Seals, slashes and stamps

Although there are many fascinating stories and events depicted in the content of letters, legal documents, ledgers and manuscripts, sometimes the physical nature of the record will enlighten readers about the origin of the document, its use, or give clues to or about the author. So, it can be interesting to take a closer look […]

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A closer look – using the new stereomicroscope to examine and characterise the Photographic Collections of the National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has in its holdings an amazing collection of photographs and photographic albums. The collections tell the story of the medium before its official announcement in 1839, its first use to illustrate books, and its rapid development throughout the 20th century. The preservation of photographs requires specialized knowledge in order to […]

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Surviving Emotions

One of the best things about working with archives is finding records that give a real sense of the personality of the writer.  There are many examples of this throughout the John Murray Archive, an archive that spans over two hundred years.  The letters written to the successive heads of the publishing house regularly take a personal […]

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Charity Bazaars in Scotland

The word ‘bazaar’ was first used to describe a sale of work in 1813 in London and spread throughout the developed world in the 19th century. By the 1870s they were huge extravaganzas lasting several days, with entertainments, such as puppet shows, theatrical performances and displays of novelties such as electric light,

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Sun-pictures and beyond

Scotland and the photographically illustrated book 1845-1900 In October 1844 Henry Talbot, the inventor of the calotype negative (Talbotype) process of photography travelled to Scotland along with Nicolaas Henneman, his former valet who was now running his own Talbotype establishment in Reading. Talbot, with the aid of Henneman, was planning to take photographs to illustrate […]

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Mapping Slavery

It shocks many people to learn that when in 1833, the British Parliament finally abolished slavery in various parts of the British Empire, those most closely involved in the trade received huge sums of money in compensation. It has been estimated that of the £20 million compensation payments, half remained in Great Britain, with the […]

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