Provenance

Provenance

Welcome to the Provenance Database. This database provides information on the past ownership of the printed books held in the Special Collections of Aberdeen University Library.

Please Note

Editing of the database is on-going. Owner names are still being amended and authorized and biographical details being confirmed. New records will be added at regular intervals. Every effort has been made to amend any errors during the editing process but some may remain. We would be glad to receive your comments and suggestions; corrections and additions are also welcome. Please contact Jane Pirie j.b.pirie@abdn.ac.uk

About

The aim of the project is to create an electronically searchable database of names associated with the books held in the Special Collections of Aberdeen University Library. The library owns several hand written registers of provenance and other printed sources but many of these are not currently available for public consultation.

The first phase of the project was the transcription of two hand-written provenance registers of mainly sixteenth century printed books held in the library. This phase is now complete.

Editing of the database is on-going. Owner names are still being amended and authorized and biographical details being confirmed. New records will be added at regular intervals. Every effort has been made to amend any errors during the editing process but some may remain. We would be glad to receive your comments and suggestions; corrections and additions are also welcome. Please contact Jane Pirie j.b.pirie@abdn.ac.uk

The next planned phase of the project is to incorporate images of selected signatures and other marks of ownership and to begin transcription and incorporation of other provenance registers held in the department.

History

It was only in 1860 that Aberdeen University Library came into being. Until then, the two separate universities of King’s and Marischal Colleges had separate libraries. The University Library today therefore has a rich collection of early printed books and in many cases multiple copies of a work with different provenances.

King’s College was founded in 1495 and the library contained books belonging to the early founders and teachers such as William Elphinstone, Hector Boece, William Hay, Theophilus Stewart and John Vaus.

Marischal College was founded in 1593 and the library dates from 1614. Early donations came from Duncan Liddel, Thomas Reid, and the Common Library of New Aberdeen.

All of the donated libraries to the universities were dispersed throughout the collections, usually by age and subject matter. It was not until 1856 that a donation of a library was kept as a separate named collection (the Melvin Collection) but even after that, and in some occasions today, donations to the library will arranged by subject matter in the main chronological collections rather than be kept together as a whole. The Provenance Database will aid in the identification of books in the libraries of individuals and institutions.

Futher information about the books in Special Collections can be found on our Printed Collections web pages.

References

The biographical details of individual book owners are taken from various sources. Abbreviated references are given.

  • British Armorial Bindings. University of Toronto
  • CERL –The CERL Thesaurus file contains forms of imprint places, imprint names, personal names and corporate names as found in material printed before the middle of the nineteenth century - including variant spellings, forms in Latin and other languages, and fictitious names.
  • Cowan, Ian Borthwick and Easson, David E. Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man. London: Longman, 1976.
  • Dennison, Ditchburn and Lynch ed. Aberdeen before 1800. East Linton: Tuckwell, 2002.
  • DNB - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Drummond, H. J. H, A Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed on the Continent of Europe 1501-1600 in Aberdeen University Library. Oxford: O.U.P., 1979
  • EBOB Early book owners in Britain
  • ESL - Durkan, John and Ross, Anthony. Early Scottish libraries. Glasgow: John S Burns & Sons, 1961
  • Fasti Aberdonenses: selections from the records of the University and King's College of Aberdeen, 1494–1854, ed. C Innes Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1854
  • Fasti academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis: selections from the records of Marischal College and University, 1593–1860, vol.1, ed. P J Anderson. New Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1889
  • Gascoigne, Christine. 'Book Transmission in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century North East Scotland: the Evidence of William Guild’s Books.' Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. 4. (2009) pp.32-48
  • Keith, Alexander. A thousand years of Aberdeen. Aberdeen: AUP, 1972.
  • LOC - Library of Congress Authority Files
  • Macfarlane, L. J. William Elphinstone and the kingdom of Scotland, 1431-1514: the struggle for order. Aberdeen: Published for the University of Aberdeen by Aberdeen University Press, 1985.
  • Mitchell, William Smith. Catalogue of the incunabula in Aberdeen University Library. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1966.
  • Munro, A.M. Memorials of the Aldermen, Provosts, and Lord Provosts of Aberdeen. Aberdeen: 1897.
  • Officers and graduates of University and King's College, Aberdeen, 1495–1860, ed. P J Anderson New Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1893
  • Roll of alumni in Arts of University and King's College of Aberdeen, 1596–1860, ed. P J Anderson Aberdeen University Studies, 1, 1900
  • Sanderson, Margaret H. B. Cardinal of Scotland, David Beaton, c. 1494-1546. Edinburgh: J. Donald Publishers, c1986.
  • Wightman, W. P. D., Science and the Renaissance, vol. 2: An Annotated Bibliography of the Sixteenth-century Books Relating to the Sciences in The Library of the University of Aberdeen. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1962
Contact us

For queries relating to content and provenance research please contact:


Jane Pirie
Information Officer - Rare Books Cataloguer
j.b.pirie@abdn.ac.uk 
01224 272830

For queries relating to website or technology please contact:
Julie Smart
Technology Support Officer
j.smart@abdn.ac.uk 
01224 272994

For queries relating to digitisation and reproduction please go to our 
Images for research and publication webpage