February 1st 2017 would have been Dame Muriel Spark’s 99th birthday. What it will be is the beginning of a year-long countdown to her centenary, signalling a series of events and activities that will celebrate the life and writing of one of Scotland’s greatest 20th Century writers. And while we at the Library are busy […]
Are you busy decking the halls with boughs of Holly this festive season? If so, you might wonder just why the prickliest of all of the evergreen trees has become one of the most popular at this time of year. And has it really been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth?
Digitisation programmes can provide the rare opportunity to assess collection material item by item, page by page. Even readers and researchers, who may well consult a volume extensively, are unlikely to scrutinise every single page of a volume in its entirety. Working as the National Library of Scotland digitisation conservator allows me to condition assess […]
For some people, this may be a little early to be posting about Christmas. We are not long in to December after all. But since the Christmas trees, tinsel and twinkly lights seem to be going up here in Edinburgh (where the National Library of Scotland archive offices are based), it seemed natural to keep […]
In 1903, American photographer Alfred Stieglitz began Camera Work, a periodical dedicated to the art of photography. 50 issues of camera work were published between 1903 and 1917, featuring the work of photographers such as Eduard Steichen, Paul Strand, Gertrude Käsebier and Stieglitz himself.
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good! J.K. Rowling’s magnificent imagination conjured up the Marauder’s Map of Hogwarts Castle. This magical map is usually disguised as a blank piece of parchment, activated by the spell above. Once unlocked, the map reveals a detailed plan of Hogwarts, covered in named, moving dots which […]
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 […]
Bookshops have always possessed a kind of magic. How many of us have wandered into a bookshop for “a quick look” and have found ourselves still browsing the shelves hours later? In Browse: the world in bookshops, Henry Hitchings asks fifteen writers from around the world on their thoughts and experiences of bookshops.
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 […]
2016 marks the centenary of the birth of architect and town planner Robert James Naismith (1916-2004). A small collection of his books and pamphlets were donated to the Library after his death and form an interesting collection of works relating to Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) and to town planning. Geddes, the celebrated social evolutionist and […]