogue i.e. the online international database of incunabula maintained by the British Library). Elaborate transcriptions of the title or incipit and colophon or explicit have been avoided since these are generally easily accessible in the standard incunabula catalogues such as BMC (Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum) and GW (Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke). In a few instances, when no adequate description of an edition exists in print, a quasi facsimile transcription of title and imprint has been provided, modelled on BMC’s entries. The emphasis throughout in compiling each record has been to research and describe the unique attributes of each book i.e. to concentrate on copy-specific details:  provenance, binding, annotations, decoration added by hand, imperfections.


The website records are indexed via the shelfmark or accession numbers of each book. However, in addition, each edition has a running number, with a separate sequence for each letter of the alphabet in the form A1, B1, C1, etc. Duplicate and triplicate copies have the same base number but are distinguished by an oblique stroke: A80/1, A80/2. These Glasgow Incunabula Project (GIP) numbers were added in editing the data for the published version of the catalogue; they are being added to the original website records very slowly.


Generally the heading chosen is the name of the main author of a work or, when no specific author is known, a generic title (for example, Coniuratio malignorum spirituum). The headings are mainly taken from ISTC, preferring the Latin form of an author's name rather than the vernacular: so, Guilielmus Ockam as opposed to William of Ockham. Occasionally the compiler has departed from the ISTC form of heading e.g. when recent scholarship provides an updated attribution (the work Imitatio Christi, for example, is entered under Thomas à Kempis rather than under its title; the De viribus herbarum carmen, which is entered under Macer, Floridus, in most incunabula catalogues, is here entered under Odo Magdunensis following the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek’s Inkunabelkatalog).  The term [pseudo-] in conjunction with a heading has been used throughout to signify works whose authorship is now considered to be spurious e.g. Aristoteles [pseudo-]. Such works are filed after an author’s genuine works rather than interfiled. The plethora of variant forms of name for the same author is a challenge to the compiler of any catalogue of 15th-century books - and to the catalogue’s users.  This catalogue attempts to ease the reader’s path – at least to some extent – by providing a separate index of authors, editors, translators, commentators, with copious cross references from variant forms of name.


Generally the titles have been taken from ISTC so that a reasonably full (but by no means exhaustive) view of a book’s textual content is apparent. Editors, commentators and translators are included.


The imprint follows the pattern used by ISTC. Places of printing are given in their English form. When dates of printing are given in a colophon with reference to a saint’s day or to the Roman calendar, these are given in the standardized English form e.g. “3 July 1480”. In printing centres where the beginning of a new year was often reckoned on a day other than 1 January, e.g. Venice (1 March), Florence (25 March), and Paris (Easter), the year dates from the early part of the year are usually expressed in the form “1480/81” etc. Information in the imprint, which is not directly available from the book itself, is supplied in square brackets.

Format and collation

The original intention was to give only the format of a book and to omit a signature collation (since this information is generally available in the standard incunabula catalogues). However, it became apparent early on that in the case of many records (especially in those fields giving copy-specific details) it would be necessary to identify specific leaves e.g. to locate an illuminated initial or an annotation. It therefore seemed to be a useful service to the reader to have a signature collation immediately to hand e.g. for purposes of comparison with another copy. 

Format is given in the form: Fol., 4to, 8vo. For books signed by the printer (approximately 60 per cent of the items in this catalogue), the signature collation follows exactly the form used by the printer e.g. Aa8 is distinguished from AA8 rather than both being simplified to 2A8. Long ſ is distinguished from ‘s’. Superior index figures are prefixed to duplicated alphabetical series e.g. a-z8 2a8. For the sake of clarity, quire numbers are repeated when changes of sequence of signatures occur e.g. a-z8 &8 A-F8. The Greek letter [pi] is used for unsigned preliminary gatherings in an otherwise signed book and [chi] for unsigned gatherings or leaves added elsewhere. Signed prefatory matter duplicating a main series of signatures is differentiated by the addition of superior Greek letter [pi] e.g. [pi]a8 a-g8.

Departing from the pattern used in many incunable catalogues, and on the strong recommendation of Dr Paul Needham, unsigned books (the remaining 40 per cent of the items in the Catalogue) are given a supplied numerical collation in square brackets e.g. [1-238] rather than a supplied alphabetical collation [a-z8]. It should be noted that elsewhere in the catalogue record, references to individual unsigned leaves take the form: 1/1r, 5/8r, 20/1r-23/8v (for the sake of simplicity and economy of space, the square brackets being dropped except within the overall collation statement). To facilitate identification of specific unsigned leaves, a leaf number is also included in parentheses e.g. 5/8r (f. 40r) – except in the case of the first and final quires where the identification of a leaf should be obvious.

The decision to include signature collations has not come without its problems:

  • It has not been possible in the Web Catalogue to reproduce some of the contractions used by the early printers and the only (somewhat unsatisfactory) solution available is to expand these contractions within square brackets e.g. [con].
  • The Tironian sign is reproduced as [et] rather than [&].

With regard to foliation statements, books foliated by the printer have their foliation given as it appears in the book with a note on inconsistencies and errors if needed. In the case of books without a printer’s foliation (the majority), the total number of leaves is given in square brackets. The identification of blank leaves is always noted.

Edition Notes

Following the collation statement come, when relevant, general notes applicable to all copies of an edition - recording, for example, alternative attributions of author or printer, alternative dates of printing, presence of woodcuts etc.

Bibliographical references

The ISTC number is always cited for each item (linked to the ISTC database), followed by references to printed descriptions (where available) in four standard incunabula catalogues - Goff, BMC, Bod-inc, GW.  Other incunabula catalogues are cited if the need arises e.g. if the item does not appear in BMC, Bod-Inc or GW, or if they add substantially to the descriptions provided in the standard sources, or if they are the only bibliographical source available.

From this point onwards in each Web Catalogue record the fields are all copy-specific. The absence of a field note means that there is no significant data to record.

Shelfmark/GIP numbers

The current shelfmark of each book is always supplied for reference purposes (superseded University Library shelfmarks are noted in the final section of the Provenance field). The shelfmark has a dual function: in the various indexes to the catalogue it also takes the place of a separate serial number. Individual Glasgow Incunabula Project ('GIP') serial numbers have also been assigned to each book and function as the main source of reference in the published version of the catalogue; these are being slowly added to the website records, but it is anticipated that this work will take some time; unfortunately, replacing shelfmarks with GIP numbers in all the indexes is not envisaged as a practical measure.

Users of the Web Catalogue will notice that following the shelfmark there is a hyperlink “see main library entry for this copy”. By clicking on this link the reader is transferred to the revised record for the book in question in the University Library’s main online catalogue (rare books search). That revised main library online record is based on the Web Catalogue record but it is in a much expanded form. For example, it generally has greater detail in respect of textual content and includes subject headings and more numerous added entries for persons associated with the text. In appearance, too, the revised main library record often looks quite different from the Web Catalogue version;  its heading, for instance, is in the form laid down by Library of Congress (since LC headings are used throughout the main library catalogue) and the title and imprint also have a different appearance in that they conform to the cataloguing rules advocated in Descriptive Cataloguing of Rare Materials (Books) i.e. DCRM(B).  

To return to the Web Catalogue from the main online catalogue (rare books search screen), the user should use the back space key.


This field is used to describe those copies with settings of type diverging from the descriptions given in the standard incunabula catalogues.

Copy-specific notes

Miscellaneous copy-specific details such as misbound leaves and quires, identification of stubs, presence of printers’ pin-holes.

Bound with

The contents of volumes containing more than one discrete item (Sammelbände) are recorded at this point; the actual physical sequence of the separate imprints is specified.


Ownership details start with the earliest known owner and progress in sequence to the latest known owner – each individual provenance beginning on a new line of text. The final element in this field records how and when the book arrived in the University Library e.g. “University of Glasgow:  Ferguson collection purchase, 1921”.   Brief biographical details including dates of birth and death or “floruit” dates are provided for individual owners (this information is frequently expanded in the Provenance Index) and some descriptive details are given for institutional owners (again often augmented in the Provenance Index). 

Evidence for ownership is always cited. In the case of inscriptions, these are given verbatim within double quotes together with the relevant leaf reference e.g. inscription on 1/1r “Franciscus Boniuardus” and on 14/7v (f. 122v) “Boniuardi sum ex hereditate patruj”; contractions are generally expanded within square brackets e.g. inscription on u7v “Iste liber fuit emtus [sic] p[er] D. Aloisiu[m] et est s[an]c[t]i Michaelis de Muriano”. Ownership inscriptions which are defaced or otherwise totally unreadable are so noted, as are inscriptions readable only by ultra-violet lamp. When a part of an inscription has proved unreadable to the compiler a lacuna is indicated thus:  […]. In the case of uncertain readings, where the compiler has made a tentative decipherment, the word or words in question are followed by a question mark within parentheses.  

Ownership evidence from bookplates, book labels, armorial bindings, identifiable shelfmarks, mottoes, etc is always included. 

Considerable recourse has also been made to external evidence for provenances e.g. annotated book sale catalogues – with the holding library and shelfmark of the relevant sale catalogue being cited (often, only abbreviated details of auction sales are given in the body of the text; for full descriptions of sales – including references to digitized copies, see the Bibliography IIB). Other external evidence revealing or confirming ownership – such as manuscript correspondence with booksellers, personal library inventories – has also been exploited.


Description of a book’s binding begins firstly with country of origin (where the compiler has been confident of an accurate identification), followed by century of production, then by material (parchment, calf, goatskin etc) and finally by type or style of decoration. Bindings, which – to the compiler at least – appear to be of uncertain century, are described using the form “17th/18th century”. Pastedowns are described if they are of a material other than plain paper (e.g. manuscript, marbled or other decorated paper) or if they are modern replacements on an older binding. In some instances it has been possible to describe watermarks on flyleaves when fully visible (as a possible aid to further research). Early features e.g. clasps, bosses, fore-edge lettering, the presence of tabs or fore-edge lettering are included. Details of later repairs or restoration are also given. In the case of rebound volumes, any surviving evidence (or lack of) of an earlier binding is noted. Signed or otherwise identifiable bindings are always recorded. The final element in the Bindings field is the size of the covers of the book measured in millimetres (height first followed by width).

Leaf size

Size of the leaves of the text block measured in millimetres (height first followed by width).


Manuscript annotations are always noted and details are provided of the language of the annotation and an approximate dating by century (though sometimes - when the evidence is sparse – the compiler has had to adopt the form “15th/16th century” or simply the word “early”). Annotations are in black ink unless there is a note to the contrary indicating a different colour of ink or that the annotation is in pencil. An assessment is made as to whether the annotations are extensive or occasional, whether throughout the volume or restricted to specific quires. Different types of annotation are distinguished e.g. marginal or interlinear, underlining, keywords, manicules/pointing hands, nota marks, early manuscript signatures, early foliation. Later annotations (i.e. of the 18th-20th century) such as pencil numbers on endpapers and flyleaves, possible price codes, initials, etc have been transcribed in the hope that although many may not be meaningful to the compiler, they may be recognised by others. Any annotation that appears to resemble a shelfmark or inventory number has been noted, whatever its age. Attention is drawn to loss of annotations caused by cropping or by over zealous washing of leaves by binders.


Principle decorations i.e. miniatures, major initials and decorative borders are described first, with a description of the motifs and colours used and with a reference to the relevant signatures or leaf numbers. Then follows a description of less elaborate decorations divided into types e.g. single colour initials, paragraph marks, capital strokes, line-fillers.


Missing leaves are always specified (including missing blank leaves). Severe damage such as extensive worming or damp-staining, large tears affecting text is also noted.


Each Web Catalogue record is illustrated with at least 3 photographic images in colour. In selecting the images, the emphasis has been on highlighting the copy-specific details of each item; we hope that the images chosen will therefore illustrate certain points made in the descriptions of the books in each record. Each of the unique incunabula, however, have been photographed in their entirety - links to the photographs for these are given in the record. Click on the images to view larger versions of them. Note that this takes you out of the Web Catalogue to the Library's Flickr site where the images are mounted. Click on the back button to return to the Web Catalogue.

1.3.   Navigation of the Web Catalogue

The Web Catalogue can be approached in two main ways. For those users primarily interested in authors and texts, there is an A-Z author sequence. For those users whose interests veer more towards the history of printing, there is an A-Z sequence by country, town and printer.

The aim throughout in designing and constructing the Web Catalogue has been to enable the user to exploit to the full the often complex array of data contained within each record. We hope we have been able to go some way to achieving this aim by the construction of a series of indexes, whose contents are directly linked to the full web records:

  • Names (including variant forms of names) associated with the textual content of each book – authors, editors, translators, commentators.
  • Printers.
  • Date of printing. 
  • Language (for books printed other than in Latin).
  • Provenances.
  • Bookplates.
  • Booksellers and dealers.
  • Book prices.
  • Bindings.
  • Binders.
  • Woodcuts (excluding ornaments).
  • Decoration.
  • Annotations.
  • Other special features or peculiarities.

There is also a reference section that includes an appendix of post-1500 books, concordances to the standard reference works and a bibliography of works cited.

Go to the acknowledgements or to the bibliography.

Jack Baldwin and Julie Gardham
October 2020


2. Introduction to Glasgow's Incunabula

2.1 The University of Glasgow Library

One of the richest rare book collections in the United Kingdom outside London, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, the University of Glasgow Library has in total 1036 books printed before 1501. In addition, the collections contain a further twenty-six books often assigned to the 15th century in early catalogues of incunables but now, in the light of modern bibliographical scholarship, considered to be printed after 1500 (they are included in the main body of the website catalogue and are also separately listed in the appendix of post-1500 books). The University Library’s incunable collections do contain a number of duplicate and triplicate copies and the actual number of discrete editions described is 965. Amongst them are a number of rare or extremely rare items: eleven incunables are thought to be unique copies and a further sixty-seven represent editions not otherwise found in libraries throughout the British Isles. During the course of the Project, all of Glasgow’s unique incunables have been digitized and mounted on flickr; the links to these digitized copies are cited in each record, and may be easily located via the appendix of unique items.

The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451, but the records relating to the acquisition of incunables in its first two hundred years are incomplete and often inexact.  (For an account of the early history of the University Library, see Steven J. Reid, ‘Renaissance and Reformation. Part I: origins to 1633’ and Miles Kerr-Peterson, ‘Renaissance and Reformation. Part II: 1633-1700’ in The University of Glasgow Library: friendly shelves, ed. Peter V. Davies (Glasgow: 2016), pp. 15-33.) The earliest acquisition of incunables that can be positively identified dates to 1578, when the Scottish neo-Latin poet, George Buchanan, donated sixteen books to the University, including two incunables: Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica (Florence: 1496) and Aristophanes, Comediae novem (Venice: 1498).

The first comprehensive source for the composition of the University’s book stock comes much later, at the turn of the 17th century, in the form of a manuscript press catalogue or shelf list, the Catalogus librorum Bibliothecae Universitatis Glasguensis anno 1691, which was prepared in 1691 but with further acquisitions added up to c.1714. Two copies of the 1691 Catalogue exist (MSS Gen. 1312, 1313), one being a more or less fair copy of the other. NB, for a detailed introduction to the 1691 Catalogue, see Stephen Rawles, ‘The 1691 shelf catalogue – a snapshot of an academic library at the end of the seventeenth century’ in The University of Glasgow Library: friendly shelves, ed. Peter V. Davies (Glasgow: 2016), pp. 34-45.

The 1691 Catalogue, which lists around 3,300 titles, shows that what is now called the ‘Old Library’ had acquired forty-five incunables by the first decade of the 18th century. Nine of these can be identified, from inscriptions, as gifts: the two George Buchanan donations; followed in 1590 by a copy of Michael Savonarola, Practica medicinae (Venice: 1497) donated by Mark Jameson, Rector’s deputy at Glasgow University; a Sammelband donated in 1703 by Robert Wodrow, ecclesiastical historian and University Librarian at Glasgow, containing works by Pomponius Mela, Dionysius Periegetes, Johannes de Sacro Bosco, Johannes de Erfordia and Pseudo- Sextus Aurelius Victor; and lastly an edition of Livy’s Historiae Romanae decades (Venice: 1498) donated in the early 18th century by Andrew Rosse, Professor of Humanity at Glasgow. Six titles listed in the 1691 Catalogue were definitely bought from Library funds, since they bear an inscription ‘Ex libris Bibliothecae Universitatis Glasguensis emptus propriis sumptibus’ (or similar): S. Augustine’s De civitate dei bound with his De trinitate (both, Freiburg im Breisgau: 1494); the playwright Terence’s Comoediae (Venice: 1499); Apuleius, Opera (Venice: 1493); Gesta romanorum (Strassburg: 1488) bound with Guido de Columna, Historia destructionis Troiae (Deventer: between 1480 and 1485). From Library accounts preserved in the University Archives, three more incunable purchases can be identified as: Domitius Calderinus, Commentarii in Martialem (Venice: 1474), purchased from a Captain John Anderson in 1693; and editions of S. Jerome’s Epistolae (Venice: 1488) and of Pius II, Epistolae familiares (Nuremberg: 1486), purchased in 1704 at a book auction in Glasgow of the library of John Tran, a Regent at Glasgow University. For the remaining twenty-seven incunables acquired in this period, the source is unknown.

In several cases the earlier Scottish owners of these ‘Old Library’ incunables can be identified e.g. David Wauchope, Procurator of the Scottish nation in the University of Orléans; Henry Suthur, a Tironensian monk at Lindores in Fife; Henry Frog, a Cistercian monk at Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian; Walter Ogilvie, author of a panegyric on Henry VII.  (NB. for a survey of early Scottish provenances, see John Durkan & Anthony Ross, Early Scottish libraries. Glasgow: 1961). One ‘Old Library’ incunable is unique: Stephanus Brulefer, Formalitates in doctrinam Scoti (Paris: [Ulrich Gering, c.1480]).

The next catalogue of the Library’s stock appeared almost a hundred years later – a printed catalogue – Archibald Arthur’s Catalogus impressorum librorum in Bibliotheca Universitatis Glasguensis (Glasgow: 1791), which shows the number of 15th-century editions in the Library’s collections had risen to eighty-four, an increase of thirty-nine within the space of around eighty years. As in the previous century, the Library benefited from gifts and bequests: three incunables came in as part of the bequest, in 1768, of the library of Robert Simson, Professor of Mathematics at Glasgow; and in 1774 a Glasgow graduate, James Moore, gave to the University a copy of the Tabulae astronomicae (Venice: 1492) of Alphonsus X, of Castile – an important gift since Moore’s copy had originally belonged to the French antiquarian and polymath, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. A Glasgow bookseller, John Barry, was also a benefactor: in 1778 he donated to the University copies of Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, Institutiones (Venice: 1494) and Pius II, Epistolae familiares (Nuremberg: 1481). Examination of the latter has brought to light an important and wholly unexpected historical document. On a blank leaf is a contemporary manuscript copy (the original unrecorded) of a letter sent to Pope Innocent VIII in 1487 written by Qa’it Bay, Mameluke sultan of Egypt, who asks the Pope to release into his custody Djem (Cem), younger brother and rival of the Ottoman sultan, Bayezid II.  This letter was identified (April, 2019) by Dr Piotr Tafiłowski, University of Warsaw.

There is also some evidence identifying purchases of incunables during this same period. In the University Senate minutes of 1739, the Quaestor was instructed to purchase a copy of Livy’s Historiae Romanae decades (Treviso, 1480) – see GUA 26639. Bills, which have survived in the University Archives, show that in the mid 18th century the University was buying large amounts of books from the Glasgow printers and booksellers, Robert and Andrew Foulis. Between 1742 and 1744, the University purchased nine incunables from the Foulis brothers: Epistolae diversorum philosophorum (Venice: 1499); Scriptores rei militaris (Bologna: 1495); Hermolaus Barbarus, Castigationes Plinianae (Rome: 1492-93); Cleonides, Harmonicum (Venice: 1497); Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae (Venice: 1500); Seneca, Opera philosophica (Venice: 1492) bound with his Tragoediae (Venice: 1493); Suda, Lexicon graecum (Milan: 1499); and Theophrastus, De historia plantarum (Venice: 1497) – see GUA 353, 32298, 32299. Another Glasgow bookseller, David Baxter, was commissioned by the University to purchase the five-volume set of the Aldine Aristotle (Venice: 1495-98) for £5.5.0 from the London bookseller, Thomas Osborne, in 1761 – see GUA 8567-8.

A collection of just over eighty incunables by the end of the 18th century might be thought handsome enough. However, there was a fundamental change of fortunes in 1807 when the University received the bequest of the museum and library of one of its most illustrious alumni, the physician and anatomist, William Hunter (1718-1783). (NB. for an introduction to William Hunter as a collector, see William Hunter and the anatomy of a modern museum, ed. Mungo Campbell & Nathan Flis. New Haven (CT): 2018.) Hunter’s library of some 10,000 printed books and manuscripts contains 539 books printed in the 15th-century.  Amongst them are two blockbooks (an Apocalypse and a Biblia pauperum) and four unique incunables (Fiore novello es tratto dalla Bibbia, [Venice? printer unknown], 20 Aug. 1473; The miracles of Our Lady, Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde [c.1496]; The art and craft to know well to die, [London]: Richard Pynson, [c.1495]; and Pius II, Historia di due amanti, [Florence: Bartolommeo di Libri, c.1495]).

Hunter’s bequest introduced to Glasgow imprints and texts, which the University would not otherwise have acquired. For example: Hunter’s ten books from the press of William Caxton; his editions of vernacular literature (represented by writers such as Boccaccio, Chaucer, Dante and Petrarch); and his extensive coverage of early medical writers including Celsus, Dioscorides, Avicenna and Mundinus. In appearance, Hunter’s incunables look so different from those of the ‘Old Library’; instead of calf, pigskin and parchment bindings, most of Hunter’s early printed books had been given a face-lift, rebound by his 18th-century predecessors in gold-tooled red or blue goatskin. Despite the partial loss of ownership evidence resulting from this exchange of old clothes for new, Hunter’s incunables brought to Glasgow books with significant early provenances. Just over one third of them were purchased at book auctions on the Continent between 1767 and 1779: the Duc de la Vallière sale (Paris: 1767); the Gaignat sale (Paris: 1769); the Duc de Brancas de Lauraguais sale (Paris: 1770); an anonymous sale in Mechelen (1770); the sale of the library of the German/Dutch anatomist, Bernhard Siegfried Albinus (Leyden: 1771); and that of the philologist, Pieter Burmann, the Younger (Leyden: 1779).

The incunables Hunter acquired at these sales were books which had remained on the Continent for some 300 years; as a result, the University became the custodian of volumes which had once been on the shelves of continental monastic libraries or in the private collections of European noblemen, princes of the Church, humanist scholars and bibliophiles. At these auctions Hunter was represented by agents, the Paris bookseller, Jean-Baptiste Dessain, and the London bookseller, Pietro Molini. By a stroke of good fortune their bills to Hunter have survived amongst his papers in the University Library – see the Dessain-Hunter correspondence (MS Gen. 36) and the Hunter Papers (H204, H214, H219). As a result, we are particularly well informed about what Hunter bought abroad and what prices he paid.  His largest expenditure was at De Bure’s sale (Paris, 1769), of the library of Louis-Jean Gaignat, bibliophile and Secretary to King Louis XV, where he spent just under 15,000 livres on incunables (about £650 at an exchange rate of twenty-three livres to the pound in 1769).

The other two thirds of Hunter’s incunables were largely purchased in his adopted city, London, either from booksellers or at numerous auction sales, which he attended between the 1750s and 1770s. A good number of his auction purchases can be traced, with their prices, in surviving copies of annotated saleroom catalogues.  (e.g. the library sales of Richard Mead (1754); Robert Nesbitt (1761); John Savage (1763); James Dormer (1764); Joseph Letherland (1765); John Baber (1766); Ebenezer Mussell (1766); British Museum duplicate sale (1769); anonymous sale (1771); Henry Pemberton & James Wilson (1772); Consul Joseph Smith (1773); James West (1773); Anthony Askew (1775); Thomas Jekyl (1775); Caesar de Missy (1776); Richard Blyke (1776); John Ratcliffe (1776); Robert Hoblyn (1778); Bernard Wilson (1778); A.B. Morin d’Hérouville (1780)). Again, Hunter could on occasion spend lavishly: at the auction in 1775 of the library of a fellow physician-collector, Anthony Askew, Hunter’s expenditure on incunables alone came to £280.18s.6d.

The likelihood is that many of Hunter’s incunables were bought simply because they were a fashionable line for so many 18th-century collectors. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Hunter did use and investigate some of his incunables and that he had a genuine interest in the transition from codex to printed book and in early typography. One example: in 1771 Hunter purchased for five guineas from the Glasgow printers, Robert and Andrew Foulis, an extremely rare 15th-century printed book, Martin Franc’s L’estrif de Fortune et Vertue (an allegorical dialogue, printed in Bruges by Colard Mansion c.1484). Robert Foulis had bought the book believing it was a manuscript and when Benjamin Franklin visited Glasgow in 1771, he and Alexander Wilson (astronomer and type-founder at Glasgow) both thought the book was printed from blocks rather than from movable type (for more on this, see David Murray, Some letters of Robert Foulis. Glasgow: 1917, pp. 44-53). A folded foolscap sheet of his notes inserted in the volume shows that Hunter subjected it to minute examination – testing the ink to see if it would dissolve, scrutinising the water-marks, observing that the right hand margin was too regular to be a manuscript, and the letters not delicate enough to be made by pen. Hunter’s interest in typography can also be seen in his earliest incunable, the Fust and Schoeffer edition of Cicero’s De officiis (Mainz: 1465), which is accompanied by Hunter’s copious notes comparing the typography of that edition with the typography of his copy of the 1466 edition issued by the same press. Early printing in Greek characters was of special interest to Hunter – as is evidenced by the numerous writings by him on Greek typography which survive amongst his papers.

There is reason to believe that some of Hunter’s 15th-century purchases were recycled by him. Annotated auction catalogues reveal that on several occasions he bought more than one copy of the same edition, where now only a single copy remains in his library. Seymour De Ricci  (English collectors of books & manuscripts, 1530-1930. Cambridge: 1930, p.53) alludes to a sale of Hunter’s duplicates spread over seven days in 1777, but no copy of the sale catalogue has been traced. Because Hunter did not use a book-plate or enter his name on a flyleaf, these duplicate copies are unlikely to be identifiable.

The 19th century saw the influx of three important collections, which between them added a further 200 or so incunables to the University Library’s holdings.

The first (and the most extensive) of these is the library of William Euing (1788-1874), a prosperous insurance broker in Glasgow, who was collecting in a period when Glasgow was enjoying its new found status as a wealthy, culturally vibrant city (‘the second city of the Empire’). There is a fascinating description of this Glasgow book-collector written by David Murray: ‘In the cold dark winter mornings, fully fifty years ago, in passing down West George Street about 7.30, we used to meet a spare, elderly gentleman, with no great-coat, but with morning coat buttoned tightly to his throat, and long gloves of wool, or deer-skin, and curious funnel-shaped trousers, wide at the foot and tapering upwards. In his one hand he carried a small canvas bag containing barley, which he scattered on the street for the sparrows; in the other hand he had a bundle of tracts against tobacco-smoking which he distributed to the students. This was Mr William Euing, who lived at No. 209 West George Street, where he had a wonderful library rich in works on music, books relating to Glasgow, early English literature and, what he prized most, editions of the Bible. He was always delighted to show his collection and generally invited his guest to breakfast at an early hour, never later than eight o’clock.’  (David Murray, ‘Bibliography: its scope and methods with a view of the work of a local bibliographical society’ in Records of the Glasgow Bibliographical Society, I (1914), p. 102.)

From his ‘wonderful library’ Euing gifted two incunables to the University Library in 1862 followed by an additional ninety-eight, ten years later in 1872; a further sixty-one incunables were received in 1874 as part of his bequest to the University Library of 12,000 volumes of general literature and 3,000 bibles, psalters and books of prayer and hymns. Euing’s interest in music – he was a regular attender at the city’s St Cecilia’s Society – resulted in the formation of what is still one of the richest collections of early printed music in Britain, which Euing bequeathed to another Glasgow educational institution, Anderson’s College (now the University of Strathclyde). Euing’s 2,500 music books (which include seven incunables) were transferred to the care of the University of Glasgow in 1936 (a nice case of ‘friends re-united’). Euing was also a benefactor to the library of the Free Church College in Glasgow (later Trinity College Library) and during his lifetime he presented the College with twelve incunables. These too were re-united, when in 1974 several thousand books from Trinity College were placed on permanent deposit in the University of Glasgow Library (see infra). The Trinity College transfer brings the total number of William Euing’s incunables now in the care of the University Library to 180.

Euing was also a generous donor of incunables to a fourth Glasgow institution, Stirling’s Library i.e. the library founded in 1791 by Walter Stirling as ‘a public library for the use of the citizens of Glasgow’ which since 1912, when it was taken over by Glasgow Corporation, has been administered by the city’s Mitchell Library.

As a collector of incunables Euing’s tastes ranged far and wide, but one can detect certain predilections which are mirrored in the rest of his library: twenty-one 15th-century bibles, three psalters and one missal, five incunable editions of the Imitatio Christi of Thomas à Kempis, and his eight incunables relating to music. Euing’s bibles are a rich source of German monastic provenances: Augustinian Canons at Polling; Discalced Carmelites at Regensburg; Observant Franciscans at Graz; Dominicans at Rostock; Benedictines at Ettenheimmünster; Augustinian Hermits at Trier. Two of Euing’s incunables are unique copies: Liber Faceti docens mores hominum (Paris: Nicole de la Barre, [c.1495-97]) and Quaestiones super Donatum minorem (Paris: Pierre Levet, 23 Jun. 1492).

Euing was in the habit of adding to the endpapers or flyleaves of almost all of his books a pencil note of the date of acquisition, a note of his supplier (usually an abbreviated form of the bookseller’s name) and a price in code. From pencil numbers he wrote on the flyleaves or pastedowns Euing evidently maintained at least two acquisition inventories, one of which (MS Euing 49: covering 6768 book purchases made between the years 1857 and 1873) survives and is additional evidence of acquisition dates and suppliers’ names for his incunables, but not their prices. He seems chiefly to have been dependent on London booksellers like Thomas Arthur, Edward Knight, John Mozley Stark, William Pickering and John Petheram.

The second big 19th-century acquisition came with the presentation of the library of Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856), Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh University. After Hamilton’s death, private subscribers in Glasgow raised £2,000, which enabled his library of some 8,000 volumes mainly on logic, aesthetics and the history of philosophy to be purchased and presented to the University Library in 1878. Hamilton’s collection includes thirty-nine incunables - two of them unique copies: Johannes de Garlandia, Verba deponentalia [Lübeck: Printer of Breviarium Lubucense, c.1490]) and Antonius Cermisonus, Consiglio per preservarsi e sanare della peste [Rome: Johann Bulle, c.1478], a fortuitous find made in 2015 – the pamphlet (containing remedies for the plague) up to that point slumbering in the University Library catalogue as ‘sine loco, sine anno’.

In the last decade of the 19th century twenty-nine incunables were received as part of the collection of over 400 volumes (mostly early editions of the late medieval scholastic philosophers), formed by another Professor of Logic, John Veitch (1829-1894), Professor of Logic and Rhetoric at Glasgow University, which his widow presented to the University Library in 1895. One of Veitch’s incunables (Geraldus Odonis, Expositio in Aristotelis Ethicam, Venice: 1500) was in the possession of the Augustinian Priory at Merton before passing into the hands successively of three student members of Christ Church, Oxford, in the 1570s. Another monastic owner amongst the Veitch incunables, a Carthusian house at Roermond in the Netherlands, possessed a Sammelband containing inter alia an edition of the Rhetorica divina of Guillermus Alvernus (Basel: Johann Froben, c.1492) in which have been written verses by the Dutch jurist, philosopher and poet, Jodocus Beysselius. Almost all of Veitch’s books (including his incunables) have his distinctive inventory number in blue crayon on their endpapers or flyleaves (the inventory itself seems not to have survived).

In the 20th century, the University Library’s incunable collections were enriched by the addition of a further 170 volumes.

By far the most important of these are the 123 incunables included amongst the 7,500 volumes (mainly on alchemy, chemistry and related topics) comprising the larger part of the library of John Ferguson (1837-1916), bibliographer and Regius Professor of Chemistry at Glasgow, which was astutely purchased by the University in 1921. Ferguson was an authority on the texts he bought in the field of medieval and early modern science and eighty-eight of his incunables are titles listed in Arnold Klebs, Incunabula scientifica et medica (Bruges: 1938). He was a book-collector with a passion for completeness (and a collector who could see the merits of buying multiple copies for comparative purposes – viz his twenty-six incunables of texts by Albertus Magnus, and his twenty-one incunables of the works of Michael Scotus). Ferguson’s incunables are some of the rarest in the University Library. Two are unique items: Pseudo- Aristoteles, Le secret des secretz ([Paris: Antoine Caillaut, c.1490?]) and Pseudo- Albertus Magnus, Liber aggregationis (Milan: Uldericus Scinzenzeler, 9 Mar. 1495). A further fourteen are unknown in any other copy in the British Isles. Not all of Ferguson’s incunables, however, were concerned with early science: an interest in the literature of witchcraft throughout his collection brought in five incunable editions of the Malleus maleficarum of Henricus Institutoris and Jacobus Sprenger. Another non-scientific text, Ferguson’s copy of Cardinal Johannes Bessarion, Adversus calumniatorem Platonis (Rome: Sweynheym and Pannartz, [before 28 Aug. 1469]), has a truly prominent pedigree. It was a gift from Bessarion in 1469 to a writer of verse, Ludovicus Marius Parutus, of Ferrara, who probably worked as a corrector to the Ferarrese printer, Agostino Carnerio ; it then re-appears in Rome in 1495, purchased for two ducats by a canon lawyer from Ferrara, Nicolaus Uranius Advogarius. In the mid 16th century (from a cryptic inscription in Hebrew) the Bessarion was possibly in the collection of an anonymous Jewish owner. The book’s next staging post is Rimini, where, in 1790, it was in the possession of Lorenzo Antonio Drudi, physician and librarian of the Biblioteca Gambalunghiana. In the 19th century it is to be found in two vast book collections, first of the Russian born collector, Dimitrij Petrovich Boutourlin, and then of the Spanish collector, Joaquín Gómez de la Cortina, Marqués de Morante. Morante’s books were sold by his heirs in Paris in a series of sales spread over several years between 1872 and 1879 and at that point the Bessarion disappears for a short period until it re-surfaces in Ferguson’s library (many of Morante’s books sold for derisory prices, some ending up on the Quais in Paris). Uncharacteristically, Ferguson has not on this occasion annotated the book with acquisition details. The volume has added interest in that it contains a contemporary manuscript copy of a letter (dated Milan, 21 Jan. 1469) from the humanist scholar, Francisco Filelfo to the Greek scholar and translator of Aristotle, Theodore of Gaza.

There is abundant evidence that Ferguson cherished his incunables and knew them through and through – see, for example, his detailed examination of two extremely rare imprints from the press of William de Machlinia (the Liber aggregationis and Secreta mulierum et virorum of Pseudo Albertus Magnus), which he communicated to the Society of Antiquaries in 1886 ('On a copy of Albertus Magnus’ De secretis mulierum, printed by Machlinia'. Westminster: 1886). Almost always Ferguson recorded in pencil on a flyleaf or pastedown, when and from whom he acquired his books (though, alas, not the price he paid for them). Ferguson’s suppliers included the London book dealers, Voynich, Tregaskis, Pickering and Chatto, but he also had dealings with several continental book dealers (Claudin in Paris, Rappaport in Rome, Rosenthal in Berlin). Armed with these names one can sometimes get back to the original catalogues from which the books were purchased.

Ferguson’s valuable collection of general literature was not included in the purchase and a further twenty-nine incunables once owned by him were dispersed after his death; they appear in two auctions, the first in Glasgow in 1920; the second in London in the same year.

The acquisition of the Euing, Hamilton, Veitch, and Ferguson incunables meant that the University Library now had some links with the great 19th-century British and Continental collectors of incunables whose libraries had recently come into the market place – in Britain the libraries of the Duke of Sussex, William Heber and David Laing; and from Europe, the library of Dr Georg Kloss of Frankfurt am Main, that of the Lyon silk merchant Nicolas Yemeniz, of the Russian collector Dimitrij Petrovich Boutourlin and of the Italian collector, Count Giacomo Manzoni.

In 1927 the Library gained a further twenty-one incunables as part of the personal library of 23,000 volumes donated by the Glasgow lawyer, antiquary and bibliographer, David Murray (1842-1928). Not surprisingly, several early legal texts appear amongst Murray’s incunables including Johannes Nider, De contractibus mercatorum (Cologne: c.1479); Termini causarum in Romana Curia (Heidelberg: c.1491); Innocent VIII, Regulae cancellariae apostolicae (Strassburg: c.1492) and Johannes Petrus de Ferrariis, Practica nova judicialis (Nuremberg: 1482).

Another eleven incunables followed in 1958. They are included in a collection of some 2,000 volumes of mainly emblem literature forming part of the library of Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878), which were bequeathed to the University Library in 1956 under the terms of the will of his son, Sir John Stirling Maxwell, and received by the Library two years later. The Stirling Maxwell incunables include three editions of the collection of animal fables known as Dialogus creaturarum moralisatus (Cologne: 1481; Antwerp: 1486; Geneva: 1500), all handsome examples of the art of the woodcut – in keeping with their collector’s taste for early illustrated books. It should be noted, however, that the eleven Stirling Maxwell incunables now in Glasgow University Library are only a selection from Sir William’s collection and that a further thirty-one once forming part of his library are now dispersed.

Finally, in 1974, twenty-one incunables were received into the University Library’s care when several thousand early printed volumes forming the theological library of Trinity College, Glasgow (established in 1856 as the Free Church College and changing its name to Trinity College in 1930) were placed on permanent deposit in the University Library by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Twelve of the Trinity incunables were gifted by William Euing (supra). Another three came from an entirely different source, having once belonged to the biblical scholar, Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-1874), whose library was purchased by the Free Church College after his death. Almost all the Trinity incunables are theological texts, many with their monastic provenances preserved (Discalced Augustinian Hermits at Mariabrunn; Franciscans at Varese; Jesuits at Würzburg and at Hildesheim; Carmelites at Neustadt an der Saale). A slightly curious provenance appears in Trinity’s copy of Petrus Lombardus, Sententiarum libri IV (Freiburg im Breisgau: not before 2 May 1493) with an inscription on a paper cover ‘William Balfour Baikie RN Palermo November 28 1848’. How and why did a medieval scholastic text come into the possession, at the age of twenty-four, of this Scottish naval surgeon and later African explorer?

A few incunables, inexplicably, were withdrawn from the Free Church College Library early in the 20th century. A copy of Johannes Chrysostomus, Sermo super psalmum L ([Cologne: Ulrich Zel, c.1466-67]), bought in 1943 by the National Library of Scotland – and earlier in the library of Arthur Kay, President of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society – bears the blind library-stamp of the Free Church College Library (see William Beattie, ‘Supplement to the hand-list of incunables in the National Library of Scotland’, no. 29, in Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions II (1938-1946), pp. 151-230).  And, bizarrely, while retaining possession of volume I (blind-tooled and with a Dortmund Dominican ownership inscription) of the Hortus sanitatis (Mainz: Jacob Meydenbach, 23 June 1491), the Free Church College Library disposed of volume II (with identical binding and provenance) containing the final section of the Hortus sanitatis text followed by a copy of Simon Genuensis, Synonyma medicinae (Venice: Guilelmus Anima Mia, 13 Nov. 1486). This last emigré – still with its Free Church College blind library-stamp – came into Sotheby’s saleroom in 1905, when it was purchased by the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (Poynter 309 & 552).

Of the eight major collections of incunables described above, only two (the Hunterian and Ferguson incunables) have previously received anything in the way of publicity. In 1813 (just six years after Hunter’s library and museum had arrived in Glasgow), Captain John Laskey published a very brief listing of some 350 of Hunter’s incunables (see J. Laskey, A general account of the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow ... Glasgow: 1813, pp. 88-96).  A few Hunterian incunables were noted (with some inaccuracies) by Dibdin on his visit to Scotland in the 1830s (see Thomas Frognall Dibdin, A bibliographical, antiquarian and picturesque tour in the northern counties of England and in Scotland. 3 vols. London: 1838. Vol. II, pp. 737-45).

Hunter’s early imprints received more careful attention in 1930 with the publication of a short-title catalogue by Mungo Ferguson of all the Hunterian printed books, which includes ‘A topographical index of books printed before 1600’ (M. Ferguson, The printed books in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow: a catalogue. Glasgow: 1930).  And a few Hunterian incunables have received more individual treatment either in exhibition catalogues or in specialised monographs e.g. Hunter’s Caxtons were briefly covered by Seymour de Ricci in his Census of Caxtons (Bibliographical Society Illustrated Monographs, 15. Oxford: 1909). In the case of John Ferguson, a wartime catalogue of his library included short-title entries for his incunables (Catalogue of the Ferguson Collection of books mainly relating to alchemy, chemistry, witchcraft and gipsies, in the Library of the University of Glasgow. 2 vols. Glasgow: 1943. Reprinted 2002). 

But on the whole, prior to the Glasgow Incunabula Project, most of the items now described via this website (and in the companion catalogue publication) had slipped into obscurity, largely unseen and unused for decades or even centuries, their previous owners unrecognised. It has been a rare privilege to be given the opportunity to bring both books and owners into the light of day.

2.2 The Mitchell Library

Founded in 1877 by the Corporation of the city of Glasgow with a bequest from a wealthy Scottish tobacco merchant, Stephen Mitchell, the Mitchell Library (one of Europe’s largest public libraries) currently holds some 1,220,000 volumes. Included in the Mitchell Library’s prestigious rare book collections are forty-five incunables.

In 1878, a year after its foundation, the Mitchell Library received its first incunable, a copy of Hartmann Schedel’s Liber chronicarum (Nuremberg: Koberger, 1493) as part of the library of 2,000 volumes of the Brechin antiquary, Andrew Jervise, purchased by the Mitchell in the year of his death. The Mitchell Library acquired its second incunable in 1884: Nicolaus de Lyra, Postilla super quattuor Evangelistas (Basel: Berthold Ruppel, c.1472). This copy’s rather unusual 19th-century travels are revealed in a book label of the Frankfurt am Main physician-collector, Georg Kloss, an ownership inscription by John P. Ridner (fl. 1850), American mahogany merchant and a founding member of the American Art Union, and with a sea-faring owner’s note ‘James Ramsay mate of premier Dundee’.

In 1894 the Mitchell Library acquired a further seven incunables with the purchase of the theological library of some 7,000 volumes formed by the Rev. James Morison, D.D., a founder of the Evangelical Union. Morison’s incunables included one originally in the Benedictine Abbey at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, and another once owned by the Cistercians at Kaisheim in Bavaria. Two more incunables were added in 1907 as part of the gift of a collection of 1,200 books made by James Maclay, a Glasgow solicitor.

The bulk of the Mitchell Library’s incunables, however, were acquired in 1912 when Glasgow Corporation took over Stirling’s Library, an earlier public library established in the city in 1791 by the merchant, Walter Stirling, as a ‘public library for the use of the citizens of Glasgow’. Most of the early book collections in Stirling’s Library were transferred to the care of the Mitchell Library, and these included thirty-two incunables, all but one of which were donations by the Glasgow underwriter and library benefactor, William Euing, made to Stirling’s Library in the 1870s (and, incidentally, whose generous donation of books to the University of Glasgow Library has already been described above). Euing’s incunables include some noteworthy early provenances: the Augustinian priory of St Mary Overie at Southwark in Surrey, the Augustinians at Wrocław, and the Jesuits at Oudenaarde in Flanders.

The ‘Bain Memorial Donation’ made by Andrew Bain in 1920 in memory of his father, a local printer of the same name, includes one incunable.

The most recent incunable acquisition by the Mitchell Library, received as a gift in 2007 from Livia Gollancz, musician and publisher, is a copy of the German translation of the Nuremberg Chronicle i.e. Hartmann Schedel’s Das Buch der Croniken und GeschichtenDas Buch der Croniken und Geschichten (Nuremberg: 1493), which nicely complements the Library’s copy of the Latin edition acquired in1878.

The Mitchell Library’s incunables have previously been briefly described by A.G. Hepburn in A catalogue of incunables and S.T.C. books in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow (Glasgow: Glasgow Corporation Public Libraries, 1964).

See Glasgow, Mitchell Library in the Provenance: Institutions Index G for a list of the Mitchell's incunables.

2.3. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum 

All nine incunables now in the possession of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum come from the library of 3,000 volumes (including manuscripts and early printed books) on military theory and practice, which were bequeathed to the Museum, in 1939, by the Greenock shipbuilder, Robert Lyons Scott (1871-1939), along with his renowned collection of European arms and armour.

See Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the Provenance: Institutions Index G for a list of the Kelvingrove incunabula.

2.4  The Burrell Collection

Two incunables are included amongst the late medieval and early Renaissance artefacts, which form a major part of the vast Burrell Collection of over 8,000 objects, amassed by the Scottish shipping magnate and art collector, Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) and gifted by him and his wife to the city of Glasgow in 1944.

See Glasgow, Burrell Collectoin in the Provenance: Institutions Index G for a list of the Burrell incunabula.

2.5 The Library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons

Five incunables are included amongst the c.4000 pre-1850 printed books owned by the College. They are all purchases made by the College in the 19th century, following decisions (recorded in the Faculty minutes and the Librarian’s annual reports) to add works of ‘older medical authors’ to the library.

See Glasgow, Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons Library in the Provenance: Institutions Index G for a list of the RCPSG incunabula.

2.6 The Andersonian Library, University of Strathclyde

The Andersonian Library has just a single incunable, part of a large collection of around 1,400 works on alchemy and scientific chemistry, bequeathed in 1883 to the Young Chair of Technical Chemistry at Anderson’s College (subsequently the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde) by the Scottish industrial chemist, James Young; see John Ferguson, Bibliotheca chemica: a catalogue of the alchemical, chemical and pharmaceutical books in the collection of the late James Young of Kelly and Dorris. 2 vols (Glasgow: 1096).


Jack Baldwin, October 2020